Category Archives: Exhibitor Profile

Rare & Unique Jewels from Takat

Rare & Unique Jewels from Takat

It all begins with a passion for rare and extraordinarily beautiful gems and diamonds, a family trade and unbridled commitment of the Takat Family since 1955. We search all corners of the world for treasures of color wonder: gems that tell stories through the intensity and brilliance of their color; gems that become part of people’s lives so they can further tell stories of love and commitment. To do them justice, we design dreams around them, imbuing them with our family knowledge and reputation. We work closely with the most reputable and responsible partners to ensure the highest standards of quality and ethical processing.

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In the hands of our trusted craftsmen, each gem is carefully considered; their expert eyes, skilled hands with decades of training further enhancing nature’s stunning color and beauty through perfect proportioned cuts and designs.

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The process of creating one-of-a kind jewels is a balancing act of finesse, artistry and understanding. A jewel that bears our company name is a testament to our inspiration, love and desire that each piece finds the woman it’s meant to, and that its unique nature beckons something special in her soul, and for generations after her.

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TAKAT’s jewelry has been showcased on celebrities across the United States, including Joan Rivers on The Tonight Show, Melissa Claire Egan from the The Young and the Restless, and Mayim Bialik from The Big Bang Theory.

TAKAT’s company founder, Haji Nisar Ahmed Takat, comes from an ancient Indian family of precious stone craftsmen. They originate from the historical city of Jaipur, renowned for its roses, which speaks to the poetry, passion and compassion that inspires this family. He was a special man. In his blood ran a passion for exquisite color. He had heart focused on continuing the family trade and building a future for his family, and an eye for gems that would yield the most impressive results. He was also committed to doing right by his employees and clients. In 1955 he opened his first precious stone cutting and polishing business in Jaipur, and in 1976, with sons Siraj Ahmed Takat and Rafeeq Ahmed Takat joining the business, he began trading operations. Today, that original location remains as the TAKAT world flagship.

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In 1994, Siraj and Rafeeq decided to explore fine gem trading on a global level, taking their father’s company to trade events around the world, attending the major fairs from Hong Kong and Beijing to New York, Las Vegas, Paris, Basel, Milan and Dubai. Soon after, the brothers established an office in Bangkok. By 2000, Haji’s grandsons were ready to make Takat a Three-Generation commitment and family business, with Rayaz and Irfan opening offices in New York and Hong Kong, respectively.

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TAKAT remains a family business founded on providing exceptional gems and jewels, excellence of craftsmanship and service to its clients. Each TAKAT creation is made with meticulous attention to detail and quality, balancing a classic approach to design with the latest developments in technology. The TAKAT style incorporates timeless elegance in a wide selection of distinctive jewelry designed with daring combinations of color, precious metals and gemstones, and innovative materials.

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TAKAT is also synonym of going far beyond what is expected or customary. The Takat family believes in treating all people with respect and dignity, and strives to create and foster a diverse and supportive environment in which individuals can realize their maximum potential within the company. Their motto: “Our business success is a reflection of the quality and skill of our people.” They are dedicated to building a better future for their customers and employees and are honored that many of the world’s finest jewelers and collectors trust them to source and create exclusive jewels for them.

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Jewelry Made from Butterfly Wings by Butterflies and Myths

All that glitters is not gold – and not all that sparkles is a gemstone. Buyers at the JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry show stopped frequently at the Myths booth to ask just what exactly Yolanda Ormachea’s lustrous Peruvian jewelry was made out of.

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Blue Morpho pendants, picture from the Myths catalog which can be ordered on her site

Her pendants, necklaces and earrings are mostly shaped like the wings of butterflies – but what makes them unique is their materials. “I work with real butterfly wings set in sterling silver.” The designer of the Myths Collection, Yolanda, shared her moving story of how she started working with butterfly wings with me.

Myths booth at the JOGS show

Myths booth at the JOGS show

“I was very close to my grandma, I grew up with her. When she passed away, I felt depressed for a long time. I didn’t want to do anything. One day I was walking downtown and I saw a butterfly – it caught my attention because that is unusual. Then on the second block I saw again the same butterfly around me.” Yolanada felt that butterfly was bringing her a message from her grandmother. “I felt her presence and understood her message about the cycle of rebirth, passion, freedom, live and love.”

Butterfly wing pendant

Butterfly wing pendant

“Then I only thought in butterflies. I researched a lot about the butterflies – how long they live, I went to the jungle to the amazon to visit different butterfly farms, and then it took me more than one year to develop this collection.”

