Friday, December 26, 2008

Gemstone Press Author - Matlins in Tucson 2009

Attending the Tucson Gem Show in February 2009?

Then you do not want to miss renowned author and lecturer Antoinette Matlins when she presents two free three-hour workshops during the famous Tucson Gem Show!

The Tucson Gem Show
The legendary annual gem show in Tucson, Arizona, is arguably the largest and most important colored gemstone event in the world. It’s all here—natural colored gemstones, diamonds, cultured pearls, designer and estate jewelry, crystals and fossils. When a new gemstone is discovered (such as tsavorite in the 1970s), you’ll see it first in Tucson; if a deposit is found in a new place (such as sapphire in Madagascar), you’ll see it first in Tucson; if a gemstone is discovered in a new color (such as the neon shades of Paraiba tourmaline or luscious shades of “Mandarin” garnet), you’ll see it first in Tucson! But you’ll also find every new synthetic and every new treatment in Tucson, often without disclosure. Old and new, good or bad, hot or not, it’s in Tucson. But all of this just adds to the excitement and the thrill of the hunt.

There is nowhere else in the world that attracts so many gemstone buyers and sellers at the same time, in the same city. And it truly takes over the city. Some of the “shows” are open only to the jewelry trade, but many are open to collectors and hobbyists, too. The educational programs offered during this time are popular and well attended.

One of the most prestigious shows—the AGTA GemFair™—takes place from February 4–February 9, 2009. While the show itself is open only to the jewelry trade, the seminars and educational programs are available to all.

GemStone Press, a leading publisher of books on gems and jewelry, will feature author and lecturer Antoinette Matlins during the AGTA GemFair™. Ms. Matlins will be giving two free workshops—one on Friday, February 6, 2009, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and the second on Saturday, February 7, 2009, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Her classes will be held at the Tucson Convention Center, in the Graham Room. The workshops are created to help buyers—especially retailers, designers and those with no gemology or technical background—learn easy ways to quickly spot synthetics, imitations, fracture-filled diamonds, Moissanite and much more. The class is limited to fifty participants so come early to reserve your seat!

Gem Identification—Parts One and Two
(Part one is not a prerequisite for part two.)
Instructor: Antoinette Matlins, GemStone Press
These nontechnical, half-day workshops demonstrate how to use simple, portable instruments to quickly and easily identify colored gemstones typically seen in the jewelry market, detect treatments and spot many fakes and synthetics. Techniques to screen for HPHT-treated diamonds and surface-coated diamonds and gemstones are also covered. Even gemologists can benefit from time-saving tips. Increase confidence when buying away from your store, office or in the field.

Easy Gem Identification: Part One
Friday, February 6, 2009, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Graham Room
Parcels of gemstones and diamonds often contain imitations, synthetics and improperly identified gemstones (such as red spinel being identified as ruby). But most gemstones can be identified easily, and separated from look-alikes, if you know how. This hands-on, nontechnical seminar will provide beginners with skills to identify many gemstones and spot fakes that commonly appear in antique and estate pieces. Gems, jewelry and instruments will be provided for use during the workshop. No gemology, science or technical aptitude needed. This seminar is for beginners but also offers a good brush-up on practical techniques for advanced students and professionals.

Easy Gem Identification: Part Two
Saturday, February 7, 2009, 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Graham Room

A beautiful piece of jewelry or a parcel of gemstones can provide a clever guise in which to pass off fakes, synthetics and imitations as “important gemstones.” No one wants to inadvertently buy a synthetic, imitation or common gemstone incorrectly identified as something more valuable. At the same time, some of the rarest and most valuable gems are discovered in old pieces, sometimes overlooked or mistakenly sold as synthetics because they look “too good to be true”! Knowing one from the other is often easy to determine, but many people are intimidated by scientific terms and sophisticated sounding instruments. Learn how easy it is to use some of the most important gem identification tools, including the refractometer, and how useful they can be in helping you avoid costly mistakes or discover valuable treasures. Gems, jewelry and instruments will be provided for use during the workshop. Completion of part one is helpful but not essential. No gemology, science or technical aptitude needed.

Press Release from Gemstone Press at: [www_gemstonepress_com]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

TGS - Planning a Schedule

OK - this is getting to be a tough one to juggle! It seems that everything is scheduled during the AGTA GemFair Tucson - February 4th - 9th!

These are the busiest 5 days of the entire 2 week Tuscon Gem Show (TGS)! Take a few minutes to read through my posts from the last two years at this massive, citywide event.

In actuality the TGS is 40+ individual shows with the busiest being the 5 days of the AGTA show mentioned above and then culminating in the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show February 12th - 15th. As you would imagine these two shows attract very different visitors and exhibitors.

That is what makes this show so popular - jewelers can find the latest trends and mine finds for their next jewelry line, faceters can find facet grade rough of the latest natural finds as well as synthetics, mineral collectors will find row after row of museum grade specimens, students will find Seminars on topics from Pearl Grading to Selling to Trends and tools, tools, tools....but the local RV club likes this event because there are lots of shows that the average tourist can also attend!

The African Art Village has rugs, trinkets and trade beads, in fact almost all the shows along the hotel row next to the freeway are "Open To The Public"! There are shows that will entice the metaphysical folks with crystals, healing information. There are amazing Home Decor exhibits featuring conference sized tables made from trilobites and orthoceras, sink basins of solid gemstone and more.

So with so much to do - how do you plan your time? Well, the first step is to check out the TGS Guide - they have a new website this year at:

Already know the dates of your visit? Go through the listings and save the events that are open during your stay to the new "show planner" on the site. You will notice that several show run from the opening day (Feb. 1st) to the closing day (Feb. 15th)...but you will see that there are 5 very busy days surrounding the AGTA Show. So I try to give most of those days to that show and those surrounding the Convention Center (GJX and the Idar -Oberstein shows are my favorites in that area). Here is where the scheduling problems happen - the RioGrande show is also during this time and all the way across are the major bead shows "G&LW - Holidome is clear out by the Tucson Kino Sports Complex...there is a great mineral collector event with Jim & Gail Spann out at the Westward Look Hotel!

So - now you have everything you want to see in your show planner - go to each of the show sites and check for any special seminars, workshops, or events they may be offering - these events are critical in making my decision to do one show or the other.

