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Why I make Jewelry

Jeff Fulkerson

Posted on April 19 2018

Periodically, I get asked why I make jewelry.  That’s not a simple question. The answer is many-faceted. (Get it, ‘faceted’? Well, I thought it was funny.) Let me try to explain.

                First off, God made me to make things. I HAVE to! I’ve worked on everything from diamond rings to skyscrapers. I’ve made furniture, sheds, houses, patio covers, decks, models, tools, boats, and on and on.  I guess I’m happiest when I’m working on something. Those of you similarly afflicted know what I’m talking about.

                I’ve always liked details, and jewelry gives me the opportunity to delve into tiny details.  And that goes along with another of my quirks; I like to make stuff that not everybody can make. I like being different from the crowd.  If everybody is putting one stone, I want to put two. Or more. 

                This brings me to technique.  You should be technically sound in whatever you make. Once you’ve achieve enough skill so that a piece you make doesn’t fall apart the first time you wear it, you can start exploring other techniques.  I like to combine techniques. I feel that’s where your uniqueness can come from.  Lots of people have made a ring, but no one’s made YOUR ring.

                I like the fact that there is no heavy lifting in jewelry making.  I can lift a 10 carat diamond with one hand.  (Lift with your knees!) Jewelry is very tactile and that appeals to me.  I love the feel of the metals and stones.  I love the weight of a well-made piece.

                I LOVE to make jewelry for my wife Roxanne.  There’s nothing like getting her approval for a piece I’ve made.  As my daughter-in-law Rita said “Guy, Roxanne. You have all the BEST jewelry!”  Well, I should hope so.

                Finally, I like to wear jewelry.  Always have. I remember buying my first piece of “Indian Jewelry” when I was 6 years old. It was a small Thunderbird ring, silver with a piece of turquoise on it.  I still have it.   I’ve gotten rid of a lot of things in my life that I bought for myself (a number of guitars come to mind) and I’ve sold a lot of jewelry that I’ve made, but I’ve never gotten rid of a piece of jewelry that I made for myself.  I’m sure there is a deep reason for that, but I’ll leave it for the philosophers to figure out.

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  • Sharon Jones: September 23, 2019

    HELP PLEASE: I’ve been watching a video of you at Bead Fest being interviewed by Lisa Nevin Kelly. I noticed that you love big rings, my passion. Do you have any idea where I can get a ring mandrel that has one flat side with no grooves (as is standard for being able to set faceted stones). I want an area where I can pound on my ring to make it round but maintain a completely flat area for the cabochon I want to set. Ive hunted the web to no avail. I know they exist because I used one at Wildacres in North Carolina.

    By the way, I too firmly believe that God Made Me do this. I believe when I die and get to heaven I’m going to get to cut the stones that are in the walls and the foundations of Heaven.

    Thank you for what you do, you’ve been very inspirational. I’d love to take a class from you sometime to improve my skills.

  • Patty McLeod: April 22, 2018

    I have a bucket list like no one else. It is to take an in-person class form my favorite artists …. I did the on line with 2 of my top 5 your teaching style is so special . So keep making great things and those wonderful cabs I hope to own or create with one day.
    May God always bless you and your family… Thank you for your kind wonderful work.

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