Welcome to Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

by Leslie, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

Each week, friendly employees of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads happily lead tours through the facility. While we'd love to give every person who wants a tour their own walk-through, we understand that not everyone can make it to our lovely region. Fret not! You're about to go on your own virtual tour:

Background to Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

Stuart Freedman began to cut turquoise in his garage as a hobby. When his garage operation started to boom, his neighbors suggested he get a storefront. In Studio City, California Stuart set up shop. He quickly outgrew this, however, and moved with his wife Chris to Cave Junction, Oregon in 1986 where they revamped a grocery store for their new bead mail-order business. As Chris says, "Stuart's hobby ran amuck," and sure enough the grocery store was outgrown. In 2000, a building in Grants Pass, Oregon was acquired. Originally, Stuart thought the building would be too big. As it turns out, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads had to build a whole new building behind the facility, dubbed The Bead Bunker, in 2005-2008 to house the growing stock.

Upon first entering Fire Mountain's doors a 160 million year old, 600-pound amethyst geode from Aria, Brazil catches the eye.

Administration Foyer

The front offices are for the company owners Chris and Stuart, executives, CEO, etc., as well as the Executive Assistants. Original cover art, done by a past employee, hangs in the hallway. Each painting displays a volcano, beads and a Rhodesian Ridgeback named PC (Potato Cakes). This dog, and another named Turbo, used to be an integral part of the hiring process. A memorial to PC and Turbo hangs here as well. Display cases also reside here, housing beautiful gemstones, carvings and other interesting pieces.

Marketing Events

This group is in charge of organizing our yearly jewelry-making contests. They also keep track of community events Fire Mountain Gems and Beads is involved with, such as The Boys and Girls Club and Rotary Student of the Year.

Web Development

Programmers research, create and maintain our resource-filled website. Most of the programs and website features are written in-house by these tech-savvy employees.

Search Marketing, Web Analytics and Web Support

Constant research happens to make sure our resource content is easy to find on the internet. These individuals also look for jewelry supplies people are searching for online to make sure we have a ready supply. Managing our social media presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest is no small task either.

Marketing Analytics

These folks figure out which products are "making the grade." They get to select products for catalogs, web specials and other media outlets. Marketing strategies are analyzed to see what is attracting, or not attracting, our customers.

Human Resources

This department is always busy keeping track of full benefits packages including 401(k), medical and dental provided for employees and their families. They organize monthly Employee Appreciation Days, the yearly company picnic and attend job fairs as well.

Throughout the company's hallways are the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Vision and Mission Statements, along with back cover ads from over 50 beading and craft industry magazines.

Amethyst stone brings harmony to the work place.

  • Vision Statement: We are an evolving community of passionate individuals, each of us, dedicated to creating magical experiences for our customers, employees and suppliers.
  • Mission Statement: To be the industry leader in providing beading and jewelry-making supplies to merchants, designers and artists in support of their creative and business endeavors.
General Meeting Room

Employees gather once a month to have a meeting led by Chris and Stuart Freedman. Industry information is provided, discussion of the economy and other note-worthy subjects are brought up. The corner of this large room houses Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' bears. Every summer local artists in Southern Oregon decorate fiberglass bears that are displayed in downtown Grants Pass, Oregon and are auctioned off to raise money for various charities. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads beaded two bears in 2005, using a total of 9 million beads. Both bears were bought by Chris and Stuart. The third bear is decorated with paintings of Southern Oregon road maps as well as pears and apples.

The large blue eyes are vintage Austrian crystals that were donated by an employee.

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads employees gave 100 hours of their own time to decorate these bears.

Multimedia - Catalog

All catalogs are created in-house (minus the actual printing which is still done in the USA). The models in each catalog are employees who have their make-up and hair done by a local stylist. There are several types of catalogs created each year:
  • Seven 232-page Flyers
  • Seven 36-page Treasure Chests
  • One 430+ page Best Seller's Catalog
  • One 1300+ page Comprehensive Catalog
Web Designers

The Fire Mountain Gems and Beads homepage gets updated in order to keep you informed about new products and features. These designers create special features for customers on the website such as the customizable gift certificates and the "Share" button which sends a page to a friend.

