Sunday, March 28, 2010

Arizona Mineral & Fossil Show at InnSuites - Part 2: The Hall of Fossils

The Hall of Fossils is a big attraction at this show...

These shots are from my friends Suzy and Tom Parrish...that is Suzy examining the Baby Woolly Mammoth...

...there are also large fossil specimens throughout the grounds...

Raelene and Geoff are friends from the Southern Rockhounds a Gem & Mineral Club from Adelaide in Australia.

Arizona Mineral & Fossil Show at InnSuites

This show at the newly named Hotel Tucson City Center is a FULL day - there is a company in almost every room of the hotel and all of the meeting areas are filled in this large 10 acre resort in the heart of Tucson.

I am going to break this into several pieces...lets start with what is outside as you enter the property...

The larger items are outside:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Setting Fancy-Cut Gems: MJSA - At the Bench Live

At the Bench Live
Feb. 4, 11 am-12:30 pm
Lee Krombholz presents
Setting Fancy-Cut Gems:
A Traditional Approach

Feb. 5, 11 am-12:30 pm
Lee Krombholz presents
Setting Fancy-Cut Gems 2:

A CAD/CAM Approach

As I mentioned in an earlier post - the "MJSA - At The Bench" presentations were some of the finest and most professionally presented programs I have ever seen at AGTA.

Having the opportunity to literally look over the shoulder of a Master Goldsmith as they work at the bench is - well as MasterCard says "Priceless".

This particular presentation was a two day event based on an article that Lee did for the MJSA Journal in which he looked at setting a paisley shaped stone. In part one on the first day he did this using traditional methods of building and carving a wax...then on day two he took the same design and created his wax using a CAD/CAM program.

Lee Krombholz is a third generation jewelry artisan with years of experience in designing jewelry for his retail customers in his Cincinnati store.

What I found interesting (as a novice to CAD/CAM) was the difference in the finished product in the photo you can see the finished CAD/CAM wax and pendant setting on the left and the setting built and carved by hand from wax on the right. While the CAD/CAM mounting is crisp and clean...I think I like the traditionally built one better, it has a hand finished feel...just my opinion, what are your thoughts? Click the photo for a larger image - which do you like best?

Listening to Lee was both educational and entertaining, he was really great about audience questions and his explanations were easy to follow. He managed to bring an already well presented magazine article to life...Good Job Lee Krombholz.

In an audience made up of everything from students and new jewelers just starting out to bench jewelers who have been in the field for a number of years...I think that everyone took away useful info and a couple of new techniques from this event.

As a side note: one of the reasons for the success of this idea of watching a Jeweler "At The Bench Live" was the generous donation of tools and equipment from Southeastern Findings.

photo credit: last photo taken from the MJSA: Make It. Sell It. Profit. page on Facebook.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Centurion Show picks Emerging Designers!

If you asked twenty people in attendance at any of the venues of the Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase (BTW - this is the city's official name for the shows) if they have been to the Centurion Show...most will answer that they have never even heard of it.

The Centurion Show is an invitation only show that caters to the Retail Jeweler - spotlighting the finest of the fine jewelry industry and featuring the latest designs and trends from the upper end of the manufacturing segment.

You will see brands like Verragio who were "showcasing the latest engagement ring designs {including a brand new collection to be revealed this spring which is "truly" unlike any other ring} at the Centurion Jewelry Show to a select group of fine jewelry stores."

...and these top name brands BRING IT!

The attendees at the Centurion Show represent their current customers and their opportunity to attract new accounts!

Maybe now you can see why, in my opinion, this is the perfect show to hold the "Emerging Designer Awards".

You may be a fabulous Designer...but...are you sale-able?

This is how it works - Designers send in a set of photos (3) that represent them and their style and that grouping is voted on by the attendees (retail jewelers) of the Centurion Show...and that takes us too...

Centurion is pleased to announce the winners of its second annual
Centurion Emerging Designer Awards.

They are:
“We are very pleased to celebrate our 2010 Emerging Designer winners, and even more pleased to have introduced them to the prestige retailers that attended Centurion this year,” said Centurion President Howard Hauben.

The six designers shared two areas on the Centurion Collection Floor during the recent show in Tucson. Entries for the 2010 Centurion Emerging Designer Awards were voted on in 2009 by the top retail jewelers invited to the show.

“Centurion’s mission to protect the interests of the high-end of the fine jewelry industry goes hand-in-hand with our desire to help the industry develop its future talent,” said Hauben. “The Annual Emerging Designers competition is a key part of this effort.”

A short biography, photo, designs and contact information from each of the winners is a available here (this is a .pdf file and may take a moment to fully load).

So - do you think you have what the Retail Jeweler's customer is looking for?

