Friday, July 27, 2012

The Gem Show

Every July for the past several years I've trekked off to the southwestern corner of North Carolina to attend one of the biggest gem and mineral shows on the east coast. It's held near of Franklin, North Carolina, which is an area that mines emeralds, rubies and sapphires, as well as many other gemstones. Franklin is about four hours from me, but I have a friend who lives only an hour from there, so I also use the time to visit with her.

The show consists of two areas: the indoor show, which is open only to buyers that have a re-sale license. These sellers have the strings of beads, the cut stones, and all the pieces and parts, tools and display equipment that a jeweler would need. The other area is the outdoor show, which is open to the public and these are the folks that sell lots of "rocks". The raw stones that are just dug from the Earth.  I buy mainly from the indoor show, but we arrived before it opened, so we wandered around the outdoor booths.

Giant Amethyst
Giant Topaz
A huge quartz crystal (as long as my arm) that has clusters of pink and green tourmaline on it.

A table of clear quartz crystals with a rose quartz mixed in.

Close up of quartz crystals. So pretty.

I don't know what these are, but they look like little alien eggs.

This ball is about a foot across. Again, I don't know what the stone is, but it has a very cool mosaic pattern.

Table after table of raw stones waiting to be cut and polished.

Soooo.... what did I buy? Not much this time. I'm trying to stick to a budget and I wasn't feeling up to shopping because my rib was hurting again. But here's what I did get:

Some bluish-black pearls.

I was told that these are brown and green onyx, which I've never heard of. (of which I've never heard...) Who knows if the people even know themselves what they're selling? All I know is that I was attracted to these big Wilma Flintstone beads.

Two sizes of hematite. Not the magnetic kind, though, because they're annoying to work with.

A big pile of beautiful dichroic glass from Renaissance Glass.
And some interesting silver beads and rings.

It was fun, but I was disappointed in myself. It's bad when your body gives out before your shopping urges do, but I probably saved myself a lot of money. There will be another smaller one in Asheville in October, and it's closer to home. Meanwhile, I have some new things to inspire new designs. I can't wait to play!

1 comment:

Izzy said...

Oh my, I have to remember this. Haven't been to Franklin in such a long time. The "gem and mineral" shows here are all beads, no rocks and I'm a BIG rock collector. Putting it on my calendar now for a road trip next year.

You know I'm from Asheville right?