A dyed-in-the-wool Midwesterner from Ohio, Sylvia began creating jewelry late in life as a third career. She began intensely studying jewelry-making techniques about fifteen years ago at local classes in California. Her studies continued at the Revere Academy in San Francisco, followed by a one-year apprenticeship with a classic goldsmith in Santa Cruz, California. During this time, she exhibited and sold her work at several galleries on the Monterey Peninsula. After moving to South Dakota, she spent a year as the head goldsmith in one of the local Black Hills Gold factories.