Tucson 2016 Days 11, 12 and 13 - the Finale! February 03 2016

Alright everyone, this is the last blog from Tucson. It has been a whirlwind to say the least.  You could spend a month here and still not come close to seeing all there is to see. I will say that the four of us gave it a pretty good shot though!  Too bad none of us own a fit bit, I think we would have broke it with the amount of walking we did. Enjoy the pictures below.  Some feature items we will be bringing home with us, and others are special orders or beautiful pieces we wanted to show you.  As always, send me an email or call to ask questions or reserve a piece. info@handsofspirit.com or 303 541-9727.

Day 11 was the warmest day yet, so we soaked up the sun before the cold weather was due to move in that night. Luke and I went off to work on a special order and walk around a bit, while Karen and Bruce headed off to pick up some orders and visit a few other locations. Here are a few pictures of Fire Agate that Luke and I selected while getting roasted by the sun. The pictures do not show the color the best, but in person and in the sun, they are great. The piece in my hand has not been fully polished, this is a project for Luke.  I can't wait till it is done, it is quit the piece!

Here are a few pictures that Bruce and Karen took while they were picking up their orders.  Bruce with rather large Quartz cluster and some fossils.

Here are some beauties that Luke and I found. A Fairy Castle Geode and a large Amethyst with Calcite.

After running all over, we all met back at one of our favorite shows to walk the rooms. While doing this, we came across some Blue Halite! Needless to say, we selected as much as possible. Then I had to have a little fun with the statues of dinosaurs. 

As we walked around we ran into some really incredible show pieces.

Luke, Karen and Bruce having some fun.

Not to confuse you, but here is the most gemmy Rhodonite we have seen, next to Rhodochrosite crystals.  Similar colors and names, but very different minerals. 

These next three pictures are hard to explain properly unless you are seeing them in person.  These suculant large crystals are Kunzite, from Brazil!  I have never in all my life seen anything quite as amazing as these pieces.  This first picture on the left features a piece that was almost 2 feet long!  The coloring is so intense and is more berry color than Afghanistan Kunzite.  The prices are also about 10 to 20 times the price of the Afghani Kunzite. 

These two pieces also were extremely large.  The book is larger than a standard text book to give you size reference. 

Day 12 was spent in "the tents" where a lot of jewelry and beads are.  We all had some things we needed to work on, so I headed off to find beads for a customer as well as a diamond for a customer who's engagement ring I am making. Bruce found some adorable Rainbow Fluorite animals, bowls and free forms.  Luke and Karen worked on polished hearts.  It was a very cold day with a lot of wind so we were happy to be inside.  In the midst of all this, Luke and I found the "Nut Man", and enjoyed pigging out on some warm cinnamon candied almonds, one of our favorites.

When we all met up again, it was to pick out some very affordable Kingman Turquoise.  Here are a few pictures of what we are bringing home. Tumbled stones and Cabochons.

It is a shame that a reality TV station could not follow us around, there are some rather entertaining moments...

Next we switched shows to find ourselves some Amber jewelry.  There was an entire wing of a building dedicated to Amber.  Some of these pieces are so artistic!

This was a large piece that looked like stained glass.  We did not get it but it is worth a look.  Each piece is hand cut and fit together like small tiles. 

This guy was pretty cute as well, but expensive! It was all in sterling silver, it adds up quickly!

Here are a few of the pieces that we will be bringing back with us.

 

 

Day 13 is Luke and my last day before heading home. We all leave the next day, but K & B stay till the afternoon finishing up.  This last day is one of my favorite days because it is AGTA Gem Day!  AGTA is a fancy show with many fine gems and jewelry items.  This is the place where you feel poor because you cannot afford a Pigeon Blood Ruby for $80,000/carat wholesale! Problem is most of the stones are well over 1 carat! Haha

The stones here will blow you away especially if you have an understanding of how rare some really are.  This is where my forte lies with my Graduate Gemology degree so get ready for a lesson kids!

First stop, one of our favorite jewelers.  While there, a beautiful pendant caught Karen's eye.  She was oohing and ahhhing over it when I took a closer look and realized it matched something a dear customer had asked for. I quickly texted this person with photos and she decided that she loved it.  Here is the pendant.  It features orange, and light yellow Sapphires moving into Tsavorite Garnets set in 18k gold. The three hexagons move independently of each other. 