Full butterfly pendant

Full butterfly pendant

None of the butterflies in her collection are harmed – they live a full life in the Amazon and their wings are only used after they have expired naturally. These “butterfly farms” are part of an ecofriendly program that preserves the ecosystem and habitat of butterflies and also supports native families.

Yolanda has been working with her butterfly collection for over ten years. At first she made every piece herself, but now she employs a team in Peru, her home country. “While we are working with the wings, we can not touch, in anyway. Because if you touch even a little bit with your hands it can be damaged.” She and her team use special tools to manipulate the delicate butterfly wings into jewelry, trapping them in resin and setting them in Sterling Silver to create a long-lasting and waterproof piece.

One of Yolanda's newer designs, a spinning butterfly ring with two sides

One of Yolanda’s newer designs, a spinning butterfly ring with two sides

Finding out how exactly to display the butterfly wings as pieces of jewelry took a lot of experimentation. “First I tried to work with a resin. Then I tried with glass – it doesn’t work too, it gets so heavy and a little bit dangerous. Finally I found acrylic, and then I developed my first collection, and then, I’m here!” The acrylic is perfect for her pendants because it’s completely transparent, safe, and light. “People love it because butterfly wings capture the light, and then reflect it.”

Different pendant shapes

Different pendant shapes

The majority of her designs are butterfly wings set in a butterfly wing shape – but she designs new pieces every year.

Multi-layered butterfly necklace

Multi-layered butterfly necklace

“My newest design is a composition of different shapes – pendants, three different shapes, and some full necklaces with four tiers – it’s colorful and reminds people about how beautiful life is and how short life is.”

Yolanda at her booth at the JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show

Yolanda at her booth at the JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show

The best way to see Yolanda Ormachea’s creations is at shows like the JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show. A selection of her jewelry can also be found on her website at butterfliesandmyths.com, email her at [email protected], or call (619) 5775-671 (USA) or international (511) 241-2402.

Sunwest Silver Native American Jewelry and Sterling Silver Charms

At the JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show, Sunwest Silver’s bright pink banner can easily be found hanging over a huge booth loaded with handcrafted Native American silver and turquoise jewelry.

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Sunwest Silver’s Booth at the JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show

At the booth, Molly McGrane walked me through the company’s history and products, starting with Erdy Mantoya the company’s founder. “Erny’s been in business since 1970 – he started selling Native American jewelry in the 70s when it was very hot, and just built it from there.”

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Rough Turquoise from Sunwest Silver

Since then, Sunwest Silver has grown to be one of the largest suppliers of raw and cut turquoise in the country. “He collects turquoise from all over the world. The turquoise we’re using now is a lot of Mexican, called Campitos turquoise – it’s a beautiful blue, it’s a North American Turquoise.”

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Turquoise Cabs from Sunwest Silver

“Erny owns 5 mines right now – Carico Lake Mine, Fox Mine, Badger mine, and a couple others. He sells rough, we sell stones to artisans, and we use the turquoise in our own products. We keep a lot of beautiful high-grade turquoise for our Native American artists.”

Turquoise Necklace from Sunwest Silver

Turquoise Necklace from Sunwest Silver

Most of Southwest Silver’s artisans are from the Navajo Nation, a reservation located in the “four corners” area of the United states, on the border of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.

Earrings by Sunwest Silver Artist

Earrings by Sunwest Silver Artist

Sunwest Silver focuses on wholesale buyers, especially those interested in Southwestern jewelry.

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Turquoise Jewelry by Sunwest Silver Artists

“We’ve done the national parks, we’ve done little mom and pop shops, we do stores in Santa Fe, and we’re very upfront. We’ve been in business a long time. We try to be honest – if we have a piece that isn’t Native American, we try and represent it as non-native. We wouldn’t have been in business this long if we hadn’t been.”

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Charm Bracelet from Sunwest Silver

 

Although Sunwest Silver is famous for their handmade native american jewelry, they also have been in the sterling silver charm business for over thirty years. “Almost all of our charms are created by our artisans. They’re one of a kind – we keep a really tight copyright on some of our designs. An original is made, then a mold of it, then lost wax casting. We really take pride in having a fine, nice detailed piece that really can speak to people.”

