Lapidary & Jewelry Designer
Meet Nicole Barnard, the creative mind behind I Heart Gemstones. She is an amazing woman who has been married to her supportive husband for over 25 years. Together, they raised their children with love and dedication, and now that they are empty-nesters, they enjoy spending time on hobbies that bring joy to others. Despite being an Information Technology Consultant and Database Engineer by day, Nicole has never given up on her passion for gemstones, and she always seeks to uncover the unique story that each one has to tell.
In 2017, Nicole and her husband moved to North Carolina, where they fell in love with the state's beautiful mountains and beaches. During her recovery from medical treatments, Nicole visited many gem mining locations throughout North Carolina, and with every visit, she developed a deeper appreciation for the art of identifying and shaping gemstones. Her passion for panning and rock hunting led her to learn how to make the rocks shine by cabbing, faceting, and jewelry making.
During a difficult time, Nicole coined the phrase, "When life gives you rocks, make them shine. ©" Little did she know that this phrase would resonate with people worldwide, especially during the unprecedented events of 2020.
Nicole started sharing her designs with her family and friends on Facebook, and everyone loved her creations. Encouraged by their support, Nicole turned her hobby into a small business, and "I Heart Gemstones ©" was born in April 2021. As you can see on her website, Nicole's prices are kept affordable, just slightly above cost, because she believes that everyone deserves to own something uniquely crafted with love. Her husband, William, who is retired, oversees the tumbling process and ensures that every rock shines bright. They now have interns helping with many aspects of the business, and they plan to offer lessons on how to make rocks shine, how they are formed, and where they come from.
Despite having a full-time job, Nicole still finds time to make rocks shine on nights and weekends. She says, "It may take a little longer than a larger, full-fledged business, but knowing the story and heart of the person who cut your gemstones and/or designed your jewelry leaves an anecdote you can't find in a big box storefront." Nicole loves to meet the people who receive her creations and welcomes them to visit her lab and meet her in person (by appointment only).
Nicole's story is a testament to the fact that even when life gives you rocks, you can make them shine. Her passion, dedication, and love for her craft are truly inspiring.