BLOG - DESKTOP CONCENTRATION February 23 2017
This week has been a weird one.
You know? Those weeks where you keep adding notes to your “to do” list, but somehow just feel so blah that you cant actually start working on them?
In a bid to do better for the coming week, I have given myself the permission to just be kind to myself for the next 4 days, and hit next week with great vigour and focus.
Keeping that in mind, these are the steps that I am taking right now to make that happen next week.
The desktop has been tidied and beautified.
I bought my favourite candle.
I keep water at my desk.
My computer is clutter free, and the desktop has a minimal number of icons on it.
The to do list has a black marker near it, so I can savagely cross of the items I have already finished.
I’d love to hear - what are your top ways to get organised to start working when your mind is all ‘Bleh”
till next time.
SNEAK: THE CREATIVE PROCESS February 01 2017
I am often asked by my customers ( that’s you, dear reader!!!!) about where the jewellery we sell at Lustre comes from. This question is often followed by whether I create or curate.
Lustre initially started as a brand that curated pieces and designs from super talented artisans that worked in tiny ateliers and workshops in different parts of the world. We have grown over the years to designing the products we sell. The challenge with this process is two-fold:
1. How to take a design inspiration and have it crafted into a finished piece of jewellery in an atelier half way across the world, without abandoning my family life, and
2. How to translate the design I have in my head into a wearable piece of jewellery that I can retail for under Singapore $300. In case you don't know that - Lustre prides itself in creating jewellery that uses natural gemstones for a fraction more than you would spend on plastic, or resin, or crystal jewellery that you could buy elsewhere. THAT is our USP.
So this time, I decided to write a blog post outlining the creative process, and in doing so giving you a small peek behind the scenes at the creation of our upcoming line Railroad.
Inspiration comes from anywhere, and you will often find me hastily typing notes into my phone before the idea literally flies away. I especially love it when I am not even thinking of a design or collection, and the idea comes to me organically, whilst doing something else. Usually, this happens on my balcony, with a coffee in my hand. While those moments are sheer bliss, they also explain why I can be a solitary creature.
Since my inspiration is largely spontaneous, I tend not to take too much notice of what’s currently “IN”, and prefer to focus on designs that are both ageless and timeless. I love the fact that the same piece of jewellery that will be worn by a 20 something-year-old, is also bought, worn and rocked by my older clientele. For me, that’s success.
For the Railroad collection, I was idly flicking through Pinterest ( a.k.a., the black hole of time) on my phone when I came across this photo. It showed an old railroad spike, that was crafted into a knife. I loved the sheer simplicity of the spike, and a little bit of research showed that it has become something that people try and find and collect to turn into all sorts of things. The idea was born, and I decided to do away with the head of the spike and create a minimalist pair of bracelets that could be worn alone, or with each other, or with anything else I owned.
THEN, and only THEN am I happy!
Railroad Cuffs will be available on our site from 12 August onwards.
Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery
NOVEMBER - CHILLY BUT SUNNY October 31 2016
Hello all you lovely November ladies - you are really lucky girl to have 2 sunny gemstones to brighten and warm your chilly birth month.
Topaz is a gemstone available in a rich rainbow of colours. In antiquity all yellow gems were called Topaz, and were richly prized.
Often confused with Citrine ( which is a specific coloured Quartz, Smoky quartz which is brown) - In fact quartz and topaz are separate and unrelated mineral species.
In india especially you will often hear people refer to smoky quartz, as “smoky topaz”. Do not be fooled - it’s a clever ploy to trick you into paying more for a quartz gemstone, largely because smoky topaz just doesn't exist.
Other fancy names for “topaz” are:
- Smoky topaz – which is actually smoky quartz
- Citrine topaz – which is citrine
- Madeira topaz – a citrine quartz
- Bohemian topaz – which is also citrine
- Occidental topaz – is also citrine
- Oriental topaz – which is yellow corundum
Through much of history, all yellow gems were considered topaz and all topaz was thought to be yellow. Topaz is actually available in many colours, and it’s likely not even related to the stones that first donned its name. Yellow gems have been called variations of the name topaz for thousands of years – long before mineralogists determined that topaz occurs in a range of colours, and that many yellowish stones actually belong to other mineral species.
The name topaz derives from “Topazios", the ancient Greek name for St. John’s Island in the Red Sea. Although the yellow stones famously mined there probably weren’t topaz, it soon became the name for most yellowish stones.
Ancient texts from the Greek scholar Pliny to the King James Bible referenced topaz, but because of this longstanding confusion, they likely referred to other yellow stones instead.
