Jean Sumrall: I grew up in a rock hounding family. Every vacation was spent collecting rocks in the western United States. My mother was the main force behind this as she loved rocks and created beautiful jewelry from them. As I grew older, my interest in making jewelry led me to learn from her. I am a third-generation jeweler. My maternal grandmother also collected rocks and made jewelry.
I learned to make cabochons from my mom as she had all the equipment needed to process the rocks: rock saws, grinding machines, polishers, etc. She was a perfectionist and could see a finished piece before she started making it. I am much the same way. When I wire wrap a cabochon, I study it to figure out the best way to show off the stone. I sketch my design and then create it.
I also carve soft stone, mainly alabaster and soapstone. I love Native American fetishes and wanted to create my own. I collected soapstone from a site in Northern California and carved my first piece with a pocketknife. This led to further study and more carving. It was the rock itself that would teach me the most. One thing about carving, you never know exactly what the piece will turn out to look like as the color variation changes as you carve through the stone.
My mother’s love of crystals was shared with me as we dug for them in various locations. Each crystal has its own energy and is beautiful. Even the imperfect ones are filled with energy and useful for healing and meditation.
My highly creative nature fuels my desire to make items of beauty and to share the energy of rocks with others. I enjoy infecting others with my passion for rocks here.