Friday, March 25, 2016

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

"Bags and Purses: The Story of Chic and Practicality" written by Ida Tomshinsky is a new book in the popular HISTORY OF FASHION ACCESSORIES series. This is a story of handbags, the essential fashion accessory, that we carry and we wear over the shoulder.

Modern day workbags are like jobs, they come with benefits, qualifications, and compensations.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Diamond, April Birthstone

The materialistic girls like diamonds. Elizabeth Taylor said “Big girls need big diamonds.” May West added some humor to her diamond attitude: “I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.” Having been engaged rather a lot of times, Zsa Zsa Gabor was asked whether a lady should give back the ring. She answered: “Of course ‘dahlink,’ but first, you take out all the diamonds.” “A kiss on a hand may be quite continental, but diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” – says Glee lyrics, and repeating after Marilyn Monroe and Madonna. Girl by Marilyn Monroe/Madonna, also known as “Sparkling Diamonds from Moulin Rouge!”Men grow cold as girls grow old, and we all lose our charms in the end. But square-cut or pear-shaped, these rocks don't lose their shape.” True, very true.

On a positive side, we always associating excellence and greatness with diamonds. The popular gem is brilliant, breathtaking, and mysterious. The word “diamond” comes from the Greek word “Adams” and this means “unconquerable and indestructible.” There are fun facts about diamonds: diamonds weight is measured in carats, not carrots or karats. The word carat is derived from Keration, the Greek name for the carob tree. Carat weight became metric: one carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams or o,007 ounces. The largest rough diamond was discovered in 1905, the Cullinan diamond, in South Africa. It weighs was a phenomenon at 3,106 carats (ct.)! Two largest legendary diamonds, the Great Star of Africa and the Lesser Star of Africa, are part of the crown jewels of Great Britain.

Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. Blue, green, brown, orange, pink and red are the rarest; pale yellow to colorless are the most common. Diamonds were used to engrave gemstones in India by 300 BCE, followed by Brazil. In 2014, Russia produced the most diamonds by volume and value. The United States buys more than forty percent of the world’s gem quality diamonds – making it as the world’s largest diamond market.

Since ancient times, diamonds have been admired objects of desire. Formed one hundred miles beneath the Earth’s surface over a billion years ago, diamonds are the hardest gem of all. Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on Earth. Diamonds have a long history of folklore; some of which say diamonds were created when bolts of lightning struck rocks, and others said the gem possessed healing powers. Greek historian Pliny wrote that “diamond baffles poison, keep of insanity and dispels vain fears.” The ancient Greeks believed that diamonds were slinters of stars fallen from sky on the earth. Romans believed that diamonds had the power to ward off evil and wore them as talismans. This believe comes from Indian mythology as well.  

For centuries, diamonds have been adorned by women and men and regarded as the ultimate gift and a symbol of eternal love. The earliest record of a man giving diamond to a woman, comes from 1477, when the Archduke of Austria gave a diamond to Mary of Burgundy. Today, diamonds are still admired all around the world. Until the middle of the twentieth century, there was no standard by which diamonds could be evaluated. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) provided and now is globally accepted the standard for describing diamonds: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. Today, the rule of ‘4C’s of Diamond Quality’ standard is the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere in the world.

Recommended list for reading and discussion:

                Ethan, Eric. (2011) Diamonds. – Gareth Stevens Publishers. – 24 pages. (Gems: Nature’s Jewels)

Fishman, Joshua. (2014) Beyond the Four C’s: What You Should REALLY Know Before

You Buy a Diamond. – CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. – 138 pages.

                                Shigley, James E. (2008) Gems and Gemology in Review: Treated Diamonds. – GIA. –

                                                301 pages.



Friday, March 11, 2016

Hollycraft (1938-1970s)

Originally known as the Hollywood Jewelry Company, Hollycraft sold under their own name and also manufactured for several other companies, including Weiss and Pakula. This company began in 1938 as Hollywood Jewelry, but the mark was soon changed to Hollycraft because of possible confusion with Joseff of Hollywood. It was founded by a Turkish immigrant called Joseph Chorbajian, his cousin and Jack Hazard. The company was located in New York City. The Hollycraft mark first appeared in 1948. Pieces manufactured during the 1950's were dated. Hollycraft known for a distinctive mix of small stones and their pastel combinations, particularly in the Christmas tree brooches. Hollycraft terminated their production in the late 1970's.

The Legacy of the company lives on because of the excellent craftsmanship and designs. Known for its quality pieces, Hollycraft is very popular with vintage costume jewelry collectors. In fact, there are some costume jewelry enthusiasts who collect Hollycraft jewelry only from a specific year!  These pieces feature iridescent aurora borealis stones.  Some of the most popular designs from the 1950s are those using pastel stones of amethysts aqua, citrine, dark fuchsia pink, olivine, etc. in rich and complex patterns.  The Hollycraft jewelry pieces are nearly always done in goldtone metal findings.  Because coordinating sets of jewelry were very popular in the 1950s and early 1960s, Hollycraft created wonderful complete sets, or parures, which included necklace, earrings, bracelet, brooch and sometimes a ring.  Matched sets are more difficult to come by as pieces get lost or become damaged over the years, therefore they often have an increased value to collectors.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Ankle Bracelets

Many women enjoy wearing jewelry. Wearing an ankle bracelet is no exception. The ankle bracelets are also called anklets. Ankle bracelets became fashionable in United States in the late 20th century. They are trendy on the West, and have a history going back centuries to ancient Egypt and Southeast Asia.

They are used as an accent to casual attire that bears the ankle area. They are usually worn in summer or at times when the legs and feet are exposed. There are some basic ankle bracelet etiquette rules to keep in mind when wearing the anklet. The ankle bracelet can be seen as sexually suggestive, and it is not considered appropriate to wear them in professional or formal environment. It is a big no-no to wear them to interviews, to the office or dinner parties. It is appropriate to wear ankle bracelets for casual and fun environments such as pool party or a trip to the beach. Because for their sexual overtones, ankle bracelets are mainly worn by younger women. On older women, they are looking tacky or in bad taste, over-the-top. Deborah Boland of the “Fabulous After 40” believes that ankle bracelets worn by older women is silly and looks trashy, evoking associations with “slave girls.”

As usual, the ankle bracelets are matched with flats and sandals without an ankle strap and look good with shorts, capris or skirts. Although most wear them on the right ankle.