Pure topaz is colourless, but it can become tinted by impurities to take on any colour of the rainbow.
The most prized colour of topaz is called Imperial topaz after the Russian Czars of the 1800s and features a magnificent orange body colour with pinkish undertones. Processes were developed in the 1960s to turn common colourless topaz blue with irradiation treatment - the famous Sky, Swiss and London Blue Topaz - are all irradiated gemstones.
The largest producer of quality topaz is Brazil. Other sources include Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Russia, Australia, Nigeria, Germany, Mexico and the U.S., mainly California, Utah and New Hampshire.Russia’s Ural Mountains became a leading source of topaz in the 19th century. The prized pinkish orange gemstone mined there was named Imperial topaz to honour the Russian Czar, and only royals were allowed to own it.Since the discovery of large topaz deposits in Brazil in the mid-19th century, topaz has become much more affordable and widely available.
During the Renaissance in Europe, people believed that topaz could break spells and quell anger. Hindus deemed topaz sacred, believing that a pendant could bring wisdom and longevity to one’s life. African shamans also treated the stone as sacred, using it in their healing rituals.
The most common reference for the word Citrine is a certain colour variety of quartz which is a medium deep shade of golden yell. The original reference point for the colour itself was the "citron" fruit, a.k.a. the humble lemon.
Citrine as a gemstone has been summarised at various times as yellow, greenish- yellow, brownish - yellow or orange.
The pale yellow colour of citrine closely resembles topaz, which explains why November’s two birthstones have been so easily confused throughout history.
Citrine’s yellow hues are caused by traces of iron in quartz crystals. Whilst this does occur naturally. there was a key discovery mande in 18th century when mineralogists realised that amethyst and smoky quartz could be heat treated to produce the lemony and golden honey hues of citrine. This single fact contributed tot an abundance of affordable enhanced gems on the market. even today, it remains one of the most affordable and frequently purchased yellow gemstones.
Brazil is the largest supplier of citrine. Other sources include Spain, Bolivia, France, Russia, Madagascar and the U.S. (Colourado, North Carolina and California). Different geographies yield different shades of citrine.
With a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, citrine is relatively durable against scratches and everyday wear-and-tear—making it a lovely option for large, wearable jewelry.
Citrine, is known as the "healing quartz". This golden gemstone is said to support vitality and health while encouraging and guiding hope, energy and warmth within the wearer. Throughout history, people believed that citrine carried the same powers as topaz, including the ability to calm tempers, soothe anger and manifest desires, especially prosperity. To leverage these powers, Egyptians used citrine gems as talismans, the ancient Greeks carved iconic images into them, and Roman priests fashioned them into rings. Till today the Chinese believe that the citrine brings "money luck" to the wearer.
SO HOW DO YOU TELL THEM APART?
So - you have a yellow gemstone. Its old, or maybe it s new; its an heirloom, or something you bought yourself. How do you know if it's a Citrine, a Topaz, or a pretty pretty piece of glass?
Before the 20th century, all gems in the brown, orange, and yellow colour range were called topaz. Modern gemology was only recognized as a science in the 1930s. Today we know that topaz and brown quartz are actually two different gemstones. Citrine is less likely to be confused with Topaz today, but it does happen.
The two gemstones are however a different gem species. They're composed of different chemicals and have different physical and optical properties. They are also priced very differently. With 10 percent of the Earth's surface being some kind of quartz, you can imagine that it is a tiny little bit more abundant than Topaz. Despite what you might have been told that they are basically the same, the fact is, they're not.
Some jewellery can perform accurate appraisals and some cannot. If you really must know what it is, or if you are putting down a considerable chunk of change, the only way to know for sure is to contact a geology lab to test and identify your pretty yellow stone.
OCTOBER - TWICE AS NICE October 01 2016
Us lucky October borns - ( yes, I am one of them) get to have two gorgeous gemstones for our birth month.
Through the ages referred to as, ‘The tears of Zeus”, and believed by the Bedouins to be filled with Lightning, the kaleidoscopic play of colour trapped within opals has made them a source of fascination for centuries.
The word 'opal' is adapted from the Roman term opalus, but the origin of this word itself is a matter of debate. However, most modern references suggest it is adapted from the Sanskrit word "Upala” which literally translates to the word “jewel”. The argument for the Sanskrit origin is strong. The term first appears in Roman references around 250 BC, at a time when the opal was valued above all other gems. The word itself has two meanings, one is related to "seeing" and forms the basis of the English words like "opaque"; the other is "other" as in "alias" and "alter". It is claimed that opalus combined these uses, meaning "to see a change in colour".
