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Thursday, March 15, 2012

And the Winner Is.... All of You!

 Update 1: I am getting someone at Punchtab to look into why the contest hasn't ended. In the meantime, you can still enter. I hope this will be resolved quickly. :) Sorry...

Update 2: Issue resolved! WE HAVE A WINNER!!! Joyce, you are the lucky winner! You had far and beyond the most entries! Thank you, EVERYONE for playing! It has been fun!
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By noon we will have a winner to the contest. But, today you are all winners on my blog, because I have a special post for you:  An interview with one of my cab sources. He's also a wirewrapper, himself. I'm sure you will find him as interesting as I do. This is a long blog, but one I think you'll enjoy and do give his store a look, too. He sells on Artfire and has 204 sales, so you know he is doing something right. I think you'll be very happy with any business you do with him. :) Be sure to contact him through Artfire for your discount on multiple items.

Neon Blue Apatite (available at Bill's store)

I've gotten three large lots of stones from Bill- enough to know he has some good stuff. He also has good prices and offers deals on multiple stone purchases. I asked him if he wanted to do an interview. I found out that Bill is the real deal, old time rock hound.

Talk about going to the source! He lived in the Rocky Mountains for 25 years and spent a lot of time rock hunting. He was even a guide for other rock hunters. Bill spent the last year in the mountains living in a yurt 14 miles to the nearest town, chopping wood and carrying his own water. His favorite area to rock hunt was a place where 32 million year sedimentary rock came into contact with billion year old granite.

Ritchertite and Sugilite (available- if I don't get it first!)

Bill began his love affair with rocks on a surveying crew. When he wasn't busy working, he was checking out the rocks around him. At that time, he was looking at petrified wood, but he later learned it was Leaverite- or, what old timers call what you leave in the field 'cause it really ain't worth the trouble to haul. :)

Rutilated Quartz (available in Bill's store)

Around 1980, Bill was in Wyoming where he says his rock collecting really took off. Local shop owners took him under their wings and freely taught him all about his new hobby. Bill saw most of his old friends slowly die off from cancer, cancer that he suspects was the result of all the rock cutting without masks. These old friends taught him more about just rocks, though. They taught him the old school tradition of giving something for free or marking down a price for stones and jewelry. Kinda like the "paying it forward" that we talk about now.

By 1990, Bill was working in a music store where the owner allowed him to sell his rocks and the jewelry he was, by now, making. He calls his style of wire wrapping "old school or minimalist". He taught himself how to do it after buying a pendant and studying it. The job also allowed him more time to pursue his hobby. He made friends with some local ranchers along the Oregon Trail who allowed him to rock hunt on their land. Bill has panned for gold, dug quartz crystals and found artifacts (legally)- some as old as 14,000 years, as well as found rocks.

Watermelon Tourmaline Slice (available)

As his health began to decline he had to give up his rock hunting hobby. Even being on the computer is painful for him. Today he is selling his personal collection of cabochons, gem crystals, spheres, pyramids, geodes, obelisks and more. However, Bill has been able to continue making jewelry, though, which he is thankful for. He enjoys doing craft shows but he enjoys doing private shows more as he gets to spend more time with the people one on one to discuss the properties of the stones they are attracted to. He has lots of repeat customers and always gives them little gifts that they appreciate, like crystals. He says, "those who know me, know I let the cab tell me how it wants to be wrapped." A man after my own heart. :)

A private show setup

I asked Bill about his jewelry and the ladies in his life. Needless to say, they are all fans and have lots of nice jewelry. He taught a few of them how to make jewelry and a nephew, too. Bill knows that women are his best customers and always keeps them in mind.

A custom pendant Bill made for his daughter- Victoria Stone and color change Amethyst.

After getting to know Bill a little more, I asked him these questions:

Q: What is the coolest rock you ever found?

Oh this is a hard question to answer so I'll give you a couple answers. 1. The day I found where to dig quartz crystals, just walking up the slope littered with crystals sparking in the sun light. As I heard the honk from the 4x4 letting me know we were headed back to camp, I swear my feet were not touching the ground. It felt like I was walking 3 feet above the ground. Part of the reason is it had taken me 5 years and 50 miles (as the Raven flies) to find where the first crystal came from. 2. The day I found the back piece of a Clovis point (at least 12,000 years old) One of the things I was rock hunting for was a Mammoth kill site and with finding that Clovis piece I knew I was in the right area. I never did find that kill site but I am planning a trip back to Wyoming this summer so ya just never know.

Q: What is your favorite type of stone to cut?

Gem Silica or old stock Sugilite

Rare Ray Mine Gem Silica (available- price negotiable)

Q: What's the biggest rock you had to haul by yourself and was it worth it?

That would have to be a large (35lbs) conglomerate of solid black Tourmaline crystals, it was from a large outcroping of all black Tourmaline (a pegmatie dike) but the sad part is someone had dynamited it and shattered it all. This seems to have been common practice by people looking for gold, they miss the beauty right in front of the cause they are focused on the gold.

Q: Did you ever find much gold?
No we never did, it was the hardest physical labor I've ever done rock hunting. But we did find some.

Q: Did you ever find faceting material?

As in gemstone crystals?? Yes, but the gemstones were locked in Billion year old granite and there was no way to get them out without shattering them. Someone, once again, had used dynamite and shattered a bunch of gemstone and granite.

Q: Did you dig alone?

