We have been making
quality jewelry boxes since 1980. The first box was made in Kansas as a
prototype by our founder Cary Spannagel to the larger selection of
jewelry boxes now being made. The next 14 years were spent
modifying and upgrading the now famous "American Premier Jewelry boxes".
The Bristlecone pine tree is one of
the oldest trees alive, its longevity and aged patina add uniqueness of
beauty and strength to the jewelry boxes. This wood is a natural fit
for our jewelry boxes. Our designs are created from the
unique qualities of the wood.
We select a Bristlecone pine log and begin to bandsaw it into workable
blocks of wood. We then inspects it for flaws of unusual shapes and
designs, sometimes you may find worm holes or charred specs imbedded
into the rings. We then choose to use these flaws as part of our
design. Every jewelry box made is a one of a kind and no two are alike.
What we do next is a magical combination of fitting each part together
to make a whole jewelry box. Finally, we shape them with sanding
machines that we either invented or modified.
Patience has a major role in creating these boxes from twisted
trees. Over the years we hand lined each drawer in every
jewelry box. The velour was of a certain type of thickness,
color, and style to accentuate the beauty of the wood grain of each
jewelry box. Now we use a easier method that looks just as good as the
old method...The boxes are now ready to be cared for with a high
quality finish that we then polish during the last step of the
finishing. The amount of coats of finish is dependent on the absorption
of each grain in the wood. These boxes are now ready to be inspected.
If they pass, they are ready for shipment to various customers
throughout the United States, and a few outside the USA.
Our family has a love for all types of
wood and the cedar wood primarily from the Rocky Mountains became an
instant favorite for us. Our first jewelry box was from this type of
wood. The cedar comes in a variety of shades of colors and shapes.
There was a time when all we made was from this type of wood. However,
the varied shapes prevented him from selling them to his customers. On
occasions, he makes those vintage shapes from the most unusually
twisted tree branches or trunks of the tree. These jewelry boxes sell
for more because they are more difficult to make. --If you happen to be
visiting Breckenridge, Colorado stop bye and visit the Cabin Fever
Store. You will be awed at the pieces that we have
created. They are definitely a one of a kind!
The Aspen tree leaves put on their beautiful fall colors around
September in the Colorado mountains. We have added the aspen wood to
his line of jewelry boxes. A great many Colorado gift shops were
requesting he make boxes out of this wood. They made an excellent gift
for those customers who admired the Aspen tree for its beauty and a
reminder of their visit to our beautiful state. The aspen wood is much
easier to work with and the price of each jewelry box made from this
tree is less than Bristlecone pine and cedar. Aspen has a unique beauty
that we successfully bring out, the larger pieces have more character
and beauty than the smaller ones.
Bristlecone pine, cedar (Rocky Mountain Juniper), and Aspen are
harvested from the surrounding mountains where the Spannagels live.
They live in the San Luis Valley. This valley is larger than the state
of Connecticut in the USA and larger than the country of Switzerland,
(Colorado is known as the Switzerland State). The San Luis Valley is
surrounded by two mountain ranges. To the east is the Sangre de Cristo
Mountain range that includes 12 mountain peaks over 14,000 ft. in
elevation. To the west is the San Juan Mountain range the primary
location of the Bristlecone pine trees. Both mountain ranges are part
of the Rocky Mountains in the USA.
All of the wood the Spannagels use come from dead standing trees that
have been harvested in the summer months. All of the wood they use is
indigenous to the San Luis Valley. The Bristlecone they use ranges in
age from 250 years to 2,500 years, by counting the rings in the wood,
age can be determined. The cedar ranges in age from 50 years to 1,500
years. Aspen is a fast growing tree and is not in the ancient
classification like Bristlecone pine and cedar. Its average age is
around 30 years.
Our mom (who is no longer with us sadly) Geraldine Spannagel has an
interesting family. Her father introduced the Bristlecone pine trees to
our dad Cary (who is no longer with us either sadly) years before he
ever used this wood to make our beautiful boxes. Her father told them
that he had heard of a fire that had left a stand of trees charred and
dead for almost one hundred years. -- They researched and discovered
that the burn over area happened around 1873. His mother was half Ute
Indian, when she was a small child her family would travel to the
higher elevations of the mountains, gather the resin from these trees,
and use it as chewing gum. The Ute Indians liked this particular resin
because of its medicinal value, they called the tree ackawee.