Sample of Charm Catalog from Sunwest Silver

Sample of Charm Catalog from Sunwest Silver

Sunwest Silver carries between 5,000-6,000 different charm designs, manufactured in 1,000 ounce lots, which are sold all over the world. “You name it, we have a charm for it. There’s a whole set of kitchen charms – we have Espresso pots, pieces of food, you name it, we got it.” Their featured categories include charms of love and affirmation, sports charms, western charms, zodiac charms, and charms for every hobby and interest imaginable. Many of Sunwest Silver’s charms can be seen on their website, but the newest charms can only be seen at shows like the JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show.

Sunwest Silver's Showroom in New Mexico

Sunwest Silver’s Showroom in New Mexico

If you are interested in viewing Sunwest Silver’s Native American Jewelry or Sterling Silver Charms, you can visit their website at sunwestsilver.com, or call 505.243.3781. You can also visit their “big pink showroom” in New Mexico at 324 Lomas Blvd NW, 4th and Lomas, Albuquerque, NM 87102, or take a virtual tour of their store here (click the door to go inside).

‘The Evil Eye’ and Druzy Jewelry Collections at Truva Jewelry

Truva has a strong family tries to the jewelry industry – but this modern business follows current trends from across the world. Three years ago Hayrettin Celik was working in finance – now he’s business partners with his brother Nuri.

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Nuri and Hayrettin Celik at the Truva Booth at the JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show

Everything Truva makes is brought to the US from Turkey – but they have a lot of customers overseas, especially in Latin America. They’re a wholesale company, but they sell retail as well. “So far we’ve been doing pretty good,” Hayrettin tells me as we went around the Truva booth at the JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show.

Buyers at the Truva Booth

Buyers at the Truva Booth

They take inspiration for their collections from around the world – some comes from modern trends like their Druzy Collection, but they also have unique lines focused on middle-eastern culture and history.

Druzy Collection

Truva’s Druzy Collection capitalizes on the latest craze of raw minerals set in precious metals, and exotic leathers in gemstone colors. “We have pendants, earrings, rings, and necklaces. We use a lot of real leather, snake leather, stingray leather, crystal quartz and Swarovski crystals.”

Stingray-leather Cuffs

Stingray-leather Cuffs

The most unique pieces in the collection were the thick Stingray-leather cuffs, which has has a texture of soft bumps. The cuffs are sometimes paired with Druzy crystals  framed in Onyx and Hematite.

Druzy Hematite Earrings

Druzy Hematite Earrings

Hayrettin also showed me their most popular items in the Druzy collection – gemstone earrings set in Hematite that had a mysterious, glamorous sparkle.

Earrings with Hematite

Earrings with Hematite

They also had lighter versions of their earrings with Hematite.

Evil Eye Collection

Evil Eye Collection

Truva’s newest collection is the “Evil Eye” collection – a compilation of many items based off of Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern culture. “They believe it’s protection from bad luck – the evil eye – and gives good energy and good luck.”

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Evil Eye Necklaces

“We have a lot of bracelets, earrings, and rings. This is so hot right now in America.”

Evil Eye Slider Bracelets

Evil Eye Slider Bracelets

Many of the Evil Eye collection pieces are one-size-fits all, and their special slider bracelets can be adjusted and tightened to fit any size of wrist, from a child to an adult. “We use a lot of Turquoise and Nano-Turquoise, Sapphire Crystals, Ruby Crystals, and Amethyst Crystals”.

Fine Jewelry Collection

Fine Jewelry Collection

Truva’s longest-running collection is their Fine Jewelry Collection. “These are all hand made with gemstones. Hammered by artisans, these are very popular, especially on the East Coast.”

Fine Jewelry Collection inspired by Museum Pieces

Fine Jewelry Collection inspired by Museum Pieces

Inspiration for the Fine collection comes from Middle-Eastern culture – many Arabic, Greek, Roman, and Jewish symbols are featured in gold and silver. “We have three women who go to middle eastern museums, we do a lot of replicas of real stuff: real coins, real statues.”

Wing Ring

Wing Ring

In the center of Nuri and Hayrettin’s booth, Truva showcased a few of their favorite pieces, gold and silver rings with miniature animals and delicate flower shapes. “My father is the only one to make these, he tried to make the silver version, it has a lot of workmanship. You can see a lot of details and the animals on it. You can find gold but not silver!”

Rings from Truva

Rings from Truva

Many of the pieces have a unique coloring – they appear to be “burnt”, the golden pieces gradienting from a bright gold, to orange, to a rich brown to black.

Flower Ring from Truva

Flower Ring from Truva

“They use a special torch to make it look like that. It’s very expensive workmanship, but since we are doing it over silver, it’s a very reasonable price.”

