Wholly Grail Gems are designed by me, Lauri Gray Eaton, a San Antonio-based journalist-turned-jewelry maker.
With a degree from the acclaimed University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism, I spent nearly two decades writing news and features and editing for a variety of publications in Missouri and Texas. I spent many of those years in the medical writing field, particularly fascinating and challenging work that also entails a certain amount of stress. It was from that stress that Wholly Grail was born.
My stress therapy, adopted years ago in the form of cheap plastic beads from Hobby Lobby, quickly segued into a passion in a slightly more pricy form, pearls and gemstones from all over the world. I have now permanently abandoned the stress in favor of the passion. Now I can truly say I am in the business of giving other people pleasure.
Pearls are my birthstone, perhaps one of the reasons I am fond of them, but that's not the whole story. As I began to study pearls, their qualities and their lore, I found them to be a fascinating gem with seemingly endless incarnations. Today's market produces not just the pearls of the sea, the akoyas, but also a kaleidescope of shapes and colors from freshwater mollusks. It is the latter with which I primarily work to create elegant-yet-affordable pieces that you will be proud to wear for years, even decades. Freshwater pearls, products of nature and a little encouragement, are genuine pearls formed from the same substances and in the same process as saltwater pearls. Because freshwater mollusks tend to produce many more pearls than their saltwater kin, these pearls tend to be much more affordable while still quite beautiful.
Gemstones used in Wholly Grail jewelry include amethyst, aquamarine, citrine, garnet, iolite, jasper, peridot, quartz, topaz and some stones you may never have heard of, much less seen. They are chosen for their beauty and durability.
I strive to create designs that are timeless and classic ... yet not your mother's set of pearls. The prevalent use of Bali sterling silver, painstakingly crafted by artisans on the other side of the world, provides refreshing diversion from the pearls' prim-and-proper patina and the too-often staid stance of faceted and round gemstones.
If you came to this site expecting to see recipes for mead, online medieval jousting or links to Renaissance festivals, I am afraid I will disappoint. Wholly Grail Gems is my tongue-in-cheek allusion to one of the most sought-after objects in history. If you came to see, and perhaps purchase, a treasure you will enjoy for a lifetime, then (unlike the Holy Grail itself, which remains elusive) you have found it!
All the best, all the time!
Lauri Gray Eaton
Wholly Grail Gems
Certified Pearl Specialist
Cultured Pearl Association of America