Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year, New You!

5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Happy New Year!

The new year is here! As the calendar flips over, we all start thinking about how we can make this new year better than last. A good question! And we've got a great answer.

It's a great time to rethink your wardrobe and your jewelry collection. It's time to reshape yourself. It's time for a new you! Try out new colors and styles of our southwestern jewelry. And just to make sure you don't get lost, we have five new friends to help you find your new style throughout the year...

Sienna has always been on the look-out for good ways to preserve the environment around her. She's the outdoorsy-type. Someone who really cares about nature. She decorates her home with pieces of Native pottery she's collected over the years and she loves the cozy rustic feel it gives her adobe house.

She recycles. In fact, she recycles as much as she can. Cuisine is about organic foods and her wardrobe is a collection of natural fiber clothes.

"My jewelry collection? Oh, I like earth-tones and mossy greens. They look really nice on me and it really blends into how my house looks. It's like taking a piece of home with me," she says.

You might find stones like smoky quartz, tiger's eye, jade, and serpentine in her collection. See what Sienna likes to wear!

If there's a word that describes Michelle, it's "hostess." She loves having her friends over for dinner parties at her condo with great food and wine, but the important thing is that people leave with a smile.

She's out-going and friendly, you know the type, the one that would strike up a conversation with you at the grocery store if the lines were long.

Her jewelry choices are the same way: bold and beautiful. She likes chunky beaded jewelry and bright colored stones like turquoise, rhodonite, and carnelian. She's not a fashion fanatic, but she definitely wears her personality.

"Am I the center of attention?" she asks with a laugh. "I don't know about that. I just want people to be happy, you know? Enjoy life! That's how I pick jewelry. The stuff that says, 'I love being here!'"

See what Michelle likes to wear!

Carrie's a career-minded woman. She's focusing a ton of energy on putting herself in a good position for the future, but she knows how to have a good time.

She's adventurous (she's been skydiving) and sharp-witted and lives on the opposite coast from her family -- she loves the rush of the work she does and the view from her high-rise apartment (it makes her feel like the world is her's for the taking).

Because she's far from her family, her friends are extremely important to her and she enjoys nights out on the town with them. Fashion is part of her lifestyle, she likes having sharp looks and a knock-out wardrobe. She drinks Apple Martinis when she's out with her friends. Her jewelry needs to look every bit as fancy as she feels.

"It doesn't matter where I am, the right look makes all the difference," Carrie explains. "I pick jewelry that gets just as much attention in the conference room as it does at the club. Sterling silver. Black agate. Sodalite. I know how to accessorize for success."

See Carrie's collection of our jewelry.

To Sarah it's all about family. Taking the kids to soccer practice... video-taping the school play... getting in on all the schoolkid gossip with her children... getting the dog to the groomer's... Sarah's drink of choice is some hot herbal tea at the end of the day, once she finally has a chance to slow down.

Her jewelry selection is less about the stones and more about the style. Smaller jewelry pieces that are easy to wear every day. She's got a mix of stones every thing from jasper to turquoise to mother-of-pearl, but the bottom line is that it has to be practical both in price and style – something that isn't going to be a hassle when she's rushing from one event to the next.

"If it looks good with jeans and works with my wallet, then I'd go for it," Sarah told us. "Really, who's not going to check out a good deal? Especially, on jewelry? "

Check out what Sarah's been wearing!

An empty-nester, Angelina, is enjoying a life of travel through-out the United States. She especially enjoys visiting the Southwestern United States (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas). She loves the warm weather, but she's happy to make the trip abroad -- especially to visit her vacation home. She knows her wine, and she knows how to find those amazing little secret cafes and restaurants.

For Angelina, it's time to have grand adventures! She likes southwestern jewelry and clothes and she looks for great sterling silver jewelry with some substantial stones.

She fancies milky aquamarine and spiny oyster shell, but her real focus? "Great turquoise, lapis and tiger's eye," she claims. "The really nice traditional southwestern stones. I visit the southwest every year, and I like having that jewelry as a reminder."

Steal Angelina's style!

Be sure to be on the lookout for advice and picks from these five fabulous and fashionable ladies. Visit Relios online and start planning out your new look for the new year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wax In, Gorgeous Out

The journey from idea to physical product is an interesting one no matter what is being made. Here one of the steps to making beautiful southwestern jewelry is injecting rubber molds of the design with wax. The process, however, is tedious and tiring. Someone has to hold the rubber mold, firmly clamp it down by hand with pieces of plastic, and then push it and hold it up against the wax pot to inject wax into the sprue (hole) in the mold. It's exhausting and while the folks doing it for us here at Relios are tough cookies, they are also human.

Well, we're taking steps to help reduce the strain and give our efficiency a boost. Recommended by a friend of company President and Founder, Bill Pollack, we're currently testing a new automated wax injection machine.

The new wax injection machine at rest.

At an estimated 10,000 units per week, this system can help speed up our production of new sterling silver jewelry pieces, better preparing us for meeting the demands of our customers. But along with speed, Production Director at Relios Jewelry, Chris Ruiz, explains that there are positive implications for management of resources and personnel.

Production Advantages
To begin with, the computer-controlled system allows for sophisticated order management. By scanning a barcode, the system can match a mold to a profile of specifications that dictate how that mold is supposed to be handled. These specifications may include clamp pressure, the injection time, and how many more of a particular wax piece we need. This makes it easier for us to handle different orders at once. Since the system tracks our progress for us, we can spend more time handling the production of new jewelry pieces and less time on counting pieces. If we place a mold on the conveyor belt that has already finished its full order, the mold bypasses all of the pots and is deposited in a bin at the end of the machine.

