Stared in the jewelry business two weeks after my 16th birthday, and I am now in my 43rd year. I've been fortunate from the very beginning to have worked alongside some incredibly gifted and talented individuals, always being the best student I could be, gleaning highest knowledge wherever it appears. It keeps me young at heart. Besides being a consummate capable of wearing many hats, I recently entered a design competition for the first time in my life, and won a "2011 Designer of the Year" award in an unlimited expense category using only a lemon citrine and no other stones! Here's a link to the JCK article on how it's story came to be: http://www.jckonline.com/blogs/retail-details/2012/04/26/meet-oregon-custom-jewelry-designer-mark-lajoie cheers everyone!