August 12th, 2006
I was very good at the gem show today. And I am proud of myself!
I mostly wanted to find some good, bright yellow sapphires for not-a-fortune, and I did! I got a parcel of 8 or so 3mm ones, of which 3 are exactly the color I want for my cloisonne smiley pendant, and a couple of the others ought to work for accenting other smileys. AND I found a 5mm, also not-a-fortune, that matches them nicely. Woohoo! At the same place J got a box of 15 small but incredibly lovely opals, and at the last possible minute I found a hesserite(?)- it's a red-orange garnet, I think- that I loved for only $10- and they threw that in! This was very nice of them. We do buy a fair amount from them over time, but it was still very nice!
I got a few more strands of beads for my Mardi Gras piece, including some vermeil in cool shapes. I think I still need very small smooth round ones, and possibly some vermeil "liquid silver" type tube beads if I can find them, but it's coming together. There were some great yellow jade ones, so all the gold color I use doesn't have to be metallic.
We admired many, many stones. There was a $10,000 blue sapphire, labeled "natural", that was just as pretty as my $13 lab one. :) I really do need to set that in gold sometime, possibly with a tiny diamond accent. (I wonder if I could get a small cultured diamond for not-too-much money- that would be conceptually perfect...) I admired many sapphires, in fact, in pretty much every color they come in. I do love sapphires! Of course, I also love garnets in all their colors, and these too were duly admired. And zircon... ah, zircon. It is so sparkly! I admired several very large sky-blue (probably treated) zircons, but passed them by as not meeting my "not horribly expensive" criterion. :) Maybe someday... One of my favorite pieces of jewelry is an early ring I did in gold- just a simple band with a setting, and a sky-blue zircon therein. It makes me very happy to look at- both the stone itself, and the stone in the gold.
(I would be pretty cautious about buying a really expensive stone in such an environment. I know I do not have the experience to determine whether a stone is as it's said to be, either in terms of what it is- though I can make good guesses these days- nor whether or not it's natural rather than lab or man-made. Therefore, I think I would be asking to be ripped off. I'm sure most of the vendors are honest... but I can't tell myself. So if I need a really nice- meaning, here, expensive- stone, I will hie myself to Stachura, because I really trust them.)
I also admired some utterly lovely apatites (gorgeous turquoise to teal colors!) and sphenes (yellow with lots of color flash!), but did not buy. I already have a few of each, and I am not planning on setting them until I get a lot more experience under my belt. In my setting class with Doug Zaruba he often used both of these as Bad Examples of stones that are a tricky misery to set. Alas. But gods! are they pretty!
Yes, it was a festival of "ooo, shiny!"
Our other purchase was a few more pieces of meteorite iron. I've promised to make J a bracelet with a piece set as a stone, plus they had a couple of pieces small enough for rings. Cool! And there was another piece that was just intriguing as to shape: from one side, it looked like a stylized bear, and on the other it resembles a bird. It looks like it'll need to be a pendant, and fully reversible- that will be a fun challenge to make!
Of course, the recipient would ideally have some sort of idea of what kind of bracelet he wanted before I got started. :)