Most children have a rock collection growing up. My childhood collection of shiny pebbles and skipping stones, stored in a little red suitcase, inspired a lifelong love of semiprecious stones and a passion for creating jewelry joining their beauty with other pieces of art that move me. Today, I handpick each gemstone in my “rock” collection - a collection that is no longer personal. I enjoy sharing my passion and collection with all women who enjoy eye-catching gemstones and want to create a sophisticated yet fun and easy style, and a desire to wear jewelry of real value.
Gem Girl Studio was featured in the January 2016 issue of Grant Creek Living Magazine. Here is a reprint of the article:
How many people do you employ? How long has it been in business?
I am a sole proprietor, in business for 15 years. But I certainly couldn’t do this alone without my web designer, computer consultant, and family that help me on buying trips and with art shows. My new website is currently in development with over 50 new designs, to be completed February 1, 2016 – so stay tuned!
What prompted you to start your own business?
I attended a gem show for the first time 16 years ago. While usually a conservative and thoughtful consumer, I found myself wildly impulsive and undisciplined, buying MANY gemstones that day! I walked away with a clear vision that I needed to showcase these eye-catching stones into special pieces of art. While living in California & studying the arts, a shop in Malibu took notice of my first designs. This sparked my career of creating jewelry for others.
Describe what your company does?
I design jewelry pieces—necklaces, bracelets, & earrings—using semi-precious gemstones and hand-sculpted gold & silver metals. I hand pick my stones for cut and clarity (at market) and love finding other worldly treasures to incorporate into my designs. I hear my customers often describe my pieces as “delicate & fun” and “an easy, artful style.”
Anything extraordinary/unique that your business does?
When I attend art shows I have my jewelry tools with me to create, on the spot in most cases, exactly what the customer desires. I also do that from my home studio in Grant Creek. I often have women stop by to pick out a unique gift for their friend or family. I usually have 75-100 jewelry pieces in stock to share as I am continuously creating between art shows.
How did you decide on this industry?
The beauty of the gemstones themselves drew my inspiration to design jewelry.
What section of the neighborhood do you live in and how long have you lived in the neighborhood?
I was raised in Montana and attended the University of Montana. We moved to the Prospect neighborhood 16 years ago from Southern California where we had lived for 12 years. We returned to raise our family in the wonderful city of Missoula and be nearby grandparents and friends.
Tell us about your family?
I have been married to Scott Burke for 25 years. Some may know him as he is the president of First Security Bank, but in my business he hauls tables and sets up lighting for my art shows when needed! We have one daughter, Tessa, a sophomore at Loyola Sacred Heart High School. Two of our boys are in college—Braden is a Freshmen in engineering at Purdue University and Cody graduates from Westminster College in Salt Lake City this spring. Eric is working in computer engineering in San Francisco, CA.
What are your hobbies/interests?
I truly love to design jewelry. When I am creating it is “a kid in a candy store” moment for me! I also love to decorate, run, hang out with friends and family, and attend sporting events of our children and of course, our Griz. And anytime I can, I love to travel!