The Green Gorilla Studios is a company created by my husband and I. We are Don and Lynette, and we have a passion for making jewelry out of semiprecious gemstones and precious metals. We have had a dream to build our own business together for the last 24 years. Don is a busy Union sheet metal worker, and I am a hairstylist. However, our interests in art and nature gave us the opportunity to spend quality time together, and is the reason The Green Gorilla Studios came to be.
In the early ‘90’s, we would drive to the Santa Cruz mountains some afternoons in the summers to escape our hot San Jose apartment. We began finding interesting stones and fossils that sparked our interest. Don and I started going to local beaches, collecting agates, Jade, and Jasper. We were always fascinated by the colors and patterns nature created in the stones. We continued to collect rock over the next 13 years.
In 2008 we joined the Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association, purchased some gold mining equipment, and spent the summer weekends camping with our two daughters while mining for gold. It was mostly for fun, digging in the dirt, finding small nuggets and flakey gold, but we would also find and bring home amazing river rock and boulders of Jasper. Don and I were so interested in slabbing the stones to see what was on the inside, and had all kinds of artistic ideas as to what to do with it.
Soon after, Don talked me into taking metalsmithing and lapidary classes at Monterey Peninsula College, and we were hooked! As we learned, we purchased the equipment and tools we needed to build our own studio. Our hobby has quickly become a business that we will continue to grow as we retire from our careers in the coming years.
Don loves to design and work with gemstone. He does all the slabbing, trimming, shaping and polishing by hand, creating beautiful cabochons. I have taken to metalsmithing, and create custom sterling silver settings for all of Don’s cabochons, as well as design and make handmade rings, bracelets and earrings with copper and sterling silver.
So that’s how The Green Gorilla Studios was born. But why “The Green Gorilla” you ask? The big green monster truck we used to use for our prospecting and camping trips was nicknamed G.G. aka “The Green Gorilla”. It was also used as a firewood delivery truck for a few years, and Don became known as The Green Gorilla. We had to keep the name since it screams jewelry. Well, maybe not, but I bet you won’t forget it!