Paul’s Expanded Biography


Born in Cleveland, Paul Gross grew up in Bennington and St. Albans, Vermont. After spending his high school senior year back in Cleveland, Paul came to Dartmouth College because he missed New England and its mountains for hunting and skiing. At Dartmouth, he spent most of his free time learning jewelry and silversmithing techniques with Erling Heistad at the Hopkins Center student jewelry workshop.

For two years after college, he taught 2nd grade in Lebanon, N.H., trying to decide between an advanced degree in psychology and work in jewelry. He spent formative summers teaching and assisting at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and Haystack Hinckley School of Arts and Crafts, where he met professional artists who were making an living with their craft and who encouraged him to pursue a career in jewelry making.  

Friends then enticed him to move to Chicago. Once there, he made a collection of jewelry and took it to The Goldsmith, Ltd., an upscale jewelry store in the Near North Side Water Tower Place. The owner bought Paul’s whole collection and hired him as a goldsmith. The great benefit of that job was learning how to create jewelry in a professional and economical way by working with people who could produce high quality jewelry efficiently.

After a year in Chicago, Paul was called back to Dartmouth to teach jewelry at the Donald Claflin Jewelry Studio in the Hopkins Center, while Erling Heistad set up the then new Dartmouth pottery workshop in Norwich.

In the next year, 1977, Paul taught half-time at Hopkins Center and opened a jewelry studio at 68 South Main Street, Hanover, with another aspiring goldsmith, Diane Egbert. They started minimally with combined assets of $1400 in equipment and cash. For seven years, they worked together under the name Electrum (a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver), and they created jewelry which they sold to galleries and jewelry stores at national craft shows.

Diane moved to the Southwest in 1984 taking the name Electrum with her, and the name “Designer Gold” was born. By this time, Paul’s business had shifted from selling through galleries to focusing mainly on commissions for individual customers. He renovated his studio and expanded his business to include another goldsmith and to display his own jewelry pieces for sale.

Paul and Peggy Sadler were married in 1981. At that time, Peggy was freelance writing, but by 1986, she returned to teaching high school English. Their shared interests include rowing on the river, cross country skiing, hiking, and reading. In addition, Paul enjoys hunting, fishing, and woodworking.

In 1990, Paul moved his studio to the new Hanover Park building where he and Peggy bought a studio and gallery space. Paul expanded his business to include another goldsmith and to fill the gallery with his work and the work of other small-studio artists. 

Having retired from teaching in 2004, Peggy joined Designer Gold, first as worker and then as business manager which she continues to do today.

In 2017, Paul celebrated his 40th anniversary of being in business in Hanover. At that time, he decided to simplifying his business by displaying only the work made in his studio.

In making this decision, Paul decided that Designer Gold would continue producing special exhibits which will range from the beginning work of emerging artists to the modern and cutting edge designs of nationally known established fine jewelry artists.

In the summer of 2018, Paul and Peggy and their faithful Brittany, Luke, moved from their home in Thetford, Vermont, to a condo right across the Connecticut River in Norwich.

Paul loves to make jewelry, he had loved to starting from his first year at Dartmouth when he wandered into the Claflin Jewelry Studio and asked, “Can you teach me how to do that?” He strives for timeless, wearable jewelry. His love of gemstones, especially unusual ones, is evident in the way he integrates them into his jewelry. His master craftsmanship shows in every piece he makes from the simplest wedding band to the most complicated design. His excellent reputation follows him everywhere.