A little closer to Camp Joy Ranch, AJ took me to Cave Creek, another beautiful town with a distinct wild west atmosphere and lots of touristy stores and restaurants. The drive into the town was thru vast “forests” of saguaro cactus..I was half-expecting to see cattle rustlers or stage coaches along the way.Knowing that I wanted to purchase some genuine, quality turquoise and native American silver, AJ knew exactly where to take me: Rare Earth Gallery, a very special (and very large) store with just about every gemstone and earthly treasure from around the world. Out front of the store were several carved marble pieces, like this magnificent rearing horse…. …and AJ took an instant liking to this HUGE chunk of crystal (above). They also had a wide selection of Tibetan salt lamps (below)And behind the cash registers were two beautiful back-lit artworks (below) made with marble and precious and semi-precious gems mined in the surrounding Phoenix hills. You should see the outstanding amethysts and tourmalines that come from this region. I made a bee-line for the jewellery counters and found two stunning rings behind locked display case doors – please sir, may I try them on? Done…they fit perfectly…the rings are mine. One is a green-hued chunk of turquoise for my right hand and the larger one is made of blue turquoise and spiny oyster inlays, both silver. Obviously a favourite shop of his, AJ purchased a couple more stones to add to his and Tom’s basket of stones in their front lobby (below) – very tactile home decor and each stone carries mystical powers to heal or energize.Once we stored our purchases into the car, we wandered across to where the “frontier town” was – today there were only a few tourists and it seemed a bit sad. We dropped in to the candlemaker (fragrances were a bit too strong for me to remain there), then a couple of the souvenir stores but I just couldn’t “get it up” to enjoy the silly crap on sale there. They had a great loo, tho. I wish I’d taken a few pics – lots of old photos of 30’s and 40’s Hollywood movie cowgirls as well as old rodeo ladies lined the walls so I was able to enjoy a tinkle under the gaze of those vintage wild west gals. Next blog will cover my final full day in Arizona: we visit the incredible butterfly conservatory and reptile museum, and AJ and I enjoy our deelish “last supper” – more steak for me…LOL!
Thanks to an invitation from event Founder SALIM MOORANI, I attended THE GEM EXPO at the Hyatt Hotel on King St West this afternoon and I was in sparkle heaven! All the vendors in the showroom proudly displayed their gemstones, jewellery designs, pearls, amber, even ancient fossils and meteorites as well as large geodes and crystal “forests”. I recommend you hurry on down tomorrow (Sunday Nov.12) and check out the stunning, glittery treasures yourself. Here’s Salim to tell you all about it himself….
The Gem Expo is a showcase for designers as well as suppliers of precious and semi-precious stones, silver or gold settings for those who create their own designs. I was astounded by the range of stones available and that several of the exhibitors had traveled from half-way around the world. There are 3 such shows each year and the next one is in March so if you miss this one, definitely come out to the next show. Here is just a small sample of what I saw (and added to my Santa wish-list!)… Look what I found at Crystal Palace (www.crystal-palaces.com) – below. All sorts of yummy amethyst chunks as well as some fossils and bigger geodes. And they were presenting jewellery-making classes behind the booth.I then visited Fossils Plus (below) showcasing cool treasures from millions of years ago, including giant sharks’ teeth!Kelly from Sacred Gemstone proudly showed off her supply of beautifully tumbled stones as well as her ready-to-wear designs (below). I love the vibrant blue of the lapis lazuli, one of my all-time favourite stones that originates in Afghanistan. www.sacredgemstone.com And now here’s Anna from AmberLink, who designs beautiful rich amber pieces with silver. Just check out that gorgeous necklace she’s wearing…wow! She also offers amber-lovers some vintage pieces that date back to pre-WWII…you can see the different quality and type of amber used back then (3rd pic, below) www.amberlink.comAnd here’s some more lapis lazuli for me, plus some pretty in pink stones that make me think of bacon (I don’t know why…LOL)
I was pleasantly surprised to find a Bali-based jeweller showcasing her designs at the show. Shankari incorporates fine gems, pearls, gold and silver into pieces designed for soul enrichment as well as fashion statement pieces – pendants, earrings, bracelets and cuffs – I was enchanted. Based in Bali, Indonesia, this is the first time these designs have been showcased in Canada and they hope to bring their luxury designs back again to an upcoming Gem Expo. www.Gempremium.com really knows how to stop a girl in her tracks! I took one look at these stunning South Seas pearls and I was in love. Manager Pascal told me about the sources for each type of pearl (I’ve always been partial to the black Tahitian ones) and quality levels. Just look at these lush baubles (below) and you can even pick your own pearls and have their on-site jeweller set them in one of their gold or silver settings (bottom pic)Gemologist Amanda Hamilton of Earthy Girl Designs had a wonderful array of necklaces, pendants, bracelets, earrings as well as a great selection of Arizona turquoise, something I really like myself. She doesn’t have a website