Gregory Burgard has been a jeweler since he was sixteen years old. He first learned lampworking from Lewis Wilson, but eventually switched to kiln-worked glass as he wanted to work without influence from other glass artists. Although he studied mechanical engineering and art at New Mexico State University, he has worked in the jewelry industry his entire life. His day job involved every aspect of producing jewelry, from design to manufacture, especially with regard to the sculpting of masters and their casting for manufacturing.
While he now sculpts his original models in hard green wax, his skills were honed from childhood, when he worked in clay, making entire dioramas on a long kitchen counter his father attached to one wall of his bedroom. This large surface became the setting for dioramas with animals, trees or the Old West. At summer jobs during the 1970s, he made Southwest jewelry with Native American jewelers, who kindly coached and mentored him. Burgard remembers taking the bus as a teenager to Rio Grande to buy tools and supplies for the jewelry workshop he set up in the garage with a friend. Decades later, he has joined that same well-known Albuquerque jewelry supply firm and continues forward with his own art.