the blog of jewelry designer

November 14, 2011

Recent Trip to Asia and Our Thoughts Are With the People of Thailand

I have recently returned from another trip to Asia. This will be a recurring theme in my blog being that my jewelry is produced there. Plus each trip is such a new and unique experience I have to share! Erin (my operations person) and I first flew to India on our most recent trip to Asia. We recently started new product development with a great group in Mumbai of whom we are very excited about! My first morning there, I tried several different types of Indian breakfast food at the buffet--one of which was called uttapam served with 3 different types of chutney--coconut, tomato, and yogurt chutney--all very yummy!

We had wanted to see the city on the day (Sunday) we had free, but literally our hosts and everyone of whom we asked at the hotel said you cannot leave the hotel area today because it was a major holiday...there were massive celebrations in the streets making it impossible to get around easily. A taxi driver also refused to take us to the areas we were interested in seeing. This holiday (the "Final Darshan") was about processions of priests and devotees escorting their idols in statue form to reach various "Chowpatty" (means beach in India) for immersion of the idols into the water.

While I so desperately wanted to see those processions, everyone discouraged us, so our focus became eating Indian food in our immediate area, then resting and watching news which included the moving footage of the 9/11 10th anniversary happenings in New York.

Our last night there, our hosts took us to a great Indian restaurant called Peshawri. They encourage you to only eat with your bare hands and also to wear an apron--while this is possibly a bit touristy and a little gimmicky, we loved it and loved the food! Here is Erin with her apron.

I typically get at least 3 or more foot massages during my trips to Bangkok--they are so wonderful and so affordable. This last trip was the busiest working trip I have ever experienced, but I was able to fit in 2 quick foot massages--a 30-minute one at the Bangkok airport on my departure home; and the other was fitting in a 15 minute foot massage prior to a business dinner at Sala Thip at the Shangri-La Hotel. This massage therapist caught our eye with her extra-friendly smiling face through the window as we were pulling into the hotel for dinner.

We spent 3 days at the Bangkok Gem Fair--this booth was full of all types of gemstones in their rough form and primarily from Africa. (take note of the bags and bags loaded with gorgeous rough...a jewelry designer's heaven!!)

Here is a new stone we are introducing in Spring 2012 in its rough form and as cabochons. I won't say yet what it is...but it's gorgeous!

Our thoughts are with the people of Thailand right now with the devastating flooding that they are experiencing. The U.S. news has not been posting much about these floods, but I am familiar with the happenings because it is affecting the several places where our jewelry is made...fortunately, about 80% of our artisan groups have not been affected as tremendously as others. But they all have been setback in a big way. One of the workplaces experienced 4-5 feet of flooding waters and now it's down to about 1-2 feet. And in places where the workplace is halfway up and running, the workers have trouble getting to work--many areas can only be reached by boat. Their water system is greatly contaminated because of septic tanks being flooded. Electricity is out (has been out) in many places. People who would normally stay in their homes (to protect them) although they are flooded are leaving because of the stench. There are countless sad stories that are reminiscent of the stories of Hurricane Katrina. The flooding began in the country in late July and has killed 529 people, mostly by drowning.

On a personal note, here is Lexi--a cute little Cairn Terrier mix of whom I am fostering. Whitney (my pug mix) and I are still getting to know her. We love her and highly likely will keep her. Rather, I should say I love her. Whitney is very jealous and working on not being the only dog/only child in the household--tough times. My poor calico cat Meadow is freaking out right now.

November 1, 2011

A little bit of schooling....

I decided to refresh my knowledge on colored gems by taking a gemstone course at the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco about 2 months ago. I wondered if I would be bored in the class being that I have 15 years in my jewelry business, but I ended up learning so many incredible things. The earth is full of so many surprises in the way of gems!

One of my favorite things I learned....

(angelio batle graphite sculptures and gorgeous pile of diamonds)

Graphite and diamond are two of the most interesting minerals. They have the same chemical composition: both are composed of carbon, but physically, they obviously are very different. When you look at the graphite and diamond, it is hard to imagine that they are identical chemically, for they are so different physically! Graphite is opaque and metallic to earthy-looking, while diamonds are transparent and brilliant. Another obvious physical difference is their hardness. The hardness of minerals is compared using the Mohs Hardness Scale, a relative scale numbered 1 (softest) to 10 (hardest). Graphite is very soft and has a hardness of 1-2 on the scale. Diamonds are the hardest known natural substance and have a hardness of 10. No other naturally occurring substance has a hardness of 10. Either way, each are beautiful in their own right...I could go on and on because I find this so facinating!..but I won't. ;)

I get asked all the time who takes the gorgeous photographs of all my jewelry. So I thought I should finally share...John Parrish photographs all of my work, and not only is he an incredible jewelry photographer, but also an amazing person with whom to do business! National magazines have even used his photographs of my jewels (Town & Country Magazine for example). I have been in this business for a long time, and it is essential to have great photographs of the jewels..thus, I have tried and test many, and by far, John is the best. Below are some of his most recent images of my Fall sterling silver and 18 karat collections.