Joe Rhames has been in the jewelry business since the 1970s. His career started with jewelry repair and gradually led into the craft of jewelry making. Joe best describes himself as a watchmaker’s son. Working under his father, Joe learned the processes of sizing rings and setting diamonds, which gradually led him into developing unique hand crafted pieces. We were first introduced to Joe through Marcus Wiley, a good friend and a craft belt-maker located just outside of Charlottesville, VA. We collaborated with Marcus to create The Free Union Belt, the first piece of the Commonwealth Collection- a series of accessories made in collaboration with other Virginia-based artisans. Joe cast all of our white bronze buckles for belt and we were able to witness his immense talent first hand. We got excited about collaborating on our next addition to the Commonwealth Collection, cuff links. Joe has a natural talent and aptitude for the craft of jewelry making. He went to several schools to enhance his knowledge of basic processes, but much of his craft comes from experience. “You can do this better,” is steady on Joe’s mind, always striving to make each piece better than the last. Solving problems is Joe’s favorite part of the process. “Solving problems often becomes part of the design. If you can solve a problem, you can design something a little more complicated because you know how to do it.” Such dedication is evident in Joe’s work. Our cuff links have a unique “little flipper,” as Joe refers to it, that he has only seen from one other company during his entire career. Being the true craftsman that he is, Joe also hand carved our cuff link box from cedar trees on his farm. We’re incredibly happy with the finished product and we hope you will be, too. Take a look at a video of our visit with Joe here: The Commonwealth Collection, Ledbury + Joe Rhames View the finished cuff links here: Monroe Cuff Links
June 07, 2012 — Mel Calabro