The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

Romancing the Peridot and Yellow Beryl: Chapter 1, Finding the Rough

Feb 28, 2011
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Molly A. Bell
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I traveled to the Tucson Gem and Mineral show in early February in search of faceting rough material (precious or semi-precious stones suitable for faceting). For years my husband, Charles Springer, has traveled the show buying rough material on behalf of his jewelry manufacturing business, often returning with a precious piece or two of faceting rough that eventually ended up as a treasured jewelry piece gifted to me! This year I had the rare opportunity to travel to Tucson as a spectator and shadow my husband as he shopped. He encouraged me to join him as he looked for faceting rough.

We eventually found what we were looking for among the eye-candy at the booth of Chris and Jill Price of CJP Gems.

Chris and Jill Price of CJP Gems

We so enjoyed meeting them and I learned that their life with gems began with a gem-digging trip to North Carolina in 1988. Once they got a taste of lapidary, they were hooked. Both Chris and Jill started out cutting cabs. Then Chris learned to facet and expanded into lost wax casting while Jill learned gold and silversmithing. I was delighted to learn that they have been Rio Grande customers for many years. As they became more involved and as the years went by, Chris and Jill dreamed of traveling and selling gems.

Jill said, “Finally our dream came true! After several years being placed on waiting lists, we were accepted to be vendors at the 2009 Tucson Electric Park RV Gem and Mineral Show. Everything seemed to fall into place as we began our travels in 2008. Last year we did a total of 20 shows including several in Ohio, the state we call home. Our schedule of shows includes Indiana, North Carolina, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Texas. Gem shows allow us to meet some of the most interesting folks, from beginners to award winning cutters, wire wrappers, inlayers, carvers, folks who love the energy of stones, gem and mineral collectors, and youngsters excited to see and touch stones from all over the world. Questions range from what is a carat to where do those stones come from and how do you cut them?  Life doesn't get any better than this.”

Jill and Chris can be found wrapping up a show today in Pasadena, Texas!

Jill added,  “After being on the road since October of 2010, we are looking forward to getting back to Ohio to see our family, share stories of our travels and catch up on what they've been doing. We are so blessed: our daughter, Kristin, and son-in-law, Kenny, help make traveling easier for us by taking care of business in Ohio. Our granddaughter, Kaci, sells small jars of tumbled stones and grab bags to earn money for her college fund. Our grandson, Cyrus, loves rocks and has shoeboxes full of them."

So, what about that faceting rough Charles and I were shopping for?

Chris and Charles admire some yellow beryl

Well, it wasn’t easy to pick from all the enticing colors and choices but eventually, with the help of Chris, we chose a piece of Pakistani peridot and a piece of yellow beryl. I think peridot is one of the prettiest of green gems and the piece we bought is a lovely color – very clear. The yellow beryl is a bright yellow stone, about half the size of our peridot specimen.

Charles had some fun, telling Chris to please select the stone for us “as if he were choosing one for his own wife to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.” Charles then asked Chris to select the second stone we should purchase “as if he were selecting a stone for Jill to celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary."

No pressure!

Chris carefully examines a peridot before declaring it worthy.

Faceting rough peridot and yellow beryl, waiting to become something special.

When we got back to Albuquerque our daughter, Ciera, admired our treasures: "They're very pretty, but they look a lot like beach glass."

Stay tuned! Watch for Chapter 2 which will follow the stones on their journey as they are faceted, and later designed into jewelry.

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Rio will be in New York at MJSA Expo, March 13–15. Will you?

Feb 24, 2011
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Spencer Baum
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MJSA Expo New York is the largest and oldest trade show dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, Expo is full of the latest bench tools, laser welders, casting machines, alloys, CAD/CAM systems, gemstones and beads, component parts, stamping equipment and more…

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Walking the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show

Feb 23, 2011
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Viqui Sanchez
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In all the years Rio has been presenting our Catalog In Motion® event alongside the Tucson Gem & Mineral show, this is the first year I had ever walked the show myself…

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Steampunk: An Alternative to Precious Metals

Feb 21, 2011
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Bernadette Webb
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Currently, the precious metal market—especially silver—is not favorable to jewelers who often use these metals in their creations. Jewelers are seeking new trends that incorporate alternate metals such as bronze, stainless steel, titanium, etc. One trend we recently highlighted…

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Jeweler Spotlight: Wendy Toman Oestreicher

Feb 17, 2011
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Viqui Sanchez
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“I don’t like doing things simple. I like a challenge. I like to be pushed.” Wendy Toman Oestreicher is one of those folks who like to be intrigued by something they’ve seen or thought of, then just dive right into trying it . . .

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A Day in the Life of a Rio Tech Support Agent

Feb 16, 2011
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Mark Nelson
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Occasionally someone asks me, “What’s it like to work in Technical Support at Rio Grande?” Usually my answer is easily summed up by the big grin on my face. Being part of the Tech Support Team is really cool. The job may not be what what one thinks of as a typical tech support position. Although a good part of our day can be spent at our desks answering customer questions, that’s not the only thing we do – not by a long shot. Our fundamental goal is to help customers get the RIGHT tools and supplies and we help them get information they need…

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Rio Steampunk and Metal Clay Artist, Jaimie Verlander

Feb 14, 2011
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Bernadette Webb
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Shortly after I was first hired here at Rio, I experienced my first Rio Associate Arts and Crafts Fair. I was so excited to see what kind of jewelry my creative colleagues were making and selling and was amazed by the beautiful craftsmanship and uniqueness of it all. But, there was one piece I came across…

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Metal Clay Origami Jewelry with Sara Jayne Cole

Feb 10, 2011
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Sara Jayne Cole
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We are pleased to partner with Lark Books and author Sara Jayne Cole to bring you this excerpt from Sara’s recently published book, Metal Clay Origami Jewelry. In the book, Sara combines the worlds of origami with metal clay to achieve fun and interesting results. The book opens with instruction on the basics of origami, including 9 different kinds of folds, then shows how to bring the techniques of origami into the world metal clay.

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Jeweler’s Saws and Blades Demystified

Feb 9, 2011
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Kevin Whitmore
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The jeweler’s saw is a fundamental jewelry-making tool. It’s one of the first and most important tools found on every jeweler’s bench. At the same time this tool is different for each jeweler. If you take a quick look at the Rio Tools catalog you’ll see over two pages of jeweler’s saw frames, and a veritable sea of saw blades. How is a jeweler to decide?

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Jewelry Tips & Tricks of the Trade Contest Winner: Jette Sorensen!

Feb 7, 2011
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Mike Schelle
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Our Jewelry-Making Tips and Tricks contest wrapped up last week, and jewelry designer Jette Sorensen took home the prize of a $25 gift certificate for her “handy” advice for soldering jump rings.

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