Haven't Booked Your Trip Yet? My first question to you is - Why not? rooms are filling and good deals will be hard to come by if you wait much longer. So for you, my suggestion would be that you do the opposite of the recommendations above...fill your show planner with the events you want to see then look for the dates that those events overlap - BOOK YOUR TRIP!

Plan ahead - have fun...and remember to plan time to eat and sleep!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

AGTA GemFair Tucson 2009

Seminar Program Details
If you have not yet registered for the 2009 AGTA GemFair Tucson, please click here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Remembering the 2008 Tucson Gem Show!

If you are like me you went to shows until you couldn't walk anymore!!!! Unfortunately that doesn't mean that you saw everything or that you remembered to take photos...for the Mineral folks out there we have GOOD NEWS!!!

The folks at the Mineralogical Record have produced a wonderful LARGE coffee table book with the entire "American Mineral Treasures" collection. With amazing color photos that allow you to see some of the minerals that were on display in a much closer and more detailed manner.

American Mineral Treasures

by Gloria A. Staebler and Wendell E. Wilson (editors)
Hardcover, 354 pages
1 edition, 2008
Published by Lithographie, LLC
Dimensions 9 X 12 (inches)
Price $85.00

American Mineral Treasures is the long-awaited book inspired by the 2008 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show's massive exhibit project featuring the best specimens from the 44 greatest mineral localities in the United States. Editors Gloria Staebler of ExtraLapis English and Wendell Wilson of The Mineralogical Record have worked with over 40 authors to produce a stunning and fascinating review of all of the localities, abundantly illustrated with beautiful specimen photography and filled with personal collecting stories and naratives. Apollo Astronaut Harrison Schmitt (the only geologist ever to walk on the moon) leads off the book with a Foreword about the thrill of field collecting, Wendell Wilson provides an introductory review of the history of mineral collecting in the United States, and Gene Meieran provides an Afterword about the history and development of this extraordinary publishing project. This book is one of those rare milestones in the history of mineral publishing that every mineral collector will have to own.

...and if you purchase this beautiful edition through the Mineralogical Record there is a great freebie:

Each buyer who orders from this website will receive a special numbered framing print of one of Wendell Wilson's unique artworks depicting a fantasy collecting scene. This print is available nowhere else, and will be given only to retail buyers of the book through the Mineralogical Record.

What's Hot In Tucson


2008 Published by BlueCap Productions

Dimensions 5.4 x 7.5 (inches)Price $29.99

What's Hot in Tucson 2008

by Bryan Swoboda

Moderator Dave Wilber returns to the Greatest Show on Earth (at least as far as the mineral world is concerned), the fabulous Tucson Show, in February 2008. Bryan Swoboda and his video crew spent three full weeks in Tucson following Dave around as he visited dealers and exhibitors throughout the city to uncover "What's Hot in Tucson." This entertaining and fascinating 2-DVD set (4 hours running time!) shows a wide range of beautiful mineral specimens accompanied by Dave's interviews with dealers and collectors.

And this year the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society mounted an unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime series of exhibits of "American Mineral Treasures" from museums and private collections worldwide. This DVD set provides a few highlights of those exhibits and, together with the May-June 2008 "American Mineral Treasures Issue" of the Mineralogical Record devoted to the exhibits, and the lavishly illustrated 354-page "American Mineral Treasures" book on all of the localities represented in the exhibits, will serve as a permanent record of this great show.

Even if you attended the show, you'll want to watch this video to relive the experience--and see all the things you missed!

What's Hot In Tucson is available from the Minerological Record at:

Now I know that some of you are saying - I make jewelry - or I collect faceted gems I'm not so interested in the whole mineral thing....

Well you need to get interested...

  • new gem locals are announced in the mineral field long before they are cut into faceted presentations

  • today's mineral sample may be tomorrow's jewelry trend

  • knowledge about the actual mineral name of a gem as opposed to falling into the "trade name" trap makes you and your customers smarter

  • most of today's NEW gemstones are already being collected as specimens

  • a mineral specimen is a beautiful addition to a jewelry display and it can educate your clientele.

So - give it a try - there is so much out there that is geared to newbies and women are having a huge influence in today's mineral world. In Tucson in 2008 there was a program geared specifically to Women in Mineral Collecting which featured CO-Desautels Award Winner Gail Spann! Gail is a caring and helpful collector who is active on several online forums.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

It's Time To Start Thinking About Tucson!

The questions are starting to pop up on the forums...
Any clues about what to see at the Tucson Gem Show?
How do I find a good place to stay?

So, with permission I am printing Deborah Benson's response from Sharilyn Miller's Yahoo Group "Bead On A Wire"!

Tucson 2009 Bead Gem Show
If you like crystals, do sign up for a class with Swarovski. The value for the class fee is amazing. You pay about 1/2 what you normally would for the instructor/class kit combination. And the display they have from their annual contest is so inspiring. Don't miss Rio Grande's show. They always have new tools to demonstrate. Their classes, like Swarovski, deliver more than you would normally get. Both Swarovski and Rio are off the beaten track (Swarovski is at the far northwest of Tucson and Rio is at the far east end) but worth the effort to get there. Sign up in December to be sure you get a spot in the class.

To Bead True Blue has a fabulous assortment of vendors, some strictly retail, but others both wholesale and retail. It's a great place to see trends and meet people whose products you're probably using or emulating or you want to take a class from. I always ask my store owner to go to To Bead True Blue just to see what we should be teaching in the store if not to buy. It used to be in the Manning House but has moved for 2009.

Unless you have unlimited funds, make a plan for what you absolutely have to buy while you're there. That way you can assess whether or not you should buy that wonderful lampwork bead that's calling your name but you have no plan for.

Don't buy Bali silver at the first booth you go to. Find out what the average cost per gram is at a variety of vendors before you buy. Same with Swarovski crystals -- you'll find some vendors selling to everyone at just above wholesale and others selling very much at retail prices.

Do take a copy of your resale license if you have one. It helps if you have a copy to give to each vendor with a copy of your business card stapled to it.

If you're going to have a car there, before you go, go to Google maps or Mapquest and print out maps to the various shows you plan to attend or take/rent a GPS unit. Though there are maps in the show guide, I found them confusing.

