Around town Shawn Mikkelson is known as the owner of Forge Jewelers — but this gemologist is also a dad, bone marrow donor and Disney enthusiast.
I grew up in Orem with three older sisters, which pretty much means I had four mothers. We lost our dad to a heart attack when I was 10. Because I was the caboose, I was essentially raised as an only child from 11 on. The experience taught me how to adapt and that life doesn’t always follow your perfect plan.
After my LDS mission to Toronto, I married my high school sweetheart, Rischelle. Early in our marriage, we made a deal — she could name the children and I could name the dogs. We stuck to that agreement and we have four children named Victoria (19), Annika (16), Hadley (13) and Kale (7). As far as the dogs go, we have a weimaraner named Cinder.
[pullquote]“Early in our marriage, we made a deal — she could name the children and I could name the dogs.” —Shawn Mikkelson, owner of Forge Jewelers[/pullquote]
My family is obsessed with all things Disney. We make it to Disneyland once or twice a year at least. We are also Star Wars geeks, and everyone likes to buy me Star Wars themed gifts. When it comes to hobbies, we also love sports and travel. Whenever I’m on vacation with my wife, we make it a point to go to little hole-in-the-wall places.
I’ve always had an artistic and creative side. When I was studying drafting and design at UVCC (now known as UVU), I got a part-time job working at jewelry store. I worked there for more than 20 years.
Two years ago, I decided to open up my own shop, Forge Jewelers. Our specialty is custom designs. We help people design rings from scratch. Because our work is so specialized, we attract some out-there designs. One of the craziest rings I have worked on involved two dragons. Not my style, but they loved it — which is all that matters.
One of the most fulfilling things I have been able to do is donate bone marrow to my sister who had cancer. All of my siblings were screened and I was a perfect match. The process involved giant needles in my arms. I think they should actually called the needles sticks because they are that huge! Then I had to hold my arms upright and completely still for 4-6 hours. My bones ached but seeing my sister receive the marrow was amazing.
After chemotherapy and radiation she was incredibly sick and had absolutely no immune system. But as we watched her receive my marrow, the color came back to her face almost instantly. She is still doing great today and the experience is something I will forever be grateful for.