Our Jewelry Store Story

Our Jewelry Store Story

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 years as the business grew.

The three of us all grew up on Kodiak Island in Alaska, and Dustin and Caroline were high school sweethearts. Even in high school, all three of them were always creating something. Dustin was welding sculptural lamps, George was creating animations with CAD, and Caroline was painting 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 during the recession, and 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 hours away from where Caroline was going to school.

Dustin took the opportunity and graduated with a degree in goldsmithing and a certificate in CAD (computer aided design). Already having jewelry experience prior to 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 a variety of techniques and see a project completed from start to finish. After a couple of years, he decided to start his own jewelry business, initially doing contract work for other local jewelers. Although this kept him busy, he realized that doing work for other jewelers meant he wasn’t seeing 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 often the finished piece just didn’t come together, as every maker has their own 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 actually made the piece. He had a vision of being able to work 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 had been working 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 to be valuable translating their ideas into a finished piece of jewelry. With her help, Dustin was able to decrease the work he was doing for other jewelers, and increase the work done directly with his customers.

Around the same time, George also left his job in construction 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. 

Now, Dustin has a creative, complementary team to provide a full custom jewelry experience from start to finish exclusively in our Portland studio. The three of us each have different artistic styles, so we create a wide variety of 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, nature and mythology inspired. This allows most customers to be able to work with us to create their own unique vision, all under one roof.