Dear Gem X,

Much has changed since our last newsletter.  During the past month, we have felt heartbreak, anguish and the need for reflection with many of you, and many around the world.  We took a pause in Gemflix programming, out of respect and to listen to all the voices around our community.  When we resumed, we choose a very important cause for our next charity: the Equal Justice Initiative.  Founded by Bryan Stevenson, the EJI’s mission is to combat racial and economic injustices, and to protect human rights for the most vulnerable.  We are about halfway to our fundraising goal, and we hope to get there together.  We are so grateful for your continued support for Gemflix, and for allowing us to give back ($15,000+ raised since we started!). 

In this issue of The Extra, we focus on a theme that we can all use more of these days – the power of jewels and gems to comfort and heal.  This idea was originally suggested by Gem X member, Aline Shapiro, who has been wearing and creating “comfort jewels” during quarantine.  She shares some favorites with us below, and the feelings they evoke when she wears them.  In the same vein, we asked Azalea Lee, founder of Place 8 Healing, about the crystals she has been drawn to during these times.  And finally, there is a touching anecdote from Vanessa Cron, jewelry historian based in Geneva, about the “Red Cross Pearls.”  This story highlights the power of jewels, as a medium for honoring, for healing, and for doing greater good in difficult times.

As Gem X has grown, we have made a few updates, and hopefully improvements, to our membership structure. In addition to our standard membership, we have added the two new options.  First, a monthly Gemflix subscription for those who want to try out Gem X.  As well, we are excited to offer a Gem X Unlimited membership for the most ardent of jewelry lovers.  We describe them in more detail below, and hope you find one that best suits your jewelry life!

In good health & healing,
Lin and Heidi




Contributed by Aline Shapiro, Gem X Member
I have been quarantining with my family on Long Island since March. I’m here with my husband, our 21 year-old son and daughter, and our 17 year-old son. Plus, all of their significant others. Being out of the city has made me embrace my suburban roots. Luckily, we have been safe and healthy — though a bit over each other at this point — and that may be one the reasons my jewelry studio has greatly evolved during quarantine! I have been taking tons of classes – wax, etching, polymer clay, resin, attempting to bead, and applying kumboo to silver pieces. I have enough supplies from Rio, Michaels, Etsy and 47th St to LAST way longer than quarantine can possibly last. [Fingers crossed]
My basement studio has become my hideaway (however it’s next to the laundry room and the buzz of the completed cycle MUST GO). A few weeks ago I got an acetylene torch – I was a bit terrified I would blow up the house or my son would try to – but I can report that it’s less scary than I anticipated.
My dear friend’s mother had her own home jewelry studio 40+ years ago, and as she cleaned out her home, she gave me tons of amazing tools that I now proudly use. The same soldering pan, bench vise, buffer and metal shear with a 4 foot arm! So I guess, despite the complexities of quarantine it’s been a pretty fruitful time for me.
When quarantine began – jewelry felt strange. I immediately put on my Victorian silver watch chain. I wear it doubled – the t-bar & silver and rose gold medallion hang (see pic above). I bought it a decade ago as it had my sister’s initials engraved, after she passed away I started wearing it . It’s my “guardian angel” piece and I haven’t taken it off since the start of quarantine. I take great comfort in hearing the clang of the t-bar and medallion!
I also kept on a pearl ear-cuff. No matter what else I wore – Lycra workout clothes and/or pajamas being the norm — the ear cuff made me feel I still had a little edge left.
As the months have progressed I am wearing more everyday jewelry- fun earrings from Tara Locklear or hoops. I rotate all my snake rings and I am wearing necklaces Mostly lots of Victorian chains mixed with charms and pendants that I have made or purchased. Most of what I wear has a great story as to how the parts were compiled or the hunt of how I found or made it.
For me, my jewelry space is my happy place where I can be my most productive. As the world seems out of control and I no longer watch Cuomo and CNN all day, or care about who wants what for lunch – I retreat to my studio where I can lose myself in my creativity and take a small hiatus from what’s going on elsewhere in my house and the world. I get a great sense of peace from working on my jewelry.
I have a lot of stones and beads that I bought In Tucson just before the world changed. Every time I see them or touch them I remember where I was when I bought it and why I got that stone. I tend to overdo things when it comes to shopping but I feel so happy to have all of these special tokens of life BEFORE.
I brought all my tools and jewelry-making supplies to Long Island and for me, it’s not only the process of making jewelry but I love the process of setting up, sorting, touching and organizing. It’s incredibly therapeutic for me. My father is a craftsman – I grew up with him always down in his “workshop” where he made furniture, welded sculptures, painted paintings – always something magnificent and creative. I have some of his sculptural pieces in my backyard and I love them so much. Despite our physical distance, I still speak to him often about my acetylene tank, problems with getting solder to flow or various patinas for copper. He always perks up immediately during these conversations and he loves giving me his best, and very relevant “shop advice.” It’s obviously a great gift to be able to share all this with my dad.
I have completed four or five pieces of jewelry that have been hanging around for AGES; some, literally, YEARS! I couldn’t look at them incomplete any longer so I forged ahead even if my skills weren’t quite up to the challenge.

Quarantine has solidifed that making jewelry feeds my creative passion, structures my time and connects me to those I love. I am keenly aware that there are pieces that are literally the touchstones marking my life before quarantine, and after. Moreover, sharing my love of craft and workshop life with my Dad and friends means the world to me. Now time to order some more supplies and get back to the bench.