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If you are interested in seeing Truva’s work, the best way is to have a catalog sent to you. You can contact Truva or Nuri and Heyrettin Celik by calling 503-880-0270 or visiting them at the JOGS Tucson Gem & Jewelry Show.

Jewelry Tools opens up a whole new world of options for Hobbyists and DIYers

As I sat down with Emily Miller and Kate Richbourg from Jewelry tools, the sounds of the nearby jewelry making classes were rich with hammering and instructions. The classes available at the JOGS Tucson Gem & Jewelry show ranged from beginners classes to experienced metalsmithing seminars, each class taught by instructors flown in from around the country. “These are instructors that have written books, that teach on the national scene, and they all converge here, with Jewelry Tools as the sponsor.”

One of the many classes sponsored by Jewelry Tools

One of the many classes sponsored by Jewelry Tools

Jewelry Tools is the host of the intimate jewelry making classes at the JOGS show, but their main focus is providing good quality materials and good quality tools sold by knowledgeable jewelry enthusiasts. Between Emily and Kate, two of Jewelry Tools’s representatives, they have 50 years of collective experience in the industry.

The Jewelry Tools booth at the JOGS Tucson Gem & Jewelry Show

The Jewelry Tools booth at the JOGS Tucson Gem & Jewelry Show

“One of the things that our company has as a big draw is that customers can come and see things they’ve never seen before, and we can explain to them how to use it.” Jewelry Tools carries a wide variety of tools, including trusted brand names like Lortone and Wubbers.

A small selection of hammers available from Jewelry Tools

A small selection of hammers available from Jewelry Tools

At their booth and online you can find pliers of all sorts, hammers, files, gauges, rotary tools, wooden jewelry benches, and supplies for all types of crafting including bead stringing, enameling, metalsmithing, casting and carving.

Dapping Set from Jewelry Tools

Dapping Set from Jewelry Tools

“A lot of times a customer will buy a tool then not know what to do with it. The cool thing about coming to Jewelry Tools, especially at the JOGS show, is that we have people to demo the tools. So even if you bought a tool from Jewelry Tools before, you can come on down and see the tool in action. We sell a lot of great tools, but we also provide a lot of education.” The show isn’t the only place you can see Jewelry Tool’s products in action – while browsing their website, you’ll find videos under most products explaining exactly how they work, how to use them, and the pros and cons of the different varieties available for purchase. Each video is professionally filmed and narrated by Kate Richbourg, a professional jewelry design teacher.

A student and teacher work together on a silver ring at the JOGS Show

A student and teacher work together on a silver ring at the JOGS Show

“Jewelry making tools of all sorts come in different qualities. Sometimes the quality is about the size and the refinement of that tool, sometimes that quality is about the durability of that tool, sometimes its about the hand grip and how it feels in your hand and how it will help you make your pieces. There are times when it’s important to have tools that protect your body too. Safety glasses, hearing protection, tools that are more gentle on your hands and wrists with good ergonomics.”

Eugenia's Tripod and Stencils for Metal Enameling

Eugenia’s Tripod and Stencils for Metal Enameling

At the show, Jewelry Tools was also displaying some of their exclusive tools that can’t be bought anywhere else, developed by artists at the company. “Eugenia Chan, metal enamelist, has created some tools. It’s kind of amazing that it’s still happening in the jewelry world, you’d think that everything’s been done. She developed a steel basket that fits into a tripod – it holds the piece very carefully between four points and allows you to enamel from below. But this basket can also go inside a kiln, so you can enamel inside a kiln as well. She also developed stencils for enameling.” Eugenia has also developed a unique enameling spatula, a bezel soldering grip, and specialty metal hole punches.

Kate Richbourg demonstrating a variety of tools at the Jewelry Tools booth

Kate Richbourg demonstrating a variety of tools at the Jewelry Tools booth

Customers at the booth ranged from the veteran to the beginner. “We have a really wide variety of customers that come, but I think it’s really cool when a beginning customers can come and they can try things out, we really have a range from the hobbyist to the do-it-yourself jewelry maker all the way up to the professional jewelry maker. And when we demo, we’re able to speak to the experience of each customer who’s here, because the two of us, we’ve been making jewelry for over 50 years collectively – so we can address really simple and easy questions for the beginner, or if you’re a seasoned professional, we can also speak to your questions as well.”

Products at the Jewelry Tools booth

Products at the Jewelry Tools booth

If you’re interested in opening up a world of options with Jewelry Tools, you can visit www.jewelrytools.com or call 1-866-453-6147. “That’s what we actually do – We sell the tools, and we teach you how to use them.”

