Jane Tipton, G.G.
What would you do if neither time nor money were an issue?
Such a glamorous question. I asked myself this over twenty years ago, and my answer then, as it is now, was that I would travel the world over and find the most beautiful materials to design and make jewelry. Then, knowing that time and money were very much issues, I continually asked myself, "What can I do with what I have now? I started taking classes. My formal jewelry training has included studies at San Diego State University, Mesa College, Grossmont College, UCSD Craft Center, and even local bead shops - anywhere I could learn more. Really though, my training began before I was even ten-years-old back in Miami where I grew up. My father was an electrician, and he was very liberal with allowing my brother, sister, and I to spend hours with his copper wire and soldering gun making necklaces, rings and bracelets. The copper turned our skin green, but it never stopped us. My mother, a teacher, believed that creativity could be learned. She would provide us with art supplies but no guidelines (other than "do it outside!"). I believe that many things can be learned, but we have to have a natural desire. I look back at that time, and remember how it was the glossy color pages of our Atlas with "Gemstones of the World" that I would always turn to.
My path to jewelry wasn't direct though. At Florida State University, I earned my Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, and spent ten years in that career before I decided to make a change. There's a fabulous expression in Spanish, "Poco a poco se va lejos." "Bit by bit, one can go far," and bit by bit I got one break after another. Neiman Marcus hired me in their Precious Jewels Department (I believe on sheer enthusiasm alone) where I worked for a couple years, and learned so much. In 1999, the Gem and Jewelry Society of San Diego honored me with a full scholarship to attend the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), where I received my "G.G." (graduate gemologist degree). It was after graduation that I decided to start my own business, Jane Tipton Designs. My work was shown at Trios Gallery for many years, and is now available here on-line and at local art shows (please see the "Upcoming Shows
" page). The shows are especially nice, because I always debut new designs. Dave, my sweetheart of twenty years, is my hero during these events. He's learned so much about jewelry himself, and has been an invaluable asset when I want a second design opinion. We made our first international buying trip to Bali in 2006, and came back with literally pounds of gorgeous silver. I'm also blessed with contacts who live or work overseas, so there is a perpetual influx of wonderful pieces of craftsmanship to be integrated into art you can wear.
My story wouldn't be complete without voicing so much gratitude to my clients. After learning how personal my jewelry is to me, and that most of my pieces are one-of-a-kind, people often ask, "How can you sell your work?" I believe jewelry has it's own life. It's always impressed me as sad when I learn of an extraordinary piece of jewelry forever stored in some safety deposit box. No one gets to enjoy it. I have a desire to give these beautiful materials and old amulets from India new life, to see someone's fascination when they learn something new about gemstones, and most especially to know how much joy the right piece of jewelry can bring it's new owner. True, the pieces I make are like my children, but my clients are wonderful parents. Their support allows me to continue creating the jewelry I love so much. Thank you.