Gems of the Hill Country

830-367-3368

Hours/Contact

Store Hours

 

Wednesday - 11:00 - 5:00

Thursday  11:00 - 5:00

Friday 11:00 - 5:00

Saturday 11:00 - 5:00

Sunday - Closed

Monday - Closed

Tuesday - Closed

 

Phone Numbers

Store Main    830-367-3368

 

Email Addresses

Diane Gemologist@texas-topaz.com

Brad   Brad@texas-topaz.com
Sales  Sales@texas-topaz.com

 

Mailing Address click on Mailing address 

P.O. Box 363  

200 Hwy 39

Ingram, Texas 78025

 

Pictures

For many years I have collected quotes about Texas.  They go up on the walls during Texas Independence Day parties.  Quotes rotate through the showcases in our store.  Now it is time to share my collection.  Enjoy-

 

Texas is a state of mind.  Texas is an obsession.  Above all, texas is a nation in every sense of the word.  -John Steinbeck

Texas history has its share of good men, bad men, and a few who couldn’t make up their minds.   -Mike Blakely

Texans are the only race of people known to anthropologists who do not depend on breeding for propagation.  Like princes and lords, they can be made by breath; plus a big hat-which comparatively few Texans wear.   -J. Frank Dobie, 1952

Only Texas could turn defeat into a legend- and a song, and a tourist attraction, and a major motion picture.      -Rosemary Kent

The creation of the Republic of Texas was one of the most astounding achievements of all history, a feat that in audacity of conception and brilliance of consummation is without parallel in the annals of the human race.           -Jack C. Butterfield

Mister, you can insult me, you can insult my friends and as a matter or fact, you can even insult my mother and my horse; but Mister, don’t you ever insult the great State of Texas!                    -Pecos Bill, “Tall Tales”

No matter how far we may wander, Texas lingers with us, coloring our perceptions of the world.   –Elmer Kelton

Let the love of freedom and the love of liberty drive us to the eventual free republic of texas.    -Lorenzo dezavala

There’s no better place than Texas to start over.      -John Connally

Texan is what you are, not what you were or might be.         -Robert Ruark

The longer I lived  in the east, the more completely I realized that, for better or worse, I was going to be, to everybody’s mind, wherever I lived, a Texan.        -Don Graham

If Texas were a sane place, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.      -Molly Ivins

Many people have believed that they were Chosen, but none more baldly than the Texans.          -Edward Hoagland

Never ask a man where he’s from.  If he’s from Texas he’ll tell you; if he isn’t, you don’t want to embarrass him.            -Wallace Chariton

I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults.        -Molly Ivins

Texas is a great country but they have some very great liars there.          -1847 N.Y. Newspaper

I have never known anyone from Texas, no matter how far they go or what they do, who isn’t proud of being from Texas.    -Van Cliburn

Outsiders never understand that Texas tall talk is not a lie.   It is the expression of the larger truth.      -Paul Crume

It is widely speculated that all Texans eventually go to heaven because hot air rises.      -Wallace O. Chariton

I think Texans have more fun than the rest of the world.       -Tommy Tune

The appellation Texas has a charm of a peculiar kind, such as not other part of the wide world has…     -Elizabet Ney

I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that.  It is a mystique closely approximating a religion.   -John Steinbeck

Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America.  Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study and the passionate possession of all Texans.      -John Steinbeck

The spirit of Texas seems to pervade our everyday existence.  Our desire is to be superlative, not only the largest, but also the best in the United States.

   -Denton Cooley, M.D.

Screw you, we’re from Texas.       -Ray wylie hubbard

Texans are Texans first.  And Texans know that being a Texan is more than where you’re from, it’s who you are.    -Patricia McConnico

A man from Iowa or Illinois will say ‘I’m from the Middle West’..a Georgian or a Mississipian may admit to being merely a Southerner…but no Texan, given the opportunity, ever said otherwise than ‘I’m from Texas’.   -J. Frank Dobie

All over the world, people want to know what kind of people Texans are, and I explain that Texans are America’s ideal Americans.        -Phil Gramm

I’ve traveled all over the world, but I don’t think there is any place better than Texas.   -Red Adair

Almost everything about Texas reveals some trademark of an iron will.         -Tracy Larson

Texans look forward to conquering new worlds instead of wallowing in the self-pity of lost battles.         -Tumbleweed Smith

Texans are risk-takers, and that is one of the things that make this state special.  If they take a risk and it doesn’t pay off, it’s not viewed as a failure, just as a delay on the road to success.           -Jim Gramm

We Texans have a short past…, but it has been a turbulent, rip-snorting, hell-for-leather past, and it has made a deep impression our lives and ways.

