Cheers to 50 Years: Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Celebrating Golden Anniversary
by Susanne, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
"As we reflect on the past 50 years we're filled with gratitude for the partnerships, friendships and community we've been able to be a part of. Our hearts are filled with love and appreciation for every person that has helped make Fire Mountain Gems and Beads the company that it is today."
Chris, Stuart and the Fire Mountain Family
A Passion for Turquoise
Who knew what started as a hobby in Stuart's garage would become an international jewelry-making supply company offering over 100,000 products with hundreds of employees and serving more than 200,000 bead-making artisans in this country and that many more around the world?
Originally, Chris and Stuart just wanted to help customers use the beads and cabochons they sold. Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, beading and jewelry-making were closely guarded secrets. There was no internet; there were no DIY television shows; there were no how-to books. So, Chris and Stuart hired a researcher to find out how the experts put jewelry together. She went out and talked to those in the know, looking over their shoulders as they showed her their handiwork and learning all the tips and tricks for jewelry-making. Then she brought it all back.
Chris and Stuart realized that beading and jewelry-making techniques were not difficult--it was the information blackout that made it intimidating, preventing thousands of interested artists and designers from getting started. So, they compiled all the research into the ''Beadmakers' Handbook''. It was the first mass-distributed book on beading and jewelry-making. It made them rebels in the business of beading and jewelry-making supplies--not just selling beads and jewelry-making supplies but sharing the know-how for using it all.
The Move to Oregon
In 1986, after 13 years of business in their North Hollywood location, Chris and Stuart decided to relocate to Cave Junction, Oregon. They bought a vacant grocery store to use for their mail-order business.
Launching a mail-order business in a small, rural town came with its fair share of challenges: business isolation, lack of a trained workforce, transportation woes, communication difficulties and many logistical issues. But Chris and Stuart recognized the real gems in this area—the friendly, honest and sincere people.
By 2000, the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads family had outgrown their building space in Cave Junction. They moved into the former Litton Systems building in Grants Pass. After even more growth, they designed and built another warehouse known as the Bead Bunker.
Over the last 50 years, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads has created over 500 catalogs and has evolved from a direct marketing company to an ecommerce company. Hand sketched beading instructions have now become YouTube videos, but the emphasis on providing a high level of customer service and sharing jewelry-making resources and knowledge remain the same.
Throughout our years in business, our mission and vision has always been the same:
Celebrating Milestones and Anniversaries
Chris and Stuart have always been big on celebrating company milestones and anniversaries. Employees at Fire Mountain receive a diamond ring for 10 years of service, a ruby ring for 20 years, a sapphire ring for 25 years and another hand-selected stone for 30 years. Over 500 rings have been gifted to date to celebrate the members of our Fire Mountain family.
And with the company turning 50 this year the focus has been on gold for the 50th anniversary celebration. Here are some golden designs from our Gallery of Designs that features over 20,000 different designs for creative inspiration.
A Special Dedication to Stuart
|We're all saddened by the passing of our dear Stuart in November of 2022. No one was more excited than Stuart to celebrate Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' 50-year anniversary this upcoming year. We hope that you will join us in celebrating in his honor. We all intend to carry on his legacy of spreading kindness and creativity wherever we go. Stuart's memory will continue to inspire our day-to-day business and friendly customer service and will always live on in the jewelry-making community.
Help us Celebrate!
We're planning lots of fun promotions in honor of our 50th anniversary year, so watch for anniversary sales and more. We'd love to hear from you about your favorite Fire Mountain story or memory. Please share with us on social media.
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