NEW ULM - Springfield native Lori Gramentz has loved jewelry her whole life.
About five years ago she wanted to try making an ankle bracelet ... well, that was all it took to get her "hooked", so to speak, on making her own jewelry.
After Gramentz made her first ankle bracelet, she found some beads at Hobby Lobby in Mankato.
Lori Gramentz holds one of her favorite pieces of jewelery that she has made.Behind Gramentz is a display of her jewelery.
She taught herself how to make jewelry by looking at a lot of beading magazines to get ideas and inspirations.
"The semi-precious stones are so pretty," said Gramentz, "It blossomed from there ... I started making necklaces."
She works with stones like jade, agates, mother of pearl, crazy lace, jasper and many others.
"When you get them out in the sun they have character," said Gramentz.
She also likes to work with crystals, pearls, shells and spoons.
"I have lots of beads," said Gramentz.
About three years ago, Gramentz started selling her handmade jewelry pieces to others.
She now has her own business called "LG Designs," so she has been selling her beaded creations whenever she gets a chance.
She also sells some of her pieces at Lambrecht's Gifts downtown New Ulm, where she works on a part-time basis.
You can often find her jewelry at juried shows, craft and home shows, expos, and grape stomps at wineries. The greatest distances she has traveled to a show has been to the Cities and Watertown, S.D. (The juried show that she would really like to get into someday is held at Canterbury Downs.)
Gramentz also recently made an appearance at the "Warm Your Home-Based Business Expo" held in conjunction with Gibbon's WinterFest. The event was held Saturday, Jan. 14 at the South 80 Social Circle in Gibbon.
She said she was happy to sell 100 pieces of her handmade jewelry to Jackpot Junction Casino. When asked to, Gramentz is able to make customized wedding jewelry for brides, bridesmaids and also mother-of-the brides. She can also make jewelry for babies for their baptismal day.
Gramentz can also take orders for other customers for customized handmade pieces of jewelry.
The necklaces she makes for people are typically about 16-18 inches long.
"People can pick their own stones, colors ... with any design in mind," said Gramentz. "I like to try new things with my tools."
She has been doing a wire wrapping technique for the past four years now.
This past September she made a necklace for Miss Minnesota.
Her absolute favorite piece of jewelry she has ever made has been a three strand beaded necklace with some crystal pieces and some semi-precious jasper stones in it.
"There's so many different types of jasper," said Gramentz.
Gramentz works mostly with silver plated metals to make it more cost effective for her customers. She has also done some sterling silver pieces, but that does get expensive to sell to others due to the cost of the materials.
"I've always loved jewelry," said Gramentz, "I've got jewelry from way back when ... I don't want to get rid of it."
She will often go to antique stores or garage sales to find beads and unique pieces for her jewelry-making she said. She also likes to shop at local hobby stores and also online at wwwfiremountaingems.com.
Gramentz is married to Brian Gramentz, who is the City of New Ulm's City Manager.
They have three children: son Ben (and wife Megan) who are living in Robbinsdale (he is a deputy sheriff in Carver County); son Kristopher is working/studying in the field of personnel in Mankato; and daughter Jessica (recently married to her husband Geoffrey) lives near Kristopher in Mankato. Jessica makes hair bows to sell along with her mother's jewelry. Many times Jessica will go to help her mother sell jewelry at various shows.
Gramentz said she received a rock tumbler machine for Christmas this past December.
"It's a new, fun toy," said Gramentz.
She has been using it to polish stones she finds on various motorcycle trips she takes with her husband.
"This will be interesting to see how they (the rocks) turn out," said Gramentz.
It is a several week process to tumble the stones. The stones tumble in the machine 24 hours a day, seven days a week in a special solution for each specific week.
"I love waterfalls," said Gramentz, "We traveled to the Grand Canyon ... the lakes .. the ocean."
She especially loves to find stones around lakes while they are traveling around the country. Her favorite area to travel to has been the West. For their 30th wedding anniversary the couple went on a three-week 5,000 mile trip out West.
She also likes to return home with antique spoons from their travels.
Gramentz was born and raised in Springfield. She and her husband have also lived in places like Mankato, Winsted, Sioux Center, Iowa, Hudson, Wis. and they finally came to call New Ulm "home" about 11 years ago.
To contact Lori for customized jewelry pieces or for more information you may call her at (507)-304-2942 (cell) or you can email her at LGDESIGNS7@GMAIL.COM
Gramentz said she is working on building a website for her jewelry business.