Last updateTue, 22 May 2018 10pm

Greg Lynn discovers art in the midst of struggle


Greg ProteaWhen Greg Lynn’s parents were transferred from North Carolina to Israel, the recent high school graduate made the bold decision to stay behind. As a young 18 year old he had plans that included a lot of surfing and, along the way, a degree in marine biology. But when a significant surfing injury brought drastic changes to his plan he found himself alone, unable to attend school and in need of a job. Thanks to a family friend he was hired to replace watch batteries.

Having had no interest in jewelry, gemology, or art before, Greg started out helping with basic tasks like replacing watch batteries, engraving, polishing jewelry and other everyday assignments. Although he was recuperating, his work ethic impressed the owner who agreed to take him on as an apprentice.

“I’d never worked with my hands or done anything artistic like play music or create art,” recalls Lynn. “But, the moment I started carving wax it all just came to me. I could envision what I wanted to make and then create it.”

Catching on quick, Greg found the design, carving, casting and creation part of jewelry design were second nature. But, he quickly realized he was missing an integral step in the process - sketching the designs. “Putting what I envisioned on paper was hard for me,” explains Greg. “When a client is vague about what they want they need to see a sketch to make sure we are all on the same page.”

Greg LynnSo with his marine biology dreams a distant memory, Greg headed off to school to learn how to draw. For four years Greg worked at the North Carolina jewelry store taking it all in. Along the way he met his future wife who was hired as an engraver. With the goal of earning enough money to return to her Hawaiian home, Greg began to think about joining her.

“I’d always wanted to travel, but picking up and moving to Oahu was a huge step for me. It was completely starting over. Laura had friends and a job waiting on her. Luckily I found a job with a great company but I still had to ride a bus an hour each way to work every day.”

Greg’s path hasn’t always been an easy one, but it paid off in the long run. He married the girl he followed half way around the world. He established himself as an award winning designer and made some solid investments along the way that helped his financial situation.

With nature as his inspiration and a passion for colored stones, his flowing style with an art deco flare won eight local awards. But his most memorable piece not only won an award, but was purchased by a local real estate agent who knew the story and value of the piece. Designed after the Protea flower, Greg created a three dimensional, three tone piece surrounded by a cut-out, art deco type of frame.

After 12 years on Oahu, Greg and his wife moved to the Big Island where, for the first time, he went out on his own. Setting up his shop in an old cabin allowed him complete freedom to dream and design. From there he took his pieces to local galleries or sold them in the art village in Kona.

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While Greg and Laura loved island life, they moved back to the mainland to be close to family. After five years working for another jeweler, Greg opened his own store in 2004 called Greg Lynn Jewelers in Palm Coast, Florida. Two of his three children work in the store with him.

“My oldest son, Gabe, has worked with me since he was 14, and he’s now 26. He’s great selling on the floor and overseeing the business. And my younger son Alexander, 21 years old, is apprenticing on the bench. Even though he’s doing great he’s interested and gifted in music, so I tell him ‘this doesn’t have to be your career, but it will be valuable to know how to do this.’”

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Greg’s custom design work, easygoing and honest business approach and his growing community have put him in a position of success in Palm Coast. Today he’s keenly aware of the unique transaction that occurs between buyer and creator and works effectively within the confines of the customer’s taste. And he continues to reap satisfaction from his investment in his customers. For Greg there’s nothing more satisfying that watching the tremendous joy his clients get when holding something they’ve only dreamt of.