Friday, February 15, 2013

Tucson 2013: Part III

One more post of fabulous new finds...then back to some jewelry photos next week.  :)

Freeform crazy lace agate from Guadalajara, Mexico. Remember when I posted here about wanting to challenge myself with setting more irregular stones? I found some beauties! They happen to *all* be crazy lace agate, but they're all strikingly different and beautiful. I bought directly from the cutter (this actually happened several times this year) and it was a fantastic experience.

Here's another:

A very different cut! I'm thinking of setting it just the way it's photographed - maybe with only a bezel on the top of the stone so you can see the full effect of the crystals on the bottom. Or these might be the stones that finally push me into doing some sort of prong setting. They're just as lovely on both sides and I want to expose as much of the stone as possible.

My personal favorite of the ten or so I purchased:

It's hard to see here but there's a line of open crystals across the top of this stone. And the coloring is just lovely. Here's a closer shot with the crystals on the bottom so you can see better:

That whole dark gray area on the bottom is a crystal bed. 

I have collected crazy lace agate in a small way for several years, and like many stones, it's become harder and harder to find. It comes only from Guadalajara, and the pieces I'm seeing now often don't have the lovely color that I've seen in the past. Many are simply gray and white, which is also pretty, but I love the rich colors. So coming across these was a happy surprise.

I mentioned that I bought these directly from the stone cutter. And that was wonderful.  I was fortunate enough to have that experience three different times while shopping the gem show this year. One booth was outside and had the cutting machine going in the back (the couple's son was cutting) while I browsed. These folks were great - I bought my first piece of variscite from them - and some other choice stones - and learned so much from their knowledge and experience. Then I bought these funky agate pieces from the cutter, who was so easy to work with. And the Royston pieces I posted previously were directly from the family who cuts the stones and sells them. There were two generations of cowboy cutters there (hats, big belt buckles, and boots included) and we had a blast.  :)

In the past, I have purchased from foreign dealers who manage to act like my paltry $500 (or more) purchase is barely worth their time (and I put paltry in italics because, hey! for most people, $500 is a chunk of money. I realize that for some of these dealers it's a tiny amount, but I still find it rude to treat your customers like they're not worth your time - no matter what amount they're spending). I've spent in the four figures with certain stone dealers and they just act like it's an annoyance to weigh the stones, give me a total, or write a receipt. This is not true of all foreign dealers, of course, but some of them make me feel a little dirty for doing business with them.

This year, it was such a pleasure to at least occasionally purchase from American dealers who took the time to share their knowledge with me, and to enjoy the interaction with someone who loves stones as much as they do. American-made is more expensive, no doubt about it. But it's really nice to support others who are working to create the best product they can, and to know who's doing the work and how it's being done. A very welcome bonus to my shopping this year.  :)


  1. Some real beauties. The first one in particular is spectacular. I've seen a couple of pendants recently that have open bezels to make room for uneven crystals and I think it is a stunning effect. (I imagine it's not as 'easy' as it looks, though!)

    It's a shame you've had some unfortunate dealings with some sellers (any form of arrogance is a mystery to me) but the sellers you bought from recently sound terrific, the kind of people who are in this business for the same reason you are!

    It's going to be fun seeing how you set all these amazing new stones!


    1. Ash,

      Thanks! I really think they're gorgeous too. I just love natural stones.

      None of it is as easy as it looks. Well, not for me at least..but it's fun trying. :)

      I can't wait to play with these - I'll really have to sit down and plan out the designs (not my strong point; I like to have at it and see what happens). It'll be good for me. :)