Golden Touch

Studio 12 Design Blog- November 2019

His ‘golden touch’ and positive outlook on life are the pillars around which I’ve grown my business and life.

This November, I want to honor and thank my Jewelry Mentor, Robert Smith, who has been a multi-faceted influence on my life and business. As an entrepreneurial jewelry designer, I'm so thankful to have had such an amazing mentor when I first embarked in my jewelry career.

Robert Smith- Jewelry Mentor, actor

After graduation I went through a reality check… as an art school graduate, I wasn’t sure of the direction I was going. I ended up moving back home (thanks Mom & Dad!) and working 2 different jobs. I had been immersed in theory, technique and concept in school and had the talent and passion to create, but I wasn’t sure if I could make a career as a full-time jeweler.

During this time I was making my own “art jewelry” for a small solo show at Studios on the Square. During the opening reception I had a young man approach and say, “I think you are the one.” Well… that could lead to many interpretations so I asked what he meant. He said he would be moving to Colorado and his boss would need a new apprentice.

This was on a Friday, I met with Robert the next Tuesday and moved to Blacksburg the next week. Done!

Sarah EK Muse at Studio 12

There are not enough adjectives to describe this man with his Golden Touch. He could fix anything we screwed up, from jewelry to great advice on life, which was needed at the time. This led to many amazing learning experiences! And, with his charismatic and giving personality he became so much more than a mentor, he invited me in to his growing family and I graciously accepted.

I think my “small heart grew three sizes that day. … and found the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!” … Okay, I couldn’t resist. And, I couldn't resist the photo below. This is the ever playful Smith family ready for Trick or Treating in the early 90's.

Smith Family Halloween

Seriously, I did grow, my technical skills grew through a variety of repeated jewelry repairs, over and over, doing the grunt work, the prep work, the sanding, filing, sawing, carving, hammering, over and over, and the selling, interacting with customers, writing up tickets, then excitedly graduating to the making, ah, the making. Utilizing all of my experiences to be able to make Robert's custom designed pieces from start to finish and new pieces to fill the displays.

He entrusted me to do my best!

And, as I said above it wasn’t all in the shop. Being an unofficial member of the Smith clan, I played a part in family meals, snuggling and feeding babies, changing diapers, helping out where needed. All of life’s little lessons all bundled into a beautiful golden box with a bow.

There was never a discouraging word from Robert! He always encouraged me to keep pushing my technical abilities and creative designs. He passed along his wisdom and stories, skills and follies, and so much more.

Then it was time for me to go, to move back to Roanoke to start out on my own, discovering my own path in my own way.

But I shall never forget the lessons learned and the person who has helped shape who I am as a jeweler and a person.

Here's to you Robert Smith!!!!


Thank you for supporting Sarah EK Muse at Studio 12!
I strive to create a community of bold, inspired collectors and just all around awesome people. I'm honored to have you as part of my community.

My mission is to design modern heirloom jewelry that is thoughtfully crafted exclusively for you and treasured for life.

If you've been inspired and are ready to jump in, drop me a line. I'm the one on the other end and I look forward to the opportunity to work with you one-on-one.
540.524.2764  (please say your name when prompted)


  • Manjula singh

    So beautifully said . I have tears in my eyes . I don’t know if you remember me or not . I am manju , used to come that household all the time . I love them , yet to find a person like him . So loving , helping and giving . Their doors are always open for everyone. Love you Sara .
    Also so proud of you for your success . All the best. Love ❤️ Manju

  • Mahlon Kidd


    This is a wonderful tribute to Robert Smith. Wishing I had your talent to express myself as well as you have in this article. Keep up the good work that you are doing. Your Mom and I are very proud of your accomplishments.


  • Ali

    What a beautifully told story! And a great tribute to a guy who helped so many of us gain confidence and ability. Thanks for sharing that, Sarah, and thanks, Robert, from a cloud of folks who can point to you as a model!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.