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.
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?
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."
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.Comment on this article
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