What makes this machine even more helpful is that it allows us to handle orders for several different types of pieces at the same time. The first three wax pots are all standard auto-clamps. These clamps are all the same size and assume rubber molds of a specific size with their sprues all cut in the same place. The last auto-clamp is an integrated auto-clamp. Using the specifications of the mold, the auto-clamp will adjust its position to match the sprue to the nozzle on the wax pot. We can also vary the wax mixture, temperature, and air pressure in each pot, and then use the system to route individual molds to the correct pot.

Personnel Advantages
The next area where we expect to see the new machine have an impact is with personnel. You might think that a new automated system would mean paring down our factory staff. Well, we're happy to say that's not the case. While the machine does improve efficiency and speed, it still takes several people to keep the process running smoothly.

Newly injected molds cool off on water-cooled brass plates. Once those molds have cooled, someone needs to remove the wax pieces from the molds. Someone else will place empty molds on the conveyor belt and monitor the orders. All-in-all as many as three or four people can use the machine at once.

But most importantly the new machine helps reduce the potential for injury and increase consistency. The handheld method puts a lot of strain on the forearms and wrists of workers. First, they have to firmly hold the rubber molds closed. Secondly, there's no denying physics, pushing the mold against the nozzle of the wax pot means that a person is absorbing part of the pressure of the wax being injected into the mold -- that might not be significant for a small pair of earrings, but it can be for a larger sterling silver bracelet.

Over the course of a day, the repetitive nature of picking up a rubber mold, holding it closed and pressing against the wax pot wears out your arms. By the end of a shift, you may not hold the mold as tightly or push the mold against the wax nozzle as strongly. This may translate into molds that aren't properly filled. With this automated system, we reduce the number of wax molds with defects -- a concept that rolls neatly into our Lean Manufacturing program.

For the time being, we are refining how we create the rubber molds and the specifications for each mold, but we expect to see the new wax injection machine kick into full gear in the coming weeks turning out wax molds of our southwestern designer jewelry.

Don't forget that December 22,2008 is the LAST day to place orders (using expediting shipping) to get your jewelry gifts by Christmas. Run over to the Relios Jewelry website and place your order today!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lean Manufacturing

When you're building products for customers, whether it be southwestern jewelry, cars or books, you sometimes come to feel as though you could do a better job. Confidence as a manufacturer is rooted in how your customers perceive your product quality and how efficiently you were able to make your products at that quality level. Because we want to do a better job, because we want to waste less, Relios is beginning to implement a lean manufacturing program here in our Albuquerque factory. Our first pilot project is our "Today's Special Value" piece for QVC that is going to be featured in March 2009.

Model Carving

What is Lean Manufacturing?
Started at Toyota just after World War II, Lean Manufacturing focuses on building better customer value by addressing deficiencies or bottlenecks in the production process. So, Lean doesn't mean layoffs. It means reorganizing processes and efficiently using your staff to accomplish your goals.

Toyota focused on Muda, activities which don't add value, are unproductive, or prone to be wasteful. By reducing these kinds of activities, a manufacturer could reduce costs and increase quality in their products. Toyota's Chief Engineer, Taiichi Ohno, identified the "seven wastes": defects, overproduction, conveyance, waiting, inventory, motion, and overprocessing.[article]


By reducing wasteful activities and integrating quality assurance into the process stream, a manufacturer can improve their quality and their speed.

Lean at Relios
After taking several classes in implementing Lean Manufacturing, our team leads took a deeper interest in the flow of our manufacturing process. After studying our process in greater detail, it was decided that we would take what we've learned about Lean Manufacturing and apply it to the production of the March "Today's Special Value" item.

Production Leads in Class

The production team mapped out the entire process from creating the original model to shipping and focused on several key factors for each of the 60 steps such as cycle time, change-over time, equipment reliability, and part quality. What came from this exercise are things like more precise scheduling and more consideration for preventative maintenance.

Process Map

We were also interested in how Lean Manufacturing impacted training. We have used the Lean Manufacturing training timetable to look at our staff as skilled resources and in which areas they can be used to what degree. This will allow us to allocate staff to alleviate bottlenecks in future production.

We've been really pleased to see that the production leads have been interested in applying the tools and concepts of Lean Manufacturing. We expect it to lead to more efficient production and higher overall quality in our jewelry. Meanwhile, be sure to check out our current line of Sincerely Southwest® jewelry on, find complementing jewelry collections on the Relios homepage.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Is That Turquoise, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Long before the days of Miss Cleo and Sylvia Browne, mystics in ancient India and Babylon attributed strength and power to the stones and minerals of the world that surrounded them. They would use gemstones to ward off illness, bolster the spirit and cleanse the soul. Astrologists would later assign gemstones to the signs of the Zodiac, to help people influence their ruling planets. Sound familiar? Thought so. We're talking about birthstones.

While most of us have the holidays on the noggin, some of us are also celebrating birthdays during the month of December. But Relios has you covered for southwestern gifts for more than just the holidays. December's birthstone happens to be a standard in southwestern jewelry: the sky stone, Turquoise.

If cold December gave you birth
The month of snow and ice and mirth
Place on your hand a turquoise blue;
Success will bless whate'er you do.
—Gregorian Birthstone Poems

Turquoise has a long tradition as a gemstone. The chalky stone has been a sought after gem not just in Native American cultures, but through out the world. The Aztecs, Egyptians and Persians all used the sky stone as a gemstone in ornamental jewelry. But would you believe that India and Japan would miss out on the beauty of turquoise until thousands of years later? Sounds pretty rough if you ask us.

