Tucson Treasures!

patti bullard larger photoThis year marked my eighth year to go to Tucson, and it was the best trip ever! I went with the intention of shopping for stones, and wow did I ever find them! Below is the first installment of what I found in Tucson this year. I brought home so many beautiful and unique things. Stay tuned, and I will cover the rest in a future newsletter. And, if you are going to Tucson next year, let me know. Maybe we could meet up for lunch and do a little shopping together.



Two years ago, Lexi introduced me to Mark Lasater who owns The Clam Shell. I visited him at the AGTA show in Tucson this year. He has gorgeous and very unusual stones. I fell in love with the Fossil Palm. It has the look of leaping flames, and really fires up the creative imagination!


Another amazing group of stones that I bought from The Clam Shell is the Colla Wood. It is a naturally colored stone with the richest blues. The patterns in the stone made me think of trees, landscapes, and flowing water. This was my favorite new addition to my collection of stones.


Every year, it seems that my purchases tend to follow a theme. This year, I was really into rich, earthy colors and organic designs. In the photo above, the center stone is a piece of Channel Wood. The stones above it are Fossil Oak. The three triangular stones at the bottom are Brazilian Petrified Wood.


I must have stood at the Clamshell for two hours, carefully designing in my head and picking out stones. This is Fossil Sequoia. The two triangular-shaped pairs on the right will make a beautiful pattern for a necklace when arranged together. I am not sure what I will do with the two matching stones in the front, but they had my name on them!


I have some Fossil Tree Fern that I bought from The Clamshell two years ago, but when I saw this piece on the left, I could see design possibilities, and didn’t want to pass this stone up. It has little druzy pockets, and the irregular edge is just beautiful. I had been telling myself not to buy any more Crazy Lace, but then I saw the two stones on the right. OK—I won’t buy any more Crazy Lace next year!


I have been shopping with Gerardo Leyva, owner of Azul Verde Azul for the last 6 years. He is one of the first vendors that I visit when I arrive in Tucson. He mines azurite malachite from Morenci, Arizona, and he cuts it into the most beautiful cabochons. He also displays huge mineral specimens (some are 6 feet tall!) at the Kino Sports Complex.

In the photo above, all the cabs are azurite malachite with the exception of two. The far top right is a Congo Africa Chrysocolla Malachite, and the small teardrop shape to its left is a piece of Morenci Turquoise.


…And much to my wandering eyes should appear—an Antique Button Booth owned by Glenda Boyer. Her booth was at the Radisson Inn, where I just happened to go one afternoon to help Gwen Youngblood, owner of Metal Art Lab and the inventor of the Wubbers Riveting Essentials Kit. Gwen teaches some fabulous classes, and I loved getting to spend time helping her with sales in her shop.


This year I had the pleasure of meeting John Heusler and Patti Paik Estes. If you search for John F. Heusler on Facebook, you can follow his lapidary adventures. Not only does he make phenomenal jewelry, he also cuts gorgeous stones. John cut the faceted tourmaline in the photo above. You can often see John’s work in Jewelry Artist Lapidary Journal. Patti also makes jewelry and I was fascinated by the gourd baskets that she weaves, incorporating beads and turquoise into the designs. The basket that I saw in Tucson had a handle fashioned from a piece of a deer antler.


I was especially drawn to this collection of dino bone cabs, because no stone buying trip would be complete for me without making a stop at Gary Wilson’s booth!



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Posted in Patti's Jewelry Travels, Uncategorized

Need Ideas? Travel and Look to Mother Nature

As many of you know, Wubbers University teacher Renee Crum and I traveled to England last month and I have to tell you, it was probably the best trip of my lifetime. It’s so much fun to travel with someone with such a great eye for color and artistic elements. So I thought I would share some photos with you and talk about the elements and principles of design. To refresh your memory, the elements are line, color, shape, value and texture.

Everywhere you look in England are luscious gardens, filled with yummy colors…or colours, as the Brits say.


Even though I have a hard time seeing color, the hanging baskets of end-of- summer flowers still maintained the hues of summer. I started taking photos of colors that I thought would make great combinations for jewelry.


These ice cream colors were in a hanging basket outside of a tea room in Marlborough, and the feminine delicacy of the colors was something good enough to eat. How gorgeous these colors would be in a beaded necklace and earrings.   Yum!

