Black Hills Gold Jewelry

Black hills gold jewelry can be sourced from various parts of the globe, though the hard rock Homestake Mines were famous for producing this type of gold, at the Black Hills, nearly hundred and fifty years ago. Though many assume that the base gold bullion is restricted to South Dakota, this is not true. Way back in the 1800s prospectors, artisans and traders flocked to the wild frontier camps in California and after laboring for months in the deserts and plains, arrived in the Sacramento Valley, where they set up camp. The tri-colored design of grape vines, clusters, flower accents and leaves that are rendered in colors of genuine gold symbolized the beauty of nature, which was cleverly captured by craftsmen at this time. The prospectors continued in their quest for gold and the artisans followed them through Colorado and Montana and finally arrived at the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Black Hills is a small mountain range that extends from the western portion of South Dakota to Wyoming. It was initially inhabited by Native American Indian tribes for many hundreds of years. As prospectors landed in the city of Deadwood, they slowly provided employment for over thirteen hundred workers in the northern Black Hills, when the mines were in operation and this was the mainstay of their economy. This operation was closed in 2002.

The black hills gold jewelry is an art form that is unique to the United States of America and mainly consists of gold in green and pink hues. Variations were incorporated by combining and processing alloys and certain types of metals with gold. The green shade was produced with the process of alloying silver with yellow gold. Pink or red gold was obtained when yellow gold was alloyed with copper. The purity and weight of the gold reduces from 24K to 10K or 14 K, when this process occurs. However, the exclusive designs and artistic creations make up for the loss, with these meticulously handcrafted items of heirloom jewelry. While many believe that the name Black Hills Gold Jewelry denotes a certain type of mined gold, in reality, it refers to the design of the jewelry.

Many of these early prospectors, such as Henri Le Beau, S.T Butler and Charles Barclay set up their own jewelry shops in the Central City, to sell what is popularly known as Black Hills gold jewelry today. Butler’s nephew Thorpe went to Bradley Horological Institute to learn how to engrave, diamond setting, watch work and also the benefits of die sinking steel tempering and optics. With the knowledge gained, Thorpe was able to make significant changes and introduce modern equipment, labor and steel dies to save time and come up with exclusive designs and styles of jewelry. The entire operations were moved to Rapid City from Deadwood, in 1944, by Ivan Landstrom.

Today this gold and various precious metals can be purchased from any part of the globe. However, by Federal mandate, this particular style of jewelry which is distinguishable with its tri-colored leaves and grapes of gold has to be manufactured in the Black Hills to carry the stamp “Black Hills Gold Jewelry”

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