|Carved drusy moon face|
One of my favorite things to do is to buy gemstones. By now, my regular readers should know that I love to because I have such a love for colored stones. Plus I love to spend money and I can do this guilt free because, after all, it's for business!
I have been in the business for so long now that I have focused down to some very trusted suppliers. This is in part because they are excellent sources for the quality of goods I believe in selling. It's also because with all of the new gemstone treatments out there I like to know who I'm actually working with so I know that the goods I get are exactly what I am told they are. Because of this I don't often buy from new sources but when a gem dealer does stop in, I will always take a look because you just never know what someone might have.
Invariably I start out every conversation with a new dealer telling them that I'm not buying now. Sometimes it's because I really am not buying at the time. But it also makes them work a little harder to sell me something! And I can often cut through the chafe a little quicker. Instead of showing me all the junk first, they'll usually pull out the better stuff.
So this past Tuesday I had a woman come in pulling her wheeled bag and she pulled out her card and introduced herself to me. She was a family member of a 100 year old firm operating in Idar-Oberstein in Germany. Idar-Oberstein is actually one of the oldest (if not THE oldest continuously operating) gemstone cutting capitals in the world. It has been a center for gem cutting for hundreds of years. When I first started out on my own making jewelry I had one primary gemstone supplier and everything they sold came from Idar-Oberstein. They liked the material from there because when they bought a 7 mm x 5 mm stone, it measured 7 mm x 5 mm not 7 ish x 5 ish. The quality of the material (this was mostly agates, amethysts and other less expensive materials) was also always the best of the type out there. Also for those of you who have some of my pieces with carved spectrolite, labradorite and moonstone faces, you know that they were all carved in Germany. The Germans, if nothing else, are always precise and, like most Europeans (and Asians too--it seems only here in America that the dominant issue is price), tend to appreciate quality over any other factors.
So I was perfectly happy to look at her goods for awhile (even if my CEO---that would be my wife who pays the bills---has been clamping down on my spending lately) even though I didn't think I would buy anything. And then, you know how it goes from here.....she had some things I simply had to have. They had a lot of drusy quartz, including some largish round ones with moon faces carved into them. There was one white one with black spots that was just beautiful that had to stay with me (picture is above). They also had some very unusual carved bead like pieces and I had to have a pair of the grey moonstone ones. And then they had a stunning parcel of smallish (3.5 mm) fancy colored sapphires that I cherry picked all of the orange and orangey-red stones from. Some of you may be familiar with my untreated smaller orange sapphires, which tend to be muted in color somewhat. The oranges I got from this dealer are heated stones but they are incredibly intense, fiery, true oranges.
So all in all, I had a fun time working with this dealer and got a few nice things to boot. Now I'd like to be able to say that the drusy carved moonstone face will be out in the cases soon but the second customer to look at it (I had shown it to one person a few days ago and Kady pulled it out to show someone today) bought it. Sometimes I do just kind of know when the piece is the right one! But now that I have this new source I'm hoping to be able to get some more similar material in the future.
Oh and by the way, ow, ow, ow.