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Starring Role: Ws Jeweler Adds Sparkle To `Twilight'

It was just fate, or maybe luck

Sometimes it's just fate: The phone rings, and that elusive lucky break is on the other end.

Rick Thurber, the owner of Artisan's Jewelry in White Salmon, was the recipient of a call like that a few months ago. Thurber was at his Portland shop in February when he got a call from a movie production company asking if he could quickly design some jewelry for an upcoming film being shot around the Portland area.

Thurber told them he could handle it. It was just another creative order to fill, and the name of the upcoming film didn't mean anything to him.

The film was called Twilight.

"A movie production company saw our Web site and asked if we could make jewelry for them," Thurber explained. "They called and said, `hey, can you make jewelry for our movie in a month?' I had never heard of the movie or book; it was all new to me. I didn't even know what Twilight was."

He does now. Twilight, which hit the big screen nationwide on Nov. 21, had an opening day take of $33 million, and quickly rocketed up to be the number one movie in the United States.

"They just called out of the blue; it was just luck of the draw," Thurber explained. "We had two or three meetings before we made the stuff. They kept going over the designs."

"The movie company wanted to use as many Oregon-based businesses as they could, which was great," added Artisan's office manager Margie Welch.

What the movie crew wanted was for Thurber to design rings, bracelets, and necklaces using a family crest they would provide.

Thurber did all the work using silver.

"Everything except the crest was our design," Thurber said.

"They had ideas, and Rick made it wearable and put it all together," explained Rick's wife and Artisan's co-owner Annette Thurber.

"It was a fun project," Rick said. "We made two sets of each piece. One set for the actors and actresses, and one for the stunt person. We had about a month to complete the work."

The fictional family crest was created for the family of vampires featured in the movie.

According to Thurber, the symbolic images in the crest represent the following: The lion represents dauntless courage; the hand is a pledge of faith, sincerity, and justice; the shamrock is for perpetuity; and the chevron is for protection.

Catherine Hardwicke, director of Twilight, was so impressed with the jewelry Artisan's created that she requested one for herself.

"We made one for the director," Rick said. "She had it made into a buckle, so she's wearing it on her belt now."

As of Dec. 6, the Thurbers still had not seen the movie, but they plan to soon.

"I want to see the jewelry. I want to see it on the big screen," Rick said.

As is often the case with any hugely popular film, a cult following develops. That brought an overnight mass interest in various aspects of the film, and with the success of Twilight, Artisan's has been swamped with calls and e-mails from fans.

"We've had hundreds of inquiries from people who want to have Twilight jewelry made," Thurber explained.

But not every development following the film's success has been so positive.

Thurber said he was surprised and disappointed at some of what has happened since his jewelry helped frame the Twilight story.

"It was a total surprise to me when some of the `twilighters' e-mailed me and said our designs were showing up on Amazon.com and E-bay," Rick said. "Even before the movie came out, we were seeing stuff on E-bay, and Amazon was pre-selling reproductions before Halloween. The movie came out in late November."

Even worse, cheap reproductions of Rick Thurber's jewelry were being mass-produced in China -- with the blessing of the movie studio that created the film.

"It's everywhere -- it's Rick's design, but there are key chains, bracelets, everything," explained Annette. "It's made in China with some kind of cheap base metal."

Annette Thurber said it would have been nice if those who wanted the real jewelry -- instead of the mass produced imitations -- could have been pointed to White Salmon.

"If we could get the rights to make these, we could hire five people," Annette said.

Rick said he was hopeful Artisan's might get more jewelry assignments for a Twilight sequel.

"I hope so," he said. "I have not been contacted yet, but the next movie in the series is supposed to start production in the spring."

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