As we were driving I kept seeing these street signs that looked like Wubbers pliers….they are everywhere. Of course it means the lanes merge together, but they sure look like Wubbers to me! Renee and I laughed every time we saw those, and seriously thought about putting the Wubbers logo under each sign.


One of the most fun, and colorful aspects of the trip was this delightful poodle we saw on Glastonbury Tor. If you look closely you can see the ears were green (which represent leaves) and the hair around the face is yellow, and the top of his head was brown, so his head looked like a sunflower. There is bumble bee on his shoulder and the other side had a lady bug. What a spectacular color combination. This was just plain fun, and it reminded me that art comes in all forms and it is all delightful.


While in Glastonbury, we had a chance to visit the Chalice Well, and the sculpture as you walk into the gardens is graceful and elegant. It reminded me of another element of design, shape.

red well

Not only is the shape graceful, but the sound of the numerous waterfalls is soothing and peaceful. Again I saw how these elements could be used in jewelry design. Can you see it?

Another element of design is line…and this church door at the Bishop’s Palace in Glastonbury really inspired me. This design could be utilized in so many ways, as a chain element, earrings, or necklace, by using our Wubbers Teardrop Mandrel Pliers.


Wasn’t that medieval craftsmanship breathtaking?

In Cornwall we visited Tintagel, which, according to legend, is the birthplace of King Arthur. There must be a million stairs up to the site of the castle ruins, which actually dates later than King Arthur, but there had been a building there for centuries before the castle ruins, so who knows. Anyway, the texture of the island and the smoothness of the water reminded me of just how much I love the juxtaposition of smooth metal and a rough texture, which can be done with several of the Wubbers Artisan’s Mark hammers. So try the smooth and the textured surfaces and see what you can come up with. It’s very powerful, just like King Arthur.


Finally, in Boscastle, on the northern coast of Cornwall, we found this graceful sculpture, which brings in all the elements of line, color, shape, value and texture…


but if you are not a sculpture person, how about this 14th century home, Cothay Manor, which also incorporates the elements so elegantly.


Cothay Manor was also used in the BBC series, Wolf Hall, which I am sure many of you have seen. The texture and color of this magnificent house was just too fabulous. So think about the lines in the windows and the texture of the stonework next time you design a piece of jewelry. You can make it all work together.

So I hope you have enjoyed a bit of Merrie Olde, and yes, I cannot wait to return. Renee and I speak of our trip all the time, and it was truly an inspiration for our upcoming jewelry. I hope it has inspired you, and as the British so eloquently say, “It was just lovely.”

Creatively yours,


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Posted in Lexi Erickson

FREE Corner Punch Pliers Offer

Who is the PERFECT companion for the Wubbers Designer Square and Triangle Mandrel Pliers?

The Wubbers Corner Punch Pliers! They create perfect holes in the corner of your designs without any distortion.

The Wubbers Designer Square and Triangle Mandrel Pliers and the Wubbers Corner Punch Pliers go together like cookies and milk.


Let’s face it, one just needs the other.

And, now until November 16th, you can have this perfect companion for FREE (a $22.95 value) with the purchase of either the Wubbers Designer Square Mandrel Pliers Set or the Wubbers Designer Triangle Mandrels Pliers Set. Offer is good for one pair of free Wubbers Corner Punch Pliers per order.


Posted in Uncategorized

Lexi at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show – Part 2

I’ve shared my thoughts of the first few days of the Denver Gem Show, but the show that opens on the Thursday of the show week is the only one that many people know about. So many jewelers don’t know about the other shows and only attend the International Gem and Jewelry Show at the Merchandise Mart. It is a “wholesale” show, meaning you must show your Tax ID to be admitted, but truthfully, much of the merchandise inside the show is regularly priced, or retail. But there are some great stone dealers in there, some of my favorites, along with a large variety of finished jewelry, fabulous faceted stones of every size shape and color, and more cabs!

Of course my first stop is always Gary B. Wilson’s booth. Each time I see Gary he has new stones which tempt me…and I feel like I have a pretty good selection of his things, but I always find more goodies. The turquoise colored Leland blue will work well with the sandstone colored Barite, and will work well for my clients wanting the Southwestern style and colors. That made me really step out of my comfort zone, color-wise, because, as you know, I’m color blind. But I had a couple of Wubbers U teachers with me, and they said it looked luscious. What do you think?

