Friday, February 25, 2011

Micro rose cuts

I love diamonds. And not just because they are sparkly. I love them because they are hard and easy to work with. Plus they are sparkly. And I've been a magpie since I was a child. Seriously. My mom used to buy me big chunks of semi-tumbled rose and crystal quartz when I was weeny and I loooooooved them.

Anyhoo. I found these micro natural color rose cut diamonds and I just HAD to use them in something. So instead of making three matching bands (I had two of these already finished and was just planning on making the 3rd exactly the same) I ended up setting these new stones in instead of the white diamonds. I like it!

I think I'm going to use them in something for a necklace for my wedding (which is coming up in December....never too early to plan. Plus it is such a great opportunity to make something extravagant that I would never feel permitted to make/wear at any other times. Ridiculous, I know. I also found a dress...well sort of, I'm having it made in Cambodia. Hand loomed silk! Supporting a small business owner! A woman business owner! Sweet!).

Um...yes, back to the the necklace. I'm thinking 18kt yellow (of course), with a ton of these cognac/champagny/silver gray natural diamonds (maybe with some white traditional ones in there for good measure), in a gathered swoop sort of, and then two "medallions" of 18kt lacy filigree on either side? Too much? It won't be huge. I suppose I should figure out the wedding rings before I start on the necklace....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You remember that thing....

I had a post recently about a custom design that was taking the mickey out of me. It was for a friend, and she had provided a few stones for a three stone ring. The center stone was an old cut sapphire, oval and very round on the bottom. It made it interesting to carve a setting for, but I eventually got it finished:

I recently completed the actual ring. I think it turned out well. But it was difficult to set. I think I need to expand the stone shapes I work with. I tend to stick with round stones since they are so easy. I also tend to design with round stones, but I'm not sure how much of that is due to the fact that I only work with round stones? Maybe I think in round stones....

But I do like this oval shape. I also like square shapes...older square shapes, not the super sharp cornered ones. Maybe I will start doing more ovals in the near future. I also think it is interesting how much bluer the center stone was after it was set. It seemed really light when it was loose.

(On a completely unrelated note, I've thought about using Tumblr recently, I don't know why. It seems like an uncomfortable mishmash of blogging and twittering. Maybe you need to be a 17yr old fashionista to understand Tumblr. I tried twittering for a while too, but in the end I decided I just didn't give a rat's a$$ about twittering. What a useless time drain. Am I getting too old and crotchety for the internets? I like books more than anything, I prefer blogging to twittering, and I prefer writing in cursive in my journal to blogging. I pretty much despise facebook, but can't get away from it since it lets me keep track of people. Am I doomed? When the singularity comes will I be left behind? Probably, but I prefer to remain an old school human being, even if that means dying eventually and leaving no electronic soul behind....I realize this has nothing to do with jewelry. But I don't care.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


When I gather it all together like this, it doesn't seem like a whole lot does it? But it sure is lovely. I want to eat those two gemmy candies in the middle. Mmmm! And I'm particularly stoked about that piece of petrified coral. I'm sort of seeing it as a wedding necklace for myself? Maybe? With some 18kt gold and diamonds? That is a pink rough cut sapphire, a rose cut tourmaline, green diamonds, faceted white agate, and I can't remember what that seafoam green one is called...I'll have to look for the name. And I totally forgot to write down the name of the two middle ones, so I haven't any clue. Note to self: next year remember to WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING.

Now, I know I'm a little late to the druzy lovefest, but I couldn't get enough of it. I really couldn't. There is just something so velvety about them. Of course, they don't look as sparkly in this lighting as they do under some direct light, but I think you can get the idea. Now I just need to figure out what to make with them. Definitely want to make some earrings.