but do watch for her at gem shows – she’ll be back for the March Gem Expo.Now here’s something I did not know….Ethiopia has been producing some of the world’s finest opals, rivaling the beauty of Australian opals (I’m an Aussie so I have to stay faithfull). Suzanne and Francois of Opalex from Quebec shared their knowledge of these new African opals, many of which have a rich golden firey colour. I really liked the unique strands of opal beads (bottom pic) – they were “delicious”! They don’t have a website either but watch for Opalex and the next Gem Expo. Dara Jane Loomis of Dara Jane Jewellery (Montreal) introduced me to some great statement pieces, including the bright green peridot necklaces (pics 2 & 3). I really liked the one with tiny tiger eye stones (3rd pic) and I’ve added that one to my Santa list (I’ve been a really good girl this year and I deserve it!) Looks like I started a small crush of shoppers with all my oo’ing and aah’ing! You can order your fave piece online at www.darajanejewellery.com Sonatona supplies great gemstones to designers and they certainly brought their A game to Gem Expo! Just look at this selection…wow! You can purchase via their eBay online store: www.stores.ebay.com/sonatona
Meet Shelley Sullivan of ShelleysStoneworks.etsy.com who I found busy working on another piece. Shelly is a “wire artist” (not high wire, tho…LOL) – see her delicate pendants below. Definitely a great Christmas present for that friend who loves fab jewellery. Now here’s something unexpected…hey all you rock-n-rollers, do I have a cool mascot for your band! Vicki of Inner Circle showcased her awesome skull carvings in various stones. If you can’t make it out to the show, she’s having an open house at her Toronto studio on Dec. 3rd so check out her website for details: www.shopinnercircle.ca Vicki also presented a number of sparkly amethyst geodes….OMG, I want one of those, too!Straight out of BC, here are the very unique “crystal forests” dug from the earth and presented in their raw form as well as hand-crafted in jewellery pieces. Check out www.forestcrystals.com for more info More sights from The GemExpo…. Salim told me about the show’s commitment to supporting local charities and this year, Feed it Forward, offering nutritious meals to the city’s homeless, will benefit from the silent auction which is located at the entrance to the showroom. All sorts of lovely jewellery is on offer (see a small selection below) so please check it out and place a bid. www.feeditforward.caFor more information about this show and upcoming 2018 shows visit www.TheGemExpo.com and I encourage you to drop in say hello to Salim at his brand new store, Hamsa Heaven, located at 1600 Gerrard St East. Tell him Glenda sent you! You can also purchase your gemstones at his other store, www.BlueSapphireBeads.com
Thank you to all the vendors who welcomed me to their booths!
I had the pleasure of visiting one of Toronto’s hottest new jewellery designers, Pamela Lauz, this afternoon at her Carlaw Ave design studio and oh my, I felt like I’d walked into Aladdin’s cave…surrounded by beautiful sparkling gems, pearls, gold, silver, platinum all displayed in a beautiful gallery atmosphere.
I first met Pamela at last year’s Toronto Outdoor Art Show held annually at Nathan Phillips Sq. , when I was drawn to her booth by her delicate and dainty “Acorn” collection of earrings and necklaces. After visiting her online gallery and store, I was blown away by her architecturally influenced collections and range of materials, so when I was invited by Pamela’s sister and business manager, Natalia, to visit the studio I jumped at the chance to interview Pamela while I played “dress up” with some of her gorgeous pieces.
Do you select your own gemstones and how does that process work? Do you have specific stone requirements for completed designs, or do you pick the stone first then design around that gem?
PL: Genuine gems are at the heart of many our designs and I love to personally select each gem. Our custom designs begin with specific gemstones in mind, especially when restyling our clients’ treasured gems. When creating our signature collections, I think of how the gem’s colour and shape will interact with the design in mind – a true marriage of stone and metal.
Gold, silver, platinum or other metals – what is/are your favourite materials?
PL: Every precious metal has its own wonderful properties and I enjoy working with silver, platinum and 15 different gold alloys.
Silver is a true white metal that allows us to create jewellery in a wide range of sizes.
Platinum is the strongest white metal and it provides the most secure hold on gemstones. When it comes to gold, 18K white gold is the strongest, most durable white alloy, while 14K yellow gold is the strongest yellow alloy. When it comes to colour, nothing beats the richness in colour that 18K yellow gold provides and we also have 3 gorgeous shades of rose gold.Costume vs. fine jewellery – what do you recommend fashion conscious women buy?
PL: Jewellery and other fashion accessories look their best when selected to complement’s one’s own style rather than the current fashion trend. To me, jewellery is an investment to be enjoyed for years to come. For this reason an item’s durability is as important as its design longevity. Most costume jewellery available today is not as durable as well-crafted fine jewellery. Below, Natalia showed me a few choice baubles…
How does your earlier engineering career and passion for architecture influence your jewellery designs?
