Sunday, February 22, 2009

Beads, Beads, Beads, Beads, BEADS

Yesterday I went to the International Gem and Jewelry Show in Chantilly, VA. Last year, I exhibited at the show, but I had to make some hard business decisions this year. I wore myself out to the point of utter exhaustion and illness with the rigorous and full schedule I had in 2008, so decided to drop some shows this year. I loved doing the Intergem shows, but they are very expensive, and I always had to hire someone to work with me because I got swamped.

The good thing about this decision was now I could go and SHOP. I like to buy my gemstones at shows, rather than online, because then I can handpick each and every strand. Plus, I have several gemstone dealers that know me and they always have terrific things for me to look at.

First stop was for some turquoise and coral -- I didn't have these on my list, but they called my name.

Next stop -- pearls. I needed to replenish my stock of BIG pearls, and I got some cool ones, along with center-drilled stick pearls and some smaller ones. Pearls never go out of style!

I didn't have silver on my list, either, but I found a very cool strand of brushed silver for some of my more modern designs. I also snagged an awesome strand of large brushed rose gold ruffled discs... I can't wait to use those!

Then I found two graduated strands of amethyst, well-faceted and perfectly purple:

Now came the crazed frenzy part of my shopping. I've mentioned that I'm going to open a new line of jewelry on a new web site at SOME point, featuring a luxury line of jewelry. I've collected some primo strands over the years, but now had to get serious. My plans include lots of intricate wire work and tons of tiny gemstone dangles, so I had to get itty bitty gemmy rondelles and such:

Pink quartz, peridot pears, some Blue London Topaz beads that I felt lucky to find (it's usually seen in briolettes), peridot rondelles, smooth tourmaline brios, some more amethyst, and a strand of Sleeping Beauty turquoise.

Next came some unique smoky quartz barrels, citrine rondelles with so many facets that they blind the eye with sparkle, carnelian, smooth amethyst, and some teeny tiny rubies.

And finally, tourmaline rondelles, Mystic Topaz, moonstone, phrenite, more amethyst (I do love purple!), and rose quartz.

I hadn't planned on buying any large briolette strands because those are truly pricey and one strand can yield a bunch of different pieces of jewelry, so choosing just the right strand to start with was important. As I was picking out rondelles, I found these amazing pink quartz brios:

Can you see why I couldn't pass them up? They're nice and large, have a unique facet pattern, and the glitter and glow is tremendous.

I still had to visit my favorite gem dealer to stock up on all the jaspers and quartzes that I use -- onyx, rhyolite, tourmalinated quartz, things like that. I won't show you all of those (you'll see them soon in designs on my web site) but I did find some unique things --

Chunky nugget brios of rustic chalcedony and tourmalinated green quartz....

And amazing sticks of kyanite. These are going to make a very cool tribal-inspired necklace!

By this time, I was truly rushing. Rick and Zack had come with me -- I wanted to introduce Zack to the show because he loves beads and truly does have an eye for color, even at barely-six. Rick came along because we knew Zack would get bored with it faster than I would, and we were right -- once he purchased his strand of glass dragonflies, he was ready to GO. So the guys headed out to the van to watch a movie while I finished.

As I was racing out the convention center, I was stopped in my tracks by these:

Oh wow! Real leaves that had been captured in 24K gold, rose gold, and "black" gold -- not really sure what exactly black gold is, but I had a hard time understanding the man and I was in a rush. These are going to make terrific fall jewelry.

It was so nice to be a buyer rather than a seller this time. But now comes the tremendous task of counting and pricing all the beads. I keep thinking of some of those 3mm rondelles -- oh my aching eyes. But I love my job, and this is one of the fun things about it.

You can see my work at



  1. Lori, thank you for visiting my blog! It was great to meet you! Your new bead finds are amazing -- those peridot pears and amethysts are to die for!

