Ronald D. and Cheryl "Chery" (Polidori) Pingenot were the proprietors of Tejon Gallery, Ltd. in Denver, located at 3434 Tejon Street. Ron earned his B.S. Degree in Chemistry from Colorado State University and also studied mineralogy there. He began collecting minerals in 1951 and started cutting stones in 1956. His first Tucson Show exhibit was in 1964. At that time he was advised not to bring cut stones to the Tucson Show –- his friends told him “No one will ever buy cut stones in Tucson”!
Chery studied art at the University of Northern Colorado and is a well-known jewelry designer. Her uncle, Merle Reid, and George Robertson were partners in Crystal Gallery of Denver. With financing from Chery's father, Elvin Augolene “Augie” Polidori, Merle and George purchased the first great pocket of rhodochrosite crystals from the Sweet Home mine in 1966, including the specimen later known as the "Alma Queen." That famous specimen was traded to Peter Bancroft and, after changing hands several times, is now in the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
Ron was among those who helped Peter Bancroft gather information for his famous book, Gem and Crystal Treasures (1984). In 1978 Ron and Peter visited Buckskin Gulch, where they inspected the Sweet Home mine. They found the old check pictured in the book at an abandoned mine below the Sweet Home. Ron also helped Peter with the chapter on the Brazilian diamond mines in Diamantina, and several of the specimens pictured in the book are from Ron's collection, including the emerald and quartz specimen and the amazonite and smoky quartz. Ron also faceted some of the gemstones that appear in the book.
Augie Polidori, Merle Reid and Ron Pingenot opened Tejon Gallery in 1972, and eventually Ron and Chery became the sole owners. Tejon Gallery moved to another location in Denver in 1976. In 1983 they relocated to Lakewood, Colorado, a suburb of Denver; Tejon Gallery became their wholesale outlet, while they did retail business under the name of Tavernier Fine Jewelers. They moved in 1994 to their current location at 8008 W. Jewell Avenue, Lakewood, Colorado 80232 where they now operate as "International Collectible Exchange, Ltd." (I.C.E.).
They still deal in minerals, fossils, loose gems and jewelry on both the retail and wholesale level. They have traveled to South America (Brazil, Bolivia and Colombia), Mexico, Thailand, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, several countries in Africa and Europe and others in search of gems and minerals. They cut and sell rare gems as well as fine typical gems. They also make fine custom platinum and gold jewelry. Although their business currently emphasizes loose colored stones and diamonds, Ron's first love is minerals and he can't resist looking for minerals, no matter where they are.
PINGENOT, R.D. (2008) Personal Communication.
ZINN, M. (2008) Personal communication.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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