Hello! A newbie with a story...

My name is Rosemary. I got into jewelry by way of my father, so I’ll tell a bit about him first.

He was born in Ray, AZ (yes, ‘that’ Ray). His father had moved to AZ due to tuberculosis, and died when my dad was in his late teens (late 1930s). My dad then had to help support the family, so he worked in the copper mine tunnels working a jackhammer. Near the end of WW2, he was old enough to enlist, so he entered the Army Air Corps. While serving some tours overseas in the Far East, he picked up lapidary work (cabbing) as a hobby, and when his service was done, he kept it up. During the 70s and 80s, he made a number of trips to Arizona (Quartzite and Ray reunion visits). He got interested in the NA techniques of silver smithing at this time and started making his own silver pieces: inlays, rings, bolo ties.

I come into the picture because I was born in December, and had turquoise as a birthstone. He made several pieces for me, and after he passed, I inherited a lot of his unused turquoise rough. I will be asking identification of some of this, later, as he either never asked/never paid attention at the time/didn’t think it important/never told me, the mine source of his stock. I do know that he picked good pieces: it is all lovely clean blues, and very little matrix. Judging by comparison with what is on sale on the web, I likely have about $1000+ dollars worth of rough.

Now that I have retired, I am planning to take up the silver smithing/lapidary work myself, and use a lot of the rough for family presents, just as dad did.


What a cool story! Welcome! Hope you will share some pictures.

Yes would love to see your pieces as well…

Greetings Rosemaryr.

Welcome Rosemary, wonderful story about your dad.

This is my prized piece, that he made for my 16th or 17th birthday. The string broke about a year along, and he re-strung it. It’s never sat quite evenly on my neck since then. I plan to get it adjusted…one of these years!

The stones are typical of the rough he chose to work with: good clear pieces, with little or no matrix.

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A few more pics. these are taken outside, natural light (cloudy day). You can see the slight difference between the turquoise on the naja ( a clearer blue) and the squash blossoms (slightly greener). The rough pieces are the sort of stuff Dad bought. [I think he was a bit old-fashioned and would not have considered the very green turquoise such as Fox Mountain as ‘real’ turquoise.]


Wonderful to have jewelry your father made for you. : )

Welcome, my wife too is learning lapidary and silver smithing. I advise you to get some cheap rough to
practice with before using the good stuff.

Thank you all for the welcome, everyone! This does seem to be a very friendly place, with great information!

@markyboy57: Oh, yes, definitely! While my dad did teach me the basics, it has been over forty years since I’ve done anything lapidary, hands-on. I do have a stock of less valuable rough stone pieces to get my work started with.

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I will also later post a pic of a pair of watch tips that my dad put onto his military watch after he retired… but right now it’s off to get the watch itself serviced. A really nice set of JoBeth Mayse pieces (and those are signed, and the style is spot-on!).

Welcome! Looks like you’ve arrived at the right site for sure. Looking forward to seeing more of your collection and hopefully your own work as you progress.