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PLEASE make sure you have a will or living trust of some sort in

Last May I asked Orchid for advice on how to help my 89 year old
father sell off some of his large collection of rough stones, amassed
over 30+ years as a hobby lapidarist. I presented dad with your
suggestions, and he decided “not to do it right now”. He never really
gave much concern to the fact that he was mortal.

Well, dad died rather suddenly in September, without any sort of
will or living trust. Now we get to experience the joys of going
through probate on his house. Fortunately we know that there’s nobody
who can legally contest it, but it’s still a huge hassle, and it is
bringing a lot of creeps out of the woodwork who are trying to
collect on debts for deadbeats whose names are similar to dad’s.

As far as the rough stones…now I’ve got half a ton of rocks, some
of which I can’t even identify, and a whole bench full of lapidary
equipment. Dad taught me to cut cabs a long time ago, but I haven’t
tried it in about 20 years. Before I make any decisions on dispersing
the stuff I plan to give it another shot and see if I can figure it
out without breaking anything (does anybody in the Detroit area give
lapidary lessons?).

But if I choose not to keep the equipment, I will have to decide
what to do with it. It would have been greatly helpful if dad had
given me a clue where he wanted the stuff to go (and even more
helpful if he’d written down some basic instructions and ID’d the

Don’t do this to your family. We are ‘lucky’ that someone in the
family has some interest in making jewelry. This would have been much
harder if none of us had any idea what that stuff was. Don’t leave
your family in that position. And don’t disrespect your own legacy of
jewelry making by leaving unidentified items to be thrown out, sold
at a garage sale, or dumped into someone’s rock garden. Start a
notebook and at least record the basics of what you do with all that
"stuff" you own, identify all the major equipment, and label
everything. And get your will or living trust done NOW.

Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Pet Motif Jewelry
in memory of Ken Buckner "The belt buckle guy"
6/11/15 - 9/21/04


When you think of gemstones cut in Germany, watches made in
Switzerland, or gold made in Italy what do you think of?
Craftmanship, quality, and innovation are a few of the things that
come to mind. Looking at these three examples you find something
much more indepth. You find a mind set that training will be to the
highest standards, production will have standards of excellence,
marketing will be strictly controlled, and people within the trade
will always have a way to make a living as long as they operate
within the rules. Business is a part of the culture. Rules change as
the cultures mature, but whatever change occurs benefits most of the
industry. Yes, there are mistakes made in not changing quick enough
or takling a gamble on a new innovation. The upside of the culture
surviving and growing far outweighs the downside of the mistakes.
Cradle to grave a person grows in the culture of the business
learning the basic knowledge and skills before being allowed to
venture into the production and innovation of the necessary quality
to compete in a world wide market.

Cradle to grave means to me training in stones and metals as well
all the other training necessary between the ages of 5 to 25 to turn
out a person with skills. Skills necessary to raise a family, enjoy
a high quality of life, and produce a product that will ensure them
and thier off spring will stand a better chance of being successful
in life.

I see this attitude missing in most societies. My dream would be
for my legacy to be a part of stones and metal in the USA as a cradle
to grave for children and adults. So far it is still a dream.
Anyone have an idea to get this started?

Gerry Galarneau, in Cool 60-70 degree F Phoenix, Arizona USA, where
my oranges are just ripening, and business is good.