The 2011 Centurion Emerging Designer Award entry form and rules are available now at:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

#TucsonGemShow: The Best Bead Show

One of my favorite Tucson traditions has been to meet up with Marsha of Amazing Porcelain and Vlad of Golem Design Studio for dinner...this is always a fun time...and it makes me go to at least one bead show!

The Best Bead Show is in my opinion - the "Best" bead show in Tucson. IF you are looking for the unusual, unique and hand made...check out their website - most of the vendors at this show have a live link on the show website! The show is open to the public but houses several Wholesale companies. It is partially outside in large tents as well as smaller vendor tents that lead up to the door of the Sports Complex at the Kino Electric Park.

It features some of the finest Glass Artists in and out of the country...from glass artists like the fun and funky recycled glass pieces of Bronwen Heilman at Ghost Cow to the exquisite glass cuffs and unbelievably refined and elegant hand carved glass bangles of Kevin O'Grady all alongside the most innovative glass suppliers like Gaffer Glass USA.

In another tent the unique - hand cut beads of Africa John - this man finds some of the most unique gems and then personally cut beads from them - you can't get much more ethically sourced than that! I look for Africa John at every show (Tucson & Quartzsite) just to see what new stones he has brought with him...who else would think "hmmm, gorgeous chunk of Ametrine - let's cut a bead!"

In another room I found Avian Oasis an Australian Gemstone Bead Company and boy did they have some stunners...of course I walked up to the most expense strand in the room!

Great findings from the likes of Green Girl Studio, Hand Fast Designs by Kim Fox and Bead Inspirations...focals from the hands of the amazing Holly Gage of Gage Designs.

One really interesting feature at this show is that while you are showing your beads, you can also have your finest and one-of-a-kind beads professionally photographed by one of the biggest names in the world of Glass and Bead Photography...David Orr. Nestled in a room at the end of the hallway I found the master at work - I really enjoyed talking with him...and what a great feature for glass artists at this show!

...ok - I am done wandering through the tents and halls and it's closing time - Hey Vlad - ready to go get dinner?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Eco, Ethical, and Fair Trade in the Jewelry Industry

Friday, February 5, 2010 an addition was announced adding a lively open format discussion to the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) Seminar Schedule at the AGTA GemFair, focusing on eco, ethical, and fair trade gemstones and materials sourcing for the Jewelry Industry.

In a townhall format facilitated by Bill Gallagher, CEO of Lori Bonn Design, Inc. (who have introduced their line of Clear Conscience Jewelry), the group assembled discussed the challenges facing companies looking to promote and use Eco and Ethically sourced materials. There were 25 - 30 people in attendance representing almost every facet of the industry...Jewelry Designers, both established and emerging, Gem Dealers, Jewelry Supply Companies, Manufacturers, Press and representatives from some of the major organizations in the Industry (MJSA, JEA, and others)...along with us all hope for a "greener" industry tomorrow.

The key players in this group came from a meeting in 2006 known as the Madison Dialogue:
The Madison Dialogue is a cross-sector initiative established to promote communication and information sharing among companies, civil society groups and others seeking to encourage best practices, sustainable economic development, and verified sources of responsible gold, diamonds and other minerals. Organizations, companies and individuals participate in the Madison Dialogue on a voluntary basis.

The Madison Dialogue was launched at a meeting in New York (on Madison Avenue), in August 2006. Participants in that meeting included EARTHWORKS, WWF, Partnership Africa Canada, Tiffany & Co. Foundation, The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), the Diamond Development Initiative, Jewelers of America, Conservation International, Leber Jeweler and others.
I think that one of the best things about this group was the inclusion of two Anthropologists and a Pearl Farmer...who gave a viewpoint that few were aware of...and while they listened, my feeling was that few heard.

I left with a sense that while this group is dedicated to an honorable goal - few are willing to "pay the price" - people are still looking for $3-5 gems. I was taken by a statement by Josh Humbert (Tahitian Pearl Farmer at Kamoka Pearls) who said that instead of all these noble projects to "give back" to workers (in the gem industry), we should be offering a price for goods that provide a wage they can live on.

In order to bring Eco and Ethically sourced Jewelry to the masses several things need to being number one and involving the "old guard" these people have been doing it for decades...why re-invent the wheel. But the tendency to think that we will be able to stick with old pricing structures and "business as usual" is still slowing the process...the Madison Dialogue is a good start.

Follow up info from Christine Dhein's "Green Jewelry News":

Ideas for a Fair Trade Future
Survey data was collected from participants at the forum and tabulated by Susan Kingsley, of Ethical Metalsmiths, in order to create an on-line resource directory that will continue to grow with the movement. Look for more details about the directory in the next issue of GJN. Other ideas to grow the movement that came out of this session include the creation of introductory educational information for jewelers, designers, gem suppliers and others on how to get started sourcing fair trade gems. The working title of this resource is First Steps on the Road to Fair Trade Jewelry. To receive updates on progress after the forum, join the Madison Dialogue.


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