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The John Hartman Story


The John Hartman Story:

I was born and raised here in the Southwest. My father was a machinist and I started sweeping floors and cleaning his machines when I was eight years old. I became a journeyman machinist by the age of 17 and have been a hard worker since.

In my ladder years of youth, I lived with a Native American from Taos. Steve taught me a lot about the cultural ways of the Native American Indians of the Southwest and he introduced Turquoise to me. Steve gave me a Turquoise Ring which I think set my future path in life. Looking back, my life has been unusual from others and I have been dealt a life with good fortune, health and happiness – I must tell you, I have been wearing Turquoise since the day Steve gave me that Turquoise Ring.

I married my childhood sweetheart when I was nineteen years old, which was in 1972, we have been happily married all these years and have had a long journey since we met. We had two fine Children, Dillon and Crystal and were able to be home for them at all times of their childhoods. We have enjoyed our lives together and have been able to share exceptional quality time together as a family.
At the age of twenty, I self taught myself how to cut stones and make Jewelry. Of course, my favored stone was Turquoise and my style was influenced by the culture I was brought up in from the Southwest. I enjoyed making Jewelry and have excelled in that trade. I have ran the gamete from making production Jewelry (over one million pieces) to creating award winning works of art that will be passed down through generations and no doubt end up in historical archives.

The Jewelry industry had treated me very well and I had a considerable amount of extra money which I chose to invest in antique Indian and Cowboy items from the American Frontier period. I educated myself thoroughly and collected Southwestern Indian Jewelry, Rare Turquoise, Navajo Antiques such as Silver Regalia from the days of old, Navajo Blankets and mementos from the old Trading Posts of the American West. I also bought, sold and collected Plains Indian Beadwork, Weaponry, Baskets, Pottery, Horse Related Items, Antique Firearms, Wild West Show Memorabilia and a wide range of Antiques from the past 150 years of the Southwestern region of the United States.

Our Trading Post became famous for having one to the finest collections of Western Antiques, Native American Indian Goods and the best Turquoise Jewelry to be found in the Southwest. We did a brisk business here in Durango from the 1970’s through the early 90’s.

The 1990’s were interesting and exciting days in my life. I developed a line of Cowboy Jewelry, took it to market which led me down a wild road. Ultimately, I landed an account with Zippo Lighter Company of Tokyo and produced 23,000 pieces of Jewelry for them per month for almost two years, all historic American Indian Figurines to be mounted on Sterling Silver Lighter Cases. At the same time I created different lines of production Turquoise Jewelry for major mail order magazines as well as large Department Stores and Chains. The fast lane in the Jewelry business was to much for me so I sold the company to the largest Jewelry producer in New Mexico.

Since the beginning of this century, I have been Mining Turquoise, Making Jewelry and working with my family in running Durango Silver Company here in Durango Colorado. Our business has grown substantially and with Dillon, Nattarika and Crystal joining in, there have become many new facets to it.

Times have really changed since Estell and I began in business. With global trade now a way of life and communications as they have become, business will take giant leaps in new directions and we are excited to go there.

My best wishes to all of you,
John Hartman

Checkout John Hartman's Article in the January 2010 Issue of Lapidary Journal! | John Hartman's Blog on Blogger


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