We are excited to feature a number of new products that were hand selected by the founder of Dakota Stones, Jeff Elvin. One of the many great aspects of working with products made from stone is the adventure of finding unique, new stones to work with. That is only the beginning.
When we find an interesting piece of material to work with we then need to partner with a skilled lapidary source. A lapidary is an artist or artisan who forms stone, minerals, or gemstones into decorative items such as cabochons, engraved gems, and faceted designs. A lapidarist uses the lapidary techniques of cutting, grinding, and polishing to make finished designs.
On Jeff’s most recent trip to Asia, he set out on an adventure to find a new skilled lapidary source. We currently work with a true lapidary artist that cuts most of the limited batch cuts in our dsPremier line. Jeff was on a mission to add more.
A big part of our process, when adding to the Dakota Stones product line, is vetting a supplier.
- Do they meet the Dakota Stones standards?
- Will they notice a valued partner in Dakota Stones?
- Do they adhere to our ethical standards of manufacturing?
We take pride in making sure Dakota Stones branded products come from a source whose factory we have visited so we can understand their processes and inspect conditions.
This is brought into sharp focus when considering that the demand for factory workers and cutters in this industry has never been higher. This increased demand has led to some of the highest increases in wages for any industrial work. We take pride in knowing that the artisans who manufacture our products are paid well and are experiencing the growth of this industry first hand.
There was no shortage of adventure on this last trip. Traveling to and through China is not for the faint of heart. You have to navigate over 50 hours of air travel, 50 hours or more of time spent aboard trains and in cabs plus at least 25,00 daily steps, often with a pack filled with rocks on your back. Days begin early and end late. These trips are a race to get as much accomplished in 15 days and are far from a vacation. However, they are always rewarding and create a bond you will share with your travel companions for life.
On this most recent trip Jeff took Alex, our sourcing manager. Mother nature added an unexpected curve ball in the form of the strongest Typhoon to hit Hong Kong and Southern China in over 50 years. Typhoons and Hurricanes are the same weather phenomenon, the difference is where the storm originates. Thankfully Southern China weathered the typhoon with only property damage, unlike the people of the Philippines where Typhoon Mangkhut claimed a number of lives.
The strength of sustained 160 mph winds gave this old vessel its final voyage.
Jeff and Alex were truly amazed at the technical aspect of the new suppliers cutting as well as the creativity of their designs. This supplier cuts for some of the most well known names in the world of fashion jewelry. They cut beads with the craftsmanship of a seasoned diamond lapidary and deliver unique pieces of art. These pieces are seldom, if ever, seen on the market.
We are very excited to be rolling out new designs in the coming year. Some styles will be available throughout the year and others will be offered in small, numbered batch cuts.