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From a Family of Rock Collectors to a Royal Oak Staple

From a Family of Rock Collectors to a Royal Oak Staple

From a Family of Rock Collectors to a Royal Oak Staple
LBN Community Series
Royal Oak
The Royal Oak jewelry staple, Miner’s Den, came about because Mike Schowalter’s mother had had enough.

The Showalters are a family of rock collectors and every vacation was spent in mines, on beaches or in the Upper Peninsula collecting rocks.

“Back in the early ‘70s our hobby had risen to the point where our garage was full, and my mother was getting perturbed,” said Mike Showalter. “So, my father rented a building on Rochester Road.”


It was a small store front—office space, really. The Miner’s Den soon became a Mecca for rock hounds—the Showalters would polish and cut the rocks and gems hobbyist geologists brought to them.

“Our business evolved from catering to the hobbyist for cutting rocks and cutting gems, then carrying the machines to make jewelry, then to making jewelry ourselves,” said Showalter. “For a long time, we were doing repairs and creations for other jewelers, but we do our own now.”

While still in the original location bought by Frank Showalter, Miner’s Den now covers five adjacent office spaces and is run by three siblings: Mike Showalter, Tom Showalter and Barbara Tourangeau. Their parents also worked at the store until they passed away.

“The name ‘Miner’s Den,’ came from miners in the family,” said Showalter. “Dad was a gold miner in Alaska and as kids it was our passion to mine and collect rocks.”

Laid out by price point, there’s something for every budget at Miner’s Den.

“There are fun gifts in jewelry and there’s important times in jewelry,” said Showalter.

At one end of the store, customers who enjoy geology can find rocks, gems, fossils and more.

Miner’s Den also has a large selection of polished rocks and gems that are indigenous to Michigan, with plenty of Petoskey stone, meteorite and even some fordite, which is taken from automotive plants. Fordite is layers and layers of paint that is removed from the robotic arms that paint cars. After fordite is set and polished, different wave patterns in various colors pop.

Jean Guccini of Royal Oak is a long-time customer of Miner’s Den.

“I have been coming here for Christmas gifts for at least 10 years,” Guccini said. “You get very personalized service.”

In fact, Guccini recently brought one of her mother’s rings to the store to be resized as a gift. Guccini’s granddaughter was graduating from college and she wanted to give her something special.

“It was important to me to have the confidence to leave the ring with people who will take care of it,” Guccini said.

The other side of the store is fine jewelry.

“It was important to me to have the confidence to leave the ring with people who will take care of it.”
Designers use the latest in CAD/CAM computer programs with a 3D printer and blue light scanning to ensure customers get the perfect creation.

“Our biggest product line is custom engagement rings created in house at a more favorable price than those that are mass produced,” said Showalter.

They also created a special-cut for a diamond to nearly double the facets making it even more radiant—The Big Bang Diamond.

“The normal diamond one encounters is the 58-facet what’s called the modern brilliant cut,” said Showalter. “We’ve taken it a step further and modified the 58-facet modern brilliant cut to what we call our Big Bang Diamond. With extra facets to the point where we have 89 facets.”

Miner’s Den also carries Excalibur diamonds—lab created, 100-percent real diamonds grown in the laboratory. Nothing distinguishes Excalibur diamonds from geologic diamonds except very specific lab testing. Those in the market for a larger diamond on a budget find these gems more affordable.

“The beauty of what we have going on here, is you can recognize how enthusiastic we are. It’s the team,” said Showalter. “They love working on the design, it’s just their passion. We’re really, really lucky. I just like to look at the success of the employees here. They’ve allowed me to step back a little bit and have less responsibility. They want to take projects on themselves and grow to their potential.”

The skill and talent of the jewelers is renowned.

“We are the people that are referred to if nobody else can repair it because we have a diverse group of experience. They have the ability to look at, and fix, damn near anything,” Showalter said of the jewelers on site.

“Our common cause here is making the customer happy. We just relish every day. What a great crew we have here,” said Showalter.

3417 S. Rochester Road,
Royal Oak, Michigan 48073