Rocky Mountain Goldworks’ owner and lead jewelry designer Tom Linenberger has raw talent, a lifetime of experience, and a true passion for his craft. As an expert in his field, he has contributed articles for national jewelry trade magazines and has also won awards at national jewelry shows. He won first place in the CAD Invitational Challenge at the 2018 Atlanta Jewelry Show held in August. He is considered one of the top jewelry designers in the country.
His artistry and craftsmanship are reflected in his award-winning pieces. Much of his inspiration comes from nature: a delicate aspen leaf, the bark on a tree, the pattern of a shadow. Tom creates custom pieces and restores family heirlooms. For him, “bling and sentimentality” come together in jewelry design, resulting in unique pieces that clients will treasure forever. “I love providing something that will be cherished and passed down from generation to generation,” he says.
Tom grew up in Garden City, Kansas, where his dad owned a fine jewelry store. He wanted to follow in his dad’s footsteps, but his dad insisted he get a job somewhere else first. He tried working at a grocery store where he learned some basics about business, but by 16, he followed his passion and started working for his dad.
In 1989, Tom and his brother took over the store until 1999, when Tom transformed their business into a custom jewelry maker. Their reputation spread through word of mouth, and they started taking on work from other jewelry stores. Then in 2007, Tom and his wife Sandy decided on the name Goldworks.
When Tom and his family visited Northern Colorado in 2011, they fell in love with the area. They moved to Colorado and opened a retail store in Old Town Fort Collins in 2011. You can find his store on Facebook under the name Old Town Goldworks, but Tom is in the process of changing the name to reflect his current business name, Rocky Mountain Goldworks.
Rocky Mountain Goldworks specializes in custom designs, and they also carry a few lines from other jewelry designers. They offer gold, silver and platinum, as well as precious and semi-precious stones. They incorporate old methods like lost wax casting and hand-fabricating with the technology of 3D CAD software and CNC machine printing. They hold casting parties where clients participate in creating their own custom pieces. While Goldworks uses state-of-the-art equipment, Tom never loses sight of the most important aspect of his business: truly personable, high-quality customer service.
Tom’s team of employees each have skills in different areas to provide custom designs. He holds a monthly design contest for staff, who post photos of their designs on Facebook and invite people to vote on their favorite. The winning design is featured in the store, along with the other designers’ pieces. “It keeps that spark of creativity alive,” says Tom.
At Rocky Mountain Goldworks, their one-of-a-kind custom casting process is all about giving clients a unique hands-on experience. Newly engaged couple Josh and Sarah were thrilled they found Goldworks for their custom wedding bands. “At first, I went to the brand name stores,” Josh says. “One of them said they had a custom option, but it really wasn’t custom at all.” A friend recommended that he go to a custom jeweler, so he went online to research custom jewelers in Fort Collins and found Rocky Mountain Goldworks.
The couple started their design journey with Virginia, who helped them conceptualize and play with the ideas on 3D CAD software. “The team at Goldworks is just amazing,” says Josh. “And I don’t think a custom ring is that much more expensive than buying something off the shelf. No matter where you go, the diamond you chose will dictate the bulk of your cost.”
Sarah chose white gold for her wedding band, and Josh chose rose gold based on the fact that he wanted his band to have a darker, tarnished look. Sarah wanted a design that incorporated her engagement ring diamond along with 300 tiny diamonds. “When Goldworks was looking for the tiny diamonds, three places told them they couldn’t get diamonds like that,” says Sarah. “But they didn’t give up, and they found a supplier for the diamonds.”
Once the designs were finalized, they scheduled the casting party. The couple brought their two daughters to be a part of the fun. Sarah says the staff made it special. “They treated us to champagne, and they had candy for the girls,” she says. “They made us feel at home, interacting with the girls and joking and laughing with us,” says Sarah. “It was a really special event to enjoy with family.”
Sarah said while they were waiting for the apparatus to heat up, they held the raw material in a little tray. “Tom told us to put our mojo into the metal we were holding so that it will live inside of the ring forever,” says Sarah. “That was a really neat concept.” The couple poured the raw material into the bowl and Tom used a blowtorch to melt it. The melted metal was then released from the bowl into the barrel, which spins around, using centrifugal force to set the ring, the same process used thousands of years ago. The couple then dropped the mold into water, which made the plaster mold break off. Then they polished the rough piece with toothbrushes, giving them an idea of what the final pieces will look like. Goldworks is now completing the final creation and finishing of the rings.
To learn more about custom casting with Goldworks, visit their website at www.oldtowngoldworks.com; click on “Appointments,” to schedule a consultation. Tom recommends planning for six to eight weeks before a piece is finished. With the holidays approaching, now is the time to schedule your consultation with Goldworks so that you’ll have that unique, unexpected gift to give a loved one.