Wyoming People: Sid Anderson, An Old-School Jeweler Who Creates Art And Heirlooms

It’s easy to miss Sid Anderson in his tiny, hole-in-the wall jewelry shop that blends into the downtown Casper storefronts. He spends hours upon hours there creating works of art he hopes will become family heirlooms.

DK
Dale Killingbeck

December 10, 20237 min read

Sidadel Jewelers’ owner Sid Anderson has been in business since 2010.
Sidadel Jewelers’ owner Sid Anderson has been in business since 2010. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

CASPER — It’s easy to miss Sid Anderson in his tiny, hole-in-the wall shop that blends into the downtown storefronts along 2nd Street. An artist, Anderson spends hours upon hours there creating beautiful works of art that he hopes will become family heirlooms.

This is Sidadel Jewelers, and if stepping through the doors makes customers think they’ve stepped through a time portal into a jeweler’s workshop decades in the past, well, that’s OK by him.

A gold and silversmith, Anderson loves the art of creating beautiful things, which is reflected in his unique, handmade jewelry.

“For the most part, if you can dream it up, I can make it,” he said.

Just don’t bring him your child’s cyst to set into a ring or an antelope horn — the cyst is too gross and the antelope horn is made of hair.

Elk teeth work fine.

Anderson, whose shop is at 102 E. 2nd St., fell into the metals profession after a divorce and pondering the next step of his life. He had a teaching degree, but during his internship quickly learned that profession was not for him.

“When you are sad and depressed and you’ve fallen on your face, it does you a world of good to pick a direction and go,” he said. “There was a little jeweler named Michael who always seemed happy and I thought, ‘I want to be happy like that guy,’ so I became a jeweler.”

He went to jewelry college in Texas without any clue whether he would like it or not. Turns out he did.

A jeweler’s microscope allows the jeweler to set gemstones as well as show customers any imperfections in their pieces.
A jeweler’s microscope allows the jeweler to set gemstones as well as show customers any imperfections in their pieces. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)

Hand Tools, Ancient Techniques

Now the gold and sliver craftsman, who still uses hand tools as part of his creative process, helps young and old preserve and create jewelry that could become hand-me-down heirlooms for generations. His techniques go back to the ancient Egyptians.

Anderson initially set up his shop to entice younger people interested in jewelry for girlfriends and boyfriends. He thought they could later become customers for engagement and wedding rings. His strategy was to become their jeweler for life. That didn’t work so well.

But along the way he found his niche, which is helping people realize their jewelry ideas and adding some of his own. Together they create art. He tries not to have his own “style” and continues to learn new things.

“A lot of people think every artist should develop a style and I disagree with that,” he said. “The more versatile you are, the more you have to offer.”

The artist in Anderson likes to find things in everyday life and turn them into art. As an example, he said that during a stroll in a city park, he found a beautiful moth dead on the ground. He took it home. Later at the shop, he cast it into metal and created a piece of art. A customer came in, admired it and bought it.

Cowboys have also wandered in thinking about getting a custom belt buckle, but Anderson said the price of an item like that can cause them to turn right back around and walk out the door. Costs associated with hand creating something and using wax, metals and molds can be high.

“Belt buckles are labor intensive. They might go and try and buy something that has been stamped,” he said.

Woman With A Strange Object

One day a woman walked into the store with a hard yellowish-whitish object. She wanted it set into a ring. It was cyst.

“The doctor had cut it out of her kid and she wanted to know if I could set it in a ring,” he said. “I told her no. The ‘ugh’ factor was just too high. Plus, it is organic, so that means that it would shrink.”

Anderson can work with any gemstone, and that includes elk teeth, which are an ivory.

“I have a whole slew of molds for elk teeth rings,” he said. “They are a legal ivory. The drawback is that the elk has to be older than a year for me to be able to use the teeth, and they have to dry out for at least a year before I can set them. Again, they are organic, so they will shrink.”

Antelope Horn

Another jeweler in town used to make items out of antelope horn, and Anderson said a woman came in asking for advice on antelope jewelry. Since antelope horn is made out of hair and expands when it gets wet, Anderson told her using antelope horn is not a good idea. She later told him that she confirmed this after buying a piece and learning that fact firsthand.

Looking around the small, 15-foot by 30-foot shop, a visitor can see jewelry manuals such as “Diamond Setting” and “The Jeweler’s Engravers Manual” among others. On his counter and under glass are wax forms that are examples of what he can create.

Young people walk in and want to apprentice with him. While that first sounded like a bad idea, one young woman was persistent. He then allowed her to come in and start working as an apprentice.

A light bulb came on. He has had others since because the young minds help him keep from becoming “stuck in a rut.”

His latest apprentice has Anderson experimenting with Japanese techniques and alloys to create pink silver.

Want To Be A Jeweler? Learn Math

What does he advise wannabe jewelers?

“If you are going to be a jeweler, get a business degree,” he said. They also need to know math, including Algebra and geometry.

Anderson’s mainstay involves repairing jewelry, but it’s the creative work that keeps him coming back to the shop.

His first professional piece was a ring for his mom. More recently, a man walked into the shop with a design for a Masonic ring. Anderson used computer-assisted design software and a 3D printer to help create something he could cast.

But while those tools, along with a centrifuge, vulcanizer and other devices used to melt wax and infuse gold through a vacuum process, are modern, his techniques are ancient.

“The Egyptians used sand and wax casting,’ he said. “Our tools have changed a lot, but our methods have not.”

Gold And Silver

All the gold and silver that Anderson uses comes from jeweler supply houses. He does not accept precious metals from people selling their jewelry. If he did that, customers who bought jewelry from him could become offended that the piece they thought was gold contained more glitter.

Anderson’s stock of precious metals has taken many forms as it left his shop and was put on display in the world. One day a man walked in to ask him for something special he could wear as a pendant around his neck. Anderson the craftsman made it.

“Maybe he was the Lone Ranger or maybe he was dealing with a werewolf, but he asked for a sliver bullet,” Anderson said.

  • Wax rings, pendants, and ideas are on the counter at Sidadel Jewelers to give customers an idea of what is possible.
    Wax rings, pendants, and ideas are on the counter at Sidadel Jewelers to give customers an idea of what is possible. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Sid Anderson uses this metal bender to help turn metal into jewelry.
    Sid Anderson uses this metal bender to help turn metal into jewelry. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Part of the jewelry making process involves using this mold, made of chalk-like substance.
    Part of the jewelry making process involves using this mold, made of chalk-like substance. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • An original Masonic ring that a customer designed and Sid Anderson was able to create. This was form of the ring will be covered in ceramic and then gold put into the ceramic to create the ring.
    An original Masonic ring that a customer designed and Sid Anderson was able to create. This was form of the ring will be covered in ceramic and then gold put into the ceramic to create the ring. (Dale Killingbeck, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Sidadel jewelers front 12 9 23

Dale Killingbeck can be reached at dale@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Dale Killingbeck

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