When you buy a piece of Isabel Jewelry you are buying handmade quality with a lifetime guarantee. I realize that there are piles of cheap jewelry that I compete with every day but I know what I am producing is carefully and individually made…because I make each piece. Like all micro-businesses I have to compete with factory made products. Knowing this, I like to keep my jewelry small pieces of artwork.
Some companies use flashy marketing campaigns to push lower quality jewelry, it’s hard not to get convinced by beautifully produced commercials and print ads that their commercial jewelry is more valuable. People wind up paying for a company’s marketing rather than quality artistry. When my customers buy from me, they are paying for top-notch, handcrafted jewelry that I guarantee for life and I am proud of that.
I have been metalsmithing for 20 years now and I create hundreds of pieces of jewelry every year. I am very comfortable at my jewelry bench and love forming metal into tiny wearable art, my tools are extensions of my hands and I am happy when I am at work.
This Saturday, June 27, 2015, I will be having a 5-year anniversary party for my shop in Pinedale (you are invited!). I opened the doors five years ago and have been enjoying serving my community and travelers ever since. It’s a good life and I plan on continuing my work. I thank everyone that has ever bought a piece of jewelry from me, you mean the world to me.
Pictured at top: Wyoming jade & Sterling Silver pendants.
So I’m super excited about a new turn in my jewelry making. I’ve aquired some rock cutting equipment and am learning lapidary skills. I’ve always used regional turquoise from Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico and have been wanting to increase my regional offerings so last year I introduced jade sourced from Wyoming. To get hyper-local I figured I would be interesting to start cutting some of the stones I find while hiking here in my own county, Sublette County.
Sublette County is a huge piece of land and mostly public land. It’s amazingly beautiful and varied in geography. We have high sage-brush desert in the southern half of the county and large granite mountains in the north. A lot of the land was carved by glaciers during the ice age so there are large boulders and glacial moraines at the base of the high peaks of the Wind River Range. The desert used to be a vast ocean and is part of the Green River Formation. People find all sorts of cool fossils in Wyoming and Sublette County and south is no exception. If you go a little farther south from Sublette County you get to Kemmerer, Wyoming, a small town known for the Green River fossils, millions of little fish fossils (below is a photo of one I have in my kitchen) as well as palm fronds, prehistoric crocodiles and birds.
The jade in Wyoming is found in the center of the state near Lander and Casper and it varies in greens to pitch black that shines up like a mirror. I love the jade found here and this is especially one of the reasons I am beginning my lapidary journey; I want to cut unusual shapes for my jewelry. Besides jade we have quite a bit of interesting agate and jasper of varying patterns and colors. So now that the snow is melting I can go rockhounding with pals, what a good time.
(fossilized algae with the corner polished up)
By the way…an interesting thing about the word ‘lapidary’… it comes from the Latin word for rock: ‘lapis’. You hear ‘lapis’ used for Lapis Lazuli is a popular blue stone, often found in Afghanistan, and that name simply means Stone Blue (lazuli coming from the word ‘azure’).
November is here and I’m starting to ramp up for the holiday season which means building up my inventory in the shop. I’ve been using some beautiful Wyoming sourced jade. In the center of the state there is a nephrite jade deposit and the colors range from an apple green to black with all shades of green in between. One of the unique specimans to Wyoming is the “snowflake” green which has little white crystals mixed into the green. The rock hounds find it in the center of the state, in the sagebrush desert between Lander and Casper; it is usually above ground so they walk all over with their eyes glued to the ground looking for the rocks and hoping for the big million dollar boulder. A lot of people are unaware that gemstone quality jade is found in Wyoming.
I bought some Wyoming jade from a local guy this past summer and have begun using it in my jewelry. And since jade is the toughest gemstone available, it makes for a great jewelry stone and can be worn with confidence in rings.
(This is my husband looking over the rough although we bought all cut stones. We hope to learn the art of lapidary someday.)
Some of the stones show a whole different color when they are held up to a light, for example the pendant below shows a mossy medium green when held up to a light and is a forest green when held against my hand.
The pendants above show the variety of greens found in Wyoming jade, from an apple green to a dark forest green and even a grey-green.
I am super excited to have a localy sourced gemstone available for everyone and will be offerening more designs as quickly as I can get them made and uploaded to the website.