One of the rock hunting rules was NEVER hunt alone. I had a group of friends that loved rock hunting and camping, too. If one did not respect the high desert and mountains, one could get in serious trouble quickly!!!  Plus we always let somebody know where we planned on going. We did have to walk out to a paved road twice after the 4X4 SUV got stuck, a 12 mile hike both times. One had to be aware because we ran into rattlesnakes almost everywhere we rock hunted, nothing killed a rock hunt faster than rattlesnakes. Another rule was that we NEVER EVER dug for artifacts, surface hunting only!

Q: What do you think of all the new styles of wirewrapping- coiling, weaving, etc?

I am amazed by all the new styles and the amount of work that goes into them. In my humble opinion, there are some that loose sight that it's about the stone.

Q: Which metal do you prefer to work with?
Right now, my favorite is 14k white gold filled but this can change without a moments notice.

Q: Did you cab with wirewrapping in mind?

Absolutely

Q: What's your favorite cut?

I think its called a modified kite

The kite style Bill likes so much + old stock Sugilite (available)
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I hope my readers got a little insight into what it takes to get the rocks we use. And, as I have said before, try to do business locally. These people are independent artists, too. :) More of Bill's rocks and his jewelry can be found at Artfire, under his username Stonefanatic.


 Today's question:  What is your favorite stone?


25 comments:

  1. What a great interview! Interesting, and loved the eye candy!

    Will check out Bill's site.

    Joyce

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    1. Thanks, Joyce- glad you liked it. :) And CONGRATULATIONS! :)

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  2. What an amazing man and interesting story! Thank you for sharing that with us. I've checked his site and he does have some beautiful cabs.

    Kate

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    1. Yes, he really does. I've been very happy and I'm happy to share with everyone. He has plenty more to list, too.

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  3. Oh Tela! I don't know whether to thank you or curse you for showing me his online store. What a treasure house of beautiful stones! I don't have much time for browsing today, but will return soon. They are just gorgeous, as well as educational to see what the different stones look like in cabs. Wow!

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    1. You can curse me. I do it to myself every time I start looking at cabs! LOL!

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  4. Tela, Thank you for sharing this amazing man! What a storied life. I can't wait to check out his online store.
    Hmmm...my favorite stone has to be Jasper because of the many and varied appearances it takes on.

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    1. Jaspers ROCK! LOL! That's my favorite family of rocks. You notice I don't use a whole lots of agates? :)

      Bill is interesting. It's nice to buy from someone who really knows his stuff and not just some importer who doesn't know and agate from a jasper.

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  5. Forgot to add, I have all my fingers and toes crossed. I will, however, try my best to be a gracious loser if need be!!

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    1. I'm sorry :( But, you are a winner with me... does that count? You are such a sweetheart, Christine. :)

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  6. Thanks for doing all this, Tela. It's been interesting, informative and fun.

    Joyce

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    1. You're welcome, Joyce- I have enjoyed it, too. :)

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing, both his story and his site.

    Will be doing some shopping come payday! LOL

    Diane F.

    Good Luck everyone!

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    1. You're welcome Diane :) I don't mind, he has lots of rocks and he deserves the business.

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  8. This was an beautiful reward for reading your blog!! Thank you! Can't wait to go through the store more when I have time.

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    1. I get carried away whenever I visit his store. I have a long list of favorites. :)

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  9. I loved learning about your rocks and about the members here. This has been such fun!

    Since checking Bill's store, I have a new respect for Fordite, but my favorite always will be spectrolite. I like its in-your-face subtlety.
    Thank you, Tela.

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    1. You like fordite, too?? I think they are awesome especially since I used to paint cars for a living. Yup, sure did. For 5 years, I was lead painter at a very, very good shop. I loved every single second of it. I only left because I moved and decided to go back to school.

      mmmmm.... spectrolite- I don't think I could ever have enough....

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  10. Bill sounds like such a fantastic and interesting person! In my experience, most hardcore rock hounds are. :)

    My favorite stone is botswana agate. I love the texture! It looks like a fingerprint.

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    1. Hi Sarah- yeah I agree with you about rock hounds- very down to earth people. :) I also agree about the Botswana agate. I like the ones with the lines so close that they have that moire optical illusion. Very cool!

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  11. Thank you Tela so much!! In doing the interview fond memories kept flooding back, oh how I miss the mountians. Thank you all for you kind comments. It brings joy to me to see the stunning jewelry that Tela makes with the stone's she has bought from me.

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  12. I'm the one who should thank you, Bill! :) It was a lot of fun doing this and I got to meet an interesting guy. My jewelry is only as good as the rocks I use ;)

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  13. Tela, I've been meaning to post a comment to let you know how wonderful your blog is! It gives me inspiration, information, and comfort to know that there is a community out there of like-minded jewelry designers! But this blog post was just too much for me -- I had to go and look at Bill's rocks on Artfire, and now I've fallen in love with a Sugilite/Richterite cab ... pretty soon I'll be collecting pretty rocks too! And my day job has gotten so crazy, I hardly have any time to make jewelry anymore! Is it OK to just stare at the sparkly things and drool? :o) Tela and Bill, thank you so much!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Hope! There are days, I confess, when I wonder if anyone is reading. :) It's really nice to know you enjoy it.

      You can stare and drool all you want- I do it all the time! I have a new long list of cabs that I want to get from Bill, but I have to wait till I have the money and hope they are all still there when I do. :)

      Here's hoping you get some quality time with your tools real soon.

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    2. OOOPs, I'm so used to seeing your other name!! Sorry Amy. (My sister in law calls herself that, too. (Auntie Amy)

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.