West Virginia Gems

Today, a traveler in West Virginia can expect to find artists at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs. The Artist Colony has become a recognized part of that Resort. Should a traveler in West Virginia also expect to find nature lovers and thrill seekers at that resort?

Artists, nature lovers and thrill seekers all play a part in the search for and the marketing of West Virginia Gems. Historians too have contributed to the history of West Virginia Gems, a company that features a gemstone in most of its jewelry. Those gemstones come from the farms and streams of West Virginia.

Titanium Quartz Silver Pendant

Historians know how geological changes transformed the forested land in the region that takes-up part of present-day North Carolina. They know how the elevation of one mountain once sent a stream of water downhill. Because that elevation occurred on the north face of the mountain, the water ran into the region that is now West Virginia.

The water that flowed into a future West Virginia flowed in and out of many narrow passages. The rapid rate at which the water flowed in those passages has now led to the creation of a tourist industry – the rafting industry. Some of those rafter steer their craft past rock that contains agate.

West Virginia Gems Jewelry

Agate is the gemstone that is featured in many of the jewelry pieces created by West Virginia Gems. The makers of West Virginia Gems usually content themselves with white, brown or gray agates. Only a tiny section of the West Virginia land holds agate that contains touches of lavender, red or yellow.

Although most West Virginia agate lacks much color, any agate in one of the West Virginia Gems could well have come from a place with a very colorful name. It might, for example, have come from the land along the “Surprise Rapid or the “Jump Rapid.” It might have been unearthed from the sides of “Miller’s Folly Rapid” or “Thread the Needle Rapid.”

The beautiful gorges in West Virginia have beckoned artists, as well as nature lovers and thrill seekers. A large group of artists now lives at the Artist Colony. Two of those artists create the West Virginia Gems.

Black Onyx Earrings

One of those Gem-creators is Marty Schaener Bartarla. After completing four years of college, Marty tried teaching art. She missed the chance to play with gems and metals. She wanted to make jewelry. She began her own jewelry-making business by working in her kitchen.

Later, Marty met Bill Bartala. Bill had spent many years doing commercial jewelry. He was eager to try his hand at something new. Bill married Marty, and the newly married couple moved to West Virginia.

Marty and Bill joined the other artists at Greenbrier Resort. They put “White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia” on their new business cards. They shared those cards with friends, family and tourists in the area. They used their cards to spread word about their new, joint business endeavor. They had initiated the enterprise that they had chosen to call West Virginia Gems.


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