today in the studio . . . new treasure!

Through the years, I've spent a lot of time and money at the wholesale gem shows.  I go through spells where I won't go, don't need or want anything, or where I'm living just doesn't have any options.  Of course, the insanely massive Tucson shows are the end all be all of gem, bead and artifact shopping, but I've always resisted ... I figured if I didn't have at least $5,000 - $10,000 to spend, it would make me crazy.  Gainesville doesn't have anything in town, but the GLW show travels to Orlando 3 times a year.  I haven't been since we moved here and decided I wanted to make the trek down to last week's installment.

The thing is, even at the biggest July show in Franklin, NC, there's never much to interest my very eclectic tastes.  Raw, unpolished, not huge, not shiny ... not much!  I knew the Orlando show is a fraction the size of the NC shows, but at least one of my favorite vendors would be there, so I ventured south 2 hours.

Okay, so there was not much, practically nothing ... but I did find a couple of things ...

I guess this is the "new thing" as they were everywhere in a zillion shapes, mostly tiny sizes and some disturbing finishes, but I do like these fairly plain titanium coated hematite beads.  Plus, hematite is heavy!  Should give the work a nice heft.

 these have the coloring of azurite ... turquoise to blue

these have the coloring of azurite ... turquoise to blue

 you can see I love this matte grey 'cause I bought a bunch ...

you can see I love this matte grey 'cause I bought a bunch ...

Then my favorite vendor is The Bead Goes On.  Sally has exceptional taste and her booth is always beautiful and inspiring.  I bought a bunch of these Indonesian versions of the African goomba beads for their super yummy colors, lovely warm yellow and orange.

indonesian glass beads kathy van kleeck.JPG

I got a bit carried away with my other purchase from her ... ancient Roman era glass beads ... tiny ones ... in grey!  She gave me a good price and I couldn't resist.  Pretty much blew my budget on these, but I knew if I didn't stock up, I'd regret it.

 very tiny ancient Roman era glass beads, mostly grey but with cobalt and green and yellow mixed in

very tiny ancient Roman era glass beads, mostly grey but with cobalt and green and yellow mixed in

She also had a couple of strands of tiny cobalt ... same era ... totally irresistible!

cobalt roman glass beads kathy van kleeck.JPG

But my favorite discovery, although probably not the most practical, was a vendor with fossils and assorted unusual artifacts.  I had heard of this phenomenon, but never seen it in person ... fulgurite.  These pieces are formed where lightning strikes the sand and they're from the county where I was born, the lightning strike capital of Florida, Polk County.

fulgurite 1 kathy van kleeck.JPG

Most of them are hollow, some thicker than others.  The one front and center below is more globular and has a couple of strategically placed holes.

fulgurite kathy van kleeck

They're kind of scritchy and I'm not sure if they'll really work for jewelry ... don't want them snagging things, but we'll see.  They were just too cool to pass up. 

But basically, they're glass and some make the most lovely tinkling sounds ...

So, it wasn't a particularly large haul, but I did find a few very nice things.  Can't wait to see what comes next ...

with deep gratitude - kvk