Copyright 2001-2015

Jewelry Arts Gallery

John McMartin

I have always been interested in jewelry.

As a kid I cleaned the showcase glass for my parents who opened their jewelry store when I was 4 years old.  I progressed to machine engraving, assembling charm bracelets and other chores. My father instructed me in clock repair at one time but it was not for me.


As I grew into an adult, I worked in a jewelry trade shop environment and began being  mentored by Gene and Glen Meadows both very accomplished jewelers known in the trade. This relationship continued for over 30 years. With interest in gemology came the independent study of Robert Webster's "Gems," GIA courses in diamonds and colored stones, color grading of colored gems with Cap Beasley and membership in the American Gem Society. Some interesting associations included N.V.Malhotra, Giacommo & Albert Sabbagh, Vince Manson, Robert Crowningshield, Janet Zapata, Debra Hiss, John Koivula and Doug Parker.


I pursued a parallel interest and study of  photography with a specialization in gems and jewelry.

My gem knowledge, goldsmithing and photography skills grew together. Photography was very important in the marketing of my jewelry. Outside photo assignments came from various jewelry trade accounts in the USA and in Europe, and South America including, William Schraft, C. A..Kiger Co, Gem Platinum Mfg, Heier Resources and several Design Competition photo shoots were accomplished for the Michigan Jewelers Association.  I have very much enjoyed photographic work given to me by fellow designers in the Michigan Jewelers Association.


I made numerous trips for Giacommo and Albert Sabbagh to Brazil, photographing gem mines and purchasing tourmaline, aqua, and amethyst. Since the gems from Brazil often needed special sized mountings, expertise grew in wax modeling and casting. Other clients needed gem identification or diamond grading and appraising, too.


My most important stage of development was the movement away from the technical and into the artistic use of gems and metal. I spent a great deal of time in New York City in my 30's and looking back it slowed my artistic development.  Everything was buy/sell, sort of a hustle. My time was better spent out in the semi-seclusion of Milford, Michigan making settings that were unlike anything the "city" jewelers were making. I came to love a

soft, organic sense in my designs. These flowy shapes grew from my  wax techniques that were additive with

the "growing" of a shape via a hot tip allowing a building-up of the model.


Creativity comes through the Creator and is evidenced by noticing that items made with this love have a value superior to other jewelry. This unique skill set continues to be useful to clients with a wide range needs.


John's Bio