Vintage Native American Squash Blossom Necklaces from Indian Touch of Gallup

When it comes to Southwestern wear, Indian Touch of Gallup is the real deal. Omar Ayesh, representing the third generation of his family-run business, told me about how his grandfather got started in the jewelry business over 45 years ago.

Silver Bracelets from Indian Touch of Gallup

Silver Bracelets from Indian Touch of Gallup

“He was a trader in Gallup, New Mexico, that was driving from Denver, Colorado. He stopped in Gallup, traded some blankets for some jewelry, and one thing led to another.”

Turquoise Necklaces from Indian Touch of Gallup

Turquoise Necklaces from Indian Touch of Gallup

Indian Touch of Gallup’s jewelery is all made in New Mexico, a state that straddles the border between the United States and Mexico, tucked between Arizona, Colorado and Texas. “We use all natural stones, we use all sterling silver, we make sure everything is handmade, and designed, and presented from the artisans out of our area.”

Vintage Squash Blossom Necklace form Indian Touch of Gallup

Vintage Squash Blossom Necklace form Indian Touch of Gallup

Not all of the pieces that Omar sells are newly designed. Some are vintage Native American designs, including many traditional Squash Blossom necklaces from the 1960s.

Squash Blossom necklace with White Buffalo stone from Tomaha, Nevada

Squash Blossom necklace with White Buffalo stone from Tomaha, Nevada

Indian Touch of Gallup also sells newer versions of the vintage designs, with modern details and non-traditional stones. Omar showed me a Squash Blossom necklace made with White Buffalo, a hard-to-come-by stone which comes out of Tomoha, Nevada.

Turquoise pendants from Indian Touch of Gallup

Turquoise pendants from Indian Touch of Gallup

Omar’s been in the business for a long time. “My grandfather’s been doing this since the mid sixties. My father’s been doing it, and I’ve been doing it since I was 12 years old.” With a family business comes experience, and when I asked Omar what made Indian Touch of Gallup stand out, he replied, “The quality of the stone. That’s the difference. You use a good quality stone, it’s a big difference. As for as what sells the piece – it’s the stone. People fall in love with the stone, they fall in love with the piece.”

Turquoise Necklace from Indian Touch of Gallup

Turquoise Necklace from Indian Touch of Gallup

Not only are the pieces designed and made in New Mexico, many of the stones are from the area as well. “The Turquoise is from the Southwest and all around the world. Mostly American Turquoise, Tibet Turquoise, Mongolian Turquoise, Mexican Turquoise, and stones from all over.”

Indian Touch of Gallup's booth at the JOGS Gem & Jewelry Show in Tucson

Indian Touch of Gallup’s booth at the JOGS Gem & Jewelry Show in Tucson

Indian Touch of Gallup mostly caters to wholesale buyers. “We deal strictly wholesale. We want people to come, buy, resell, and come back for more. Gift shop, jewelry store, trading post, boutique, salon, anyone who wants to sell jewelry.”

Wraparound Butterfly Necklace with Boulder Opal

Wraparound Butterfly Necklace with Opal

During the interview, Indian Touch of Gallup’s booth was packed with customers viewing the Native American jewelry. One of the show-stopper pieces was this butterfly wraparound necklace, inlaid with sparkling Opal.

Cobblestone Turquoise Cuff designed by Wilson Dawes

Cobblestone Turquoise Cuff designed by Wilson Dawes

Omar showed me some of his most interesting and popular pieces afterward. His biggest was a handmade cobblestone Kingman Turquoise cuff, designed by Wilson Dawes, which was designed to fit up to an 8 inch wrist. “What makes it so unique is that each piece is individually cut, and it gives it a very 3D modern look.”

A smaller version of the Turquoise cuff from Indian Touch of Gallup

A smaller version of the Turquoise cuff from Indian Touch of Gallup

We interviewed Mike Ayesh at the JOGS Gem & Jewlry show back in 2012.

If you are interested in seeing Indian Touch of Gallup’s jewelry and designs, their showroom is located in Gallup, New Mexico (105 W Highway 66 Gallup, NM 87301). Indian Touch of Gallup and Omar Ayesh can be reached at (505) 722-6807.

The Evolution of Jewelry from Jason McLeod

Jason McLeod’s works are one of a kind, each one a slight variation of the previous work. “All of the patterns are done by hand, by me, and no two are identical,” Jason tells me at the JOGS Tucson Gem & Jewelry Show.

