Gem Fairs and Ikea, or the Hong Kong Gem Fair and its part in my downfall…

They are not very similar on the face of it, but in many ways, gem fairs are very much like Ikea. Very big, full of products of very varying quality and many, many opportunities to get side-tracked. Someone once told me that when you go through Ikea you should always say to yourself ‘it’s nice, but do I want it in my house?’ Except in my case Imageit’s more a case of ‘it’s nice but do I want it in my shop?’ Because if you’re not careful you end up with the gemstone equivalent of the giant potato masher made of flimsy metal so it bends on the first attempt. Or the dirt cheap draining rack that collapses/tips over when a quarter full etc.. So whilst it’s lovely to browse and look out new suppliers and products,  it’s wise to take a list and make some attempt to stick to it. Anyway, the road to hell and all that – I ignored my own advice and bought a whole load of new things I’d never intended to buy. First of all, pearls. I went with the intention of just stocking up on some kesImagehi purple pearls. The pearl section is absolutely mad; row upon row of suppliers selling what appears to be identical trays of pearls. How to begin?!! Well, I spent hours in there, looking through the stock in very great detail and I did get the purple keshi, but I got an awful lot more as well.  First of all I bought these gorgeous pink peanut pearls (above left). I just fell utterly in love with them – such a pleasing, round organic shape and fantastic lustre. I’ve got them in white as well (right) and you can find the pink ones here and the white ones here. They look great around a neck – the pearls just kind of naturally jostle themselves into position.

I also could not resist these very pretty butterfly Biwa-type pearls. Not actual proper Biwa pearls but in that style with the superb high lustre you would expect. I have these top drilled and side drilled. These are really fun and I can see the top drilled ones working really well as earrings and the side-drilled ones in a necklace, brilliant for children as well. Find them here.

As for the purple keshi – these were actually quite hard to find. Every colour but purple, and I had some suppliers telling me they had none because they were so popular and others telling me they had none because they were so unpopular, which was very helpful and informative but I suppose it is possible for both scenarios to be true. Finally I did find some really nice ones. Lovely shades of pinky-purple with touches of gold and great lustre. They are not like keshi cornflake pearls; they’re much thicker and more rounded, very beautiful indeed. You can find them here.  And that’s not the end of it! I also have more to list so I’ll be back with an update in the next couple of days…

Freeform Polki

Here’s something for those of you creating something a little less regular! The labradorite and bronze sapphire are what is known as ‘polki’ cuts, which is to say, they are rose cut on one side with a table on the other, so they can be set either way up, and tend to be most often set in what I think is called a window setting. That is, open on both sides, and certainly the stones look equally good on either side. The bronze sapphire is a new stone for me, but I love it. The pictures don’t really do it justice, but it is really lively, with a metallic shimmer. The labradorite is just fabulous; the blue flash spectacular and any of these would make a fantastic focal piece.

Also, we have eternally popular watermelon slices; wonderful, bright hues and great polish. I love the hexagonal green one; it’s rather unusual and the way the colours spread and blend into each other reminds me of painting on silk.

All of these available as usual from my website –