Archive for the ‘Peter Vajda’ Category

Paul Deasy, Home Shopping’s Resident Gem Connoisseur, Dishes To Us About The Black Opal He’s Bringing To ShopNBC, And More

February 18, 2010

Paul Deasy

Home shopping veteran and gem expert Paul Deasy told us that he has some surprises coming up on his “Gem Insider” shows tomorrow and Friday on ShopNBC, and for the rest of the year at the No. 3 home shopping channel.

Deasy, who previously worked at HSN and QVC, said Wednesday that he is debuting special Australian black opal on ShopNBC for its Tucson ’10 Sneak Peek event. And the other gemstones he will feature are the now-hot malachite, amazonite and the very rare gaspeite.

“No one’s been able to ever get any kind of affordable, truly affordable, Australian black opal to the customer,” Deasy said. “We’re going to achieve that.”

ShopNBC’s Friday’s Today’s Top Value will be from Deasy’s “Gem Insider” line.

We interviewed Deasy by phone, with him speaking to us from a hotel room in Minneapolis, where ShopNBC is headquartered. He arrived there this morning with his wife Judy Crowell, a fellow ShopNBC vendor and QVC and HSN alum. They flew in from their home in Florida, fresh off a six-day trip to attend the Tucson Gem Shore.

Deasy, who is working on a book on opals, met his business partner, Peter Vajda, when he traveled to the Australian opal mines to film video to air on QVC about a decade ago. They both “shared a passion” for opals, according to Deasy.

Vajda, who is also an expert on turquoise, has been stockpiling opals for years from his camp in Lambina Station in the Outback. He’s perfected a proprietary process – a treatment similar to stabilizing turquoise – to make to the opals more durable. It also enhances their color, so it’s “just absolutely sensational,” according Deasy.

Compared to opal that is now selling for $420 to $500 a carat wholesale, “We’re going to have prices that are just going to blow everybody away, and it’s only available at this point on ShopNBC, because we’re giving them the right of first refusal on it,” according to Deasy.

Now may be the time to grab your black opal, some of which will be set in sterling silver, from ShopNBC. Because of the tough economy and fuel costs, there has been a dramatic decline in opal mining in Australia, Deasy told us.

The upcoming “Gem Insider” show will also feature high-quality amazonite, the bluish-green opaque stone, that Deasy found in Colorado, as well as malachite, the pretty deep green striated stone that’s very “in” this year.

“We found a tremendous source in the Democratic Republic of the Congo…The material is gorgeous,” Deasy said of his malachite, which is a byproduct of copper mining.

Judy Crowell

Finally, the “Gem Insider” show will offer bright green gaspeite from western Australia. We love the vivid color of gaspeite, and we used to often see it featured in jewelry in shops in Scottsdale. But we haven’t spotted it in recent visits. Deasy said that’s because gaspeite isn’t even being mined right now.

“It’s really rare stuff,” he told us.

Deasy has big plans for “Gem Insider” this year. Look for “Mined in America” shows that will feature rubies, sapphires and emeralds from North Carolina; peridot from Colorado; and turquoise from veteran mines.

“We think there’s a lot of stories to be told right here in our own backyard,” he said.

Deasy will also be going to mining sites in the United States and South America to film videos that will air during his “Gem Insider” shows later this year. Both he and Crowell traveled to mines when they were at QVC to give viewers a bird’s eye view of the gem business.

“We found that formula to be very successful in the past because I’ve always felt that people certainly love the gemstones, but they love to find out a lot more about history and culture,” Deasy said. “It’s also a way for them to vicariously enjoy the mining experience without getting their feet dirty.”

Crowell is busy, too. While we were interviewing Deasy, she got her first look at sample of a piece of outerwear – part of her new line for ShopNBC — that she had sent to the hotel in Minnesota.

Crowell has already introduced a collection of handbags and scarves on ShopNBC, and will be premiering the outerwear on the channel next month.