To get organized, I put together a binder with tabs for each day. Each day had a list of what I was looking for, what classes I was attending, who I wanted to see, etc. plus the maps for that day. I included some blank paper to make notes on and quick sketches of things I didn’t want to forget.

The show is overwhelming and you'll forget where you got things or what they cost unless you make notes every single night. Take time to update your plan for the next day as a result of what you saw/learned/spent that day.
If you plan to buy a lot, consider buying flat rate boxes from the US Postal Service and shipping things home over the course of the week.
If you like a glass of wine, have one before you go to bed. Your head will be whirling with so many ideas you'll have a hard time getting to sleep without some help, even if you're exhausted.

It's probably going to be 2010 before I go again; so I envy your going in 2009. You'll love it!

Deborah Benson

If beads aren't your thing you can check the previous posts on this blog:

One very helpful one would be... 2007 Tucson Gem Show - Again!
Check out the Jewelry Artist Magazine Feature - 5 REASONS TO GO TO TUCSON - By Derek Levin:

Also - check the links in the sidebar for housing and showguides!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wrapping Up JCK Las Vegas

From the GIA Newsletter:

Industry Analysis: Business Soft in Vegas, but Designers, Luxury Defy Trend
Business at the May 30-June 3 JCK Show in Las Vegas was soft, especially for sellers of loose diamonds and gemstones. Orders were stronger at the upscale shows that ran simultaneously, though exhibitors reported that many of their orders were provisional. Dealers at each of the shows noted that a number of important clients did not make the trip to Vegas, and some exhibitors, expecting a poor season, even cancelled their participation. As a result, traffic was down but buying did go on, albeit at a reduced level. In general, demand for finished jewelry was down 10% to 15% from last year, even more for commercial-quality loose diamonds and colored gemstones. Companies specializing in the very top end -- colorless diamonds over 5 ct, fancy-color diamonds and unheated corundum -- generally saw brisk business.

For more... [app_e2ma_net]

...and from the Gemwise Blog by Richard Wise:

Welcome to Las Vegas, the only town that I know of where a jewelry show with 3,000 exhibitors can be hidden behind a bank of slot machines. Unlike Tucson where the sprawling gem shows take over half the town, the flagship JCK Show set up at the Venetian Hotel boasts 3100 exhibitors’ and 20,000 buyers and is virtually invisible in the glitz.

The jewelry industry gathers in Las Vegas the last week in May. AGTA, JCK, Luxury, Couture, the show list grows ever longer with each passing year. My wife and attended five shows in as many days and left out much of interest.

Ok so let’s get down to business, what is new in the gemworld.

For More... [gemwiseblogspotcom_blogspot_com]

Monday, June 2, 2008

For more from the JCK Show...

Blogging JCK Series

JCK Vegas Daily News

Shanu Singh Guliani's "Behind The Counter" Blog

Bacilio Mendez is "Micro-Blogging My First Vegas" in his Style 360 Blog and on Twitter

The jewelry industry’s future will depend in part on how much it “gives,” hip-hop mogul and philanthropist Russell Simmons told the audience at his keynote speech Friday morning.

The annual Saul Bell Design Awards were presented Saturday at an invitation-only gala and dinner at Postrio in the Venetian.

Today’s customer is changing, and what makes them loyal also is changing, said David Peters, Jewelers of America’s director of education, in a presentation on “Customer Loyalty” Thursday.

What is “experience marketing”? At a Thursday morning seminar, Holly Wesche Conn, of Wesche Jewelers in Melbourne, Fla., said it is “to consciously work to create a specific type of experience for the customers in your store.” Quoting marketing guru and best-selling author Jack Trout, Wesche Conn cautioned her audience, “Differentiate or die.”

Saturday, May 31, 2008

JCK Las Vegas - The Show Around The Show!!!!

The JCK Las Vegas Show is in it’s 17th year and like the Tucson Show it has attracted the independent Gem & Jewelry shows we all know from the desert event. Wholesale and Retail shows are popping up at most of the hotels surrounding the Sands and Venetian Resorts.

A friend and Artisan Laura Roberts of Lorelilee Creations ( is in Las Vegas and will be our eyes & ears at the wholesale shows here reports on the G.L.D.A., To Bead True Blue and G&LW shows are excellent and give us an insight into the trends to come. Her report follows...

Photo by Webbaliah

G.L.D.A and To Bead True Blue @ The Mirage 5/26-5/29/08

Tuesday 5/27—went to walk the show for the first time. I was very excited because this was the first time that To Bead True Blue was there. Although I had been to Tucson, I had never managed to make it to the Manning House show and this was meant to be a version of it.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived was how empty it was. I had been to the G.L.D.A in 2007 and it had been crowded. There appeared to be the same amount of vendors as in ’07, but not nearly the same number of people shopping. As I walked the show, and spoke with various vendors, they concurred. Definitely fewer people, but it was only the second day and the vendors were hoping it would pick up.

On this day, my only goal was to walk the show, visit with vendors I already knew, check out news ones and of course check out the vendors from the Manning House show. I noticed on Tuesday that in the Grand Ballroom, there was about the same proportion of finished jewelry to beads as in ’07 (about 50/50). In the Grand Elegance Pavilion (a separate area) it was 99% finished jewelry and only 1 bead vendor. The Grand Elegance Pavilion has all the high end jewelers predominantly from Hong Kong. Really lovely things, but definitely for retail stores and not for a jewelry designer like me. The big trend I noticed in their finished pieces was multi-colored sapphires. Otherwise I didn’t really see any trends, unless you count the “Y” necklace coming back. (And for myself, I’d rather not!)

The To Bead True Blue show (Lalibella Blu Las Vegas) was in a small section of the large ballroom where the G.L.D.A main show is. There were some really wonderful vendors there, but like the other ones, it was also slow.

I left the show after a few hours, ready to shop on Wednesday!

Wed 5/28—the show was just as empty. And the all the vendors were unhappy, the traffic was way down and the spending was too. Bad news for the vendors, but good news for me and Neva (who was with me) because we got some smoking' deals.

As this was now the 3rd day of the show, with slow traffic, the vendors started to basically grab us as we walked by. Everyone wanted us to look at their items. And everyone was willing to deal.

