Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Favorite ! ' TURQUOISE '

Turquoise is a very interesting stone because of its many types and colors. It is easy to work with, but has its limitations because it is not considered a hard stone.

There are four types of turquoise you will see in todays jewelry market, not incuding colored howlite and African turquoise jasper. A final determination has not yet been made on the quality of turquoise coming from China, but some of it is very beautiful.


Natural - This comes directly from the mine. It is cut shaped and polished and set into jewelry. It has no man made treatment or additives other than a polishing compound that adds to its luster. Most stones in this state are very close to gem quality.

Stabilized – This is a natural turquoise usually in nugget form, but does not hold a luster. It is submerged into a stabilizing compound and dried, cut and prepared for jewelry. The turquoise has not been altered. The pores of the stone have been filled with a clear resin that makes the stone usable. This process allows for diversity of shapes and possibilities in jewelry making. Color Stabilized stones ARE altered and the color has been added by this process. This is not necessarily bad, but it has less value than a piece that is naturally colored.

Treated - This form of color enhancement has been used for thousands of years. It is done as discussed earlier by submerging into animal fat or vegetable oil and later air dried. This will not last very long.

Fake and Synthetic – Ceramics, bone, celluloid and plastic are used to imitate turquoise. Synthetic turquoise has a very natural matrix that is produced by placing stones in the synthetic “batter” .

A very common turquoise simulant is howlite. When dyed blue, with its marking, howlite is a dead ringer for some varities of turquoise.

Turquoise consists of the chemical elements copper, aluminum, phosphorus, hydrogen and oxygen in the form of water. Most turquoise is found in ‘alteration zones’ where the native original rocks have been altered thru the intrusion of other rocks from some volcanic or other thermal influence. The color of turquoise can vary from deep blue to deep green with every variation in between. Generally the more copper in the molecule, the bluer the turquoise. Iron in the stone makes it greener. More moisture will also cause turquoise to turn greener in color. Recently a variety of yellow turquoise has been coming out of China. There is now also a turquoise jasper from Africa that is flooding the market. The cream of all turquoise is still the "Sleeping Beauty" sky blue turquoise from Arizona.

Ivoryite and Magnasite, sometimes referred to as "white buffalo turquoise" is also found in the US Southwest.

All of the above shown jewelry sets have been designed and constructed by Gayle.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Using Known Stones in New Designs

Many times using good well known stones in new designs displays their colors to the fullest extent.
What we see above on the left is a new design by Gayle that encompass a good old standby - Afganistan Lapis Lazuli - with a good display of Pyrite, mixed with a newer stone - Denim Coral - and Silver Highlights. This piece could go as well with jeans in an informal setting or dress up an evening dress in a cocktail setting.
The second piece is looking forward towards the Holiday Season, and would dress up that cocktail dress for the Boss' Christmas or New Years Party. Again a good old standby stone - Hematite - mixed with Ruby Red Crystals and Silver Highlights.
Both of these sets contain a necklace, bracelet and dangle earrings.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

10 Mistakes When Selling

Those who have been in business for a while have learned valuable lessons, more from the customer who got away, than from the customer who a sale was made to. Every person trying to sell an item, no matter what the item is, product, or skill level, makes various mistakes when presenting their product to the public. The following is a list of 10 items, provided by a friend who has many years experience in selling, that should be avoided during the these economic slow times and especially the Holiday Season.

1. Lack of Professional Appearance. This is one of the most important things to remember, especially now with the slow economic times, especially if you are selling an item where people are using discretionary funds. Customers base purchase decisions on first impressions. The seller needs to look and act properly for what is being sold. Dress appropriately and look neat. If you have a shirt or jacket with your company logo, wear it. Don't look like the sloppy shoppers, stand out so they know you are a verified seller.

2. Being Unprepared. You need to know the details about what you are selling and be able to answer all pertinent questions specific to that product.

3. Not Telling the Truth. Don't make up stories to sound like you know more than you do. If you don't know the answer to a question, tell the customer "I don't know, but I will try and get you an answer."

4. Prejudging People. Don't miss a sale because you prejudge someone based on their race, gender, ethnicity, or appearance and let that stand in the way of making a sale. Remember the worst looking tramp, can be a Billionaire these days.

