Jewelry From the Sea
Wampum and Other Treasures

Like a busy seaport, new pieces arrive at the Emporium all the time, while others sail away to new homes. Most of the jewelry is made by Curt and Sandy Gates, who have been designing and making jewelry for more than 35 years. Born and brought up near Wickford, they love to use local materials — and combine them with other gems like amethyst and pearls.

Designer Jewelry
for Mermaids of the Sea
and Ladies of the Land

Mermaid with mirror to see her jhewelry from the sea.

designer quahog shell pendant This pendant features a beautifully banded piece of quahog shell, which has been hand-cut and polished. A sterling-silver replica of a slice of conch shell spirals the shell's purple lines upward.

quahog shell and turquoise necklace Here's a good example of the "East Meets West" theme, which combines the purple and white of Rhode Island quahog shell with the blue of Arizona turquoise.

quahog gem wih silver quahog shell When you start carving a piece of quahog shell , you never know how deep the purple will go, or how the banding will evolve. This piece of Rhode Island shell yielded a wonderful "bullseye" pattern, and it was combined with a sterling-silver replica of a quahog shell that was found along the Wickford shore of Narragansett bay.

mabe pearl Every collection of gems from the sea needs a pearl or two. This is a mabe pearl, which formed on the inside of a South Seas black-lip oyster shell, which we cut and shaped to mirror the teardrop contour of the pearl. The piece has a handmade sterling seting.

Pendants of fossil shark tooth and quahog shell The pendant on the left features a fossil shark tooth from Morocco and a vintage teardrop of natural (not dyed) red coral. The pendant on the right has a matrix of polished quahog shell. With the high price of silver these days, they are mounted on leather to keep the costs down and still provide a beautiful and substantial piece of jewelry. Each pendant has an invisible sheet of red brass sandwiched between two pieces of leather to give strength to the piece.

Rare quahog shell with tree-like pattern. One of the most rare and unusual patterns in a quahog shell are tree-like pictures, which scientists call dendrites. Only one shell in thousands will have these scenes, and they have to be shaped and polished very carefully to preserve them. This pendant has an amethyst stone that accents the purple in the shell. The sterling setting was made just for these two gems. Few people are aware that these "picture shells" even exist.

fossil ivory sea monster Some of the jewelry has its connection to the sea by leather made from stingray skin, which has a hard, pebbled surface, and was used in the handles of Samuri swords. (This stingray, a food source in Asia, is not endangered.) The emerging sea monster is carved from the tip of a 30,000-year-old tusk of a wooly mammoth.

Quahog shell pendant with stgerling silver lobster Many of our designer pieces include silver creatures of the sea: lobsters, crabs, starfish — or quahogs. Some are visible, like this one. Others are secretive, hiding on the back of the piece, where their presence is your secret.