Saturday, February 27, 2016

Aquamarine, March Birthstone

The name Aquamarine speaks for itself, meaning seawater. Aquamarine immediately brings to mind its stunning pastel sky blue or the bright color of the sea. For centuries, this timeless gemstone has been a symbol of youth, hope, health and fidelity. Since early times, aquamarine has been believed to endow the wearer with foresight, courage, and happiness. It is said that Aquamarine may increase intelligence and make one youthful. As a healing stone, it is said to be effective as a treatment for anxiety and in the Middle Ages it was thought that aquamarine would reduce the effect of poisons.

A legend says that sailors wore aquamarine gemstones to keep them safe and prevent seasickness. Since this gemstone is the color of water and the sky, it is said to embody eternal life. It was long thought that Aquamarine has a soothing influence on married couples, making it a good anniversary gift. Aquamarines are found in a range of blues; from a pale pastel to a greenish-blue to a deep color. Darker shades of blue are increasingly rare and in turn, make the value increase. Aquamarine is frequently a pastel gemstone, but the color can be more intense in larger gemstones; and smaller aquamarines tend to be less vivid.

The largest find of gemstone quality aquamarine dates back to 1910, when the “Minas Gerais” mine in Marambaya, Brazil, unearthed a stone of 243 lb (110.5 kg), 18 inches (48.5 cm) long and 15.5 inches in diameter, that was cut into many gemstones with a total weight of more than 100,000 carats. The leading producer of aquamarine is Brazil, with many mines spread throughout the country. Other deposits of aquamarine are sourced from Australia, Myanmar (Burma), China, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as in several U.S. locations. Karur, India recently has become one of the biggest suppliers of aquamarine.

The 'Dom Pedro', weighing 26 kg and cut in Idar-Oberstein, in Germany in 1992 by the gemstone designer Bernd Munsteiner, is the largest single piece of aquamarine to have ever been cut. The center aquamarine in Queen Elizabeth’s aquamarine tiara was a coronation gift from the President and the people of Brazil in 1953.

Recommended list for reading and discussion:

Monday, February 15, 2016

Pockets, the Prelude to the Handbag

The history tells us an interesting story that has something to do with the pockets. In the sixteen century, wealthy individuals carried their money in pouches that were attached to a belt or a girdle. These pouches of money could be easily stolen by thieves. This why men and women would hide their possessions such as money, jewelry, and letters on the body, and in the deep pockets.  The women’s pockets might be hidden within the folds of their skirts or attached to a band under the skirt. In the past, these pockets called bagges. The tendency continues in the idea of the woman’s pouch as a symbol of feminine sexuality. It was something secret and unreachable to all, but exclusive of those who had a very intimate association with the person, as the woman’s pockets would be literally under her skirts.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

"Bags & Purses: The Story of Chic and Practicality" by Ida Tomshinsky

Let me introduce the new book in the HISTORY OF FASHION ACCESSORIES SERIES! The book entitled "Bags & Purses: The Story of Chic and Practicality" by Ida Tomshinsky is ready and coming up soon.

No secret, bags and purses are the woman's best friend. You can go without a lot of things in these days and age, but the one thing you do not leave your house, is your handbag.

Throughout the history, the term bag has been used to describe the essential fashion accessory that serves the purpose of pocket, purse, bag and luggage, and if you take this broad definition then I am pretty sure there are not too many occasions you leave the house without one. Early in the 20th-century the handbag came into its own kind, becoming so much more than a little luggage.  They came in many shapes, sizes, styles and materials, and since that time, the sky is the limit. Now you can get a bag to match every outfit and technological advances have made the creation of these bags much more affordable - so every person can find something to suit personal budget and the variation of taste preferences.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Amethyst, February Birthstone

The ancient Greeks and Romans believed Amethyst would ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus, the God of wine; and keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted in battles and in business affairs. For centuries, Amethyst has been associated with many myths and legends as well as religions in numerous cultures. Not only is it the beautiful color that makes this gem very popular, but it is also widely available in different shapes and sizes which makes it more affordable. Amethyst complements both warm and cool colors, so it looks fabulous set in both yellow and white metals. This unique ability means it enhances almost every color in our wardrobe.

Fine amethysts have been set in religious jewelry and royal crown jewels for ages. It was once considered equal in value to ruby, emerald, and sapphire. It’s no wonder that fine amethyst adorns the fingers of bishops as well as the coronation regalia of British royalty. Amethyst is mentioned in the Bible (Exodus 28:19,39:12) as one of the twelve stones adorning the breastplate (hoshen) of the high priests of Yahweh.

Although jewelers might expect that an amethyst from Siberia or Zambia might have a better color than amethyst from Brazil, origin alone does not add value to amethyst. Value is based on quality, and color is the most important value factor regardless of the country of origin. The principal sources are Brazil, Arizona, Uruguay, and Russia. Notable occurrences of amethyst include Ontario and North Carolina. An astonishing 1,000 kilograms of Amethyst was discovered in 2008 at Diamond Hill quartz prospect in Abbeville County of South Carolina, ranging from one to fifteen centimeters and colors varying from pale to dark purple.

“Amethyst given to you the color kissed delicately as sea mist Amethyst.”  (Brackley, 2016)

Recommended list for reading and discussion:

                Amethyst. (2014) – Encyclopedia Britannica.
Jacquot, R., & Karwoski, C. (2009) Spectacular Amethyst: From the Diamond Hill
Quartz Prospect Abbeville Country, South Carolina. – Rocks & Minerals, 84 91), 66-68.
Liddicoat, Richard T. (2014) – Amethyst. Retrieved from AccessScience: McGrow-Hill
 Education at   on January 18, 2016.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

In the Jungle

Photo: Ida Tomshinsky, 2015

Nice, kitty kitty.

Tiger in the Jungle
Tiger in the Jungle
He's not the kind that lives inside your house

Prancing on his paws
Doing the Cha-Cha-Cha
You never see him chase after a mouse

He's a big (big) big (big) cat!
(rawr rawr)
What do you think of that?
(rawr rawr)
He's a big (big) big (big) cat!
(rawr rawr)
What do you think,
What do you think of that?