Opals were formed when heavy seasonal rainfall drenched arid ground, seeping into the rocks below and drawing dissolved silica downwards. When the dry season returned, most of the water evaporated, leaving behind silica deposits in the cracks that would become opals.
There are many different categories of Opals as in all gemstones.
Precious Opal : any opal displaying play-of-color. This category includes white, black and boulder opal. Precious opal can be further distinguished by types:
- A single, solid piece of precious opal, having a uniform appearance and composition. This is the type of opal most commonly used for jewellery
- Precious opal that is attached to its host rock (a non-opal) in the form of a layer or seam. Boulder opal is an example of this. The opal is attached to a brown, iron-stained sandstone.
- Matrix opal occurs when precious opal fills cracks and openings in the host rock. The opal forms in pre-existing clay or sandstone. This material is frequently dyed.
- Doublets are slices of opal glued to a black backing, designed to imitate the appearance of a solid black opal.The black backing makes the thin slice of opal look that much darker and more vibrant. The backing is made of either black industrial glass, sometimes black potch (colourless opal) The thickness of the opal in a doublet can vary, however, it is generally thicker than the opal found in a triplet. The edges of the slice of opal are generally rounded off (if there is enough opal) to give the stone a cabochon cut.
- Triplets consist of three layers:A black backing as above paper-thin slice of opal in the middle with a clear glass, quartz, or plastic capping in the shape of a dome. The slice of opal in a triplet is usually extremely thin (paper-thin) so the clear capping serves to give the stone a nice cabochon on top. The clear capping may also magnify the colour of the opal slightly, and also serve to protect the opal.
Doublets & Triplets can usually be identified by looking at the side of the opal - the line where the opal and the backing meet, is perfectly straight. This is necessary for the layers to have adhered together. If these stones are set into jewellery with the sides covered, it is extremely difficult, even for an expert, to tell whether it is a doublet or a solid opal. Since doublets and triplets are generally more affordable than solid opals, they are very often used in gemstone jewellery.
▪ Common Opal : These are varieties of opal that do not show a play-of-color. Although they share the same chemical composition as precious opal, the silica spheres they contain are randomly arranged.
Australia’s rugged Outback provided the perfect geological spot for opals to form, and since it started producing them commercially in the 1890s, it has become one of the leading sources. Australia also produces rare black opals from underground mines at Lightning Ridge, which offer a magnificent play of colour. Black Australian opals with strong flashes of red are called Bushfire opals; so named as they resemble the burning embers of a bushfire.
Fiery colourings are what make Mexican opals, or Fire opals as they are also known, stand out. These red-orange gems get their colour from fine traces of iron oxide, and their warm glow is believed to promote feelings of courage and stamina. While many Fire opals found in Mexico do not have the play of colour that we associate with opals, when they do the result is positively volcanic.
Across the globe in Ethiopia, you can also find Fire opals, with flashes of neon red. Gems there can also display streaks of orange, green, yellow, brown and - most rare of all - blue. In 2008, a new stream of opal was found in Wegel Tena in Ethiopia’s Wollo Province, and these Welo opals are now the most sought-after of Ethiopia's opals adding that the brightness of the stones and the ethical mining practices used to unearth Welo opals are also a draw for the brand.
To take care of your Opals please clean them using warm soapy water and a soft brush.
You want to avoid ultrasonic cleaners and chemical cleaners.
Tourmaline has become a favourite gemstone among jewellery designer, and gem collectors the world over. Since it is available in a wide variety of colours, it is ideally suited to almost anyone's taste. Tourmaline also is known for displaying several colours in the same gemstone. These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; gemstones with clear colour distinctions are highly prized. One multi-color variety is known as watermelon tourmaline, and features green, pink, and white colours bands; to resemble its namesake, the gemstone is cut into thin slices having a pink centre, white ring, and green edge.
Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.
The California deposits are known for bright pinks, as well as colours. During the early 1900s, Maine and California were the world's largest producers of gem tourmalines. It is not clear when the first tourmaline was found in California,however, native Americans have used pink and green tourmaline as funeral gifts for centuries.
Almost every colour of tourmaline can be found in Brazil, but the most priceless of these is the paraiba tourmaline,which comes in a bluish green and has the vividness not seen in any other gemstone.
Another highly valuable variety is chrome tourmaline, from Tanzania which produces a green the colour of emeralds.
Pink and green Tourmalines from certain localities contain tiny, parallel inclusions that cause a strong cat's eye effect when polished - often cut into cabochons and named "Cats' eye tourmaline" . Some pink, green, and multicoloured Tourmalines are also carved into ornamental figures and carvings.