The Ute Indians started a fire to get rid of the Spanish settlers. The
Utes mined gold and silver near there and the Spanish settlers were
getting too close. There were also sacred ceremonial altars where the
Utes worshiped their gods. They did not want any disturbance near these
areas. The two cultures ended up marrying each other. The San Luis
Valley has its own unique tribe of people that are a mix of Native
American Indian and Spanish ancestry. The Spanish settlers have been
living there since the later 1500's. The Indians hunted the migratory
game and fished the streams, lakes, and rivers of this great Valley.
They mined gold, silver, and turquoise. They used the Valley as a
summer home gathering provisions for the cold, long winters.
Cary Spannagels father Larry (no longer with us sadly) is of
German-Dutch descent and his mother is of Dutch-Irish-German descent.
The Spannagels came from Germany to the United States in 1864. (Span in
German means the wood curl from a wood planer and nagel in German means
nail. They immigrated to what is now the state of Illinois. His father
fell in love with the San Luis Valley and moved there around 1948.)
A very famous German author Fritz Spannagel wrote several books on
woodworking in the 1920's. He was a professor of woodworking. Cary's
father is also a retired professor of Industrial Arts; woodworking,
welding, drafting, and lapidary. Cary became a teacher in 1978,
certified to teach high school Industrial Arts; woodworking, welding,
and drafting. He no longer teaches. Cary inherited a talent and taste
for woodworking but his work sets him apart from his ancestors. He is a
gifted artist and his talent is reflected in every piece that he
painstakingly works on.
Cary worked with his dad the first 14 years and went into business on
his own with his family and at present are continuing the tradition of
woodworking masterful crafts out of the worlds most unusual and
historic wood. The intrinsic value acquired when you own a piece of our
work is almost obvious. Wood this ancient is prized all over the world
and through Bristle Cone Pine Company you can now possess a piece of
history as well as treasure your own individual work of art.
Our works are admired all over the
world. We ship to Ireland, and Germany, and Canada, but mostly ship a
great deal in the United States of America, especially to Alaska,
California, and Colorado. The mountain regions of these countries and
states are the most popular areas that customers seem to be the most
interested in buying our product. National Parks, State Parks, Scenic
Parks, and Amusement Parks also purchase our products for their gift
Romeo, Colorado is a very small town in rural America. We are located
near the Colorado New Mexico border (New Mexico for those that do not
know it is one of our 50 states!), about 16 miles from the New Mexico
border. We are about one hour north of Taos, New Mexico and five hours
south from Denver, CO.
We carry a number of specialty items such as: pencil holders; gourmet
products such as cutting boards, and beautiful coaster sets; urns; and
Elite Signature Series jewelry boxes that are inlaid with American
turquoise! Our Elite Signature Series jewelry boxes are all
of the works of art designed by Joshua Spannagel, handcrafted, shaped
and formed. What sets these apart from the rest of the jewelry boxes is
the size of the jewelry boxes; the drawers are sometimes
rounded and have wonderful turquoise inlay in the handles. We hand sign
the bottom of the box with a signature and date it upon completion of
that individual piece. Every item we make is branded on the bottom with
our company logo.
We also make
wonderfully made turned Bristle Cone Products from vases to candle
holders to vases! Jeremiah Spannagel also inlays some pieces
with American turquoise. They are some of the most unique and
wonderfully made vases and they are all made out of Bristle Cone!
He also makes these vases out of Rocky Mountain Juniper, and
a little out of Aspen as well. He is currently expanding his
product lines and keep tuned to our website as we will have more of his
vases to show for you!
We at Bristle Cone Pine Company are proud of our work and we appreciate
all inquiries we receive. We are very busy making these works of art
and we want to apologize ahead of time if we do not answer the
telephone as quick as we want to. Keep trying, but do not hesitate to
leave your name, telephone number, or email us! We try to
answer every inquiry as soon as possible.