In the grand scheme of things, and what is happening in the world now, we guess this blog will sound trite. But we wanted to report back on what we found on the jewelry scene when we went to Arizona on vacation last month.
We have not been in AZ — or its areas such as Scottsdale, Sedona and Carefree — in about two years. So our eyes almost popped out of our head when we saw the way prices for jewelry and such have skyrocketed.
Even some of our favorite haunts, jewelry shops a bit off the beaten and tourist-ridden path, didn’t seem to have any deals.
We have a pretty sizable collection of blue turquoise now, and quite frankly don’t want any more. If anything, we keep our eye out for green turquoise, Carico Lake in particular. But Arizona has a lot more than Native-American made Southwestern-style jewelry. Its shops have a wide variety of sterling silver, artisan-crafted pieces from all over. That’s why we can browse at this stuff for hour upon hour.
We did make some purchases, but probably not what you would expect. In Sedona there is a New Agey-crystal store that we’ve been going to for years, which has not only jewelry but a huge selection of rocks.
We were keeping our eye out for Herkimer Diamonds, and thought maybe they would be a new trend in AZ. A couple of years ago, druzy was red hot.
In this Sedona shop we found a small bowl filled with some very large Herkimer Diamonds, 2 to 2 1/1 inches long. Some of them had black carbon spots, which we actually like in this particular stone.
Each Herkimer Diamond was wrapped in a sterling-steel girdle so you could wear it as a pendant. We bought two, one for us and one as a belated birthday present for our friend and traveling companion Deb.
As it turned out, it was a good purchase, because we only ran across one other store that was selling Herkimer Diamonds, and they we weren’t jumbo-sized like the ones we bought.
In Old Scottsdale, a real tourist trap that we still love because of all its jewelry stores, we came across a few finds. One shop had a little corner dedicated to jewelry by Evine Live vendor Samuel Behnam. The store owner began explaining that Behnam was a jewelry maker based in New Jersey, which was news to us Garden State gals.
We said we were familiar with his work, but didn’t mention his home shopping collection. They were selling several Behnam men’s bracelets with dragon heads, which were remarkably similar in style to those made by John Hardy but a hell of a lot cheaper.
But ultimately, we brought a large dog tag-style silver pendant on a leather cord that is probably a piece of men’s jewelry, but we liked it for us. It has several skulls on it, which like the Mexicans we think of as a good symbol, and a background of real stingray skin.
On the other side of the pendant, which we consider reversible, was a pattern of small stingrays.
We were also on the lookout for ladybug jewelry, since we think that critter is good luck. At another Old Town shop, we found a round inlay pendant that looked like a ladybug. We picked that up and have already worn it several times.
The ridiculous prices we were in Arizona made us realize some of the really great deals that the home shopping networks offer us for jewelry and gemstones.
By the way, the Old Town jewelers didn’t seem to know their stuff. In the only shop outside of Sedona where we found Herkimer Diamonds, the sales woman insisted that Herkimer was in Pennsylvania, not New York. You HSN girls know that’s not correct.
In another store, we asked to see a huge gem pendant that was marked as onyx. We held it up to the light, and saw that you could see through it and that it was brown — in other words, smoky quartz, not opaque onyx.
When we told the salesman in that store that the pendant was incorrectly marked, that it was not onyx, he insisted we were wrong.