Friday, February 13, 2015

Tucson Gem Show, Part IV

It seems like no matter what time of year it is, I'm eagerly anticipating the Tucson show. And right between the end of December and the end of January, I'm *really* eagerly anticipating it. Like bouncing-off-the-walls anticipating. I really don't buy gems online very often, because I want to see and feel and know what I'm getting. There's a lot you just can't tell from photos. So every year, this is the single best opportunity to find interesting, unusual, and gorgeous gems that help determine my design directions.

This year, I found a few new / old favorites, such as these fabulous dendrite opals:

They are always so wonderful. I buy some smaller ones from a local gem cutter, but for the big, impactful gems I buy only in Tucson. No one else cuts 'em like this. :)

And as much as I love shopping for my favorites, I enjoy the thrill of the hunt for new and interesting gems. Below are a few photos of what caught my eye this year:

Azurite malachite. The gems above fascinated me with their interesting patterns and coloration. They're less spendy (especially in this somewhat larger size) than the azurite / malachite that doesn't contain the brown host rock, but I really loved the color combinations. I think I ended up with about ten or twelve cabs.

And then I picked up a few - only a few - of this gem without the host boulder:

Also stunningly beautiful. They're typically priced a lot higher than I'd like - and you can see how much cleaner the corners are on these; better quality cutting (though not always easier to set!). I pick up a few at random times when I find shapes / patterns / colors I like, figuring that eventually I'll have enough to do something really fun with them. I'm okay with a bit of hoarding. :)

Some lodelites shown above. From Brazil. I don't see lodelite, or buy it, very often...but it's fascinating. It's a type of quartz, with inclusions. And it's cut so that you get an almost 3-D effect looking down into the gem. But to get that 3-D effect means it typically has a very high dome. And they're not all polished smooth on the bottom, where the inclusions are. So setting might be a bit of a challenge, not that I mind. :)  And this brings my stash of lodelites to a grand total of three. :)

Oregon blue opal. This has a lot of matrix (the brown and white) in it, but I found it more interesting this way. The plain blue reminded me a lot of chalcedony, which I don't really use much...but I like  the contrast of the milky-sky blue with the earthy browns. And who knew that Oregon produced opals??

In my next post, I'll share some other unusual / special gems, and the beauties that didn't make it into the suitcase this year, for one reason or another. A girl's got to leave a bit for the rest of the jewelers. *wink*

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