Local Artisans, Original Jewelry
By Marge Shoemaker
If you love shiny things, you simply must visit Goldsmith Silversmith in Omaha’s Old Market! Dwaine Ferguson’s shop is a visual delight of gleaming gold and silver, glittering stones, and glowing pearls. Jewelry made of these sparkling materials wouldn’t look out of place hanging on a Christmas tree, and it would certainly look lovely on your special someone.
Many of us are in gift shopping mode, and Goldsmith Silversmith is a local place where you’re sure to find something very special. Dwaine and his fellow artisans provide dazzlers at a wide variety of price points to meet a wide variety of needs. Price is determined primarily by the materials that make up the piece. Many items of jewelry at Goldsmith Silversmith are limited-edition works of art or originals.
When you browse the existing pieces at Goldsmith Silversmith, you’ll be amazed by the variety. Rings are dainty or bold, from plain bands to geometric or curvy shapes. You can choose rings with gemstones or without. They can be ornately carved or simple and timeless. With bracelets, you can choose cuffs or bangles in an assortment of colored metals; some are studded with gemstones or pearls. Chain bracelets come in delicate links or heavier pieces.
There are striking necklaces made of delicate chain or heavy, bold links. Artistic pendants come in all sizes and shapes and hang from leather string, ribbon, or delicate chain. They are decorated with gemstones, natural stones, or metal work. You have a choice of earrings, too. Whether you prefer small studs, buttons, hoops, or even chandeliers—you’ll find something you’ll love.
Precious metals used by the artisans at Goldsmith Silversmith include gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. Some metals come in a variety of blends and colors, such as rose, yellow, or white gold. The colors in precious metals and gemstones depend on where they are found and what they might be mixed with.
Dwaine has an extensive knowledge of pearls, which come in a perhaps surprisingly large variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. “Color and shape are determined by the host,” which is not always an oyster, Dwaine notes. It could be any shellfish, including mussels, clams, and abalone. “Pearls vary according to water salinity, temperature, and animal feeding matter.” Some pearls are cultured (man-made) or induced in the host artificially.
Though you are sure to find beauty in the pieces at hand, you may be looking for something more personal. If you have an idea for a custom piece, bring it in and talk to Dwaine. He won’t copy someone else’s piece, but he will look at pictures or drawings that you like and create an original design for you. Dwaine accomplishes his creativity through collections of sketches. “I have notebooks full of sketches,” he says. “It’s the way I think. Ideas for designs can come from nature, fashion, architectural details, doodles…anywhere.”
Perhaps you have an heirloom piece that needs some help. Bring it in! “We do jewelry repair on the premises,” Dwaine says. “We’ll repair or remake the original. If it’s one of ours, we’ll replace it if necessary.”
The creative process for custom jewelry is lengthy and detailed. Dwaine begins with a conversation with you to get to know you and determine what ideas you may have for the finished piece or design. He may create a sketch while chatting with you, or he may need time to get his thoughts on paper for a final presentation of the design. His sketch will includes notes on size, color, and materials.
Once you’ve approved the sketch, he’ll create a wax carving as a mold or mock-up of the piece. You can then examine the physical representation of the final piece for size, fit, and design. Adjustments can be made at this point, before the expensive materials are incorporated. Final approval of the design, as well as decisions on stones, metal, color, fittings, and other details, then merits a final price on your piece.
Dwaine has been at Goldsmith Silversmith for over 50 years. He’s had people come in for a wedding set because they like the set he did for their parents. He’s had customers come in because they admired a piece someone was wearing and asked where they got it. He and his fellow artisans take great pride in their work. You’ll be getting an original piece of art!
Goldsmith Silversmith is located at 1019 Howard Street, in Omaha’s Old Market area. You can see a sampling of their designs at goldsmithsilversmith.com. Call 402-342-1737 for an appointment or stroll past for some window shopping. If you visit, don’t let the cat out!
Dwaine Ferguson, Owner/Artisan