Carrying on a Legacy: Upholding Handcrafted Family...

Carrying on a Legacy: Upholding Handcrafted Family Tradition

Nestled in the verdant rolling hills of East Tennessee resides a skilled artisan upholding his family’s longstanding tradition of handcrafting one-of-a-kind jewelry and painting. Rob Sherman, founder of Rob Sherman Designs and Mountain Song Jewelers, creates stunning wearable art pieces that celebrate the natural world around him. With sterling silver, gold, and thoughtfully selected stones, Rob carries forward the legacy of his family’s artistry spanning over 75 years.

Born in Prescott, Arizona, the uncle and cousin of noted Southwestern silversmiths, Rob grew up immersed in the art of metal and stone. Rather than immediately following the family craft, he explored other pursuits first serving the unhoused and rebuilding vintage Volkswagens. But in time, Rob felt the irresistible call to art. Now, many years into the trade, his creations reveal both a reverence for enduring tradition and an eye toward innovation.

Master Artisan Across Mediums

Rob’s expertise spans not just jewelry but also painting. His long family lineage in the American Southwest instilled in him a deep appreciation for the colors, textures, and aura of the landscape. Rob translates this passion into stunning original oil paintings that transport the viewer. Fiery desert skies coexist with weathered rural structures and vast expanses of windswept plains. The layered landscapes feel simultaneously dreamlike and tactile.

Infinite Promise by Rob Sherman

Just as with his jewelry work, Rob’s painting style harmoniously blends old and new. He often begins pieces in the selective realism style, accurately capturing a location’s essence. Then, Rob incorporates impressionistic, modern, abstract elements to create works full of emotion and texture. This innovative approach results in distinctive Southwestern scenes unlike any other.

For Rob, his diverse creative outputs share strong connective threads even across mediums. Each piece starts with quality materials thoughtfully composed to highlight natural splendor. The stones in his jewelry contain the same depths as the skies over his painted deserts. Using recycled metals and reclaimed wood painting surfaces links his dedication to sustainability. Rob transforms the beauty around him into stunning wearable and wall art.

Jewelry Craftsmanship: Tradition Meets Innovation

Staying true to time-tested methods, Rob relies on classic metalsmithing techniques to hand fabricate each component for his jewelry pieces. However, he also embraces contemporary advances by experimenting with novel textures made using alternative casting methods. The silky-smooth sheen of hand-rubbed sterling silver pairs elegantly with the earthy crackled patterns. This harmonious blend of old and new gives Rob’s work its distinctive, contemporary, yet familiar Southwest style.

Rob Sherman Sourcing Stones

Beyond technique, Rob pays special attention to thoughtfully selecting each stone he’ll transform into a wearable gem. As both a lapidary artist and metalsmith, he chooses stones that speak to him for their potential beauty. Turquoise holds particular significance, echoing his Southwestern roots. Several times a year, Rob travels through Arizona, visiting turquoise mines and miners—some familial—building connections and selecting choice rough stone. Additionally, he procures stones domestically and worldwide to integrate into his designs.

Once chosen, Rob cuts each stone in-house to carefully control the outcome. Expertly revealing the best in every piece of rough, he sculpts stones to exhibit their utmost vibrancy. Cutting and polishing facets to reflect and refract light at precise angles, Rob creates living gems full of depth and fire. The turquoise and other stones he cuts become the verdant focal points of his organic, nature-inspired designs.

In selecting his materials, Rob makes conscientious choices to benefit both the client and the environment. Whenever possible, he uses recycled precious metals, reducing the mining impact of his fabrication. He stands behind the longevity of each stone variety selected, having vetted them for durability over time. Clients can trust every facet of Rob’s jewelry has been thoughtfully considered.

Seven Dwarfs by Bob Sherman

Sustainable Luxury Defined

At Rob Sherman Designs, sustainable luxury is the defining ethos. There is a belief that high-quality artistry and responsible environmental stewardship can beautifully coexist through mindful effort. This drives Rob’s pursuit of upcycled metals, hand-selected faceted stones, and nature-inspired heirloom creations.

