As jewelers, we have the opportunity to provide our customers with something completely unique and meaningful – something they will enjoy and cherish for a lifetime. Being with customers for great milestones and commemorative occasions is truly something special. Elizabeth Parker with Curt Parker Jewelers recently had the opportunity to share her experience of crafting a one-of-a-kind piece for a customer that takes those special moments and allows them to be with the customer forever.
Finding Inspiration is a campaign to inspire the inner designer within every jeweler and provide a spark of creativity for artisans throughout the jewelry industry. We are always in awe of what our customers are doing with Stuller findings and how they make unique pieces of jewelry. In this installation of Finding Inspiration, we take a look at the piece made by Curt Parker Jewelers and the story behind such a beautiful piece of art.
Curt Parker Jewelers: The Beginning
Elizabeth Parker and her husband Curt have been in the jewelry business together since 1976; however, this was not always their profession. When they got married, Curt was a design engineer and Elizabeth was a college professor. Shortly after their wedding, Curt decided he wanted to switch careers and become a trade jeweler. Elizabeth supported this decision, and it didn’t take long for her to join him in this new endeavor.
Although a teacher by trade at the time, Elizabeth was no stranger to jewelry design.
“I had started designing jewelry when I was 10 years old. I would make pieces and go door to door in my neighborhood selling them,” Elizabeth said.
Throughout her schooling, she had intentions to pursue an art degree when the time came to go to college. However, fear of not being able to support herself on a career in art pushed her to choose teaching. But as you can see, Elizabeth is an example of how our dreams sometimes have a way of coming back to us unexpectedly.
In the beginning, Curt and Elizabeth operated their jewelry business out of the basement of their home for 8 years before establishing their first brick and mortar location. After 20 years they moved into a larger free-standing location in St. Louis, Missouri, where they remain today.
“We have been doing almost all of our finding work with Stuller since our beginning,” Elizabeth added. “We do a lot of work with findings where we will take the basic pieces, like a basket setting, and create an unusual or different top that is unique to us.”
They have been Stuller customers for more than 35 years and are recipients of 13 national and international awards for jewelry design.
Close to a Mother’s Heart
For the specific piece we are highlighting, it all began with a custom request from a loving mother. In January of this year, a customer met with Elizabeth for her assistance in making a mother’s piece to commemorate the love she has for her family. She wanted the piece to include the birthstones of her husband, herself, her son, her daughter, and her daughter-in-law. Other than that detail, she left a large part of the design work up to Elizabeth.
From there, Elizabeth got to work. Because the customer is a gardener, she used a flower as inspiration for this piece. The final piece resembles a top-down view of a blooming flower in a pot where the stones are the petals.
The stones include 9x6mm oval-cut Aquamarine, Peridot, Amethyst, Rhodalite Garnet, and a 7mm Japanese Akoya Pearl. The stones are set on a 14K white gold pear-shaped setting with a scroll design (1904). The piece also included four setting strips (1061) set with 1.5 carats of diamonds. The bail (184) was added to connect the pendant to a chain. All metal was finished in rhodium plating solution (45-4142) to reduce tarnishing.
The findings used in this piece perfectly complemented the stones and design. For example, if you look closely at the settings used to hold the stone (1904), the scroll design resembles a flower. Even the tiniest details in the findings used in a piece can bring the whole piece together.
“We have developed our findings assortment over the years to include a wide variety of offerings so that jewelers and designers like Elizabeth are able to provide their customers with the piece of their dreams,” says Molly Kowalski, Stuller findings product manager. “In a custom piece, everything should feel cohesive in the design. The findings used set the foundation so make sure you have exactly what you need. Don’t forget that our team is here to help!”
Elizabeth’s Helping Hand
Elizabeth worked diligently to provide her customer with a piece to keep her family close to her heart. Along the way, Stuller was with her to help with any obstacles that came up.
“The biggest challenge was finding stones that fit a color palette,” she said.
Coordinating five gemstones of differing colors can be quite the challenge. However, Stuller’s Special Order Services worked with Elizabeth to hand-select stones in hues that complemented each other.
In the end, Elizabeth created a beautiful pendant her customer was thrilled with and is sure to wear with pride. Elizabeth was also careful to design the pendant with space to include future expansions to the family. Her customer’s family story is not yet complete, and Elizabeth will be there to assist her in telling that future tale.
Stories like Elizabeth’s is a large part of why Stuller continues our work today. A jeweler can provide a customer with something that truly touches the heart, and we want to be there every step of the way. From unique pieces to finished solutions, Stuller stands ready to assist jewelers at a moment’s notice however you may need us. Get started learning about the products and services we offer by visiting Stuller.com.
Share Your Inspiration
Did this month’s feature of Curt Parker Jewelers inspire you? Do you have a similar story you’d like to share with us? Join our community of artisans and jewelers using Stuller findings to craft unique pieces for their customers by posting pictures of your jewelry on social media using #stullerfindings and tagging us @stullerinc. Inspire others and share your creativity. Join us again next month for another installment of Finding Inspiration.
Check out more posts from our Finding Inspiration campaign.