Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Jewellery news dominated by diamonds ... and an engagement ring!

And the last week of November rolls around.... *sigh*. At least I've started my christmas shopping. All this week's efforts have been online purchases - such a great way to do it ... and no sore feet ;)!

I had a wonderful time at last weekend's Christmas Fair in Tamworth. It was such a great group of exhibitors too - there was a lovely vibe to the whole day! Many customers sought me out from last year's event - I just love to hear how their enjoying their previous purchases.

I have my open day in Coolah this Friday and then next week my last show for the year in Mudgee at the Art Vine Artisans Christmas Market. I'm looking forward to a bit of a break from shows, but there will be plenty to keep me busy after that on the family front!

There have been a few things happening in the jewellery world the past week.

We have the world's most expensive pink diamond: The extremely rare 24.78 carat flawless pink diamond smashed the price record for most expensive diamond (and piece of jewelry) sold at auction (Sotheby's), where Laurence Graff paid the princely sum of $46.16 million and has already named it The Graff Pink. (He already owns the diamond with the previous title of most expensive diamond sold at auction, for which he paid $24.3 million - and all this from a lad who came from the streets of London and left school at age 14!)

Speaking of princes: Prince William announced he would marry his long term girlfriend Kate Middleton next summer. In a touching gesture, her engagement ring is the sapphire and diamond ring that Princess Diana wore. A little old-fashioned some may say, but its still a ring to be reckoned with - the sapphire is 18 carats of top quality stone with 14 nice diamonds around it and has a current value of approximately $500,000.

Rare emerald: A rare 9.27carat square cut emerald from from the legendary mine of Muzo, Colombia, brought a price of $835,682 at the recent Christie's sale. Gemmologists claim its vibrant hue class it amongst the world's best.

If you like to fossick for gems: Perhaps try your luck at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. A fellow last weekend had a bit of a fossick and ended up going home with a 2.44ct brown diamond. Definitely worth the $7 entry fee!

The legendary Hope diamond : The Hope diamond has had a new, modern setting designed for it by Harry Winston Inc., to celebrate its 50th anniversary of being donated by Harry Winston to the Smithsonian. Set into a necklet with 340 baguette diamonds, that took 8 months for jewellers to create, it will only be in the setting for a short time before returning to its original Cartier setting.

The other piece of jewellery news is more of an oddity, really. I saw the headline of 'world's largest pearl' and when I investigated further, found they were referring to a six ton ball of blue-green fluorite from Mongolia. As it glows in the dark it is referred to as a 'luminous pearl' On sale for an estimated 88,000,000 GBP if you want a five foot high night light?

In honour of all the lovely gems in this week's news I thought I'd better post a special piece - and this one surely is! Made with top quality amethyst and citrine and 14ct gold, I just love it!

Till next week :)

Friday, 19 November 2010

What Price Beauty?

I'm sitting here the day after a HUGE shopping trip to Dubbo. We left yesterday before 8am and we got home last night at 9.30pm! The drive each way is close to 150km (so a 300km round trip) and it feels like I walked the whole way my feet are that sore. Why are they so sore? Well, it kind of comes down to what you wear to town. I'm in the country and going to town still entails an element of dressing up.

This means wearing a dress or skirt and heels or the route I usually take which is dressy jeans or trousers. Presentable but not towering high heels, a nice top, necklace and earrings completes the look.

Since I'm only average height and not as slim as I used to be, I don't want to encourage the chunky image, so I like to wear a low heel to give me extra height. I bought some fabulous dress boots (like riding boots but with a small block heel) last winter and these look great with my bootleg jeans and give me that much needed height. The fact that they are pretty comfortable too and I had done a day of walking around Mudgee in them before with good results helped this choice along. Of course I forgot in this equation that Mudgee is MUCH smaller.

On arrival we spent the first hour car bound as hubby found workshops and machinery supply shops. Then, the first main street stop, the girls and I went off to find a hairdresser (the girls in dire need of a new cut) and the boys went off to the barber. Naturally we parked near the barber. We only had 45 minutes before the orthodontist appointment, so off we rushed. Three blocks later we had found a hairdresser that could fit the girls in - but not till the afternoon. So we briskly walked back to the car, doing a spot of retail therapy on the way ;)

Back in the car and off to the orthodontist. Hubby left us there with the agreement to meet us back in the nearest shopping centre in about an hour and a half's time. The orthodontist took about 3/4 hour with the wonderful news that my son is due for braces. Right. Great. Do you know how MUCH braces cost!? I'm strongly encouraging any of my children to become orthodontists as a future lucrative career at this stage....

I digress.

The shopping centre was five blocks away. And I should mention that the blocks in Dubbo are NOT small. We made it back to the shopping centre with a few minutes to spare. A quick bite to eat, more retail therapy even if it was rather rushed and then we thankfully got driven near to the hairdresser (within a block) as hubby and son went off in another direction. A pleasant hour or so later (and a big thumbs up to the crew at Rave Hair Studio - thanks Sam and Mel!) we walked another three blocks to the appointed rendevous point. My feet were starting to feel rather uncomfortable but I did my best to ignore them.

Walking another 3 blocks, we completed the main street's retail offerings and had added to our shopping tally. Back to the car, to another shopping centre and another hour of trekking around. By this point I've sworn off ever taking children shopping again as its just "I want..." "Can I have .... " "Muuuuuummmmmmm". Replied by me with "have you got your money, no? well, you'll have to miss out today" "No" and "Yesssssss?????"

A final stop at the toy shop. I thought. I dutifully wandered around with each of the children in turn as the gazed longingly at the shelves and picked out their sibling's christmas gifts. Back to the car where I melted into the back of the seat blissed out with sitting down.