The Most Seen Stones:
Kyanite--gorgeous deep blue faceted briolette and rondelles (same color as Ceylon sapphire) and quite expensive--slate to royal blue squares, circles, ovals, polished and on strands and much less expensive. In 2006 you couldn't find ANY Kyanite, now it's at nearly every gemstone booth. I'm thinking there must have been some new deposits of it found because I've never seen so much of it so cheap!

Apatite--possibly my favorite gemstone in the universe--lots of it in faceted rondelles, in all of the colors from pale green to deep dark blue. Also in LOTS of polished forms, nuggets, ovals, etc. The prices for anything that wasn't faceted were good, faceted stones were still pricey.

Round faceted jaspers and agates--I did not expect to see Poppy Jasper sparkle, but it does!

Tiny donuts and go-go donuts (4-5mm) CENTER DRILLED and strung on strands. Also kind of pricey, but cute.

Tiny briolette (1-3mm) of the usual suspects (topaz, ruby, etc) BUT also in Jaspers and Agates.

Red Tiger Eye from China with the most chatonancy of any tiger eye I've ever seen. That stuff glows! (I didn't buy any, I'm not sure why.)

Pearls--all kinds, all prices higher than I expected--the natural disasters in Asia are taking a toll on the pearl market.

Silver--Very high--Turkish Silver was 85 cents per gram. Bali Silver 80 cents per gram and Thai Silver was $1 or more per gram. Very painful!

Really HOT stones: Ammonite, Boulder Opal, Turquoise. Someone had a new Turquoise find from AZ, which was a pale light blue, almost like Larimar. I was tempted (it was fairly cheap) but I decided against it because no one would believe it was really Turquoise.

What I didn't see:
Pietersite--only one vendor claimed to have some Chinese Red but it had no chatonancy so I think they had it mislabeled.
Fluorite--there was some and a decent quality, but none faceted, just nuggets and rounds.
Moonstone--I didn't see to many faceted rondelles and the ones I did see were about twice as high as 2006.

What I saw too much of:
Aquamarine, blue and multi-colored--wide range of quality—also wide range of prices
Prehnite--wide range of color and quality—also wide range of prices

One last thing—there were several vendors I spoke to who were clearly upset by the attendance at the G.L.D.A. I suspect in ’09 it will be a very different show, especially if the economy doesn’t pick up.

Photo: Sarah Heston

5/30—G&LW—Bally’s Hotel
First day of the show and once again, slow. But vendor and attitude wise, a world of difference from the G.L.D.A. Some vendors from the G.L.D.A.—S.I.I. Findings, Pearl Concepts, Realm of the Goddess, and a few others. The GL&W show is about half the size of the GLDA, but its 80-90% beads with the rest being finished jewelry.

Some vendors that I remembered from last year weren’t at this show, according to Colored Stone they were either at the Whole Bead Show (also new to Vegas this year) or at the Bead Renaissance Show at Palace Station. Since as a rule I don’t go to mainly retail shows (unless I am desperate!) I won’t be reporting on those.

I’m guessing the vendors all had a chat about the G.L.D.A, because from the moment we (or any other shopper) walked in, the vendors immediately stopped you, tried to show you their wares and then started dropping their prices like crazy. Clearly, an air of desperation was here. I had a long chat with a vendor I know well (I won’t name names, because of what was discussed) and he basically told me that business was off 50% year to year at the G.L.D.A and that it almost wasn’t worth it to have done one show, let alone both. Then he proceeded to drop his prices significantly for silver by the gram to almost ’07 levels. Again, great for me, not so great for him.

Again, a world of difference from G.L.D.A. In ’07 the GL&W had 5 or 6 faceted gemstone vendors with A grade product or better. This year there were only 2. Last year there were lots of people selling Jaspers and Agates as well as other items, this year there were only 2 big “rock” vendors. Most of the vendors had a smattering of everything, pearls, C grade gemstones, jaspers, etc.

Again, I saw a lot of Kyanite, Aquamarine and Prehnite. Lots of Turquoise as well, however, unlike the G.L.D.A, where the vendors knew where their Turquoise came from, most of this was “Chinese” (not Hubei or Manshann, just “Chinese” Turquoise) and more likely the bulk of it was dyed howlite. Nothing wrong with that, but it ain’t Turquoise.

Again, I only found one vendor with Fluorite (why is this getting so hard to find?) and it was expensive. I absolutely refuse to pay $15 a strand for blue nuggets that are only polished. It’s Fluorite!

I did however find one vendor with gorgeous Pietersite. Absolutely breathtaking in rounds, ovals, chicklets, and fat teardrop cuts. Bought a bunch of it.

Another stone that I saw at this show that I hadn’t seen at the other was Brazilian Blue Opal. I’m still not convinced it’s a real gemstone (Robyn—yes or no?) but it was pretty and fairly inexpensive. The vendor also had Peruvian blue opals, so clearly he did know the difference. But I saw a lot of this in many cuts.

There was one “rock” vendor who had tables of $3 strands and while over there I ran into the woman who owns my local bead store. She and I chatted for bit, especially as some of the $3 strands I was buying where the exact same strands I had bought from her, 5 years ago (when this was still a hobby, rather than a business) and I had paid $18 per strand! We both had a sense of humor about it—hey she should make a living and it’s not my hobby anymore! And I have to say, she gives me a 50% discount when I go in now, so . . .

Pearls—not as many pearl vendors as in ’07, but much better prices than the G.L.D.A. I saw some new styles (at least new to me) my favorite being a coin/keshi combination that was just gorgeous. However, the one color of pearl that was impossible to find (at both shows) was chocolate. I think the big companies (QVC/HSN/JTV) bought them all up, because no one had any. I was able to get copper, bronze, and champagne though. There was a large preponderance of “fashion” colors, which seemed to be selling really well, though I still can’t wrap my head around hot pink, orange, and neon blue pearls.

Thanks for listening! I’m sure there’s a lot of other information trapped in my mind. I just can’t dig it out right now!

Laura Roberts
Lorelilee Creations

2008 JCK Las Vegas Show

This show is nothing like the Tucson show which embraces all aspects of the Jewelry and Gem Industry at the Las Vegas Show it is about the Jewelry Stores the educational programs are geared toward marketing sales and innovation....does this mean there are only “retailers” here? NO – there are some amazingly talented designers, jewelers and top of the line gem dealers.