I splurged and purchased a piece of Corvette-ite. It’s full of color, and is like Fordite, but from the GM plant and the paint booth where they painted the Corvettes. (I swear, Gary will just about cut anything!) What I love about Gary’s Fordite and Corvette-ite is the super shimmery silvers, and I just love shiny stuff. They just seem to glow, and I can’t help but love it. Yes, I know it’s not a natural stone but that doesn’t seem to bother me nor my clients.

I don’t usually get many beads, just ’cause I already have tons of them, (and I did go bead shopping with Patti several times—WARNING! don’t do it!) but I fell in love with the snakeskin agate beads, so had to add those to my tab, and some Lady Bug Jasper, confetti jasper and, of course, 2 moonstones cabs, which are cut very deep.


Cobalt Calcite

Another great dealer is Joe Jelks from Horizon Mineral Company. He always has a nice selection of unusual choices. This year he had spectacular rough face lapis and cobalt calcite. Also his turquoise from the Fox mine, one of my favorite mines, was spectacular…so ka-ching. Another stone that I am returning to is one I used many years ago, amber, and Joe had some fabulous amber, and some that was a red/gold mixture which had some great patterning.

I have one major tip for all of you shopping for stones….If you always buy stones you fall in love with, you will never part with them. (And how would I know that?) So this year I made a concerted effort to purchase stones that were beautiful, but not necessarily ones I just “had” to have. Also, don’t forget to purchase smaller accent stones. I seem to always forget to pick up a handful of small round black onyx or small 3-4 mm faceted stones and then suddenly at 2 in the morning I can’t finish a piece because I need the small accent piece!

But you see my purchases, an I hope they somehow inspire you. Happy creating and may your bezels never melt!

Creatively yours–

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Posted in Lexi Erickson

Lexi at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show

What do you have when you have a group of friends from all over the country, a free 7-day schedule, (which is rare!) great weather and 10 large venues for looking at rocks, fossils, cabochons and beads?

You have a Gooooooood Tiiiiiiime!

Well, dear jewelers, that was last week at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show, the second largest gem show and sale in the country, right after Tucson. If Tucson seems a bit overwhelming, and believe me, it is, then Denver is the show for you. Let me explain a bit.

The Denver is smaller in the number of booths and venues, but nothing is missing…there is a great sampling of all the best that Tucson has to offer. And what the cutters buy in Tucson in February are showcased at the Denver show…so you see them first there. That’s a good enough reason, but wait, there’s more!

The show opens at the Denver Coliseum with tents full of fabulous stuff…

from barrels and tables of slab you can cut yourself to beautiful cabs, exotic beads, gigantic geodes you can stand in, sinks made of fossils, and sheets (Yes, bed sheets). I got two great cabs from John Heusler, (slabstocabs.com) who is an awesome jeweler and cutter, and his collection of this signature Jessite and Kaily agate was even more spectacular this year, as were his lace agates.
Kailey Agate

There are fossils inside the coliseum and everything from T-Rex skeletons for thousands of dollars, (yard art possibly?) to sharks teeth, which kids and grand-kids have a great time purchasing.

On Sunday, one of the best kept secrets of the show opens, at the Ramada Inn.

I’ve been  doing this show for 20+ years, and this has always been our first show to visit, and yet many people don’t know about it, and that’s a shame. I always stop there first, for some of the best gems in the entire show are to be found at Mark Lasater’s booth, the Clamshell, which is front and center in the lobby as you walk in. Though Mark also sells online (theclamshell.net), seeing the stones in person is awe-inspiring….and the majority of my allowance is spent that first day…..and as I visit the booth daily, I add to my stash daily, but never have I had one second of buyer’s remorse with a Clamshell stone.

Petrified red oak

This year he featured the very rare petrified  red oak,

With its bright colors of reds, yellows and unusual brown markings, I am now the owner of a large number of them! They are gorgeous! But his druzys, cut by master cutter Greg Genovese, are outstanding, as are his collection of unusual stones and cuts, such as this future dragon piece, cut by Alex Horst. Because Mark is a fabulous jeweler, too, his classic trademark is easy to design with stones. Plus, he and his son Gavin (also a great cutter) are two of the nicest guys in the show, and very knowledgeable about each stone.
Fantasy cut Druzy

Around the corner is the much loved “Russian Guy”, Sergye, who has extremely reasonably  priced rarities from the Kola Peninsula of Russia.