         -George Sessions Perry

At times it seems that the people of the lesser states resent without reason the Texans’ status as chosen people.  They seem to blame the Texans themselves for this.           -Paul Crume

Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may.          -Sam Houston

All new states are invested, more or less, by a class of noisy, second-rate men who are always in favor of rash and extreme measures, but Texas was absolutely overrun by such men.               -Sam Houston

Texas is the most beautiful state in the universe.      -D. D. Lewis

First buy a cowboy hat and boots.  Then you’re on your way to being a Texan.       -James Michener

Texans have always been Number One in their own minds. There are no people as proud of their heritage. We’ve got a lot to brag about, and rightfully so.     -Dick DeGuerin

It has been my consistent experience that the people of Texas are the warmest, friendliest, and best people anywhere.    -Dee B. Whittlesey

I was always proud about being from Texas and, you know, maybe that was part of fearlessness.  I love the fact that Texas is so big, but you don’t feel small because of that.                                 -Sissy Spacek

Texas history has its share of good men, bad men, and a few who couldn’t make up their minds.      -Mike Blakely

Texans are the only race of people known to anthropologists who do not depend on breeding for propagation.  Like princes and lords, they can be made by breath; plus a big hat- which comparatively few Texans wear.         -J. Frank Dobie, 1952

Only Texas could turn defeat into a legend- and a song, and a tourist attraction, and a major motion picture.          -Rosemary Kent

The creation of the Republic of Texas was one of the most astounding achievements of all history, a feat that in audacity of conception and brilliance of consummation is without parallel in the annals of the human race.           -Jack C. Butterfield

Mister, you can insult me, you can insult my friends and as a matter or fact, you can even insult my mother and my horse; but Mister, don’t you ever insult the great State of Texas!                -Pecos Bill, “Tall Tales”

No matter how far we may wander, Texas lingers with us, coloring our perceptions of the world.          –Elmer Kelton

Let the love of freedom and the love of liberty drive us to the eventual free republic of Texas.            -Lorenzo deZavala

Texan is what you are, not what you were or might be.              -Robert Ruark

The longer I lived  in the east, the more completely I realized that, for better or worse, I was going to be, to everybody’s mind, wherever I lived, a Texan.        -Don Graham

If Texas were a sane place, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.       -Molly Ivins

Never ask a man where he’s from.  If he’s from Texas he’ll tell you; if he isn’t, you don’t want to embarrass him.         -Wallace Chariton

It is widely speculated that all Texans eventually go to heaven because hot air rises.      -Wallace O. Chariton

The appellation Texas has a charm of a peculiar kind, such as not other part of the wide world has…       -Elizabet Ney

I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that.  It is a mystique closely approximating a religion.        -John Steinbeck

Texas mystique (has been) created by the chemistry of the frontier in the crucible of history and forged into an enduring state of heart and mind.            -T. R. Fehrenbach

The idea of Texas remains a compelling part of the state’s imaginative power.  It is the spirit of the place- warts and all- that continues long after the deaths of Crockett, Bowie, Audie Murphy, and Lyndon Johnson.           -Mark Busby

Texas is my mind’s country, that place I most want to understand and record and preserve.  Four generations of my people sleep in its soil; I have children there, and a grandson; the dead past and the living future tie me to it.                  -Larry L. King

I began to understand that all Texas is an eternal synthesis of past and present, superimposed one upon the other.  It produces a feeling of being in two places at once.                  -Mary Lasswell

Your Texas is no different than my Texas.             -Pat Mora

For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, what you northerners never appreciate…is that Texas is so big that you can live your life within its limits and never give a damn about what anyone in Boston or San Francisco thinks.                         -James Michener

I get from the soil and spirit of Texas the feeling that I, as an individual, can accomplish whatever I want to, and, that there are no limits, that you can just keep going, just keep soaring.  I like that spirit.                    -Barbara Jordan

They say that Virginia is the mother of Texas.  We never knew who the father was, but we kinda suspected Tennessee.     -Tex Ritter

Texans ignore “better,” long ago forgot the useless word “good.”  Everything in Texas is “best.”            -Edward Smith

In the end, perhaps, it may not be possible to escape the fact that the epitome of America is Texas.        John Bainbridge

Texas is just one of those good-natured myths- like Paul Bunyan, George Washington’s cherry tree, or Brooklyn- that has been handed down, generation after generation, until many people have come to believe that it is true.                 -Ed Creagh

Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called “walking.”                            -George W. Bush

Yes, the Texan is a noble creature, of his mother, small children, and oil leases.  It is too bad there are not enough of them to spare to other states.   -Paul Crume

Texas:  It brings so many thoughts and emotions that it’s hard to get them all into words, but honor, independence, strong character, and deep cultural roots come immediately to mind.           -Craig Carter

“There are places in this world where fable, myth, preconception, love, longing or prejudice step in and so distort a cool, clear appraisal that a kind of high colored magical confusion takes permanent hold…Surely Texas is such a place…”        John Steinbeck

Texas one and indivisible.

       Remember the Alamo.        -State Seal of Texas

Texas is the crossroads of the world.  Everything here is big.             -Bobby Lee, Co-owner of the Big Texan Steak Ranch

I done drew the line.  Just like at the Alamo.  You’re either on one side of the line or the other.  I don’t want to ever leave Texas again.       -Bum Phillips

American gems

 

We have added jewelry made with American gems to our offerings.  America produces some wonderful gems, which can be difficult to find.  We manufacture most of the jewelry, but sometimes find a kindred jeweler with a love for gems from our home.  While I love all beautiful gems, it feels special when they are American.

