Jim Summa first started making jewelry at the age of 14, when his sister gave him a jewelry tool kit. In high school he took classes in silver fabrication and casting. Upon graduating Jim left the suburban St. Louis community of Kirkwood for the Penland School of Arts and Crafts in North Carolina where he apprenticed in silversmithing. With the energy and curiosity of a young man, Jim left the States to work, study, and explore, traveling through Japan, Thailand and Laos. There in Southeast Asia he discovered the joy of working with gemstones fresh out of the ground. Jim eventually traveled to Los Angeles and the Gemological Institute of America to earn his Graduate Gemologist credentials. He maintains his certification as a CGA through the American Gem Society. Returning to St. Louis with formal training in metalsmithing, diamonds and gemstones, Jim worked for five years with a highly respected local jeweler before opening his own trade shop; first in downtown St. Louis and later in his home town of Kirkwood, Missouri. In 2000 he purchased and completely renovated a historic building in downtown Kirkwood to serve as the home of Summa Jewelers. His renovation of this building to include an antique showroom downstairs and a spacious, fully equipped jewelry workshop upstairs has won several awards from an appreciative community.