This journey started in a very simple way...going to the Oregon Beaches and picking up agates when I was little. Maybe 6 or 7 years old. In those days, there were certain beaches in Oregon that you could take your sand bucket, crouch down and there were agates as far as the eye could see. They would be mixed in with jaspers, and regular rocks but those agates would stand out like jewels.
I think that is what got me hooked. It went from there, everytime I would go to the beach, I really never looked at the ocean...I would be looking down for the next treasure. Also in the old days, you could find good sized agates. They would come in all kinds of colors. Reds, yellows, white, clear and greys. Once and a while we would get to go to Central Oregon and find something new and exciting.
There was a rock shop just a little ways from my house when I was a kid and that was where my first rock tumbler came from. When I was about 9, I ran my smaller agates thru it and would buy metal "caps" and little rings I could glue my agates into. I had little rings, keychains and pendants. I really stepped it up when I started getting different rocks from the shop. I had some rose quartz and moss agate. Some great memories.
Throw in the fact that my Grandpa was a HUGE rockhound. One of the things I loved the most about him. He had some of the biggest rock piles and I would go out there and pick through the rocks. One pile had a two-headed garter snake so I think that is why I have never had a fear of snakes as well.
He would pick up rocks after work since he worked for the Corps of Engineers and worked on the rivers in Oregon. He never passed a rock he didn't think looked "interesting" and now I totally understand.
So when this really got started I still had my little rock tumbler after all these years and I ran some stones...it didn't take too long for it to give up so then I decided I needed to take this to the next level. First came the rock saw then another tumbler and then from there, trim saw, cabachon machine, and polishing equipment to make our own cabs. That is when Alan said one day "I wonder if I can do silversmithing?". I said "I don't know, let's see!". We then got the equipment, he sat down and his first piece was a square ring. It was rough but he could totally do this. He is self-taught and his work has become very beautiful.
This is my first blog and I will be posting more as time goes by. Giving insight to our love of rocks, our story, the process and equipment and the story of how this turned into Sandy River Jewelry. I hope you enjoy learning more about us.