Tourmalines of all colours are faceted into gems for jewellery, but the red, green, blue, and multicoloured stones, especially watermelon, are the most popular. Tourmaline can be found in fairly large transparent crystals, and these can produce very large exquisite and flawless gemstones.
Both these gemstones have a beauty all of their own, and October borns are lucky to have that choice.
TAKING CARE OF YOUR JEWELLERY September 23 2016
The question I get asked the most often is, "HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF THIS?"
I get asked this SO often, that I decided to convert all my answers into one succinct blog post. So herewith:
1. HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF THIS?
Keep it nice and dry. That means not storing it in the bathroom, not leaving it by the edge of the pool, and generally speaking not bathing with it on. Having said that, I never take off either my engagement & wedding rings, nor my little blue evil eye necklace.
These instructions refer more to jewellery that is made in sterling silver, or plated brass. Keep that kind of jewellery in a drawer, a box, an old ( clean) sock - what have you. Just keep it nice and dry. In Singapore’s humid weather, this is especially important as silver and plated jewellery does tend to tarnish. Please, do not store your jewellery in little ziplock bags, or the plastic bags that it originally comes in, UNLESS, you plan to put in each bag the silver anti tarnish strips that you can buy HERE!
Storing jewellery in plastic in Asia’s humidity, just means that you are effectively trapping the moisture inside the bag. Which just makes it tarnish that much faster. Please don't do that.
2. HOW SHOULD I CLEAN THIS? ESPECIALLY ABOUT SILVER
Silver is a very versatile metal, with a gorgeous soft lustre, that makes for beautiful jewellery. Unfortunately it is also pretty fragile, and can quickly develop tarnish, stains and scratches. However, it is possible to clean this yourself. Run to a DIY or hardware store, and buy yourself a couple of silver polishing cloths. Give your jewellery a good wipe and you are ready to go.
If it is much more than the cloth can handle, or if your jewellery is very intricately carved ( OR if you are a completely Type A personality), you might want to follow these steps. Take a small bowl, line it with aluminium foil. Add a tablespoon of salt, and baking soda, a couple drops of dish detergent and a cup of hot water. Watch the magical fizz, and drop your jewellery in it. Let it sit for 10 minutes whilst you stare at the dog. Or paint your toenails.Or whatever. Take it out, rinse it clean, wipe it dry, and TA-DA! I do this with all my jewellery, including aforementioned engagement ring. Always works.
If your silver jewellery has scratches and pits in it, and you absolutely cannot live with that, you will have to take it to a professional jeweller to have it buffed, polished and perhaps plated again. This is where you have to weigh the cost benefits, and what that piece is actually worth to you.
3. WILL THE GOLD PLATING WEAR OFF?
OF COURSE it will. But, and there’s an important BUT!
Gold plated jewellery does not fade. Instead, the very thin layer of gold that is plated over another metal wear off, exposing the underlying metal. The amount of time it takes for the gold plate to wear off is dependant on a number of factors.
First, the thickness of the plating will affect the length of time the layer of gold plate will wear off and expose the silver. This is where it’s important to know if the pieces are flash gold plated, or coated with a specific thickness measured in microns. Microns are measured in numbers, generally starting from 0.5. The higher the number, the thicker the gold plating, and hence more expensive the piece, to manufacture and buy.
The type of jewellery, and how and where it is worn is also a consideration. A gold plated ring will lose its plating far faster than a pendant. A piece of jewellery worn against bare skin will wear off sooner than one worn over clothing. For obvious reasons, certain pieces of jewellery simply take more punishment and are exposed to more chemicals, both from the wearer's body and more agents from the environment. All of this will cause the plating to wear off faster.
If you are ever buying a piece of gold plated jewellery from a store, or jeweller that says that “the plating will never wear off”, RUN. Don’t walk, don't be polite, just RUN. ‘Coz that’s simply not the truth.
If you can keep these 3 things in mind, all your jewellery, fine or fun, will stay looking good for ages. Remember with jewellery - last thing on, first thing off.
Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery
SEPTEMBER - SAPPHIRE August 31 2016
September is here and brings with it the month of the Sapphire. Born from the Greek word "sapphirus" which means “blue,” While it is currently the birthstone for September, according to the ancient calendar, the Sapphire gemstone was the birthstone for April and represented the Zodiac sign of Taurus.
