Alpine Gems and Minerals is a family business, and has been since 1965. We originally provided building stone, and then added lapidary and sculpting materials in 1997 to our repertoire. We look forward to future growth and opportunities to provide our customers, old and new, with the best quality Utah Alabaster Stone. Below is a timeline of important events beginning with a photo of the founder and creator Paul Lamoreaux, our father, grandfather, and husband.
Business was started as P. Lamoreaux Gemrocks in St. George. Utah. Paul began the business selling building stone, including root beer white and black alabaster. He also worked at the Green Thumb nursery and did a little prospecting. He staked the Apex mine and found Goldstrike.
The business name was changed to Alpine Gems & Minerals, and relocated to Salt Lake City to promote Paul's new idea of mail order with the discovery of the orange alabaster. A student from BYU told us about the orange he had found. So we staked the claim and after prospecting other areas, we discovered the Berry Patch mine. Then we began mining and selling 21 colors of alabaster, along with semi-precious gemstones. Ben, the oldest son began working with Paul and Arjean in the business taking on the aquarium rock. The alabaster was stored in units near the Lamoreaux home in Northern Utah. A lot of time was spent on the road travelling to mines and customers.
The golden age of the stone began. Alpine Gems and Minerals relocated to Parowan in Southern Utah. The Summit land was bought from ArJean's father Joseph. This was heritage land from her grandfather George Alma Millett who had a corn field there during the horse and wagon days. Sons Adam and Marcus begin working in high school on the stone to make it "ring". They learned how to create wonderful carving stone. Paul formed Padre Mining company to prospect out new resources. At one time he had more than 300 claims, until new government regulations and mining bonds forced closure. Dad created a prolific array of mineral maps and maintained Gold Strike, an old mine in St. George. In 1995, he leased it to Tenneco who developed Goldstrike with big equipment pulling out 91 million dollars in gold.With The 1 per cent he was paid, Paul built the Summit lodge, the cut shop with artist stations, the stables, the coops and garden areas and drilled a well thanks to daughter Laurie's paperwork and research. He created 2-3 acre truck gardens which the kids and grandkids helped to work. Many artists using our stone become famous for their work. Alvin Marshall, Oreland Joe, Rolle Grandebois, Tim Washburn, Charlotte Darling Diehl, Leslie Pablo and his father, and many other beautiful pieces by other wonderful artists were created.
Paul's health began to decline when he got diabetes so the ranch was not finished, but he continued to develop beautiful gardens with giant pumpkins at Summit and the Berry patch mine continued to produce wonderful stone.We find other alabaster mines as well. In 2004, Adam left to start his own business Cactus Creations landscape design in Arizona. Marcus and ArJean ran the business after Paul retired.Rusty Galetka, a former customer, began to sell orange alabaster under the name Utah Alabaster Supply. He did a good job of marketing the stone and the orange alabaster appeared all over the world (which helped us) but he hurt his back while mining and began to work at a sand and gravel pit. As our parents began to be old, they enjoyed their grandchildren who were growing up. Ben and Linda took over mining claims and accounting. In 2011 Paul died and the Berry patch was reclaimed. All the rock harvested was brought to the cut shop and Summit land. New colors of stone were discovered: beautiful silver cloud, translucent peach, sunshine yellow, harvest gold, and white. In 2012 Ben formed a new LLC company with the owners Ben, ArJean, Laurie, Adam and Marcus.It was called Alpine Gems, and retired Dad's sole proprietorship.
Laurie's son Joseph Cowlishaw, was hired full time as the new General Manager of Alpine Gems. Organization of the rockyard commenced with a showroom of ringing stone. Joseph designed online systems to automate the company so anyone could run it. He created a website to upgrade the business to modern standards and credit card service was instigated. He hired Kasey Warhurst as a cut shop manager. Kasey became the face of Al Pine for the Go Pro videos featuring monthly advertisements for facebook. Kasey formed a company called Backdoor Video Productions.The new website created featured a Virtual Rockyard to allow sculptors to sample our stone. Nathan Cowlishaw, Joseph's brother who owns Talking Tree photography, began to work with us on social media. He began to re-establish ties with old customers and make new connections for Alpine Gems. Hundreds of new customers were found and many new artists. Joseph introduced the mission statement of the company. " We foster the creativity in creative people."
In 2014, Kasey established an inventory system and many safety features in the processes used to mine the stone and work it up. Joseph put gates on the mine road to protect wanderers and discovered a new mining process using Dexpan. Instead of blasting, we began promoting the mantra "quality not quantity" in creating our product. Now the stone can be cracked at the mine into blocks that ring before shipping to the yard. This created much less "work up". Kasey and Joseph worked up 200 tons of rough stone into sculpture supply. But then they and Nate moved on to further their education and careers, leaving Alpine Gems to Uncle Ben. Thanks for all your work!
Marcus Lamoreaux, Paul's son, was hired to run the company and began to grow the art school supply alabaster inventory plus the lapidary. Marcus added many beautiful specimens for lapidary to the website, but a year later, moved on to Oregon. Laurie, Paul's daughter who was teaching English at the university, and was doing the taxes, took on the mine paperwork, as well as the business.Her sons Nathan and Joseph helped with Adam doing the stone work up on orders.
Ben, Paul's son who is an engineer by trade, bought the Summit ranch from ArJean, to give her additional retirement. In April he took over the mining, equipment and installed utilities between the buildings. We thank so many new customers and students who have found us on the web. We serve about 600 artists, 12 suppliers, 5 universities, and a multitude of art supply companies and schools. We look forward to new development in the future!