Ron Hightower’s first career training was as an airline pilot. December 2006 marked 35 years of professional flying, 32 years as an airline pilot. Ron retired from Alaska Airlines in 2008. His jewelry career began with a ring project for his son Dave Hightower in 1996. Many years later Ron pursues jewelry with the same passion and dedication of his first career. “The tools and materials are different, but I get the same satisfaction when the job turns out well.”
“You must love making beautiful pieces of art, first.” “All the rest is a matter of training and dogged determination.” Each piece that leaves iBuildRings is made as if for a family member. It is meant to bring pleasure for a lifetime. Ron Hightower believes jewelry is personal, and personally meaningful. “I especially enjoy including the wearer in the design process whenever possible.” “The piece becomes meaningful in a special way to that person after that.”
Ron Hightower has been trained by some of the world’s finest jewelers including Blaine Lewis, New Approach School of Jewelers; Kate Wolf, Kate Wolf Designs; Marty Rabino, GRS Engraving; Vasken Tanielian, respected wax artist Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts.
He has assembled a first class jewelry art studio with state of the art tools. His shop is set up for wax carving, casting, stone setting, engraving, and fabrication. All the close work is done under a microscope.
“I was greatly impressed by the work of a Navajo silversmith from the 1860’s. He produced the finest silver work in the country at that time. I saw a picture of the tools he had worked with. There was a a ball peen hammer with a broken handle, and a small assortment of worn-out hand tools. This man had real talent. He didn’t need fancy tools. He had fully mastered the ones he had. That’s the talent I would like to develop by the end of my life. My hat is off to him!”
Until then, hard work, good tools, and on-going training are the way for iBuildRings to produce consistently beautiful, wearable jewelry.
We asked Ron Hightower what got him interested in jewelry. “I think it was the squeal of delight from my niece, Rene, when she got the first necklace that did it for me.” “It’s the look on their face when they first see a piece that keeps me going!”