A bracelet based off the concept of Lost Cities with ancient ruins and hidden treasures

A cuff based off the concept of Lost Cities with ancient ruins and hidden treasures

 

At his booth at the show, each of his 14k gold, sterling silver, and platinum pieces has its own display. Jason says he loves mixing metals, especially gold and silver. Some of his signature pieces are also built with oxidized silver, though he’d already sold out of most of them during the previous day of the show.

Time Traveler Hinged Circuit Cuff from Jason McLeod

Time Traveler Hinged Circuit Cuff from Jason McLeod

Fine metals and gemstones are no strangers at the gem and jewelry shows in Tucson, but Jason McLeod’s designs are truly out of this world. He designs necklaces, cuffs and bracelets that combine ancient inspiration with a Science Fiction twist, to create “something that looks like it’s from the future and the past”. Each of his delicately patterned piece takes inspiration from myths and mathematics, and includes patterns such as star charts, curious future information, multi-dimensional hints and elements from beyond the stars.

Jason McLeod's booth at the JOGS Tucson Gem & Jewelry Show

Jason McLeod’s booth at the JOGS Tucson Gem & Jewelry Show

Jason’s line of jewelry started with one piece, the Time Traveler cuff, which inspired his entire line.

Top left, two smaller Time Traveler cuffs with sliding abacus beads

“The first Time Traveler designs were something like this – sterling with a gemstone, and they have a little slider part that sticks out, a star chart kind of measurement, an instrument for time travel is the idea. I first started with the idea of an abacus, little sliding beads.”

Time Traveler Pyramid Ring, scaled to the Great Pyramid of Giza

Time Traveler Pyramid Ring, scaled to the Great Pyramid of Giza

Many of his pieces are meant to slide, move, or be opened. Others create movement through light. Jason explained to me during our interview how his pieces change from one to the next.

Bubble Tube in 14k Gold with Diamonds and Bubble Tube Rose Gold

Bubble Tube in 14k Gold with Diamonds and Bubble Tube Rose Gold

His Bubble pieces are part of a less-is-more collection, which allows him the freedom of shape and simplicity. “The bubbles I’ve been doing for a while and they were rings, and then bracelets, and that evolved into the bubble tubes”.

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“And then recently I said “wait!” and it evolved into these little capsules where you have the gem – the piece is the setting, the gem, the capsule and the bubbles are on the side which gives it texture and lets the light in.”

Cuff based on the concept of the Lost City of Atlantis, hidden away in a protective dome underwater

Cuff based on the concept of the Lost City of Atlantis, hidden away in a protective dome underwater

A majority of Jason’s work is either abstract, or based on concepts or legends rather than concrete items. “I don’t do a whole lot of figural stuff. Here I’m going to represent an eagle, or a heart. I like hearts, I like eagles, and they may find their way into my work, but it’s not a singular thing.”

A cuff based on the concept of Graffiti, by Jason McLeod

A cuff based on the concept of Graffiti, by Jason McLeod

Jason says both individual and wholesale buyers stop by his booth. “Someone bought pretty much the whole collection of the Oxidized Silver Jewelry yesterday. Everything we do is pretty finely handmade, it’s limited production so I often don’t have multiples of each one.”

Cuff featured in the "Out of This World!" exhibit at the Carnegie Museum

Cuff featured in the “Out of This World!” exhibit at the Carnegie Museum

Jason’s Time Traveler pieces were also featured in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History earlier this year, as part of an exhibit titled “Out of This World! Jewelry in the Space Age”.

Jason McLeod Gold Time Traveler Cuffs

Jason McLeod Gold Time Traveler Cuffs

If you are interested in seeing more of Jason McLeod’s work, you can visit his website at www.jasonmcleod.com, their Facebook page, or meet him at shows and festivals across the United States. Jason McLeod Jewelry can be reached at 434-465-4914.

If you are in Virginia, Jason recommends visiting the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. “You should see the museum too, not just my stuff, it’s a really nice museum.”

Jewellenium, The Millennium of Jewelry

Micropave. Peekaboo earrings. Cubic Zirconia from Switzerland and .925 silver with 24kt gold plating. These were the types of trends I found at Jewellenium’s booth at the JOGS Gem and Jewelry show.

Micropave gold-plated rings from Jewwllenium

Micropave gold-plated rings from Jewwllenium

Jewellenium’s name is more than just a portmanteau of “Jewelry” and “Millenium” – it also stands for the future-facing goals of the company.

