Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Andrea Schilling, a love for gemstones and an eye for fine jewelry

Pictured (l to r) are some examples of Andrea Schilling’s lovely jewelry. First is a necklace and earring set made of cherry quartz, carved wood beads and crystal accents. Next is a necklace of South American topaz and azurite. Second from the right is a necklace made of Swarovsky crystals and Picasso jasper and a silvertone owl. On the far right is a necklace of blue turquoise and howlite turquoise in pink tones. Visit our website to see these creations in full color: www.clearwatertribune.com

By Alannah Allbrett

Andrea Schilling of Orofino has a passion for beautiful gem stones like turquoise, lapis lazuli, and crystals. She breaks out smiling when she talks about her favorite gem stone moss agate. And now her passion for lovely gem stones will develop into a business shortly.

Andrea comes from the city of Cochabamba, in central Bolivia, a city of more than a million people. Andrea worked for a company there which made sweaters out of alpaca wool (one of their customers was Bill Cosby). The company was interested in using long distance telephone service via Skype on their computers, and Andrea was asked to test that program. She didn’t want to practice on her actual customers, so she went online and ran into her future husband Les Schilling. They met online, became friends, and later were married. Andrea came to this country eleven years ago and became a “proud U.S. citizen” in 2007 because she wanted to be able to vote in the presidential election.

Andrea said she became interested in making her own jewelry after her husband, Les Schilling, gave her a used starter tool kit purchased from eBay. It was filled with lots of different kinds of pliers for making jewelry. She was also inspired by two other people Kathy McIntosh and Sissy Morris. “They have been wonderful encouragement for me” said Andrea.

Andrea became adept at fashioning beautiful jewelry pieces, which she made as gifts. Friends started asking her to make jewelry for them, and friends of her husband wanted it for their wives.

Andrea and Les like to visit Laughlin, NV and While there, they have noticed a wide range of jewelry for sale. Andrea said when one walks into the main lobby of the casino in Laughlin, right away they notice inexpensive jewelry made in China. In another spot in the building, one can find expensive jewelry using real silver or gold clasps. The wide range in price between the cheap jewelry and the fine jewelry became apparent, and Andrea decided there was a definite need for something in between – fin, handmade jewelry that wasn’t exorbitant in price but still of good quality.

On their last trip to Laughlin, the Schillings found a store they loved called Garden Critters. The owner of that store uses welded metal, wrapped around river rock to create unusual art pieces and garden ornaments. Those pieces inspired Andrea to get ready to start her own business and furnish Crazy Critters with her own creations. When she gets her website going, she will be up and running. For information on Andrea’s creations call: 476-0249.

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