By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Suzan Robinson has a huge passion, a passion for rocks and minerals. That love encompasses everything from precious gem stones to fossils and petrified wood. It has been a passion of her’s for more than 20 years and now, she has brought that that to Newkirk, as she has opened her own business downtown, offering not only unique gems and other stones, but also homemade jewelry, paintings and other collectibles.
Robinson opened Blue Ember Creations on Main Street April 10.The store is a culmination of more than 20 years of collecting rocks and gyms, jewelry and paintings.
“I’m like most kids, picking up shells out of rock piles,” she said. “When they’d bring in a load, I’d pick up shells, fossils.”
Robinson is from Parkerfield, Kan., east of Arkansas City, but has long root in the Newkirk community. She worked at the Newkirk Farmers & Ranchers Livestock Auction for 25 years, under Bill Olsen and Gary Potter, retiring about seven years ago, she said.
During that time, she has nurtured that passion, traveling all over the Great Plains in search of the perfect stones, not just in Oklahoma, but also Kansas, North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri, but those stones are hardly the only ones she has collected.
“I recently acquired a new site, and have been pulling petrified wood out of east Kansas,” she said.
There are a variety of stones and precious gems at her shop, including fossils and petrified wood, geodes, obsidian, amethysts and quartz. Some specimens can be purchased individually, others she crafts into handmade jewelry, setting precious gems into everything from necklaces to earrings, in a method known as cold forging, flattening wire around a stone to hold it in place. Most often it is brass or sterling silver.
Prior to COVID-19, she had long been selling her wares at many farmers markets and craft shows, and many vendors became close friends along the way, who helped her obtain more specimens.
“I dig for part of them, and part of them I buy online,” she said. “I have a whole lot of friends that go across the Untied States, doing mineral shows, too. I contact them.”
Same of those items she acquires are from far-flung places, from South America to Africa, and are currently available at her shop.
She discovered the opportunity to have her own shop through Carolyn Khale, of Carolyn’s Then and Now, an antique store next door. She has been working part time for Kahle. She soon got in contact with a Mario Vargas, who owned the building. Vargas was excited about the opportunity, as she offered something not already available in Newkirk.
“We’re just glad to get someone over there who has different merchandise,” he said.
Shirley Vargas added, “Newkirk does need new businesses in town, with a variety, because what we don’t have (at Finders Keepers), they may have there.”
Blue Embers Creations also offers paintings, antiques and collectibles, with merchandise increasing over time. Hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday – Sunday, with hours potentially increasing during the summer months.
“I would be glad to have you come in. If we don’t have it, we can probably get it,” she said.