Look at the pretty, pretty gemstones I got at the Gem Expo! This was my second time visiting the Gem Expo (last time I got some Czech glass flower beads and some freshwater coin pearls) and I had a hard time holding back from buying more strands of sparkly gems. For the most part, the offerings at the Gem Expo aren't my taste (a lot of big, chunky beads and cheap findings for folks who do beading) so typically there are only a handful of freshwater pearls and gemstones tempting me. I was a bit disappointed as there were very few quality pearl offerings this time. I had my hopes on getting some higher grade freshwater pearls to use in knotted bracelets and necklaces. I've been wanting to do more knotting since I made the Edwardian-inspired pearl collar for a recent wedding. Unfortunately there were no pearls that met my standards, so I settled on these four strands of gemstones. From bottom to top: pale blue chalcedony, smokey quartz (one of my absolute favorite gemstones), blue chalcedony and black chalcedony. I was really tempted to buy some $100-$200/strand gems but knew I couldn't make that big of an investment without yet having secured a steady market for my luxe designs. It's nice having the opportunity to shop for gemstones in person. Typically I buy my gemstones online, but it's very difficult to tell the quality of a gem when you cannot see it in person. It's nice to have the opportunity to pick out the exact strands you'd like to purchase.
Next time the Gem Expo stops in Lexington, I'd like to visit the show early on (both times I have gone it has been in the afternoon of the last day) to make sure I can choose from the best offerings.
I love the pale, almost icy blue color of this chalcedony. A similar size strand of rose quartz had also captured my eye but I decided I liked the opaqueness of the chalcedony more than the translucent rose quartz. In an ideal world, I would have purchased both strands, but I was trying to be modest with my budget.
I just love smokey quartz! I have always been mesmerized by it's dark yet translucent color. It's sort of mysterious in the most beautiful way. I also love the way it pairs beautifully with my preferred pastel palette. This strand was my splurge of the day, but it was totally worth it as there are 56 gleaming briolettes waiting to be turned into all sorts of fabulous designs!
Next are some smooth, rich blue chalcedony briolettes. I typically am not very drawn to smooth, polished briolettes but I thought these would make lovely necklace focals! I think this shade of blue is stunning. It works well for a winter or summer palette. I love it paired with icy whites and silvers, and equally with warm golds and corals.
Lastly are the black chalcedony briolettes. These are just a wee bit smaller than the blue chalcedony briolettes above which makes them a bit more befitting of my delicate style. A few are small enough to work beautifully as earrings and the others will make fantastic pendants.
Stay tuned as I turn these gorgeous gems into fabulous new designs!