Meet Sterling



“American Indian jewelry is much more than southwest jewelry. It’s true art and we want to present it that way.”


There are few families as “southwest” as the Foutz family. Sterling’s great grandfather, Joseph Lehi Foutz was one of four families invited to settle Tuba City in the late 1800’s by Hopi chief, Chief Tuuvi. Later, the family moved east to Kirtland, New Mexico where his grandfather, Bert, built the Peria trading post. It was in that small trading post that Sterling grew and developed his love for turquoise and American Indian culture.

“I was born in to it. It was something always in my blood.”

In 1973, Sterling joined his father’s company as a partner to run Top of the World Trading Post. He and his young family moved to a small town located just east of Gallup, New Mexico that had a population of less than 50 people. While the new move had its challenges, Sterling immersed himself in the work and has never looked back.


With a rich family history and 50 years of personal experience, Sterling has become a well respected and trusted expert in the industry. He has extensive knowledge in every aspect of production from mining to lapidaries to working with individual artists.

One of the most exciting experiences was in 1986 when he and his partner bought the lease rights to their very first turquoise mines, the Kingman and Sleeping Beauty mines of Arizona. His mining experience has extended throughout the world, also doing business with the Baja Mexico mine and as well as a joint venture at the Hubei, China mine in 1989.

The beauty of turquoise is in its diversity. Each mine yields its own unique and distinguishable stone. Turquoise can be found in almost every color from spiderwebs to absolute perfect blue. From there the stone travels to a lapidary where it cut and polished.

“I never get tired of sanding and getting the first look at what the stone really is. It’s a never ending surprise.”

It has been said that every stone will tell you what it wants to be, and no one understands that concept better than skilled artisans. As unique as the stone, so also is the artist who interprets it.

One that has always impressed Sterling was the world renowned artist, Charles Laloma. His techniques and use of multiple stones and colors broadened the scope of turquoise jewelry making. His passion and unapologetic approach led other artists to see and value their work as more than simply jewelry but as true art.

Some of the pieces in our collection are inspired by Laloma’s artistry.

Steeped in tradition, modern in application, timeless in beauty, turquoise will never loose its value and in fact has only increased in value. By nature it speaks to every generation. We hope that everyone, from the southwest genre to the fine jewelry collector will find something unique to add to their collection.

“I have a passion for this industry. It never grows old. I’m very excited and it keeps me working!”