  2. I really, really, *really* want to go to a big gem show soon. What fabulous finds, thank you for sharing!

  3. Anonymous3:59 PM

    What gorgeous beads! I *love*love*love* the London Blue Topaz, and I can't wait to see what you do with your wonderful new stash!

  4. Nichole, email me if you want some! I have plenty!

  5. These beads are so beautiful. I'm really fond of turquoise and coral, esp. after just coming back from Mexico and all the beautiful colors they showcase there. Great idea you left on my blog for the tag book!

  6. Wow, Lori...what a haul! I'm kind of glad I am in a rut with pearls and silver and lampwork. :) You and I would be in big trouble shopping together.

  7. All too beautiful, can't wait to see what you do with them. I've seen those gold leaves at a show before and spent a lot of time staring at them. I don't do that kind of jewelry, and I don't wear gold colour, but I'm a sucker for a Canadian Maple Leaf. I resisted but glad you did not. Have fun!

  8. Hello~Thanks for visiting my blog.
    Pretty beads~

  9. Anonymous7:21 PM

    Hi Lori
    We missed each other at the show! Beautiful pictures and gorgeous beads!!!

  10. Laurie,

    I adore those faceted purples and the jasper, and would love to get my hands on some aquamarine ones. They are all so lovely. If you thought my stams were a lot you should see my collection of porcelain waiting to be painted too! I am such an addict. Still I would love to see some of the things you make. I look forward to seeing the finished pieces!

  11. Laurie,

    I adore those faceted purples and the jasper, and would love to get my hands on some aquamarine ones. They are all so lovely. If you thought my stams were a lot you should see my collection of porcelain waiting to be painted too! I am such an addict. Still I would love to see some of the things you make. I look forward to seeing the finished pieces!

  12. Whoa! I just checked out your jewelry. Gorgeous! So lovely! I am now making my wish list.

  13. Thank you, Debra! I feel so lucky to be able to make a living making pretty things. :-)

  14. Lori,

    I'm jealous, I pondered over whether or not I was going to drive up to Chantilly this weekend and decided against it...the beads you got are beautiful, I love the Amethyst. I really needed some Kazuri beads from Turtle Neck, and I know she was I'm sitting here pouting :)...thanks for sharing.

  15. Oh my, what true wonders! I'll have to talk about the coral later on, my Mom absolutely loves coral. I'm more of a pearls kind of girl myself :)

  16. Anonymous2:47 PM

    These are so beautiful. One has to be talented to be able to create such a beautiful color combination.

  17. ooooh, treasure! Your pictures are so fantastic...which light tent do you use?

    Your comment about your sonogram on my blog: the in vitro pictures sound like great fodder for art and jewelry.

  18. Hi Lisa! I use for all the photo stuff!

  19. Wow, girl! You sure know how to shop! How are you liking the Penman books? I love her.

  20. Hi Snap! I love her books! I read "Here Be Dragons" and immediately had to get "Sunne in Splendor" -- if you haven't tried the Outlander series, you should!

  21. How do you even pick????? I would never be able to decide how many of which one of what kind I want! Good for you - looks like you had fun too!

  22. lori - you won a set of the clothespins! when you have a moment, send me your address at artsyville (at) and i will send them on their way :)

  23. Anonymous2:51 PM

    I love intergem so very very much. Ours is in a couple of months? I need to check.

    thanks for the reminder to save my pennies next month.

  24. Hi Lori

    Thanks for the visual Intergem tour! I don't know when I will able to go again. But I am going to the Hong Kong show next week, so I'm not complaining!

  25. Wow! Those blue topaz beads are gorgeous! And those pendants... what leaves are those? Red Oak, Aspen and (I'm lousy at tree identification, really :P But I can spot a red-wing blackbird by it's song *g*)

    And the ruffled rose gold... are they solid or plated? They are just totally fascinating me...

  26. I honestly have no idea what the leaves are -- will have to do my homework before I sell them in jewelry! And the rose gold is supposed to be solid -- for what I paid, it'd better be!


I appreciate comments! Thank you for contributing to the conversation.