We were honored to be interviewed by David and Cameron of Tangelo Studio for ELEMENTS, the Houston Museum of Natural Science's holiday gift guide!
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Eco-Conscious Fossil Jewelry Inspired by Alaska's Rich Heritage
In the heart of Fairbanks, Alaska, where the icy waters of the Yukon River flow, a young Kurt Tripp discovered a passion that would forever shape his life. Little did he know that his childhood fascination with mammoth tusks unearthed by spring floods would eventually lead to the creation of Ivory Jacks, a renowned jewelry company specializing in eco-conscious fossil jewelry, that he started with his wife Francine over 45 years ago.
That spirit of entrepreneurship runs throughout the Tripp family. At just nine years old, Kurt and Francine’s daughter, Courtney Tripp Reeder, embarked on her entrepreneurial journey by setting up shop in front of her family’s Alaskan store fronts selling friendly plastic jewelry under the name "The Lonely Otter." Today, Courtney is Ivory Jacks' lead jewelry designer, bringing a deep love for eco-conscious materials and timeless design to the brand.
Ivory Jacks works with local carvers, scrimshaw artists and scrimshanders who carve and decorate timeless treasures of art. They boast a diverse catalog of over a thousand unique styles of jewelry, knives, cufflinks, ulus, art carvings, and more. Ivory Jack’s popular jewelry line captivates lovers of art everywhere with its use of mammoth and fossil walrus ivories, naturally shed moose antler, mammoth tooth, 14kt gold, sterling silver, and precious and semi-precious stones. All chosen with a commitment to preserving the environment and honoring the past.
“It’s important to me to really showcase the natural beauty of these incredible ancient fossils and found materials when I’m designing. The focal point of each piece of jewelry is the prehistoric woolly mammoth tusk or tooth, fossil walrus ivory or oosik, or naturally shed moose antler. We finish with high quality rhodium plated sterling silver, solid 14kt gold, and sometimes accent with gemstones, but the fossils are what truly makes Ivory Jacks pieces so special.” says Courtney.
By utilizing eco-conscious materials and collaborating with local artisans, Ivory Jacks not only creates exquisite jewelry but also plays a vital role in preserving the rich heritage of the region. With each piece, Ivory Jacks continues to share the timeless beauty of ancient fossils and found materials with the world.