Interview with Azalea Lee, Founder of Place 8 Healing

In Los Angeles with my husband, garden, and lots of critters.

With all the physical, social, and political upheaval that is happening in the world, its a lot of “back to basics” stones I’ve been called to work with– hematite and black tourmaline in particular. I’ve also been working quite a bit with shungite and anthracite.  Basically a lot of black colored stones to help with the root chakra.

Because the root chakra governs all energies related to connection to Mother Earth, along with our general sense of survival, Covid-19 and its economic impact, the degradation of accountability from world leaders and their governments, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the effects of climate change are pinging on our sense of physical safety from an individual to a collective level. Because these subjects are triggering to our root chakra, it’s best to use root chakra crystals to help heal the pain we feel in these areas.  

A single crystal can evoke a myriad of emotions depending on where you are in your healing process in the particular area you are working on. Thus, a crystal may bring up anger, sadness, elation, or calm– in that order or in any permutation in between depending on where you are on your healing journey. Ultimately, one works with crystals to help bring themselves into energetic balance. But because life is ever changing and new situations are always happening, there will always be some part of you that is being pulled out of balance. But each challenge you encounter gives you the opportunity to become stronger, more resilient. Thus, one ultimately works with crystals to center themselves– which in turn results in a feeling of peace– at least in the particular area one is working with the crystal with.

Yes, the same ones I mentioned for myself would be useful for others: Hematite, black tourmaline, shungite, anthracite. I also recommend obsidian and girasol quartz for these times too. Information about these stones can be found in my online shop at  with a richer in-depth analysis available on my Instagram page @place8healing.

I wear a phenakite (cut by Jean Noel-Soni) set within an ankh, the ancient Egyptian symbol of eternal life. Everyone has a “constitutional” stone, a specific gemstone or crystal that holds a specific vibrational energy that resonates most deeply with the themes of their soul in this lifetime that touch every aspect of a person’s life. Phenakite is my constitutional stone, for it resonates with my work channeling high-vibrational divine energies into the physical world through my work as a healer. I wear a phenakite pendant daily to help keep me on task with this, but I designed my phenakite ankh ring specifically to help me channel divine energies when I am working in service to others, like when I am facilitating healing sessions or conducting workshops. The stone set within the powerful symbol of the ankh gives me added support, as it holds the collected energy of the healing work I do.


As Told by Vanessa Cron, Jewelry Historian and Gem X Member in Geneva

What is the deeper meaning behind jewels? Here is one: within this simple strand of pearls, lay the generosity and memories of thousands. After WW1, families donated single natural pearls, often to honor a loved one lost at war. The experts at London’s finest jewelers, sorted and re-assembled some 4,000 pearls into new jewels sold at auction in 1918 to benefit the British Red Cross.  Listen to this powerful story below, as told by Vanessa Cron with guest host Christine Cheng on Gemflix.  To view the whole video, click here.


Updates to Gem X Membership Options

As Gem X has grown, we have made some changes (and hopefully improvements) to our membership structure. These additional options are intended to complement our standard Gem X membership of $100/year.

Instant Access with Gemflix Subscription ($10/month): For those who want to try out Gem X, this membership option is geared toward those who want to access our Gemflix replays.  There is no application process, and subscribers get immediate access to our Gemflix archives.  If interested, we invite you to sign up via this link.


 For the Most Ardent Jewelry Lovers, Gem X Unlimited ($1,000/year): Want to take the plunge and become par of our innermost jewelry circle?  The ultimate jewelry lover’s package includes–

  • Complimentary access to all Gem X events. Just RSVP “yes,” and you are in with no additional fees.
  • Access to all of our online content. This includes our archive of 30+ Gemflix episodes.
  • Invitations to additional, specially-curated jewelry events. These are on top of regular Gem X events.
  • Your personal jewelry concierge. Special introductions at boutiques and auction houses, insider tips when you are planning a trip and much more. 
  • The Gem X Vault.  The Vault is our sisterhood of the traveling jewels, offering the chance to try out others’ jewels, and keep of share them if you like.  More details soon.


Meet Julie Chang, Who Will Be Launching Gem X LA Soon


Who is Julie? GIA GG candidate, Gem X Core, former Senior Jewelry Authenticator at The RealReal
Origins: LA/Chicago/London/NY/SF, full circle back to LA!
Gemstones of Choice: Juicy alexandrites, tourmalines and spinels
Favorite Jewels to Wear: Currently building my personal collection to include the Georgian to Retro best hits, but I usually wear my vintage Rolex and jade bangle everyday.
Dream Jewels: The JAR Leek/Orange Peel brooches or a chunky antique diamond rivière, but I’m also loving anything by Sylvia Furmanovich at the moment.
Jewelry Heaven: Museum/jewelry archives and what I can only imagine is JAR’s design sanctum.

Below are our upcoming Gemflix conversatons. 

 A Conversation with Lee Siegelson and Sarah Davis 
MONDAY | June 29th, 12:00PM NY / 5:00PM LDN


 A Conversation with Kristian Spofforth, Head of Jewellery, Sotheby’s London ◆
WEDNESDAY | July 1st, 12:00PM NY / 5:00PM LDN


That’s it for this month!  For questions and comments, please drop us a note here.


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