I know it has been awhile, but I am still making  jewelry and selling it, as well.  I am now on Twitter. My Twitter feed is to the right, as you can see. I encourage you to follow me since I often mention discount coupons and sales for my shops.

I have also added a new widget for my Artfire shop. I’ve been there for about a year now. I really like the atmosphere. It has great benefits for both the Basic Accounts and Pro Accounts.  I have a Pro Account there, and it allows me to really cool things like offer coupons and gift certificates to everyone or just one specific customer. It’s really easy to use, as well. It is a nice alternate to my website for now.

Most recently, Artfire has announced they are moving out of their Beta stage and are launching a special promotional sale for their Pro accounts. They call it their Artfire Group Deal. Basically, they are offering a special rate of $5.95/month Pro Accounts to new members, basic members and pro members. This offer is limited to the first 50,000 members who opt-in to this promotion. The one caveat is that in order for the rate to kick in for all those who agree to the new group deal, they must reach a 20,000 agreed member threshold. If you would like to know more about this great deal, check out this link for more details: Artfire Group Deal. You do have to have a seller account with Artfire, but the good news is that the Basic Accounts are free.

Anyways, I hope to keep up this blog a bit more.

So, I know what your saying to yourself. What the heck happened to Days 5,6, & 7? Well, the internet connection wasn’t so great those days, unfortunately. So, I will try to recall to the best of my ability what happened in those days.

Day 5

This day was the day I finished an opal all by myself, including the shape. I finished several opals over the course of the day, with Sarah only helping with advice and shaping on a particularly tough teardrop shape and getting an oval shape a bit tighter. I felt so accomplished and proud of myself. The opal I finished by myself was a very deep Pink Peruvian Opal with dendritic formations. It turned out to be a rhombus shaped stone. I thought it was very pretty. I also finished a very large oval Green Peruvian Opal, which I think will make a great pendant stone. The other stone I finished was a White Mexican Opal in a free-form teardrop shape. It turned out very pretty. It has some flash under the light. It was a very good day. It was also our last full opal cutting day.

Day 6

Saturday was our last class. It was a bittersweet day for me. To think that only one week ago, I did not even know how to cab a stone, much less cut an opal, and there I was finishing my sixteenth opal. (It ended up being a round red Mexican Opal.) I even ventured a non opal by cabbing a small piece of fossilized dinosaur bone. The larger piece broke apart, but the smaller piece I salvaged cabbed just fine. My whole aim there was to see if I could cab any stone myself, and before the larger piece broke, it was looking pretty nice. (It broke because I hadn’t stabilized it.) Unfortunately, we had to have the classroom cleaned and presentable before lunch began.

After lunch, we proceeded to evaluations. No, not teacher evaluations, Opal Evaluations. We learned how to properly value opals. Each of us took our Precious Opal and went through steps to properly make an estimated trade value on our opals. Needless to say, many of us were pleased with the results, especially those who had brought their own rough to cut. The two I was able to value were decent. They were from the kit so they weren’t the true high-end rough, but at least they had value. Unfortunately, the procedures used are copyrighted.

At the end of the day, we all said our class goodbyes, but we still had “Show & Tell” that night. We were able to display our work, along with other students from different classes, along several tables. Each class had a spokesperson talking about the instructor and the class experience as a whole.

Everyone had a positive experience, and the work I saw just made me want to take every class available, not only for the fun, but so I can expand on my jewelry making skills.

I thuroughly enjoyed my experience at Wildacres, and I hope to continue to attend classes there and other jewelry workshops.

Day 7

This was the last day of the workshop. It was basically filled with packing, breakfast, checkout, and final goodbyes. My friends and I packed up and began our journey home. Along the way, we stopped and several little shops and a mineral museum along the Blue Ridge Parkway. While at the museum, I saw these copper nuggets, and I saw that there were holes perfect for stringing chain or wire through. With all the inspiration I’ve received from this trip, I’ve decided to incorporate them in a new piece I will dedicate to my first trip to Wildacres.

It is good to be home.

Today was supposed to be a half for students, but many in my class opted to continue working, me included. Well, let’s face it, I needed all the time in that class I could get. I am happy to say I was able to salvage my first precious opal with the help of my instructor, Sarah. In fact, all of my opals have been saved with her help.

I also finished by doublet and triplet. The triplet came out pretty decent with a nice dome finish and some good red flashes, but the doublet was another story entirely. It had several rough spots that gave me trouble. I was finally able to grind them down, but there wasn’t much color to the opal other than some soupy green.

With the almost finishing of my precious opal (I may need to bevel the back still, I can’t remember.), I was finished with the opals from my student kit. So, what to do. Well, I decided I would buy some rough, because unlike most of my class, I did not bring any opal rough from home. Then again, I didn’t have any opal rough to bring with me.

I began looking through several pieces of nice dark, Pink Peruvian Opal with dendritic patterns and some beautiful pieces of green Peruvian Opal. I also looked through some crystal Mexican Opal. I found several pieces from each that I liked, but other than the Green Peruvian, I haven’t quite decided which ones I want to try cutting. I also began looking through a jar of Precious Opal (opal with flashes of color). That’s when Sarah was kind enough to give me another piece of the Precious Opal to try again since my first one didn’t come out so great. She helped me through each step, and what came out was a very nice oval cab with some nice flashes of color.

At the end of this day, I was very pleased with my work, and yet, I still felt as if I had let myself down somehow by not completing an opal by myself. I know I shouldn’t feel down about not knowing how to properly cab a stone when I’ve never done so in my life, but a learning process is a learning process. And, needing to learn how to make mistakes is just as important as trying not to. So, I shall be back in class tomorrow, bright and early to try to cut an opal on my own.