Saturday, August 23, 2014


In the 16 years that I have been making jewelry, I have noticed how much has changed.  In the past, wholesale night at the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee each June meant that sellers sold beautiful pearls, gems and findings for 40 - 75% off.  It was a five hour extravaganza of buying beautiful beads that made my heart pound!  I still have strands of gemstones, turquoise and premium pearls that I bought at very good prices -- deals which I will never see again.  Now, wholesale "sellers" night doesn't have much allure, since the prices are the same that night as any other day of the show.  Really good gemstones at reasonable prices are becoming hard to find!  The really premium gems are selling by the piece now instead of by the strand.

Once I had a customer who wanted me to make a necklace in Malachite. This started a quest to find nice malachite, and a whole learning opportunity.  Online gem sellers had very little malachite for sale.  George and I made a 60 mile trip to a bead show in a hotel south of Boston.  The gemstone seller knew a lot about malachite and had some beautiful strands in a glass case.  He explained that malachite is a soft stone, easily damaged and hard to transport. Malachite most often comes from African sources.  Sellers don't have a lot of it, because it is relatively rare that they receive malachite that is not damaged.  At that show, I enjoyed meeting someone who knew what he was selling; and I bought several beautiful strands, some costing $60+ each.

In the end, the customer decided not to order a necklace made from malachite.  The sale was quietly canceled.  I never talked much to her about it, and I didn't mind.  In the end, I was able to obtain some beautiful gemstones that I would never have known about before.  I treasure them.  The right buyer may come along...or maybe not.

Have a great day.