I’m Leslie Chapman, of Fortymile Gold Workshop, located in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. I’m a goldsmith, designing and hand fabricating high purity gold jewellery. The gold I use is 20K, a natural alloy of gold and silver, from our family placer mine on the Yukon’s historic Fortymile River. I make each piece individually, giving my work a handcrafted, artisanal look, reminiscent of gold jewellery from ancient cultures.
My primary inspiration for my jewellery is the natural 20K placer gold itself. Our high purity gold has a beautiful, rich colour and luster, reminiscent of ancient jewels. I’ve always been attracted to the opulence of gold jewellery from antiquity. My own work in some ways echoes this ancient jewellery: I use natural placer gold as they did, I hand fabricate using similar techniques, and my work has the same type of naivety stemming from a generous use of gold.
Because I control the chain-of-custody of the gold from our mine to the finished jewellery, I know it is produced with environmental sensitivity and is also conflict free.
My designs often also incorporate 24K pure gold (refined from our 20K placer gold), diamonds from Canada’s Northwest Territories, other precious gems and stones from around the world, and locally found mammoth ivory.
Every piece is made by hand, so each is unique. I often work with my clients to design special pieces for them. I welcome your inquiry about a project.
You can view an interview with me on ArtsQuest.