If you're looking for a gift for that December birthday, look no further. Relios has a great special section dedicated to turquoise jewelry gifts for December. Find earrings, bracelets and necklaces ranging from clear blue to vivid green with a matrix, or pick something in between. You can find our special December birthstone category of turquoise jewelry by clicking the image below.

You won't find fake turquoise at Relios. We use genuine, natural gemstones. And we never use dyed turquoise. This effectively makes every piece of turquoise jewelry we make a unique gift, because the color of the stones will vary from piece to piece. So when you're giving the gift of turquoise jewelry by Relios to your December birthday girl, you can honestly say you've given them a one-of-a-kind gift.

The first people to produce imitation turquoise were the ancient Egyptians, using earthenware called faience.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Introducing Relios at Uptown!

If you know Relios then you know that we have a wide variety of ways for you to buy our jewelry and connect with us. We have our retail website ( and a store in Texas. We also have jewelry available on Amazon. And we have profiles on Facebook and Myspace and this blog. But the hope of every business is to grow, and Relios is preparing to add a new member to the family.

On November 14, 2008 Relios is adding a new retail location at ABQ Uptown. This new store is going to be at the heart of Albuquerque's newest and hottest shopping destination. The ABQ Uptown area is chock full of great upscale retail and dining spots where you can find everything from culinary gear to clothes to jewelry and sandwiches to steaks.

Located next to Marcello's Chophouse on Q Street, our new store is going to offer a wide variety of our products from our discounted Corazon line of jewelry up to our new Collection pieces. Coming right before the holidays, our new store is going to be a great place for you to find the perfect holiday gifts.

We're not just excited because this is a new store. It's our first Relios branded location, and our first location in our hometown. The new store is just a short drive away from the factory, and it's going to make it possible for us to get a better handle on the jewelry styles and colors you like.

If you live in the Duke City or you're just passing through, drop by and look around the new store when it opens. Need the details?

Relios Jewelry at ABQ Uptown
2201 Q Street NE Suite A
Albuquerque, NM 87110
(505) 888-9603
Store hours:
10am to 9pm Mon. -Th.,
10am to 10pm Fri.-Sat.
12pm to 6pm Sun.

ABQ Uptown is at the intersection of Louisiana and Indian School, just a block North from the Louisiana exit of I-40.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gift Central Station

You've spent the morning warming up with hot coffee or tea, but now it's time to venture outside. You watch your breath puff out in little clouds in the cold air as head out to your car.

Hmph! The windshield is frosted over. You get out the scraper and peel the frost off of the windshield as the car engine hums away trying to heat up the car.

Finally, you're out of the driveway and on your way to the mall. You're going to brave the long lines and rack-after-rack, shelf-after-shelf of potential gifts that have already been through.

And then come the questions: If only they had that bracelet in that color. If only they had that necklace with this stone. Where do I checkout? How long will I be in line? Am I spending too much? Is this nice enough? What about that?

Then you wake up.

The holiday season is staring you down and you need a great way to stave off all the craziness that shopping for gifts brings with it. No one likes to deal with the lines and the parking lot and the cold. Since we find it as tiring as everyone else does, we've decided to do something about it!

The Relios Jewelry Gift Center!

We've gone through our jewelry and organized it to help you find those great southwestern gifts you're looking for with less hassle. We've grouped products together by price and by type to make it quick and easy to get your holiday shopping done.

Inspirational Gifts
Jewelry with spiritual or symbolic connotations like dream catchers, angels and hearts.

Gorgeous Gift Sets
Amazing jewelry gift sets featuring some your favorite southwestern styles and stones. Find sets featuring turquoise, lapis, and red jasper!

Easy for Anyone
Great simple styles and inexpensive jewelry are the hallmark of the Easy for Anyone group! Find elegant jewelry with more subdued hints of southwestern style giving the jewelry a great range of potential.

Carolyn Pollack Fans
Do you follow Carolyn's appearances on QVC? Then this is the jewelry section for you! You'll find a lot of Carolyn's non-exclusive designs here. Add more great styles and colors to your CP collection.

Tops for Teens
Looking for styles that your daughter, granddaughter, or niece would look great in? Try these fun styles ranging from hoops to drops and sterling to stones!

Simply Silver
Sometimes you're looking to make a straightforward statement. Find your statement piece in this section of nothing-but-sterling-silver jewelry.

Totally Turquoise
What would southwestern gifts for the holidays be without turquoise? It just wouldn't feel right! From green turquoise to blue, we've got a lot of great styles to offer.

Clip Earrings
No pierced ears? No problem! Browse this section of more than a dozen styles of earrings we offer with clips instead of posts and earnuts.

Men's Basics
Looking for something for the guy in your life? Try our Men's Basics section filled with rings, cuff links and chains.

With everything from inexpensive jewelry to sweep them off their feet gifts, shop the at the Relios Gift Center today and save yourself the nightmare!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Following the wave -- What's hot in jewelry?

You might have caught the spread in Elle Magazine or our posting on fall fashion, but the big colors for this fall are jewel tones. Especially purples and blues. It's not limited to the stunning shoes, elegant holiday dress, or the new scarf you've got for this year's big holiday family outing.

