Trolls, the same ones who take your socks out of the dryer. I have
since found if you ask nicely for the stone to be returned in will
magically appear, sometimes right before your eyes!
Hi Dennis! Re your post about the gem-stealing trolls; is your
studio under a bridge? You may want to get a billy goat.
In my studio, the problem seems usually to be gnome-related. I
believe these gnomes to be small-tool gnomes, not to be confused with
the common garden gnome (Gnomus horticulturis vulgaris). I suspect
that they may be related to wood gnomes (Gnomus sylvestris), who
usually busy themselves with moving the nuts that squirrels have
carefully set by for the winter. This is why squirrels always have a
sort of flustered look about them.
Anyway, these gnomes scamper about the workshop in the dark and move
things like compasses, pencils, utility knives (they love those),
kneaded erasers, and so on. They don't come near the jewelry workbench
much, as I always keep things like the chuck key in fixed locations,
which confuses them, and I keep burs and abrasive discs in
compartmentalized boxes, which they find distasteful.
There is some evidence to suggest that there is a species of
thermophilic gnome that is attracted to autoclaves (where they blow
the lids off things or cause bottles to implode), kilns (where they
destroy pottery and discolor dichroic glass), and toaster ovens
(where they blow bubbles in resin as it cures). Many other creatures,
such as the Foredom-motor kobold, the torch-valve imp, and the
hard-drive djinn, also trouble hardworking jewelers, and are found
in every major biome.
Gnome control is indeed difficult. Saucers of milk are no help (as
everyone knows, these are more effective for brownies and pixies),
and scattering seeds, so effective in controlling vampires, only
seems to attract them. So, as you suggest, maybe a politely phrased
plea for mercy is the best approach!
Best to all, and may your gnomes be understanding,