I think that the following Press Release from JCK will give you an idea of the tone of the show...LUXE!!!! Take a minute and Google some of the Companies featured in the Grand Pavilion and definitely check out the Rising Star Award Winners!!!


100 Designer Companies; 8 Rising Stars and 60 Of The Finest High-End Jewelry Companies To Be Featured Along Fifth Avenue

NORWALK, CT February 6, 2008 – To make it easier for retailers to set appointments and peruse high-end designers and the hottest new talent, JCK Las Vegas is bringing the finest high-end jewelry companies closer together on the show floor. Fifth Avenue on Level 2 of the exhibit floor is already home to the Design Center, LUXURY Collection, and Prestige Promenade. For 2008, JCK has added the Grande Plaza Pavilion to the same area, bringing many of the shows high end brands together in one central location.

Retailers will find it much more manageable to navigate this high-end section of the 17th annual JCK Las Vegas, which will take place May 30 – June 3, 2008 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center and Venetian Resort Hotel Casino.

The Grande Plaza Pavilion
A reinvigorated Galleria, now known as the Grande Plaza Pavilion, will feature sixty of the finest companies in high-end jewelry offering the most exquisite designs. Exhibitors who have already signed on to be featured include Charles Wolf Couture, Inc, Floriani Astucci SRL, Gemveto Jewelry, Hammerman Brothers, Lazare Kaplan, Louis Fiessler & Co., Masriera-Bagues, Oscar Heyman & Brothers, Inc, Precious Gems Resources, Inc., Quadamas, Ramon Joiers, S.L., and The DeYoung Collection, to name a few.

“We thank Bob Hochberg of Hammerman Brothers and David Spivak of Charles Wolf Couture for spearheading this effort to bring these luxurious and upscale jewelry designers together in this new pavilion on the JCK Show floor,” said Dave Bonaparte, Group Vice President, JCK Events. “The Grande Plaza Pavilion will compliment the LUXURY Collection, Prestige Promenade and the Design Center giving retailers access to the best of the best in one easy to navigate location.” In addition, The Grande Plaza will offer a new unified look and will offer the retailers who visit several amenities including spacious, comfortable lounges and complimentary refreshments.

The Design Center
Jewelry retailers from around the world will have the opportunity to source 100 established and new designer companies who will showcase an assortment of designs and styles in The Design Center. In addition, eight talented designers have been selected as The Rising Stars, a unique group of companies who will make their jewelry trade show debut. The 2008 Rising Stars include: Amali (, Gemra AG, Ginger Peachy, Jessica DiRubio Jewelry (, Jetalia, Misha of New York ( [www_blueluxe_com] ), Nina Basharova (, and Rebecca Overmann (

“A jury of designers, magazine editors and PR consultants met in November and hand selected
these 100 designers and 8 Rising Stars. We encourage all retailers to make time to stop by and see many of the new designers exhibiting this year,” said Dave Bonaparte, Group Vice President, JCK Events. “We had an overwhelming response from companies wanting to exhibit in The Design Center and are so pleased to welcome back such prestigious designers as Alishan, Susan Sadler, Sugarman-Frantz, Robert Wander for Winc Creations, Jane Bohan Inc., and William Schraft Designs.”

On Sunday, June 1 at 2:30 pm, 50 retailers will be honored for their lasting excellence at selling designer jewelry during The Designer Retailer Awards and Ceremony. The top five retailers will receive special recognition. The list of Top 50 will be voted on by the members of the Design Center who will take into consideration the retailer’s ongoing success at marketing, displaying and selling designer jewelry.

The Design Center exhibitors will also be featured during the JCK Las Vegas Welcome Reception taking place on Friday, May 30 from 7:00 – 9:30 pm at the Caesars Palace. The Design Center exhibitors will have a designated area to showcase three pieces of jewelry, providing attendees with a sneak preview and sampling of the collections on display while enjoying cocktails and hor d’oeuvres with the JCK community.

This year’s sponsors of The Design Center are GZ Art and Design and Niche Magazine. GZ Art and Design will feature several German jewelry designers who will be making their debut at JCK Las Vegas. While meeting and doing business with all of the designers in this special area, retailers will be able to enjoy cappuccino and biscotti throughout the Show and at 4 pm each afternoon the Design Center Bar will offer its signature Orangetini. The Design Center Concierge desk can help make onsite appointments with Design Center exhibitors.

Now in it’s 17th year the JCK Las Vegas show offered education sessions on the two days prior to the Opening! The education program covered: Hot Topics and Trends; JCK Style: Where Fashion Meets Jewelry; Business; Diamonds; Gemstones and Pearls; eBusiness; Jewelers Notebook: Practical Advice for Jewelers; and J-Biz: Jewelers of America Industry Insights.

“Over 2,000 industry professionals attended the JCK education sessions at our last event, and we hope to continue to provide more content and value for jewelers and retailers with a dynamic program that will both educate and stimulate,” said Dave Bonaparte, Group Vice President, JCK Events. “During the two days leading up to the Show, we invite the industry to gather for an opportunity to discuss the important topics facing the industry and understand the newest upcoming trends.”

Daily keynote addresses include:
Friday, May 30
at 8:30 am Hip Hop Mogul Russell Simmons who will kick off the
event with a discussion on how he built his mega-empire and continues to build his brand. Simmons will discuss the launch of Simmons Jewelry Company and his philanthropic endeavors including his Green Initiative Collection. The Green Initiative Collection raises funds for the non-profit Diamond Empowerment Fund which helps education projects in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource.
Saturday, May 31 a morning session: Jewelers of America will host an “Executive Roundtable Discussion: Business Relationships, Retailers and Suppliers.”
Saturday, May 31 an afternoon session with: Shane Decker of Ex-SELL-Ence will present “Where Have All the Stores Gone?”
Sunday, June 1: Carol Campbell of CRC Enterprises will discuss “How to Give Women the Jewelry Buying Experience They Want”
Monday, June 2: Martin Rapaport will give an overview of “The State of the Diamond Industry.”

Next Post...The Shows around the Show!!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Manning House...OOOOPPS!

