The Gaumer’s Jewelry team – our rockin’ family

Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of working with many wonderful people. Blood-related or not, each one has become part of our family. Here’s a tribute to our current staff…

John Gaumer – Jeweler and loving family man

John Gaumer is the patriarch of the Gaumer family.  With the help of his parents, Al and Mabel, and wife, Terry, John founded Gaumer’s in 1965.

John Gaumer with a freshly cut Hart Mountain Jasper collected by the Gaumer family in Lake County, Oregon
John Gaumer with a freshly cut Hart Mountain Jasper collected by the Gaumer family in Lake County, Oregon

He started working with customers while the building was still under construction.  When the store officially opened on February 16, 1967, John was a proud co-owner.  As the business grew, John took great satisfaction when he realized that Gaumer’s was no longer just a rock shop, but a fine jewelry store where customers could purchase high-quality items that would give them pleasure for years.  John adds such a warmth to the store.  He always greets his staff and customers with a smile so big that you immediately feel like part of the family.  John has built this business rock by rock and now has passed his passion to his son, Bill, to continue to bring happiness to all who enter the store.

John has a love for customer satisfaction, and is willing to tackle very challenging custom designs and repair work. One of his biggest challenges was the resurrection of an antique diamond ring that was missing much of the filigree scroll design.  He agreed to repair the ring only to learn that the repair had already been rejected by several big jewelry shops in San Francisco.  A daunting task indeed!  Ultimately, he realized the ring had been constructed using lead solder, which quickly melted away when heated.  He had to disassemble the entire ring, remove all the lead solder, and reassemble the ring using design pieces he created and cast by hand. In the end, the hard-work paid off and the customer was delighted with the finished product.  The large pear-shaped diamond ring could once again be worn and enjoyed.

John’s favorite gem material is plume agate, which his family has collected for generations and displays proudly in the Gaumer’s museum.  It was a life-long dream to establish such a museum, where the family could display the special pieces acquired over the years.  When John is not creating custom works of art for the store, he enjoys gardening, running his tractor, fishing, story-telling, rock collecting (of course), and most of all, being with his wife.

Terry Gaumer – Super-mom and business leader

There is no better description of Terry Gaumer than “super woman”.  Terry is the heart of the operation.  With a willingness to help family, friends and customers.  She is a quiet and humble leader, guaranteeing that all aspects of the business run smoothly.  She has a passion for customer satisfaction and loves to share in their happiness.

She started working part-time at Gaumer’s in the 1970’s, where she brought her three young children with her to work.  They would stay in a play area inside the store that was available for her children and the customer’s children, too.  Terry is an incredibly devoted and loving mother and has enjoyed seeing her children become more involved with the store.  Her favorite memories include watching her father-in-law, Al Gaumer, teach the children how to grind, sand and polish gemstones.  He was quite a perfectionist and the children learned from the best!  She loved seeing them learn basic jewelry making skills from their dad and being involved in customer service.

Like John, Terry has a love of plume agates, but she also loves rubies.  She enjoys gardening, doing projects with her husband, and being an incredible mother.

Bill Gaumer – Talented jeweler and store owner

Bill Gaumer
Bill Gaumer

John and Terry Gaumer ran the store until 1993, when Bill Gaumer, their eldest son, came on board and shook things up. Just four years later, they remodeled the store and created the 800-square foot mineral and mining museum, which was a dream come true for John. In 1999, Bill earned a prestigious Graduate Gemologist diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has continued to improve and expand the store offerings.  Bill is extremely talented and creative.  His one-of-a-kind pieces can be custom designed to suit all customer’s tastes.

Bill is a Renaissance man, who teaches Aikido, has a passion for photography and rock hounding, and is a true family man.  Don’t let the black belt fool you, he is a gentle giant and when he is not working hard at the store, he can be found all over Tehama county (and sometimes the world) collecting gem material and taking incredible pictures of the flora, fauna and landscapes.  Feel free to stop in to see some of the amazing photos he has taken during his excursions.

Jimi Wade – Jeweler and engraver extraordinaire

Jimi Wade hand-fabricated opal pendant set in 14K yellow gold with diamond accents
Jimi Wade hand-fabricated opal pendant set in 14K yellow gold with diamond accents

Since 2006, Jimi Wade has been a colorful member of our talented team of jewelry designers.  With more than ten years of experience in our store alone, he creates custom pieces that highlight his talents for inlay, hand-engraving and hand-fabrication.  Jimi has a real passion for customer satisfaction, especially for the kids that come in for a visit.  In addition to making creative pieces of art, one of his favorite things to do is help the youngsters open geodes. The mystery and surprise that comes with cleaving a geode is always a crowd-pleaser.