You're seeing a big a splash of color in this fall's jewelry collections as well! In particular you're seeing two stones really capture the imagination of designers: lapis lazuli and malachite.
If turquoise is number one in the world of southwestern jewelry, then lapis is easily the second most popular stone. Lapis has been a valued stone since well before Predynastic Egypt, and if you recall from our earlier post about fall fashion, purple was alleged to have been Pharaoh Cleopatra's favorite color. Well, would you believe that her famous blue eyeshadow was made from crushed lapis?

Lapis was first mined in Afghanistan, but today many sources around the world supply us with this vibrant blue stone. Along with turquoise, lapis is one our favorite stones here at Relios. We love the potent blue hues. You'll find a great selection of lapis jewelry on our website. But if you don't find something there, and you still want those blue tones for this fall, try our Tempting Teals Collection which is new for 2008.
Compare our lapis jewelry (earrings and necklace) and our Tempting Teals 8 inch 3-strand bracelet to the jewelry mentioned in Elle Magazine.
Green with envy? Your friends will be when they see you decked out in our malachite jewelry or if you're looking for other green jewelry browse our selection in our new Gorgeous Greens Collection.

Malachite gets it's rich green color from the weathering of deposits of copper. Archaeologists have found that malachite has been mined in Timna, Israel (King Solomon's Mines) for well over 3,000 years. Domestically, there are sites throughout the United States where malachite is found, but it's especially prominent in Arkansas and Arizona. One of the largest known pieces of malachite in the US is "The Tazza," a large cup-like sculpture presented to August Heckscher by Czar Nicholas II.
We have an assortment of malachite jewelry, such as these necklaces and earrings. You might also like our Gorgeous Greens Collection.

Once you've finished finding the lapis and malachite jewelry that fits your mood, take some time to see what else we've got for you in our Fall Collections or our Outlet jewelry!

Remember, the holidays are coming fast! Find great gifts at Relios Jewelry.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thinking Pink Can Save Lives

It's one of the oldest known forms of cancer and the second most common form of cancer in the world (more than 10% of all cases). It ranks fifth amongst all cancers in deaths. While it is 100 times less prevalent in men, it knows no gender. Breast Cancer is a devastating illness that takes lives and destroys spirits.

It doesn't have to be this way. Time, money and effort can go a long way in making strides against diseases like Breast Cancer. The fight against breast cancer is a cause that has struck Bill and Carolyn as being an important piece of activism for Relios. So Carolyn and Bill are making a statement about our commitment to doing good in the world.
For the fourth consecutive year, Carolyn is participating in the Breast Cancer 3-Day(Philadelphia -- October 17-19, 2008). This 60-mile walk through the City of Brotherly Love, is a march of hope and determination aimed at raising funds for the National Philanthropic Trust and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Donations and the teams entry fees all go to the benefit of these two crucial organizations. Carolyn and her friends have come together to form Elise's Army, a team named in honor of their late friend who survived breast cancer at an early age and participated in the walk the last three years. To raise money, Elise's Army, will be selling a natural pink rhodonite and sterling silver necklace made and donated by Relios Jewelry. Every cent of the purchase goes towards the eradication of breast cancer.

Along with the rhodonite necklace, Relios Jewelry will also be donating 10% of our sales of pink jewelry during the Month of October to Elise's Army. If that isn't awesome enough, Relios is donating $25,000 worth of jewelry to QVC UK for their Breast Cancer Care Fashion Show.

Be on the lookout for Carolyn's recap of the walk and the travails of living in a pink tent city for two nights! Meanwhile, head over to the Think Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness special section of the Relios Jewelry website and make a difference for women (and men!) the world over.

"breast cancer." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 18 Sep. 2008 <>.

"breast cancer." Wikipedia. 2008. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 18 Sep. 2008 <>.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Good for your Corazon, Great for your Wallet

You always feel good when you catch a great deal. You brag to your friends about how you found this skirt, those shoes, this blouse all at a crazy good price. Face the facts, when you find high quality fashion at a great price, you come out both looking great and looking like a genius!

People are shopping for bargains more than ever now. Gas prices are high, the stock market is rough, and this is pushing the price of your favorite products through the roof. You need some respite from all the craziness. What better way than to stock your wardrobe with great looking jewelry priced to be light on the pocketbook?

That's the spirit of the Corazon Collection by Relios Jewelry. We're striving to put you back in the driver's seat, by offering you our top-quality, designer jewelry at clearance prices. We've taken discontinued collection jewelry and reduced the price to help you regain control of your jewelry collection. Our goal has always been the same: make people shine with our jewelry, and we feel that by giving you an opportunity to capture some great looks for a fraction of what you would have paid anywhere else is a great way to do that.

But this also means that these great pieces of jewelry are limited in their supply! So, if you want that unique look, you need to act fast!

You'll find turquoise, lapis, sterling silver... You'll find earrings, bracelets, and necklaces... You'll find fun and fanciful jewelry for a small, small, small price! So run over to the outlet jewelry section of the Relios homepage today and grab your bit of budget flash and flair today.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Purple Is Where The Party Is

As the cold weather moves in, the leaves turn signaling the coming of the autumn season. It's time for hot cider, warm fires and holiday parties. It's also time for the new Fall fashion season to kick into gear! This year the stars of the color palette are deep blues and purples.

from Lucky Magazine, Sep. 2008, pg 128

According the Pantone Fall 2008 Color Trends Report, designers are emphasizing blues, greens and purples, with warm reds, orange and yellows this year. Along with the color palette, there are hints that the fashion style echoes Art Deco styling. In their Fall Fashion issue,Vogue magazine is advocating "statement necklaces," big bold necklaces that really give you a sense of flair.

from Lucky Magazine, Sep. 2008, pg 122
from Relios Jewelry, Passionate Purple 3 Strand Necklace

Purple is believed to be favorite color of the Pharaoh Cleopatra, an icon of powerful women in history and royalty. Find the pharaoh in you by joining in on the fall craze for purple and dark blues.