5. Not Differentiating Yourself. Every salesperson in every store claims to have the best quality items or do the best quality work. You need to advise your customer the differences not the similarities.

6. Not Listening. Normally every human being is given two ears and one mouth. So in keeping with this given perspective, one should be doing twice as much listening as speaking. Don't sing the praises of a product without hearing what the customer actually wants.

7. Not Identifying with the Customer. Once the customer has told you want they want, now get them that item right away and repeat what they’ve told you so that they know you are listening to their needs and wants. Until they decide what they asked for is not for them, don't push something else on them, but if they are undecided, then show them several varying ideas or suggestions.

8. Getting to Know Your Customer Without Going Off Topic. It is nice to get comfortable with you customer but don’t overdo it. Once a customer has decided on an item, there is no need for a further sales pitch. While you do want to build a relationship that makes your customer comfortable and stick around, the ultimate goal is to make the sale. However, taking the time to educate your customers about the items or items is a good way to build rapport, which builds their trust that you know what you are talking about and that the item they want is sound.

9. Overselling. There is a very fine line between being a good salesperson and being that pushy or obnoxious one. True selling is when you ask questions to get customers to talk about their needs.

10. Not Closing the Sale. At the point where you have provided your customer with the information or item he or she wants or has asked about, ask if the customer is ready to make a purchase. In most cases with items if you just say "would you like me to wrap this up for you or would you just like them in a box," is all that needs to be said to complete the sale.

Hopefully these 10 items will lead to a sale for you the next time you face your customers.9. Not Closing the Sale. Once you have provided your customer with the information he or she needs, ask if the customer is ready to make a purchase. In many cases, all you have to do is ask a direct question in order to close a sale; For example, would you like me to wrap these earrings or would you just like them in a box.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More New Items for Shows


Shown above are two more unfinished pendant and earring stone sets that are being used to complete new necklaces with pendant and dangle earrings. The first is Chliean Phosphosiderite and the second is Red Rainbow Jade. These along with various colors of Florite Points, a sample as seen below, will be avaiable at upcoming shows.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Marketing Hand-Made Gemstone Jewelry

If one were to ask what are the most important points that determine whether a customer buys a piece of handmade jewelry, most people would answer "what it looks like and the price." If a good well made piece of handmade jewelry is presented at a competitive price, you should make the sale.

Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case. There is another important feature to the eventual sale of your handmade jewelry. Can you guess what may be this missing element that will eventually make the sale. Think a bit, and then it will come to you - what is the story behind your handmade jewelry.

If each piece of your handmade jewelry does not have a story to go with it, you are missing out on sales. Why is this? People buy on the basis of emotion and on how a particular piece of jewelry makes them feel at that particular moment in time. They do not buy the jewelry based on features, what it is made of, how it is designed or on the basis of price.

A handmade piece of jewelry can in a few words tell the prospective customer something emotionally stirring or thought provoking about the jewelry piece they are looking at. Watch closely as a customer comes forward and picks up one of the necklaces from your display that is made of some unique gemstone probably never heard of before. As the customer inspects the necklace, casually approach and deliver your handmade jewelry story which might go like this: "This necklace is designed with unique gemstones that were mined in Brazil. I came across these stones called "xxxxx" during a visit to a gem and mineral show, and they just jumped out at me to put them into a special piece of jewelry. I just knew that they would make an exquisite necklace. So I combined these unique gemstones with other stones, crystals and a copper chain and claspe. If you notice no two stones are exactly the same which makes the finished necklace truly one-of-a-kind. The necklace feels really good when you put it around your neck. Would you like to try it on?"

Of course you want to be sincere. Never make up a story about your jewelry. Customers can detect a fraud a mile away. What have you accomplished by telling your handmade jewelry story? You have helped the customer establish an emotional connection to the necklace. When the customer sees the price tag on it, she immediately understands why it is priced that way.

If you don't have a specific special story about the pice of jewelry, you can also talk about:

1. The materials your jewelry is made of. If your jewelry is designed using gemstones, each stone has a history and mysterious properties. This is great information to relay to your customer.