An array of Jewellnium's designs

An array of Jewellnium’s designs

Started in 2000, the business has been chasing trends for 16 years, without losing its focus on traditional designs.

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Jewellenium’s most popular traditional pieces, Cubic Zirconia necklaces and earrings

Jamie Lee from Jewellenium showed me some of their latest at the show. The trendy pieces are created Jewellenium’s 7 designers, all from Korea.

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Micropave Necklace and Earrings from Jewellenium

Micropave was the first trend Jamie showed me, in an earrings and necklace set with hundreds of tiny gems. “There are normally 2, 4 or 6 prongs holding the stones, but this is 16 prongs holding a 1 mm stone.” Jamie explains that the tiny stones are so small that their jewelers require a microscope to set them.

Crystal Bracelets from Jewellenium

Crystal Bracelets from Jewellenium

Crystals bracelets were the second, and she says these are incredibly on trend right now. They’re stretchable, and very easy to take on and off.

Peekaboo Earrings from Jewellenium

Peekaboo Earrings from Jewellenium

Peekaboo earrings were her last. She says although the trend is starting to wane in Europe, it’s only just picking up in North America and very few vendors carry them yet. Peekaboo earrings are a play on traditional earring style, allowing a secondary piece of earring to show behind the ear. Jewellenium’s take on the new earrings has a very small earring in the front, and a large globe in the back that peeks out from behind the wearer’s ear.

Jewellenium's Booth at the JOGS Gem & Jewelry Show

Jewellenium’s Booth at the JOGS Gem & Jewelry Show

If you are interested in seeing Jewellenium‘s fashionable high-end jewelry, you can visit her showroom in Buena Park, California (8382 Artesia Blvd, #B). Jamie Lee can be reached at (714) 222-0147.

Mermaids, Octopuses, Toucans and Frogs in Silver, Turquoise and Malachite from Majul Jewelry

Jose Majul says inspiration comes from nature. “In my home town where 90% of the people work on silver, there are small people who are big designers and big artists. You always find something new.”

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Mermaid Necklace from the Sea Life Collection, Turquoise and Silver

Majul Jewelry’s newest designs set in silver show fantastical creatures from the sea, from starfish to shrimps to mermaids.

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Necklace from the Sea Life Collection, Turquoise and Silver

Every piece is hand made in Mexico, and much of the Turquoise comes from Chihuahua, a northern Mexican state that borders Texas and New Mexico.

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Frog Necklace from Safari Collection, Malachite and Silver

On display at Majul’s booth was also their new Safari collection, which included one of their most popular sets, a large silver frog necklace with a softly-shaped chunk of malachite representing the frog’s green color.

Frog Set from Safari Collection

Frog Set from Safari Collection, Malachite and Silver

The matching set also included a cuff bracelet in the form of a frog, and a pair of earrings.

Toucan Necklace from the Safari Collection,  Silver and Mixed Stones

Toucan Necklace from the Safari Collection, Silver, Opal and Mixed Stones

Jose Majul is no stranger to the jewelry business – his grandfather and his father before him all took part in starting the company, all the way back in 1937, as part of more than five generations of family business in Mexico.

Left, photo of Taxco, Right, map showing Taxco, the birthplace of Majul Jewelry, and Chihuahua, where a majority of Majul Jewelry's Turquoise is mined [map][photo]

Left, photo of Taxco, Right, map showing Taxco, the birthplace of Majul Jewelry, and Chihuahua, where a majority of Majul Jewelry’s Turquoise is mined [map][photo]

They brought their business to the United States in 1987, where it now resides in San Francisco, California, but the heart of the business is still in Taxco, Mexico. “We are happy to have loyal customers. We have had customers since we opened the business in 1987 and we still have some – very few but we always get a new people and new customers and they always come back with us.”

Majul Jewelry Contemporary Design in Silver, Pearl and Cubic Zirconia

Majul Jewelry Contemporary Design in Silver, Pearl and Cubic Zirconia

Jose’s newest collection is is simple but elegant, a contemporary line made with silver, Cubic Zirconia, and pearls. By the time I had interviewed him, most of the pieces from this collection had already sold out.

Copper Designs by Majul Jewelry

Copper Designs by Majul Jewelry

In Arizona, the Copper state, Jose also sells Southwestern-style designs in Copper and Turquoise.

