I’ll tell you one thing, I know a party when I see it, and the Tucson Gem Show offers a number of such “sights” in a million different forms (my mom and I will be enjoying a margarita or two during our stay, for sure).
But there’s a gathering of five female jewelry designers bunking together in an Airbnb on the outskirts of town—hot tub, fire pit, porch swing—that I totally wish I could crash.
“We’re five women coming from all parts of the country for a week of shopping and jewelry sisterhood,” Elizabeth Compo of Elizabeth Moore told me when I caught up with her in December. And I could just picture it: the sharing of the day’s spoils, the swapping of tips on shows and suppliers, the gabbing about jewelry 24/7, the libations….
“The highlight of the day is heading back to the house, pouring a glass of wine with the ladies, and having a show-and-tell where we drool over each others’ findings that day,” says Jennifer Ciraulo of Blooming Lotus Jewelry in New Jersey.
Jewelry designer Sarah DeAngelo of Denver was in charge organizing the Airbnb; Canela Lemoine of the California-based Cinnamon Sticks has volunteered to be the group’s designated driver, transferring everyone to and from their gem show destinations. Lemoine’s jewelry is carried at Uncommon Goods and so for her, “the show is basically a girls’ trip to step away from my business, share laughs, girl power, and our wins and losses, with a group of designers.” Since she’s opening a brick-and-mortar soon, “the trip is more about sharing with women doing similar things than buying.”
The rest of the ladies have very specific shopping strategies in place for developing new and existing jewelry collections, and I’m sharing them in case it’s helpful to other designers who hope to hash out similar plans but are overwhelmed by the possibilities.
Elizabeth Compo, Elizabeth Moore
Shopping: Ethically sourced stones and U.S.-mined gemstones. Opals and more opals. “I’m looking to make connections with new vendors, including fairmined gold dealers and mine owners. I’m looking forward to meeting the mine owners that I buy my Montana sapphires from.”
Shows: AGTA Gem Fair, JCK, GIGM
Shopping: “I shop all day every day. It’s my favorite time of year. And getting to do it with these amazing women who share my passion is food for my soul.”
Shows: “My favorite shows are G&W for beads and Kino for rock specimens. But really I love all the shows, from the big shows down to the little pop-ups at hotels.”
Hillary Burkett, Camera Shy Cove
Shopping: Rough-cut stones, unique stone beads, cabs, bone, and small fossils.
Shows: G&LW, GIGM, JOGS, 22nd street, JCK, and AGTA. “Which is more than enough to really challenge my budget and pull me into decision overload—but have so much fun doing it. My favorite show is Kino because of all its peculiarities and the scale of geodes on-site that offer such inspiration to me.”
Jennifer Ciraulo, Blooming Lotus Jewelry
Shopping: Drilled beads, cabochons for rings, crystal points, Herkimer diamonds, polished gemstone hearts, free-form crystals and geodes, raw rose quartz chunks, big chunks of pyrite from Peru.
Shows: “I love them all, and it’s really hard to control myself, but each year I get a little better and more focused (and less overwhelmed). G&LW for drilled beads and crystal points, Kino for polished and free-form crystals, geodes, hearts. The pop-up tents at the motels for more unique smaller crystals that I drill into pendants. AGTA for some higher-priced crystals and gems.”
Happy hunting, ladies! Be sure to share your finds on Instagram so we can get inspired!
Top: Kingman Turquoise Star cocktail ring in 18k gold, $3,700; Elizabeth Moore
Follow me on Instagram: @aelliott718Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine