Downtown jeweler Precious Metalsmiths may be one of the small businesses that could benefit from an Olympia investment network. They were one of at least five businesses who attended the initial LION event. Precious Metalsmiths got its start selling artistic jewelry at the Farmer’s Market 13 years ago and has since expanded into a new location on 5th Ave. The store is a maze of Mokume Game layered metals, opal pendants, precious stones set in silver, antique gems, and pieces from Pacific Northwest artists. Behind the glimmering shop lights is a full-fledged workshop where artists tinker away creating custom pieces, welding metal with fine-tuned lasers, and designing pieces with the same computer-rendering programs employed by architects.
Owners Joanna and Chris Thorton have paid for many of their employees’ education and certificates in jewelry craftsmanship. Chris Thorton is also a member of the low-income credit union TULIP, and the company has also been a longtime participant of Arts Walk. Marketing Director and jewelry artist Matthew Crew said Precious Metalsmiths was eager to continue its involvement in the community. Crew’s eyes widened as he discussed the potential of an Olympia LION-type network. “Instead of spending it elsewhere why not invest locally and keep it here? Instead of some CEO getting a vacation maybe a little girl of someone you know gets braces.”
Crew said they could use funds from an Olympia investment network for purchasing new equipment or acquiring additional Northwest brands of jewelry. Eventually he explained, “It’s possible that if we do well with this and we get to where we have excess [funds], we’ll want to invest in other businesses as well.”