Hutcherson Goldsmithing is a family-run jewelry store founded in 2013 by Dustin Hutcherson. Dustin’s wife, Caroline, and brother-in-law, George, joined him in the next couple of years as the business grew.
All three grew up on Kodiak Island in Alaska, and Dustin and Caroline were high school sweethearts. Even in high school, they were always creating something. Dustin was welding sculptural lamps, George created CAD animations, and Caroline painted flowers.
Dustin and Caroline took jewelry and metalsmithing classes together in college in Alaska. One of their jewelry teachers claimed that one day they would have a successful jewelry store together “with Caroline’s designs and Dustin’s technical skills.”
Caroline was already on a path into healthcare and went to physical therapy school in Montana. It was 2008, and during the recession, Dustin struggled to find consistent work, bouncing between jobs in Montana and Alaska. He was doing construction, maintenance, welding and fabrication, and working on snowmobiles. He even got hired at a jewelry store before it closed down. He then discovered a jewelry program a couple of hours away from Caroline’s school.
Journey to Goldsmithing
Dustin took the opportunity and graduated with a degree in goldsmithing and a certificate in CAD (computer-aided design). Already having jewelry experience before this program, he excelled and graduated early. His teachers then connected him to a jeweler in Portland who hired him in their fast-paced jewelry repair shop.
Dustin continued to make jewelry for his friends and family out of his garage. He loved that creating custom jewelry allowed him to utilize various techniques and see a project completed from start to finish. After a few years, he started his own jewelry business, initially doing contract work for other local jewelers. Although this kept him busy, he realized that working for other jewelers meant he didn’t see a piece from start to finish. Sometimes, he would only do one aspect of the piece, such as creating the design and wax, handing it off to someone else to finish. This would mean that the finished piece often didn’t come together, as every maker has their interpretation of what it should look like. Other times he would complete the whole piece but then give it to another store to take all the credit; the customer would have no idea that Dustin made the piece. He had a vision of working directly with clients, controlling every step of the process, and ensuring the best outcome and experience for every customer and every piece.
During this time, Caroline worked as a physical therapist in Portland. When Dustin’s growing business needed extra help, Caroline jumped at the opportunity to join him. She slowly started decreasing her hours in healthcare as she built a small showroom out of one room in the shop and began working with custom clients directly to put designs on paper. Her experience working one-on-one with clients proved valuable in translating their ideas into a finished piece of jewelry. With her help, Dustin could decrease his work for other jewelers and increase the work done directly with his customers.
Around the same time, George left his construction job and moved to Portland. He started apprenticing with Dustin to learn about goldsmithing and jewelry creation. He had already taught himself CAD in high school and learned how to apply his artistic maker talents to jewelry. His approach to jewelry making is incredibly detail-oriented and technical. This worked well with Dustin’s commitment to exquisite quality and something we all would be proud to put our name on.
Dustin has a creative, complementary team to provide a complete custom jewelry experience from start to finish exclusively in our Portland studio. The three have different artistic styles and create various finished jewelry. Dustin’s designs are detailed, vintage-inspired, and colorful; Caroline’s designs are clean, modern, and low-profile; George’s designs are organic, natural, and mythology-inspired. This enables customers to work with Hutcherson Goldsmithing to create their unique vision, all under one roof!