As a young boy Gem Shop founder, Bruce Mueller, stumbled upon a dinosaur bone. Starving for more information about the origins and age of the artifact, he took it to a local collage for an experts' analysis. This is where Bruce's lifelong obsession with rocks, minerals & fossils stemmed from.
Fast forward a few years, Bruce decided to get serious about his love for rocks & minerals and turned it into a Masters Degree in Geology. Bruce was able to share his passion for geology as a Rockford high school teacher of Earth Science which also included astronomy. Having married his high school sweetheart, Shirley, the couple enjoyed traveling the US scouting and hunting for different rocks, minerals & fossils to show the students back home.
Although they loved their time traveling and rock hunting, it was starting to getting quite costly. So they decided that they would start a business and sell some of what they found. Little did they know what it would become today, a family legacy that they can pass down and share with generations of rock and crystal enthusiasts throughout the Midwest!
"If it weren't for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song.
In 1967, Bruce & Shirley Mueller opened the C&M Rock Shop for its first summer of business in Beulah, Michigan. As an Earth science teacher, Bruce would summer with his family along the main tourist highway in Northern Michigan. The shop grew from selling rocks & fossils to cutting & polishing rocks and some gemstones. Mounting these stones into jewelry and creating custom jewelry was the next logical step. Every year, the shop closes for the fall and winter, bringing the Mueller family back to their home in Rockton, Illinois.
In 1981, The Gem Shop opened its doors for the first time next to the Wagon Wheel, filling a niche in Rockton and the surrounding areas as a trustworthy and friendly family jeweler. Bruce & Shirley's son, Kevin, began managing the store in those formative years and still does to this day.
In 2001, The Gem Shop earned its stripes and was awarded the coveted Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics from the Better Business Bureau. This award, at the time, was given annually to only one business per size group per year in the Northern Illinois region, including all of the Chicagoland area. This award can be given to any type of business. We are honored to have received this award and intend to uphold its worthy title.