MARQUETTE — When you walk into a jewelry store, you generally expect to find…well, jewelry. That’s true of one Marquette jeweler, but they’ve also got a bit more to offer.
“This is obviously more typical for maybe a museum, but we really love the fact that we have something that’s so rare and unique,” said Wattsson and Wattsson Jewelers co-owner Ruby Wattsson.
Wattsson and Wattsson Jewelers houses a few neat surprises beyond the usual jewelry items, including fossilized eggs which were laid by a hadrosaur around 75 million years ago.
“The mothers normally laid a lot of eggs, anywhere from three to twenty at a time, and due to the harsh conditions, a lot of them weren’t born, which is why they were able to excavate and find dinosaur egg nests that we can now have as a reminder of the past kind of thing,” Wattsson said.
The dinosaur eggs are just one part of a unique experience that the store offers to visitors. When Ron Wattsson founded the business in 1985, he wanted to add something that would represent the area and show some of the history of Ishpeming’s former Ropes Gold Mine, which had supplied the store with local gold while it was active. Thus, the family and staff put together a model mine, replete with numerous items showing the U.P.’s mining heritage.
“My dad thought it would be really amazing and really cool to have something a little bit more interactive for kids, and he was always a big dreamer,” said co–owner Ruby Wattsson. “He loved Walt Disney, and that was kind of like his inspiration for it, like ‘If you’re going to go for it, you should go big, and you should go with your full imagination.'”
Tours of the mini-mine are popular with kids, who can view a real mine cart from the Quincy Mine in Hancock and many other items.
“We get a lot of tourists and we get a lot of locals returning, because their kids want to go through the mine. ‘Hey, we’re downtown. Mom, dad, please take me to the mine, I want a hat,'” Wattson added.
The store works with school teachers to schedule tours for students. They’ve also worked with Wow Animation at the U.P. Children’s Museum, where a group of kids are creating animated scenes featuring hatching dinosaur eggs.
Last minute Christmas shoppers can even tour the mine on Christmas Eve; the store will be open until 6:00 p.m.