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Cecile Raley Designs — cabochon

What I Have Learned about Paraibas

Posted by Cecile Raley on

This blog entry has been a long time coming - I should have written it over a year ago, when I first started buying Paraibas on my inaugural visit in Tucson.

I have seen and admired Paraiba tourmalines ever since I got into the gem business in 2009. At that point, I knew little about buying and grading gems, but I was already attracted by their neon glow. I bought one single piece to make a tie bar...

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Gem Shows: Past, Present and Future

Posted by Cecile Raley on

Traveling to gem shows to shop was a new thing for me this year. I did go to the Springfield Gem and Mineral Show last fall but I exhibited with my jewelry and gems. Or rather, I pretended to exhibit because I shared the booth with Jochen Hintze from Jentsch Mineralien, and since nobody was interested in my jewelry (wrong audience), I shopped while Jochen watched my inventory. Other than that, I...

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Buying Opals, Pro’s and Cons

Posted by Yvonne Raley on

I do not carry a lot of opal jewelry in my shop, but with the month of opal coming up, I can share with you my experience with this gem. As you know, opal is a very soft stone and that makes it hard to work with – one reason I don’t carry it much. Bezel settings look nicest, yet prongs are safest if you don’t want to crack the gem or expand an inclusion to the surface. You need an experienced...

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Working with Cabochons and Rose Cuts

Posted by Yvonne Raley on

If you are used to working with only faceted stones, you’ll find that cabs and rose cuts are an entirely different animal.  Very little of what you know transfers over to the non-faceted gem world.  Cab pricing and weighs are different, they are judged on a different scale, and most commercial settings don’t work.

First, be aware that cabs and rose cuts are not usually clean gems. The facet grade...

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Making New Out of Old: Restoring Antique Jewelry

Posted by Yvonne Raley on


I’ve been infatuated with antique jewelry lately.  It has a delicacy and detail that you don’t find very much in the mass produced styles of today.  Last fall I started collecting and converting antique stick pins, and a month or so ago I began looking at rings.  But working with antique jewelry can be challenging.  Here’s an example of how I refurbished an old Victorian ring.
 
Finding antique...

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