It is also the gem given for the 5th, 23rd and 45th wedding anniversaries while a star Sapphire is given on the 65th wedding anniversary (i.e. if anyone actually stays married that long, they need a whole lot more than just a blue gemstone)
Sapphires cover all the gem varieties of corundum (except for Ruby, which is the red version of Corundum). The only difference between a Ruby and a Sapphire is simply the colour. The colour of a Sapphire is created by various amounts of iron and titanium in the stone, the combination of which produce varying colours. Whilst the most desirable colour Sapphire is blue, ( specifically a“cornflower blue’) they also come in violet, dark gray, orange, yellow, pink, green and black. These different coloured Sapphires are referred to as “fancy Sapphires” and are often less expensive than the blue ones, yet equally as beautiful, and a fine alternative to blue.
A rare orange - pink coloured kind of Sapphire is called “Padparadscha,” which means “Lotus Flower” in Sinhalese, is very expensive and is the only colour Sapphire given its own name. Because Sapphires are available in so many colours, they are an incredibly versatile gemstone.
Heat treatments have become common in recent years, as a way of improving colour as the beauty of a Sapphire is judged by the richness and intensity of its colour.
Blue Sapphires come from Burma and Kashmir, where the colour is the most pure to a true blue. Sapphires from Sri Lanka are a less deep shade, almost a pastel blue. On a side note, Sri Lanka is the world’s largest producer of Sapphires over 100 carats.
Many Sapphires also come from Australia, which are dark blue but with a slightly green undertone, as are those from Thailand. These tend to be less expensive than those from Burma, Kashmir and Sri Lanka.
A rare variety of Sapphire, known as colour changing Sapphire, exhibits different colours in different light. A colour change Sapphire is blue in natural light, and violet in artificial light. A similar effect is also seen in Alexandrite.
Sapphire was first created synthetically in 1902 and is hard to distinguish from natural Sapphires except by gemologists. Lab grown Sapphires range in price and smaller stones are frequently used in less expensive jewelry.
Prized as gemstones since 800BC, Blue Sapphires were a holy stone to the Catholic Church and to Ancient Persians, who believed they made the sky blue with their reflections.
The most important attribute of the Sapphire was said to be the protection against sorcery - it was thought to banish evil spirits and send negative spells back to the sender. Psychologically, the Sapphire helps maintain inner peace and is good for one’s mental state. It calms the nerves and promotes mental clarity, and they have been used as remedies for mental and nervous disorders.
Physically, Sapphires promote general health. They are said to have powers in cooling fevers, protecting against mental illness and sharpening eyesight.
Identified with chastity, piety, and repentance the stone brings wisdom and truth, increases perception and the understanding of justice.
Coming in on the Mohs scale second only the diamonds, the hardness of the Sapphire makes it a perfect choice for jewelry that needs to stand up to everyday wear, such as in rings or bracelets. Because of their hardness, Sapphires can be cleaned in almost any way. Warm, soapy water is best, though you might also try ultrasonic cleaners and steamers. You can also try using water with a touch of ammonia in it. As with most gemstones, avoid doing heavy work or coming into contact with chemicals while wearing your stone, as you can damage your settings that hold the stone in place
Having long been associated with romantic love, sincerity and faithfulness, a Sapphire gemstone given as a gift is considered a promise of honesty, loyalty, purity and trust between two people.Today, the Sapphire is considered one of the most popular engagement stones.
A Sapphire is an immensely beautiful stone and one you should definitely own.
Lustre has some amazing pieces with Sapphires in them.
Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery
AUGUST - PERFECT PERIDOTS August 01 2016
In the past, they’ve been mistaken as Emeralds. Believed to be Cleopatra’s favourite gemstone, and recorded in ancient papyri as early as 1500 B.C. Peridots have been charming humans for centuries. The ancient Romans called it 'evening emerald' since its colour did not darken at night, but could still be appreciated by candle light, as it glowed in a brilliant greenFACT
Peridot was formed early in the solidification of the Earth. As the Earth’s magma slowly cooled to form igneous rock, Peridot was born. Parts of the magma which cooled particularly slowly created large and clear specimens of Peridot. These rich deposits are located in Egypt, and in Burma as well as surrounding areas.Transparent with a distinct oily lustre, a Peridot’s colour is narrow and can be described as yellow-green, green with a golden tone, olive or bottle green, deep chartreuse, or simply a brilliant light green. The gem variety of the mineral Olivine, its chemical composition includes iron and magnesium, and iron is the cause of its attractive yellowish green colours.The proportion of iron present causes the shade and depth of the green of a Peridot stone; the deeper the green, the smaller the amount of iron present.
Peridot is one of a few gems that are not routinely treated. While it is not particularly brilliant (Peridots have moderate to high brilliance), the richness of its colour can be exceptional and is completely natural.
