It's all about the bling

Jewelry parties are the talk of the town

For Craig women, jewelry parties are the newest place to be -- for drinks, friends and gems.

"We get to all hang out and have girly night and get cool stuff," consultant Brenda Lyons said.

She's one of many consultants, or advisers, in town who sell different brands and styles of the latest necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and pins.

"My feet and my ears are the only things that haven't grown, so it's fun buying jewelry," said Shary Draper, who attended her second party Tuesday.

Julie Dempster was the hostess for Lyons' first lia sophia party Tuesday evening. The consultant sets up the jewelry sales while the hostess prepares appetizers and drinks at her home.

Those who attend say parties usually are lively and active as women see and try on many of the pieces featured in the catalogs. And they get to catch up with people they haven't seen in a while.

"That's why women like stuff like this," Lyons' daughter, Crickett DeWall, said, "to get together and socialize."

Corrie Scott has seen the popularity of such parties boom in recent years. She sells jewelry her friend, who owns a shop in Boulder, brings back from countries such as India and Nepal.

"There are all kinds of things available at home shows," she said, "but jewelry, that market hadn't really been tapped into. Just the last few years it's really been tapped into."

She's expanded into selling her items at Craig Sports, as well as at hostess parties. She's one of several consultants in Craig who sell different brands and styles of jewelry.

"That's what's neat, you get a variety," Scott said. "We don't have a lot of retail stores, so what's nice about this is it's giving people in this community some options."

Plus, she said, the pieces are affordable. Her jewelry ranges in price from $5 to $150.

"You can get a really nice piece of jewelry for not a lot of money," she said.

There are some hefty benefits for consultants and hostesses as well. At the most recent party Lyons had at her house, she earned $464 in free jewelry, thanks to the order of the women who attended.

Now, as a consultant, she earns a paycheck from lia sophia for putting on parties at hostesses' homes. She earns a percentage of every sale.

"You can have a party and get a lot of jewelry for free," Lyons said.

Scott says it fun for her, too, and she knows exactly why her parties have been so successful.

"(Women are) getting to socialize and have hors d'oeuvres and drinks with their friends," Scott said. "And women, we can't ever have enough jewelry."

She's been brainstorming ways to include men in her parties, instead of just leaving them home with the children.

"I would do shows for guys, too, for Valentine's Day or whatever," she said. "There's a lot of different things you can do to attract both men and women."

But Draper would just as soon go alone to parties. Sometimes women leave with bills as high as hundreds of dollars, and she'd rather not let her husband know what she's up to on ladies' night out.

"This is why I'm going to work for the rest of my life," Draper said, "to buy jewelry and shoes, so he doesn't find out."

But no matter how much or how little the women spend, they agree spending time with their friends is fun, as is showing off something sparkly.

"Jewelry and shoes," DeWall said, "are the best things for a girl to buy."

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