Friday, August 10, 2007

Crazy for stones

Auctions on Ebay used to annoy me. Do I have time to sit around waiting for the time to run down with my finger poised on the "bid" button? No. But so many of the good stones on Ebay are sold via auctions and the "Buy it now" stones never seem like that much of a bargain. That's all changed now and the tipping point happened in Greece. We were in one of the many jewelry stores we investigated there and K admired a necklace that consisted of a black druzy on a silver cable choker. Totally simple and shockingly expensive. I said, "Don't buy it - I can make it for you, easy." Give a girl a few days in jewelry camp and she thinks she can do anything.

The first step, obviously, was finding a nice black druzy. The one we saw had a druzy pocket in a smooth, shiny black oval, like the one in the picture below (which is a spoiler since now you know that I did find such a stone, but this is a blog, not a mystery). I checked all my usual stone sources and discovered only a couple and they were too expensive. So I checked out Ebay. There they were - lots of them and beautiful ones. Trouble was, they were all being sold via auctions. Quelle drag!

Then I discovered AuctionSniper, one of the many programs that bid for you. It offered three free "snipes", so I gave it a try. I won three stones for roughly half what I thought they'd cost if I bought them through a regular online store. These two are my favorites. They're from a seller call aroc55, who mainly seems to sell slabs. Now I have the black druzy -- all I need to do is figure out how to get it onto a cable with no visible setting showing. I can't recall if the one in Greece was drilled or what, but this one isn't so I'll have to be creative. The other agate druzy is my favorite though - great translucence in the surrounding stone and the druzy really sparkles, but not so much as to look artificial, which I think is a problem with some of the coated druzies.

The third stone is a pyrite druzy that's a beautiful gold color with rainbow highlights. (And, yes, I do have a thing for druzies. It all started when K gave me a gorgeous druzy ring for Christmas. I had never seen one before and it seemed like a magical stone.) It's a beautiful stone, but I had a hard time figuring out how to set it since the height varies a lot from one part of the stone to another. Also, it just didn't look good next to silver, not even oxidized silver. I'm not ready to shell out the money for gold at this point so it seemed like brass was the answer. Fortunately I had some brass sheet left over from jewelry camp and this is what I came up with. I'm pretty happy with the design, but I need to remake it because the metal got pretty marred while I was playing around with it. One thing I learned making this is that sketching really only works for me as a way of keeping track of ideas. When I'm in the throes of working out a design it's much more useful to make models of stiff paper.

Shopping success is a great convincer so I signed up with AuctionSniper and went a little crazy. I bought a nice apricot druzy, two matched druzies that look like little geodes, four chalcedony cabs, a ruby cab, and two druzy pendants. The apricot druzy, also from aroc55, is great - good size, good color, nice even height. The little geodes are very cool, but I was so smitten with the picture I neglected to notice how teensy they are. The size was right there in the description but the beautiful macro shot was so mesmerizing I missed it. Also, they're quite round in the back, which means they'll be difficult to set, and the backs are also very cracked and unstable looking, so they can't be used without a setting that covers the entire back. The chalcedony cabs could be chalcedony, but they're dyed such a violent blue that they could be anything. Fortunately, they only cost me $4.01, of which $3.95 was postage. The ruby cab arrived today and looks ok, except that I think it has a bubble in it. Do real rubies have bubbles? The last two druzy pendants haven't arrived yet - they're coming from Brazil. I hope they aren't a disappointment.

Things were clearly getting out of hand. At one point I had 16 snipes waiting to happen. After the tiny geodes and chalcedony cabs arrived on the same day, I canceled all my outstanding snipes and tried to get a grip. That was three days ago and so far I'm still on the straight and narrow. There have been a couple of close calls, like yesterday when I decided I had to have some plume agate and sniped six listings before I could stop myself. They've all been deleted though. Staying on the wagon is difficult but knowing that I'm going to a bead show tomorrow, where there will be lots of people selling beautiful stones, helps a lot.

1 comment:

Athena's Armoury said...

Step away from the Sniper. . .