James David Saunders

James David Saunders, 65, of Amarillo, Texas, went to be with his Lord and Savior on January 7, 2022, in Amarillo.

Services will be held at 11:30 a.m., February 19, 2022, at Texas Route 66 Visitor Center, 1900 6th Ave., Amarillo, Texas, 79106. 

 Jim was born February 19, 1956, to Dave and Florence Saunders in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

 He had a very colorful life. Jim spent part of his childhood in Laguna Beach, California when his father portrayed Red Ryder, which kept them there for many years. He played in the Little League World Series before moving back to Albuquerque. This is where he became involved in the manufacture of silver and turquoise jewelry during the turquoise boom of the 1970s. He went on to design and manufacture several lines of jewelry, doing so for over 45 years. Jim always cut his own stones,  mining material for this purpose for about 30 years. In time, he came to own numerous mines. He said his greatest love was cutting the stones, especially turquoise.

Jim was a world-renowned jeweler and silversmith, gaining a reputation as “Silversmith to the Stars,” since he created jewelry for several country western stars.

He enjoyed so many things: surfing, fishing, tying flies, hunting, motocross racing, baseball, and playing guitar. Also, he loved cooking and gardening.

Jim was preceded in death by his father, Dave Saunders; a daughter, Carolyn Scherer, and a son, Michael Saunders.

 Those left to cherish his memory are his wife, Rebecca of Amarillo; son, AJ Saunders, and wife, Araceli, and their children, Samson, Annalicia, and Melania of Albuquerque; son, Jonathan Scherer of Cheyenne, Wyoming; daughter, Kathryn Colter and husband, Chane, and their children, Xander and Charlotte, of Amarillo; brother, John Saunders, and wife, Lena of Joshua, Texas; and mother, Florence of Amarillo.

 In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


  1. Penny Hershman

    Jim and Rebecca are such dear and close friends of mine, and I am so sorry that Jim has left us to move on to a new adventure. Jim was always so kind and funny and generous. And was an amazingly gifted artist, and lover of the stones! I am fortunate to have quite a few pieces of his jewelry, some of which he made specifically for me. Very special, and I will cherish them always. He was larger than life and so vibrant a person. He will be missed so very much. His love for turquoise, mining and getting into his ‘mode’ when cutting stone was always something I admired about Jim. I am writing this with a heart that is heavy with sadness, but he gave it his all, and he is at peace now. Rebecca, if you need me, remember I am always here for you. Jim, my friend, I hope that wherever you are right now, the roads there are paved with Turquoise!

  2. John Saunders

    I will miss my brother, we were both gifted in the arts. He made lots of people happy with his turquoise jewelry creations. Love to my brother, May he be remembered forever.

  3. Rob MacDonald

    We are very fortunate to know Jim and sharing time with him and Rebecca mining turquoise in Nevada. Jim helped me learn about turquoise industry and we shared many wonderful conversations about gem mining, jewellery, family, and the Lord. We are very thankful for all the positive light Jim brought into our lives. Love, the MacDonald Family

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