Marty Schaerer is a rock star, just not a musical one.
Schaerer, a jeweler, juried into TAMARACK: The Best of West Virginia retail showcase in 1997, the year after its opening, and has been selling her one-of-a-kind creations there ever since.
“Rocks have opened up my world,” Schaerer said.
Schaerer crafts a wide variety of original jewelry including items such as necklaces, pendants, rings, tie clips and tuxedo studs. Each piece is as vibrant and unique as Schaerer herself.
Schaerer traces her love of stones and gems back to earlier days when she and her grandmother would search for rocks in Michigan. Their favorite find was the Petoskey fossilized coral, a stone made from coral reef fragments originally deposited during the Devonian period. Schaerer became enamored with the stone and continued to search for it when she moved to Florida.
After a brief teaching stint, Schaerer relocated and eventually made West Virginia her home. It is here that she discovered the state gemstone, the Lithostrotionella, which is silicified Mississippian fossilized coral.
“My world is all about coral,” Schaerer said. “I am totally inspired by whatever the earth can provide me. I’ve travelled all over the world looking for rocks. Every rock I pick up isn’t usable material. I have to go by trial and error to see if it will work.”
Creating a piece involves an extensive 12-step process. Schaerer pursues the rocks herself, testing each stone to see if they are strong, usable material. If a specific rock passes her test, she then slices, grinds, sands and polishes the material. The final product results in a beautiful work of art, ready to be shared and cherished by the public.
Tamarack provides Schaerer with a cultivating environment accommodating of her business, but most importantly, her passion.
“Tamarack has been incredibly supportive and encouraging. I’ve enjoyed being part of Tamarack’s family. It has given me the opportunity to educate the public on rocks and on our state gemstone. It broadens my audience,” Schaerer said.
In addition to providing a business atmosphere, Tamarack has opened doors for Schaerer to continue teaching. She has taken on apprentices, mentoring nearly two-dozen throughout her career, some of which have been coordinated through Tamarack’s mentorship program.
“It has been a pleasure for me to be a mentor for jewelers who are learning and to teach them what I love. We have a nice reciprocal community at Tamarack,” Schaerer said.To learn more about Schaerer and her work, visit www.wvgems.com or stop in to check out her selection at Tamarack.