Because of its rarity, Peridot is not usually seen in its deeper pure green colours which are highly prized, and as with all fine gem crystals, small crystals are relatively common and larger stones seldom occur free of flaws. The larger the crystals are, the easier they flaw, from such seismic disturbances as Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The ways in which the stones are cut and faceted are designed to eliminate these imperfections. It is not uncommon for a 20-carat stone in the rough to only yield three or four gems of only one-half to three carats each.
Peridot gemstones have been used for centuries by healers to increase confidence and assertiveness, balanced by patience and clarity of thought. Ruled by the planet Mercury, it is often used in treating depression and anger.
The one thing to remember is that Peridot is relatively soft stone, rating a 6.5 to 7 on the hardness scale making it a tad bit softer than Amethyst’s and Emeralds.
Whether you believe in the metaphysical properties of a gemstone or not, it must be said that they are absolutely beautiful gemstones and all you August borns are especially lucky to have an excuse to buy them.
Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery
JULY - RUBY: THE KING OF GEMSTONES July 28 2016
LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED FROM MY DAD June 18 2016 5 Comments
These last 10 days have been harrowing ones. I was in Hong kong for a show, when my dad fell ill. Racing to Bombay to be with him whilst he was in the hospital and trying to be as much of a backup for my mum, as was possible, has been hard. In the helter-skelter run to India via Singapore from Hong Kong, I completely forgot about Father’s Day. Which is tomorrow!
Over the last week whilst sitting at his bedside, I have spent a lot of time thinking about my dad, his life, and his work ethic. With phone calls flooding in, from family, friends, neighbours and people he used to work with before he retired, 4 years ago, I see my dad not just as my dad, but also as a man, as someone other people know.
Somehow no matter how old you are, when you are with your parents and your immediate family, you tend to fall into familiar routines and patterns. Mine has always been that of the peacemaker; the daughter my dad listens to, the family negotiator. In these patterns, what one doesn't realise that there is another whole play of patterns and behaviours that you might be oblivious to, which affect the outcome of every conversation and interaction.
Completely eschewing the time honoured card, and wishes, this year I decided to write down a list of lessons I have learned from my dad. I use these in my life every single day, and since I founded Lustre, even more so.
My dad came from a modest background. He lost his father when he was 14, and started working the day after his 10th grade. There were no fancy schools, no college educations, no counsellors suggesting a course of action. There was instead the urgency to contribute and help out as much as he could, his own mother. He worked hard, he is thrifty, and even today finds it hard to be extravagant or wasteful with money or resources. He recycled long before it became fashionable; he has learned to fix just about anything including car engines, leaky faucets, and has built furniture from scratch. All because he had to. Not because it was cool, or because it was a hobby.He retired at the age of 72, after working with the same company for over 50 years. Think about it - there are buildings and monuments that have a shorter life than that. In this day and age, when people jump from one job to another ( especially once that guaranteed payout period is over ) this is an achievement that none of my friends can even begin to fathom.
“Didn't you get bored?” I remember a friend asking him - Whilst he never answered that, and though it took me a decade to come to the right answer, he didn't have time to get bored. He was too busy working hard.
This is a short list of things I have learned from my dad.
Today in the “me first” generation, where every organisation is just a stepping stone up a ladder, loyalty seems like an old fashioned thing. Something to be discarded.
What most of us don't understand is that Loyalty doesn't “just happen.” It’s something that occurs when you practice a lifelong habit of gratitude for the chances you have been given, by someone, or something; by an opportunity. Its always easy to be swayed, and I am sure that there were chances that he gave up, always mindful of the fact that when he needed help, he was helped out by the firm in which he eventually became the director of.
For years, my dad had in his office cabin, a print out of a saying by Sam Ewing - "Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.”
My dad always turned up with his sleeves rolled up, ready to commit and work hard. He went on business trips, he missed out on a lot of our childhood, and always worked hard. He started an auto workshop on weekends as a further challenge. He operated on a routine that you could set a clock by, and was always on time.
BUILD GOOD RELATIONSHIPS | NICENESS GOES A LONG WAY
At the firm that my dad worked for, his relationships with his clients went back years. We grew up learning those names, and over the years, meeting those people. They sent my dad gifts at Diwali, and mangoes in the summers, to thank him for the business he created for them.The word “nice” is considered in our times to be a banal word, a beige word, a word that you reach from when you are either lazy or have a limited vocabulary. But it isn’t. “Nice” in my father's work and life ethic meant that you were polite, humorous, punctual, and responsible. He has always believed that being nice, especially in times of conflict and heated arguments gets you heard far louder than any amount of shouting. He rarely shouts and prefers a slow simmer than an all-out screaming match, even when he is really mad. Being a quick boiler in my youth, now I find even more wisdom in this attitude of his, and am learning to take a step back and be nice, especially when dealing with delayed shipments, or manufacturing processes gone wrong.
