Friday, May 15, 2009

The 2009 Rings and Things Bead Tour as Seen by Dawno

Tour logo used by permission, © Rings & Things

Yesterday I went to the Rings & Things Bead Tour in San Mateo, CA. I've never been to any gem or jewelry supplier shows before, just seen pictures in articles or on blogs. I know intellectually that this, being a single supplier's venue, is very different from shows where there are multiple vendors, but I couldn't tell you how it's different. At least, not until I finally get to one somewhere. I guess Tucson is a biggie, and I'd like to go there someday.

So, all I can give you is a few pictures and some of my own impressions of the San Mateo stop of the Rings & Things Bead Tour 2009.

The event opened at 1pm and I was there around 1:15, stayed until 3:30 - shopping through 50 long tables full of trays of semi-precious gemstones, pearls and various other types of beads - I focused on the stone, pearl and metal (and a few bags of Swarovski's), so I'm not sure what the other offerings included - I would venture to say bone, ceramic, wood and glass.

Here's the view at about 1:30 from the back of the hall - not many people there yet, did get a bit busier later, but it was never very crowded. I think I saw about 4 or 5 male shoppers, the rest were women.

Here's the first item of major interest to catch my eye - Tootsie Rolls!

Actually by the time I got to that table I'd already put quite a haul in my tray. I should have taken a picture of that, too, but I forgot.

Lots of turquoise - Nevada and Mexican were the two regions I noticed. Didn't get any, was not on my list of 'must haves' this time around, but the prices were good and the quality looked pretty good as well. I just don't use many turquoise nuggets or faceted turquoise stones in my designs right now.

I'm pretty sure this was one of the tables with a nice selection of various shapes, sizes and colors of freshwater pearls. I picked up a few strands as you'll see below. I loved the little top-drilled ones and some shaped like mushroom caps, so I got some.

Big glass pearls at the near end, and I think there were double drilled, large dyed stones at the far end - but I'm not 100% sure.

At the very back were tables overflowing with findings and components in gold fill, sterling, gold and silver plate and basemetals; cords, wire, chain, tools and a pretty good selection of Swarovski colors and sizes and shapes. I picked up some 4 & 5mm Swarovski bicones packages (the one that just looks like a white bag is some opal colored ones that I've been thinking about ordering, so I was really glad to see them there), some gunmetal chain and - oh, heck, let me just show you (not shown, two 100 ft spools of Beadalon 49 strand wire):

Swarovskis, Sterling bails, Bali Sterling caps and spacers, Gunmetal chain,
Freshwater Pearls, Hessionite, Opalite, Amethyst, Dragon's Blood Jasper, Prehnite, Onyx

After reading about amethyst on the Rings & Things blog, I tried to get a good selection in sizes and shapes I knew I'd use, so that's the clump of purple in the middle. I'm very happy with what I found. I'm exceptionally happy with the prices! They also had a good selection of "lab" amethyst - a deeper purple in color and very pretty. I may get some one of these days to use in lanyards that I want the look, but not the expense to pass on, of natural amethyst, but also prettier than amethyst colored glass beads.

All in all, I had a great time - a rather solitary one since my friend, who I met for lunch couldn't come and I didn't know anyone else there - but that gave me the chance to really take my time, examine things closely and make what I think were really good selections. I probably had about half as much again in my tray when I sat down to decide what I really wanted and what I could do without, as I had given myself a budget. I'm proud to say that I stayed in it!

I want to thank Dave for coming here and leaving a comment last October, that first introduced me to a real live person at Rings & Things. I'd bought some Scrimps from them when, via a Google Search they were the only supplier who had the ones I wanted, but I hadn't gone back for other beads or supplies with them yet. Based on his taking the time to come by and comment here, I started using them more and more. I feel like they (through Dave) are a partner in getting my little business growing, not just a place where I shop. The same goes for just a couple other supplier partners, but since the focus today is on the Rings & Things tour, I'll talk about them another time.

And that's it for my Bead Show reflections. Hope to see you back here tomorrow, and especially Sunday, when I'll have a *great* tour of the Beadosphere lined up for you!

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Blogger Hilary said...

Reading this, I had a flashback to being a kid, and looking through my grandmother's jewelry box. It looks like a dazzling display. I'd have been hard-pressed to stay within a budget.

May 15, 2009 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger Dave Robertson said...

Hi Dawno, I'm really glad you could go to our show! This post gives a good idea of the shopping experience. (But I'm hoping we had more than 20 tables up.) Thanks for taking the time to blog about this & let everyone have a peek at your bead finds!


May 15, 2009 at 8:00 AM  
Blogger Dawno said...

Yes, I know exactly what you mean. It was very hard to stay in budget - I had to force myself not to get things that attracted my eye - ended up putting quite a few things back on the tables.

It helped to have some jewelry designs already planned out and then to shop with those in mind. The only pieces I bought that were 'impulse' were the tiny hessonite garnet roundells. I'm pretty sure how I'm going to use them now, but I hadn't intended to get any.

May 15, 2009 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Dawno said...

Dave - get me the exact number of tables and I'll edit the post - I want to be accurate, but I didn't actually count them - just seemed like two rows of ten, but definitely could have been more!

May 15, 2009 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger Wendy T. Gibson said...

Thanks for the tour!

May 15, 2009 at 8:42 AM  
Blogger Dave Robertson said...

- Just realized I *could* check how many tables we had out. Turns out it was 50! (What's unusual is to see them without tablecloths. I did a double take...)


May 15, 2009 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Dawno said...

thanks Dave! I fixed the post. I knew it was more than 20, just didn't realize how many more!

May 15, 2009 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hi there! NICE pictures!! I got a few butterflies in my stomach when I saw the first one...all those beads......yum!

May 15, 2009 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger JustATish said...


May 15, 2009 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger A Fly On The Wall said...

Excellent post Dawno - I have a soft spot for Gem Shows! :D

Robyn Hawk

May 18, 2009 at 11:17 PM  
Blogger Dawno said...

Hi Robin! I would love to go to more - am waiting for the planets to align, I guess. Glad of your blog to help me know when and where I can find them!

May 19, 2009 at 8:09 AM  

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