At Terri’s Treasures I offer unique, affordable,handcrafted gemstone jewelry. I saw, cut, and polish the stones myself, and then wrap sterling silver, or 14ktgf wire around them; so each piece is completely handcrafted, and truly a “one-of-a-kind”.
In addition to gemstones, I also incorporate a wide variety of materials in my pieces, such as; fossils, teeth, claws, coins, carvings, meteorites, crystals,arrowheads, and more! With a large selection of materials, and a broad price range; there is sure to be a treasure for everyone!
Click on an arrow below to expand.
Terri's Interest in Lapidary
When I was eight years old, and in third grade, my science teacher was very strict, and I didn’t enjoy the class very much. So, when we started a chapter on rocks and minerals, my fascination was obvious to the teacher. I was listening, interacting, asking questions. She made surprised remarks on my report card like; “Terri really enjoyed the unit on rocks and minerals!”
One of my classmates had a grandfather that lived next door to her in town, and he was a rockhound. The class took a small field trip to his shed/workshop. Inside he had stones from all over the world! He told us all about his collection. Then he explained how he polished some of his rocks with the “tumble-polish” method. When we left, he let each of us choose a tumble polished stone to keep! I still have mine. That was it, I was hooked!
I went home and told my parents “I want to tumble rocks”. I was lucky they saw how enthused and excited I was, and they encouraged it. My Dad made me a deal; I could “earn” $5 for every “A” I got on my report cards, and I could spend it on rocks! From then on, I got straight “A”s, which meant $30, that’s a lot of money when you’re eight years old. My Dad found a rock shop in Westport called Gems and Geodes, with my first $30 I bought my very first (of many) professional grade 2 barrel Lortone tumbler for $29.99. I was so excited! Dad also got some rock catalogs, so with each report card I could choose to purchase rough stone by the pound, from the catalogs that we could polish, or I would go to the rock shop and buy new specimen pieces to add to my growing collection.
He also built us an entire workshop in the basement! We had the tumblers on one table, and he built a workbench the length of one wall. There were shelves above it to display my collection, and Dad took the tops of peanut butter jars and screwed them to the bottom of the shelves. We would put the finished, polished stones in the jars, and they would “hang” in plain sight.
Dad had to crush most of the rough stone with a hammer to be the right size for my tumbler barrels, I was only strong enough to do the softer materials. He taught me how to carefully measure out the right combination of silicone carbide abrasive grit and water to the amount of stone in the barrels. He showed me how to wash and seal the barrels, how to patiently check their progress through each step of the process, and what to do to lessen the noise of the tumblers. We spent many years in that basement , at Cisero and Deignan’s Rock Shop! They were the best times I spent with my Dad.
I got older, and moved out of my parents home, so I packed up my workshop and stored most of it in the basement. I still displayed my collection, and stayed interested, but stopped actively tumbling. I started a family, and had a job; life was good, but something was missing. Shortly after my second child was born, I really felt like I needed something for me. A conversation with a neighbor about her new agate slice wind chime brought it all back, and I realized what I was missing.
Now, just a little background; my Dad did not have a materialistic bone in his body. He didn’t really get attached to “things”. He believed if you didn’t use it for a week, it could be given away or thrown out- so naturally we were all always finding our things “missing”. So when I went back to my parents’ house and told them I wanted to start tumbling again, I thought maybe they still remembered the address of the rock shop, or did they know where to get those catalogs again? Dad took me and my mother down into the basement, and moved some things to get to a box. When he pulled both my old tumblers out of that box my mom and I had tears in our eyes. Dad looked at me and said “I knew you’d be back for these, you have rocks in your blood”. I still can’t find the words to tell anyone what that moment meant to me. The guy that NEVER held onto anything! There was nothing he could have ever done or said that would have showed me how much he cared more than that jester did.
It’s difficult to explain why we are drawn to certain things. Why these hobbies, or passions make us feel so happy inside. It could be the beauty of the gemstones, or the fact that they are a part of nature; something so incredible created in the earth, in the dirt! Nature is amazing. I am not sure why I feel like a child at Christmas, or a kid in a candy store every time I go to a gem show or rock shop. I can’t really explain to you why I have always felt such a strong connection to crystals and gemstones. But what I do know is that I am truly grateful to have something I am so passionate about, and so happy that I get to share that passion with you!
