Dick Wolfe wasn’t always a jewelry maker. He used to conduct investigations for the attorney general in Phoenix and he said he has even had grenades thrown into his office and all of his car tires slashed.
“It didn’t scare me so much as it did my wife,” Wolfe said. However, now she gets first pick of Wolfe’s jewelry, so perhaps that begins to compensate.
She is Wolfe’s model and he said people bought every piece of jewelry his wife wore at one show. “I’m glad they didn’t like her dress,” Wolfe joked.
Wolfe makes rings and earrings, necklaces and pendants that are all on display at Artists of the Rim Fine Art Gallery.
“I’ve always had desk jobs and was in law enforcement,” Wolfe said. “I just never had anything to show for all my work.”
Making jewelry relaxes him, and shining stones from raw beauty into cultured refinement pleases him. “It’s very, very calming.”
Wolfe likes amethyst the best. “It’s hard to work with and when I get done, it’s beautiful.”
One piece of the purple stone he tumbled for one year, continuously until it was polished to perfection. “You usually burn out at least one motor,” Wolfe said.
Interesting stones from far away places add intrigue to the hobby. He searches gem shows to find them, though some of the stones he uses are found locally.
Rhodochrosite’s regal pale pink is interrupted by sandlike cream lines, pink tourmaline’s translucent glow apparently appeals to many. Wolfe said that pink tourmaline is becoming very popular.
Not all of the stones Wolfe uses are pink, of course. He makes turquoise bolo ties — the official state tie — uses blue topaz and green peridot.
“I work strictly in sterling silver,” he said.
Wolfe worked as a San Diego police officer for several years before he moved to Phoenix. Once in the Valley of the Sun, faced with a waiting list for joining the police force, Wolfe found himself working as an investigator for the attorney general’s brand new consumer fraud division.
He eventually became a chief special agent and investigated the meat industry as they colluded for higher prices and was with the attorney general when Don Bolles, an investigative reporter that Wolfe went to church with, was murdered, apparently because of the story he was investigating.
“I’ve got boxes and boxes of files and when some of these people die I’ll write about them,” Wolfe said. “Otherwise I’ll get sued.”
However, Wolfe says he enjoys his new, albeit more low-key life. He is the Payson Roundup’s newest freelance writer and he makes his jewelry.
He cuts and solders, polishes and designs, then displays.
“I’m getting more and more into faceted jewelry,” he said. Many of Wolfe’s pieces are available for under $100.
“I like what I’m doing very much right now,” he said.