Nice definitely goes a long way.
HELP THOSE IN NEED
Seriously - this never needs explaining. Over the years, I have met so many people who have been helped by my dad. Whether it was hungry juniors whose potential he saw or people who worked for him that needed money or assistance, or sick relatives that he helped out visited with food, and took care of medically, my dad has done it all. I try to remember this when someone calls me and says that they are just starting a venture and would I meet with them to chat about “stuff”. Or a friend who needs help. Sometimes I am on top of it, and sometimes I fail. But the awareness is always there, followed by the guilt when I do fail.
All parents are for life.
And while a relationship between a mother and her child is an instinctive, ferocious and protective one, the bond between a father and his daughter is for life; A sacred and a wonderful thing.
Happy Father’s day to all the dads in your life.
JUNE - YOUR BIRTHSTONES ARE... June 01 2016
June is one of the few months, that counts 3 gemstones as its birthstone. For all your lucky ladies born in the month of June, that gives you 2 extra reasons to shop for gorgeous baubles.PEARLS
A pearl is created when a very small fragment of rock, a sand grain, or a parasite enters the mollusc’s shell. It irritates the oyster or clam, who responds by coating the foreign material with layer upon layer of shell material called nacre. Pearls formed on the inside of the shell are usually irregular in shape and have little commercial value. However, those formed within the tissue of the mollusc are either spherical or pear-shaped and are highly sought out for jewellery. Most of the pearls that we use in Lustre jewellery are either genuine Baroque, Freshwater pearls and sometimes Shell Pearls. You will always find a clear explanation of the type of pearl used in any of the jewellery descriptions on our site.
Pearls possess a uniquely delicate translucence and lustre that place them among the most highly valued of gemstones. The colour of the pearl depends very much on the species of mollusc that produced it, and its environment. While White is perhaps the best-known and most common colour, pearls also come in delicate shades of black, cream, grey, blue, yellow, lavender, green, and mauve.
Pearls, according to South Asian mythology, were dewdrops from heaven that fell into the sea. They were caught by shellfish under the first rays of the rising sun, during a period of full moon. In India, warriors encrusted their swords with pearls to symbolise the tears and sorrow that a sword brings.
Pearls were also widely used as medicine in Europe until the 17th century. Arabs and Persians believed it was a cure for various kinds of diseases, including insanity. Pearls have also been used as medicine as early as 2000 BC in China, where they were believed to represent wealth, power and longevity. Even to this day, lowest-grade pearls are ground for use as medicine in Asia.
June’s second birthstone is the moonstone. Moonstones are believed to be named for the bluish white spots within them, that when held up to light project a silvery play of colour very much like moonlight. When the stone is moved back and forth, the brilliant silvery rays appear to move about, like moonbeams playing over water.
Moonstone belongs to the family of minerals called feldspars - About half the Earth’s crust is composed of feldspar, a mineral that occurs in many igneous and metamorphic rocks, and also constitutes a large percentage of soils and marine clays.
Rare geologic conditions produce gem varieties of feldspar such as Moonstone, Labradorite, Amazonite, and sunstone. Whilst the best moonstones are from Sri Lanka, they are also found in the Alps, Madagascar, Myanmar, and India.
The ancient Roman natural historian, Pliny, said that the moonstone changed in appearance with the phases of the moon, a belief that persisted into the sixteenth century. The ancient Romans also believed that the image of Diana, goddess of the moon, was enclosed within the stone. Moonstones were believed to have the power to bring victory, health, and wisdom to those who wore it.
In India, the moonstone is considered a sacred stone and often displayed on a yellow cloth – yellow being considered a sacred colour. The stone is believed to bring good fortune, brought on by a spirit that lives within the stone.
June’s third birthstone is the Alexandrite.
The stone is named after Prince Alexander of Russia, who was to become Czar Alexander II in 1855. Discovered in 1839 on the prince’s birthday, alexandrite was found in an emerald mine in the Ural Mountains of Russia. Possessing an enchanting chameleon-like personality. In daylight, it appears as a beautiful green, sometimes with a bluish cast or a brownish tint. However, under artificial lighting, the stone turns reddish-violet or violet.
Alexandrite belongs to the chrysoberyl family. It is a hard mineral, only surpassed in hardness by diamonds and corundum (sapphires and rubies). The unusual colours in Alexandrite are attributed to the presence of chromium in the mineral.
