I need great jewelry, so I’m Off to See the Wizard!

In a nutshell:

  • Exquisite jewelry with locally-acquired precious stones
  • A family business in Tombstone with a great start-up story
  • Wonderful Service in a welcoming town
  • What we bought: Gaspeite cactus-shaped earrings (because Sam loves all thing cactus-related, remember?) and a dendritic opal agate ring (photo below!)

Lucy Agave:

“I’d love to send you some interview questions via email!” I gushed to Kathy Paonessa in her jewelry store, The Wizard’s Workshop.

“Oh, that won’t work,” Kathy laughed amiably, “I just got rid of my computer!”

Sam and I couldn’t help but chuckle at her admission. Her store, like much of Old Tombstone, already made us feel like we were transported back in time.

But, in any decade, this much is true: Kathy, the co-founder and owner of The Wizard’s Workshop, has some interesting stories to share. For one thing, she has made and sold jewelry with her husband Don for 44 years, working with many stones Don had mined himself. (Kathy’s husband Don mined and prospected for a little over 35 years!) At one point many years ago, the Paonessa family house burnt down and they slept on a bar floor in Gleeson while their family business was first growing. “In some ways, we started this business from below the ground up,” Kathy commented.

Sam asked Kathy what her favorite piece was and with very little hesitation Kathy showed us a ring on her hand with a gorgeous fire agate stone. Her statement ring seems to glow green and yellow. It is no wonder her store is called “The Wizard’s Workshop”, her ring (and several others in the store) appears like something out of a fantasy world.

“You can really only find Fire Agate here in Arizona and maybe some places in Mexico” Kathy reminded us as she tapped the gemstone in her ring affectionately. Kathy gushed also about the local material she works with from Bisbee and Morenci and the talented Navajo craftsmen that she has worked alongside for thirty-plus years.

A lot like Fire Agate, the store “Wizard’s Workshop” is also precious. The quaint store is located on the corner of a street less than a block away from Allen Street in the Tombstone Historic District. The selection of jewelry is truly beautiful and my only qualm with the visit was the difficult decision in picking one piece of jewelry to take home.

  • Note that the unique black markings on the Dendritic Opal Agate stone are formed by plant/tree material
  • Sam’s notes:

    My family has been shopping at The Wizards Workshop for over 20 years so I was excited to take Lucy to check it out.  They specialize in gems local to Arizona, my parents have often shopped there for gifts for out of town friends, family, and guests.  On this visit I got a pair of sparkling labradorite and silver dangling earrings. I fear that some tourists might miss Wizards Workshop (which is not located on the main drag of Allen Street). I would recommend that anyone visiting Tombstone make Wizard’s Workshop a part of their trip (whether shopping for themselves or others).  They have a huge selection of locally sourced, handmade jewelry and their prices are great to boot. 

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