Northern Michigan Shopping: When Northern Michigan native Kevin Gauthier was nine years old, his passion for collecting and examining rocks began. Many years later, Gauthier was able to turn that beloved hobby into his business. In 1997, Gauthier left the corporate world and opened Korner Gem, a shop that he says is a blend between a jewelry store and a rock shop.

Unlike most other jewelry stores in the state of Michigan, Korner Gem cuts and polishes rocks in addition to creating custom cast jewelry. “We come up with very creative, very unique designs because we work in both metal and stone,” Gauthier said.

The unique designs of jewelry and wearable art sold at Korner Gem are inspired by the beautiful landscape of Northern Michigan. One of their popular designs, “the unity bead”, which was created by jewelry designer Lisa Vanderplough and features two stones cut into the shape of a ying yang symbol, was inspired by walking on the shores of the Great Lakes and seeing the water and the sand come together.

Gauthier and his seven fellow employees depend on the Northern Michigan region for inspiration and to gather their material. Hundreds of rocks are unique to the Great Lakes and this gives Gauthier and his team the ability to create out-of-the-box, wearable art. Gauthier said, “a lot of people don’t realize that Northern Michigan has the most variety and color of rocks in the whole entire world.”

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