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It's incredible how much this pandemic has shifted how we run business these days. One thing that's really prominent is how I've been gemstone shopping.


As a general rule, I purchase 97% of my materials and tools in New Mexico. Before the pandemic, I was able to visit my suppliers in person, ask them questions, get a sense of what I was investing in and be able to make an informed purchase based on their expertise and advice. It was also extremely helpful to have these suppliers guide me through my gemstone purchases.


As a beginning jeweler, the world of gems is honestly quite intimidating. You are bombarded with so many types of gems, cuts, qualities, that it's hard to know exactly what you're getting unless you speak with the supplier in person. I've been able to gain a pretty good eye for quality because I asked many questions over the years and told my suppliers to show me what was of good quality.


Gemstones can range greatly in price. When purchasing a gemstone, it starts with your gut. What is it that is calling you about that particular gemstone? Over time, my preferences have changed. I used to be drawn to the color intensity of a gemstone, or I loved when it was a gemstone I had never heard of, and I typically liked my stones to be cut in a variety of shapes and forms. Now, I prefer clarity, I prefer something smaller, I prefer the shape to be more regular, and I want the color to be very brilliant.


Anyway, over the course of the pandemic, with the shops having to be closed, I had to resort to shopping for gemstones online. It's been a bit of a nightmare because at the end of the day, you really never knew what you were getting. Just recently someone I purchased from online, completely messed up my order, and because gems are impossible to replace because of their uniqueness, I didn't get what I really wanted.


Some shipments were delayed by several months, sometimes only half of the gems I purchased were usable and the other half was of bad quality. It was a tremendous gamble, and I didn't realize how difficult it was becoming for me to trust in what I was buying and get excited about making jewelry.


This week, I decided to go gemstone shopping in person and what a difference it made. I was able to speak with my suppliers again, and to have their guidance was a huge inspiration for me. I came back excited and ready to work. I was also able to sort through the gems I truly wanted and make snap decisions based on the quality of the work that I want to put out.


That's all for today. Thanks so much for reading and take care,

Caitlin