Earlier this month, I was in Arizona for the big Tucson Gem & Mineral Show. The temperature in New York fell to about 5 degrees that week, so I was delighted to be in warmer cactus country.
I have excellent gem dealers in New York City, but it can still be tough to find very small colored gems for my micropavé Maneater ring designs. I was in Tucson on the hunt for .8 millimeter to 1 millimeter garnets. Did you know garnets come in many different colors? There’s the pretty red rhodolite garnet that I used to make birthstone studs this year, while my all-time favorite colored gem is the green tsavorite garnet. I use tsavorite in many of my designs, including my Marie Antoinette earrings and my onyx skull ring.
You can also get yellowish grossular garnet and orange spessartite garnet. I purchased 1 millimeter samples of all four colors for the two Maneater designs I have in the works.
The Maneater collection brought me to Tucson in another way. My Pink Elephant and Tipsy Writer Maneater ring won honorable mention in the AGTA Spectrum Awards design contest and there was a gala dinner for the winners during the show.
All of the Spectrum winners were on display during the gem show. I’d seen pictures of them all, but I wanted to see them in person. After taking a close look at all of the designs, I was a bit amazed to find myself in the group, because most of the winning pieces featured large center stones, or at least a series of sizable stones. Mine was the only piece created entirely with tiny pavé stones. I think the judges appreciated the humor of the pink-sapphire elephant (the hallucination of the drunk writer tucked inside the band of the ring) as well as the workmanship. During the dinner, the emcee announcing the winners giggled while describing my ring and encouraged people to go see it in person. I also got a big compliment from my tablemate Dalan Hargrave, an exuberant 6’8″ Texan gem carver who waved his cowboy hat and let out a big whoop when his first-place win for this incredible set of rhodolite garnets was announced. I wasn’t sitting next to him, but he caught me after dinner was finished and told me that I had the “funnest” design in the competition. I loved that, especially because Dalan was clearly the funnest guy at the event!
For the awards dinner, I wore a black halter dress by my favorite vintage designer Ossie Clark — the first Ossie I ever owned. I think the last time I wore it was in 2003! It’s a great dress, but after I got it, I realized the best Ossie Clark designs are the ones that featured prints by Ossie’s ex-wife, Celia Birtwell. I also moved away from wearing black for evening. I always knew I’d wear it again eventually though.
Here is the dress in 2003.
And here it is 12 years later in Tucson, accessorized by my award certificate.
What Wendy Wore
Dress: Ossie Clark (probably bought online in 2003)
Shoes: Prada (2011)
Jewelry: My own designs and personal vintage
In the ladies room at the awards, I took the “amazing bosom” iPhone selfie of a lifetime thanks to the plunging cut of the Ossie.
I tried and tried to repeat the perfect boobaciousness of this selfie, but apparently it was a one-time thing. At least I’ve been inspired to wear this dress again sooner rather than later!