From teacher to jeweler: the making of an artist

Submitted a year ago

Born in Cleveland, Paul Gross grew up in Benningon and St. Albans, Vermont. After spending his high school senior year back in Cleveland, Paul came to Dartmouth College because he missed New England and its mountains for hunting and skiing. At Dartmouth, he spent most of his free time learning jewelry and silversmithing techniques with Erling Heistad at the Hopkins Center student jewelry workshop.

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For two years after college, he taught 2nd grade in Lebanon, N.H., trying to decide between an advanced degree in psychology and work in jewelry.

Friends enticed him to move to Chicago. Once there, he made a collection of jewelry and took it to The Goldsmith, Ltd., an upscale jewelry store in the Near North Side Water Tower Place. The owner bought Paul’s whole collection and hired him as a goldsmith. The great benefit of that job was learning how to create jewelry in a professional and economical way by working with people who could produce high quality jewelry efficiently.

After a year in Chicago, Paul was called back to Dartmouth to teach jewelry at Hopkins Center, while Erling Heistad set up the new Dartmouth pottery workshop.

In the next year, 1977, Paul taught half-time at Hopkins Center and opened a jewelry studio in Hanover with another aspiring goldsmith, Diane Egbert. They started minimally with combined assets of $1400 in equipment and cash. For seven years, they worked together under the name Electrum (a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver), and they created jewelry which they sold to galleries and jewelry stores at national craft fairs.

Diane moved to the Southwest in 1984 taking the name Electrum with her. Thus the name Designer Gold was born. By this time, Paul’s business had shifted from selling through galleries to focusing mainly on commissions for individual customers.

Paul and Peggy Sadler were married in 1981. At that time, Peggy was freelance writing, but by 1986, she returned to high school English teaching. Interests which they share include sculling, cross country skiing, hiking, and reading. In addition, Paul enjoys hunting, fishing, and woodworking.

In 1990, Paul moved his studio to the Hanover Park building. He expanded his business to include two other goldsmiths and a gallery of other designers’ jewelry. 

In 2004, having retired from teaching, Peggy joined Designer Gold, first as worker and then as business manager which she continues to do today. Paul and Peggy live in Thetford, Vermont, with their Brittany, Luke.

Paul strives for timeless, wearable jewelry. His love of gemstones, especially unusual ones, is evident in the way he integrates them into his jewelry.


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