Linda Gordon Traded the Loop for the Electric City


Linda Gordon majored in elementary education at Illinois State University, influenced by the limited options at the time. “In the 1960s, women could be a nurse or teacher or secretary,” she said. But she wasn’t comfortable when she did her student teaching, so she chose a different path.

She grew up in Chicago and spent her whole working life there downtown in the Loop. She started out doing inventory control for a company that manufactured children’s sportswear but left after a fire in its Tampa factory caused the business to fold. She then worked in retail for a Target-like company called Venture, first as a shortage control auditor before moving into the jewelry department, which she managed. That led to 19 years with Whitehall Jewelers and 11 years with Ultra Diamonds.

Her duties varied. Sometimes she handled customer trade-ins or sent jewelry out for repair. She sent gold scrap to refineries and diamonds to diamond brokers. She conducted appraisals. She ensured that diamonds were conflict free (that is, were not African “blood” diamonds). She became knowledgeable about colored stones. She worked with antique dealers. She interacted with people from different cultures, including the Orthodox Jewish community. She loved being at the center of big city commerce.

Her jewelry career led to an interest in doing bead work, especially since she could purchase pearls from broken strands at a discount. She has also done needlepoint and leather crafting over the years.

Gordon minored in art at college and hails from an artistic family. Her grandmother painted in oil as a hobby, and her father was a commercial artist who did hand-drawn graphics for corporations like Dairy Queen.

Along with her mother, Gordon moved to Anderson several years ago to live near her sister, Carrie Gibson, an Anderson Artists Guild member who convinced Gordon to join, as well.

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