By using recycled sterling silver and gold, the business reduces the mining required for the pieces. Rob personally travels to select rough stones, paying attention to the ethics of their extraction and procurement. The in-house lapidary workshop allows Rob to cut each gem to best accentuate its hidden depths without relying on secondary vendors. This degree of control across the full design process enables exceptional creations that make conscientious use of resources.

Rob Sherman Designs also fully stands behind every component of the jewelry, selecting only stones and materials proven to withstand time when properly cared for. Made to become future heirlooms, the pieces achieve sustainability through their enduring beauty and resilience. When you purchase from Rob Sherman Designs, you invest in the finest of responsibly sourced artistry.

The Soul of the Stone

At Rob Sherman Designs, there is a belief that the stone is the soul of the piece. The business painstakingly hand selects stones, drawn to the story each one tells. Whether traversed across an ocean or discovered just down the road, every stone carries a unique essence.

Turquoise holds special significance, harkening to Rob’s personal story rooted in the American Southwest. Rob hand selects stones resonating as the highest quality with the most promising and striking visual potential. Ranging from electric brilliant blue to earthy grey-green spiderweb matrix, Rob chooses turquoise stones that speak to him.

Beyond turquoise, Rob Sherman Designs also personally sources a spectrum of complementary gem varieties. Seeking out stones worldwide through ethical channels, the business hand-picks materials for their luminosity, texture, and aura. Lush greens, bold oranges, dynamism, or elegant neutrals—every rough stone Rob selects holds standout artistic promise.

Through masterful cutting, Rob then reveals the full potential of every rough gem. Fine-tuning each facet to best reflect and diffuse light, he exposes depths and dimensions waiting to emerge. The turquoise and array of accent stones Rob transforms become one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art.

From Stone to Masterpiece

At Rob Sherman Designs, there is a belief that exemplary craftsmanship should complement inspired material selection. With an artist’s eye honed over decades, Rob envisions how to best showcase each stone’s distinctive properties. Every step that follows in fabrication serves to realize that vision.

In sterling silver and gold, Rob metallically frames the facets of each organic gem. With textural elements and symbolic shapes, he builds up complimentary textures. Hand fabrication, casting, and finishing bring to life the balance of smooth and crackled that defines Rob’s work. Through multiple crafting methods Rob creates dimension and visual interest tailored to let the soul of the stone sing.

Beyond stones, Rob Sherman Designs also reclaims hardwoods, unusual small finds, and other captivating design elements. Incorporating them into jewelry or frames, Rob spotlights the old while celebrating the new. This creative recycling continues the legacy of conservation central to the family’s and business values.

At the intersection of inspired artistry and master craftsmanship, Rob Sherman Designs carries forward a 75-year legacy.

Author’s bio:

Lindsey Chastain is a highly accomplished individual with a diverse range of experiences across multiple industries. She holds a BA in English from the University of Oklahoma and an MA in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. With over a decade of experience in academia, Chastain has taught and designed courses in various subjects at the university level. She is the founder of The Writing Detective.

About Rob Sherman

Robert Sherman is a native of Prescott Arizona. He is the third generation in his family to carry on a proud Southwestern silversmithing and lapidary tradition. Rob spent the first years of his professional life working to serve unhoused persons, then learning to repair and rebuild his beloved air-cooled Volkswagens before heeding the call of his artistic side. Rob hand fabricates and also casts (including tufa casting) in both sterling and gold to create his unique pieces—he also innovates with new methods to produce one-of-a-kind texture and design. Celebrating nature and imbuing his work with over seventy-five years of family tradition, each hand-crafted piece is meticulously designed and created. He uses upcycled sterling and gold to reduce his environmental impact. Rob chooses and cuts his own stones for each piece you see—traveling extensively to find stones, typically turquoise, that speak to him and has the most promising potential for exceptional beauty.

Rob resides with his family in East TN and also travels to Arizona to visit relatives and turquoise miners several times a year.   A western studio is in the planning stages.  Rob is the founder and owner of Mountain Song Jewelers as well as Rob Sherman Designs.

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