Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tucson Gem Show 2015, Part II

The trickiest things about using one of a kind gems in your jewelry designs, is that sometimes you can really find what you need...ahem, *want*, easily and at the right price, like yesterday's turquoise...and sometimes you can't. This year, a few of my "regular" buys were harder to come by.

Larimar,for example, can be tricky to find. Last year the price skyrocketed and I really had to do some hunting to find what I needed. I had similar problems this year; the prices were better BUT the gems were cut really, really thick, which I don't like. A thicker cut usually means a few things:

- a sloppier or less experienced cutter

- a more expensive purchase (and not in a good way) Thicker cabs mean that I pay more for the raw material weight, then I have to use more metal to bezel the gems, which means my customers also will pay more overall. Which I don't like, which is why I look for thinner cabochons. :)

- a lesser quality gem - sometimes it seems like poor quality is "made up for " by cutting thicker gems. But I don't want "more gem, less quality" I'd rather have better quality material.

These in the photo are nice and "svelte"and the corners are well done. I am finding the patterns in the new gems coming out of the Caribbean so much more interesting than some of the earlier material that was simply straight-up blue. These patterns are fabulous!

I also found it hard to find the "right" matched pairs of Larimar for earrings. Either there simply weren't any available, or they were way too spendy for my plans. Or too thick - which, in addition to the issues I mentioned above, often means that the gems will be far too heavy for comfortable earrings. I get a lot of comments about how my earrings are comfortable to wear, and I take pride in making that part of my design prioritites. So thick gems for earrings are really just not an option.

Actually, this year I ended up making some of my own matched pairs, out of some huge bins of random gems. I sorted through entire bins to find cuts and color patterns that matched up:

I spent three hours at one dealer's location. For an eight hour shopping day (minus travel time), that's a chunk. But between the Larimar and the Peruvian opals I'll show you later, all thatt time did not go unrewarded. :)

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