Email Designers

Providing special email that keeps you updated on offers and last chance deals is this group's goal. They also work on emails the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads website send out, such as order and shipping confirmations and electronic gift certificates.

Image Specialists and 3D Specialist

These talented individuals use Photoshop to crop, color correct, add text, resize--do everything needed to ready images for use anywhere in the company or marketing advertisements. Our own 3D animator provides how-to videos and still images for instructions to help jewelry makers learn and develop new or fun techniques, without pesky hands blocking the view.


Assisting the jewelry designers and the photography studio is no easy task, constantly keeping track of product and helping with photography sets.

Jewelry Designers

Full-time jewelry designers get to spend their working days playing with beads. Collectively, they create thousands of original jewelry pieces a year to be used as inspiration for customers and provide material lists for easy shopping.

Content Administration

Design inspirations with complete material lists, articles, trends and other informative resources are put on to the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads website in this department. New content is coordinated to be used throughout other departments. Multiple proofreaders keep these resources and product descriptions up to company standards.

Marketing Graphic Designers

Branding, logo and special packaging projects are a constant at Fire Mountain Gems and Beads where we sell many unique products. Signs around the building and the company newsletter are also designed.

Jewelry-Making Experts

ALL of your customer feedback is read and distributed by our resident Ask the Experts. They answer ''Ask the Experts'' questions on the website to provide further helpful features for jewelry makers.


With over 116,000 products online, that's a whole lot of copy. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads copywriters provide numerous descriptions to keep information accurate and available. Many resources for catalog and email teams, articles, press releases, wedding projects, etc are also composed.

Information Technology

The website is hosted internally and is supported by two internet providers to ensure your information never gets "lost" during checkout and our site is always available. Aside from supporting servers, networks and databases, many applications used throughout the company and business reports are written.

Product Management

One of our resident gemologist's is always sampling product for accuracy. Approximately 12 languages are spoken in this room and many get to travel with Chris and Stuart to translate on buying trips. They get to make purchasing decisions with vendors nationally and internationally.

Photography Studio

A group of full-time photographers shoot approximately 60,000 images annually for the most accurate portrayal of product. Catalog covers, hundreds of magazine advertisements and the back cover ad on more than 50 craft-related periodicals are all created and digitally shot.


Proud of our small room next to customer service, the Returns department upholds the Return Policy.

Customer Service

Automatic answering systems means you don't have to wait and will always speak with a person--not a machine. Supervisors monitor the room to instantly assist any client if the customer service representative cannot answer, so your call doesn't transfer or drop. Friendly, helpful and knowledgeable; representatives are trained for two weeks before ever taking a call.


By paying local, national and international bills, this department "keeps Chris and Stuart's promises."


These employees get the product off trucks and out of giant shipping containers. They are responsible for all mail and special deliveries, and work closely with Product Management to ensure accuracy and quality of incoming purchases. This department is housed in the Bead Bunker--a warehouse that was built to be energy efficient with sky lights and motion sensor lights that turn off when personnel are not present, air intakes during the night to cool the during the day as well as double-insulated walls.

Quality Control

Also housed in the Bead Bunker is a group of employees who specialize in improving product information for accuracy. All customer questions and concerns are researched and product is measured, compared and inspected to ensure quality.


Bulk packaging is broken down in to a variety of more manageable resale packages and assortments.

Special Buys

This department was created as a special program to buy large closeouts of new products for the website and flyers. This type of bulk buy helps closing companies get rid of product and make back some money in the process.


Uniquely built machines called "carousels" hold product picked by operators to fill customer orders. Always evolving, this department continues to use improved technology to efficiently and accurately fill your orders. These individuals are the ones who put orders together with a piece of decorative teal tissue paper, a "Packed with Love" sticker and always a free gift.

We have now reached the end of this virtual tour. On behalf of everyone at Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, we thank you for taking the time to learn more about our unique and diverse company. Feel free to ask us any questions since we are always excited to talk with, and help, our customers. Have a good rest of your day and we hope to see you again soon!

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