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February Special: Orders over $150 get $7 toward shipping!  

Fab Feb. Finds!
Thanks to all of you who took advantage of our 20% off special.
It was as usual a big success. Who doesn't like a good sale, anyway?

My trips to India, Thailand and the Tucson Gem Show were once again fruitful. There was lots to see and buy. I found some great shell pieces in Thailand, along with some really cute Hilltribe necklaces that are sure to be a hit. In India I found some really nice "Bali style" jewelry, with delicate cast silver work.

My textile suppliers had some great ideas for handbags. I also found some really nice cushion covers, as usual. Most of the fabric products I bought won't be ready until next month, but I did buy some ready goods that will be here shortly.

As for new jewelry items, check the site. We've added over 50 new pieces for you to peruse. There are new chains, new Hilltribe jewelry, several new amber designs, in addition to a bunch of assorted jewelry that can be seen under the new arrivals section. Over the next several days we'll be adding more, including lots of new amber that I got as closeouts while in Tucson. I know the prices will appeal to everyone, and the quality is top notch.

Review: Tucson Gem Show
As I have mentioned before, the annual Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show is the largest collection of gem, mineral and jewelry suppliers in the world. The show is held during the first two weeks of February in Tucson, and is a huge event. This year there were 39 different venues with anywhere from a dozen to over 500 exhibitors per show. You do the math: it's a big deal.

Exhibitors come from all over the world to exhibit their wares. At the Tucson Show you can find everything from fossils and mineral specimens to beads to high end diamond jewelry. If it's made from stone, chances are you can find it in Tucson. This year was the largest show ever.

Probably the most noticeable trend this year was turquoise. Everyone had it in some form or another. There was sky blue turquoise from the US, apple green, brown, or yellow varieties from China, and even lime green dyed turquoise processed in Hong Kong. It seems the forecasts have everyone ready to move huge quantities of this fun and attractive mineral during the resurgence in popularity.

Also notable were the amount of bead wholesalers. Having just opened a retail store with about 1/3 of the square footage devoted to beads, I was obviously on the look out, but it really seemed like this year every other booth had beads for sale. The variety and price range was truly staggering. Some of the Indian wholesalers were offering low end semiprecious beads for $1 per strand. Other vendors specialized in high end faceted gemstones sold in the hundreds of dollars per half-strand. There were also silver, gold, vermeil and even copper findings. The number of vendors is a testament to the widespread interest among hobbyists in making their own jewelry.

I was also struck by the confluence of current events and how they are impacting the jewelry industry. Precious metals prices, especially silver, have fluctuated wildly over the past year. As I have mentioned before, the overall trend is on an upward trajectory. For literally a decade, silver hovered in the $5 per ounce range. Over the past year price has varied between $5.50 and $8 per ounce. In truth it has rarely dipped below $6 per ounce, and often tops $7. Today silver opened at $6.60 and closed at $7.17!

In addition to rising silver, the US Dollar is currently coming off some historic lows. In 2003 for example, $1 bought almost 43 Thai baht. Today it buys just 38.5 Thai baht, a difference of almost 12%. My Thai vendors charge more now for silver, and my dollar buys 12% less than it used to. The dollar versus Euro story is even more dramatic.

In the end, I finally saw "bottom line" prices rising. Sure, there were still the 29¢/gram signs, but the selection was a sorry state of old close outs and very limited quantity. The price increases are gaining traction and I doubt we'll see any drop until and if silver prices settle down and the dollar recovers.

The silver lining (pardon the pun) to this cloud is that in the grand scheme of things silver is still inexpensive compared to many other commodities. Retailers will continue to have plenty of room for mark up while keeping prices affordable in the eyes of our customers.

Highlights of the Site
New Arrivals section features more than 50 new items.
Great new Hilltribe jewelry.

Turquoise is hot, as is coral.
New Tucson blowout items on the way!

Lots of exciting things happening. Turquoise is always fun to wear and customers went crazy for it two years ago, so stock up while it's hot. If you have any questions or comments, please email me.


Mike McGinnis
Whirled Planet
808-822-2335 tel.
888-408-0072 toll free (US only)


Special Sale Items:

Hilltribe Sun Necklace
Handmade silver beads with coral accent.
Price: $9.35
Small Round Link Chain
Lightweight Thai chain, great for smaller pendants, or as an impulse item at the register.
Price: $4.50
Shell Swirl Pendant
Made in Thailand, this great pendant combines abalone with Bali style.
Price: $7.75

Amber Heart Earring
Good for Valentine's Day or any day, this heart is selling very well.
Price: $7.25

February Special:
$7 off orders over $150

Our Promise:
You may return any item for any reason. We have a no-questions-asked policy. If you get something you don't like, for any reason, just send it back!

About Us:
All our silver jewelry is guaranteed sterling (at least 92.5% silver), and whenever possible each piece is stamped to indicate this. All our stones are genuine.

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