Wandering the desert with a Geiger counter isn’t the traditional way to start a successful jewelry career, but it worked for Ken Whipple of Park City Jewelers.

“When I was a boy, my grandfather and I hunted for uranium,” he recalls. “We found petrified wood, dinosaur bone and Utah topaz, and it inspired me to save up and buy gem cutting equipment.”

At 16, Ken’s first trip to the PC Arts Festival from his Midvale home changed everything. “I fell in love with Park City and art,” he says. “I told my girlfriend I wanted a jewelry store in Park City, and she laughed at me!” 

Open since 1993, Park City Jewelers’ signature snowflake jewelry was initially a way to pay the rent. “One landed on me when I was skiing, and it looked like something was written on it,” Ken said. “I was cutting out paper snowflakes with my kids that night and had the idea. We sold them for $19, including the chain.”

Ken’s son Cole now manages snowflake design based on photos of actual snowflakes. “He specializes in CAD design, laser engraving, and 3D printing as well old-world jeweler skills.”

The outdoors still calls to Ken. “I love to ski, hike, fish, rockhound, canoe, and find fossils and minerals to feature in the store,” he says. Ken gives back by supporting local charities and sponsoring the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

But for all his love of the outdoors and gemstones, Ken is a people person. “And it’s a good thing!” he laughs. “Because my wife and I have ten kids and 18 grandkids!”

“Stop by and say ‘Hi’,” Ken says from his store at 430 Main Street. “I love to meet everyone.” A typically welcoming sentiment from Ken Whipple, our jeweler with a heart of gold.