About the Artist
While most other teenagers were idling the hot summer days away at the South Carolina beaches and listening to the sounds of the sea, jewelry artist Vance McCollum also spent his afternoons walking on beaches, collecting fossils laid down in oceans millions of years old, when extinct sharks, whales, and other sea life swam in vast oceans that covered areas far inland in South Carolina. Searching in canals and drainage ditches, he was amazed at the beautiful colors, symmetrical shapes and patterns found in the fossils he found, particularly in the many types of shark teeth he collected. It was the natural beauty of these fossils, and many other marvels from the natural world that led him to explore the possibility of making jewelry to share his fascination with others.
Searching for unique ways to create jewelry from fossils, shells, crystals, and other items, he came across some jewelry made by electroforming, or what is commonly called “gold dipping,” at a gem and mineral show. This was the perfect way to enhance his jewelry and he soon learned the technique and began creating his line of jewelry.
As his skill developed, all the shark teeth, shells, leaves, crystals, and other collectibles he had saved soon became the jewelry creations you see in his gallery pages today. His selections now include jewelry made from a giant megalodon tooth, and other tooth jewelry, as well as ocean jewelry. His work has been seen in the pages of Lucky magazine and being worn by the bathing suit models on the pages of the swimsuit edition in Sports Illustrated magazine.
His passion for collecting fossils eventually led to a lifelong study of them and sharing his finds with museums in South Carolina as well as with the Smithsonian Institution.