Based in the United States, the foundation for Rock Climbing Jewelry is a family jewelry manufacturing business started by Virgil and Marcella in 1955.
In 1967 they moved the business, Horn's Jewelry, from the San Fernando Valley of Southern California to a small gold mining claim in a remote canyon near the heart of the Trinity Alps Wilderness area in the western reaches of far Northern California, to both be closer to a supply of gold, and to raise their family in a self-reliance setting.
My two brothers and I quickly learned to make do with limited materials, and to, ironically, become shade tree engineers, and techno geeks of a sort. Our Dad, Virgil always let us use his delicate jewelry tools, I am sure cringing at times, but this gave us the skills to later use in making technical climbing jewelry.
In the late 1980's Joel, Kell and I joined up with our local search and rescue team, mostly as communication specialists, because we found that in this rugged area of California communication was very difficult and with our years of working with Ham Radio, we felt that we could be of some use in aiding the team.
It was this step in our lives that sparked Rock Climbing Jewelry.
I was intrigued by all the high angle equipment that we were using on our local search and rescue team. Since the carabiner was at the heart of all rigging, I wondered if a silver carabiner was something that we could make in the family's jewelry shop. I designed and cast in silver a simple version that had no moving parts.
It turned out, and our first sale was made in May of 1994 to a fellow search and rescue member, Lisa, who loved it.
Inspired by the success of our artistic carabiner, Joel designed what is now the heart of our climbing jewelry line. It was a functional solid sterling silver locking D miniature carabiner, and with all working parts this quickly became a best seller.
We found in 1998 when we first went live with our website, our climbing jewelry keywords on Google kept being flagged as not suitable. But we persisted with pioneering them, and eventually "Climbing Jewelry" became ubiquitous around the internet.
Over the years we have refined our product line and have made many dies, jigs, and tools to help upgrade our quality. We use many tools and processes, but have found that to keep quality high, nothing does away with hand work.
We have found that our commitment to quality and service have brought us praise from our customers around the world.
The biggest reward for us was to find out how really great our customers are.
You have been, honest, polite, understanding, and helpful. This has created an atmosphere that makes us strive to make our products and service better and better.
Mom and Dad are gone now, but we have added Karen and Crystal to the family, and we would be lost without their help in design, accounting, editing, invoicing, and customer relations.
Sincerely, Gaines Horn - April 29, 2019