Photos by Lauren Thomas
If nothing at the mall jewelry store does it for you, David Walton has a really good alternative. The jeweler and metal artist recently opened up his new shop and studio, Hudson Valley Goldsmith, on Church Street in New Paltz. His inventive, one-of-a-kind creations use recycled precious metals and conflict-free gemstones.
Jewelry and metalworking has always been a passion for Walton. He does coal-forged blacksmithing recreationally on the side — as a hobby. “I’ve been doing this since I was a kid — almost 16 years,” he said.
Walton became a jeweler’s apprentice, but he eventually got a degree in metals from SUNY New Paltz’s esteemed program. After a stint making high-end jewelry for Tiffany & Co., Walton decided to branch out on his own. He’d make his jewelry and bring it to juried craft shows. Walton had gone to about a dozen of them before a single repeated question started weighing on him.
“People kept asking me, ‘Where’s your store? Where’s your store? Where’s your store?’” he said. He ended up renovating an old office at the corner of Academy and Church.
“The response from the public has been great,” he said.
Walton’s necklaces and rings have a wild and imaginative look. Some of that comes from how he combines precious and non-precious metals. “I love the juxtaposition of natural and very industrial designs,” he explained.
When customers come into the New Paltz shop, they can expect to see Walton at work. His process is out in the open. His work space is a hop-skip away from the sales counter.
“Everything I sell here, I produce here,” Walton said.
He does a lot of custom work and repairs, but those commissions also help drive his creative process. An opal necklace Walton crafted recently was a gift for a blind woman. His design — which still inspires his work today — focused on the feel of the piece.
Those creative requests open up new possibilities for him as an artist.
“Customers will ask me to design things based on their personalities,” he said. “That takes me really far out of my comfort zone. But I like it.”
Check out his work by stopping in at 11 Church Street, Suite 3. Or look Hudson Valley Goldsmith up online at https://www.hvgoldsmith.com.