About Us

Cindy Dempsey

founder and fordite addict

Our founder, Cindy Dempsey, shares her personal Fordite story:

“I came across my first pieces of this material in the mid 70’s, when I was young. A friend of the family worked in the car manufacturing business, and he brought a few chunks of this clumpy, hardened paint material over to the house. He called it ‘paintrock’.” 

“At the time, I was into the pet rock phenomena, and was drip-painting beach stones into psychedelic art objects with my Spinart machine, and having fun making refrigerator magnets and paperweights out of them. I loved to make all kinds of things with whatever interesting tidbits I could find in my environment.”

“We lived a short bike ride from the beach on Lake Michigan, and I knew there were always some cool things to find there, like smooth stones, fish bones, beach glass, shells, pottery bits, industrial junk- you name it. It was a virtual treasure trove for anyone into ‘found objects’. Y’know, honestly, I made some pretty macabre and gothic looking things out of the fish bones when I think back on it, but my mother was a good sport about my early crude creative leanings and she even wore one of the fishbone and swarovski crystal necklaces out to dinner once, just to make me feel good.”

“I had developed a fascination for mineralogy when we started learning about it in school, and I tried to identify the rocks around my home town.  And then as I looked at the “paintrock” I had, the thought that these beautiful chunks came from an auto factory and not from the earth, opened a whole new train of thought for me in my artistic explorations. These chunks didn’t look like much more than globs of cured paint, but when you sanded through the surface layer, they really looked organic underneath, like gemstones, with the same kinds of stripes and concentric rings, just like real banded agates! And the colors had all these metallics! Wow! It was really cool…”

“At that time, my favorite stones were malachite, spectrolite, and hematite which all have these suffix, “ite” endings. I really didn’t like the name paintrock, so I came to call my paintrock blobs, ‘Fordite’. I thought it was funny, but it made sense too. It wasn’t a stone, but it sure looked like one!”

“I made some funky pet rocks, magnets, and pendants out of the Fordite, and sold them to my parents’ friends…(Thanks you guys!) and my early love for this fabulous stuff was born …”

“Later on down the road, I became a painter, and then developed into a fine jewelry designer, and metalsmith.  I worked in gold and fine gemstones for some years, and then ventured back toward my draw to the more unusual. When I discovered that the general public had really opened their minds to accepting all kinds of recycled materials and unusual items for use in jewelry, I revived the thought of using fordite again. I eventually fell into my next big stash of fordite rough, and really learned to cut and polish it finely. I cut bunches of cabochons, and shared them with other jewelers to spread the word! I then spent years talking to people, hunting down old-timers who had collected it, and gathered Fordite wherever I could. I knew how excited I was myself, when I finished my first piece of art with it, so all these years later, I am not surprised at all at the positive public response I have seen in offering this amazing stuff showcased in my finished jewelry.”

“It was a natural inclination for me to fall in love with Fordite due to it’s inherent beauty. And while I realize it is not a “real” gemstone, I don’t care one bit because it’s still wonderfully odd, and incredible, you can’t beat how gorgeous it is, and it has such a great story about it! People are always freaking out on my Fordite jewelry when I wear it on the street. They want to know what it is. I like to let them guess, but most people have never seen it before. I call it an “Industrial Gemstone” – and that is undeniably what Fordite is! I am grateful to have discovered this amazing material to work with which brings me so much joy, and the excitement of the feeling of creative discovery every single day I get to cut and shape it into a new piece of art. Every piece is different, and beautiful, and has the energetic of our great American automotive history infused into it.”

~Cindy Dempsey


Our use of the descriptive term “fordite” in no way implies any relation to The Ford Motor Company. We are neither affiliated with nor endorsed by Ford or any of it’s subsidiaries. We express no desire, nor do we attempt to represent our items as Ford Motor Company products. Our “fordite” inventories have been cultivated from many different manufacturers. “Motor Agate” is our registered trade name for this automotive enamel product.

Have you been bitten by the Fordite bug too? Can’t get enough? If so, please visit our F.A.A. page