 

There is a small truth out there in the gem and jewelry world.  We are running out of gems.  The desire is greater than the capacity of the earth to fulfill it.  In order to fill the orders, gem traders are getting more and more creative.  The effort was to make marginal gem material attractive enough for sale.  And gem treaters have gotten amazingly creative in this effort.

 

That is not the problem.  We need gem treatments to help meet the need of jewelry consumers.  However, some of these treated gems need advanced testing to identify the treatment- it’s that good.  Therefore, it is necessary for the treatment information to pass through as the gem makes it to the final customer.  It’s only ethical for public disclosure of treatments- gem guilds require this as a requirement for membership.

 

This is the problem.  Some gem treaters do not disclose the treatment.  It has been up to the gemologists of our world to find and identify some treatments.  The most common source of non-disclosed treatments is Thailand and China.  Gems found in Africa or Asia often go straight to the gem treaters of Asia, so it is difficult to know if the gems are treated or not.  It is known throughout the gem world that this is going on.  It is driving jewelers nuts.

 

Right now a jewelry store owner has to be a Graduate Gemologist just to prevent being taken.  Some gem treatments are so advanced, it takes very expensive lab equipment to identify it.  Full disclosure is the only way this works.

 

OK.  Off the soapbox.  American gems take this problem away.  The jeweler can easily track the gem rough from mine to showcase.   If it goes overseas for cutting, it is possible to keep the gems separate from other gem rough through the entire cutting process, and it stays away from gem treaters, unless specifically sent for something like heating, which is fairly common for Montana sapphire.

 

In other words, we’ve got your back.  We guard our gems, and will let you know if they have been treated.  It’s our job.

 

B. Diane Eames, GG  Graduate Gemologist (GIA) 

Who cuts our gems

 

Gem faceting (cutting) is a difficult skill to master.  In the United States, hobbyists are the primary gem cutters.  This goes back to the 1960’s, when geology and rockhounding were in their golden age.  The nerds of the time, before computers, wanted something to challenge their busy brains, and some tried gem faceting.  The U.S. Faceters Guild was formed, and cutting competitions were found all over the country, mostly as part of gem and mineral shows.  While computers have refocused a lot of brainiacs around the country, some still want to facet. 

 

Professional faceters are in the minority in this country.  The vast majority of gems are faceted in Asia because of much lower labor costs.  However, American gem cutters cut to a different standard than Asian cutters.  We focus on precise angles and very high polish.  Folks comment on the brightness of our gems, and that is the result of careful cutting and polishing.

 

Because I cannot fill the need for Texas topaz by myself, I have to have help to keep y’all happy.  The larger gems are cut by Texas gem cutters, usually members of Texas Faceters’ Guild.  These are highly trained cutters, with very high standards.  Sometimes they have their own special version of star cuts.

 

The smaller gems are produced with the help of Columbia Gem House of Washington state.  They send our topaz to their cutting factory in China, which is cut using my designs.  The cutting is of comparable quality to gems cut here.  They are kept separate through the entire cutting process (I’ve recognized my marks on returned topaz that wasn’t cut up.)  Because Columbia Gem House uses their factory to cut gems for their own jewelry, they require best quality work.

 

In addition, Columbia Gem House is known as ethical jewelers, and requires good treatment of their workers.  They exceed international standards of employee care.  The wages are three times the minimum wage.  In addition, they provide room and board, paid vacation, overtime pay, medical, disability and unemployment insurance, and annual bonuses.  Their factory has a near zero rate of attrition, thereby increasing the skills of the craftsmen to the highest degree of experience in the industry.

 

No matter who cuts our gems, we guarantee our Texas topaz to come from out of Texas dirt.  If it is cut by a Texas cutter, a gem report accompanies the jewelry.  It will contain the same information as any gem report from any other gem lab, but also includes the source of the gem (Mason, Texas) and the gem cutter.  If cut by Columbia Gem House, I do not produce a gem report, as these gems are smaller, and I have only so much time.  They will have a Certificate of Authenticity, though, documenting that even our smaller gems come out of Texas dirt.

 

 

B. Diane Eames, GG Graduate Gemologist (GIA)

Hi I am Brad Hodges, Diane's husband, goldsmith, computer wizard, and engineer; as well as a Certified General Real Estate Appraiser. I've worked in a number of engineering jobs over the years, and as a Real Estate Appraiser.  I am fairly new to the jewelry business, and have been trained by experts in the field. I just returned from The GRS Training Center in Kansas having taken their hand engraving course.  Gig 'Em 1984.

 

By Diane:

Brad is my Eharmony match. I took him to London Dance Hall for that first date in 2007, and he never left. We are the 3rd Eharmony couple in my family. My brother and my son both met and married wonderful women that they also met through Eharmony.  Amazing. I sent EHarmony a Thank You note. Who knew they would find me a bench jeweler and hand engraver as well as a spouse.