Family and change, jewelry and fishing
By Susan Helton; photos courtesy of Lacee Hill
Lacee’s favorite place to fish is the San Juan River in New Mexico, although the trout do like to try to flop away! Jared introduced her to the area, which has become a family getaway.Lacee Hill, the friendly face you see behind the glass counters at Castle Pines Jewelers, began collecting rocks and crystals at an early age. “It’s my ultimate passion,” Lacee stated. One of her earliest memories was a visit to Jeffrey Rein Designs with her grandma. “I remember Jeffrey taking the time to come out and not only help her but talk with me, in his jewelers’ headgear, his eyes magnified,” stated Lacee. “I recall thinking, ‘What’s on his head?’” That visit planted the seed for Lacee’s interest in rocks and crystals. Only an acquaintance then, Jeffrey later married Lacee’s mother.
Lacee grew up in the jewelry store; she and her brothers had a place to play in the back. “Dad made jewelry around us. If he ever felt we were a bother, he never let on,” Lacee stated. She fondly remembers store holiday parties, getting to dress up and act like an adult. “I learned about interesting clients and listened in awe. I still love learning about my clients. They become my friends,” stated Lacee.
Visiting the annual Tucson Gem Show with her parents, Lacee encountered people from all over, trading, selling, showing and talking specimens. “This fed my desire and knowledge,” Lacee statLacee’s favorite place to fish is the San Juan River in New Mexico, although the trout do like to try to flop away! Jared introduced her to the area, which has become a family getaway.
ed. During high school, she took art classes but was not interested in making jewelry. She decided not to attend college, as originally expected. “I knew that wasn’t my path. I know it rattled my mom, but I remember her saying, ‘Anything can change in an instant,’ and accepting it,” stated Lacee. “I will always carry this: Change is the only constant in my life. I used to fight it, now I embrace it.”
That summer, Lacee worked more at the jewelry store. She met a gem dealer and, as her parents purchased gemstones, realized that was where she fit. “I could work with the finest specimens of what I collected,” Lacee stated. “It clicked, and with my parents’ support, my journey began.”
Lacee has worked at the store since she was 16. She creates with both her father’s and her own designs, and relies on her master jeweler and best friend, Kurt Quackenbush, for the actual jewelry work. “My father has allowed me to run the business as if it were mine. He has taught me beyond what I even thought,” stated Lacee. “I dream jewelry. It’s my passion. I get to work with my friend and am blessed to be in something I love.”
“One great thing my parents did was get us out as a family,” Lacee stated. The family traveled, hiked, camped, boated and jet skied. “But the best was growing up fishing on the South Platte.” Lacee has since taken up fly fishing, something that challenges her and brings out her competitive side.
Lacee and her boyfriend, Jared, have four children between them. “They all self-express differently – cello, hip hop, basketball, gymnastics,” stated Lacee. “I enjoy watching them grow, watching them all lead each other. I just wish everyone could agree on dinner!”