I love jewelry, and that love affair started very early in my life! Some of my fondest childhood memories were with my Grandma when she showed me the treasures in her jewelry box. She was a very proper Victorian lady who cared deeply for her family, so each piece had a story or something special about it that Grandma would take time to share with me. From her I learned about karat distinctions of gold, what gemstones were to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, special milestones in our lives, and that jewelry is a timeless treasure. She didn’t think much of costume jewelry, or flashy pieces made of inexpensive materials, but preferred small, delicate works of art with exquisite, albeit small stones or pearls. Two of my most treasured possessions are the ring and broach she gave me. Each is set with her birthstone, a ruby.
By the time I was about 5 or 6, I received my first jewelry making kit. It contained an assortment of plastic “settings,” highly toxic cement, and an assortment of plastic foil-backed “stones” to glue into place. I was in little child heaven, and set, pried out, and reset those stones many, many times until all of the foil has disappeared, and my mom was tired of smelling that awful glue. From then it was on to bead stringing of friendship bracelets, anklets, and necklaces that we all traded in junior high school. But that didn’t satisfy my curiosity, so in college I rewarded myself during semesters when I took heavy academic loads, with jewelry classes. Fortunately, the local college had a world-renowned jeweler teaching a few classes a week. From him I learned wax model making and simple casting decades before CAD, Gem-Vision, and the other highly advanced computer generated images and tools used today were even thought of. It was OK though because it gave me a deep respect for the goldsmiths and the craftsmen who came before me. Little did I know that the information from those classes, and the perspective I received 30+ years ago would be laying the foundation of my work today.
Because I wasn’t a particularly enthusiastic sit-in-class kind of learner, my parents provided me with the opportunity to attend Semester at Sea, and off to see the world I went. From the palaces of central Europe, Turkey, and Greece to the back lanes and street markets of Tunisia, Brazil, Peru, and Mexico I scoured them all for gemstones and interesting jewelry designs. It was amazing to me that almost every food stall in South America had at least one or two small boxes of faceted gemstones sitting out for sale. At that point I knew practically nothing about gemstones, except that they were pretty, and very reasonably priced. I bought many and brought them home, only to find out that they were the real things, and I had gotten some beautiful treasures. I was hooked! I even had managed to get a brilliant color-change Alexandrite in Mexico and made it into a ring that I sold off my finger! My first sale!
People often ask where I received my training and how I became a jewelry designer and goldsmith. As a result of a career ending head injury in 1997 my life took several dramatic twists and turns all leading me back into jewelry. One of those twists was a “chance encounter” with local Santa Cruz silversmith, Robert Wunce. After spending the day as a guest in his studio watching him, it was clear that I wanted something similar for my life’s work. Upon his recommendation, I enrolled in the Revere Academy of Jewelry Artsin San Francisco taking several classes before being invited to study with Alan Revere in his first Jewelry Technician Intensive program. Thanks to his kindness, guidance, and excellent instruction every step of the way, I learned the skills necessary to make the designs in my head become realities and successfully completed the Jewelry Association Certification exams.
About the Tuscan Treasures Collection
The attraction and mystique of antiquity holds great fascination for me. From the dimly lit halls of the Louvre, DeYoung, or the traveling exhibits from ancient Egypt, I have drawn creative and technical inspiration that guides my work daily.
Gold of 22 karat, intensely colored gemstones, and old-world techniques are characteristics that describe the work in the Tuscan Treasures collection. Each piece is completely made by hand using a combination of fabrication, (cutting, filing, and soldering) granulation, (tiny balls of gold placed meticulously to create the design pattern) and depletion gilding, (heating the finished piece to glowing red, then quenching it in hot acid to bring a sheet of solid gold to the surface producing the soft shine) to create each unique piece of art.
I invite you to browse this collection, be inspired, and allow the regal presence of these designs to transport you to another era. While each is worthy of a museum collection, they are sturdy and versatile enough to wear with anything from that little black dress to your favorite pair of jeans and a tee.
The pieces featured on this site are some of my favorite creations and are a variety of work that is currently for sale and past creations.