Cantrell's Fine Jewelry has the only Certified Master Jeweler in the state of Kansas, specializing in custom design and heirloom restoration.
James Cantrell, a native Kansan whose family moved to Coffeyville when he was 11, enrolled in The Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology at Paris Junior College in 1975, three days after he graduated from Field Kindley High School. He finished the two six-month and a three-week gemology seminar – on his 18th birthday. The career path appeared during his senior year, when his father, who noticed his skill and interest in detailed handwork such as model cars, shared a plane flight with a jeweler and figured the profession sounded like a fit.
In 2002, James earned his Certified Master Jeweler status, the highest of four levels recognized by the Jewelers of America. Four judges approved the items that he created, including a ring with the lost-wax casting method, combining technical skill and artistic creativity. He also passed two rigorous written tests, becoming the 101st person who attained the certification.
“We’re in a happy business and it’s a lot of fun,” he says. “You just know the customer’s going to be excited. It gives you a really good feeling.”