Stepping into the glorified garage that serves as Gem Steady’s studio and workspace is a bit like stepping into the jewelry-making version Willy Wonka’s legendary chocolate factory: there’s so much to take in that it’s almost overwhelming.
Robert and Brittany Stadtmiller started Gem Steady, a custom jewelry-making studio, in 2012. Both are from the area, but one look at their website or Instagram and it’s clear they’re not your traditional Midwestern jewelers. Their bold and inventive pieces—like the earrings and necklace commissioned for a Cincinnati Wedding magazine photo shoot—manage to expertly straddle the line between twinkly fairy princess and edgy rock chick. The oversized candy-colored stones adorning Brittany’s hands are the stuff a jewelry lover’s dreams are made of.
While Brittany takes care of the front-of-office client interaction as well as all of the marketing and business stuff, Robert handles most of the production. His background in building skate parks came in surprisingly handy as he learned the jewelry-making art from the ground up, starting with simple hammered metal pieces before progressing to more complex techniques like stone setting and custom molds. Lately, he’s really into pave. “Essentially, all I am is a bricklayer,” he says as he gestures to the impossibly tiny instruments and complicated-looking machinery used to precisely set small jewels. Now that he says it, they do look like sparkly masonry.
Currently, most of their work is custom (when I stopped by, Robert was setting a ring with a client’s wisdom teeth). Brittany guides clients through the design process and sends progress photos at each step for the 3-5 weeks it usually takes to create a specially-for-you piece.
For hands-on types, they’re starting to offer DIY classes, including a kid-friendly Precious Metal Clay workshop (you can mold silver, brass, or bronze clay into a piece and fire it in a kiln) and a more complex make-your-own wedding ring workshop, where couples can design and fashion their own bands, from melting metal to soldering. Talk about bonding!