PL: Architecture is my main source of inspiration – I love to explore buildings and attend architecture lectures.
My engineering education helped me refine my attention to detail. Every aspect of a given design is thoroughly considered: from the comfortable fit of a cocktail ring to the perfect symmetry of a pair of earrings and the balanced drape of an asymmetrical necklace.
Moreover, jewellery is best enjoyed when designed to suit one’s lifestyle and this can only be achieved by thoughtful observation of my clients’ personalities and preferences. A great deal of thought is also placed on the tools and techniques to craft the best realization of a specific design.
Your designs have sleek clean lines and lack the fussiness so many designers have been incorporating into their current flowery collections. Do you feel your more classical themes will have a longer lasting appeal and wearability for your clients?
PL: Our clients share our affinity for contemporary lines and clean polished surfaces. We find balanced simplicity timeless. However, we are lucky to be exposed to as wide a range of designs as there are aesthetic preferences.
Personally speaking, I am at my creative best when designing sculptural forms. I thrive in the challenge of distilling an idea into its key essence and interpreting it through subtle yet meaningful details.
I also enjoy collaborating with my clients in materializing their creative vision for their custom-designed jewellery and I welcome the opportunity to take my design aesthetic to different horizons.
Do you see any design trends as far as metals or gems for 2016?
PL: Gems are a very personal choice. The larger gems are selected as a wardrobe staple and are considered an investment to be enjoyed for many years to come. These statement pieces suit one’s own colour palette and seldom follow fashion trends.
Our clients also like to represent their families through birthstones. To add meaning to their cherished jewellery, we frequently personalize designs like the Infinity pendant with colourful birthstones. On the metal front, I see a growing preference for rose gold, which looks fantastic and provides a unique warm glow on many skin tones. Yellow gold continues to be very popular and white gold prevails as the ideal setting for sparkling diamond jewellery.
If you could design a commissioned piece for any celebrity (or royal family member), who would that be and what would you design?
PL: I’d be honoured to create jewellery for Cate Blanchett (below) who is not only a brilliant actress but also a theatre director, wife and mother of four. She portrays a wide range of personalities with outstanding versatility but also with fine taste. Outside movie sets, I admire Ms Blanchett’s timeless style and effortless elegance. These are qualities that inspire me to create designs that bring forth one’s confidence, transcending trends and time.
Any upcoming trunk shows or special events where we can see/buy your stunning designs?
PL: Our studio on Carlaw Avenue in Leslieville is always open for visits to view our signature jewellery or to discuss a custom design or restyling project. We will participate in the Cabbagetown Arts and Crafts Festival on Sept 11-13 and then at the One of a Kind Christmas Show from November 26 to December 6th.
Pamela also specializes in re-designing and re-purposing clients’ much-loved existing pieces so I decided to take my humongous 1980’s smokey quartz cocktail ring and ask her how she would re-design this stunning stone into a more fashion-fwd gold setting. She asked me all sorts of questions about shapes and how I would wear the ring and she came up with a brilliant new setting, turning the emerald-cut stone on its side, with a wider band…..that will be my Christmas pressie to self at the end of the year.
….and got to check out Pamela’s collection of Jeremy Guy contemporary abstract sculptures (below) – I love these tactile pieces (Nova and Mobius, respectively) and I hope to meet and interview the talented artist soon. http://jeremy-guy.com/
Pamela also showed be a special treasure she found on a recent visit to China – this stunning silver necklace (below) from the Miao hill tribe, made from one single length of silver. OMG, it was amazing to see it and hold it in person!
Happy Mother’s Day: Receive 10% off and receive free shipping https://www.pamelalauz.com/MothersDay2015
Give Mom a special gift and save 10% on pre-tax purchases of $150 and over. Enjoy this offer by entering promo code “MOM15” at checkout.
As an added bonus, we will ship your order for FREE within Canada! There is no minimum purchase required to receive free shipping. Offer available until Sunday May 9th, 2015
Receive a FREE Tungsten Band https://www.pamelalauz.com/free-tungsten-band
Receive a FREE Tungsten Band with your wedding ring or custom design project – a $250 value!
These cutting-edge rings are made of tungsten carbide, the most durable jewellery alloy. They are highly scratch resistant, virtually indestructible and will look new for many years to come – ideal for everyday wear. We’ve got many great modern designs to choose from.
This offer is available exclusively at our studio and online store with a minimum pre-tax purchase of $1,000 until May 31st, 2015.
Pamela Lauz designs can be found at select boutiques but I encourage you to visit Pamela’s website for pictures of her designs and information on her custom wedding bands, re-setting service and commissioned work. You can purchase directly online or in person at her studio. https://www.pamelalauz.com/