Sunday, February 10, 2008

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.
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