"I think we'll go to the park" says hubby. What? It's 5.30pm, no one's eaten, it's an hour and a half drive home and I'm fragged. But before I can say anything over the happy squealing in the back seat, we're at the park. I DID get to sit for 20 minutes and chatted to hubby who I'd hardly seen all day, then we ventured to the playground (another walk) on the far side of the rather large park. By this time my feet were burning. Not a good sign.

"Let's go and have some dinner" is the next gem from hubby's mouth. Well at least I'm in favour of this one. And grateful when we get a parking spot just across the road from the restaurant. A slight maze to actually get to our seat, through corridors, up steps and so on, but we all had a lovely meal. When I stand up after an hour off my feet - ouch. I get back to the car and we begin the journey home. I take off my shoes. Ahhh. Home. Put the shoes back on to get back to the house. Mega ouch. I'm limping into the house. Shoes kicked off immediately. I'm still limping. It really hurts to walk. The balls of my feet are soooo sore and I have an unbroken blister too. Kids to bed and me too.

And now, here I am the next day, still with sore feet, a busy day ahead and a show tomorrow in Tamworth (the annual Christmas fair) where I'll be on my feet all day.

I'm now strongly questioning the reason why I feel compelled to dress up to go to town. And for my children to have straight teeth. (Well, I guess I do understand the last one).

What's your solution to going to town? Do you dress up or dress down? What shoes do you wear? Are they comfortable to walk around in for a few kilometres or miles?

In honour of 'dressing up to go to town' here's a pic of a nice little black onyx and 12ct gold fill goes well with heels ;)

Friday, 12 November 2010

It's creeping up on me.... Christmas!

Arrrghhh! Christmas is starting. I can feel it. It's there in the FIRST christmas card of the year (it's always by my ultra-organised friend Lynda) that arrived today; in the holiday music and people in Santa hats I saw in on TV yesterday; in the email that my sister in law sent me giving me this year's Christmas draw ; in Monique's post with her rum balls recipe ; in the fact that my jeans are getting tight (and that's just after two recent functions that weren't even Christmas related... can you imagine what another month will do - eeek!); in the weather - it's finally heating up, although with all the rain its just kind of steamy; and last but not least in the children asking when they can write to Santa..... (not much gets past them LOL).

I think I've just been too busy to even contemplate it. (Having a show every week is wearing me out - this weekend it's a private party at nearby Leadville. There's going to be shoes (I love shoes!) and me with jewels. Plus some champers to sip on the day. What more could any woman ask for?? )

The Christmas cards that I was so pro-active in getting TWO MONTHS ago, haven't been touched and absolutely no presents have been purchased (actually they haven't even been thought about yet!)

So, how are you going on the Christmas front? Are you being bombarded already with Christmas images and music or is something more subtle reminding you it's getting closer? Alternately, are you blissfully unaware and determined to stay that way a bit longer?

OK, what photo for today? I think I might go a bit glamorous with these stunning AAA grade rock crystal quartz earrings - soooo sparkly and perfect for Christmas parties!

OK, off to ignore all the Christmas things, well at least for another few days ;)

Till next
Annette :)

Friday, 5 November 2010

Shows - the trials and tribulations

OK, I think I need to just stop. For a few minutes anyway.

This time of the year is unbelievable - even one of my girls last night asked when my next show was, and the next, and the next and the next.... Her eyes got bigger at each one I mentioned. Luckily they're kept busy at school and when they're home they're playing together, doing piano practice and reading. Lots of reading (I think I gave birth to book worms not children sometimes!). And I have a husband that is flexible enough to look after them (and if he is not available, then, thankfully, there is always Grandma!).

I love doing shows - I love getting out and about and meeting people, sharing my passion for gems and pearls and hopefully brightening people's day with some 'pretty' jewels. Even better when I can extend that happiness by having someone take something they love home.

I have another outing this afternoon - just a small one, in my neighbouring town, Dunedoo, about 45min drive away, for a 'ladies afternoon'.

Last weekend I wended my way to Armidale with my friend Trista in tow (to keep me awake as well as help me at the show) for the TAS fair. We had a wonderful time, met some lovely people and sold some jewels, but, as often happens, there was just too many people selling jewellery for any of us to do really well and the poor people attending the show had glazed eyes at the literally hundreds of strands of necklaces that must have been there. Of course the quality, material and styles varied immensely, but at first glance, all people saw was "more jewellery".

This, I must admit, is one of my pet peeves about doing shows. I realise that these shows are organised by time-poor volunteers, but as organisers they CAN and SHOULD dictate what people can sell. In the case of last week, two stall holders mentioned they sold jewellery amongst a myriad of other things (such as clothes, shoes, homewares etc.) but they displayed mostly jewellery. The result is that the show isn't as successful as it could be - the stall holders don't sell as much as they might if there were less of the same category there, and the attendees get limited variety and boredom sets in early.

Of course, some shows are very well organised in this department and they are usually very successful and enjoyed by everyone. These go on to run year after year and I'm fortunate to be a part of some of them. I noted on the Business Mums Blog a week or so ago that some of the markets/shows in Melbourne do great promotion for their participants too. Ah, sometimes I want to live in a city and get those sort of benefits. But then, I love my peace and quiet and rural life too much!

I also noted on the Busy Mum blog, that she's wishing for summer to hurry up and come. Given the cold weather we keep getting here, I'm wishing for a bit of summer too!

Well, I must dash and put my busy hat back on. I still have to finish packing for my outing this afternoon and I only have an hour and a half left before I leave! Today's photo is of pearls - I've felt a bit 'pearly' the last week or so, so made this strand up a few days ago. Rich dark brown pearls with a peacock sheen, enhanced by the addition of some rhodolite garnet, amethyst, iolite and peridot. Yum!

Till next :)


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