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‘Mastering’ the art of jewelry design

Master jeweler Patti Savage Henderson relocated her business, appropriately named Master Jewelers, from Roane County to Farragut this past July.

“We had a store near Kingston for over six years, but because of the depressed economy in Roane County, we decided it was time for a change,” Patti said. She and her husband Rex said they have found the transition to 620 N. Campbell Station Road to be a very smooth one. “We have a lot of loyal customers who travel from Roane County to Farragut and we are starting to develop a clientele here as well,” Patti said. A third generation jeweler, Patti learned the trade from her father. “My dad told me that I was smart and that I should become a nurse,” she said. Patti listened to her father and had a career as a surgery nurse for eight years before returning to the jewelry business.

Patti said she remembers how a school trip made her realize she was meant to be in the jewelry business. “We were on a school field trip, learning the different types of geology in Arkansas and when we left, they gave us this little bag of stones,” she said. “From that point on I was hooked on stones.”

Patti’s father taught her “basic benchwork,” which, she said, is the art of jewelry design and repair. Along with being a master jeweler, Patti is a goldsmith, a jewelry designer and diamond broker. “If a customer asks me to personally pick out a diamond for them, I can do that,” she said. “I typically pick out three diamonds that I think they would like and bring them to the store to let them decide. Patti said that jewelry design is one of her favorite things to do. “Sometimes customers bring in a picture of a piece of jewelry and ask me to duplicate it,” she said. “Other times they may draw a design or ask me to be creative and design something that would work for them.”

She has a book of photographs of the designs she has created. Patti said once she has a design in mind, she carves it into a piece of wax and forms the jewelry in either gold or platinum. “I had a customer bring me a bear claw and tell me to make something out of it,” Patti said. She noted that particular piece was a challenge, but she made a pendant out of the claw and the customer was completely satisfied. Patti also has restored a ring that had been run over by a semi-truck.

Her designs have been featured in Bride magazine and the jewelers trade magazine, Stuller Standard. Patti’s husband, Rex, is an apprentice at the store right now. He is learning the trade from his wife and she said he is doing very well.

“We want this store to be like an old fashioned jewelry store,” Patti said. “I want to get to know all of my customers by name.” She added that she will always “do right” by her customers.

Rex said, “We don’t make a commission on what we sell, so there is no high pressure. We just want the customers to be happy.

Master Jewelers carries a variety of precious gemstones such as white and canary diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies. They also sell pearls, estate jewelry and “upscale costume jewelry.”

“We carry Rembrandt charms and Belaire watches,” Patti said. “Both of these brands are well known and respected.” Master Jewelers will change watch batteries, repair eyeglasses and engrave jewelry and silver pieces.

“We really want the people in Farragut to come in and see all of the wonderful pieces of jewelry we have to offer.” Patti said Master Jewelers pays close attention to detail in every facet of its work. “If a customer brings me a chain that has broken at the clasp, I will not only fix the broken side, I’ll fix the other side because chances are if one side is broken, the other will be soon,” she said.

Master Jewelers has items for sale other than jewelry. They also sell jewelry cases, silver cup and spoon sets for babies, and custom-made wind chimes.

Kathy Shuttleworth is the designer of the “mixed media” wind chimes that feature a specific theme. Shuttleworth said she puts a great deal of thought into her wind chimes and creates a theme that is pleasing to the eyes as well as the ears.

Master Jewelers is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. For more information, call 777-1120, or log onto


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