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Archive for July, 2006


I promised to show off some of the items we picked up at the IGJS we attended this month. One of the types of jewelry making components that we saw quite a bit of are precious stones, beads and mother of pearl shell that had large holes in them. I had to do a bit of searching, but I think a common name for these interesting pieces are “jewelry donuts”.

Now, we aren’t huge fans of following trends so we have no idea whether this has already come and gone. Interestingly, I did see them featured in the latest Fire Mountain catalog. I know I’ve seen this type of bead many times before made of various types of gemstone, glass and even wood. But at the show it just seemed like it was EVERYWHERE. What was mostly interesting is that in addition to the usual “round” jewelry donut, they also had different shapes like squares, rectangles and even triangles and trapezoids.

Continue reading “Square MOP Jewelry Donuts” …


Whew! Can you say gem-mania??! We have been meaning to pay a visit to the International Gem and Jewelry Show and finally got a chance to last week. The show is a massive bazaar of gems, minerals and jewelry from all different stores and shops from around the area and abroad. It was developed 37 years ago (by Herbert A Duke, Sr.) and has grown to about 80 shows per year in 30 cities in the U.S.

OK, so attending this show was a long time coming and we thought we knew what to expect. However, the sheer amount of gems and beads available was staggering. We have previously attended the one-room Rings -n- Things special travelling gem shows before and thought there was a pretty decent selection. The IGJS was about 30 times bigger!

Walking into the show floor (our show was held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Southern Cal) is somewhat of a sensory overload, and we actually had to do a “first-pass” around the room before even picking anything up.

There are a ton of folks selling jewelry making items like gemstones, beads, findings, wire and chain. But interestingly, there are also quite a few stores selling items that are already assembled or ready-for-purchase jewelry. I guess that is because a lot of the people who come in aren’t looking for bargains on supplies but actually want to pick up jewelry for their own use. Even though we could safely ignore those particular booths, the number of vendors was still daunting.

The prices were pretty good all around, but we hadn’t really prepared lists of items we needed or done research on exactly how much things cost. So it was a bit difficult to do smart shopping. We overheard one vendor say to someone that a booth at the show costs over a thousand dollars for the 3 day show. Still, even at those show prices many vendors had nearly all their items marked down. You just had to know what to look for.

Continue reading “Intl Gem and Jewelry Show” …

We are going to be starting a new feature here at Bloglander Jewelry Making: a “From the Mailbag” section. Basically, we’ll post up questions that people have submitted about jewelry making and other related issues. The reason for this is that a ton of mail comes in asking about a particular question, and we aren’t always able to answer it properly either due to time constraints or due to lack of knowledge. So hopefully, there will be some visitors who may be able to shed some light on the issue by commenting. We’ll definitely TRY to answer these questions but can’t guarantee an authoritative answer (or any answer at all for that matter!)

From the Bloglander Jewelry Making Mailbag:

Katherine B. writes: “I was wondering if you can help me find a certain chain. I’m looking for small gauge, delicate chain that looks almost black, or copper chain. Ive looked everywhere and I saw some jewelry with it and I would like to try something like it. For earrings and necklaces. All i can find is 2mm, and that seems too thick.”

Bloglander Jewelry Making says: Hmm… having not worked with darker metal jewelry chain and with no picture to go on, this seems like a difficult question. I assume you mean “non-coated” chain, so it’s the actual metal that is almost dark (or it’s plated with a metal that’s dark). I’ve seen a few places that carry smaller gauge chain in a metal called “gunmetal”. Here’s one example, from Rings -n- Things. I’ve taken the liberty of including a pic of it below.

It looks darker to me, but I’m not sure that’s what you’re going for. I’m not even sure what metal this “gunmetal” color chain is made of, although the descriptions sometimes say “imported brass footage chain”. It’s made of soldered links and is 1.1 mm (unfortunately, looks to be out of stock). I’ve also seen something called “antiqued” chain, but I didn’t see this on their site.