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Davis Journal

Jewelry is more than just pretty, it’s healing

Dec 01, 2022 10:57AM ● By Becky Ginos

Vaughn Sweeten and his daughter Eleanor. Sweeten is a stay-at-home dad who started making jewelry after taking a class at Weber State. Now he is selling his one-of-a-kind pieces. Photos courtesy of Vaughn Sweeten

LAYTON—From mechanic, to chef to jewelry maker, Vaughn Sweeten has done it all. Although he’s worked in several different fields, he’s found his calling – making one-of-a-kind jewelry. 

Sweeten started his craft at the beginning of the year after taking a class at Weber State, now he’s creating pieces of his own. 

“I took one of the jewelry classes and they gave us a chunk of silver to make a ring out of,” said Sweeten. “This experience showed me that this is my calling, to make beautiful things.”

Jewelry making was not his first career, Sweeten started out first as a mechanic. “I worked on cars,” he said. “I love cars but the job killed me. It was hard on my body and my life revolved around work.”

Sweeten said he decided to look at courses at the DTC (Davis Technical College). “I knew I liked working with my hands so I thought about composites or welding. Then I walked past the cafeteria and liked the vibe and synergy of the kitchen.”

That was when there were a lot of food shows going on, he said. “I thought that was cool. There was an energy in the kitchen. You’re kind of the lone wolf in a car shop and it’s cutthroat.” There’s teamwork in the kitchen and that’s needed in life, said Sweeten. “I started going to DTC and got a job in a kitchen at Weber State. I made my own trays and simplified my culinary experience. I had the freedom to practice my knife skills and push to learn the craft.”

Sweeten entered the Skills USA competition and did well. “It’s like the high school level competition but on the adult side,” he said. “Different trades like electricians, drafting, etc. all the trade schools competed. I competed in culinary arts. I had to show my skills executing a meal, my skills presenting the dish and artistry. I’d only been doing it for a few months and took third place. It was pretty cool because I was going against all these experienced people.”

Using those skills, Sweeten started as a regular cook at Twigs then worked his way up to sous chef and worked there for nine years. “I loved it,” he said. “But it was not an easy job. It was so hard and there were a lot of sacrifices to be made.”

Sweeten was a single parent and wanted to give something to his daughter. “But it created a vacancy in my relationship with my daughter and that was a sacrifice I didn’t want to make. It was the universe telling me I needed to do something else.”

He continued to work in the food industry but he and his fiancé found that they needed to make a change. “When push came to shove with both of us working there wasn’t enough time to spend with the family,” said Sweeten. “To give the family what we needed we decided we’d hire someone to take care of the kids but when they went to daycare they were sick all the time.”

Sweeten became a stay-at-home dad which allowed him time to spend with the family. “I was staying busy but cleaning the house was not enough,” he said. “I love rocks and their metaphysical properties and stumbled upon wire wrapping. It gives a design and texture you can’t get any other way.”

With some practice, Sweeten honed his skills and started to make pieces for his family and friends as gifts. “People always have rocks so I started offering to make a piece of jewelry out of their rock and do custom work.”

Each rock has different metaphysical properties, he said. “I designed pieces of jewelry that would rid themselves of negativity. It would create a barrier when they walked into a room with a toxic atmosphere. You can change the mood or be the mood.”

There are bits of evidence that rocks can help, said Sweeten. “I want to create something that will help them. Not only something beautiful but why the color and texture makes them feel an attraction to it.”

Every crystal and stone has a vibrational frequency, he said. “There’s tons of evidence that supports this. My intrigue is always why.”

Sweeten is perfecting his craft and hopes to show his pieces at boutiques and galleries like the BDAC. “I want to get involved with the community and get people out,” he said. “That’s cool to me.”

Whatever Sweeten does he always gives 100 percent. “I’m always challenging myself,” he said. “I do the best I can do to the best of my ability. Failure is not an option for me.”

See Sweeten’s jewelry on his Facebook page SweetRoxx and at λ