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Orchid Stories

Hi Suzanne, I can unequivocally state that Orchid is the reason I am
succeeding in my new career as a jewelry designer. A year ago, I had
it in my head to make some Masonic jewelry, since I am a member of a
lodge here, and couldn’t find nice pendant for myself. At the time,
I was struggling to get my furniture design firm off the ground. So
I did some research, and bought "The Design and Creation of Jewelry"
by Robert Von Neumann, and “Making Silver Chains” by Glen Waszek,
just got 'em at Barnes and Noble! Both great books, and they seemed
like a good start. I have a degree in Art, so wasn’t afraid to start
from nothing and get my hands dirty. But, I needed to know more about
actually getting castings, and came across the orchid list before I
had even finished my first chain.

So I signed up and started asking questions. Lots of them! And

really appreciated the help. I eventually found Dan Grandi, who
helped me with the casting, and design of my new pieces. (He was
patient when I made nearly uncastable or un-finishable stuff) Guys
like Dave Sebaste and others took time to answer my chain making
questions, and give me those “oh so valuable” sources to buy

The local members of the fraternity were so impressed, that my

jewelry started selling. Then I had requests for another piece, and
it sold well too! But each time I made something new, I had to turn
to the list for advice. I had bugs to work out, supplier to find,
packaging to make, gems to set, etc…

Well, the furniture design never did get off the ground, because I

am so enamored (enameled?) with the jewelry design process and ease
of control. Heck, it’s so much easier to ship and lift too! I am
actually making my living from my jewelry, selling over the internet,
and through a selection of distributors, and have started on a new
line, of non-Masonic spiritual jewelry. All thanks to Orchid. I am a
convert, an evangelist, a zealot for the Orchid Cause!

Thanks Guys and Gals! May the Great Orchid shine upon you all!

The Master’s Jewel

Hi suzanne I first heard about using ferric chloride for etching and
it changed my life - well, my jewellery design at least. I use
non-acid etching in my work now, and I teach the technique and run
workshops in my studio. It’s also led me back to printmaking and I’m
now branching out into making etched prints fold-books with etch
metal covers. And that’s all due to Orchid.


Hi Suzanne,

I thought that I had no more to offer on this subject than has
already been written until I opened Lee Einer’s post this morning
and had an aha!moment. His clear and concise description of setting a
pear shaped stone is what to me, Orchid is all about Bench tips
that the “pros” are so willing to share are invaluable. For me
Orchid is about this willingness to share and teach.


Today in the mail I got a repaired hinge for an old oak cabinet that
my recently deceased mother had given me. The repair was done very
generously by a member of Orchid that I only know through the forum.
Considering where he lives and where he is moving to it seems
unlikely we will ever meet in the flesh, what a generous person to
respond to my problem of being unable to find a replacement that fit

Last year I needed several hundred glass “stones” etched with a logo
for an event I was helping to organize. Several members of Orchid
responded to my request for pricing on a job like this and one ended
up doing the job in good time at a reasonable price.

I have had dinner with Orchid members, had great responses when
looking for a hard to find tool or technique and gained a wealth of
ideas about web site design and show strategies from posts by other

Orchid is the closest equivilent to a Guild that someone working in
large scale enamels is likely to have. What a gift!


Karen, Isn’t it wonderful?

So sorry about the loss of your mother, I understand the pain.

The Orchid Dinner in Tucson, has been such a warm and wonderful
event. There are no adequate words to explain the coming together,
admiration and love shown there. During the course of the year of
communication prior to that dinner, we have gotten to recognize one
anothers name, and in many cases the works of those persons. Yes we
tend to form opinions based on reading posts, that is only natural.
Meeting the person brings forth such strong emotions, especially when
you were right on about the individual, that mere words are not

We want to help one another, that is a far stronger impulse than
that of jealously protecting one’s presumed territory. We know, and
respect one another before anything else can interfere, race,
religion, sexual preference. or any other preconceived notion.

Orchid is indeed a global communication source, one that does lead
to equality and respect. We have a treasure here, of that there is
no equal. Teresa

Hi Suzanne, I have had the most wonderful vacation and it was all
through my association with Orchid.

Years ago, I wanted to make chains, and there were virtually no
’chain how to books’. I searched and searched and found that there
was one, by Jean Stark, but it was out of print. I emailed her and
asked her to take a copy to Kinkos, copy it for me and send it,
money was no object. She immediately replied no thanks, but she was
teaching a class on chains on Sept 5th and I should come to class.
I signed up for class, and about that time, I joined Orchid and
introduced myself. I got a reply in Orchid from Mollie Arnette that
she recognized my name as also being in Jeans chain class, and she
invited me to join her and a few friends for dinner the night
before class. We got class cancelled due to Hurricane Floyd, but I
was there long enough to fall in love with both Jean and Mollie,
both very accomplished artists. Mollie in turn introduced me to
Dave Sebaste, (we both worked for Microsoft), and Dave introduced me
to Robert Lowe, a gem dealer from Brasil.

Heres where the vacation starts…I recently went to Brasil for the
Gem and Mining show in Teofilo Otoni, and traveled with Robert and
his partner Geraldo. They called friends and got permission for us
to visit several mines. We visited an Emerald mine, the worlds
largest Imperial Topaz mine, saw jam peg faceting first hand and
took lots of pictures to share with the Orchid family, went to Rio
and got to hold a 12+ct paraiba tourmaline valued at $59,000 a ct
at HStern, and bought emeralds in the rough from the mine and from
the mine owner. It was a vacation that will be truly unforgetable,
and it was all started by a ‘hello orchid newbie’ message from

I love you all, thanks Mollie if you are listening, and I will post
pictures of seldon seen ativities soon on my web.

Love and God Bless