I used to spend days in the Sierra Nevada 'stalking' the wild flower. A close friend said to me "you should look for rocks".
So it began, 30 years ago, I became a rockhound. Another 15 years was to pass before I started into lapidary.
I’d always wanted to be able to set the stones that I’d found and cut, and I was keenly interested in silver smithing; finally I decided that the best way for me to learn was the same as with lapidary work- just start.
Originally I’d planned on cutting all the cabochons (stones) that I would use in my jewelry, but a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis in 2010 slowed me down a bit and I decided to focus on the silversmithing -as cutting stones is harder on my hands.
I work primarily with Argentium sterling silver and high karat gold- nothing plated ever!
Argentium sterling silver is much slower to tarnish than regular sterling and doesn't fire scale. I can also fuse it in many applications which makes a cleaner joint than using solder.
I'm also a long haul trucker, and although I can't work in my studio as much as I would like, I try to make some time to do a little rockhounding while I'm on the road.