Custom Confidential: Beginnings

I didn’t know it at the time but Custom Confidential was born on a hot summer day, long ago…

Maybe I was a little drunk. I had been fabricating silver jewelry for a few years and decided to try my hand at fabrication in 14K gold.  Saving up, I finally had enough money to buy 6 inches of gold wire.   Using my best garnet, and putting extra effort into making it perfect, I made one of my more standard designs.  This design seemed to always sell fast when I made it in silver and I wasn’t willing to risk coming up with a new design with such precious materials. When I put it on display at the Eugene Saturday Market my entire sales effort of that time, I priced it exactly like I would have had it been silver, adding just enough more to cover that more expensive metal.  I think the price came to something like $60 while the same ring in Sterling would have been maybe $25.

Take The Money…Eventually

Customer after customer admired the ring, complimenting my abilities, the design, the gem.  They loved it.  And when I told them the price they handed it back and walked away.  The supply of beer I was working on during that day dwindled. I got more and more frustrated at the response I was receiving from that shiny new gold ring.  If they loved it, why didn’t they buy it?  The price was certainly fair. Finally, near the end of the day and the end of the 6-pack, as the same scene repeated itself right up to the asking of the price, I unceremoniously blurted out “$300.”  I was sure they weren’t going to buy it anyway so why not, right?  I was stunned nearly sober when the guy pulled out 3 crisp $100 dollar bills and handed them to me, thanked me profusely for such a nice ring.   He walked away with it while showing it to his friends.

I was on to something!

And now…Custom Confidential.  With somewhat insincere apologies to Anthony Bourdain, (who wrote the best-selling “Kitchen Confidential”) I embark upon the project of written elaboration.  I will write about the indescribably delicious moments, the insights, the elations and disappointments…the stories of over 40 years of Custom Jewelry Design.

Hand Carving a Custom Design. This will be one of the Custom Confidential stories.

Hand carving one of my most popular designs. I’ve sold my Janus Pendant and Charm worldwide.


2 thoughts on “Custom Confidential: Beginnings”

  1. I am excited for you Gary…and for those of us who get a glimpse into that creative brain of yours! As a lover of prose, poetry and simply the written word…well written I know I won’t be disappointed! And you will be much needed inspiration and courage for me …a book waiting to be born lives within my own heart!
    Can’t wait!! S

    1. Thank you for your generous comment, Shirley! One of the many things we share is a very unique upbringing in rural Oregon. Riddle of that era was a bubble of intellectual possibility with school district tax revenues from both logging and Hannah. And the engineers that ran Hannah wanted a good education for their kids so they poached good teachers from all over the country. We flat got lucky in that regard. Knowing that you want to write more may I respectfully suggest that you just do it? You are one of the most capable people I know! My instructor in a Stanford creative writing class imposed a rule, write every day for 5 minutes. Seems silly,right? 5 Minutes? But try it…magical.

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