Dungeness artist rocks

— image credit:
Sequim Gazette

Coffee Miklos loves rocks, both the precious gemstones he worked with for 32 years and the stones he finds on the beach.

As a member of the Gemology Institute of America, he designed jewelry using precious gems on the East Coast and in Arkansas and Tennessee. The most expensive piece he created was a ruby necklace that sold for $750,000.

Miklos first studied to become a furniture designer at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. That didn’t work because Miklos’ hands were acidic and he kept tarnishing the tools. He next tried glass blowing and finally got into the jewelry designing program.

In later years, he and his wife, Pat, went on fishing trips around the country looking for a place to retire. As they were sitting on Second Beach watching the fog reveal and then cover various features of the landscape, they knew they had found the place they sought.

Art’s a beach
Like many people, Miklos became intrigued with the stones he found on the beach, and he decided they would make beautiful jewelry. Unlike most, though, Miklos has the skills, tools and ability to design and produce the jewelry he envisions.

His beach jewelry is a staple at the Port Townsend Farmers Market and can be seen at The Blue Whole Gallery, 129 W. Washington St.

Miklos drills the stones to make necklaces, bracelets and key rings. He also cuts small stones to mount as earrings. Sometimes he adds semi-precious stones.

All his jewelry incorporates the spirit of water, from mist gathering into droplets on branches to the waves around a kelp bed. Each piece is unique and has a story attached to it, which Miklos will be glad to tell when you stop to look. Many of his necklaces show water cleaving rocks.

‘Jewelry by pizza’
He has invented a form of metalwork he calls “jewelry by pizza.” A small piece of metal serves as the “dough,” small round pieces of the metal serve as the “pepperoni,” and saved metal shavings are the “cheese.”

The piece is baked to form what Miklos refers to as “frog skin” ­— just one metal work form he’s invented — from which he makes a variety of jewelry.

One kind of rock he’s found only on the peninsula he calls “turtle rocks” — light green rocks with raised yellow spots. They make unusual pendants and earrings.

However, Miklos has branched out. He also is a blacksmith who makes many of his own tools for working with rocks. He realized he could use only pebbles for jewelry but so many larger rocks were equally beautiful.

Limitless uses
Miklos takes hand-size rocks, drills holes into their backs, and fits them with screws to make drawer pulls, lamp finials, coat hooks or towel holders. Their possibilities are almost unlimited.
One woman uses them as picture hangers, hanging her pictures below the rocks.

Miklos drills larger rocks and stacks them on spindles to make functional yard art. While they decorate a garden, they also serve as guards to keep hoses away from flowers. He also makes garden mobiles from large rocks.

Miklos employs his blacksmithing skills to form large yard snails, and this spring he will make whales and quails to add whimsy to gardens.

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