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Rich and Rare Were the Gems


Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

Rich and rare were the gems she wore,
and a bright gold ring on her hand she bore.
~ Thomas Moore

Gracefully elegant prose penned by Irish author Thomas Moore. His lilting lines reveal in spirit the archetypal psychology and mythology found in local jewelry designer Suzanne Brown’s one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. Her sophisticated design and skilled craftsmanship stand the test of time, rooted in the organic flow of natural metals and stones with nature’s spontaneous spirit as inspiration.

Suzanne was not always a jewelry artist; her creativity took root and began to grow as a young girl growing up in Kansas. She reflects, “My grandmother was a wonderful seamstress who made exquisite clothing for my dolls. I spent hours at her side doing a variety of needle work while developing a keen eye for quality fabrics, compatible colors, and paying attention to the smallest details of design.” By the time Suzanne was ready to make the leap into the world of master quilters, she had her foundations in design firmly set. Suzanne went on to become a master quilter, winning significant awards, both locally and nationally. Her finely crafted quilts have appeared in a number of books and magazines, as well as traveled the United States and Japan as part of fine art quilting exhibitions.

The course of her design path would take an unexpected turn when Suzanne and her husband and family moved to Arizona. She became enamored with the vast array of gems and stones she encountered in the southwest; their diversity in color, shape, and texture appealed to Suzanne’s keen design sense. While attending the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, she was enchanted by the endless variety of stones, each as individual as the stars in the dark night skies. This was the moment her creative journey shifted into a vast mysterious new world. Suzanne decided to turn her creative energy to becoming a fine art jewelry designer.

In 2007, she set out on her educational path to master as much as she could in the arena of metalworking and setting gems and stones. She studied with jewelry design masters April Bower, Cynthia Eid, Susan Katzmer, Carl Stanley, Michael David Sturlin, and Carol Webb.  All brought their own expertise and unique style to the table for Suzanne to digest and transform her own work. She describes her design vision as, “Focused on setting natural organic shaped stones into the clean lines of sheet metal of gold, silver, copper, brass, and cold rolled steel, many times combining various elements for the desired result.” Suzanne goes on to credit her close friend and mentor James Corrigan, a master jewelry artisan, who also owned a jewelry retail store in Chicago, for guiding her and fine tuning her process.

In summary, Suzanne Brown shares, “Through the expertise, experience and encouragement from mentors and my own innate love of creating, as well as perseverance and dedication to detail, I have matured into an established creator of hand made fine art jewelry and an effective businessperson.” Suzanne adds, “I incorporate my signature skill in crafting intentionally mismatched designs, each stone and setting, in a set, are comparatively different, yet complement one another.”

Thomas Moore went on to pen, “The change takes place in the imagination.” Take your imagination on a journey of possibilities viewing Suzanne Brown’s web site at Also, visit Suzanne and her timelessly elegant, earth’s gif, original pieces in Booth #245, at Celebration of Fine Art, located, under the large, white tent, on Hayden Road just south of the 101. Celebration is open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m., now through March 26, 2017.

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at