John Leeds has been creating original art for more than 18 years. He studied the craft of jewelry design in Florence, Italy and at Eastern Kentucky University where he received a BA in art. He became interested in Kentucky agates over 12 years ago and regularly hunts them throughout the region. John uses slices of these multi-colored agates as centerpieces for his one-of-a-kind jewelry, building them into bezels of both sterling and 14 K gold. His designs show influences from his studies in Italy and his Irish heritage.
Agate is a microscopic crystalline form of quartz which is a silicate mineral and has delicate and varying shades of color arranged in layers. Typically, agates have bands of color which are irregular, curved, or in concentric patterns. These colors are due to chemical impurities; for example, iron gives a red or orange color and manganese or calcium gives black or blue colors. Beautiful specimens of red, black, yellow, and gray banded agate have been discovered in Estill, Jackson, Powell, Madison, and Rockcastle counties.
John Leeds’ jewelry can be found at his gallery. Leeds Fine Jewelry, Richmond, KY; and Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.