Wednesday 7 August 2013

Stocking up on lapis lazuli & turquoise... & musing on a new design technique

I've already started stocking up on turquoise and lapis lazuli beads to replace what I sold at The Gem Expo in Toronto in July. Here's a sneak peek of two items in the parcel that just arrived. Christmas and my birthday all rolled up together in August!

Outrageously blue, raw, flattish natural lapis chunks with lots of pyrite, hand-polished, with very clean 1.5mm to 2mm holes. The beads average about 1" / 25mm in length. These would be particularly great for stringing on leather or wire-wrapping. Some of the beads have sawn-flat backs which would lend themselves to beaded bezels or wiring flat to metal shapes or used with leather bands for cuffs or attached to leather pouches, etc.

Blue to slightly greenish-blue turquoise nuggets with and without matrix. Each bead is about 1/2" in length and softly triangular/pyramidical -- is that even a word? -- in shape. Except for hand-polishing to a velvety-soft matte finish, these turquoise nuggets are not stabilised, dyed or enhanced in any way. Being more accustomed to stabilised turquoise, I noticed right away when I hefted them that the strings feel quite light for the size of bead, which means the stabilisation process adds considerable weight to turquoise beads.

I will bring a selection of the new beads to the September meeting of the Grand River Bead Society in Guelph if anyone wants first dibs before the GRBS show in October or The Gem Expo in November in Toronto. Fetish and skull beads in various materials and a great range of Fair Trade recycled glass beads are on their way.

I just got word yesterday that Square now allows us to accept debit cards here in Canada, so I will be able to offer debit, Visa and MasterCard, prepaid Visa and MC, as well as generic cash cards at the shows and at the GRBS meetings. If anyone is contemplating using Square, it's cheap, it's fantastic and works beautifully wherever you have cell phone coverage... well, 99% of the time. And, no, nobody is paying me to say this!

I've had the occasional wonky card that the card reader didn't like, but in that case I can enter the card number by hand and it will go through (for a slightly higher fee, of course), or, as happened at the Gem Expo, my Square reader flat out wouldn't accept either of one customer's cards -- yet it had worked fine with a previous customer's card 20 minutes before. She ended up going to the hotel ATM. Later on, we tried the card again that she'd used in the ATM, and this time it worked with no problem. Who knows what happened? Computer bug. Bug went away. Customer -- and me -- happy.

NOTE: Always check and double-check you've packed your phone and peripheral whatnot chargers to the shows with you! And then check again before you pull out of the driveway. I actually did remember to bring mine (it was other stuff I forgot), but another vendor didn't and their POP machine took a special type of charger. Luckily, someone was able to help them out but it was a last-minute scramble to find one.  

I'm very happy to report that the new jewellery designs that I've been posting this spring and summer are selling well. Credit for these goes entirely to my pal Nancy who seems to have broken the design logjam in my brain. In fact, it occurs to me that the easiest way to get out of a stale design rut would be to invite a non-jewellery friend or kid of your acquaintance over to play with beads, give 'em some fishing line to string with and see what they come up with. Believe me, there are some real ah-hah moments to be had.

If something you like here has been sold I'd be happy make something similar or in different beads. Or, if you'd like a bracelet version of a necklace -- or vice versa -- or coordinating earrings (or you're looking for a particular type of bead), email me and let's see what we can come up with.

Stay tuned for lots of new jewellery -- and beads -- and thanks for looking!

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