Location: Qualicum Beach

Ruthie & Doug Shewan – Jewellery and Gemstones

Ruthie & Doug Shewan – Jewellery and Gemstones

As children we are always fascinated with the wonder of our surroundings. Any eye-catching object that we can get at is not safe from our exploring appendages. I know for myself that in addition to the buckets of snakes I would catch and release (sometimes in the house!) when I was a little kid, I would also walk the beaches and river banks finding rocks and even pieces of wood that had unique shapes and colours. Why not? As kids our responsibilities and obligations are relatively few, so we had the time to let our imaginations soar. It is our preeminent time of discovery and creativity. So what happens after that? Education, work, family; as beneficial as they can be, can temporarily dry up the creative juices we enjoyed as children. It seems that the only phase in our life that could afford us the same freedom to explore those options once again is in retirement, where we get to go back to being a kid again with no rigid commitments of school, working or raising a family.

Doug and Ruthie Shewan’s retirement plans have enabled them to do just that. Discovering stones and beads with beauty and historical fascination is a passion of theirs that takes them to Quartzsite, Arizona for four months out of the year to not only savour the southern climes, but also to seek out new finds for their collections of beads and precious stones. These acquisitions will lead to the design and making of magnificent necklaces, bracelets and pendants that we have given a glimpse of in our interview and photographs with them.

Click on the images below to enlarge them for a closer look:

Doug and Ruthie tell of the compelling history of beads that were once touched by people in the 14th century and beyond to pre-Buddhist times over 2500 years ago. The brief clip below shows two such rare beads that Ruthie and Doug had acquired.

The first one is a Venetian Millefiori bead with a very unique, hexagonal shape to it. Not knowing much about it at first, they had it authenticated by a lady that lives high up in the Sierras in a gold mining camp with her husband; both of them very knowledgeable. They knew beads like this were made but had never seen one before. Upon further research it was discovered that this particular bead had only been made in the one colour. The Venetians were leaders in Lampwork, which is the process under which this bead was produced. This extraordinary bead was framed by two smaller rectangular Millefiori’s, Russian blue faceted beads and 16th century cobalt Dutch Dogan beads, which are gorgeous when the light hits them!

The second bead is an ancient Tibetan dZi bead that pre-dates buddhism and is carved from Agate stone, then etched through a chemical process with heat. This bead has “eyes” on it in a three and two pattern around it. The older ones are becoming quite prized and expensive to collect. This bead is featured with red coral and copper to accent it, a nice way to display a collectible item such as this.