Monday, January 23, 2006

L.A. Gift Show - Part I

You know how, every once in a while, the stars align and you have a really truly fabulous weekend where everything just goes perfectly? Yeah, me neither. But I did manage to come close this weekend at the L.A. Gift Show.

Saturday morning, I left the safe confines of Orange County to brave the 5 freeway up to downtown L.A. For once, my directions were right on and I got there on time and didn’t get lost (which, after having seen the local area around the convention center in L.A. was a VERY good thing). I most definitely would not have wanted to be lost there!

I met up with my friend Jenie from Dragonfly Jewelry after a small delay caused by sucky traffic conditions on the 101 and the fact that the convention center has a cavernous lobby in which it is very difficult to find anyone. Since I was a gift show virgin, I let Jenie lead the way to point out the best vendors. We had this great plan wherein we were going to walk the show FIRST, and then go back to shop anything that looked interesting. Yeah. Right. That plan lasted up to about the third booth we passed (and that’s only because the first two booths didn’t have anything we were interested in).

We had to stop at the third booth because Jenie had shopped them before so we knew their merchandise and prices were decent and I got myself some kick-ass pendants including a gorgeous piece of faceted alexandrite which is my birthstone and which I can almost never find so I end up having to settle for amethyst instead. Not that there’s anything wrong with amethyst – I happen to love it – it’s just nice to get the real thing for a change. And no, that piece won’t be up for sale on the website…it’s mine, all mine, hahahahahahhhhaaaa!

Okay, sorry, I just fuzzed out for a second there, but I’m back now. What did you say? Pictures? Well, of COURSE! It wouldn’t be any fun to get new stuff if I couldn’t do the whole “nyah, nyah, lookee what I got and you didn’t” thing in public, right?

So, in addition to the alexandrite pendant (which is the large, circular sterling silver setting with the pinkish-purple stone in it), I also got a pretty oval, mother-of-pearl pendant, a Tibetan turquoise pendant and pendants of blue moonstone and pink moonstone.

Then we shopped and wandered some more and I managed to maintain control until I got about halfway through the hall and came to the Earthstone booth. Oh…My….God! I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Beautiful stone pendants at terrific prices and all the other gems and stones you could ever want. I’m still kicking myself for putting back that strand of emerald rondelles. Those REALLY needed to come home with me. I mean, a girl’s GOT to have emeralds, right? But here’s a picture of what I did get:

The two rectangular pendants are kyanite, the teardrop pendant is aquamarine and the larger blue piece is chalcedony. I also got a really fab strand of polished green apatite nuggets which isn’t pictured because I’ve already used it in a design which WILL be up on the website for sale later on (today or tomorrow, hopefully). Jenie bought some of the same apatite as well a strand of blue-gray Celestine which I had never seen before and am totally jealous of.

The silver prices at this show were much better than what I can get at the shows in OC so I stocked up on some more unusual pieces. I haven’t scanned those yet, but maybe later this week. One vendor had some AMAZING Bali beads that were copper and silver together which I hadn’t seen before and WHY OH WHY did I not buy some when I had the chance? Drat! Of course, it figures the company doesn’t have a website, either. People, listen to me, join us all in the 21st century, please, and GET A FRIGGIN’ WEBSITE FOR YOUR BUSINESS! Did I mention it’s a peeve of mine when people don’t have websites? Well, it is.

But, back to the treas…er…loot…er…oh, hell, back to the descriptions of all the completely and totally fabulous stuff I got! I always have to stop at booths selling larimar because it’s just so pretty. I can never afford it, though. Larimar only comes from one teeny li’l spot on one teeny li’l volcano on one teeny li’l island in the Caribbean which means the vendors can charge damn near whatever they want for it. But this booth was different. This booth had reasonable (for larimar) prices. In fact, they were so reasonable that I actually got up the nerve to ask how much their unset cabochons were. I nearly fell over when they turned out to be not just affordable, but actually CHEAP! I had to get some, of course! Here’s a picture:

I will use these in some of the bead embroidery projects I have planned. I think they’ll make gorgeous focal stones for cuff bracelets. Just you wait!

I found a booth with great prices on plain, black leather cord necklaces already finished and just waiting for the addition of a great pendant to make a simple, modern and stunning design. I picked up two sets in different widths so if any of y’all like leather necklaces, gimmee a shout and I’ll be happy to put something together for you.

In addition to the bead area, I wandered over to the “World Style” area of the show and found a vendor selling all kinds of unusual things such as “singing magnets” (which we discovered don’t so much sing as make a really annoying “zyyppp” noise). The most interesting things I found there were some thermo-sensitive liquid crystal beads (remember the “mood” rings of the 70’s?) capped with sterling silver. I bought a few to play with because I just thought it would be fun to revive the trend AND the beads are really pretty in and of themselves…the colors are much more bright and spectacular than what I remember from when I was a kid. I also bought a bag of antique shell “buttons” that had silver accents and came from old-fashioned ladies high top shoes. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them, but they were cool looking so I figured what the heck?

And now I'll skip to Part II of this story in the next post as will undoubtedly have issues with how many pictures can be included in a single entry...sigh.


Jenie said...

lol; silly goose - you do know i'll be sending you a coupla pieces of celestine, don't you? what are friends for? :) i was going to put them in with your check as a surprise, but i suck at keeping surprises to myself, so you may as well know now. :)

Silver Parrot said...

ROFL! Well, you don't need to do that, but it sure is sweet! Thank you! And I promise to pretend to be appropriately surprised when I open the package.

Jenie said...