Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Simple Ring?

This may look like a simple ring, but when I look at it, I think of eating Mexican food with my hubby.

It's actually an Australian opal- a pretty one I spent a lot of money on in Tucson, Arizona last February. My husband Bob and I went on a 6-day vacation there from northern Virginia, and it was HEAVEN. Why? First off, we got a break from our 3 school-aged children. Second, we got to spend time together, sleep in, and eat lots of Mexican food at Los Portalos. And third, I got to shop for gems!

For those of you who don't know, Tucson is the center of gem-buying for 2 weeks every year in late January/early February. Vendors from around the world come to sell their wares in every possible hotel meeting room, convention hall, or other indoor or outdoor venue. It is pure heaven for a gem-crazed nut like me. Me and 50,000 other nutty people! I had a good holiday season last year so I was able to do some investing by buying gems at great prices. Not all prices in Tucson are good- you have to hunt, and therefore, must have time and patience. Otherwise you may not find the ideal deal.

Last week I made the ring shank- it's 2 sets of 3 strands (6 total) twisted then fused to make this look like it's braided. I love it! Here's an earlier post about how to make them:
If I could make these for every ring I made, I'd be happy. That's my personality though- I get into something and it's not until I overdose on it then do I totally get sick of it and reject it until much later. There was once an episode with Cheetos that you might imagine hit me hard- I gorged on them and then didn't eat them again for years... I'm sort of doing that with this ring shank, but now that I'm older and presumably more mature, I try to hold myself back from going full-out on what I like. Moderation is key.

I chose the stone and knew it'd be challenging to set. It's a bit thin and has a wavy bottom- so I had to make sure it was sitting nicely before I folded over the bezel. I took my time and spent 30 minutes going around and around on that bezel, hammer and punch in hand, carefully moving the metal down to meet the stone. But when I look at it, I remember the show I was at, and the people I bought it from. They were a Chinese company selling only opal. Did you know that most opal rough is bought up by the Chinese, cut and re-sold in the international market? Yup, it is. At another vendor in that same show, the husband of a vendor who was bored started a conversation up with my husband, and asked my husband if he was retired yet (this gentleman was). Bob and I had a laugh later about that because he's not really close to retirement age. Was that guy suggesting Bob looked old? I giggled about that.... Oh, to be retired and travel from gem show to gem show... one can dream..... We had fun that day and I remember trying to shoo Bob away as I was paying the opal vendor so he couldn't see how much I paid for those stones!

And that gets me back to Los Portalos. Coming into Tucson the first night, we were looking for a place to stop and get dinner. Bob was driving and I was hurriedly looking on Trip Advisor or some such app to find a highly-rated Mexican place we could stop at on our way to our hotel. Los Portalos was not in a great part of town, but it was on our way and highly-rated. It was the best chili relleno I've ever had. We sampled a couple of other restaurants for dinner that trip, but went back to Los Portalos two more times. I got the chili relleno each time, and each time it was perfection. Bob got different dishes each night, but the last night was the best. What a great way to end our trip! Great Mexican food, time together, and gem-shopping.

So now whoever buys this ring, gets a ring with good karma and soul. And I get satisfaction knowing that someone will love it forever, and I invest the money into a reserve fund for a trip back to Tucson....

(Here's the link to the listing on Etsy:)


  1. :) such a wonderful story behind such a pretty ring!

  2. Ohhhhh how I would love to make a trip like's the best of both worlds! And what a stunning opal and setting it is! You did it justice. Beautiful job. x

  3. I am the joyful new owner of this beautiful ring! The beauty of all of it: the stone, the setting, the combination of metals and how they have been worked with, PLUS the love and care that went into the making of it have created a treasure indeed. As a lapidary artist and "fledgling" metal worker, I truly appreciate what went into this creation. Thank you!