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.”
MIKE SHOWALTER, BARBARA TOURANGEAU & TOM SHOWALTER
“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.
“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.
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 skill and talent of the jewelers is renowned.
“Our common cause here is making the customer happy. We just relish every day. What a great crew we have here,” said Showalter.