Start your fall jewelry now with the Passionate Purples and the Fabulous Fuchsias Collections by Carolyn Pollack at Relios Jewelry.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Sun Sets on the Santa Fe Indian Market

We're sad to see it go, but we know that if the SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market didn't come to an end, we'd have nothing to get excited about next year -- and we get pretty hyped up about it!

But while we've still got Indian Market 2008 on the noggin, we wanted to share some of what Bill, Carolyn and Susan found!

Award winners

As in years past, Bill and Carolyn Pollack, our company President/Founder and Vice President/Lead Designer respectively, sponsored an award at this year's Indian Market. It's part of a philosophy about dedicating Relios to giving back to those we benefit from. We use recycled silver to take care of the environment, and by sponsoring an award at the Indian Market we honor the people immersed in the southwestern culture that inspires our jewelry.

This year, Bill and Carolyn sponsored the Best of Jewelry Classification award. The winner was Rebecca Begay for her seed pot, a fresh and fun piece of silver decorated with a light-hearted floral design. Along with her husband, Darryl, Rebecca creates her floral design castings using tufa stone.
Rebecca Begay with Carolyn and Bill Pollack

Other award winners include Sheldon Harvey, who picked up two awards, and Fritz Casuse, who won a first place award for his flat spider ring set. Andrew Rodriguez also went home with two awards!

New Friends in the Relios Family

Just as we did with Roderick Tenorio some time ago, we made some new friends at Indian Market this year. We're going to be working with three new native designers we met at the Indian Market and we think you're going love their designs.

First is Cody Sanderson. Cody caught some looks with his naja pendant and a venus flytrap inspired sculpture (a collaboration with Pat Pruitt). His embossed graphics style really turned some heads.
Cody Sanderson

Next we've partnered with Fritz Casuse. Fritz's jewelry pieces display an air of dimensionality that really bring something new to the table. We really liked his "tube" drop earrings and the bracelet with dangling amber stones.
Fritz Casuse

Rounding out the trio of great designers we've partnered is Veronica Benally. Bill and Carolyn spent some time with Veronica talking about her daughters, Hope and Venus and their budding talents. Both of her daughters are planning pieces for a show in May. Good luck, Hope and Venus!
Veronica Benally with Carolyn Pollack

Reaction to the Indian Market

It seems that this year's style in jewelry has moved away from traditional Native American/southwestern design. Bill, Carolyn and Susan came across a varying gradient of styles, but it seems that the move towards more contemporary design has found a home with the designers at the Indian Market this year. When you look at the scuplture by Cody Sanderson and Pat Pruitt, the teardrop cluster piece by Colin Coonsis, Sheldon Harvey's painting, and Rebecca Begay's seed pod, you can see that contemporary design is taking root in Native American art.

It will be fascinating to see which direction the art and jewelry at the Santa Fe Indian Market will take in 2009. We can't wait!

In the meantime, be sure to visit the Relios homepage often as we roll out new jewelry collections and introduce our new design partners in the coming weeks! And don't forget our ever growing outlet section where you'll find real deals on genuine, natural gemstone jewelry and discount sterling silver jewelry.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Photos of the Santa Fe Indian Market

If you had the opportunity to make it out to this year's Santa Fe Indian Market, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we do! Here's a small slide show of Carolyn Pollack, our lead designer, Bill Pollack, Relios' founder and president, and Susan Chiasson, Director of New Product Development at the Indian Market.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Looking for Gold in the Silver Lining

We like things that sparkle and shine -- brilliant things that catch the sunlight and use it to make life more beautiful. We make jewelry with this in mind. We like trying to capture the beauty of the world around us and reflect it in our own small way. We mimic this amazing world through our use of natural gemstones and metals. Much of the value, if not the aesthetics, of a piece of jewelry come from the metal. By now everyone knows we’re big on sterling silver jewelry, but did you know it’s environmentally friendly sterling silver?

Caring About Nature because She Cares About Us

Recent films, like Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio, have focused attention on where and how jewelry manufacturers get their metals and gemstones. Because we use genuine natural gemstones and .925 sterling silver at Relios Jewelry, we owe a lot to Mother Nature. We especially owe it to her to take good care of her. We do our part by using recycled silver.

You’ll find that we use recycled silver in every one of our sterling silver jewelry pieces, because we know that the mining of silver and other metals can be harsh on the environment. Metals like gold and silver are sometimes mined with a process called chemical leaching. Chemical leaching is where tons of earth are dug up, placed on a slab and then a chemical solution that binds to heavy metals like silver, is poured through it. The solution binds to the gold or silver and pulls the particles of metal out of the earth for separation later. Digging up so much land is damaging enough to the environment, but some of the chemicals needed to make the process work can be quite hazardous as well.

Since the environment of the Southwest United States has long been an inspiration to the designers of our jewelry collections, we want to do what we can to preserve the beauty of our surroundings. But it’s not enough to just take care of our own little corner. With a heart and mind towards doing good, along with making beautiful sterling silver jewelry , we purchase casting grain that is 100% made from recycled sources.

