Korner Gem offers jewelry made from local stones

FRANKFURT – Focused on local stones, such as Petoskey, Frankfort Green and Leelanau Blue stones, Korner Gem Frankfort offers an assortment of rings, pendants, bracelets, earrings, beads, gifts, souvenirs and just the stones they themselves.

Located in downtown Frankfurt at Sunbeams of Promise’s former location at 327 Main St. Korner Gem opened in late spring 2020.

“We sell a lot of unique local stones,” said Kevin Gauthier, owner of Korner Gem. “Leeland blue, Frankfort green; those are some of the big sellers.”

Gauthier said Frankfort green is a green slag formed in the region around Crystal Lake, the byproduct of ore smelting during the 1800s when making railroad tracks and saws for logging. , as well as everyday items like axes and horseshoes.

“This color is unique to this region,” he said. “You can find this green in other areas where there was a steel smelting process, namely Cadillac and Leeland. There are some unique colors in these areas, but Frankfort green is unique in this area. .”

Gauthier said no one stone type has been the dominant seller at Korner Gem’s Frankfort location, but pendants seem to be popular.

“We sell a lot of pendants here, pendants framed in silver,” he said. “It’s economical, it’s in that $100 range. It’s a good price for tourists. We find that this store sells a much wider variety of stones than we do, compared to the store in Traverse City. , which is mostly Petoskey stone and Leeland blue. I think people in this store are a bit more open to buying other types of material.”

Gauthier, a professional stonemason, said he had artisans working with him on his staff, each specializing in a different aspect of jewelry making, such as beadwork or design. He also works with artisans that he does not employ.

He said a good portion, more than half of the store’s inventory, was made by Korner Gem employees. However, they work with other materials like turquoise, lapis and opal which they buy ready to be placed.

“We can make it, we can modify it, we can cut it, but I’m mostly focused on Petoskey stones,” he said. “That’s going to be our focal point.”

Korner Gem Frankfurt also offers ring sizing, watch battery replacement, and basic jewelry repair on-site.

Gauthier established the Korner Gem Frankfort site in April 2020, but did not open until late May due to pandemic restrictions.

“We opened for a few days, but we actually started setting hours from late May to early June,” he said.

Gauthier said he wanted Korner Gem to remain open year-round in Frankfurt, rather than only being open during the summer months.

“We didn’t want to be a store that came in and just toured three months a year and only served tourists,” he said. “We have remained open year-round to serve the local community as well.”

As for why Gauthier opened a second store in Frankfurt, he said a relationship with the owners of Sunbeams of Promise, a jewelry store that once occupied the Korner Gem site, opened the door to new possibilities.

“We wholesaled and supplied some of the masonry to the Sunbeams of Promise who were here,” he said. “They approached us about this place. We knew Frankfort was a growing community and thought it was a good opportunity to test the waters.”

Gauthier said his journey as a stonemason and jewelry-maker began as a child picking up stones on the beach.

“I started doing stuff with them because my parents said ‘do something with the rocks or we’re going to have to throw them away. You’ve got a lot of them’,” he said. “I didn’t give up on the hobby. I graduated from Michigan State University, went to Chicago, worked in the corporate world for the Monsanto Nutrisweet division. I decided to leave the corporate world, to return to Traverse City and start a store 22 years ago.”

Gauthier said he is happy to be part of the Frankfurt community and hopes it will lead to a long-term business.

“The community has been very receptive and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback,” he said. “I thank the locals for so much of the support throughout the offseason.”

Korner Gem’s Traverse City location is at 13031 S. Fisherman Cove Traverse City. Visit the website at kornergem.com.

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