TGP Updates

It has been far too long since I managed to get a post up! In the last few weeks, I’ve had a family emergency, found myself terribly sick and even had a birthday.

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Bright Yellow Sapphire

In more jewelry related news, I managed to get some new gems up on etsy, got a few custom projects underway, and am anxiously waiting for a few items in production.

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Pastel Green Aquamarine

I’m really sad that I haven’t been able to get more jewelry into production so far this year, but things have been distracting me, and I am hoping that as soon as I get moved into the new studio, things will take a turn for the better. I have a bunch of custom projects in the works, including a step cut halo, some cluster type rings, another halo, and some others including a fancy colored diamond ring.

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Medium Gray Spinel Pair

Speaking of the studio, I have a new drafting table, and I’m so excited to be able to draw without getting instant neck strain! I also have a big south facing window with incredible natural light (except during those pesky storms that make it over the Cascades from Seattle) that has been working quite well for photographing stones and jewelry. I didn’t realize when I started planning this new space just how many functions I need it for – drawing, photography, computer, writing, storage, shipping, etc. And all of those tasks need different lighting (say, for instance, color shifting stones!) and suddenly office planning is incredibly complicated.

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Lavender Spinel

Now, as for decorating the studio, I already have one print up from Angie Crabtree – the Elle modern asscher, and my wonderful husband surprised me with a new print for my birthday – the Dominique antique pear! This complicates things though – I had just figured out my wall configuration with the decor, so I will have to redo it once it is framed.

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Barry Bridgestock Tourmaline

I hope that you have taken the opportunity to take a minute to check out my Repertoire page – I have many of the items I have designed up there, both stock items as well as custom items. I am going to be writing another Inside The Industry blog coming up soon – I just need to be able to spend some time writing, instead of spending it on random non-jewelry related items. And I will be sharing a couple new items to go with the Vivant necklace as well – they should be coming out of production very shortly!

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Peter Torraca Tourmaline

In other updates, I have stones at AGL for certification/testing, and I will have a new small padparadscha sapphire as well as a gorgeous blue sapphire here soon as well!

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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!

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A rubellite tourmaline from Gene.

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

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A asscher spinel from Peter

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

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

Regrets and General Musings

I’m a little bit sad because I recently let go of two stones that I’ve had for a long time and had previously spent a lot of money to set. However, sometimes things just change and you have to let go. I’ve owned enough gemstones and jewelry items to realize that if you are meant to have it, it’ll probably come back to you. And if it doesn’t come back, odds are pretty dang good that something “better” will pop up later.

To date, I don’t regret passing on most of my gems, although there are some that will stay with me, and I will continue to think about them for a long time. Now that I think about it, there is no one gem that I say, “Man, I regret letting go of that stone!”

If anything, I regret certain settings for some stones, and often take big hits there. I’ve learned over the years to let a gem tell me how it wants to be set, which sounds kind of corny and New-Agey, but I can’t figure out a better way to express how I feel. I have set things before and gone on to regret those decisions mightily when coming to the realization that they just didn’t work together the way I wanted them to.

I’m a big believer in matching the stone to the jewelry item and to the owner, and I am glad that I’ve developed a stronger sense of how I best operate. It has taken many gems to get there, but I think that I, my collection, and my knowledge base really have a strong background for what I want in a piece of custom jewelry now. It has taken a lot of gems to do it, but I think that knowing the gems went to good homes is part of why I have so few regrets.

So, while the stones that I recently parted with are beautiful and I will remember them fondly forever, I am so happy they went on to new homes. I hope that their owners love them just as much, or more than I did, and I hope that they give me updates on what they did with the stones, or even let me help them figure out how to set them.

Say “Adieu!” to these guys:

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I’ve been working on designing a lot (with a couple personal projects, a design contest and some other random stuff) and blogging not so much. Between the holidays coming up and all of the craziness that accompanies them, I’ll be slowing down on the blogs a little bit until the first of the year.

Design: Red Spinel

I had been trying to figure out how to set this red spinel from Peter Torraca for years when I gave up and sold it.

I still worked on sketch ideas. I figure that sketches are never wastes of time, they might come in handy for other projects, which is why I have entirely too many sketchbooks lying around. I really had no idea and just went random places with it.

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This was a fairly awful sketch because the outline of the stone is so way off, but it was more to get a feel for the general idea. Drawing is so hard for me to do well, and I have to spend a lot of time working on it. Drawing abnormal shapes are hard. Circles and squares are great, but throw in cushions or any cut corners and I’m screwed.

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This one is actually much better but because of the angle the picture was taken, it looks a bit off. I was really running with the baguette idea at this point, but wanted to stick with the repeated patterns of the art deco period.

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So I sort of switched gears from the halo and round melee and went to strict Art Deco. It was at this point where I bought the stone back from the person I sold it to, and I started to really think about how I’d really want to set it. I was playing with proportions here. The stone is smaller, so it felt like the baguettes would need to be impossible proportions to go with the look I like. I love the skinny look of the one on the bottom, and the top one is too wide, which is ridiculous because the stones are 2mm.

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This is what I decided on. Fully anticipating a hefty custom setting bill, I figured I’d maybe put it at the bottom of the list to set, or end up selling it.

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And then I found a ring that was basically perfect, and for a ridiculously awesome secondhand price, set the red spinel in a super nice turn-of-the-century setting that was very similar to what I was wanting for it – a bunch of step cuts.

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Gem Blast: Lavender Asscher Spinel

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WordPress seems to like to distort pictures in the upload a bit, doesn’t it?

This is a 1.6ct and 6.2mm lavender asscher cut spinel, from the lovely Mr. Peter Torraca of Torraca Gemcutting. The setting was by Coast Diamonds, but it’s no longer set in that ring, and will be moving on to a new home shortly.

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Lavender asscher setting

 

I figured that I would fill a post with a plethora of my favorite pictures of an item, as I have always enjoyed studying items from every angle like back in art class with nudes and inanimate objects. I have a fascination with step cut stones, and this stone happened to jump start it.

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I love asschers so much. They just make my heart sing.

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asscher

 

Changing the angles of how the light hits the stone, and you can get a variety of looks from one stone.

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I am sad to see this stone go, but I know that it’s new owner will absolutely cherish it.