The Magician of Lake Zurich 11

Timothy Siefert’s special brand of alchemy forges memories that touch the heart

Magic happens when Tim Siefert creates custom designs at Timothy Grant Jewelry in Lake Zurich. His efforts, however, start long before he folds his lean frame onto a stool at the ancient workbench that was built by his father long ago.

An award-winning Goldsmith and Platinumsmith who specializes in the design and craftsmanship of one-of-a-kind pieces, Siefert, who started as a jeweler in 1985, has carved out a very special niche; he takes old, unused items from clients to create re-born and treasured family heirlooms.

The transformation typically begins when a guest visits either the Schaumburg or Lake Zurich shop with a collection of jewelry that is no longer worn. Siefert assesses the items, gauging the quality and value of the pieces. Then a conversation begins with the guest. What are they looking for? Do they prefer every day casual or something more formal? Do they want a ring, bracelet, earrings, necklace or pin? Do they have a budget in mind?

Then, with pen and paper in hand, Siefert begins to sketch. Slowly the design takes shape, always with Siefert keeping an eye on how best to showcase treasured stones from the collection brought in by the guest.

Once a drawing is agreed upon the next step is to engage a computer artist who creates a two-dimensional, realistic drawing of the sketch. After another approval, the digital depiction goes to a diemaker who casts a mold. While this is happening, Siefert carefully extracts the stones to be used in the new piece. Gold or silver is weighed and assessed, and then prepared for shipment to a refinery.

When the mold is returned it is inspected thoroughly. If the mold captures all the nuances of the design, the desired precious metal is poured in to create a rough cast. That cast then undergoes hours of tedious effort by Siefert to trim, polish and prepare for the insertion of the stones into settings. Often Siefert needs to heat the still unfinished piece with his workbench torch, carefully working the metal until the desired design emerges.

After the stones are set there’s still lots of finishing work and treatments to the metal, but the piece is really starting to take shape. Only after hours of work over several weeks–and when Siefert is completely satisfied–will the client be invited back to the shop for a big reveal. That’s when his hard work and expertise really delivers a big payback for Siefert. It doesn’t always happen, but often enough tears well up in the eyes of the client when they receive a totally new, one-of-a-kind piece.

And then the Magician of Lake Zurich turns to his next project.

Timothy Grant Jewelry, with stores in Lake Zurich (155 N. Rand Road) and Schaumburg (10 S. Roselle Road), is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Learn more at timothygrants.com.