What we do

Custom jewelry design is a special sphere of craftsmanship where good taste and talent are as important as professional skills and knowledge. Rick Otte and his colleagues working at Lapidary Arts Custom Jewelry store possess all above-mentioned qualities. Dallas and the Metroplex can boast that they have the best team of custom jewelry makers in the nation.

Rick Otte is a certified gemologist. He knows everything there is to know about gemstones. Rick can tell you how diamonds are mined, where opals come from, how to cut and polish emeralds and much more. Here you can find specific characteristics of precious and semi-precious gemstones that are on display at Lapidary Arts store. If you have your own gemstones you want to use in jewelry, you can always get professional advice on a custom design that would satisfy all your needs and wishes. Rick and his colleagues are always happy to help you design the perfect engagement or wedding ring, or custom jewelry for daily wear.

Lapidary Arts has the finest collection of rare and beautiful gemstones found in the Metroplex. Their stock includes diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, opals, pearls, topaz, tanzanite, and many other exotic gems. They come from sources as diverse as Australia, Japan, Colombia, Africa, Russia, and others. Custom jewelry design is made easy with such a wide choice of perfect materials.

Lapidary Arts stands out among Dallas jewelry makers and stores because it carries and sells only natural gemstones. Rick Otte, who has been in the jewelry making industry all of his life, finds real magic in the process of cutting and polishing gems. “Each stone is a mystery”, he says. “I never know what will be revealed. It is very exciting! Each stone is different and this keeps me constantly intrigued”. The custom jewelry produced by Rick and his staff is fascinating.

The Lapidary Arts team works directly with customers to make the perfect jewelry design. That is why each diamond necklace, pair of ruby earring or opal pendant cast in gold is unique. Here you will not find something that is mass produced. Every custom design is different. 

Working with the finest gemstones from around the world and believing in the magic and uniqueness of each jewelry piece, Rick Otte and his colleagues make custom jewelry design available for you. They turn the dream you have into elegant, finished, custom jewelry.

Our Store

Rick Otte founded this location in 1992.  He designed and built it the way he wanted a jewelry store to look: to be comfortable, inviting, and not too pretentious, so that people would not be intimidated about coming into the store. He feels that a jewelry purchase should be fun and relaxing.

Over the years,  Rick has traveled all over the world for rough to cut stones- Africa, Australia, South America and Central America (Columbia), and South-East Asia.  By doing their own cutting the company gets a huge advantage over most of the jewelers who have to buy it already cut- they produce a better quality stone, a brighter stone, and a stronger stone because they can weed out the bad parcels.

The equipment here is superior to what most commercial mass cutters use. For instance, in India they sometimes use children to polish the stones. Here at Rick’s stores they cut one stone at a time, to make each piece special. And then they create and build a mounting around it, so it is the centerpiece-not the mounting.

As a custom jeweler, we are able to take a rough idea, and create a personalized piece of jewelry.  We are able to use your stones, or use ours to make a one of a kind ring, pendant, earrings, or bracelet specifically for you.  If they have an heirloom setting, and have lost stones, we are able to cut a new, matching stone that fits right in.

We are also able help you come up with an idea for an engagement ring or any piece of jewelry.  By speaking with you, we can figure out exactly what styles work best for you-and create something exquisite!  You get a finished piece that is unique fto you. Because our pieces are not mass produced, they are not what you’ll find in an average jewelry store. All of them are one of a kind.  That’s the whole idea for us- make something unique, something special, something different- rather than selling a mass produced product that is imported.  Why wear what everyone else has, when you can have your own? It’s still old time craftsmanship, the way pieces were made 60 years or more ago.

We also repair jewelry right here in the store.  Having a shop in the back, you are able to feel comfortable that your jewelry will not leave the premises when we handle the repairs.

Rick Otte

When he was seven years old,  Rick Otte began picking up stones that he thought were beautiful.  He collected them  wherever his family traveled. He got a rock tumbler, and began polishing these rocks.  He was fascinated, but all of the rocks were different shapes and sizes. He did this for about 2 years, when he decided that he wanted to be able to control the size and the shape so that they could more easily be fashioned into jewelry.  

