Craig Dabler
When I was 10 years old my Grandpa Ole took me on a trip from
Minnesota to Montana where we camped for several days along the
Yellowstone River and hunted for agate and jade, something I still
remember like yesterday and the beginning of my interest in jewelry.
When we returned to Minnesota my Grandpa started sorting the agates so
that he could cut them on his lapidary saw to be later cut into
cabochons for jewelry he created as a hobby, something he felt I had a
natural ability for. Eleven years later, at age 21 I started my 8 1/2
year apprenticeship to become a custom fine jeweler. I had a brilliant
jewelry teacher who at 60 years old worked 15 hours a day, seven days
per week, and he expected me to as well, but I didn't mind because I
loved every minute of it! By age 29, I had learned nearly everything
he could teach and in June of 1993 I decided to leave and go on my
own.......yes, I probably should have stayed longer but something
inside me just changed and I knew I wanted to try it on my own. It was
very tough for about 6 months until I opened a Trade Shop doing the
work for 9 other jewelers in Tucson and soon was working 7 days per
week again doing as many as 75 jobs per day during Christmas. It was
crazy but the money was great and I was able to increase my repair
skill knowledge to equal my custom skills making me one of the better
jewelers around which helped to get more and more difficult custom
work. In 2008, I created my first ring worth over a million dollars
which included setting a 13.5 carat diamond! After closing my custom
business back in April of 2013 I decided I wanted to pursue Etsy full
time knowing it would allow me to spend more time with my wife and
daughter and let me create my own designs, something I never had the
time for before. I still worked hard and eventually had 4 separate
stores on Etsy but still felt something was missing until November of
2016 when my long time friend Kevin Potter asked if I'd be interested
in taking over the sand casting part of Potter USA. It took about a
month for me to realize that I had finally found a business that I
would love more than even my best years making jewelry. Now, just over
a year later, I am absolutely having the time of my life inventing new
jewelry tools for the beginning Metalsmith and Jeweler along with
having the opportunity to give back through Let's Make Jewelry and the
several smaller groups on Face Book. Thank you for reading, Craig