Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Ruby in the Rough

During a time when I was still living in Albany and going to wholesale gem and lapidary shows regularly, I purchased quite a few lovely, higher end strands ... some emeralds; tiny, sparkly little sapphires; beautiful lapis nuggets from Afganistan; some more obscure stones called spessartite in a graduated set of briolettes (an absolutely gorgeous root beer colored stone); tender little tourmaline briolettes; rich, deep brown topaz .. and several strands of deep, rich red rubies - as well as a handful of individual rough cut and faceted ruby "pendants". I've turned a few of these strands into pretty things, the others I pull out and look at once in a while, hoping something will come to me. It does, on occasion. Ya can't rush the creative process. With me, stuff has to "stew" for a bit. It's usually worth the wait .. but we can go into that another time.

A local woman twice, at two separate shows, saw one of the rough cut rubies I had simply suspended from a sterling snake chain. She asked about doing it in gold. Not a problem. Gave her my number, or I called her with the price .. can't remember which. But it was later her daughter who called and wanted to purchase the pendant for her mother for Christmas from her and her brothers. Did it up in 14k, packed it up and off it went. I'm sorry to say I neglected to get a picture of that one. Happens sometimes. But .. got another call just recently for matching earrings. This in response to a casual comment I'd made to the daughter about having a necklace I was thinking of taking apart. A graduated strand of faceted flat oval rubies with small 18k gold granulated beads and an 18k clasp. I didn't mind that it wasn't selling, as I got to wear it now and again (it's difficult to resist the "Ooooh .. what kind of stones are THOSE?!?) .. but, since the whole point of this venture is to actually SELL, I had toyed with the idea of taking it apart and using the beads for earrings and bracelets and little charms and whatever. It was this woman's call for matching earrings that finally found me at my bench cutting it up and putting its individual components into little zip lock baggies. Sigh. It wasn't going to sell up here in the north country .. it was a $1500 necklace. Better to put the pieces to good use elsewhere. Had the opulent pleasure of wearing them while I could, though! And there's still a VERY nice smaller strand of rubies that look darn nice with just a white t-shirt and jeans .. no kidding. ; )

Anyway .. I completed the earrings for this customer today. I even assembled a little photography station with the light cube n everythin' .. but, as it often happens in these cases, it didn't make a difference. I just couldn't capture them in the right light (and I tried several times without the light cube before I finally gave up and thought, what the heck, gotta set it up sooner or later). But here they are, looking like anything but rubies! I included the pic of the necklace so you could see their true color (the necklace was placed on a flatbed scanner) .. or at least closer to true than the earrings might suggest. They're very delicate and hang about 3/4 of an inch from the 3mm ball to the bottom of the loop beneath the ruby.

It was difficult getting them to stop swinging so I could snap the shutter. I deleted probably 10 or 12 blurred shots. I finally had to just sit there quietly and ... wait. The problem was that in order to get the camera into a good position, one of the tri-pod legs was on the shelf beneath the light cube .. so every time I even touched the shutter, the earrings would ... well, shudder. It can't be this much trouble photographing kids! I so hope I get to a point in this venture where this part of it becomes second nature.
In the spirit of "practice makes perfect", I also took a pic of another Flower Weave bracelet I did this morning, this one with a hand made clasp. A little bluish, but not bad. I guess the next bit of experience I need to acquire is with PhotoShop. Onward and upward!

OK, back to the fun part .. got a few more rings laid out all ready for assembling a couple more spiral bracelets. I'm off!

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