But that begs the question: where exactly does our silver come from? Our supplier of silver specializes in recovering silver from sources like other jewelers and photo-imaging companies. The silver is collected in the form of scrap bearings from jewelers using mined silver and the waste materials from photo development, then the silver is refined, analyzed for quality and then reformed for use by organizations like us.

Did you know? There is more gold in one ton of landfill than there is in 17 tons of ore.
(Deutschman, Alan. There's Gold In Them Thar Smelly Hills. Fast Company; Jul/Aug2006 Issue 107, p96-98.)

Looking Great In Gold Vermeil

Because it never rusts and never corrodes, gold is the absolute standard for precious metals. It remains a tried-and-true favorite of jewelry lovers the world over. But we also know that gold is amazingly expensive right now. The price of gold today is hovering around a whopping $930 per ounce! So the question is, how can a jewelry aficionado get her gold, and make an investment in her jewelry, without draining her pocketbook?

The answer to that is gold vermeil (ver-MAY).

While the gilding of gold onto other materials is an ancient practice (early examples date back to ancient Egypt circa 2300 BCE), the art of vermeil was first developed in 18th century France.

Gold vermeil is the process of taking sterling silver and combining it with gold either through fire gilding or electrolysis. Sounds interesting, right? But as a sharp-minded jewelry buyer, you want to know more about what you’re buying. Well, to claim that a piece of jewelry is gold vermeil, a jewelry manufacturer has to follow some strict rules. The gold must be at least 10 karats in fineness, it must be plated on a base of sterling silver, and it must be at least 2.5 microns thick.

Golden Nuggets Because the heavy use of mercury in fire gilding would cause blindness, the country of France banned the fire gilding method of producing vermeil.

The Vermeil Room in the White House where the vermeil tableware set is kept was originally designed as a “social room” for Theodore Roosevelt.

The advantage to vermeil is that you get the glory of gold for a fraction of the price. Aside from the value of combining sterling silver and gold, the gold layer on vermeil jewelry also won’t rub off like typical gold plating. Relios offers a number of gold vermeil jewelry pieces to take advantage of this stunning cost-conscious combination of sterling silver and gold.

So, come by the Relios Jewelry website and see the result of putting the beauty of nature first with our sterling silver jewelry or find the gold vermeil piece for you!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Beaded Jewelry & Natural Gemstones

Jewelry is a personal statement. The colors you choose. The styles you wear. They say a lot about who you are as a person. Bold and outgoing. Quiet and reserved. Vibrant and creative. Introspective and subtle. While the jewelry we design and manufacture at Relios is what we would call a contemporary take on southwestern jewelry, the range of styles and colors can help you tell people who you are no matter which end of the spectrum you're on.

Beaded Jewelry

Beaded jewelry by Relios Jewelry can help you make your statement. Designed, modeled, cast, stone set, and assembled in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA (using genuine natural gemstones from around the world), we offer an amazing range of beaded jewelry to capture the essence of who you are.

Try a snap of turquoise to liven up a neutral outfit. The deep, entrancing blues of our lapis jewelry can help highlight your blue eyes. For the brunettes in the crowd, you might want a splash of red to grab some attention. The great part is that we have such a fantastic library of stones to choose from that we can offer beaded jewelry in a range of colors – earth tones, greens, blues, reds, and more.

But let's be honest, what really makes beaded jewelry fun is the symbolism and meaning in each stone. The richness of the amethyst’s nocturnal purple hues is thought to heal and calm the mind, while the boisterous orange carnelian is said to encourage a positive outlook. Need an energy boost? Try a sunshiny citrine. And when your best friend’s birthday comes around, a warm embracing amber will let her know she’s important to you.
Beads of Wisdom The traditional birthstone for the June birthday is the Pearl, but Alexandrite and Moonstone work as alternatives.


When someone says the words “Southwestern style,” what comes to mind? Vibrant colors? Possibly. Native American and Spanish/Mexican influences? Probably. Turquoise jewelry. Definitely. From the iron-laden green turquoise to the copper-infused blue turquoise, turquoise jewelry is the cornerstone of Southwestern fashion.

As a gemstone, turquoise carries so much history and symbolism. Native American tradition tells us that turquoise stole its color from the sky, and when the wind blows, it is the sky searching for the “sky stone.” This December birthstone was one of the first stones used as a gemstone, and it was so highly valued as a talisman for good health, currency, and jewelry, that man would risk life and limb traveling over treacherous terrain in search of this “green gold.” What's truly astonishing, however, is that turquoise has a rich worldly history outside of the Americas. As a gemstone it was popular in Ancient Egypt, Persia, and even China. It would later make its way to India and Japan. The ceremonial burial mask of the pharaoh, Tutankhamen, is bedecked in stones of carnelian, lapis, and turquoise (all stones we use at Relios).

Turquoise, itself, is a rare geological occurrence. It forms in arid regions where the surrounding earth is rich in aluminum and copper deposits. Weathering and oxidation pull elements from other pre-existing minerals like malachite and feldspar and when those elements settle and interact with each other in cracks and fissures, the result is turquoise. The matrix, the unique pattern you find in turquoise, comes to be when other minerals are trapped in the hardening turquoise deposit. We like to think of these patterns as the fingerprint of Mother Nature, making each stone special – no two are alike.

