One of my ultimate pleasures is treasure hunting for jewelry embellishments. The search can be for something specific, such as a stone or pearl, but the primary goal is discovering unique elements to excite and inspire my creative soul.
My favorite excursion happens in Tucson, Arizona, where multitudes of gem and mineral shows blanket the city. This colossal exhibition of wondrous extractions from the earth will make you dizzy and in awe of Mother Nature. The magnitude of jaw dropping gifts from the planet to hold and behold is beyond description.
Navigating such an expo takes planning. Comfortable shoes are an absolute necessity, sunscreen, for the numerous outdoor venues, patience, as the crowds are exhausting, a list of essentials and must see shows, a good friend to tell you “you don’t need that”, and a budget. Save time for random excursions to visit the bead, glass and art fairs scattered throughout the town.
With those criteria met, my trooper pal Marge and I, trekked for miles in and out of hotel rooms, tents, ballrooms, warehouses, and parking lots with row after row of tables overflowing with nature’s bounty. I restrained myself from buying a 6-foot tall lingam stone, behemoth amethyst geode and a dinosaur skeleton, (yes you can buy those too), but instead acquired many gorgeous petite gems that fit handily into my backpack.
After three days of scrutinizing and selecting every specimen, I finally had time to admire my cache of tiny jewels, imagining what they might become. Iridescent boulder opals, sparkling geodes and druzy crystals, lustrous pearls, and slate speckled with shiny pyrite will keep me in creative bliss for weeks to come.
This treasure hunt was an adventure, a learning experience, a reminder of and appreciation for the beauty of our earth. It was also an inspired and successful journey to propel my artistic vision forward and encourage my return next year.
Now it's back to the bench to create something special with these fantastic finds.