Viva Las Vegas! JCK 2015 Part 1!

I don’t even know where to start because I did so much while I was in Las Vegas, so I guess I’ll just go in chronological order and give an abbreviated look into three of the most intense days of my life.

Thursday

So, I’m lucky enough to live relatively close to Las Vegas. As a result, I decided to drive across the Mojave (which is not a decision to be taken lightly!) and save a bit on airfare. Well, just as I had pulled off the freeway to stop at an ATM, and was stopped at a stoplight, I picked up my phone to check the map, and a cop pulled me over for using my phone while driving. Apparently I need to start using paper maps rather than my phone as a map. That did not start my trip off well. In addition to that rough start, my lovely bling friend who was rooming with me, her flight was not only delayed, but she was moved to another flight, that would have her arrive ten hours after she had originally been scheduled.

Not a good start to what was supposed to be a fun weekend.

So, at that point, alone and grouchy, I checked in, got some free drink vouchers (bless the woman at the check in counter!) I unpacked everything, and decided to check my messages, where my delayed roommate had mentioned a potential dinner date with Roger Dery. Seeing as how I hadn’t eaten anything all day, I figured I should probably put something in my stomach. So I text Roger and arranged to meet him at a restaurant a block from his hotel.

Dinner with Roger Dery

Let me start out by saying that Roger is wonderful. I’m not just saying that because I know he’ll read this either! I don’t want to talk too much about dinner because we talked about a lot of gemstone stuff, my plans for the future, his history with gemstones, posting on Pricescope (we both typically refrain unless we think very carefully about what we’re going to say before we say it), the increase in interest in gray spinel, mining, etc. You get the picture, I basically got as much information out of him as I possibly could over a couple of hours.

Gemstone showing with Roger

After we finished dinner, Roger invited me to view the gemstones he had with him, and of course I jumped at the opportunity! Who wouldn’t?! Here are some of the pictures I took of some of his gems.

Chrysoberyl
1

Orange sapphire. Just a tiny bit more brown than a fine orange garnet. This picture does not do it justice.
2

A large blue sapphire
3

My favorite stone of the night, a 2.03ct blue sapphire
4

Iolite cabochon. A wonderful violet color. 
5

One of many kiwi garnets.
6

Another kiwi garnet.
7

A fine spessartite, as usual, this picture does it no justice. 
8

The amazing crown on a red garnet.
9

A gorgeous burnt orange garnet that has a tinge of pink to it; another favorite of the night.
10

Admiring the chrysoberyl.
11

I took pictures of every single gem he brought with him, but some of them came out terribly, so I won’t post those! Roger gave me some helpful hints about the business and made some great suggestions as to next steps I should take. Not long afterward I finished looking at the gems, Jason Brim, Ryan Quantz and some other gemstone afflicted came by to go through Roger’s gems, and talk about gems. We also talked at length about Sharing the Rough, which I was able to see at the Newport Beach Film Festival. But more on the film later!

Back to the Bling Room

At this point, it was midnight and my roommate had finally made it to our hotel, so I decided it was time to head back….and look at more bling.

Colombian emerald cut by Lisa Elser.
12

6+ct violet sapphire from Gene Flanigan at Precision Gems.
13

Electric blue zircon from Roger Dery, customized Gabriel & Co setting.
14

A red flame spinel in a custom Bez Ambar setting with Blaze diamonds
18

A special transitional diamond from Love Affair Diamonds. This diamond comes with a story! 
17

Violet sapphire from Natural Sapphire Company, setting from Jeff Davies.
16

Shoulder views of Gabriel & Co setting and Julia B Jewelry setting with a Prima Gems red Mahenge spinel. 
15

I finally passed out around 3am, already feeling a bit overwhelmed. This is what a colored stone lover’s nightstand looks like when we have a bling weekend.

19

Part 2 with the lowdown on Friday’s insanity coming tomorrow!

Hint: it involved a lot of time with Prima Gems, and a limo ride. Not related to each other!

Lapidaries

I have a few favorite lapidaries, but I’m always on the lookout for new ones. I do tend to go for precision cut stones over non-precision cut stones, but so long as a gem is cut well, and sparkly, that’s the most important part. But, if all else is equal, I’ll chose a perfectly cut stone over a non-perfectly stone. Which is where those lapidaries who slave over their laps come in!

For a little bit about some lapidaries I have had experience with….

