Gail Blüm walks around Duluth with a Menards’ tool belt strapped around her waist, picking up uniqely shaped rocks to take back to her workshop. One of her favorite locations is by Canal Park. "I usually leave the beach with pants that are falling down because of all the stones I find," she said.
Four years ago, a friend's daughter who was going away for college told Blüm that she would probably miss Lake Superior more than she would miss her family. Blüm decided to make her a necklace from a smooth rock she found by the lake as a going away gift.
"That first one took me quite a while because I ruined a bunch of drill bits trying to figure out how to drill the stone," Blüm said. "Then it fell apart the day she moved into her dorm, so she ended up sending it back to me in a pile and I repaired it three times. She was kind of my test subject for making them last long."
The necklace drew attention and more people began asking for them. For a while, she made and sold them as a hobby, but recently she has decided to turn it into a business.
"They're pretty popular with people who are kind of organic and not into the Gucci jewelry," she said.
Blüm uses the stones in such a way that the unique shapes and features are the focal point.
Blüm has been making the jewelry for almost five years now and enjoys the feeling the creativity brings her. It also allows her more time to raise her two sons. She is currently teaching an after school construction class at Nettleton Middle School. Blüm hopes that the necklaces she sells will go to the people who appreciate them most.