MeritMade Lessons - Favorite Vendors & Suppliers

Author: Kelly Conner

photo by  Jason Dominques

I'm often asked where I get my materials, tools, and stones. In this post I'm going to share with you some of my favorites. I'll be the first to admit that this isn't something that I have researched extensively but instead have stumbled about until I found something that works for me. No guarantee that it'll work for you, but who knows ;)

Rio Grande
What I buy: 80% of my materials and tools from here. This is my go to.
Note: Not always the cheapest, but huge selection and good quality

Fire Mountain Gems
What I buy: bulk calibrated stones and packaging (kraft paper boxes)
Note: Loads of beading supplies and findings

Reactive Metals
What I buy: Unique metal and unique patinas

One of a Kind
What I buy: Unique Cabs
Note: HUGE selection if you visit them in person at a gem/mineral show

Jules Borel
What I buy: Jewelers Bench!
Note: based in KC. Purchased items can be picked up to avoid shipping costs

Otto Frei
What I buy: Jewelry Kits - Great price and the right tools (not bloated with a bunch of stuff you don't need)

Hiles Plating
What I buy: Gold and Silver Plating
Note: based in KC

Arroks Rocks
What I buy: Good quality unique materials - Cabs

Cool Tools
What I buy: Stencils and freeform (non-calibrated) Stones
Note: They have a ton of PMC (precious metal clay) stuff

Hauser Miller
What I buy: Nothing currently, but I would like to start using them for my metal
Note: Based in STL and I have heard really good things about the quality of their metal.

What I buy: Brass

Wolfe Lapidary
What I buy: Good quality unique Cabs

What I buy: Gold and Faceted Stones

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Honestly the best way to get stones is to buy them in person. I highly recommend going to gem & mineral shows. You will not be disappointed. Here in Kansas City, we have a twice yearly show that has great stone cutters and lapidary artists selling their wares. You can also find jewelry tools, findings, crystals, display materials, and all kinds of other goodies. I'e been to the HUGE Tuscon show once, and can't wait to get back. I've also heard great things about the Denver show, but have never been. 

Don't overlook the small shows! I've found that these can be some of the best. I got a chance last year to the go to the Tri-State Gem & Mineral Show in Joplin. Let me start off by saying that there wasn't a huge selection, but what was there was very reasonably priced. Also you'll meet some of the most interesting people with the BEST stories. There is nothing quite like chatting with the rockhounds that both found and cut the material. 

Kansas City Gem & Mineral Show
Held in March and November

Tuscon Gem & Mineral Show
Held in February

Tri-State Gem & Mineral Show
Joplin Historical & Mineral Museum (504 S. Shifferdecker Ave., Joplin, MO)
Sept 22-24 2017 - Fri. 10-6, Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-3
Contact Chris Wiseman (417)-623-1180


Hopefully you found some of this information helpful. If you want more of my recommendations, you might check out THIS blog post about tools needed to get started silversmithing.

What are some of your favorite vendors and suppliers?! I would love to expand my list. 

xo - Kelly