2. The history behind your jewelry design. Is this piece based on a design that you saw someplace, is it inspired by vintage jewelry designs, or is it solely a piece from your imagination?

3. Your inspiration for the design. Describe how you got your idea by looking at the main stones, combining them with other stones or materials, and the end result was this stunning piece of jewelry.

No matter what though, keep your jewelry story short and meaningful to the customer. You don't want to bore the person with lots of lingo and technical language. You're trying to appeal to emotions which means using simple, easy to understand connective language. Once you have connected with the customers emotional side, the sale should be in the bag as long as you have not priced yourself out of the customers safe zone.

Friday, September 5, 2008

How Jewelry Is Photographed Makes A Decided Difference.

When setting up the original Jewelry by CnC Web-site, many other jewelry web-sites were looked at, especially the presentations that each were making of the various jewelry pieces presented for sale. It rapidly became very confusing, so the idea of taking a special photographic class on "Photographing Jewelry" seemed the right thing to do. A a quick sign-up with a local photographer presenting a class was done. Many thanks go to Barbara McNeely of bwh Web Designs for putting up with a photo novice and providing the skills needed to do good jewelry photography. But being taught these skills, a good jewelry photographer it does not make. Practice, practice and more practice becomes the name of the game. Reading books and journals, looking up specifics, finding good internet sites explaining special procedures, joining forums and groups dedicated to jewelry photography, rapidly becomes a necessity. Trying new ideas and suggestions, accepting critism and practice, practice and more practice, finally results in something to be proud of -- a picture that shows off what has been made. Initially it was thought that the picture shown to the right above was ideal. It shows the complete jewelry set, but it lacks the attention step and definite quality that is needed.
The next step is to try and put some interest into the photograph. Various methods can be used to accomplish this. Placing the jewelry on a bust, partial head, figure or other humanistic figures look nice, but they don't possess that stunning interest that is wanted. Using colored, pattern or other types of backdrops look better than plain white, black or whatever the color or pattern may be, but still lack pizzaz. Once you get past all of these options, then a real serious dilema pops up. What kind of camera ? Of course with today's technology, a Digital Camera is definitely the answer. It would be way too costly and time consuming to take the many various pictures of the same item over and over if you had to develope the film and then print the pictures. So Digital Cameras, the computer and picture processing programs are a necessity. I am not going to go into what kind or brand of Digital Camera, what kind of computer or which photo processing program to use. There are as many different answers to those three problems as there are jewelry makers and photographers on the internet. I will leave that discussion to more knowledgeable persons.
So, back to what to put in the jewelry picture. This is totally up to the imagination of the person making the jewelry or taking the photographs. An example of such is shown at the start of this posting and a second idea is in the above left picture. With the help of our daughter-in-law, who also designs and makes jewelry as Timeless Designs, and has a much better Digital Camera, a photo set-up system, and a good eye for backgroud items to go with the jewelry, you will be seeing much more interesting views of our jewelry on the Jewelry by CnC web-site, as she has the time to take the pictures and we can get them uploaded. So please bear with us, as I was informed today, she has some 500 photographs for us to go through and select the views we actually want to post.
The same necklace and earring set is shown in each photograph above. It is made of Baltic Cognac Amber, Ivory Freshwater Pearls and Silver Links.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Red 2008 Beijing Olympic Andesine Story

NOTE: This is a reprint of the report, without photographs, of the 2008 Beijing Red Andesine sold by DSN. The full story on the Red Andesine can be found in Colored Stone Magazine or on
One more report on this gemstone from the ISG based on many consumer's requests......

We are posting this up due to multiple consumer requests. So before anyone writes me to tell me how tired you are of reading about andesine, just know that this is due to a lot of folks asking us to specifically deal with the Direct Shopping Network's™ representations of their 2008 Beijing Olympics Andesine. At issue now is a reported episode last night where the owner of Direct Shopping Network came on camera with an unnamed PhD who declared that the DSN andesine was totally different from the Mexican yellow feldspar that has been demonstrated as the source for the bulk diffused material sold by Jewelry Television and others. And DSN is reported to continue their claim that their andesine is all natural and untreated in any way.

