I have been looking forward to the MJSA expo at the Javits Center here in NYC for quite some time. I spend a lot of my down time before bed or in between bench breaks scouring the internet for another gemstone to add to my collection. Although I still love my trusty internet suppliers that I have used for years. There is nothing like going to hand pick stones. You can be selective, make sure what you are getting looks exactly as you hoped and the biggest advantage is selecting the best quality stones available. It's nice to see sizing, colors, and quality in the flesh. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a parcel of stones arrive from an online supplier and 2 or 3 have tiny marks. It's a waste as I have to return product or I am stuck with stones that will not find a home in my work.
A big advantage of living in NY is the accessibility of NYC. It is a very short train ride away from Long Island. There was a nor'easter heading our way the day I was planning to go the MJSA expo. Usually Long Island gets hit worse with snow than the city. The LIRR which is our train system is already bad with delays and cancellations, add snow to the mix and you have a nightmare commute. I figured if I get stuck in the city I'll take a subway to Brooklyn and stay with my best friends for the night. Of course as soon as I arrived in Penn station there was no snow to be found! I was delighted, I grabbed a cab wasting no time getting to the show as this was the shortest day of the show running from 9a.m. to 2p.m. Upon arriving I checked in minus one as my good friend Justine wasn't able to attend due to a snow day for her kids. Grabbed my Rio Grande tote they provided with the buyers for all my goodies, and headed up the escalator to my real life dream. GEMSTONES, tools, and did I say gemstones :)
MJSA is not a huge show, it is rather small in my opinion it has only one floor of stone suppliers and almost all of them are based in NYC. This size show is great for a few reasons. You can browse all of the available suppliers first before buying, being sure not to miss any because there isn't an overwhelming amount to begin with. The selection of suppliers are quality suppliers that usually frequent the show every year. If you are a local New Yorker or in the tri state area you can make contact with these stone suppliers and then by appointment visit these dealers on any given day of the week.
I was on a hunt for faceted stones and cabochons. I ended up not purchasing any traditional faceted, only rose cut and cabochons. I didn't have enough time to get into the faceted selection, by the time I worked through buying my cabochons and visiting the tool suppliers the show was almost over!
I have only gotten the pleasure of purchasing one opal in the past and it was at this expo in 2014. Since then haven't purchased any for a number of reasons. One mostly being that I want to select them in person to ensure they look stunning in person! I bought two sizes of opals both in oval shapes, 10x8mm and 8x6mm a great size for a keepsake ring.
Probably the most exciting gemstone purchase were these beautiful rose cut round diamonds. They are a beautiful olive green/yellow tone, featuring some extra brilliant facets. I am overwhelmed by these as I have looked forward to bringing in some diamonds into my work for years! I think rose cuts are such a nice way to wear a diamond in a non traditional way. Imagine these with some 14K gold!!
I have always really loved tourmalines, in any color for that matter. I worked with tourmalines in the beginning of my metalsmithing journey but I never purchased again as my skill level at that time probably didn't suit the price tag of these beautiful gemstones. Tourmaline is also my alternative birthstone, as an October baby its nice to have a tougher stone that withstand a bit more than opal. Plus the color variety leaves room for so many choices for birthstone jewelry. I choose these four as I wanted two pinks and two greens!
The last set of rose cuts I picked up from the show were Bloodstone. I have missed working with bloodstone so much. I had beautiful flat ovals a few years ago that were excellent sellers and they were such an interesting shade of green with specks of red running throughout the stones. I had a tough time getting quality bloodstones since then. But these my friends knocked the other stones I had out of the park. I ended up buying the whole lot of what the supplier had!!! Maybe not the springiest of colors but they are a great grounding stone for any time of the year. I find jewelry connoisseurs care more about stones, metaphysical properties, and quality than trends.
Another stone I have carried for some time in 10x8mm ovals is aquamarine! I love quality aquamarines that have brilliant clarity with a hints of inclusions staying true to the nature of the stone. In 2014 I purchased beautiful larger ovals from the MJSA that were a hit. I plan on incorporating all of these into one or two collections for one of a kind pieces! The rounds have a bit more of a green tint while the ovals a bit more of a blue!
And last but certainly not least Chariote a beautifully complex purple toned gemstone with swirls of purple tones, and blacks. These are stunning quality beautiful cut and polished. They had various qualities available ranging in different price ranges. I went for the best polished as I want set these with a thicker band and a stone on the back of the band. Stay tuned for those designs!
I did pick up two stands of beads just for the hell of it. I always loved beads and they are nice to have in additional to cabochons and faceted stones. I may release a few extra pieces that will feature some beads and traditional metalsmithing techniques. I really enjoyed these moonstones, they have an aura coating giving them this mystical shimmer. I also got a strand of Labradorite Rondells I love using these for the end of chain to give a piece a more finished look!
When I left the show it was exactly 2p.m. they were starting to pack up and end the show. The JA show was downstairs which is all fine jewelry, I didn't stop in this year as my bags were full with tools and stones and I wanted to catch the train home before rush hour. I decided to walk to Penn Station on my way back, as I was walking I ran into this little noodle restaurant Zoob Zib and I love ramen and Thai food. Had good reviews and I was hungry from shopping all day. Super cute small restaurant with a full service bar, you know your girl got a glass of wine to end a fun day! (image from my instagram stories)
For my entree I got a roast pork noodle soup, not only did I catch the lunch special for $12.00 but the portions were huge!
Overall I absolutely love the city you never know what is waiting for you around the corner. I had a fantastic day shopping for stones, I went on a loose "no buy" with stones for over a year. I only bought very seldomly or replenished made to order stones. This was such a treat and I plan on returning to the city more often to select my stones, This wraps up my day at the trade show! It was a successful trip, I may be going into the city next week to go to the vintage warehouse. I will absolutely blog that experience as well! Thanks for tuning in, if you got this far leave me a comment below on what your favorite find was!