TROPICAL RED CORAL. Ocean-blue lapis lazuli. Purple amethyst, orange carnelian, turquoise, jasper and onyx.
Sarah DuBose has a sultan’s ransom of glowing semiprecious gemstones, a trove of ornamental treasure, in her home overlooking Discovery Bay.
And she’d like to get it out of her guest bedroom.
Earlier this year, DuBose agreed to take on the task of selling hundreds of pieces of imported jewelry donated to Key City Public Theatre.
Made by artisans in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India during the past 40 years, the jewelry collection is a big donation, one that almost overwhelmed the Port Townsend theater, according to Denise Winter, artistic director.
“We’re talking about tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry,” Winter said.
Kandahar Trading Co.
The jewelry was imported by Kandahar Trading Co., a wholesale import company on Bainbridge Island.
Kandahar was started in 1972 by Philip Hosterman, a Seattle native who served in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan.
Hosterman was also a musician — a video of him playing a piano duet with Port Townsend’s Lisa Lanza is on YouTube —and was a board member of The Paradise Theatre School in Chimacum.
When Hosterman died last October, the import company was dissolved, leaving the executor of Hosterman’s estate, Bob Wallace of Port Townsend, to deal with the leftover stock that family members didn’t want.
“There was an office, a garage and semi full,” said Kristin Wolfram, Bob’s spouse.
An actress and supporter of Key City, Wolfram tried to find a liquidator or outlet to sell the jewelry.
Failing that, she called and asked if the theater was interested.
Since Key City did not have a stock of jewelry for productions — every show that needed a bit of bling required a trip to Goodwill — Winter said, “Sure.”
“I’m picturing a box of jewelry, maybe a little bin with three necklaces and a bracelet,” Winter said.
Instead, Wolfram showed up at the theater offices before Christmas with box after box of jewelry until two long tables were covered.
Asked what she wanted of it, Winter said she’d take all of it, using some for productions and maybe selling the rest.
Wolfram said, “Great — I have more,” and Winter asked, “How much more?”
“Turns out she had three times that much jewelry,” Winter said.
“We took it all.”
The theater’s costume coordinator, Colleen Dobbin, and Ginger McNew, a costume designer, were the first to go through the boxes, choosing items for stage productions — it was particularly useful for “The Art of Dining,” Winter said.
Stacked around office
But there were still boxes and boxes stacked around the office walls.
“Then began the challenge of what to do with all that jewelry,” Winter said.
The problem was solved when Sarah DuBose, spouse of theater board Vice President Don DuBose, agreed to take on the project.
What Sarah got: more than 40 large boxes, each crammed with necklaces, bracelets and earrings all jumbled together, she said.
There were also boxes of beads, including large bone beads carved into skulls, bell-shaped Pathan nomad earrings of nickel silver and seed beads on strands.
DuBose, who used to make jewelry and sell it at shows in Dallas and New Orleans, knew what to do with the jumble of jewelry: separate it, sort it, price it and display it in a way that would be easy to transport.
She just didn’t know where to start.
“I didn’t quite know what I was getting into,” she said.
Realizing the job was too big for one person, DuBose recruited five helpers from Working Image Clothing Bank, where she is a volunteer.
Her husband also helped by reuniting sets of matching necklaces, earrings and bracelets.
“He spent many evenings sitting and sorting through the boxes,” Sarah said.
Since January, DuBose and her helpers have created order out of chaos and staged two trunk shows, one in Cape George and another in Port Ludlow.
The next one is set for Kala Point later this month and is open to the public.
Jewelry sales also are held at Key City Theatre’s headquarters, 1128 Lawrence St. in Port Townsend, the first Saturday of the month.
The next one is Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Prices range from $1.50 for a skull bead or silver nomad earring to $35 for necklace/earring combinations, though most items are in the $5-to-$25 range.
“It’s priced to sell,” DuBose said.
“We want it out of here.”
So far, jewelry sales have brought in a total of $7,100, Winter said.
With Wolfram’s permission, part of the take is being shared with Working Image, a nonprofit that provides clothing at no charge for women entering the workforce.
But jewelry sales are providing a healthy boost to the theater’s operating budget.
“It’s created a cash flow source of $1,500 a month, which is a boon,” Winter said.
In addition to covering the floor and bed of the guest room, boxes of Kandahar jewelry fill shelves of the DuBoses’ garage workshop, and pieces in the process of repair are stacked on the workbench.
The couple also are storing boxes of jewelry in their storage unit in town but are glad to be supporting the theater, Sarah said.
Winter said the theater has benefited not only monetarily, but also from the contacts made with people who came to the sales.
“It’s been an extremely valuable donation in so many ways,” Winter said. “It is an amazing gift.”
And if all the jewelry doesn’t sell locally, Sarah said, she is willing, in the best tradition of the theater, to take the show on the road.
For information about jewelry trunk shows, phone Sarah DuBose at 360-301-9984.
For information about Key City Public Theatre, phone 360-379-0195 or visit www.keycitypublictheatre.org.
Jennifer Jackson writes about Port Townsend and Jefferson County every Wednesday. To contact her with items for this column, phone 360-379-5688 or email [email protected]