Barry Bridgestock of Artistic Colored Stones
Barry is fantastic. Barry watches a lot of baseball while he’s cutting stones. He is one of the most personable cutters I have had the pleasure of working with, and an amazing lapidary on top of that. I would tell you to run, don’t walk over to ACS to see what he has in stock – if he cut it, it’s sure to be beautiful. His website is a bit…old fashioned, but his cutting is worth it!
Artistic Colored Stones

Dan Stair of Custom Gemstones
Dan and Cindi are a great pair. Dan used to be a graphic designer, and his photographs are typically more on the artistic side. However, he recently started using videos on his site, and I cannot commend him enough for doing something that so few vendors do. Video is really the best way to see how a gemstone performs. I adore Dan’s step cuts, and he does not cut highly treated material.
Custom Gemstones

Gene Flanigan of Precision Gem
Gene is an engineer by trade, and can be a bit gruff at times. However, his cutting is wonderful, and some people absolutely flock to him and won’t purchase from anyone else. I think his cutting is top-notch and can absolutely see why people are drawn to his stones.
Precision Gem

John Burleyson of GemRite
John has recently been upping his game on the rough, and has been producing some larger rare stones. His cutting is wonderful, he posts videos for some of his stones and he is incredibly nice.
GemRite

Peter Torraca of Torraca Gemcutting
I love Peter. He’s exceptionally kind and posts great blogs himself, plus has an excellent Facebook presence. I loved watching his gradual heating of a red zircon, and always point people to his post about how to open gem boxes. Not to mention his skill at the lap, which is awesome!
Torraca Gemcutting

Gary Braun of Finewater Gems
I have nothing but good things to say about Gary. He’s an absolute doll to work with, and usually has some amazing and rare stones that he found on gem buying trips overseas but refuses to recut for fear of loss of face up size or the risk isn’t worth it. His cutting is absolutely wonderful and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy from him again.
Finewater Gems

Dana Reynolds of Master Cut Gems
I actually have not purchased directly from Dana, but the only reason is because he didn’t have what I wanted at the time, and I always seem to miss out on stuff when I see something I like on his site. He is incredibly knowledgeable, and pleasant to talk to.
Master Cut Gems

Jeff White of White’s Gems
I’ve bought only one stone directly from Jeff, but he is absolutely wonderful and a fantastic cutter. He will bend over backwards to get what you’re looking for, but if he custom cuts for you (and that’s a vast majority of his work) you will have to pay a non-refundable deposit.
White’s Gems

And because I do my best to put photos in every post, some samples of their work. Check out the crown height on this blue spinel from Barry!

Big Blue

A rubellite tourmaline from Gene.

1

Montana sapphire from Dan Stair and a Merelani Mint Garnet from Barry.

1

A asscher spinel from Peter

IMG_5528

Special shout out to Stephanie for the idea for this post!

This will be my last post of 2014! See you all in 2015!

Color Shift Sapphire Harry Winston Inspired Halo

A while back, I had a friend ask me for help finding a blue sapphire ring as a wedding gift for her from a family member. She didn’t have any working knowledge of gemstones so she recruited my guidance. Unfortunately, after we had already gotten started, her family member changed gears and ended up getting her something completely different. But my friend decided that she still wanted a blue sapphire ring, just on a reduced budget from what we were originally looking for.

So we set out looking for a larger blue sapphire to be set into a halo setting. She scoured ebay and ended up finding a used Harry Winston Belle – inspired setting that was already in her size. The setting had been well loved, and would require new prongs, but was an excellent find for the price.

4

It was at this point where we realized that a color-shifting sapphire I had at the time would fit very well into this setting with minor modifications, essentially rebuilding and thickening of the prongs that already needed to be retipped. That was that.

3

This sapphire is 2.35ct and 7.9mm, and is unheated Umba material.  The setting is a size 5.75.

5 6

Color shift sapphires and spinels typically shift to purple under fluorescent lighting, and because fluorescent bulbs are weaker, cameras cannot process pictures as clearly, which is why the purple picture is so blurry. So color shift stones pose a particularly difficult challenge when trying to photograph them accurately and make the picture look good. If I still had this ring in my possession, I’d try to retake this photo, but I took it in a rush before shipping it out to her!

7 8

Look at the polish on this stone! It was cut into a round brilliant by Gene Flanigan of Precision Gem.

2 1

I really enjoy doing this type of project and finding exactly what a person wants and making it happen within their budget, especially when it means treasure hunting instead of designing, as it’s a nice change of pace. This was an extra special project for me because it was for a friend that had been lusting after something for so long, and the gem came from my personal collection.