Well, we just happen to have four (4) of the Direct Shopping Channel’s 2008 Beijing Olympic Andesine here in the ISG office. So I thought I would post up some quick images simply to demonstrate the facts. We have obtained these stones either from buying them direct from DSN, or having our students and supporters send them in. And we have DSN 2008 Beijing Olympic Andesines with certificate numbers 1450, 1482, 2086, and 2089.

Since by now everyone who reads our newsletter has a pretty good understanding of the andesine properties, I will simply run through these four stones and demonstrate how they are, in fact, exactly as all of the other bulk diffusion treated andesines that we have inspected to date.

2008 Beijing Olympic Andesine #1450 -- This is an 8x6mm red andesine that shows the laser inscribed 2008 Beijing Olympic logo as licensed to Direct Shopping Channel by the US Olympic Committee. The weight is listed as "1.20 - 1.40 ct" which is actually a deceptive method of weighing a gemstone according to the US Federal Trade Commission. But assuming that DSN either does not own a very good carat scale, or they just don't want to take the time to really give proper carat weights, we move directly to the images of this particular gemstone.

OK, pop quiz time. What are these? Lamella ribbons that look just like every other formation of this type in every other bulk diffusion treated andesine that we have seen to date. These have been seen exactly in this form and format from bulk diffused andesine from just about every seller's andesine that we have tested. And as we move through these four we will see this again. No surprise. And I hate to be redundant, but again, we have seen this same picture on andesine after andesine as the diffused color concentrates along the boundaries of these lamella ribbons. We could line up 50 images like this from other andesine from other sellers of the bulk diffused material. And they all show this same feature time and time and time again. But these are all the official Beijing 2008 Olympic Andesine sold by Direct Shopping Channel. By now I believe you all can decide for yourself whether are not these images look like the myriad of others we have posted up on this subject.

2008 Beijing Olympic Andesine #1482

2008 Beijing Olympic Andesine #2086

2008 Beijing Olympic Andesine #2089

OK, just one comment on #2089. The color diffusion was so thin that when they lasered the Olympic logo into the stone it cut completely through the diffusion color layer. And the logo is actually clear on the top and bottom of the stone due to the very thin diffused color layer being totally penetrated by the laser.

And finally, that famous Raman scan of the Mexican yellow feldspar and the Direct Shopping Channel's Beijing 2008 Olympic Andesine. Bottom line is that the 2008 Beijing Olympic Andesines that we have from the Direct Shopping Network are exactly the same as all of the other andesine sold by the sellers of this bulk diffusion treated gemstone, and DSN is selling it without proper disclosure as required by the US Federal Trade Commission.

If Direct Shopping Network’s scientist or staff would like to submit additional stones to us for testing we welcome them to send them in. And if Direct Shopping Network’s scientist or staff would like to visit the ISG office and get a first hand look at our collection and evidence on this, we welcome that also.

But in spite of their claims otherwise, the andesine being sold by Direct Shopping Network exactly matches all of the others we have tested that were, in fact, bulk diffused to enhance the color. And if DSN wishes to continue to claim that their material is natural and untreated, we have just two questions: Where is the rough andesine that you are selling? Where is the mine?

With this we are complete with our report on andesine. However, we have found that the bulk diffusion of copper into gemstones is not limited to andesine. Next we move to an investigation of the bulk diffusion of copper into Mozambique “ Paraiba ” Tourmaline. Should be interesting.

Robert James FGA, GGPresident, International School of Gemology

©2008 International School of Gemology .

We do urge and support sharing of this information in its entirety, with copyright notices intact, to others who are interested in the study of gemology. Jeweler’s Associations are welcome to distribute to your members.

Plume Agate Pendant Necklace Set

One of the newest pieces to be finished by Gayle is a necklace containing a Plume Agate Pendant.
This unusual pendant hangs from a unique necklace made from a combination of Freshwater Ivory Coin Pearls, White and Topaz Swirl Glass Round Beads, Swarovski Light Smoky Topaz Bicone Crystals, Swarovski Light Colo Bicone Crystals all combined with Silver Fittings.
A set of matching earrings completes this piece.