We had the good fortune of connecting with Cheyenne Cannon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cheyenne, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
Diamonds aren’t the only conflict mineral. A conflict mineral is defined as any mineral which is mined in ethically questionable ways and/or funds a conflict or war zone. This can include gold, tourmaline, malachite, lapis lazuli and many other lower end semi precious gem stones and metals.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always been very strict about my sourcing. I buy all the stones I work with in person and directly from either the owners of the mine or the lapidary artists who cut them. I buy all my silver from a recycling facility in New Mexico or locally here in Tucson. This is the only way I can ensure they meet the quality standards of my brand and that they have been ethically mined and cut. I also create every piece of jewelry by hand, the old school way. This means piece by every little piece, I start from a sheet of silver, saw out the shapes I need and then solder them together little by little. If there’s patina (that’s when silver is darkened) I paint that on with a tiny brush and then buff it by hand with sand paper to make the high points shine. The stone is the last piece I set. I use very little machinery, just a flex shaft and a tumbler for polishing. I love this process very much but it is very time consuming and I have no assistants, employees or apprentices. So its been a bit of a challenge at times to produce work at a rate where I can actually make and sell enough of it to live off of. Its also often difficult to relay how this process works and how time consuming it is to a customer base that a vast majority of have grown accustom to instant gratifications in every aspect of their life. But I am endlessly grateful to the clients I have who understand and appreciate the specialness of a one of a kind, truly hand made work of wearable art.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Tucson is so special and really does have something for everyone! If you’re an outdoorsy person and the weather is right there’s so much amazing hiking and nature spots, Gates Pass, Mt. Lemmon, Catalina State Park, and of course, Saguaro National Park… which is truly the most impressive thing Tucson has to offer, in my opinion. My favorite bars tend to be a bit on the divey side, St. Charles and Nevada smiths are awful easy spots to make myself at home, but when I’m looking to class things up a bit with a nice cocktail and a reminder of my city life days, Red Light Lounge at The Downtown Clifton is my go to. If its your first time visiting Tucson you have to eat a chimichanga, because it was born here, at El Charro to be exact. I’m not a Sonoran dog gal, but apparently that’s another thing that you have try here. Theres also a million taco trucks around town and I’ve never been unsatisfied by a single one. Once you’re fed, drunk and exercised you can move on to shopping! The Mercado is great place for that, so many lovely little shops, Bloom Maven is one of my favorites. There’s also Old Town Artisans in the Presidio, its a whole complex of shops surrounding another great restaurant, La Cocina. Be sure to pop to into Old Paint records, every time I go to a new town I want to cruise their record shops but they so often tend to pale in comparison to Old Paint because they have EVERYTHING! All genres, all eras, all price points, and fun little handmade souvenirs. If you’re extra lucky then you’ll find yourself there on a Thursday evening and get to catch the owners, Lana Rebel and Kevin Mayfield, playing a few tunes in the courtyard. As if all the amazing food, nature and shopping wasn’t enough here, we also have multiple museums. Like, REAL museums! Theres the MOCA, Tucson Museum of Art which has a huge contemporary collection and the desert museum which is great for the kiddos. Honestly this could go on forever, this is the point where you just give up and move here… until you experience your first summer which sends you running for the hills, the cooler ones.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Billy King of Sterling Quest school for silversmiths
Lauren Cabrera (process and portrait photos) Cheyenne Cannon (jewelry photos)