Marc Howard might not be the master jeweler he is if he had found a great journalism job after graduating from Colorado State University.
“I looked for a job in places like Boston and D.C., and when I couldn’t find one, I went back to Cleveland where my parents were living and got a job running a silversmithing shop,” he recalls.
Howard has been creating works of art with metals and stones in Santa Fe for more than two decades and is the master jeweler at his store Marc Howard Custom Jewelry Design, which moved in May from Montezuma Avenue to a slightly smaller space at 1413 Paseo de Peralta, Suite D.
“At my Montezuma location, I had a lot of walk-ins for little jobs like simple silver repairs as well as custom work,” he explains. “I’m 64 years old, and I’m at a point in my life where I want to focus only on custom work.”
Howard began learning the basics of silversmithing when he was 16 years old and selling his own leatherwork, beadwork and macramé at art festivals in the Cincinnati area. He entered college thinking he would be a history major but shifting to journalism. He took metal classes in the college’s art department to fill out his schedule. “By the time I graduated, I had taken all the metal classes that were offered,” he says.
When he moved to Cleveland to temporarily live with his parents, he had the skills necessary to secure his first jewelry job. He spent several years fabricating jewelry as a production manager at one company and learned how to do jewelry casting while working at another company.
A pivotal point in his career came when a ring he made, which had been carved out of wax, cast in silver and had an amethyst stone set in it, was entered into and selected to be shown in a special Cleveland Museum of Art show.
“Having my ring in the museum show was a confidence-building experience,” he says. “I decided I wanted to leave the East and move to Santa Fe, where I knew some really good jewelers were working.”
Howard moved to Santa Fe in 1988 with cash in his pocket and a truckload of tools. He worked for a few of Santa Fe’s well-known jewelers and ran a downtown wholesale studio with two other jewelers for a number of years before setting up his own store on Montezuma Avenue in 2004.
“I have the knack of being able to pull out of people what they want when they request custom work,” he says. “I usually make a few drawings and ask questions, especially when clients aren’t able to clearly envision what they’re looking for. I can create pieces in almost any jewelry style.”
Giving new life to old family jewelry is one of Howard’s specialties. “I’ve taken family heirlooms with beautiful gems and redesigned them to become more contemporary, yet timeless, pieces,” he adds.
To reach Howard’s 1413 Paseo de Peralta studio by phone, call 505.820.1080.