Then Rick took stone cutting lessons at a place called "Treasures of the Pirates".  He learned to cut shapes, cabochons, and to polish stones with flat bars.  That enabled him to cut almost any gemstone. These classes gave him access to many stones that weren’t local, so he  had access to  some very unusual stones--for example, Afghanistan lapis, and Australian opal. 

Rick did that for two years in the evenings. They liked the job he did so well that they hired him to teach the adults that came to take the class--before long he was teaching twenty to thirty people at a time how to polish cabochons, how to cut stones with the diamond saw, and how to polish and finish them. 

 When Rick went to high school there was a Swedish jeweler who moved into the mall near his house. Rick took his stones to the jeweler for his opinions (he had three or four thousand stones cut and polished). 

The jeweler was intrigued and amazed.  He asked Rick if he wanted to learn how to make jewelry-so that he could put them in mountings, not just keep them in stone boxes.  He agreed to teach his craft if Rick would do all the polishing and clean up on the jewelry he was already making (he built all of his own pieces). Rick agreed, and went to work part-time after school for this jeweler.  He polished,  learned to cast gold, and do wax work. He learned basic design from him-what worked, and more importantly, what didn’t. Rick also learned to fabricate, (build mountings out of wire and sheet metal. 

When Rick went to college at Baylor University there was an open teaching  position in the Art Department. The course was called "Lapidary Art" (stone cutting and jewelry design.) The teacher that had taught it for 31 years had recently died; and they had 300 people signed up to take the courses and nobody to teach it.  Rick went in not telling them he was a student and applied for the job. They hired him. Rick taught the evening classes and continuing education classes. During that time, he also learned to facet gemstones – ruby, emerald, and sapphire. They didn’t have the equipment for diamonds because it was too expensive. He built jewelry during the week,  and then on weekends would go to the various arts and crafts shows all over Texas-from Dallas to Houston (and everywhere in between. Rick took the jewelry that he’d made and he would sell it-and use the money generated to pay for school. He got a BS in geology and worked on a Masters in geophysics at Baylor.


Michael Japaridze

Michael Japaridze is a second generation jeweler with engineering background and strong 3d CAD drafting skills. 4 years of Studies in electrical engineering during Soviet Era have taught him a lesson in problem solving, structural integrity, creativity, drafting, craftsmanship and most importantly- believing in his great potential of succeeding at any task when Michael commit his best efforts into it. These skills became essential in later transition to jewelry right after migrating as a refugee to USA at the age of 21 and getting into "sweat shop” jewelry manufacturing scene of 47th street in NYC circa 1985. Working elbow to elbow with migrant workers from Europe, Asia, Caribbean and Latin America gave him a pure American experience on dealing with diversity and hard work ethics. Later on, by acquiring in depth knowledge in jewelry production, 

Michael realized that his creative nature based on strong abstract visualization of future product and supported by strong engineering background would become staging grounds for his development as a Master Jeweler at first and Computer Aided (CAD)-designer later. Again, strong individual studying skills became an irreplaceable tool in acquiring CAD capability fit for 21 century technology. Along with Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) following CAD works, process from conceptual modeling to finished piece' stage offered visual imagery (precise in geometry) to be proofed by a client then followed by successful completion of a project.  


Roger Pauling

Roger started in the jewelry business in 1983 at Linz Jewelers.  At the time, he was the youngest salesman ever hired in that company.  During his tenure, he took several courses and classes offered by the GIA (colored gemstones, diamond grading, pearl grading, etc.)

He worked for many years at the Dallas Galleria for a major department store, as a sales leader in the jewelry department, and later as the manager.  He worked with many designers for trunk shows as well as jewelry/estate jewelry buyers to  build the right "mix" of merchandise for this area.  His exposure to estate jewelry excited a passion for the "special" or "one-of-a-kind" style of jewelry that is hardly available any longer.

At Lapidary Arts, he manages the front of the store, as well as the day to day business, email accounts, special orders, and special events.  He also enjoys working with customers to create a one of a kind piece of jewelry that reflects their personality and taste.