Silver Pendants from Majul Jewelry

Silver Pendants from Majul Jewelry

Majul Jewelry is primarily a wholesale business, selling to boutiques, galleries and jewelry stores. At their booth at the show they had thousands of different silver pendants on display, from abstract hammered shapes to designs inspired by nature’s creations. Every single piece is handmade, artfully blending traditional Mexican forms with contemporary designs.

If you are interested in seeing Majul Jewelery’s products, you can view them in person at our show, or visit www.majuljewelry.com. Majul Jewelry can be reached at 415 553 4108.

Lightning Ridge Australian Black Opals from Tikka Opals

Matti Tikka got into the Opal business by finding an opal worth $2,800 in Australia with nothing more than a screwdriver.

“Forty-two years ago I was holidaying in Lightning Ridge. And we spent three weeks with my wife on the field. Before I left I told a Miner named Andy – “I would like to have a taste of mining.” so he was laughing, gave me a screwdriver, and there was a hole, a 4-feet hole, in old Cochrane, and he said “just dig there” so I went down.

New South Wales, Australia

New South Wales, Australia [source]

“Where do I start digging? There was sand-band on the wall, that’s usually where opal appears, and then he went away laughing you see…

“15 minutes later I’d dug a little hole, got a piece, and you know, two-thousand-eight-hundred dollars.”

Matti told me about how he then brought the Opal to a cutter, and due to his ignorance of the business, the cutter stole the heart of the opal from him. Matti was a very happy man though – he was able to take all $2,800 and invest it straight into his first new car, a brand new Ford Falcoln.

“Then I told my wife – you pay rent in Sydney, I’m going to go start mining.”

A selection of Matti Tikka's Opals [source]

A selection of Matti Tikka’s Opals [source]

Matti Tika now sells natural Black Opals from Lightning Ridge at show 3-4 times a year, making the long flight from Australia to the United States. He has since found opals worth $50,000 – $60,000, though he claims he’s never found any “really expensive ones” after his first discovery.

An older photo of Matti Tikka in Australia with a Kangaroo

An older photo of Matti Tikka in Australia with a Kangaroo

True black opals only come from one place and that’s Lightning Ridge, New North Wales, Australia. There are claims of Black Opals from other locations, but the real thing can only be found in the Lightning Ridge mines, according to Matti. Matti owns his own mines, but he’s been reducing them over the years, and now keeps his business simple with a “couple fellas” working on one of the mines.

A rough Black Opal [photo]

A rough Black Opal [photo]

Matti Tika explained to me that a majority of the Opals he sells are quite old. Newly dug opal stones have a tendency to crack if not treated properly, and even when carefully taken care of they still have a chance of cracking over time. Matti says that only about 1 out of thousands of his stones crack, but as a precaution, he puts the new stones in the back of a safety deposit box to sit, and brings the older stones out for his shows. Black Opal is considered the most stable type of Australian Opal.

Opal Ring from Tikka Opals

Opal Ring from Tikka Opals

The prices for opals start lowest at blue, blue-green, green-orange, orange, orange-red and red, and combinations of those. All Black Opals have a predominantly dark background that ranges in color from dark gray to blue-black, which allows the Opal’s secondary colors to stand out. Although the prices range based on color, color preference is often up to the buyer. “Some like it blue, some like it green, some like it red, and so on,” Matti tells me.

An Opal with a unique pattern, from Tikka Opals

An Opal with a unique pattern, from Tikka Opals

Matti Tikka’s customers often consider buying Black Opal an investment. “They are the only stones in the world probably, in my opinion, that they never reduce the price, only increase.” Tikka Opals range from $200 to well over $100,000.

300ct Black Opal in Blue from Tikka Opals

300ct Black Opal in Blue from Tikka Opals

I asked Matti what an expensive stone might look like, and he picked up a beautiful blue-purple 300ct specimen. The stone shifted colors as I held it up to the light, from a dark vivid purple to a bright royal blue.

Black Opal with Red from Tikka Opals

Black Opal with Red from Tikka Opals

He says that because of the difference in color and cut, smaller stones with more of a reddish hue may be worth just as much as the larger blue one he showed me.

Matti Tikka at his booth at the JOGS Gem & Jewelry Show

Matti Tikka at his booth at the JOGS Gem & Jewelry Show

When I asked Matti about why his customers come to him, he said, “Probably pricing. My prices are really good prices because we are selling mainly to wholesalers.”

Tikka Opals can only be seen in the USA at shows Matti Tikka attends, including the JOGS Gem & Jewelry show. Matti Tikka can be reached  in Australia at 011-61-7-5546-9324.