This next batch of photos are some pieces of jewelry that caught our eye.  Some we understand you may not wear yourself, but the workmanship that goes into these pieces is remarkable regardless of taste. 

This piece not only features a large hand carved Morganite (Beryl), but it is set in a custom mounting with large pearls about 14mm each.  

This was a pin that Karen was in love with. It features princess cut Sapphires in 18k white gold.  They are invisible set. This means that you cannot see the prongs holding the stones in. When this is done right, like this piece, the effect is seamless. Some of you may be wondering what I mean when I say that these are all Sapphires.  What many people don't know, is that many gemstones come in an assortment of colors. Sapphire, which is a variety of the species Corundum is known for being blue, the red variety of Corundum is known as Ruby.  However, when Corundum comes in yellow, purple, pink etc. they are known as fancy colored Sapphire.  It is the trace elements that cause these changes in color.

This next picture was a lot of fun.  It reminded me of a painters pallet, except in this case you would be using gemstones!

Every year, AGTA does something called the Spectrum Awards.  This is like the award shows for jewelers and stone cutters.  There are so many unbelievable pieces.  Here was a pin that I thought was incredible for the workmanship alone. 

 This Dragonfly like everything else, was all hand mad.  While I was there the jeweler was saying that she needed to name it.  We stayed there with her for a bit and came up with Elloise. The wings are Ammonites and have so much color in them, it was hard to capture on camera.  This pin was about 7" long!

This next piece is probably the single most expensive gemstone we have seen with our own eyes and had the honor of holding.  It is the rarest type of opal that exist.  It is a Black Opal from Lightening Ridge Australia.  This is the only location where Black Opal is mined. This piece is pretty much priceless due to it's size and color, but the price tag is around $600,000.  

These large faceted stones are not Sapphire, they are high quality Tanzanite.  Tanzanite was originaly meant to be a less expensive substitute for Sapphire.  When it is at it's highest quality, it shares a similar blue hue to some Sapphires.  To give you an idea of size for the stones pictured, the center stone is 250.89ct!

 

This case was so much fun for me.  If you look closely, you will see 10 different stones ranging in size. All of these stones either shared the exact same color or very close.  This is what becoming a Graduate Gemologist is all about.  If you think you can identify a stone solely by sight, you are sorely mistaken.  Especially when it comes to gemstones.  There are clues that you get by sight, like double refraction in the facets (calcite) or size of the stone.  There are some crystals that do not lend themselves to large faceted gemstones, therefore you can usually eliminate them as a possibility, but once you have narrowed this down, you still have around 5 or 6 options in the example photo.  That is where testing comes into play.  By conducting the necessary tests, you can establish with certainty what each of these ten stones are.  This may be a bit geeked out for some of you, but I found it to be extremely interesting :)

For those specimen lovers out there, this case was a real treat. This summer while visiting family, we came across a rare pink Topaz crystal from Brazil.  The mine has not been producing for years. The piece we got was mined in 1986 before the mine shut down.  It is up on our eBay store currently and is a premier specimen.  This case features faceted stones and specimens from the same mine as ours. The colors did not come through as well as I had hoped, but you can still get an idea.  The crystal on the top right is exactly the same color as ours, however theirs is thicker and more gemmy. This piece is around 4 times the cost of ours.  It is amazing what a little extra size and clarity will do to price! 

And now for the Grand Finale!  This previous picture is the perfect lead up for this last piece.  As I have stated, natural Pink Topaz is rare, and the mine is not producing.  You are very lucky if you can find specimen.  What is even more rare than Pink Topaz, is Red Topaz.  I have never seen it in all my years.  You can imagine what a treat it was, when we came across a 332.24ct. piece that was almost flawless. The piece was hand faceted into the most stunning carving.  I thought it was Zincite at first I am embarrassed to say!  I am attaching the letter from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America).  This letter is the highest form of praise a stone can get.  I hope you can read it.

And now for the stone itself.  I wish I could have got a better picture, but like so many, it was behind class and my iPhone is not the best camera in the world. This stone may actually be more money than the Black Opal. 

Well, that is it for Tucson 2016's Family Affair! I hope you have enjoyed following our travels.  Please stay tuned in the coming weeks more blogs with pictures of all our goodies as we get them unpacked and inventoried.  Our first show is at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds at the end of February. For any questions or to come see the crystals or reserve a pieces that catch your eye, send us an email at info@handsofspirit.com or call us at 303 541-9727. 

All the best to you,

Mirabai and Family