Page 8 - IACA Journal Summer 2012

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WHOLESALEPROFILE GERTRUDEZACHARYJEWELRY
SUMMER2012 PAGE7
Inarecentinterview,wel-knownAlbuquerque,
NewMexico,jewelerandIACAmember
GertrudeZacharysaid,“Everythingjuststarted
byaccident.Mywholelifehasbeenthatway.
Thingsjustsortoffalinmylap.”Behindthose
wordsisastoryofluck–butalsoalotofhard
work,innovationandwilingnestotakea
chance.
AnativeofStutgart,Germany,Zachary
cametotheUnitedStateswithherhusband,
amedicaldoctor.Whenthecoupledivorced
shewentbacktoschooltogetateaching
degreeandwhilethere,becameinvolvedin
thejewelrybusinestoearnsomeextra
money.WorkingwithashopkeeperinBernalilo,
ZacharyboughtjewelryfromSantoDomingoand
placeditonconsignmentwithhim,sharingthe
profitwhenitsold.
Shelaterremariedandherhusbandwasinthe
jewelrybusines.Whenthemariageended,
Zacharyfoundherselftheownerofasmaljewelry
manufacturingcompanyconsistingoftwosilver-
smiths,abuferandsometurquoise.
AmericanIndianjewelrywasverydiferentfrom
theclasicAnglo-Europeanstylesmadewith
goldanddiamonds,andZacharyadmitstonot
likingitverymuchatfirst.Then,likemany
othersbeforeandafterher,shewentshopping
withafriendandboughtonepiece–aring.To
gowiththeringsheboughtthematchingbracelet,
thenthenecklace.Thatwasthebeginning
ofalongandenjoyableroadtodesigningand
makingAmericanIndianjewelry.
Duringthe1970s,Zacharywastheonlyfemale
jewelrymanufacturerintheAlbuquerquearea.
AsaEuropeanwomanwithnopriorexperience
inmakingordesigningjewelry,shefacedmany
chalengesandmuchskepticismamongher
peers.
MostAmericanIndianjewelryatthattimewasvery
traditional;Zacharysawtheneedformore
contemporarydesigns.Usinginstinctandherinnate
artisticabilities,shebegantodevelopdesignswhich
incorporatedgemstonesalongwithtraditionalstones.
Inhermanufacturingprocestoday,Zacharyusestop
qualitymaterialssuchashigh-grade,naturalNorth
Americanturquoiseandrarecoralfromthe
Mediteranean.Otherstonesusedmayinclude
amethyst,sapphire,garnet,freshwaterpearls,blue
topazandabaloneaswelmoretraditionalstones
likelapislazuliandjet.Becauseofthequalityand
rarityofsomestones,aparticulardesignmayonly
bemadeafewtimesorsometimesjustonce.
AsZacharysaysonherwebsite,“Iplay
withthestones.Andtheywiltelyou
whattheywanttobe,dependingontheir
colorsandshapes.Theyformthemselves
intotheoveralshape.Thereisnothinglike
sitingdownwithanentiretrayofturquoise
tocompletelycapturetheimagination.”
Zachary’smanufacturingfacilityislocatedindown-
townAlbuquerquewhereAmericanIndiansilver-
smithsworkbyhandtocreatethespectacularpieces
shehasdesigned.Colaborationiskey–Zachary
producesadrawingofherconceptandthesilver-
smithstakeovertofurtherdevelopthedrawingsand
design.
In1991Zacharyopenedamanufacturer’soutlet
caled“GertrudeZacharyJewelry,Etc.”nearthe
historicOldTownDistrictofAlbuquerque,and
in2006sheopenedanotherstoreintheNobHilarea
ofthecity.Shealsohasathirdstore,“Gertrude’s
SecretAntiques,”whichcariesaneclecticcolection
ofantiquesandthelargestselectionofcrystallighting
inthesouthwest.
Localresidentsandvisitorsfromaroundtheworld
visitherstoresandcomebacktimeandtimeagain
forqualityproductsandinnovativedesigns.Zachary
hashadaneye-catchingadvertisingcampaign
formanyyears,includingtheuseoflargebilboards.
GertrudeZacharyhasbeenanIACAmembersince
1997.Shejoinedtheasociationbecause“itwasthe
onlyorganizationthatIknowofthatsupportsthe
Indianjewelrymanufacturingcompaniesandthe
Indiansthatmakethejewelry.”
ByDeeDowersandBrianLush