Kary Kilmer began his goldsmithing career as a young child digging in the abandoned silver mines of Lusk, Wyoming and forging copper welding rods on the horse shoeing anvil at his grandfather's ranch. His interest in geology led him to pursue studies at the University of Minnesota, but it was his combined interest in gemstones and metalworking that lured him into the world of jewelry design.
Kary worked his way through college working behind the counter selling fine jewelry and engagement rings. Watching the goldsmith working in the back room rekindled his fascination with jewelry fabrication. The next few years lead him to taking more classes, reading books and attending workshops. Eventually, he started attending art and craft shows and exhibiting in galleries.
Crown Trout Jewelers was born in 1996 with an initial investment of one thousand dollars and some salvaged second hand jewelry cases. In the next few years Crown Trout Jewelers expanded their retail showroom and inventory added more tools eventually purchased a historical building.
In 2002, Crown Trout Jewelers was chosen as one of four American finalists in the World Gold Council's Virtuosi Competition in Vincenza, Italy for their 18kt gold collection entitled "Danae's Dream." These awards have been dubbed the world's "Oscars" of gold jewelry design. Over 1700 entrants coming from 52 countries entered the competition with over 5,100 designs. Only three other finalists were selected from the United States
At this time Crown Trout Jewelers begain teaching jewelry arts and begain offering classes at their studio and at a variety of folk schools in the region. Those studios included The North House Folk School located in Grand Marais, Minnesota, the Vesterheim Handverk School in Decorah, Iowa and The Clearing Folk School in Door County, Wisconsin.
Kary garnered a majority of his skills working for a variety of jewelry designers and has studied in Ireland. His wedding band designs reflect cool comfort and clean design. His current interests lie in combining age old forging techniques and organic shapes into contemporary bracelets, pendants and torques. Kary's other specialties include working in alternative materials such as meteorite and mokume gane.