Born at mid-20th century in the Appalachian foothills in North Carolina, I decided at an early
age to become an astronomer, since I was mesmerized by glittering
stars and found them much more interesting than things more down-to-earth.
In 1968, I enrolled in the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill, where my attention began to waver after I realized I needed
a good grasp of subjects such as analytical calculus and differential
equations. After getting a bachelor's degree in Psychology (almost
as worthless in 1972 as it is now!), I found myself in a series
of just plain jobs until the onset of the computer revolution, when I headed back to class to learn more about programming.
For the next couple of decades, I found myself tinkering with computers
in the UNC-CH Medical School -- an entertaining
and reasonably comfortable habit, despite the state's stifling bureaucracy and low pay.
For a while, I wrote software for acquiring and analyzing electrophysiology data, processing fluorescent video images,
and tracking scientific journal submissions. Eventually, I took up computer networking and then found myself administering
almost 400 computers (a mishmash of all versions of Windows, Macs, a few SGI workstations, Windows servers,
plus assorted laptops, scanners, laser printers, etc.), writing Web pages, and helping some 300+ biomedical researchers to
use all of this marvelous and sometimes frustrating stuff. As they say, variety is the spice of life! After a while, though, this got a little wearisome, so I retired from my 30+ years of University employment. A new phase of life is at hand, and I have time to catch up on many pending projects and new ones yet to hatch!
What does that have to do with gems! Not a darned thing. Along the way, though, back about 1975, I became interested in gems and jewelry making. I was a pretty mediocre silversmith, though I think I could appreciate a good design when I saw it. The late Henry C. ("Hank") Hurlburt, who cut a number of stones for the Smithsonian collection in his day, taught a beginning lapidary course at UNC, and he introduced me to the basics of gemcutting. Well, I fell in love with those glittering rocks, and I've been faceting and cabbing as a hobby/sideline business ever since. While I was at it, I picked up a Graduate Gemologist Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) , so I would know a little more about the stones I was working on.
Over the past three and a half decades, I've cut more than a few stones for jewelers, collectors, and friends -- from little black onyx "Tar Heel" cabs to magnificent 13 carat tsavorites and 5 carat emeralds, and I keep a small but, I think, interesting inventory nearby to amuse me. If you have comments or questions, please get in touch via my contact page.