Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tucson 2017 - Chrysoprase and Variscite

This year marks the 13th year I've been traveling to Tucson from Georgia. It's always a wild ride, several days of nonstop shopping, with zero to little downtime. I both look forward to and dread it, a little, every year. ;)

This year was no different, but I came home, as always, elated with my new finds. My love for colored gems remains undiminshed and I found some true lovelies to share with you.

Though it sells more slowly for me than other gems, I personally simply can't resist that magical greeny-green green of chrysoprase. The best chrysoprase comes from Australia, which is where all of these beauties are from. I love it best, as I love most gems, when it has not been entirely separated from its host rock (the brown you see in the photo). And when I find what I consider excellent examples, I will do whatever's necessary to make sure they come home with me. :)

This is how most people know chrysoprase, if they know it at all. Relatively rare on the gem market, it's not a very well-known gem and every time I offer a piece with chrysoprase, I get a lot of questions about it. These small cabochons, with their lovely and very even hues, will be accent stones for a series that will also use variscite (see photo below). I brought the larger cabs with me to the Tucson show in order to match some chrysoprase with them.

Here's an example of a finished design:

Variscite is also found in Australia (though a lot of good quality gem material comes from Utah), and the two gems are so complimentary that I love to put them together.

Here's another example of chrysoprase, that I made into jewelry designs last summer:

These actually stayed with me. I loved this softer, seafoam-y coloring with the host rock and the dark inclusions scattered throughout...I've never seen it in quite this shade, and I couldn't part with it. I had a few more stones like these, but all those designs have sold. Hopefully one of these days I'll find a few more...

I found many, many more deliciously colored goodies in Tucson this year, and I'll be sharing those soon. Until then....

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