“And jewels, happy discoveries! The gleams of mineral colors and flashing facets of crystals. Gems to be sought and set: to forever play with light to mans delight, in never ending beams of purest green, or red, or blue, or yellow, and all that lives between. Light!” – Frank Lloyd Wright
Tula Gem’s aesthetic influences can be traced to Josie’s childhood. In her hometown of Pittsburgh, she frequented Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s famously designed house, as well as the Carnegie museum, where she was riveted by the amulets and talismans of the Byzantine Era. Her grandmother was a world traveler and avid stone collector whose wooded property was sprinkled with geodes, many still unopened and hinting at the mysteries within. Her godfather, an internationally renowned gem dealer, often permitted her to view his private collection, a stunning array of canary diamonds and other vividly colored precious stones.
Josie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Eastern Religions from Columbia University and a Doctorate from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine. While earning her medical degree, she came to an appreciation of the various energetic and healing properties of rocks. Later, John Paulas introduced her to the lapidary world and taught her to cut handmade beads from raw stone. Creating her own beads began as a creative outlet and counterpart to her medical education, but her “hobby” soon took on a life of its own. Josie’s gifts to loved ones attracted attention wherever they were seen and admirers began to commission custom pieces.
In 2003, Josie began to collaborate with Jerry Dale Campbell, a metal smith who creates and hand-hammers Tula Gem’s custom-alloyed 20- and 24-karat yellow gold and 12-karat “butter white” gold (created of equal parts fine gold and fine silver). An ever-increasing demand for her jewelry led to the creation of a studio. After several years of dividing her time between creating jewelry and practicing naturopathy, Josie realized that jewelry was her true passion and a full-time calling.
Today, Tula Gems is based in Portland, Oregon, with distribution throughout the Pacific Northwest.