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Jewelry Making Is a Way of Life

August 18, 2005

Dining With Duvall by Lynn Duvall

My best friend, Judie, used to be a jewelry designer.

She no longer makes her own jewelry. These days Judie haunts gem shows for unique artisan pieces and fine gemstones.

A few months ago I was tagging along behind Judie as she combed the aisles of a gem show at the Pasadena Convention Center. We usually go to Santa Monica, where it's horribly crowded and steamy hot, inside giant white tents. For once, I was not crammed in with hordes of shoppers, dying of the heat. I began to look more closely at the rivers, lakes and oceans of beads.

If you have never been to a gem show, you cannot comprehend the sheer volume of beads displayed. I find it overwhelming. In Pasadena, smaller quantities made browsing easier.

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I said to Judie, "I wonder where they have jewelry making classes? These beads are so beautiful. I could make earrings, if I knew how to wrap the wire and attach the fittings."

Judie nodded as I recalled that I hate classes of any kind. I have no patience, no eye-hand coordination. The jewelry class idea went out the window. I bought a pretty pair of ready-made earrings, but I was still twitching, wishing I could make something for myself.

The very next day I received an e-mail from thetipjar.com announcing a new concept: jewelry-making parties. A new company called Luxe Jewels has set up a website offering consultants and jewelry kits. You can invite your friends over to make jewelry. Hey, did someone say party? Yes, this was more like it.

As a private person, I have never invited myself to a party, but as a journalist, I have no shame. I wrote to Luxe immediately. A short time later, I found myself knocking on the door of a stately 1926 manse in Silver Lake, presenting myself to our hostess, Veronica Scholl.

Veronica graciously introduced me to her friends. She'd gathered a group of six women of all ages and backgrounds for the party. Most of them knew each other through work.

Karen Tsia, from Sierra Madre, told me, "I came because this is a chance to see Veronica. I don't wear jewelry, but it sounded fun."

I accepted a glass of excellent white wine and tasted the treats. A selection of gourmet cheeses and crackers, fresh shrimp, dips and spreads, grapes and prosciutto-wrapped melon were attractively presented and perfectly balanced.

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