On Sunday morning, I left the sunny skies and Saguaro cacti of Arizona behind.  It was beautiful, the weather was grand, the Gem and Mineral Show was fantastic, as were the Margaritas and time spent with my lovely parents and my friend Yasha….

Sunny Saguaro

I returned to this…

Snowy Syracuse

Sigh.  Welcome home, right?!

Arizona truly was grand.  It was only my second visit to the Gem and Mineral Show, but I felt much less “green” at this one!  The first time I went, I’d owned a bead shop for all of 7 months and was entirely overwhelmed by the whole thing.  This time I was able to pick out things for a newly revised store- I found some great finished jewelry and accessories as well as some goodies to incorporate into my own designs.

One of the new lines I brought in was “The Bell Collection” by “Jewelry John”.  I had the fortune of meeting John and he was such a terrific and genuine soul.  He has a very small family business, and he does all parts of the manufacturing of his bells.  He carves the designs in wax and uses the “lost wax” method to render them in sterling silver.  He even does his own casting!  One of my favorites is the Birdhouse Bell.  My mom’s new phrase (courtesy of Portlandia) is “Put a Bird On It!”  You can imagine her delight in this particular bell!

Birdhouse Bell

These bells have the sweetest tones and I find myself tapping them constantly to hear them chime.

I also found some fun jewelry that is created in zinc.  It’s plated in sterling silver or gold and is entirely free of lead or nickle.  The jewelry is big and showy and just fun!  Check out a few examples:

Bracelet Bar

Big Bracelet

Layered Necklace

I also found some gorgeous scarves and set up for a trunk show of enameled components for March.  It really was a great trip, but I’m glad to be back in my own studio to put some of my new purchases to work!