Last night I was uploading the photos on my memory chip and realized that I forgot to write my piece on the Manning House! I don’t get it because it is my favorite venue and was probably the most fun I had at the Tucson Shows! So I am posting this with my most sincere apologies to Holly, Kerry and my good friends Marsha & Vlad!

I have said it before and will say it again – this venue is like an oasis in the desert – literally!

The Manning House is used for events, meetings and weddings...and is made up of large ballrooms, elegant and the show an “over the top” feel. This works for this group of vendors...there are a lot of handmade focals – OOAK porcelains, metal, PMC, titanium, rubber, bone, etc...alongside some of the major vendors.

The Too Bead True Blue Show has been in this venue for several years – but starting next year this show will move. Unfortunately this made for a very tense show this year as vendors were under pressure trying to decide whether to stay with Manning House or move to a new venue with “Too Bead True Blue” ...a tough choice!

Holly Gage was in the Morning Star Ballroom – I have seen Holly’s posts on a number of forum’s (most recently the Orchid Digest) and her work is really organic and elegant! Her latest offering is Titanium Focal pieces - all OOAK and fabulous! You can see more Gage Designs at:

Vintaj - this booth was fabulous! I have always been a huge fan of Vintaj but now I am even more in their court.

They had a huge – beautifully displayed booth and lots of project ideas....even a Designer (Mackie) whipping out original pieces...wouldn’t that be the “dream” job!

Kerry at CeltCraft Design

Kerry and her husband were charming and had a great display of all things Celtic - the pair are reinactors as well as owning a B&M store. Last year they made a decision to close the store and hit the road setting up at Art Shows, Jewelry & Gem Shows and Scottish Festivals!

I really loved her display – the boxes on the steel grid each contain a fun bead or focal and then across the top she has strung a design sample using the item. Check out her goods at:

Marsha Hedrick (wo)mans the booth...

The next stop was the Porcelain Fantasies booth – this is some of the most beautifully detailed work you will see. Marsha creates some of the most fancy and decorative porcelain miniatures available to doll house enthusiasts... Fairies, Fantasy Dolls, affordable hand painted porcelain dollhouse dishes, amazing miniature capodimonte style porcelain flower arrangements, and other doll house accessories in 1 inch scale and half inch scale.

As a Registered Native American her first jewelry pieces were Native American in style. Marsha recently expanded her work to include limited (these are individually made and glazed so no two are actually identical) edition Organics and Flowers that will give your work a very original look!

...and of course – the Snow Babies were a BIG hit! Check out Marsha’s work at:

Sharing the booth with Marsha is Vlad of Golem Design Studio.

Vladislav Ivanov and Kremena Ivanov have been working as a team and a company since the year 2000, successfully dealing with several clients in the USA and Australia. Living in Bulgaria, on a crossroad between Europe and Asia they have developed eclectic interests and tastes, the beads and pendants cannot be associated with any specific national tradition or style, incorporating patterns from a variety of ancient and contemporary sources.
Following the show Marsha, Vlad and I got together over dinner at the local Red Lobster – Vlad is a vegetarian and begged for a seafood restaurant!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Last Day In Tucson! Bad Cold!

I wanted to add a post with photos of my Tucson Finds - but I am sick as a dog!

So I will post that later!

1:30 pm - A Hundred Laps and Counting - John Franke
John is one of my favorite speakers – he is knowledgeable in many areas and always willing to share. His expertise is such that he can give specific info to YOUR situation.

An award winning faceter, John Franke is well known in the cutting fraternity. Together John and his wife Barbara - also an award winning faceter - run the Facet Shoppe in Burley, WA. John says that by now he has somewhat more than a hundred polishing laps. Polishing, as we know, is among the most fiddly and frustrating of the lapidary processes; sometimes things work and don't work for reasons that seem arbitrary and inexplicable. Plus there are so many different types of polishing laps. Which is the right one? Which should you choose if you wanted the indispensable minimum? John will address some of those questions, navigate through the jungle of available laps and steer you to a brilliant final polish.

3:30 pm - Web Resources for the Jeweler Blogging, Social Networking or Website? The Internet offers so may options to hobbyist, lapidary and jeweler alike. But which will work best for your business? This session is all about resourcing - putting the Internet to work for you. Former jewelry business owner Robyn Hawk is now a freelance PR and marketing consultant.

Outline - Selling Options Online

Selling Sites:
...the Gallery Pages of some Guilds

Blogs – Web Logs
Business – usually links to a selling site
Can be used as a Newsletter or to Introduce New Products
Service - informative, educational
Social - personal info and opinions

Social Networks:
Metalchasers......Deviant Art.........Yuwie

This genre started with the MySpace phenomena and just continues to grow there are at least a dozen of these Social Networking sites! Think they are just for kids? Go to and search jewelers or jewelry!

Just Getting Started? Most new Artisans let themselves get overwhelmed in learning HTML/Website Design when they are just starting out.

A good example of taking baby steps:

Turquoise Magpie started with an Ebay Store:

...then added a Customer Blog ( to show their product in use and to toot the horns of their talented customers!

Then, with a loyal customer base behind her - the big leap to a website:
...and a site for Szarka’s own jewelry –

Start small – build a customer base – see if the Art is just as much fun when you have to hold up the business end as well!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Want Some Other Views of Tucson?

Jewelry Television:

Local News:

Jewelry Artist

Art Jewelry Collective

These are really fun...
Fiber Addict:
My Neck Candy:
Dawn and Jeff's Blog:
Benafia's Weblog:

...and for the best photos....

Tucson - Feb. 10th

I started the morning in a seminar at the Hilton East - Innovative Uses of the Hydraulic Press for Jewelry Manufacturing with Phil Poirier - This seminar covers all sorts of metal forming techniques available using a hydraulic press. The presentation progresses from simple tasks (silhouette die forming, bracelet forming and blanking) to complex techniques (deep drawing and the use of conforming dies.) At the end Phil concludes with a live demonstration using the Bonny Doon Mark III press to demonstrate live - the techniques covered in the presentation.

Phil Poirier has spent 35 years as a goldsmith and 24 years designing and engineering tools for the jewelry industry specifically for hydraulic presses. He is the current owner/operator of Bonny Doon in Taos, New Mexico. The company develops and markets hydraulic forming and tooling systems for the jewelry industry.

I am telling you I am hooked on this machine – the possibilities are endless...

