Isabel Rucker : Isabel Jewelry

I have a deep love for the natural world and my artwork is directly connected and inspired by this. Recently I have been reshaping my jewelry business and making a collection of jewelry that primarily uses regional stones with a minimal use of metal. After 25 years of metalsmithing I had a desire to shake up my materials and experience a creative renewal. I am fascinated with gems, rocks, and minerals and have begun to source these regionally from miners or find them myself. I have also taught myself lapidary skills so that I can cut and polish these stones. Like the food world’s locavore trends and indie clothing designers’ slow fashion, it is a similar awareness of consuming what is around me or considering its origin that I am bringing to my jewelry materials.

From 2010-2016 I owned a retail store and gallery where I was able to connect with my customers on a very personal basis and I saw the happy effects of art and jewelry in their lives. My customers also showed a constant interest in purchasing custom jewelry, meaningful gems, and knowing the interesting stories and they have helped guide my craftperson's path.

The main stones I am now cutting are from Wyoming and the surrounding states. I currently live in the mountains of Wyoming so I have been exploring the state’s beautiful nephrite jade. Much of this jade is patterned with inclusions of other minerals and veins of greens. I purchase chunks with these wild characteristics because I love the natural patterns. Also I have found quartz, quartzite, petrified wood, agate, and chalcedony while hiking in the wilderness.

The American West has many small turquoise mines with wide varieties and I have met the miners at gem shows or at their mines and I have brought this gorgeous turquoise from Nevada and Arizona to my customers. Besides known gemstones like jade or turquoise, I also enjoy picking up beautiful and simple rocks on the Pacific coast beaches or while traveling in other natural places. If it’s beautiful, it has value and potential in my work no matter its rarity.

I sometimes purchase stones far beyond my region simply because they’re pretty but I really like to know the landscape of origin because this usually tells human, environmental, and geological histories. I realized I was missing stories by not knowing a gem’s provenance and I aim to answer some of those questions that arise with my jewelry materials.

Alongside my jewelry work I also paint and sculpt. I have been working to relate all of my disciplines into one large conversing body of work. To see this work, please visit: www.isabelrucker.com.

About the recycled metals: Whenever possible I use recycled precious metals that I purchase from a mill that specializes in this. I also melt down and reuse unwanted jewelry.

Custom Work and Repairs: I am currently taking a break on custom orders while I focus on designing new jewelry. I will repair any jewelry that I have made, it is guaranteed for life. I no longer repair jewelry that I have not made.

Isabel Jewelry Store & Gallery: I owned a bricks and mortar store from 2010-2016. While I loved having the experience it became too time consuming to continue. An especially fun aspect of that project were the gallery walls where I showed over 30 contemporary Wyoming artists, they are awesome and you should check out their websites here: Pinedale Art Gallery.

Social Networking: I am on Instagram (@isabeljewelry), Facebook (Isabel Jewelry), Pinterest (isabeljewelry). There you can find photos of my workshop, artwork in progress, my outdoor life, and event announcements.

My Artwork Website: www.isabelrucker.com.