Brothers Bill & Tom Weidinger making jewelry in the 1970's
So many tiny tools!!
Bill Weidinger digging for sapphires in Montana
Bill Weidinger on a gemstone buying trip in Thailand circa 1990
Creating jewelry and working with gemstones has always been intriguing. As an elementary school student in the mid 1950’s I began the lengthy process of teaching myself to make jewelry. Early on, my father showed remarkable patience when his woodworking tools were damaged in the process. Persistence in learning to make jewelry continued through my years in public school. I developed a goal: to make a gold ring. When a high school art teacher (the first person I met who had actually made a gold ring) told me to forget it because special tools were required, my enthrallment was complete. I’ve never looked back without smiling.
While working on my degree in Art Education at The Ohio State University in 1969 I began to derive an income from making jewelry in the Student Union Craft Shop. At first I made brass belt buckles. Then began the production of sterling rings, pendants and earrings. Working with gold followed soon after that. Early sales were to friends and boutique shops around campus. Later I sold my work to retail shops in Columbus, upstate New York, Washington DC, and Coconut Grove, Florida. A sparkling memory from those early years is of being asked, for the first time, by close friends, if I could make wedding bands for them.
In 1970, I required access to more advanced jewelry making equipment. My solution was to boldly walk into the OSU metalworking lab in Hopkins Hall and just start working, as if I belonged there. Professor Duncan had every right to simply eject me. Instead, he instructed me regarding proper polishing procedures. He didn’t want his buffing machine to be cross-contaminated. Soon after that day, he invited me to begin a series of independent studies in jewelry making under his supervision. While I taught myself the benchworking skills and how to
go about selling my work, Don Duncan illuminated the path for me by revealing numerous ways to think about the designing and making of jewelry. I was very fortunate in this regard. Only later did I come to appreciate that these valuable lessons had come, via Don’s Professor in Washington State, from the Danish metalsmiths who taught jewelry design at Rochester Institute of Technology in the 1950’s.
Shortly after graduation, I established my jewelry gallery and workshop on North High Street across from the University. My intent was to design and create fine quality jewelry, one piece at a time, for individuals from my own community and those that surround it. Concepts including connected and authentic were, and continue to be highly valued. This combination of good luck, and willful behavior has carried the business forward nearly half a century. Today we still make all of the jewelry we sell, except for pendant chains.
Initially my interest was concentrated on developing metal working and gemological skills as well as a strong personal sense of aesthetic. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that people employ me to create objects used to represent the most beautiful and significant events in their lives. Understanding this important role of creating symbols for individuals makes it easy for me to share the true joy of jewelry. Providing ample information combined with lots of hands-on experience for my clients is very important to me. The client who understands the criteria and makes an informed decision based on knowledge is likely to be more comfortable and happy.
Extensive experience and contacts in the diamond and colored stone marketplace allow me to source the most beautiful gemstones on Earth for you. I passionately love gemstones, as does my wife Annabel, and son Andy, both GIA Graduate Gemologists. Together we curate an impressive collection of fine gemstones collected over the decades. Sharing these gemstones and our knowledge of them with you is a true delight.
My simple and comfortable style is recognizable. People often say that a stranger noticed their jewelry and remarked “That’s a Weidinger piece”. In this world of mass production and marketing, I offer a unique experience.
Please feel welcome to visit my workshop and gallery soon.