Our current staff of jewelers, located at our Indianapolis store, encompass a variety of talents and expertise, which combine to make an impressive team whom embrace and carry on the finest of all custom design jewelry traditions.
- Gary Thrapp
- Ellen Bower
Vice President & Head
- Dana Friedman
Sales Associate & Lead
- Paige Tanner, AJP
- Ida Wood
- Joshua Shanafelt
- Stephanie Butler
Inventory ControllerRead Bio
- Robin Brinkman
- Peggy Taylor
Studio AssistantRead Bio
- Mary Mulder
- Gene LaBaw
- Kathy Aynes
Born in Indianapolis, raised in Kendallville, Indiana and educated at Indiana University, Gary Thrapp was a state and national high school pole vault champion and attended I.U. on an athletic scholarship. From there, Gary found new roots in lovely, artsy Santa Barbara, California where he learned the art of design composition through an association with retired Jewelry Workmaster, Willy Hanzi. Mr. Hanzi was shop master at Ruser’s of Beverly Hills and later, Van Cleef and Arpels. It was through this association that Gary was immersed in the fine art of model making and fabrication styles and methods as they relate to the exceptional skill set of recognizing and creating world-class jewelry as an art form. Although not a craftsman, Gary’s knowledge of jewelry making methodology is the basis for design navigation and the crux of assisting clients to realize their custom objectives. What sets G. Thrapp Jewelers apart is our advanced working knowledge of achieving expectations. G. Thrapp strives to inspire client confidence, while establishing a relaxed atmosphere. Gary has driven the G. Thrapp Jewelers philosophy that the store’s goal, above all else, is to achieve the client’s objectives.
Vice President & Head
Ellen Bower began her journey into jewelry design while still in high school. After graduating a year early, Ellen began study as a Fine Arts Major in Sculpture at John Herron School of Art. During her tenure at Herron, she began working for a jeweler and her true passion was ignited after being exposed to the detail and scale of jewelry design. After eight years, she transitioned to a new position with a major manufacturer where she learned the complete manufacturing process, her focus being in Research and Development designing and creating the master models for their jewelry lines. In 1993, Ellen began her career at G. Thrapp Jewelers. At that time there were two jewelers and much of the design and manufacture work was out-sourced. Ellen was promoted to the Head of the Design Studio and, within five years of her start, all of the work was being done in-house and a full Design Studio was established. In 1999, she became the Vice President of G. Thrapp Jewelers and embraced the challenges of integrating new technologies, management, design, and old world tradition. Ellen thrives on a strong work ethic and a true belief that competition is from within, always striving to reach her personal best. Ellen has remained at G. Thrapp for fourteen years because she believes the organization to be an art form in itself. It allows her to grow and learn in a limitless fashion, always pushing the boundaries on what is comfortable into new and exciting possibilities. In her career, Ellen has become a nationally recognized Master Jeweler with a true passion for design as beautiful as the pieces that she creates.
Sales Associate & Lead
Dana Friedman is an Indiana girl. She grew up on a lake just outside Indianapolis and is still feeding and nurturing her quest for adventure and fun, but Dana’s drive goes well beyond the lake life. Since 1990, her passion has also found a home in the jewelry business. That is when she began to realize how jewelry can be such a significant part of people’s lives.
In 1999 Gary met Dana after she had been highly recommended by a business colleague. It didn’t take long for the two of them to recognize the synergies between Gary’s goals for G Thrapp Jewelers and his philosophy for servicing his clients, and Dana’s experience, enthusiasm, and personal commitment to help people get what they want.
From births to birthdays and from weddings to anniversaries and all the personal celebrations in between, Dana has seen the importance fine jewelry can play in the milestones of life. Dana says, that unlike other gifts or bits of memorabilia, jewelry “stands the test of time and the value of legacy — because of what it stands for, what it represents.” While Dana believes jewelry is something to be valued, treasured, and handed down from one generation to the next the experience should always be a fun adventure—never intimidating and NEVER boring! “My greatest joys come in finding that perfect fit for someone, whatever the occasion. For me there is no more gratifying reward than when I help find that perfect piece that represents that special moment, and each time it is looked at and worn, they will remember exactly when they got it and why……and that they had a fantastic experience at G Thrapp Jewelers and want to come back!”
That’s what G Thrapp is all about—the experience. Dana and all at G Thrapp constantly strive to provide the experience people deserve, not just what they expect.