That’s as much inside as I can stand – back out to the Electric Park...

Maybe it’s my hippy upbringing (I am after all a child of the 60’s) – but I really love the atmosphere at the TEP.
I offered to help Hans out this year so you will see several posts from TEP.

There are three sessions a day at 11am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm the class topics vary with something for every one.

11:00 am: Tips and Techniques for Cutting Molds with John Henkil of Castaldo. Every mold cutter has his favorite techniques, and John Henkil has been acquiring and studying these for some three decades. For fifteen years he's been demonstrating for Castaldo products.

This was a very informational demonstration. John didn’t just talk about the different ways of cutting a mold. He went into the pros and cons of the various types of molds and then did a hands demo of cutting techniques that could be utilized in different situations.

I sometimes think that cutting the mold is as much an art form as designing the piece in the mold.

Brad Simon Presents...

Ok – this is an exciting announcement... ALL NEW!!!! TV Channel all about Jewelry Making!!!!

If you're looking for jewelry training or in depth exposure to the techniques and the world of jewelry making, there's a new television channel which will focus on just that.

Initiated by Brad Simon and slated to debut in January 2008, Bench Jewelers Television Network will be a full TV network with different channels of interest to bench jewelers and will be aired over the Internet.

Channels will include, Shop Management, Stone Setting, Jewelry Repair, Custom Manufacturing, Platinum, Laser Welding, Bench Techniques, New Products, and more.

We all know Brad Simon from his publications that have always been free to users...E Bench Newsletter ( and the Bench Magazine.

Now there is Bench Television go – check it out there are free previews on several of the channels to whet your interest... when you see the videos and the quality of the work, and the level of the expertise gathered to teach, you will understand why there is a fee for the service. For an annual subscription to the service it is $125...there will be a monthly offer at a later date - this is for unlimited access to ALL channels.

BTW – check out all the great features at the next Bench Conference ( ) in Los Angeles, California! I hope to see you all there!

Thanks Brad for always sharing!

The Use of the Graver in Diamond Setting with Gerry Lewy's name will be known to many in the jewelry trade under his nickname "Gerry the Cybersetter." Today Gerry comes back with a repeat of Thursday's session, covering all aspects of the use of gravers in the discipline of diamond setting.

Gerry uses sample rings in various stages of completion, so that by seeing the incomplete setting, he says, "each person will then understand how the setting practice is furthered." He also utilizes photographs of different types of diamond setting, his instructional CD's and gravers for sale at the Learning Center, as well as free instructional handouts.

Tucson Electric Park (TEP) – Learning Center – Feb. 9th

To get to TEP you first take a shuttle to the Tucson Expo Center – the home of J.O.G.S.! Part Retail and Part Wholesale this show has huge range – don’t be fooled by the HUGE amount of Amber at the door.
My favorite area at this show is the Brazilian Pavilion – the druzy is amazing! The really neat thing at this show is the Home D├ęcor area...there is everything from Dinnerware, Vases, Lamp Bases to Conference Tables made of Fossil materials.
Time to catch the shuttle to TEP...

People always warn you that the TEP is the most “casual” setting at the show – I thought I would give you a visual! There are three major components of the TEP:

1. the Main Pavilion, the Lapidary equipment suppliers, Village Originals and Blake Brothers

2. small tents with everything from clothing to finished jewelry to wood products to 50 gallon barrels of rough!!!

3. the back edge of tents are huge mineral and rough dealers

Area one is on the blacktop however the rest of the show is in gravel!

Opening today was one of the most popular demos at the Learning Center...”Setting A Stone In A Stone” with Hans Durstling.
Hans has away of making things that seem complicated – look easy! Most people walk away from this presentation with the basic knowledge necessary to go home and give it a try!

The afternoon presentation was Wayne Emery on “Photographing Colored Gemstones”. Those of you who read the Orchid Digest are probably familiar with Wayne he is always willing to help with gem cutting or photography questions.
The good news is that he has a new website for his USB Cameras (you have to see these little guys they are amazing!). On that site he will be posting tutorials for photographing jewelry and gems that will be accessible to all!

You can find Wayne at:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tucson Electric Park Learning Center – Feb. 7th

OK - so I am a day off!!!

Well today’s the big day --- well it was supposed to be the big day! I was going to learn to facet a gem in 30 minutes...but Johnny Tew got sick so we showed a series of Gem videos.

Let me go just a little off topic to talk about these videos...Hans Durstling, (the Father of the Learning Center) worked with the Canadian Discovery Channel to produce a series of videos that follow a specific type of from mine to market. Represented are Columbian Emerald, Brazilian Topaz, Sri Lankan Sapphire, Baltic Amber, Australian Opal and one on Synthetics. They are all really well done and will hopefully be available in US soon.

If you are in the area and have always wanted to learn a little about lapidary stop in and get some one on one with Diamond Pacific’s Genie and the Wizard trim saw. We have done demos with Rose Quartz and a woman came in with Dichroic Glass (she wanted to learn to take the scratches out) and Hans has been cutting a large amount of Ethiopian Real Estate...he is the new authority when it comes to cutting Ethiopian Opal!!!!

The 1:30pm presentation was Nora Nelson – Intro To Beading. She worked with 8-10 ladies on crimping – very nicely done and really helpful lady.

The 3:30pm presentation, Gerry Lewy – Diamond Setting Using Gravers was a popular seminar. He talked about grinding and polishing gravers and the same ways in which he has adapted his gravers for diamond setting – you can find out more about Gerry and his DVDs & gravers at

Tucson Convention Center – Day Two

Sorry for the brevity of today’s post, but I am not in areas where I can not take photos...

Most of my morning was spent in my Pearl Grading course for GIA...but I met a very interesting man on my way to lunch.

Gordon Austin is a Mining & Gemstone Consultant who has worked with the Paraiba Tourmaline mining operations in Paraiba, Brazil. I could have listened to his stories of trekking up into the mines all day. But I managed to break away and get lunch.

On the way back to class I stopped to listen to a little of the African Gems seminar by Richard Hughes of the AGTA-GTC. As always his stories are vivid and take you to far away lands.

