I love gemstones and I love designing jewellery. I have absolutely no training other than what seven years working in a jewellery store gave me but I love it anyway. I have a small collection of gemstones I've bought, mostly from e-bay.
As with nearly everything else I do, I have a system. I have found a few sellers on e-bay I trust and I generally stick with them. I'll even pay over my limit with them sometimes because I know I'll get what I expect. I have a limit to pay for items. Generally it's $20 including postage. Sometimes I'll go over but not often. I know $20 isn't much, especially when you include postage. Usually the adage 'you get what you paid for' works true as well so my little stash of gems isn't exactly a treasure trove.
Occasionally something really special will come through and it'll be a total fluke. I have a ruby that fits into that category. It's 1.35ct pear shaped and the most gorgeous pigeon blood colour. I have another ruby that definitely doesn't fit that description. It's 6ct oval cabachon and has some very interesting pink and white striations through it. No one could even suggest it's a good stone, but it is interesting.
When I can I have items made using my gems. I designed a set (pendant, earrings, ring) for Lauren using some lovely blue sapphires I got a couple of years ago. David has a ring with a 1ct black star sapphire set in it. The star is a bit iffy unless you get it in the right light but the ring looks great. The stone cost me 99cUS + postage so I'm really pleased with the result.
The last couple of weeks I've been buying for my sister, Sandra. Tomorrow I'll be posting the little stash I've collected for her. By the end of the week she'll be having fun designing jewellery for two matching blue sapphires, 10 coloured sapphires and 17 little amethysts. I'll send a couple of drawings of my own with them. Sandra and I don't see each other very often and don't really have a lot in common either. I'm enjoying buying gems for her because it gives us some time to be together, albeit via email, that we haven't had for a long time. It's lovely to touch base with her and share something with her.