Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The History of Black Hills Gold Jewelry

It was back in July, 1874 when General George Armstrong Custer led a battalion of men from the US Cavalry into the Black Hills of what is now South Dakota. At the time this “Dakota Territory” was inhabited predominantly by the Sioux Indians which were considered a hostile threat to settlers. Custer’s expedition consisted of a host of skilled personnel and had been dispatched mainly to protect railroad workers from the Sioux. One of Custer’s personnel, Horatio N. Ross served as a miner for the Cavalry and it was he that found the first twinkle of gold in the clear waters of French Creek leading to what is praised today as the last great North American gold rush.
As a result, the area boomed with prospectors, outfitters, gamblers and prostitutes giving rise to the town of Deadwood. The lawlessness of the town attracted both the famous, and the infamous. Notorious figures such as Wild Bill Hickok , Calamity Jane and Hickok’s murderer, Jack McCall all sprang from the wild raucousness of the area.
Henri LeBeauDuring this time, Henri LeBeau, a French prospector and goldsmith came out west to make his fortune. Lost, destitute and nearing starvation, Henri dreamed one night of the lush vineyards of his French homeland. When he had awakened, he heard water running from a stream. Following the stream, Henri found and ate grapes which are native to South Dakota, giving him the strength to survive.
Henri settled in the Black Hills and began crafting jewelry using three colors of gold with designs representing the grapes and leaves that had saved his life... and Black Hills Gold jewelry was born!
Landstrom's story begins bak in 1878 when a man named S.T. Butler, who was trainedS.T. Butler by Henri LeBeau, unveiled the first Black Hills Gold jewelry manufacturing store in Deadwood, South Dakota with his son, George M. Butler. In 1919, the company was split into two separate companies, the F.L. Thorpe Company, and the Black Hills Jewelry Manufacturing Company. Then in 1944, a man named Ivan Landstrom bought the Black Hills Jewelry Manufacturing Company from Ed Lampinen and ran it until his death in 1968. In 1995 Landstrom's Original Black Hills Gold Creations acquired the F.L. Thorpe Company making Landstrom's the sole owner of all of the original Black Hills Gold designs! You can read more about Landstrom's history here:


  1. This is extremely interesting info regarding Black Hills Gold jewelry.

    I had no clue that so much detail went into making a ring or jewelry.

    Landstrom's Black Hills Gold is a couple of steps ahead of other Black Hill's Gold jewelers.

    I am looking for a unique ring for my spouse and this is just what i have been looking for.


  2. Nice information about black hill gold jewelry... Thank you for sharing this information.

  3. This was so informative. I am doing a school project on my great grandmother's ring and was wondering if you would be able to direct me to a website or another source where I could find more information.

  4. There's another blog with great information about Landstroms Black Hills Gold: