Ellsworth jewelers make new memories with melt to mold technique

Published: Nov. 7, 2019 at 8:21 AM EST
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Jewelry can be an intimate connection between well as a painful reminder of them.

Bringing new purpose to that piece of the past is the goal of Striking Gold Jewelers in Ellsworth.

Joy Hollowell show us how their handiwork is also a step back in history.


"The most important thing about what we do is, we actually physically melt our metals. That allows us to make anything and everything we want," says Leesa Farnsworth, co-owner of Striking Gold Jewelers in Ellsworth.

Leesa and Peter Farnsworth have close to 80 years of jewelry experience between the two of them. In fact, they met when Leesa sold Peter jewelry parts. At that time, she worked for the only women-owned parts company in the country.

"For about five or seven years on the phone," Leesa says, smiling. "And then we met and that was it, it was love at first sight, done deal."

The couple opened Striking Gold Jewelers in Ellsworth 15 years ago. The trademark lightening bolt has been with Peter for decades and represents strength, endurance and illumination in Greek mythology.

Leesa and Peter pride themselves on being able to create out of the box pieces.

"We hand built a blueberry rake pendant," says Leesa. "It is still the cat's meow. It had different colored, unheated sapphires in it, and so there were all the fruits, because of course, all blueberries are not blue."

Peter engraved barnacles on one pearl ring, created a squid wrapped band for another.

"If we can get inside your head, we can built you anything you want," Leesa says with a smile.

She shows off a clay prototype that recently came in from a customer designing an engagement ring.

"It's going to be an octopus," she says, pointing out the tentacles and arms that will encase the gem.

Sadness surrounds some of the jewelry that comes in, whether it's from a loved one who has passed or someone whose gone through a divorce and is trying to move forward.

"If this is somebody's jewelry, we're going to take those moments and we're going to collectively melt them and we're going to get some new memories for them," says Peter Farnsworth.

Sometimes customers have their own ideas for the new adornments. Other times, they look to peter and leesa for inspiration.

I love this," says Peter, "the emotion that we get to create, not in what we're doing but in what we complete,

"If you get tears, if Peters gets tears, customers apologize, it is the greatest compliment we can receive, truly," adds Leesa.

The hand fabrication techniques used by Peter and Leesa date back to kings and queens. It's just one of the ways ithese pieces are so unique. But it's their purpose or really, re-purpose that makes the Farnsworths most proud to call themselves jewelers.

"To be able to take that material, and hand it back to them in some other form that they will cherish," says Leesa. "I think every one of those melts is so some degree what I am most passionate about."


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