As far as jewelry websites go, it has a few features that may be worth checking out, depending on what you're interested in. Their "Learning Center" showcased 30 serious jewelry-making topics, from riveting to making your own jump rings. There were also specific designs represented by both free video and written instructions with supply lists included as well.
They also have a "Tips and Tricks" section, along with a Glossary which is limited to hardcore jewelry-making terminology, i.e., de-ionize. If you're lucky enough to live in Albuquerque, N.M. where Rio Grande is located, you can attend their upcoming 2010 jewelry-making classes for fees ranging from $85.00 to $375.00. It appears that they intend to be in other locales in the future, so be on the lookout.
Rio Grande's strong point is most definitely its PRODUCTS! Their (free) huge catalog is amazing -- all 962 pages of it. They just have tons of product, it's that simple. Right now I'm looking at their rondelles, sterling beads, pearls, multi-strand clasps and sterling silver chains. Price-wise, you'll have to tell me. I believe they're probably competitive, but I'd love to hear from anyone who can tell me if there really are any bargains in their gargantuan catalog.
With Christmas rapidly approaching there is so much left to do. Baking, (3) class parties, choir practice for the big night (Christmas Eve), wrapping, shopping (hopefully not too much of that!) and just plain getting into the SPIRIT OF THINGS. I'd have to say I like the last "chore" the best. For it really isn't a chore at all. Especially when you have three kids to drag you along on their wild ride to Christmas morning. Heaven help me. Ciao.
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery