Friday, March 24, 2017

Tucson 2017 - Turquoise (other)

Though my big love is the Royston / ribbon turquoise, there are certainly plenty of marvelous turquoises available on the gem market. This year, I stumbled on to some lovely examples of some of these "other" turquoises.

This year I found some Number 8 turquoise. The Number 8 mine, in Nevada, is one of the best known American turquoise mines. Its turquoise has long been prized for its spiderweb-y patterning (best seen in the top stone in the photo below).


Number 8 has been depleted of turquoise since the 1960s or 1970s, depending on which source(s) you believe. Either way, the only Number 8 turquoise on the market today seems to be from decreasing stores of the old rough that has been hoarded for many years. Sometimes, the owner of the rough sells it to pay the bills, sometimes old hoarders die and the family sells their stock...but whatever the circumstances, Number 8 is hard to come by and because demand is high and supply low, it's not inexpensive. I am thrilled to have added a few pieces of it to my own stash.

The other turquoise find from this year's trip is Campitos turquoise. Campitos is Mexican turquoise, mined since the 1980s in Sonora. It's sometimes compared to Sleeping Beauty because it will have bits of that soaring, pure-blue-sky color that defines Sleeping Beauty (known for its beautiful blue hue and almost no matrix in the stone).

Here's an example of Sleeping Beauty:


This a necklace made of Sleeping Beauty nuggets that I bought in the 1990s (for a song, compared to what I'd pay today, if I could even get my hands on any). I held on to the strand of nuggets for about ten years and then finally made them into a necklace. That mine is closed (as of 2012) and there's a limited supply of Sleeping Beauty on the market today.

But I digress. Back to the Campitos:


Lovely organically shaped cabochons with a lot of bold contrasts! These are so beautiful, with that lovely teal color just bursting against the brown host rock. I am eager to play with these!


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tucson 2017 - Turquoise (Royston)

A trip to the Tucson show would not be complete without sharing some turquoise finds. One of my favorite gemstones, turquoise is found around the world and has a range of color and patterning that boggles the mind. A good amount of high quality turquoise is found in the American Southwest: Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.

One of the turquoises I love to buy is Royston / Ribbon turquoise, so named because it can look like "ribbons" of turquoise are winding through the host rock, forming interesting patterns. This turquoise comes from Nevada, and is often used in Native American jewelry designs.

My finds from this year:


Not a lot. And I don't have much on hand already, so my stash is on the small side. But when I shop the millions of gems on display in Tucson, one of my challenges is to find what I consider the absolute very *best* options. Some years, there's a lot available of what I deem "the best". And some years...there isn't. Natural gems are not an ever-renewing resource, so I pick and choose from whatever's available at any given moment. I'm quite satisfied with these beauties though; each one has splendid patterning and contrast.

And I did manage to find a few earring pairs:


Just a few. But all stellar. :)

And then these:


I've written about these gems before, here, and here, if you'd like to see more examples of this gorgeous gem. :)

Monday, December 26, 2016

Seduced by the Impractical

Post-holiday, I was online shoe shopping. A semi-regular occurrence in Blue Piranha-land, but not for fun and whimsical heels (which is the most regular shoe shopping). Just looking for some simple ballet flats. I'd gone through eight pages of options, when I realized that the only thing I'd "favorited" was these:


And there I was again...seduced by the impractical. Suede. A bold blue that isn't one of my "regular" colors, so it would be hard to match with a fair portion of my closet. But...that blue...how to resist?? 

(for the record, I *have* resisted. So far....)

But this made me realize just how often I am waylaid and distracted by the sheer gorgeousness of impractical things. Though I suppose that one woman's practical is another woman's in love...

Beautiful suedes, sparkling chandelier earrings, fantastical high heels, significant cuff bracelets, a delicately embroidered coat. Colors like lilac and cornflower blue - even though my wardrobe sports a lot more red, teal, and green. If the devil really is in the details, then I sold my soul a long, long time ago. 

I suppose that's what drew me to making jewelry with fabulous gems, bold, bright, and large rainbow hues that some people tell me, "Oh, I couldn't wear that!" "Oh no, I could never carry that off!. Without even trying something on. It's funny (and a little sad) how people will put themselves in a box, if you let them. A box that only they have constructed. 

What's that saying?? 


(you'll notice that this is also deliciously cornflower blue)

Maybe it's time for more women to open that box and start climbing out...try on some rainbow feathers for a while. Feel the long earrings tickle your neck. Smile when you see the bold red pumps on your feet instead of the basic black. Let yourself be seduced by a big, bold statement ring (or necklace). You might just find that the impractical...becomes your practical...

You'll be the better for it. I promise. :) 

Vividly,
Jill