Goldworks was a dream realized by goldsmith Theresa Parsons, in 1978. This first shop was opened
on Holly Road in Virginia Beach by the then 28-year-old Parsons. She was a recent graduate of Bowman Technical School (the country's oldest jewelers/watchermakers school) which was in Lancaster, Pa. She had also taken jewelry courses at Millersville State College in Lancaster, and was a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.
Always interested in learning more about her craft, Parsons later took classes at the Kulicke-Starke Academy in New York City (in cloissene enamel and ancient goldsmithing techniques). She studied with the Gemological Institute of America, New Approach School for Jewelers, and was trained on her laser welder by Laserstar of Providence, Rhode Island.
Even before opening her shop in '78, Parsons career in designing original art jewelry began by exhibiting in local and regional art shows. Her first years participating in these shows brought her numerous awards for her work, including several "Best-in-Shows" , most notable were the Ghent Craft Show, and the Neptune Festival Art Show in 1992. She had exhibited in the prestigious Boardwalk Art Show in Virginia Beach, which is presented annually in mid-June, for the last 26 years.
Parsons' most valuable training ground was her first
Goldworks shop. Over the eleven years she operated this
store, she received hundreds of interesting and challenging
commissions, including the design and execution of King
Neptune's crown, which is still used by the city of Virgina Beach
in it's annual fall Neptune Festival.
Parsons' work also took her to foreign ports - in
search of the unusual and exotic. She has been on gem-buying
trips to Paris, Italy, Switzerland, Belguim, England, Hong Kong,
Mexico as well as many domestic trips to New York, Florida, and
Trying to manage the business and remain true to the artistic ideal has been a career-long juggling act. In 1989, Parsons decided to move to a private studio, and continued to meet customers by appointment. Then, in 1994, a second Goldworks was opened at 34th St. in Virginia Beach. This shop thrived for six years, but in 2000, Parsons once again decided to step back from the retail situation, into a private studio.
The six years working out of a private studio, meeting clients by appointment at Meg's has provided the time to innovate, learn some new tricks (computer skills, laser welding), and develop in other ways.
In July, 2006, Goldworks opened it's doors at 317 Laskin Road, and then in the fall of 2009, moved to her newest shop at 513 N. Birdneck Rd. This new store offers the usual repair and custom design services, as well as a place to find the unique and hand made item. With her new laser welder, Parsons is able to do repairs that previously were impossible - and well as stretch her design and crafting capabilities. Leigh Carraher, Andrea Marshall, and Steven Estelle are among other artists work that can be found in Parsons' latest store.
Several specialties have emerged from Parsons' 34 years on the work bench. Fabrication (building pieces using sheet and wire) is her strong suit, but she is a wax carver (for casting) as well. She has done extensive work developing her own style and technique of sculpting gold under a flame. She admires and emulates craftmanship of the ancients, with an eye for what's coming next. Her designs can be both comtemporary, and classic.
"My mission, beyond just trying to make beautiful work", says Parsons,
"is to help my client identify and realize their jewelry dreams. I want to make pieces that express what the wearer wants to say, to themselves and the world."