Just came back from SOFA Chicago


I just returned from a first once-over of this year’s SOFA (going
back Sunday). First, I want to congratulate Andy Cooperman on the
beautiful work I saw there. If I am slighting others who have work
in the show–please tell me, and I’ll be sure to check it out on

I didn’t really see the show thoroughly yet, but it seemed to me
that both the quality and quantity of Jewelry were down this year.
More wood, much of it pretty cool, than usual, and even more glass,
I thought, than the usual overload. But it is still a
not-to-be-missed, in spite of $12 to get in, $17.50 for parking, and
food that started at $3.25 for a bottle of water(!!!)

I overheard one thing there that really bothered me. A salesperson
was explaining to a potential customer that the necklace she was
trying on was “yellow turquoise” (it was, in fact, a somewhat muddy
greenish-yellow with a little veining, I think). After the recent
discussion here about “white turquoise”, and about “trade names” for
stones… When the sales person was far enough from the counter, I
quietly took her aside, and mentioned that “yellow turquoise” was
like “purple emerald”–an oxymoron. (Didn’t use that term.) The
woman said, “well, that’s what the artist eas told it is. It’s a
trade name.” As far as I’m concerned, that’s like saying, “I know
moissonite isn’t really diamond, but it was sold to me as diamond,
and that’s it’s trade name”. Sigh. Not good for the public’s trust
in our profession. Unless there really IS such a thing as yellow
turquoise… Anyone?


I would agree that the amount and quality of jewelry seemed to be a
bit off from previous years, it seems like a couple of the galleries
with great jewlery from out of town stayed home this year…lots and
lots of glass. I did really enjoy Andy Coopermans work, what
wonderful stuff! I also saw some miniature folded paper sculpture
that was exceptional.

I will mention one of my pet peeves about the show…I went with the
thought of picking up a pair of gold earrings, nothing on the high
end of the market but with enough cash in my pocket to get something
nice. Whether it is my younger age, the fact that I dress decently
but don’t wear designer clothing whatever…I couldn’t get anyone to
pay much attention to me at any of the booths where I tried to look.
I have noticed that in previous years as well. What a mistake on the
part of the galleries! I think those of doing shows know from
experience that often the person in the shabby jeans and t-shirt has
the fattest wallet at the show.


"yellow turquoise" was like "purple emerald"--an oxymoron. (Didn't
use that term.) The woman said, "well, that's what the artist eas
told it is. 

How odd, some of my fellow Chicago Metal Arts Guild members were
just telling me that they overheard a salesperson misidentify
another stone, corrected her, she argued, they insisted and finally
the salesperson said, well, that’s what the artists said it was.

Elaine Luther
Chicago area, Illinois, USA
Certified PMC Instructor