I spent this past week in Arizona sourcing precious gems to incorporate into my existing and coming Reagan Charleston collections. I've been to gem shows before and spent a considerable amount of time sourcing pearls, metals, and non-precious gems, and I thought I knew enough to jump right in and source precious stones. I was wrong. I am a VERY impulsive person. Shopping for my line is no different than shopping for myself. If I find something and REALLY like it, I feel compelled to buy it on the spot. A little voice inside my head just screams, "It won't still be here after you think it over! Buy now! Buy Now!" So, when I found some rubies, sapphires, and emeralds that looked just so sparkly and shiny under those oh-so flattering show lights, I snapped them up. Normally, I would have torn into them like a wild beast as soon as we left, but I waited like a responsible, sane person as neither Jeff nor myself wanted to spend the rest of our evening plucking precious stones out of the nooks and crannies of our little rental crossover. As soon as we got back to our hotel room, I smoothed out the already smooth white down comforter and began to pour out my gemstones onto the bed. Rubies first. I found, quite to my surprise, they weren't as shiny as they had been at the show. I was convinced it must be the ambient hotel lighting. I tore open the curtains. The sunlight did little more than confirm my much undesired suspicions. Certainly, I thought, my blue sapphires would be more brilliant. They were not. Next up for inspection were my emeralds. Another disappointment. I saved my orange sapphires for last, the stones that even in comparison to the diamonds, had glittered and shone with such fire that SURELY they would be, at the very least, half as pretty as I had imagined. While they did indeed sparkle, the brilliance was not what I had expected. Had I, the girl who has seen every gem under the sun, the girl whose family has been involved with jewelry for eons, the girl who knows one when she sees one... had THIS girl been fooled by the brilliant, electric show lights? I had. The next morning, with my bag of precious polished rocks, I sulked back to the gem show, lesson learned. Instead of beating myself up about it, I carried them around as an example, what not to look for. I think karma was on my side, because no sooner as I walked through the doors, I found a lovely gentleman dealing in rare precious stones. I spent the better half of my day there with him sorting through his menagerie of rare and hard to come by precious gemstones. I found the most amazing and extraordinarily rare emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. They are beautiful and brilliant, and they are as incredible inside as they are outside. No lighting is needed to display the quality of these gems. I completely geeked out and spent nearly two hours meticulously sorting through and selecting each and every stone that I would use. After a long morning of colorful beauty, I moved on to the diamonds. OOOh diamonds. The are highly regarded for a reason. The mere thought of a diamond makes me giddy. White diamonds, yellow diamonds, pink diamonds, black diamonds... they all make me weak at the knees. I was literally a kid in a candy store. The depth and beauty of other stones are incredible as well, but I just loooooove the way a diamond shimmers and glimmers. I am like a fish, I am easily distracted by anything shiny. I chose the prettiest diamonds to include in my collection. No inclusions, discolorations, or fogginess; just pristine, perfect diamonds. I truly can't wait to share all of the beautiful stones that I brought back with me. I have some fantastic things in store, and I hope that you all will cherish them and love them as much as I do!