Well I have managed to survive until my vacation. I have had a tremendous first half of the year and I feel quite positive about the second half as well. I would prefer, however, not to work seven days a week for the next six months as well. I have been bringing in some part time help occasionally but I feel it's important that the customers get my designs, as I make them up, and it's hard to impart some of that to other jewelers. So I will be forced to continue working some of those long weeks it looks like. Kathy and I have, however, been discussing a long term plan where I take off a significantly larger amount of time on a regular basis. So you may find that there will be more periods when the store is closed. As always, if in doubt, call ahead to check on my hours (although I can pretty much assure you that I will be here the entire month of December!). By the way if you come by in the next few weeks you may see people in and out of the store as Kathy's non profit is still in full operation. Please don't confuse this with the store being open for business.
I have posted another picture I took of the last piece made for the cases for the first half of the year. It is an 18k gold ring. The diamond is a fantastic stone (which you can't tell from my, as usual, poor photography skills) but it is not a Lazare Diamond. As I explained in a post recently I have been having a terrible time getting stones in the sizes I need from them. It is a .31 ct., "D" color, VVS2 clarity. It comes with two certs: one from the American Gem Society (AGS) and one from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The AGS is a much better gem lab for cut grades. They have been issuing them for years and rely much more strictly on true Tolkowsky ideal proportions (you can read about this in previous posts). Actually they are stricter graders in general. They gave two other stones with GIA certs lower color grades (as well as lower cut grades which is why I didn't keep them). Lazare Diamond sells true Tolkowsky stones as well so these stones are equivalent to a Lazare Diamond. It is a stunning stone (in person). Might be worth a trip in to see it. But please wait until I'm back from vacation (July 16).
Hope you all have a great Fourth of July!