An artist's stamp tells the history of the stones, mines, their tribes and eras. A future story is written when jewelry begins its intended life: worn as adornment or gifted to celebrate. My late Aunt Suzie built an exquisitely curated business on eBay, with a large following even without branding. She became known for her keen eye for things beautiful and unique. Now, our family brings the fruits of her labor into the light and her inventory into the world so that you can be the one who unites the past and future stories of these special pieces.
BEHIND HIGH DESERT TURQUOISE
ABOUT AUNT SUZIE
My Aunt Suzie was tenacious. She fought for what she believed in and
championed for those whose voices needed to be amplified. She survived family tragedy and cancer, but was always generous with her strength and left an extraordinary legacy of a strong personality... and a stunning Native American jewelry inventory.
Aunt Suzie graduated college against others’ advice, sued her company when they discriminated against women in the workplace, and campaigned against Topeka’s Westboro Baptist long before they were nationally known.
We believe the infinite stories of her spirited character from her finite time on this earth shaped the vast inventory she impeccably curated. Her unexpected death in the Summer of 2018 altered the trajectory of our family’s lives. This is our journey carrying on her Native American jewelry business.
“When they died they left no instructions, just a legacy to protect.”
ABOUT THE FAMILY
Lauren (middle) is the face behind the High Desert Turquoise Brand and will be the one you bump into at shows & events, having taken over her late Aunt Suzie's business.
Sisters Kelly (second to the right) and Jordan (far left) are happy to have a cheerleader role from the back seat. They happily beefed up their previously non-existent personal collections of turquoise and continue to rotate new pieces in and out.
It took a while before Roger (second to the left) came around to understanding the value/significance of his sister’s ‘eBay jewelry thing’. On a business trip to Santa Fe, his wife was able to point out how Aunt Suzie’s collection rivaled that at high end galleries. Fast forward another year, and he has now come to refer to it as “my jewelry”.
Turquoise was never what Esther (far right) thought she would do after retiring from the Ministry. She moved to Texas in the 70’s after being born and raised in New York. She met her husband Roger at UT in Austin and lived in Germany before relocating to the ‘what-the-heck-is-south-of-San-Antonio’ Rio Grande Valley.
When her three daughters were past grade school, she finished her degree in Social Work after three attempts at Algebra. Many years later, she was finally able to pursue the call to become a certified Pastor. She has spent the last 10+ years in a neighboring small town’s sweet church watching their children grow and burying their elders. She is excited for this next endeavor and will excel at handling correspondences as long as she steers clear of autocorrect on her phone.
MORE ABOUT LAUREN
Lauren was born and raised on the Texas-Mexican border and moving to Kansas City, an hour away from her Aunt Suzie, was coincidental. Her father laughed when the place she wished to study opera was in the Midwest, a place he sought to escape as soon as he could. Her creative path led her to working at the Lyric Opera, UMKC’s Conservatory of Music, Quixotic, and Hallmark before spending 3 years at a prominent non-profit for hunger relief in Community Engagement. She and her Italian husband spend their time at his honky tonk music performances, scolding their cats and going to Cargo Largo.
Lauren is the face behind High Desert Turquoise and the person you bump into at shows & events.
RUTH: SHE'S IN CHARGE
Ruth carved herself a spot at High Desert Turquoise not because she was a regular customer with impeccable taste but because she realized Lauren was never set up on time at the beginning of popups so she strategically came early to help finish setting up.
Ruth is a longstanding rockhound with a fantastic budding Native American jewelry collection. Her knowledge and researh predated Lauren's predated Lauren's.
When Ruth isn't the mastermind behind a turquoise business, she spends time in outside Lee's Summit with her husband and their three kids - counting down the days until the annual June spent in South Texas.
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