Back to the grind...the afternoon section was the lab portion of my class and I have to say the pearls provided by GIA for the class to practice grading were phenomenal. Really beautiful South Seas and Tahitians, Akoyas and Freshwater Pearls! I really enjoyed it and I don’t envy the pearl graders out there...getting the hue, body color and overtone right is no easy job!

Thank you to Rick and Bonnie – I learned a lot and you made it an easy process.

Important Gems from the Smithsonian

I went back down to the Main Gem Hall because I wanted to get some photos of the rare gems in the Smithsonian Display. It is really interesting – on the first day of the show there were about a dozen stones total in the three cases....when I went back today the case was jammed!!!! Apparently the vendors make donations during the show and the folks that travel with the exhibit add the pieces to the will know these gems because the labels are hand-written.

The Kyanite on the left was amazing – it looked like a fine Kashmir Sapphire! I have never seen a faceted Oregon Opal. Look at the photo on the right – have you ever seen a Sodalite crystal? It was a first for me!

These two stones were the reason I made a second trip to this exhibit. On the left is Herderite from Brazil it is extremely clear like green water! On the right is Poudretteite from Burma a beautiful powder pink!

After waiting about an hour for the shuttle back to the Rio Grande show...I promise not to get into a discussion about the shuttles, but some of them take forever. Anyway went to Rio to meet up with Jennifer and to buy some of the Bonny Doon products that I used in my classes.

This is a fun evening – we are off to the Orchid Dinner! For anyone not already familiar with Orchid – it is a forum for jewelers on the Ganoksin site ( The Orchid Dinner is the only annual fund raiser for the forum. It was a lovely image and dinner was good! The Silent Auction had some really great tools, a Bonny Doon Lite, Pepe Jumpringer, donations from Miland and Jack Berry...along with certificates from the likes of Stuller & Rio.

But the auction is just the icing on the cake...the real value of the Orchid Dinner is the camaraderie, the networking....just being in a room filled with artists sharing their art.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

AGTA at the Tucson Convention Center

Welcome to the AGTA Show at the Tucson Convention Center!!!! The crowd above is the reason you want to Pre-Register for this show – that is the Pre-Registered line! The line for folks registering on-site was out the doors! ...and YES all the warnings about the downtown traffic detours are correct. Don’t get on the I-10 just use Frontage & Congress to get around relax and take it easy it is slow going. There are plenty of parking lots with “Gem Ride” Shuttle service. The easiest one to use is the Congress Street HUB – the hostess is friendly and knowledgeable and will help you map out your shuttle route. The drivers are delightful – they are dealing with a lot of traffic and blocked routes and still manage to keep their sense of humor!

The levels are varied – you walk in to the hall and are greeted by tables manned by reps for magazines (Jewelry Artist, Metalsmith/SNAG, Indian Colored Gem Assoc., etc.) the schools (GIA, ISG, etc.), the guilds (Appraisers, Metalsmiths, etc.), the associations (MJSA, AJA, etc.)...any info you could want is in the walkway.

On the same floor as registration is the “Spectrum of Gems” featuring the work of the AGTA Spectrum Award Winners. The walls are lined with Photographs by award winning jewelry and gem photographers. I can’t show you this area because they don’t allow photos, but you can see the Spectrum Award Winners at:

All this is interesting but let’s get on to the reason we came! GEMS! Downstairs one flight you are greeted by another one of the friendly members of the TCC Security staff pointing a scanner at you (your badge is scanned at the door of every room)!

This is the main pavilion of the AGTA Show, wall-to- wall Gems & Jewelry!!!

Loose gemstones from around the world – everything from melee stones to faceted gems the size of your fist!

Pearls, faceted beads, ruby, emerald, sapphire even diamond beads that ranged from "gravel" and "spit" to stones that were clean enough to set! There were a lot of rough diamonds this year!

This is just a small example of the amazing gems in the Main Pavilion - this very fine suite of gems that Fei (Fine Emeralds International) had set up around their booth - this is the gemmiest Rubellite Tourmaline I have EVER seen!!!
...more from the AGTA Show tomorrow

Rio’s Catalog in Motion – Day Two!

It is the second day of our class – Using Your Hydraulic Press! It was great...we got to use their new bracelet forming tools. As you can see there is a former for the body of the bracelet and a smaller one that bends the ends. The system works to shape bracelets that have an overlay, a texture, a pattern...without flattening out the details or causing any separation.

If you are familiar with Bonny Doon’s current system – it is an aluminum ring. The waste in carving them was huge so – in an effort to produce a “greener” product they are still producing a “ring” style bracelet former (in Delrin), but the new cuff formers above are their future trend.

This is the Anticlastic Former set - you have a former for the body of the bracelet and a former for the ends.

...and the Synclastic Former Set.

As you can see from the example - you can form an overlay piece without seperation - in fact, in the Rio Catalog is a picture of a bracelet that was formed with the stones already set in it.

This is a little off-topic...but - was I the only person that didn’t know that Rio had patterned copper? It is really nice – one looks like it was run through a micro-fold brake and one looks like a ball peen hammer pattern and the third is a more intense pattern.

This is what we learned in class today these are all copper...
From left: Rio’s new textured copper (20 ga. – I think) that was annealed prior to forming with the new synclastic formers; this is the same copper in the anticlastic solid ring former. The two center pieces were corrugated first and then pressed and you can see that they retained their pattern. The two on the right are just formed annealed copper – one narrow, one wide.

This is red brass, Dave calls it “Bonny Donnite” as they use a lot of it for demos. I annealed these pieces prior to forming. You can see the wide anticlastic on the left was done with the new former – the one above was done with the new Delrin “ring –style” former. I personally feel that the ring did a better job of shaping. The one on the right is the annealed red brass and when I was annealing the middle one I notice that it goes a solid black so I decided to scratch a pattern into it. Sorry about the repeat of my copper washer bracelet...

The end of the day Dave Reynolds showed us how to do a “deep draw” on the Bonny Doon. What does that mean you ask? He took a disk of copper formed a vessel/cup. If you look carefully just above the black tube you can see the copper.

I have to give a quick thanks to Kyle – our Rio slave ....just joking! You couldn’t ask this guy to do something he wasn’t willing to do! He prepped, cleaned, ran between the class and management with our questions and met us each day with a smile!

For those of you who look at the Catalog In Motion Schedule and wonder if it is worth the expense? YES, YES, YES!


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