- About The Artist
Jewelry work and design influence
I have always had a passion for the ocean and diving. My fascination with the sea extends not only to the beauty of the life found there, but also to the history scattered across its bottom. Shipwrecks have long captivated my imagination and, as a kid, dreamt one day of finding sunken treasure. The word conjures up the splendor of antiquity such as the fantastic finds of Tutankhamen's tomb, the gold, silver, and jewels of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha (a Spanish treasure galleon sunk in 1622), the doubloons and pieces of eight from the 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet, the jewel-encrusted objects of the Imperial Treasury in Vienna and the British Crown Jewels, along with many others. This insatiable fascination with treasure has since turned into a passion for creating it. Inspired by the ocean and its treasures, the jewelry I create is based upon this theme.
However, just as not all treasure is jewelry, not all jewelry is treasure. For me, it is how the rich yellow of high-karat gold combines with vibrantly-colored gemstones to create something so exquisite that it transcends the word "jewelry" and enters the realm of "TREASURE"!
With this as my starting point, I have focused on the ancient Etruscan technique of granulation to create modern pieces echoing the opulence of the distant past for those seeking their own piece of contemporary treasure.
My interest in jewelry and gemstones began at an early age. My father received a degree in geology and had gathered an extensive mineral collection. Captivated by the beauty of the crystals, it was not long before I began to develop my own collection.
When I turned 18, I decided to get the equipment to cut and polish many of the stones in my collection. After cutting a few practice pieces, I took them over to the local jewelry store/rockshop. Impressed by the work I had done, the owner offered me a job as an apprentice. It was there that I was taught the basics of jewelry repair and began an obsession with jewelry design. Still unsure of my vocational direction, I began working on a vocal performance degree before switching over to marine biology at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Incidentally, making the switch from vocal performance to marine biology led to the joke on campus that I was going to study the “singing whales”. During the summers, I would return to my hometown of Traverse City, Michigan and spend my time working at the jewelry store. In 2000, having spent two of my summers working there, I decided to take a break from college and move out to San Francisco to attend the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts. It was there that I learned the techniques I would need to know to become a successful goldsmith; everything from stone-setting and engraving to advanced fabrication. It was also there that I was first introduced to and learned the technique of granulation. The moment I saw it, I instantly knew the style I wanted to work in.
Upon learning this new technique, I traveled back home to Traverse City and began to practice it every chance I had. Nonetheless, I still had not yet graduated from college. Eager to finish a degree and realizing that I wanted to work as a jeweler not a marine biologist, I returned to school and began working towards a bachelor's in German. It had been my original intent to move to Germany to study at the famous jewelry school in Pforzheim which I had learned of while in San Francisco. Being able to speak German would be quite handy. However, in my first semester back at Hope College I met the woman who would eventually become my wife, Sara. With the realization that I would not be able to leave her to study jewelry in Germany, I began making the two and a half hour drive back to my home nearly every weekend to work on jewelry. During that time, it was not uncommon for me to arrive at home at 8:00pm and work until 3 o'clock in the morning on my latest piece. In 2002, I graduated from Hope College with a major in German and began designing and fabricating jewelry full time.
As of the Fall of 2008, I have also begun producing custom sterling silver pet tags and titanium pet tags (guaranteed for the life time of your pet) as well as various jewelry for pet lovers to help round-out the site. If you are interested, you can take a look at our pet tag site at www.thesterlingpet.com.
Interesting Facts About Me
- I enjoy scuba diving, but have come to love freediving (breath-hold diving) vastly more. My personal best was a static hold of 5 minutes 45 seconds. If you'd like to see what freediving is like, you can follow me through a coral cave here: Freedive Through Coral Cave
- I'm currently a yondan (4th degree black belt) in Matsumura Seito Shorin-Ryu under Sensei John Hutchcroft and teach karate classes at Fabiano's Karate in Holland, MI.
- I am a classically trained singer and spent 2 years of college pursuing a vocal performance degree before switching to marine biology and finally ending on a German major.
- I’ve been 1200ft down the Cayman wall in an old Russian petroleum research sub. The sub pilot was a man named Courtney Platt who also took James Cameron to the same place in the same sub which gave him the inspiration for the ocean bottom and trench in the movie “The Abyss”.
- I have played piano since I was 5.
Most Important of All...
I have been blessed with a wonderful wife Sara, a beautiful daughter Elizabeth, and 2 fantastic sons Oliver and Edwin.