Our Founder, His Inspiration, and The Company It Created
Kirk Root was half visionary, half revolutionary. For over 30 years, Kirk grew an Austin-based family business through innovating, hiring and retaining great artisans, and building deep customer relationships.
Kirk learned the importance of work at an early age, in his father’s window-tinting business while still in high school. Kirk left Austin following graduation to go to a one-year jewelers program in Paris, Texas. After working for other jewelers, Kirk grew restless and set off for gemology school. Studying under the dean and founder of the school, Kirk earned a graduate gemologist diploma and became a youngest-ever master appraiser at the age of 22. He was proud to be a first-generation jeweler, working exclusively in Greater Austin where his reputation flourished.
Timeless Design from a Legendary Jeweler
The ideology behind Kirk Root Designs is a direct legacy of our founder. Our signature designs, original techniques, and approach to customer service is Kirk Root’s life work in action. As Kirk once said, “the goal is for the custom piece to stay in families for generations, ideally 100 or more years.”
An Uncompromising Process
From the beginning, Kirk and his team were revered for their custom jewelry designs. The process he developed is still in place today, starting with an initial consultation and a drawing done by hand. Each custom piece is developed with computer-assisted design (CAD) and a wax mold is made. The wax piece resembles the final design closely, allowing customers to see their designs come to life.
“We’re in the jewelry business because it’s our passion. Everybody is good at one thing and some people are really good. I want to be really good at one thing: jewelry.”
– Kirk Root
Early on, Kirk and his team were eager to make their mark, and their enthusiasm spurred numerous original series:
Lone Star Blue Topaz: Beginning with the first pieces he created in 1984, Kirk found topaz to be ideal. Topaz is a clean, hard stone, readily available locally in Central Texas. With a particular cut for optical light performance, the pieces are designed to dazzle.
Wildflower Collection favorites like the Bluebonnets were designed from scratch by Kirk in 1986, these unique pieces of jewelry use diamond-cut sapphires and green garnet. The design is unmistakably Texan, but has garnered fans across the country.
Indian Paintbrush: This sparkling collection was designed well before it became available for sale in the store. Kirk and his team spent many years seeking out the best source for the perfect orange-pink sapphires. The Indian Paintbrush designs continue to be popular gifts.
Century™ Diamonds: Kirk Root never settled for the standard. Common brilliant-cut diamonds have 58 cuts or facets, an approach developed back in 1860. Other than minor adjustments to the facet shapes and symmetry, the overall look of diamonds has not appreciably changed in some 150 years. As technology developed, improvements were made to diamonds’ polish and finish. As optical analytics developed, proportions were improved to maximize light performance and overall brilliance. However, the faceting pattern in the brilliant diamond did not change or evolve over time.
In the mid-1990s, Kirk researched the prospect of cutting diamonds with additional facets to improve their brilliancy and fire. Over the next three years, he and his team investigated many possible facet patterns and counts with the ultimate goal of increasing the brilliancy evenly throughout the entire diamond. By 1999, two facet patterns were found to achieve this goal:
- In diamonds from 0.75 carat to 3.00 carats, 98 facets was found to be both effective and beautiful.
- A specific challenge was large diamonds, those that are 3.01 carats and larger, and Kirk and his team determined that 168 facets maximized the large diamonds’ fire and brightness.
- Overall, depending on the size of the diamond, fire was found to increase 33% to 50% over the traditional round brilliant diamond.
Kirk and his team’s research developed a system by which any round brilliant cut diamond could be recut to Century Cut with less than 1% weight loss. For example, a 1.01 carat round, brilliant-cut diamond could be transformed into an exceptional 1.00 carat Century Cut diamond. Recutting customers’ diamonds with the Century Cut technique is our common practice today.