Though he has a true love of turquoise, his favorite hand-made creation is a gorgeous opal pendant set in 14K yellow gold with diamond accents (picture on the right). He is a talented musician and enjoys working on his home, going to the river, and perfecting his skill at hand-engraving.

Sharla Gibson – Office manager and customer service hero

Since 1998, we have been very fortunate to have Sharla as our office manager.   She manages our bookkeeping

Sharla Gibson enjoying cycling with Melanie Zelwick in Tehama County, California
Sharla Gibson enjoying cycling with Melanie Zelwick in Northern California

while being a vital member of our customer service team.  She has brought so much warmth and joy to our store.  Her favorite part of working at Gaumer’s is the heartwarming feeling she gets when a customer is standing on the other side of the counter with tears in their eyes because they’re so happy with their finished piece.  Those moments are priceless, especially when the pieces are made with stones from their mom, dad, grandma, or great-grandma.  She remembers fondly when a young man came into the store.  He had never shopped for jewelry before, and was very nervous he’d get the wrong thing.  But thanks to Sharla’s help, he left with a big grin, a fun little box with a bow, and lots of appreciation for the help.

Sharla enjoys many of the gemstones and rocks at the store, especially the petrified wood and fossil fish.  Her favorite part of the store is the jeweler’s workbenches.  It’s where the magic happens! Sharla enjoys spending time with family and friends, cycling with Melanie and our gang, and walking her three Weimaraners, even if they sometimes walk her instead.  There are three of them after all!

Jill Russell – Customer Service Hero

Jill Russell enjoying the California coast
Jill Russell enjoying the California coast

Jill is one of our very talented customer service specialists.  With more than ten years of experience, she uses her cheery disposition to bring a smile to everyone she meets. Her innate ability to take a customer’s idea, and collaborate with our jewelers, allows for the creation of beautiful custom jewelry pieces. Jill loves meeting new customers, and often hears “Wow! I had no idea the store would be this cool!”  One of her favorite memories was her first engagement ring sale. To be a part of such a monumental decision in a person’s life is so unforgettable.

We are so lucky to have Jill working with us. She has become part of our extended family.  Over the years, her positivity and fun-loving nature have brought so much joy to the store. She loves to travel, listen to John Gaumer’s stories, golf with friends, and play with her three grandsons.

Melanie Zelwick – Customer Service Hero

Melanie Zelwick with Sharla Gibson (right) in Siskiyou County, California
Melanie Zelwick with Sharla Gibson (right) in Siskiyou County, California

For more than ten years, we have been very privileged to have Melanie as a member or our customer service team. Melanie has a great sense of humor, and jokes that her favorite part of our store is the employee bathroom because it is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. But in all seriousness, her favorite place in our store is in front of customers.  She enjoys those satisfied smiles as she hands customers their shiny new or repaired pieces of jewelry.  One of her favorite sales was a custom piece by Bill Gaumer.  A unique 14K white gold custom lost-wax cast ring with a Ceylon blue sapphire and diamonds, which felt good on her finger. It was purchased by a regular customer so hopefully we’ll see it again soon.

Melanie is a devoted mother and grandmother.  She remembers fondly the times that her eldest granddaughters were each allowed to come to the store and see Melanie work.  They were a hit with our customers too, with some of our regulars still asking about them.  Melanie enjoys being active, and is an avid cyclist, hiker, and swimmer.

Tonya Robinson – Customer Service Hero

Tonya Robinson
Tonya Robinson

Tonya is one of our customer service superstars.  She is such a delight and brings so much joy to the store’s atmosphere.  Her favorite part of the store is the museum where customers can see many Gaumer family photos as well as rock specimens from all over the world.  Tonya loves to help create custom designed jewelry.  To start from a rough stone, with only a design in mind, and then sprinkle in our jeweler’s amazing skills, is a recipe for happy customers.  Since 2004, she has tirelessly worked to bring a smile to all our customer’s faces, regardless of whether they are looking for a piece of pyrite or a bridal set.  She remembers fondly the time when she helped the husband of a dear friend.  Her friend was enduring some significant health issues and her husband wanted to find the perfect anniversary gift. With Tonya’s help, her friend was absolutely thrilled with her anniversary gift.

Tonya is a devoted wife and mother of two boys.  When she is not hard at work at the store, she uses her super-mom skills to find all lost things, make dirty clothes clean, make edible meals in 3 items or less, and foresee up and coming homework assignments; all in a day’s work.  She is an active member of the community and loves to donate her time whenever possible.  Tonya and her husband own a small ranch where they have 4 dogs, 2 cats, 2 horses, 2 ducks, 6 chickens, 2 hogs and numerous cows. They are very happy in their little piece of Tehama County heaven.