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!
This past weekend, I enjoyed an afternoon surrounded by sparkle and spirit at the Gem Expo and Meta Expo, hosted at the Hyatt Hotel on King West in downtown Toronto. Held three times a year, Gem Expo presents purveyors of raw and processed precious & semi-precious stones, pearls and other geological treasures, along with a selection of jewellery designers offering rings, necklaces, earrings for all tastes and wallets. I made am immediate jewellery “love connection” with Abby from Coyote Tales, a talented craftswoman who travelled down to the city from Harcourt, way up north! Abby makes unique pieces in copper and silver and I picked out one of her rings which she is now customizing for me in my size (bottom pic). Wow! www.coyotetales.ca Quebec-based designer Luce Gilbert displayed so many gorgeous pieces, especially the delicate blue Amazonite. Needless to say, I caved and purchased a lovely (and affordable) pair of earrings. www.lucegilbert.comThere were lots of visitors gathered around the tables loaded with glitz and bling….… and have you ever seen what raw emeralds and rubies look like? Here are some strands – so beautiful, along with other precious stones displayed ready for jewellers to work into their own designs of rings, earrings, necklaces. As the exhibition hall started to fill up….…I decided to head across the lobby to the Meta Expo, the partner show, and check out some of the metaphysical services and information there.I immediately felt a shift in energy (and room temperature) and was swept into a world of gentle calm, helped along by soothing fragrances of incense and sweetgrass from Hamsa Heaven. www.hamsaheaven.comI spoke briefly with Jes Savage who works in crystal therapy, Reiki, Orgone devices and past life regression. So much to learn and experience – Jes has a fabulous store on Etsy: SavageSpiritTools and is on Instagram @savage.spiti.tools so I encourage you to go check out yourselves. There were several renowned psychics on hand to offer readings and advice……and I found show Founder/manager Salim Moorani taking photos of his exhibitors (below) as they worked on visitors seeking enlightenment and healing.I spent some time chatting with the delightful Alexandra of Shea Haus Apothecary whose unique candle designs got me thinking of my hospitality clients and the potential for using them for wedding decor and bridal favours. Very affordable and so unique. Check out her candle designs and holistic skincare at www.sheahaus.ca And yes, I bought one of her candles (above), filled with lavender buds and crystals, and lit it as soon as I got home!
I also treated myself to a few fabulous finds (below) including Amazonite earrings from Luce Gilbert, an Aventurine stretchy bracelet from www.BeadIt.com, a garnet stretchy bracelet from one of the Meta exhibitors and a lovely carnelian ring from www.najibjewellers.com. And I’m looking fwd to Abby’s copper ring I’ll receive in 2 weeks’ time.
A big Thank You to Salim for granting me access to both shows and introducing me to his wonderful and talented exhibitors. If you’d like to visit the next Gem/Meta Expo, visit www.thegemexpo.com for news of upcoming dates in 2019
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!
On Sunday Nov. 27th, Montreal-based award-winning Canadian jewellery designer GLORIA BASS launched her 2-day Christmas trunk show at 24 Bellair St in Yorkville, Toronto, and oh my, what wonderful bright sparkly treasures she showcased! Like the stunning Labradorite necklace above, each piece is unique and hand-crafted by Gloria and her goldsmiths so if you’re looking for a little luxury for this year’s festive season (or any season!), please drop in today, Monday Nov. 28th, between 10am and 5pm to experience the ultimate in bling! Here’s just a little taste of what you’ll see……Gloria only uses the finest quality gemstones sourced from around the world and works in 18kt gold; she also works with exquisite pearls from the south seas, Tahiti and freshwater or cultured pearls from Japan. You can see more of her innovative designs on her website: www.gloriabassdesign.com She also works on commission, as well as custom bridal pieces.As you can probably tell, I’m a huge fan of pearls and Gloria has created a special “ombre”style design (below) with perfectly matched Tahitian and South Seas pearls….what do you think of these beauties?There are many different pieces featuring South Seas, cultured or fresh water pearls set with precious stones in 18kt gold from which to choose…
You simply MUST come in to see these treasures in person. You will not find Gloria Bass Design jewellery in any department stores so today is your last chance to view work from one of Canada’s leading designers. Again, 24 Bellair St, Yorkville (close to Bay & Bloor) from 10am until 5pm. Cash, credit card or debit.