Terri's Unique Methods
I hand-craft all my jewelry myself, using only hand tools and high quality silver and gold wire, but that’s not all! I am also a “Lapidarist”, or stone cutter, which means I saw, cut, and polish all the gems in my jewelry as well. I have been collecting and polishing gemstones since I was eight years old. Of the many different ways to cut stones, there are two techniques that I practice.
The first is a process called “Tumbling”. This is almost exactly like what the ocean does to the beach stones. You must first crush large stones down to a reasonable size, usually one inch chunks are adequate. These rocks are put into a rubber tumbling barrel. I will then add an abrasive called silicone carbide, that will grind and smooth the jagged edges of the stones, (much like the sand and silt in the ocean) and the final ingredient is water. The exact measurements of all the components will depend on the size of your tumbling barrel. Now the barrel is placed on rods that a motor will rotate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for months. I open the barrels and check the progress once a week. The system I follow is a four step process, in which the grit starts out very coarse, and ends very fine, after all that you can clean them and add a polish for the final step.
The second technique that I use is called “Cabbing”, or cutting cabochons. These are gems that are individually hand-cut and polished, but not faceted. A rough “chunk”, or block of stone is put into a slab saw; where it will be cut like a loaf of bread. Then each slab is brought to a trim saw. On this machine I will cut out shapes from the slab by hand. All my saw blades are diamond and stay lubricated with oil or water. The next steps involve a cabbing machine; this machine consists of a series of diamond impregnated grinding wheels, starting with a very coarse wheel, and getting successfully finer as you go, the last being a pre-polish. Throughout the entire process, water is needed as a lubricant, it is usually sprayed upon, or drips onto the wheel. The last step is to polish; I choose a leather polishing pad and a variety of polishes.
I wire-wrap the gems by hand to create “one-of-a-kind” pieces of jewelry. I also sell the cabs to other jewelers. I travel to different shows, fairs, and events displaying and selling my wares. I also do corporate vending, home parties, special orders, custom pieces, and private appointments. My pieces are sold at various shops and boutiques also. I love to cut all types of precious and semiprecious stones, including the popular gems such as amethyst, turquoise, lapis, jaspers, malachite, agates, as well as some of the more obscure and rare gems; like hemmimorphite, sugilite, moldavite, cobalto calcite, ect. Besides stones I utilize an extensive variety of different materials including crystals, birthstones, fossils, meteorites, arrowheads, teeth, claws, carvings, coins, and more! With such a diverse variety of unusual materials, I hope to help you find that treasure for yourself, or someone special!
In the Media
Terri's work has been found in myriad publications around the country.To schedule an interview with her for your publication, email her and she's get back with you
Read about Terri on Artists & Artisans in Paradise
Terri’s Treasures offers unique, affordable, handcrafted gemstone jewelry. From concept to completion, Terri does all the work herself; eliminating the high cost of “middlemen”. She designs the piece, saws, cuts, and polishes the stone, and finally, hand-works the sterling silver or gold wire until a finished piece is created.
Indulge yourself in that “one-of-a-kind” piece. And meet Terri who can honestly say, “I bust stones for a living.”
A Plethora of Services
Here are some of the other services I provide. Contact me anytime for approximate costs and details.
►Because I am a lapidarist, I sell cabochons to other jewelers.
►I also cut cabochons for others; from your material, or mine.
►I do custom pieces and special orders.
►Often people bring me their stones to be wire wrapped into pendants.
►I also have gift certificates available.
Let me come to you! This is a great way to earn the piece you’ve been wanting, or get some free gifts for the holidays! I offer great incentives and a flexible schedule, and no long-winded “recruiting” speeches, or hard core sales pitches. Shop from home comfortably with friends! Contact me to find out the current incentives.
Events & Venues
Terri exhibits her work at various Arts and Craft Shows around the country.
Some of them include:
The Niantic Arts and Crafts Fair
Wilton Historical Society American Fine Arts and Crafts
Old Saybrook Fine Arts and Crafts Show
Glastonbury Fine Arts and Crafts
To find out where Terri's Treasure's will be next, check out her Events Page.
Terri's Treasures Videos
Visit Terri's YouTube page to learn more about her styles and methods.