What makes Rock Hard Designs even qualify for the running of the America’s Coolest Store Contest?
World travelers and trade professionals exclaim they have never seen anything equal to Rock Hard Designs, certainly not another jewelry store. Rock Hard Designs is nestled in the burgeoning historic downtown of Pensacola, Florida on Palafox Street. Last year, the American Planning Association named Palafox Street one of “America’s Greatest Places.”
The essence of the store is for each visitor to leave richer, even without a purchase. The store celebrates history like no other and features the “Museum of Paleontology and the Evolution of Ornamentation.” Rocky is a guest lecturer at the University of West Florida and hosts elementary through high school field trips with guided tours.
2014 is Rock Hard Designs’ 40th Anniversary with over forty years of award winning design and craft recognition in both the commercial and arts world. The signature Fractal “Burning Water” designs won Finalist for Diamonds International in 1992 and is only found here.
Future artifacts of fine jewelry, including a large 18-karat collection and platinum one-of-a-kinds, are all made in-house from start to finish. Many pieces feature Flawless Diamonds and some of the finest ethically sourced exotic gems. Our standard is creating “Feel Good Jewelry,” which is ergonomic, highly functional jewelry made of certified Harmony metals and ethically sourced gems.
Lloyd Herman, Director Emeritus of Smithsonian Institute of American Crafts, picked an unprecedented four pieces of Rocky’s work in a nationally ranked competition, and stated, “In this day and age it is rare to find any fine art in precious metals and gemstones. This is the rare exception.”
In addition to the cool jewelry we make, artifacts and fossils found nowhere else bring an understanding of meaningful design to a new level.
To show the rarity of how gems are created, we have the largest Dinosaur egg collection in the Southeastern U.S. It includes nests and eggs of three species, including extremely rare Oviraptor eggs, which are the biggest gems in the store! A Pterosaur with 24′ wingspan (Smithsonian Museum of Natural History exhibits 11′ of the same species) flies through the store. The centerpiece of this all-American Dino collection is a fully silicate Dino bone opal, which is transparent to reveal the entire bone structure (museum heads have visited to see this).
A collection of fossils from extinct large animals from the local Florida region shows school groups and others the wealth of fossils within anyone’s grasp. Of course, also featured is the state gemstone: Tampa Bay fossilized coral in all its colors and even as an arrowhead or ceremonial axe!
Showcased along a 130′ wall are artifacts that are part of a lifelong collection. They tell the story of the “Evolution of Ornament” and how all cultures only made things with meaning. Highlights include Sumerian cylinder seals from 2000 B.C. and the first coin minted in North America by conquistadores, of which only two are known and prove Deluna’s first settlement site in America. Jewelry from the Middle Eastern Empires and Celts show some of the first examples of jewelry.