Alpine Gems 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 Stones. 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 branched out into agates, geodes, obsidian, and other lapidary materials and minerals by traveling down through Zion's National Park to sell his wares. He was a young man with two small children, Ben and Laurie. He also worked at the Green Thumb nursery and did a little prospecting, staking the Apex mine and an old gold mine, Goldstrike in southern Utah. He was descended from his grandfather Ralph Carter who taught him about rocks and Arvil Lamoreaux, his father who had a mail order business. At one point our young family lived at Silver Reef where Dad could prospect while he was working road construction and taking care of the old Rice bank and Wells Fargo pioneer buildings for the government. Two more children were born, Rachel and Adam.
The business name was changed to Alpine Gems & Minerals, and the family relocated to Salt Lake City to promote Paul's new idea of mail ordering alabaster, with the discovery of the orange mine. A student from BYU was hiking one day and found it, and told our father about it. So we staked the claim and after prospecting other areas, we discovered 21 more colors. The alabaster was put into storage units near the Lamoreaux home.. A lot of time was spent on the road taking stone to customers and bringing alabaster home. Ben decided in high school to sell rock like Dad and found aquarium sandstone. He later graduated in mining engineering. Laurie studied English and journalism keeping mostly away from the rocks, preferring music and theater. Marcus was born. A few years later Laurie left for college at BYU and later U of U and SUU where she became a elementary and later an English teacher.
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 and lapidary. At one time he had more than 300 claims, until new government regulations and mining bonds made it too expensive.
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 or about a million dollars that 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 Laurie's paperwork and research. He created 2-3 acre truck gardens which the kids and grandkids helped to work on.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 mines continued to produce wonderful stone. In 2004, Adam got married and left to start his own business, Cactus Creations landscape design in Arizona. Marcus and ArJean ran the business after Paul retired for 10 years. As our parents began to be old, other family members carried the torch. In 2011 Paul died and some of the mines were reclaimed. 200 tons of beautiful colors of stone came to the cut shop. We began to mine and market stone from the T. orange mine where we discovered silver cloud, translucent peach, sunshine yellow, harvest gold and pink. In 2012, we formed a new LLC company called Alpine Gems, and retired Dad's sole proprietorship.
Laurie's son, Joseph Cowlishaw, was hired full time by Ben and Laurie as the new General Manager of Alpine Gems. Organization of the rock yard commenced creating a showroom of ringing stone from the rough rock now in the middle of the cut shop. 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 which was created featured a Virtual Rockyard to allow sculptors to sample our stone. Nathan Cowlishaw, owner of 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 by travelling down to Az and New Mexico. 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 at the T. Orange and work it up. Joseph put gates on the mine road to protect wanderers from cliff edges 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 could be cracked at the mine into blocks that rang before hauling to the yard. This created much less "work up" for Adam. Kasey and Joseph also worked up 200 tons of rough stone that had been dumped into the cut shop, into sculpture supply. But this was not to last. Joseph, Ben stepped in to take over. Nathan and Kasey left to further their education and other careers, leaving Alpine Gems to the original partners.
Marcus Lamoreaux, Paul's youngest son, was hired to run the company and began to grow the art school supply alabaster inventory plus the lapidary by prospecting with Ben. Marcus added many beautiful specimens for lapidary to the website, but a year later, moved on to Oregon. Laurie, Paul's daughter, a teacher by profession, was doing the accounting while teaching English to international students at the university. She began to manage the business with her sons Nathan and Joseph and brother Adam. We had about 80 tons of stone in the cut shop.
Ben, who has been an engineer by profession, bought the Summit ranch in 2016 so mom could retire and we could continue to run Alpine Gems. Now we have a new roof and power, water, fiber optics installed between buildings! No electricity as of yet, but things have been repaired and we are hopeful. Adam returned from Az and began posting new stone excavated to our Facebook page. Many more customers came to the cut shop to pick out their own stone. We thank so many new customers and students who have found us on the web. We serve about 600 artists, 4 large retailers on the east and west coasts and in Canada,6 stone shops, 5 universities, and a multitude of art supply companies and schools.