Walk into the store and you will find Paige spending time with clients learning their taste and matching their needs with the perfect piece of jewelry. Paige demonstrates the know-how and training that is a hallmark of our Sales Associates. Not only does Paige have experience working for an esteemed jeweler in Evansville, she also has the Accredited Jewelry Professional (AJP) credential from the Gemology Institute of America (GIA).
Paige first visited G. Thrapp Jewelers as a new client looking for an engagement ring. “My boyfriend (now husband) and I were getting engaged and, even though I was in the jewelry industry back home in Evansville, I wanted to see what Indianapolis had to offer. I remember coming into the store and immediately feeling at home. It didn’t feel like a store – it felt like we were sitting in a friend’s house with beautiful, sparkly things to look at! After visiting other Indianapolis stores, the service we received and the knowledge demonstrated at G. Thrapp Jewelers was second to none. I told my husband that if we ever moved to Indy, I would want to work at G. Thrapp Jewelers. Two years later, I am a part of the amazing GTJ team and I couldn’t feel more blessed! “
“Our clients’ support for the community aligns with G. Thrapp Jewelers’ commitment to bettering the community with our time, talent and treasure,” says Paige. “When our clients shop here, they can be assured that a portion of the money they spend will flow into the community through G. Thrapp Jewelers’ support of local charities. Philanthopy is important to Paige, which explains why she has such a connection to designer Nina Nguyen and a love for her designs.“Nina Nguyen’s jewelry is handcrafted, well-made and uniquely designed – perfect to wear alone or layered with other styles. I appreciate her use of bright colors, raw and natural looking stones and the yellow gold or sterling silver accents. To top it off, I highly respect and value her philanthropic works in her home-country of Vietnam.”
Paige and her husband have two “furry” children: Evie–a mischievous cat, and Ellie-a sweet Goldendoodle . “We like to bike, hike, and explore Indy since we aren’t originally from here. We love taking road trips back home to Evansville to see our friends and family!”
Sales Associate &
Stephanie brings jewelry industry experience, gemology knowledge and an understanding of clients’ needs to her role as Inventory Manager. A former long-term salesperson and an accredited Jewelry Professional through the industry-leading Gemology Institute of America (GIA), Stephanie spots any problems with quality before our jewelry reaches the sales floor. She knows the importance of bringing in special orders promptly and works closely with our Designers to ensure timely delivery.
“David Yurman is one of my favorite designers because his pieces are so versatile and distinctly his design. The jewelry looks just as beautiful with a causal pair of jeans as it does with your favorite little black dress. I can instantly spot it when I see someone wearing David Yurman!” Another favorite is Michele watches with their easy-to-personalize interchangeable bands that can coordinate with your outfit or your mood. You will find Stephanie wearing her Michele watch every day…and getting a hint to her day based on which band she is sporting.
“After interviewing at G Thrapp just once, the warm and friendly atmosphere drew me in. I am truly thrilled to be part of the G Thrapp family since 2012.” Robin’s favorite designer line is Yvel. “The first trunk show that I experienced was the Yvel line. Designer and owner Isaac Levy came all the way from Jerusalem and brought his most beautiful pieces. When I thought of pearls, I simply imagined white pearls with a short chain. After meeting Mr. Levy, hearing his story of how he got started, and seeing his designs, I was truly inspired. He has amazing pieces that are versatile, and uses colored pearls and gemstones in combination with traditional pearls.”
When not diligently keeping the books accurate, Robin pursues her passions: reading, running, swimming, traveling, and spending time with her little boy and extended family.
Peggy has worked for 30 years in the jewelry industry. She is experienced in jewelry polishing, casting precious metals, setting diamonds, mold fabrication and cutting. In her role as Quality Control inspector for our Design Studio, Peggy applies her knowledge every day. She also keeps the repair process moving timely with administrative support. Her job gratification comes from hearing clients who are picking up a refurbished piece of jewelry say: “Wow I never thought it would look like that again!”
Peggy spends time away from G. Thrapp Jewelers with family and friends. She visits her son who is in the Air Force. And, she bowls with friends every week.
Graduate Gemologist &
I am an Indiana girl as well. Grew up a mile and a half from here. Meridian Kessler is my stomping grounds. My parents still live in the house I grew up in. Always have had a love for gemstones, jewelry, and personally creating any art of 3-dimensional design. Attended Indiana University, Bloomington and graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts specializing in Jewelry Design and Metalsmithing. Afterwards attending the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, CA. First job in the business was in the Diamond District of NYC. Came back to Indpls and have worked for a few stores doing sales, management, and custom design. Took a few years off to have my kiddos and worked from home designing and making jewelry. Glad to be back in the swing of things. Feel I am back in my deep rooted, close-nit family community and loving it!