Archive for February, 2011

tucson gem show 2011

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Cultured Sea of Cortez pearl

[Blue cultured Sea of Cortez pearl. It’s pretty amazing, not only because it is gorgeous, but because it is from the first ever cultured pearl farm in the Sea of Cortez. Previously, it had been understood that culturing the “Rainbow-lipped” oysters in the Sea was impossible. But three guys figured out how and now they have a small farm in Guaymas.]

Well, the gem show was overwhelming and hectic as usual. Two days to buy everything I think I might need for the next year is pretty nearly impossible—but I do give it my damnedest. At least I feel like I made some decent contacts.

Mostly, I bought pearls (some things do not change). The Cortez pearl above was the fanciest/rarest I’ve ever purchased. I will definitely have to visit the farm one of these days; it’s only a five-hour drive or so from my parent’s house. I’ll write more in depth about the various stones I got in a later post. For now, I’ll just post a little eye candy.

Tahitian pearls

Mmm: lovely round and semi-baroque Tahitian pearls. Gorgeous peacocky and magenta colors.

South Sea pearls

South Sea pearls from Myanmar, except for the upper right round pearl, which is a Chinese freshwater.

Chinese freshwater keshi and round pearl

I actually bought these at the last year’s show, but never got a nice photo before. Chinese freshwater rose/peach round pearl and keshi of various colors.

NV Turquoise -- all natural and unstabilized

Turquoise! I can never resist buying this stuff. These are all from Nevada I believe (maybe a couple pieces from New Mexico—will have to check) and are discovered, mined, cut, and polished by two of the nicest people. All their turquoise is non-stabilized and un-enhanced, and it is lovely stuff.

Rose-cut translucent diamonds

Rose-cut diamonds! The largest is 1.6 carats, the smallest is maybe 1/2 ct. Coolness!

* * *

And I did not watch the Grammy’s on TV but I did peruse the blogs this morning to see what everyone wore. So far my favorite jewelry piece was the Lorraine Schwartz snake bracelet: gold and platinum with large diamond slice ‘spots’ and pave white and yellow diamonds. It looks like it has ruby eyes too. (You can get a huge blown-up version here.)

Lorraine Schwartz snake bracelet

karen and jon’s spacey rings

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Retro spacey rings - Platinum, palladium, blue diamond

[Platinum, blue diamond, and palladium.]

One of my good friends from way back in high school (hello Facebook!) got a hold of me with a ring idea for her husband. They had been married for some years but never really got nice wedding bands; she thought she would surprise her husband with one for christmas and began scheming up ways to sneak-measure his finger size without him noticing anything. Amusingly, about a week later, he suggested out of the blue that they buy themselves wedding bands for their christmas present that year. Karen, evidently, needs to take lessons in subtlety.

Karen and Jon are both total sci-fi geeks and she thought a spacey sort of theme might be interesting, so I started sketching ideas. I found design inspiration from vintage science fiction cover art—you know all that awesome stuff of dudes in round globular helmets and retro spacecrafts with toggle switches and orange square buttonry, comets flying by in the sky with maybe a ringed planet, red rocky outcroppings, pointy cities.. um, and stuff. (I do love me some retro cover art.)

Gennady Golobokov's retro sci-fi cover art

[“Space Workers” by Gennady Golobokov, 1973, Russia. I’m digging the pointy helmet.]

Retro sci-fi cover art by Jeff Jones

[Isn’t this awesome? It’s Jeffrey Jones’ cover for the Amazing Science Fiction magazine, September 1970.]

The rings are laid out in three sections: ringed planet, spiral galaxy, and comet—with lots of flowy wavy designs between. Karen’s ring is in platinum with a little 2.5mm blue diamond in her comet, and Jon’s ring in palladium (the two metals are almost identical in color but the palladium is not as heavy and not as expensive; for a man’s ring, this helps immensely in keeping the cost from getting ridiculous). Animated gifs of all sides of the rings are here: Karen’s ring and Jon’s ring.

Retro spacey rings - platinum, palladium, blue diamond

It was the first time I’ve worked the two metals side-by-side and it was interesting to compare how they felt and finished up. Though platinum is a harder and denser metal, I would say that they were equally difficult to finish; palladium is more “sticky” perhaps, and platinum more “dry” feeling. From what I have read, palladium has extremely similar wear characteristics as platinum, which makes it pretty much the perfect white jewelry metal (aside from the hard-to-finish aspect). Both took about a million years to file, sand, sand finer, polish, polish finer, etc. I know Karen has a soft spot for heavy metal so I surfed through my mp3 player for some inspirational music to help pass the time whilst sand-sand-sanding away.

Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles cover art

[Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles cover. I also like the Fahrenheit 451 cover; it’s not really spacey, but I liked the look and the abstract reflections in the helmet.]

More totally cool retro cover art from the former Soviet Union & eastern bloc countries here. And some German art here.