We take great pride the turquoise jewelry we design and make at Relios Jewelry – all of which is done in our facility in Albuquerque, NM, USA. We want what you want: spectacular designer styles with only genuine, natural, un-dyed, gem-quality turquoise. We protect all of our turquoise, through a process called stabilization, which prevents the turquoise from fading, breaking and makes it impervious to body oils, lotions and other beauty products.
Nugget of Fact The Native American turquoise mines in Los Cerrillos, New Mexico are thought to be the oldest in the world. (Wikipedia)

Curious about our collection of turquoise jewelry? Thought so. Follow this link to find the sky stone piece that fits your style! If turquoise isn't on your list of favorite stones, look for others in amongst our beaded jewelry.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

From Our Corazon To Yours

Everyone loves a deal. It’s like reliving a great birthday. You know as well as we do that a pick-me-up like a great deal would be welcome in the current economy. This is why we’ve put something together for all the Relios and Southwestern Jewelry Fans out there.

Corazon grab bags at our store on Amazon!

We like to think of them as recession defying bundles of joy. For a fraction of the price you would have paid for these pieces in a retail setting, we’re offering six different limited quantity grab bags of sterling silver and natural gemstone jewelry that you will look great wearing! Lets take a quick tour of the grab bags.

Lapis of Luxury - If you like blue, you’re sure to love the Lapis of Luxury grab bag. It starts with two pairs of earrings (chandeliers with lapis beads, and Kachina charm earrings with lapis cabochons), we then added two bracelets (coil bracelet with lapis and sterling silver beads, and a sterling silver cuff bracelet with a lapis cabochon flanked by two cabochons of blue turquoise). And if that’s not enough, we also threw in two sterling silver necklaces with silver and lapis pendants and another scenic pendant with chip inlayed stones like lapis and turquoise.

Pink and Proper – Another grab bag with seven items, Pink and Proper features three necklaces (first, a dainty pink mother of pearl heart on a light silver chain, then a chunkier rhodonite heart on a necklace of rhodonite beads, and finally a colorful beaded necklace of turquoise, amber, rhodocrosite, and rose quartz). After that, we have two pairs of earrings (rhodocrosite drop earrings, and a bolder pair of amethyst, turquoise, and rose quartz drop earrings). To round out the grab bag, we added two bracelets (a light pink rose quartz stretch bracelet, and a rose quartz, amber, and rhodocrosite coil bracelet).

Touch of Turquoise – Nothing says southwestern like turquoise! Ranging from a light green shade to a vibrant blue, this grab bag gives you 6 pieces of jewelry, five of which have turquoise as their featured stone. There’s the Indian Princess pendant, a turquoise-colored porcelain cabochon wrapped in ornate sterling silver. Then we have a sterling silver native pearl and green turquoise beaded bracelet. After that, we put in two light weight silver necklaces, one features a oval cabochon of light green turquoise, while the other has a bright blue turquoise stone set in a sterling silver najah. Finally, we have two pairs of earrings, sterling silver najah earrings, and long, delicate, sterling silver dangle earrings ending with beads of blue turquoise.

Autumn and Earth – If you’re more of an earth tones girl, this is the grab bag for you. Starting with the earrings, we have two pairs of earrings: one featuring peach aventurine beads dangling from sterling silver fishhooks, and the other a pair of chandelier earrings with stones of peridot, carnerlian, sunstone and smoky quartz. Next, there are two gorgeous necklaces (a carnelian and smoky quartz beaded necklace and a brown rope necklace with a chandelier of sterling silver and carnelian). Finally, we wanted to share with you three of our great bracelets. A prominent sterling silver bracelet with carnelian cabochons, a carnelian, red jasper, and smoky quartz coil, and a lighter toned bracelet of mother of pearl, amber, smoky quartz and aragonite.

Drops that Pop – Five pairs of drop earrings! Two pairs of earrings feature turquoise (one blue, one green with amethyst accenting stones). Then there are sterling silver earrings with red coral mosaic inlay, and a pair of elegant black onyx stones in sterling silver that work well for a night out. Finally, we have a pair of plum jade earrings with drops of quartz atop an abalone base set in sterling silver.

Playful to Polished – Five pairs of earrings… This grab bag is all about fun earrings, so we’ve taken a variety of different styles of our earrings and put them together so you can express a variety of moods. First up are a pair of big, bouncy earrings with large pale purple amethyst stones and beads of turquoise. For the woman out for a nice evening, we thought a pair of sterling silver blue topaz earrings would make for nice addition. Then we felt we needed to add something that’s more traditionally southwestern, so we put in these cute sterling silver zia earrings with mosaic inlayed yellow jasper, lapis, turquoise, and sugilite. Then for something more “reflective,” we added sterling silver and 14k gold rippled earrings that mimic the ripples in a pond.

“But what if you don’t want all of that jewelry, or don’t like it all?” you ask. No problem! Use the other items as gifts or even resell the jewelry. When you consider how much this jewelry would have cost, you’re in a great position to take advantage! Remember quantities are limited, so grab your bag quick! And if you like what you see, visit us at the Relios Jewelry retail site and scope out more great jewelry in a range of styles and prices. Once you've got your grab bag, take some photos and post them to our Facebook profile. We'd love to see your new look!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Finding Inspiration in the People

We talk about what inspires our designers a lot, but it often happens in very abstract terms: “the nature and culture of the Southwest.” While we wake up to the clear blue skies and watch the Sandia Mountains turn pink with the setting sun, a statement like “Southwest inspired” doesn’t say everything about where we get inspiration. It doesn’t tell you about the people.

Relios Jewelry is a member of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), and each year SWAIA sponsors the grandest of all Native American arts shows: Santa Fe Indian Market. This event brings together artists from nearly 100 Native American tribes. Can you imagine the wonders and inspiration we find for pieces like our inlay jewelry in the artwork of the almost 1,200 Native artists that showcase at the Santa Fe Indian Market?

