The Influence of Henri LeBeau | Black Hills Travel Blog

The Influence of Henri LeBeau

Updated: 
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
By : 
Heather

Black Hills Gold Ring

If you’ve ever visited the Black Hills and somehow managed not to see a shop selling Black Hills gold jewelry, I’d be amazed. Even in my East River hometown over 300 miles from the area, Black Hills Gold dominates the jewelry stores.

As usual, my curiosity got the best of me and I started doing a little research. I knew the history of the Gold Rush and the Homestake Gold Mine, but I had never really known the history behind the jewelry.

Well, to my surprise, this lead me to the story of another Black Hills legend, Henri LeBeau.

Before you start trying to find a trace of this name along with Wild West heroes like Wild Bill and Calamity Jane, Henri LeBeau was not an outlaw or gunslinger. He was a goldsmith from France who travelled to the United States during the Gold Rush in California in hopes of striking it rich. Once he arrived in the United States, he joined a wagon train to California. However, upon getting near the Black Hills of South Dakota, they were attacked, leaving him separated from his party.

Each account that I’ve read varies slightly, but he apparently decided to stay in the Black Hills area and soon started designing jewelry based upon his memories of the vineyards of France. This is why we today have the distinct design of grape leaves and a grape cluster in the colors of yellow, rose and green.

The next time you see a watch, earrings or a wedding band made with a vineyard-like design of leaves and a hint of pink and green, you’re probably looking at a piece of jewelry created in the Black Hills.

Take a look at some of these sites featuring Black Hills gold jewelry for a more detailed description of LeBeau and, of course, a glance at some of the latest jewelry designs.

Generous Gems
Black Hills Gold Diggers
My Black Hills Gold Site by Landstrom's

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