Several months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Montreal-based, award winning Canadian jewellery designer GLORIA BASS (pictured below R with her assistant Marie-Josee) who was hosting a special 2-day spring trunk show here in Toronto.Her sumptuous big statement necklaces, delicate stacking rings, ballsy bracelets and elegant pieces featuring stunning Tahitian pearls in a rainbow of natural colours captivated my imagination…..I wanted to play dress up: perhaps as a Maharani or a Tsarina, a princess or the queen of the south seas, perhaps? Oh, the feel of the cool gemstones and 18kt gold against my skin transported me to exotic lands as my imagination ran riot!
A glass of chilled champagne and shared laughter soon brought me back down to earth as Gloria told me about her design esthetic, her favourite materials and finest precious gemstones, and how she wanted to personally bring her glorious (no pun intended) jewels back to Toronto’s discerning fashion mavens. I’m thrilled to announce that we will have another opportunity to experience Gloria’s superb handcrafted designs this November 27 & 28 when she again hosts a special Christmas trunk show in a “pop-up” retail location in the heart of Yorkville.I asked Gloria if she would kindly share a little of her design philosophy and life story with my readers prior to the big Toronto event so scroll on down to meet Gloria Bass…What first inspired you to take up jewellery design – was your family involved in jewellery or fashion? No, my family was not in either the fashion or jewellery business but I always enjoyed working with my hands. When I was a teenager, I made my own clothes and did all the handicrafts – knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, etc. Early in my marriage, my husband and I spent two years in Southern California where I took a course in making jewellery. I went on to take private lessons for a short time and fell in love with it.What was the very first piece you created and sold? I can’t remember the first piece I created but I do remember the first sale at a gallery! Upon returning home to Canada, I set up a workshop in my house. When I had produced enough, I went to see someone at the Canadian Guild of Arts in Montreal and an exhibition was mounted for me. I remember coming in to the gallery the day before the show opened and was told that a gentleman had just purchased one of my bracelets. That was enough to send me flying……and then I found out that it was Peter Bronfman!
What are your favourite materials to work with – gold, platinum? And favourite gemstones? 18 karat yellow gold is my favourite material by a long shot! I love the rich colour and the metal responds the best to hand fabrication.My personal favourite gemstone is red! Rubies and red spinels. But I love all coloured stones – even though some are difficult to work with. Diamonds always add the final touch and lately, I work with a lot of different colour fancy diamonds.You use a lot of Tahitian pearls in your designs – do you think pearls have been given a bad rap (grannies love their pearls) and do you think young women should embrace them like diamonds and other precious stones? I most certainly do!!!! There are so many types and colours of pearls today. Pearls just light up a face and look good on everyone. I do so many different pieces with them – some very modern and cool!Do you have any favourite designers (current or historical) whose work you admire? I think the Cartier and Tiffany pieces from the Art Deco period are sensational. That type of craftsmanship is very rare today. I identify with Suzanne Belperron’s esthetic taste. I also like the work of the German house ‘Hemmerle’ as well as de Grisogono for what they do with colour.
You’re coming into Toronto at the end of November for a special 2-day “trunk show” in Yorkville – what new pieces are you creating especially for this show?I’m making an amazing pair of earrings using over 23 carats of sapphires ranging in colour from almost white to yellow to orange. Also, I have a fabulous ring with a 22 carat opal and a pavé of multi-colour stones, a ring with a labradorite scarab, and a lot of pieces with my signature “coil” work. And always….new additions to my endless stacking rings (pictured below)!!What trends (or colours) do you see for jewellery and accessories going into 2017? I don’t follow trends too closely although I think big pieces that make a statement are always on my radar. I will continue to make pieces that are wearable on a daily basis but just not mainstream. Any advice for young designers looking to go into the jewellery or gold-smithing business? It’s a tough world out there and there is more competition than ever now. If one has the passion and drive, one can succeed.
Thank you, Gloria. I encourage you to visit her website to see the beautiful, innovative designs that have become her signature www.gloriabassdesign.com In the interim, enjoy some of her outstanding work here….. Even men can wear pearls…as cufflinks (below)or opals, too!
GLORIA BASS DESIGN
Toronto Trunk Show
Sunday November 27th & Monday November 28th
10am to 5pm
24 Bellair St, Yorkville