The Inspiration

As a Winona, Minnesota native, Michael grew up along the Mississippi River and spent countless hours exploring and discovering the area’s hardwood forests and limestone bluffs. He credits this immersion in the natural beauty of the lakes, forests, and farmlands during his youth for the unique and “earthy” quality of the designs he creates today.

The Artist

Enlisting in the military directly after graduation, Michael spent four years with the U.S. Army and then served in both the Army and Air National Guard following his active duty tour. During this time, a twist of fate brought Michael into the world of jewelry. While shopping, he was recruited to work in a mall jewelry store for the Christmas season. He accepted the offer and that job experience unlocked a whole new world for Michael. He quickly found his passion for the industry and his love for creation and design.

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, Michael felt compelled to step away from his jewelry career and returned to military service with the U.S. Army Reserve. He served a total of five tours in support of the Global War on Terror including 36 months overseas spending time in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Kuwait. He recently retired after 22 years of service.

The Art

Michael has over 25 years of design and jewelry experience. He is known for curating natural elements from the Mississippi River area such as river rock, druzy quartz and fossils, accenting these selections with richly colored, quality gemstones, and then presenting the final creations in a variety of traditional and non-traditional metals.

Michael’s designs have been featured in galleries throughout the United States. He has had the honor of designing jewelry for Miss America, members of the Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks and the Chicago White Sox. In addition, he was invited by the leading fashion retailer, Nordstrom, to showcase his designs in their jewelry boutiques. His designs have been sold in Nordstrom stores including Scottsdale Fashion Square in Arizona and South Coast Plaza in California.

A Note from Michael

Hello and welcome to River’s Edge Gems! The Upper Midwest Region of the Mississippi River, and specifically the driftless region, has always held a special place for me, and as I looked to conclude my military career, this was the area that beckoned to me to “come home.” Today, living on the banks of the Mississippi River, I am once again delighted by the people, wildlife, landscape and the sheer beauty and ‘wild-ness’ of this area where I grew up so many years ago.

In every design, I seek to embrace the spirit of the River and the heart of the people of this area. Whether I am depicting the majestic eagle that soars above or the fragile dragonfly that cruises the swamps and backwater channels, my goal is to capture beauty and detail in each piece. My wish in creating these pieces is to produce a tangible, wearable memory which will bring a special and personal meaning to the life of the person selecting or receiving my art.

I personally touch each piece during its creation. The items offered are my designs. I individually select every gemstone for its color, proportions, and beauty. More gemstones are rejected than are kept and used. No item will be sent to you without my exacting review and approval. My heart is in this work and I want you to have a beautiful, substantial piece of jewelry art that will bring a memory of this area to your heart and which will last for generations to come.

Thank you for considering River’s Edge Gems.

Very Respectively,

Mike