All right kids, that is it for my gem show treasure show and tell. I didn't get much, but I did get a few good contacts. I have some natural champagney rose cut diamonds on their way to me right now!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gem Show Madness

Dearest readers, it wasn't really madness. But I have to say that the whole Tucson gem show was a bit more than I felt up to handling. I only went for two days, but it was still so overwhelming. I know for a fact that some people adore the gem show, but I just felt so much pressure to make the whole trip worthwhile by finding lots of cool things and bringing back tons of treasure that it was almost too much. I did bring back a little bit of treasure, which I will share with you in another post. Maybe it would have been better if I had given myself 4 days instead of 2? Maybe next year. And to relieve the pressure still further I will limit my purchases to the last three days of that 4 days? That way there will be no impulse purchases (oh, hello there piece of petrified coral).

It was a fun trip, if hectic. I hadn't been to Arizona since I was a kid, so it was neat to actually see it as an adult. I traveled with this girl:

Who just happens to be Kellie, my BFF. We're getting close to 20yrs of friendship (wow, that makes us sound old!). And we stayed for the first couple of nights at a lovely little place called Solar Haven, the delightful straw bale house owned by Kellie's adopted Arizonan parents. This place was so lovely, I can't even describe it. Solar powered, the water came from a rain water collection tank, there were 3 adorable dogs just wandering all over and it was so peaceful! And did I mention the decor?

It was so well done, like staying at a desert spa almost! Gorgeous!

We did a lot of driving:

And a lot of dazed wandering up and down aisles filled with shiny things:

And eating:

That is tortilla soup (or what is left of it), and a delish brie and apple compote sandwich in the background.

After we finished at the gem show....(I just couldn't take anymore! It felt like being at a bazaar where you had to bargain or get screwed. I hate that. And I really hated the unmarked, sketchy pricing. That's BS. I felt like I got taken for a ride a couple of times. Since I mostly work with diamonds, I don't really know what a reasonable price is for a lot of what I wanted to buy, so that left me at a disadvantage!)

...Anyhoo. Enough about that, if I think about it any more I will throw in the towel and go get a desk job.

So, after we left the gem show eating our dust, we headed to Tubac to meet up with a friend of Kellie's, a local artist that we would be staying the night with. Her name is Vicki, and she was lovely. We had a nice relaxing evening eating stew over rice and watching Prince Caspian (which was worlds better than the first one, trust me). While we were there, Vicki let Kellie and me pick out a piece of her artwork to take home with us. Check out this sweet (and creepy in a good way!) box (that is smoke from incense coming out of the mouth!):

So, I guess the moral of the story is that next year I need to have a plan. I need to know what I want to buy. It's so hard to speculate though, about what I will be making this year. And next year I'm going to bring the Shop Monkey with me. The jewelry industry is changing, but it is still dominated by a bunch of crusty old dudes and I think I would do better with guy with me. How jacked is that? Pretty jacked.

Stayed tuned for pictures of the loot that I brought back!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sunshine, thank god.

I post this picture, not to reveal myself as a messy, disorganized person in desperate need of the services of a professional organizer and/or diligent custodian (Oh, the custodian! I wish I had one of my own...) but to provide photographic evidence of the sunshine that is streaming into my studio at this very moment. Perhaps it isn't a big deal to you lucky readers who live in more clement climes (alliteration!), but for me here in the beautiful PNW, a little bit of sunshine in early February is something to be celebrated and eagerly (read: voraciously...if it were possible, I would roll around in it like an enthusiastic dog in something stinky) soaked up. I can't explain to you how joyous a tiny bit of sunshine can make me. It doesn't even have to be warm and cheery, it just has to be direct sunshine, not a weak light filtered through a veil of thick gray clouds, watered down to a dull ooze. I swear, the winter here feels like you are living underwater. The light is very like what you see when you are fairly deep during a scuba dive.

I feel like the increased light of the last couple of days has really helped me, today I got to work at 9:30! Unheard of! During the summer I will wake as soon as it is light, but during the winter I don't want to really move or be productive until around noon. I've been sitting in front of a happy light every day, and I think it has been helping (who knows? but it is bracing, that has to count for something).

Anyhow, I'm going to get away from the computer (which is in the loft, away from the windows) and join the pugs in a little sun worship.