by LES O’DELL, photos by BYRON HETZLER
Jewelry is an external expression of a person – an expression that tells stories, evokes memories, and is unique as the person who wears it.
“People are often surprised that they can afford a higher quality unique piece of jewelry that is not mass produced,” says Traci Rogers, owner and designer at Gem and Jewelry Design and Services in Carbondale.
Rogers, who has worked with personalized jewelry for over 25 years, says every piece is personal, even those that have been passed down from generation to generation.
“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 of whoever gave it to them, ”she explains. “Jewelry is great because it’s so personal and they can look at it every day and have all of those memories again.”
She says one of the perks of her job is making lasting friendships and being a part of the celebrations.
“We have clients that we have built relationships with for so long and they come back time and time again. It’s nice to be a part of their life in a way that a typical retailer wouldn’t. We can celebrate with them special events such as weddings, the birth of children, birthdays, anniversaries and graduation ceremonies. We can be part of their life.
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Rogers says that although people have been wearing jewelry for centuries, the art form is constantly evolving.
“Currently with computer aided design we are able to use stones that are not 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 limits to this.
She adds that the technology allows her to show customers what a part will look like as well as the options during the design process.
“Nine times out of 10 I’m going to polish a design and show it to them and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, I love this! I didn’t even think about it. It gets them into the process and really gives them exactly what they want. It’s a great feeling, ”says Rogers.