Austin | Dallas | Houston
Let's Go Rodeo 2012
Pinto Ranch
Made in Houston

Making jewelry out of Texas rocks: Perfect rodeo pieces come out of stumbled upon treasures

Enlarge
Slideshow
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_8263
Expect to see feathers incorporated into Agate Ranch + Marfa's spring line. Photo by Andrea Gibbs/AGPhotographix.com
News_Kathy Bracewell_Jennnifer McCord
Kathy Bracewell (left) almost stumbled upon her jewelry career. Courtesy of PR Boutique
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_8213
Turquoise will be another prominent material, shown here setting off white Marfa agate. Photo by Andrea Gibbs/AGPhotographix.com
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_Tootsies
The trunk show at Tootsies will launch the spring line. Courtesy of Agate Ranch
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_8307
Photo by Andrea Gibbs/AGPhotographix.com
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_8381
Photo by Andrea Gibbs/AGPhotographix.com
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_8459
Photo by Andrea Gibbs/AGPhotographix.com
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_8445
Photo by Andrea Gibbs/AGPhotographix.com
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_8263
News_Kathy Bracewell_Jennnifer McCord
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_8213
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_Tootsies
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_8307
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_8381
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_8459
News_Agate Ranch_jewelry_8445

Houstonian Kathy Bracewell started making jewelry by accident. 

"Shortly after we bought our ranch outside of Marfa, I was walking through the dry creek beds and looking for Indian artifacts when I found some interesting rocks," Bracewell tells CultureMap. 

She gathered up a handful, drove 20 miles north to Marfa and asked Paul Greybeal at Moonlight Gemstones about the specimens. Bracewell had found Marfa agate

 Bracewell serves as the brand's walking billboard, an ebullient personality decked out in agate — a pair of earrings, an antique ring, and a set of chunky necklaces hugging her neck.  

Greybeal has since become Bracewell's tutor, teaching her how west Texas soil changes the rock, explaining how plumes and crystallization are formed and helping to cut the hard stones to make pendants, which Bracewell uses for her Agate Ranch + Marfa jewelry line. 

Back at her ranch studio, Bracewell affixes handmade bales to the cut stones with lapidary glue, adorning the smooth rock with Mexican milagros, antique rosaries, beads or other natural elements.

Every piece is an individual work of art, stringed on a gold or silver chain or a strand of leather. Each rock is collected by hand; some agates are filled with clusters of crystals, some are decorated with striated lines or jet black plumes, others left rough around the edges. No two pieces are the same, and with each cut of the rock saw comes a complete surprise. 

The jewelry is sold at the Marfa farmer's market and local boutiques, but the appeal of Agate Ranch + Marfa reaches far beyond the deserts of west Texas. Since the official launch last year, Agate Ranch + Marfa's popularity has skyrocketed, and Bracewell has been spotted at pop-up shops and trunk shows all around Houston. Several stores around Texas now carry the jewelry.

You'll see plenty of it at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. In many ways, it's perfect big city rodeo jewelry.

Bracewell serves as the brand's walking billboard, an ebullient personality decked out in agate — a pair of earrings, an antique ring, and a set of chunky necklaces hugging her neck. 

"I've sold pieces right off of me before," laughs Bracewell.

Agate Ranch + Marfa will introduce its spring line at Tootsies during a trunk show on Feb. 24 and 25, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. — expect feathers, turquoise, lots of color-blocking and rodeo-appropriate accessories. 

The line is also sold at Muse Boutique in Houston; J.M. Drygoods in Austin; Meadow Boutique in San Antonio; Coastal Closet in Port Aransas; the Gage Hotel in Marathon; Thunderbird and Hotel Paisano in Marfa, or at the Farm Stand when she's in town. 

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address