What Jewelry Would You Be Most Likely To Buy This Holiday Season

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Trip To Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

Written by Heather Gill

Turquoise Cabs mined in the Southwest

If you're a jewelry designer or just love jewelry then February isn’t just for Valentine's day. In Arizona it's also for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. This show brings people from all over the world to this small town. I met people from India, Africa, England, Australia; just to name a few.

Carved matte Quartz and Rhodalite Garnet dogwood flowers
This was my first time to the show and to say that it was overwhelming at times would be an understatement. Most of the vendors are in large tents with folding tables in front of them, the strands of gems lying on top, tempting you to look and touch. There are lights all over, so the brilliance of all the facetted gems catching the light is an amazing sight. Some tents only had facetted stones, and others had cabochons in every shape and color imaginable.

Labradorite Cabs
Some of the vendors were willing to explain some of the cuts, and it was a wonderful education. As this is the Southwest, you are sure to find lots of Turquoise, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was interesting to learn about the different mines and places that Turquoise comes from.

I was able to find cabochons in just about every gem I could ever want. It was also fairly easy to find them at very reasonable prices. If you have a wholesale license bring it as some shows won’t let you in even to look (without one). Make sure you bring business cards and ID as well.

Rhodonite Roses
Most of the shows won’t let you take pictures unless you have press passes. The mineral people don’t have a problem with pictures (I’m sure it's because it would be a little hard to copy the large fossils!) but I did take pictures of the gems that I purchased, and a few of the tents' vendors said okay to me.

I also found it was a great way to see some of the trends in jewelry for the upcoming season.

Strands shown left to right:
facetted cubes of Quartz Crystal, Green Amethyst, Lemon Topaz, Carnelian, and Black Garnet
All the faceted cubes (shown above) are fairly new, and some varieties are new for the show – like the Carnelian and the black Garnet. They also sold out quite quickly!

Labradorite rhondelles

Green Jasper Clover Beads

Assorted dyed and natural colored carved Mother-of-pearl flowers
If you have time when you come to the show you can even take some classes. There are classes available in just about every subject and medium related to jewelry-making. Most of the classes are reasonably priced and I saw a few that would offer a class with the purchase of their product.

Sodalite rhondelles
There is a lot to see at the gem show and I didn’t even come close to seeing it all. I will say that if you are a jewelry designer this is one place you should come to at least once in your lifetime.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Update on Latest Group Activities

I have been swamped (but happily so) with all the membership requests coming in about AJC, and with the 90 Features in 90 Days Challenge; http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5276160 , which is still accepting participants, so it has been awhile since I've had a chance to post an update here on the group's current workings, but exciting things are happening!

We have completed two issues of our full-page ads in Ornament Magazine and still have one more to go in March's issue. If you purchase a piece from one of our members, you saw our ad, and that was what generated the purchase please let us know. We are always curious to see how our advertising is working, and that will help us evaluate where to spend our advertising dollars in the future.

Patricia Vener (SilverDragon) has agreed to be the webmaster for a new AJC e-commerce site and we are currently discussing the details to get this up and running. This site will provide another outlet besides Etsy through which to sell members' work. We are very excited about the prospect of having our own self-supporting e-commerce site and no additional fees other than PayPal or Propay and the proceeds gathered from yearly membership dues. It appears that this will be even more cost-effective than what we're currently paying Etsy for listing and commission, maximizing our profit. This venture really puts the "Independent" in Indie! The Website Maintenance Committee is currently involved in planning for what it will look like, how it will function, and the overall look of the site.

A number of members have placed their jewelry in Emily Conroy's (Precious Meshes) new brick and mortar store in Philadelphia, VIX Emporium, which opened in November, and sales are already off to a great start! We look forward to a long and happy working relatrionship for many years to come! Thanks Emily for extending this opportunity to our membership.

Over the holidays, Kelli Coaxum (Kelliope), Jill Quisenberry (JQJewelryDesigns), and Teri's Treasures (now on Ruby Lane), compiled a Holiday Gift Guide featuring designs from many of the members in order to spur sales. This guide has the potential to be made into a catalogue either online or in print. It can be viewed at our other blog; http://artjewelrycollective.wordpress.com . Valentine's Day is coming sooner than you think, so be sure to take a look at members' available jewelry from which to make that special purchase this year.

Also, over the holidays AJC held a "Secret Santa" organized by Catherine Marche (Kalicat). I received some of her beautiful BlumBlum rings from (one little flower ring and two plain thin bands to go on either side of the focal band). These are a great design and would make great engagement rings!

At last count we had 55 members, but that number is growing daily. I am thrilled to see the new pieces of jewelry on our slideshow above. We are growing, not only in number but in diversity of techniques and styles, and we are sure to have something for just about any buyer who values upscale, well-constructed, and unique jewelry. We hope that readers will check back here often, if not for the articles, at least to see what new pieces we have for sale.

We now have members who work in PMC, hydraulic fold-forming, metal fabrication, casting, etching, wire-weaving, beadweaving, stone-cutting, and many other fascinating styles.

Keep your eyes peeled for tutorials, how-to articles and other interesting jewelry and gem-related articles to come! We have several members now who have a greed to contribute interesting material to one or the other blogs.

We are always in need of people to help with the massive work that must be done to keep things running smoothly, so if you feel your jewelry might fit and you are reliable and responsible with skills you can offer the group, convo me on Etsy. My username is Giftbearer. We are especially looking for at least one or two people who can help with the Etsy group shop, and possibly also in posting members' bios and banners on the Wordpress blog. Right now both Kelli and Winnie have their hands full with the volume of new members to be processed. I may need someone to assist me in the near future to send out welcome letters to new members as the rate of applicants continues to increase and to get information that new members might have forgotten to provide.

We are looking forward to a lucrative 2008!


Pippit Carlington
The Art Jewelry Collective