JR Cox and the Story of the Lure of Diamonds® -
JR. Cox was born in Volant, Pennsylvania in 1928. His
home was on Neshannock Creek, a trout stream that attracts anglers from
all over Western Pennsylvania to this day.
JR was taught to fish by his older brother, Philip, who
was 10 years his senior. Their father was a hunter but didn't fish.
Philip learned to fish from the old anglers in the town, and he in turn
took JR under his wing. Philip was, in JR's words, "the best nymph fisherman
I've ever seen. I saw him produce fish with nymphs and wet flies when
no one else could catch anything all day."
JR caught his first fish on a fly rod when he was 12 years
old. He still remembers the fly he used. It caught the trout on a "coachman"
wet fly. From that day on, JR was hooked on fly-fishing. It's a passion
he's enjoyed for over 50 years, but he didn't start tying flies until
he was 18 years old.
Learning to Tie...
At age 18, JR volunteered for the Army. It was 1946, just
after the end of World War II. He was sent to Japan with the Allied
occupation Army. It was there that he started tying flies. A high school
buddy of his thought JR might be bored in Japan, so he sent him a fly-tying
kit. JR never took lessons. He sent for a catalog from a famous old
angler, Wayne Buszek of Visalia California. He used the flies in the
catalog as models, and he got started tying his own.
After being discharged from the Army in 1947, JR returned
to Volant and became a banker with the Lawrence Savings and Trust Co.
That bank went through many mergers and name changes over the years,
but he stayed with the company. While he worked for the bank, he was
sent to live in Clarion and Oil City, PA. At each place, he learned
to fish the local streams and rivers, finding the best spots and the
hidden treasures of the Pennsylvania woods.
He retired in 1988 as Vice President of Commercial and
Mortgage Loans with National City Bank [formerly the Lawrence Savings
First original fly
After years of trying traditional flies and trying to
imitate real insects, JR decided to create something "fishy." He wanted
a lure he thought the fish would bite. It was the late 1950's and a
woman gave him a piece of an old seal skin coat she was about to throw
out. JR made a "dubbing" from the sealskin by mixing of the light and
dark colors of the skin and hair. He made the fly's body with the dubbing.
All the hair sticking out it made it look very "buggy." He used black
crow feathers for the thorax. For the tail, he dyed female mallard feathers
brown. "My wife nearly killed me. She walked into the kitchen while
I was dying feathers on the stove in a pot, and there were feathers
everywhere... Feathers don't pour very well from a bag into a pot,"
he says with smile.
JR used that original fly for years. It worked just as
he hoped it would. He caught fish everywhere he went. When friends and
other fishermen asked what he was using, he wouldn't tell them. He would
say, "It's just some old lure I picked up." After several years of years
using the fly, its reputation for success grew. His best friend, an
editor of the New Castle News, said to JR, "Come on JR, society wants
to know what it is you are using. Can we put a picture of it in the
"I said, 'Sure,' and I gave him some other old fly. That
paper had a circulation of 35,000. I wasn't about to give out the picture
to 35,000 people!"
You can tell JR is a true fisherman. He guards good flies
like a chef guards his secret recipes.
The Lure of Diamonds® - Collar Pins and Tie Tacks
Joe Murawski is JR's son-in-law and the owner of Joden
World Resources, a jewelry store specializing in original jewelry, yellow
diamonds, and antique jewelry. Knowing JR's talent for tying flies,
Joe came to JR with the idea of displaying diamonds on a fly, and the
Lure of Diamonds® was born. JR started tying flies with the idea
not of catching fish but of catching the eye. JR's original
and unique designs were chosen for their colors, using brightly colored
feathers to compliment the color of the diamonds. Some of the designs
are based upon traditional flies, like the "Royal Coachman" and the
"Mickey Finn," while others are created solely out of the artist's vision.
The first flies were made for the Carnegie Gem and Mineral
Show in Pittsburgh, PA in August of 1999. Joden received a patent for
the new jewelry in 2000. They can be worn as collar pins, lapel pins,
or tie tacks.
The first hooks used in the original creations are almost
sold out. They are a limited edition of platinum hooks from England
with the words "patent pending" and the "JR Cox"
name engraved on the stickpin.