Our Q&A with Tami of Rough Gem – Handmade Victorian Jewelry

aftcra Featured Artisan Blog Cover - Rough Gem - neovictorian jewelry - druzy pyrite earrings - agate geode necklaces

We want to introduce you to an incredibly talented and funky jewelry designer – Tami from Rough Gem. With a variety of jewelry designs (handmade victorian jewelry and vintage and natural styles) ranging from beautiful agate geode necklaces for the more natural lady to sweet tiny bird earrings, there’s something for everyone!

With the holidays on our heels, this is the time to load up on handmade victorian jewelry – or more of a natural style – for Christmas gifts or for your holiday outfits. Rough Gem offers such a fabulous array of jewelry that you’ll totally find something perfect for the occasion. And to learn more about the person behind Rough Gem, read Tami’s interview below.

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1. Tell us about yourself and your company, Rough Gem

I am Tamera Gagne, my shop on aftcra is Rough Gem, and I have been a jewelry maker for 11 years. I usually create my work from home. I have a studio space in my house, but I’ll work anywhere: outside on nice days, as a passenger on a road trip, etc.

My background is in art and Art Education. I got started in jewelry making when I decided I would rather design my own jewelry than buy it. I tend to think that way with a lot of things, its just part of my creative, practical, and frugal nature.


2. How did you come up with the name, Rough Gem?

I have been a maker of many things in many venues under many different names (I sew, make ceramic work, I sell vintage, I make jewelry, etc.) I needed a name that I felt unified everything at one fell swoop. Rough Gem (also The Rough Gem) was a perfect name because it just worked with everything on different levels, along with describing myself.


3. How do you create your work?

With my hands, small tools, and small parts. Also gems, stones, crystal, fabric, metal, and the like are helpful.


4. What is the inspiration for your work?

When I browse for supplies, I’m inspired mainly by what I see potential in. Colorful stones or gems, for example, can get my mind working in what I could create with them, then going through trial and error in my head will determine if there is good reason to buy it. I can’t say sunsets or “ideas” or ethereal things inspire me, just what I see with my eyes.


Tami of Rough Gem - Handmade Victorian Jewelry and Agate Geode Necklaces on aftcra American made jewelry

5. As a small business owner, what is one piece of advice you would share with other small business owners?

Always be kind. Even If someone criticizes your work, that’s fine. You can’t please everyone, just enjoy what you do.


6. What is a quote that you personally live by, or you have shared with others for inspiration?

There are two secrets to success:

1. Never tell everything you know.

Rough Gem - Handmade Victorian Jewelry and Agate Geode Necklaces on aftcra American made jewelry 012


7. Why did you choose to join aftcra, and what do you enjoy about the community? 

I chose to join because I saw there was a venue that valued handmade, American-made products in a time when cheap, mass produced, foreign junk reigns king. The aftcra community has been a great place filled with positive people, as far as I’ve experienced.


8. What does “handmade” and “handcrafted” mean to you?

To me, if something is called “handmade” I expect it to be exactly that: hand made. There is so much to value in the work made by hand – the vision, the quality, the time, the investment, the successes and the failures. All of that from one person for you to love, give, or admire.


Get regular updates from Tami and Rough Gem! Connect with their social profiles here:

Twitter: @CrankHeartPony

Instagram: @the_rough_gem


Want to get featured on aftcra’s homepage! Interested in becoming aftcra’s Featured Store of the month? Send an email to info@aftcra.com and we will send you the requirements. All requests will be considered to become the next aftcra Featured Store.

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