I have come across many rockhounds over the years.  Many are collectors who like to have a variety of stones.  Others like to make handmade jewelry so they collect their favorite stones for their designs.  British Columbia based Cait and Shelly of CanadianCreek starting collecting gems, especially the faceted kinds, for a totally different reason. 
They both have busy jobs - Cait is a social worker while Shelly is a dental hygienist. So how did they get started?
Cait explained :
The journey started a year ago when my interest in collecting hard assets such as gold, silver and copper bullion began to feel redundant and I began searching for other options. 
It was through the course of my exploration that I came across gemstones. I was immediately drawn to not only their beauty but how each stone had a specific uniqueness, and own story if you will. I began ordering a few gemstones but found they were quite over priced, not exactly the best investment. I also was intimidated by larger companies and the uncertainty of trusting that what I was ordering was indeed genuine. 
As time progressed I began to connect with various retailers, sellers and other hobbyists. Through these relationships I was able to find and source natural gemstones at a much more reasonable price and establish trusting relationships. I found this very gratifying. I enjoy the idea of collecting semi-precious and precious gemstones that may grow in value over time and be a sound investment. Plus I appreciate looking at pretty shiny gemstones versus uninspiring gold and silver bars. LOL!.

Don't we all!  All that sparkle is indeed addictive. Fortunately for us, Cait and Shelly are sharing some of their finds to jewelry makers. I have selected some of my favorites from their collections. The Welo opals from Ethiopia such as the specimen above are especially lovely and affordable. 

Metalsmiths and wire workers will appreciate these.  Some of the gemstones are on the small side so check if you are bead weaver as they be more difficult to work with. 

Collecting gemstones as an investment is a long term one. The International Gem Society has an interesting article : Making Money Investing in Gems: The Top 5 Rules.  You basically have to "buy right", be knowledgeable and control costs among many things. "Gemstones of lower value often appreciate more and are easier to liquidate" than really expensive rare specimens.

Grape Garnet




Honey Zircon (this is a gemstone not the simulant cubic zirconia)

Green Apatite 

Fanta Orange Spessartite


Ethiopian Welo opals

Australian Parti Sapphire

Red Amaldine garnets

 Before You Go :

jewelry making supplies


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM