Introducing - Cortney Frantz

Hi there! I was a member of Orchid for several years, but have been
on a “vacation” from jewelry making for about three years. What
caused me to go back? Last spring, all of my jewelry making
supplies, as well as all of my finished pieces and stones (both
rough and finished) were among the take. I was heartbroken, and
vowed that when I could, I’d start up again.

Last time I was on this list, I was a college student and lived in
Pittsburgh. Since then I’ve finished college, worked for two years
in the tech field as a consultant for a healthcare software company
in Kansas City, MO, and well, now I’m married. Two and a half months
ago we moved from Kansas City to Menlo Park, CA, close to where my
husband is originally from. He’s got a fabulous job, but I quit mine
to move out here and am consequently unemployed. What better time to
get back to my jewelry making? I spent the summer starting my
collection of stones again (largely purchased from Will Cox, but
several from other places including the Kansas City Gem Show), and
have acquired many which have been telling me to share them with the
world. My favorite stones are ones that you will not find in the
Tiffany’s, Zales, Kay, etc of the world. Fun chrysacollas, agates,
opals (boulder, candy stripe, jelly, etc), chalcedonies, jaspers,
sunstones, dino bone…these are my color palette. I prefer designer
cuts, and also have grand hopes (delusions?) of carving some of the
rough I have here (opal, apatite, sunstone, amethyst, ametrine, dino

I plan on doing just that, and am just waiting for the supplies I
needed to replace to arrive from Rio Grande. I create original lost
wax designs for casting (exclusively silver for now; hope to change
that some day) only for now, sending my waxes out to get cast, but
finishing and setting stones myself. My designs tend to be either
abstract or dealing with figures of mythologic or Celtic origin.
They inevitably are designed around a specific stone and designed to
show off that stone, often with a side stone to contrast or
emphasize a subtle color in the central stone. If anyone has
recommendations on any companies close to me that do casting and are
OK with individual pieces, preferably with reasonable prices, please
let me know. I had a fabulous one in Pittsburgh, but would prefer
not to mail my waxes across the country in fear of them melting and
morphing on the way.

Now that I’m close to Revere Academy (which I’ve been eagerly eyeing
for several years), I think it’s time for me to actually go and take
a class or two, considering that I’m unemployed. My hopes include
selling my work through several venues, including on my webpage,
possible consignment, and hopefully art fairs (with the possibility
of sharing a booth with my father in law who does fabulous nature

One of the things which I’d like to work on soon is creating a
maker’s mark for myself. I actually have a design in mind, but am
not quite sure of how to go about registering it, and how much
detail I need to take out for it. Hopefully I can figure something
out about this sooner rather than later so that I can get a stamp
created with my mark to put onto my pieces.

Hopefully I’ll get some of the designs I have on paper translated
into wax and then silver soon so that I can share with others. I
look forward to getting a chance to renew old acquaintances and
forging new ones, and know that I will learn a lot by being here.
Hopefully I can share a bit of my own knowledge to help others in

Thanks for reading!
-Cortney Frantz (was Mayle, in case anyone remembers me)

. If anyone has recommendations on any companies close to me that
do casting and are OK with individual pieces, preferably with
reasonable prices, please let me know. 

Cortney, You might want to contact Gabe Sider of Sierra Pacific
Casting in Oakland (292 4th St, Oakland, CA 94607-4332, ph.
510-444-0550, email:, They are pretty close to the Otto
Frei Oakland store near Jack London Square. Gabe can take care of
single castings or production castings. Call him and make an
appointment to visit his factory.

Donna Shimazu


Here is a link to the on registering a maker’s mark.

Unfortunately it is a slow process. I applied last May and just
received a letter that “my mark appears to be unique”. It will be
published and if no one objects it will be registered in several


John Fetvedt