They are just fractions of the prices that you see on Etsy.   There are luscious Eudialites, with a deep raspberry color, (ka-ching) and opals to die for…..one was $40,000, and was the most beautiful opal I have even seen! He has the most beautiful deep green serpentine, and fuchsite which I swear will glow in the dark with its beauty. He also had yummy faceted strawberry quartz, and being an avid lover of anything pink….well you know….we just aren’t mentioning them here just in case my hubby pulls this up on the computer……

Strawberry Quartz crop

Then there is the visit to Burger King, because after three hours its getting to be lunch time.

Only this isn’t your regular Burger King….it’s Faulk Burger and Greg King. Faulk is foremost a jeweler, and has everything from exquisite (and pricy) stones to ancient coins (also expensive). His turquoise in quartz is glorious. Greg is the Turquoise King, and has representations of most of the well-known Southwestern turquoise mines. As you know, probably 95% (or more) of all turquoise has been stabilized, which means it has been hardened with Opticon or some other resin based product to increase its stability. Greg has both treated and untreated turquoise, and is very reputable with you telling which is which. While it’s wonderful to have the untreated, a treated stone will not discolor over time, nor absorb body oils, chemicals, etc. So it is totally up to you, but he has a great variety of both.

 Royston turquoise
If you do make the Tucson Show, all these cutters do show in Tucson at various venues. There are many more booths to visit, at the show, and this is a few of my favorites. Next week, I will share some of my favorites from “the big show”, as it’s called, which opened on Thursday. Until then, may your stone dreams be pleasant and inspiring. Happy designing.

Creatively yours,


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Posted in Interviews, Lexi Erickson

New Wubbers Layaway Program

It may seem early to start thinking about the holidays, but they will be here before we know it!

Wubbers wants to make your holiday shopping easier and a lot less stressful. Whether buying for yourself or someone else, let our layaway program ease the financial burden of the upcoming holiday season.

It’s this easy!

  1. Fill your basket full of goodies equaling $150 or more
  2. Enter the coupon code “Happy” during the checkout process
  3. Pay only the shipping during checkout
  4. We will call you within 2 business days to set up your three equal payments
And ta-da! Your order will ship out as soon as the third payment has been processed.

The Details:

  • Offer good through October 7, 2015
  • United States orders only
  • The first payment is due when we call you, and the other two payments will be automatically charged to your credit card in 30-day increments
  • Order ships out within 2 business days of the third and final payment


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Posted in Free Classes, Tools

Dog Days of Summer Jewelry Challenge Winners Announced!

August is a busy time of the year with back to school preparations, Bead Fest festivities and squeezing in any last minute vacations.  We want to sincerely thank  all who took the time to enter our Dog Days of Summer Jewelry Challenge.

As promised, everyone who entered will receive a $10 store credit to WubbersUShop.com and three randomly selected winners will receive a $50, $75, or $100 prize.   Be on the lookout in your inbox for your store credit information!

Now without further adieu your Dog Days of Summer Jewelry Challenge Winners are…

$100 Store Credit to WubbersUShop.com

Amanda BolenAmanda Bolen

“The Dog Days of Summer mean outdoor bluegrass concerts in my part of the world. So with that in mind, I’ve created a banjo pendant using copper wire. The center of the banjo is a hand-sculpted polymer clay Galax Leaf, which my city is named after.”

$75 Store Credit to WubbersUShop.com

Bonnie Berken 1

Bonnie Berken

“Biking in the coolness of the mountains is refreshing on the warm dog days of summer. “Mountain Biker Girl” is the name of this bracelet which uses bicycle chain for its structure. A wire-wrapped and beaded trillion donut of Picture Jasper stone creates part of the clasp which is the focal point of the bracelet. A peyote beaded bar forms the other half of the clasp. The earth tones in the beads complement the mountain “pictures” seen in the Jasper donut as well as the copper wire of the wrapping.”

$50 Store Credit to WubbersUShop.com

Cathy Slavin

Cathy Slavin

“These “Dog Days” are so hot  that I created a ‘heat sink’ bracelet to dissipate some of the heat  –  using my new Wubbers Designer Mandrels and some 20 gauge copper wire.

The 20 gauge wire is very elegant and light weight, and it actually does work!”

Posted in Challenge Winners
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