Jewelry is an external expression of a person — one that tells stories, conjures up memories and is unique as the person who wears it.
“People are often surprised that they are able to afford a higher quality piece of one-of-a-kind jewelry that is not mass-produced,” explains Traci Rogers, owner and designer at Gem and Jewelry Design and Services in Carbondale.
Rogers, who has worked with custom jewelry for more than 25 years, says every piece is personal, even those which have been passed down through generations.
“A lot of people will inherit jewelry and they have such a sentimental attachment to it. However, if it’s not their own personal style, we can redesign it into something that not only reflects their own personality, but also has the meaning from whoever gave it to them,” she explains. “Jewelry is great because it is so personal and they can look at it every day and have all of those memories all over again.”
She says one of the benefits of her work is building long-lasting friendships and being part of celebrations.
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“We have had some customers that we have built relationships for so long and they just come back over and over again. It’s nice to become part of their lives in a way that a typical retailer wouldn’t. We get to celebrate with them special events like weddings, the birth of children, anniversaries, birthdays and graduations. We get to be part of their lives.”
Rogers says even though people have worn jewelry for centuries, the art form is always evolving.
“Right now, with computer-aided design, we are able to use stones that are not the standard sizes and shapes,” she explains. “I can take any shape or size of stone and I can create around it. Literally, there are no limitations to it.”
She adds that the technology allows her to show customers how a piece will look as well as options during the design process.
“Nine times out of 10, I’ll tweak a design and show it to them and they will say, ‘Oh, I love it! I didn’t even think about that.’ It involves them in the process and really gives them exactly what they want. That’s a great feeling,” Rogers says.