Award Art Gems is a North Western West Virginia based gemstone mining operation. We purchase our mine ore from gem mines all over the world by the ton and resell it to the general public by the shovel full. Because of this, we can’t guarantee what you’ll find in the ore. However, we guarantee you will find gems of great value to create beautiful jewelry. Once you find your treasure, Bob can personally facet or cabochon your gems and set them into the jewelry of your choice.
We are the only education based gem mining operation in West Virginia. We focus on the education of our customers, both adult and child. The gems found at our location hold certain values to every customer including; monetary, sentimental and health benefits. We use different sources from all over the world in obtaining our gem mining ore, and we attempt to teach our customers about where minerals and gemstones originate from across the globe.
Who We Are
We have been a locally owned and operated family business located in the beautiful foothills of West (By God) Virginia since 1997.
Bob “Bobby” Whitcomb served in the Army in the early 1960’s where he spent time overseas in Europe with the 32nd Armored Division as a Tank Commander. Bobby knew of his artistic talents from a young age where he was awarded a college scholarship for his artwork at the age of 9 years old. His love for art continued while serving overseas in Europe and continually grew into a passion upon his return home to the states. Bob has studied art in Europe and attended art classes at West Virginia University at Parkersburg and in 2009, Bobby fulfilled his lifelong dream of completing his lapidary degree from Master gem cutter Jerry Call. Jerry Call is known worldwide as the number one gem cutter in the world.
Bob has been manufacturing jewelry since the early 1960’s, and the completion of the lapidaries’ degree added a new direction he could take his artistic talent. In the early 80’s, Bob traveled through the town of Spruce Pines, N.C. where he was first exposed to the world of gem mining. The excitement he gained from this exposure later turned into what we now know as Award Art Gem Mining. An interesting fact about Bob is he grew up a block away from Terry Bollea also known as the professional wrestler everybody knows as Hulk Hogan. They worked out together in the same gym in Tampa, FL throughout their youth.
Carol – Bob’s wife of 32 years grew up in the Suburbs of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Go Steelers) Carol has always had a passion for art and hairstyling where she also has won awards for her work. Carol has specialized in wire wrapping, painting and enjoys engaging new friends made at special events. Raising their five children together, (Terri, Billy, Angelo, Tina and Kim) Carol quit her full time job to help Bob pursue his dream. Their children are completely excited about how the gem mining business has impacted their parent’s lives. Fulfilling her own love for animals, Carol also enjoys breeding beautiful pedigree dogs at their location. Carol is the back bone of Award Art Gem Mining through handling paperwork, ordering jewelry and customer rapport.