Mr. Whicker became interested in minerals and gem stones as a young teenager. He was fortunate to visit some famous North Carolina collecting sites, such as the Adams Farm in Hiddenite, and the Crabtree and Wiseman Mines near Spruce Pine in the late 60’s. He acquired his first cabbing machine in 1970. After 35 years in the construction and surveying industries, Mr. Whicker retired in 2013. Since then he has devoted much of his time to mineral collecting and lapidary work. He is the current vice president of the Forsyth Gem and Mineral Club in Winston Salem and a member of the M.A.G.M.A. club in Asheville. He very much enjoys sharing his knowledge of the lapidary arts with the students of Sawtooth.