Marion resident Earl Briggs: From dentist to jewelry maker

Aug 1, 2012

Marion resident Dr. Earl Briggs has a do-it-yourself attitude.

When his water bill was higher than his liking, Briggs personally installed a well on his property.

When he decided that having a contractor put in a small pool and a waterfall in his backyard was too expensive, Briggs figured out how to do it himself.

And, when he wanted to go fishing in his kayak, Briggs installed a motor and pontoons to remove the hassle of paddling himself.

It’s all part of being a hobbyist, he said.

In 1998, after 43 years as a dentist, Briggs retired, and his hobbies grew from there.

Jewelry making is something he was always interested in, he said.

“When I was a dentist, I used to do my own lab work. I made everything from inlays to bridges to dentures,” Briggs said.

Briggs uses gold and silver to make pieces inspired from life near the Sippican Harbor – seashells, boats and fish.

“That’s where my interest lies,” he said. “It’s creative. I enjoy creating things.”

Inside of his basement-turned-workshop, Briggs begins the near six-hour task of creating one piece of jewelry, which he then stores in a safety deposit box at a bank for “safe keeping.”

While he usually makes his pieces when commissioned by friends, Briggs’ jewelry is also on sale at the Beverly Yacht Club.

Briggs’ fascination with his the seaside, particularly boats, also appears in his paintings. Throughout his life, Briggs has owned 14 different boats and paints nearly every type except for one.

“I don’t do power boats. I don’t think they’re pretty enough,” he said.

The best part of just being a hobbyist is that he can work at his own pace, working for a few hours here and there as the mood strikes him.

From November to May, he lives in Jupiter, Florida.

There, Briggs said he gathers shells found near the Gulf Coast to use in his jewelry and as the sails in a few of his paintings.

While he is still working out the kinks of the motorized kayak, Briggs already has an idea for his next big project.

“I’d really love to build my own boat,” he said.