We can’t say that our jewelry is Native American, because the truth is that it’s not. We believe in the power of diversity, and we hire the most skilled workers regardless of ethnicity. We feel that we’ve been lucky to put together a staff from all walks of life: Hispanics, Asians, and most certainly Native Americans. The culture of the Southwest, after all, is an amalgam of Native, Mexican, and European influences. We think the Relios family should be too.

So while we can’t say the jewelry is Native American, we can say that we take the beauty and creativity that we find in Native American jewelry, pottery, sculpture and textiles and create jewelry that offers you our interpretation of their amazing art. Collections like our Santa Fe Sunset collection, for example, take elements that our lead designer, Carolyn Pollack, found in pieces of Indian pottery. (Check out the video of Director of New Jewelry Design, Susan Chiasson, talking about the Santa Fe Sunset Collection on our Facebook profile). As Carolyn says, "At Indian Market, you get this feeling that the pieces have somehow emerged and evolved from the earth. It is truly a magical feeling like no other.”

Relios does much more with the Santa Fe Indian Market than just browse for ideas. We believe in giving back to those who gave to us. It’s why we use recycled silver for all of jewelry (including turquoise earrings and turquoise rings) and it’s the reason why Relios has sponsored one of the awards at Indian Market for the last 10 years – and we will be again this year.

Not only does Relios bring back ideas from the Indian Market, we bring back friends. Our partnership with Native American designer, Roderick Tenorio, was a fortuitous reward for being involved in such a spectacular event. Relios collectors have been adding Roderick’s jewelry to their collections ever since. And we continue to seek out Native American artists to partner with. The jewelry you find at the Indian Market tends to be one-of-a-kind art pieces. This means they can be really pricey as well. In our opinion, we think everyone who wants to share in the art should get the chance. We partner our manufacturing capabilities with the design skills of artists like Roderick (and hopefully soon a couple others) in order to give everyone a chance to experience Native American-designed jewelry at more affordable prices.

If you’re interested in visiting, this year the Indian Market is taking place on August 23rd and 24th on the Plaza in Santa Fe, NM. You never know whom you’re going to meet – Bill and Carolyn, perhaps – and you never know what you’re going find. What you do know is that the artwork, jewelry, and pottery are going to sparking new ideas for sterling silver jewelry here at Relios.

Visit the Relios Jewelry website to see the kinds of turquoise jewelry the art at the Indian Market and the Southwest culture and spirit has already inspired. Don’t forget to bookmark the site, because we can assure you that we’re bound to be incorporating ideas from this year’s show in future pieces.

We’ll see you at the Santa Fe Indian Market!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thirty-Three Years and Counting...

First, we'd like to welcome you to the Official Relios Blog, RelioSpace. We want to make this space a fun and fanciful source of stories and information about Relios, our jewelry, southwest culture and fashion, and anything else that tickles our fancy.

And what tickles our fancy today is Relios' 33rd anniversary! Isn't that awesome? For 33 years Relios has been providing top-quality sterling silver and natural gemstone jewelry to customers all over the country.

You could say that Relios really began when company founder and President, Bill Pollack, started fashioning jewelry out of his garage in the early 1970's. As an independent artisan, he started with lapidary, sawing, grinding and polishing stone and shell.

"I was always amazed at how beautiful the materials were, and the fact that they came straight out of the earth or bottom of the sea. I still get that feeling today with our new designs. Combining the art of jewelry design and the technology involved with the production processes is still very challenging and rewarding – even 30 years later," says the University of New Mexico alumnus.

In 1975, Relios was born when Bill had the opportunity to purchase a local jewelry manufacturer, Carlisle Jewelry Co. Together with his wife, Carolyn (Lead Designer and Vice President), the inspiration of the culture and environment of the Southwest, and the philosophies and principles that he has instilled in the company, Bill has led Relios to national renown.

Our philosophy

Part of the Relios frame-of-mind is a dedication to designing and manufacturing our jewelry here in the United States. As part of the Relios family, we employ nearly 150 U.S. citizens. And if you consider the average family of four, that means Relios is positively impacting the lives of nearly 600 people. If that isn't staggering enough, consider that with our suppliers, contractors and customers we're touching the lives of hundreds of thousands of people nationwide.

We do as much of the work here in our factory in Albuquerque, NM as we can, and we source most of our recycled silver here in the USA. But how much are we really doing here in our facility?
  • Designing new jewelry
  • Modeling the original piece
  • Casting (lost wax method)
  • Soldering
  • Polishing
  • Mosaic inlay
  • Stone setting
  • Assembling
  • Stringing gemstone beads
As you can see, almost all of the jewelry-making process happens right here. We do source cut stones, like channel inlay cabochons, from overseas, but that's such a small part of the process that we feel confident we can stand by our claim that our products are American made. Sure, we could make all of our jewelry overseas, but we get more satisfaction from helping as many people as we can here at home.

Gearing up!

It's that time of the year. The new Fall Collections from Relios Jewelry are coming! Available to our wholesale customers on August 15th, and then to our retail customers on September 3rd, be sure you're ready to check out the Fabulous Fuchsias, Passionate Purples, Tempting Teals, Earth and Sky, Fiery Reds, Spicy Reds, and Gorgeous Greens when they go on sale!

Find us online

Did you know that Relios has a number of places where you can find us online? Shop on our website and interact with us on Facebook.

Psst! Don't forget that the holidays are just around the corner!