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April 20, 2014

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Former major leaguer ventures into jewelry business

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Richard Brian

Skeletal Metal Surgical Jewelry co-owners Marty Cordova, left, and Anthony Bonifazio pose for a photo at their office in Henderson.

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Jewelry Design Specialist Brent Bardellini forms a batch of Recon Rings from the Skeletal Metal Surgical jewelry line at their Henderson office.

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Skeletal Metal's line of jewelry is made from reconstructive plates used in orthopedic surgery.

When former Major League Baseball player and Bishop Gorman graduate Marty Cordova was contemplating the paths his life could take after baseball, working in the world of jewelry never entered his mind.

But five years after playing in his final professional game, Cordova is part owner of Skeletal Metal, a burgeoning jewelry business located in Henderson.

Skeletal Metal manufactures rings, bracelets, pendants and earrings made from reconstructive plates used in orthopedic surgery.

"It's something to do every day. It keeps me stimulated," said Cordova, an Anthem resident. "It helps that it's still sort of related to sports because that has remained a big part of my life."

The company was launched last summer by orthopedic surgeon Mike Crovetti, who began wearing a ring made of the surgical grade stainless steel reconstructive plates. After receiving several inquiries about the light-weight noncorrosive metal, Crovetti approached managing partner Anthony Bonifazio and Cordova about expanding the business.

"People were intrigued by the story behind the ring and the edginess or toughness of it," Crovetti said. "It wowed people. Anthony and Marty both agreed it was a product that people would want and the two of them have been great in getting the word out and making this a product that's sold all over now."

Bonifazio said Cordova's ties to Southern Nevada and his credibility as an athlete have helped the company get off the ground.

"These items appeal to people with that type of lifestyle and it helps a lot having an athlete like Marty who has these great relations all over the city," Bonifazio said. "It gets the word out to other athletes who have a lot of respect for him and it gets us exposure."

Cordova won the 1995 American League Rookie of the Year Award with the Minnesota Twins and played with four major league teams — the Twins, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles — in nine big leagues seasons. He compiled a .274 batting average with 122 home runs and 540 RBI in 952 games.

Skeletal Metal produces roughly 50 items, including exclusive Ultimate Fighting Championship-themed pieces, a relationship forged through Cordova and Bonifazio's long-time friendship with UFC President Dana White. White is also a Gorman graduate.

The items have been promoted on the UFC Web site's home page, which attracts about 45 million page views per month, Cordova said.

"That type of exposure is incredible," Bonifazio said. "It's like getting a small book published and then getting it put in Oprah's book club. It's just a different level of exposure having guys like Dana and (former UFC light-heavyweight champion) Forrest Griffin wearing your items."

Cordova plans to keep his business based in Henderson.

"Skeletal Metal just seemed like a good fit for the area, so why take it anywhere else?" Cordova asked. "I was born here and I'll never really leave here,"

Jared Harmon can be reached at 990-8922 or [email protected].

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