Alexandrite is an uncommon stone, and therefore very expensive. Sri Lanka is the main source of alexandrite today, and the stones have also been found in Brazil, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Myanmar (Burma). Synthetic alexandrite, resembling a reddish-hued amethyst with a tinge of green, has been manufactured but the colour change seen from natural to artificial lighting cannot be reproduced.
Because it is a relatively recent discovery, there has been little time for myth and superstition to build around this unusual stone. In Russia, the stone was also popular because it reflected the Russian national colours, green and red, and was believed to bring good luck.
GOOD AS GOLD May 14 2016
What are the different types of gold? How is gold coloured? Do you understand gold purity?
Gold was first discovered as shiny yellow nuggets in streams all over the world. No doubt it was the first metal know to mankind. Its brilliance, natural beauty and lustre made it enjoyable to work and play with.
There are many physical aspects of the yellow metal which are truly amazing. Gold is the most malleable (able to be hammered into very thin sheets) and ductile (able to be drawn into a fine wire) of all metals. It is so malleable that a goldsmith can hammer one ounce of gold into a thin translucent wafer covering more than 100 square feet only five millionths of an inch thick. It would be so thin that 1,000 sheets would be needed to make up the thickness of one newspaper page. Its ductility is equally amazing. One ounce of gold can be drawn into a wire 50 miles long! Furthermore, you only need one ounce of this marvellous metal to plate a thread of copper 1,000 miles long.
Unlike a car, television or a house, gold is not something that greatly varies in its purest form. Gold found in ancient ruins from thousands of years ago technically (if we ignore the novel/antique aspect of it) has the same worth as a newly minted gold coin in present day IF they have identical weight and purity.
You might have heard gold being described by a certain number followed by the letter ‘K’. This simply tells you how much actual gold is in the ‘gold’ jewelry or object in question. Something that is 24K gold is technically pure gold (although depending on the country, pureness of 99% is usually enough to qualify it as 24K). The K refers to the term ‘karat‘ or ‘carat‘ which is an ancient form of weight but now is used to determine the pureness of the gold in question. For example 12K (which is half of 24K), would tell you that your ‘gold’ item has 50% actual gold inside it, with the rest being other types of metal such as copper and silver. So whatever the karat value of your gold, divide it by 24 and multiply by 100 to reach the % purity that your gold holds.
Gold is coloured by mixing it with different metals, Gold can take different colours depending on the metals it is mixed with.
White Gold: For gold to take a white colour, it must be mixed with a white metal such as nickel, manganese or palladium. Standard White gold is usually 14K of gold (58.5% purity) while the rest is divided as 21% copper, 7.84% zinc, and 12.73% nickel. White gold is often rhodium plated to give it a more shiny and white appearance.
Rose, Pink, Red Gold: Gold can take these colours when mixed with copper. The more copper in the alloy, the darker the tone of red that will surface. A common rose gold alloy composition is 18K (75% gold) mixed with 25% copper while a 50/50 mix of gold (12K) with copper results in what we would call red gold.
Green Gold: Green gold, otherwise known as electrum, is a natural forming alloy which combines gold and silver. The greenish colour varies depending on the exact mixture but it’s usually 73% gold, 27% silver
Blue Gold: 46% gold, 54% indium
Purple Gold: 80% gold, 20% aluminum.
Black Gold: 75% gold, 25% cobalt.
GOLD PLATING OPTIONS
To know what type of gold coating the jewelry has, look for the quality stamp on the metal. Without a quality stamp on the item, you will not be able to know the type of gold used; if the jewelry is gold plated, rolled gold plated, gold filled etc. There are several types of gold plating options that you may come across when buying gold jewelry. Below is a short description on what the different types of gold plating options actually mean.
GOLD LAYERED / FLASH GOLD PLATING
Since there is no Federal standard for “gold layered”, a gold layered jewelry could in fact have a super thin gold layer! Flash gold plating is when jewellery is given a very thin coating of gold, just enough to give a colour and even finish. It is commonly used to plate costume jewellery, and semi precious gemstone jewellery, where the base metal may or may not be sterling silver.
Gold leaf is gold that has been hammered by hand into extremely thin layers and been wrapped (or glided) around the metal. Usually 22K or 24K gold is used as thin gold layers/sheets to decorate art work and jewellery. You can recognise gold leaf jewellery by its irregularities of the foil surrounding the item.
GOLD PLATED/GOLD ELECTROPLATED
The jewellery is “gold plated” or “gold electroplated” it means that it has a very thin layer of gold onto the surface of the metal. The base metal can be stainless steel or brass dipped into gold. Gold plating is a process known as electroplating that gives the jewel a gold-like appearance. To be named “gold plated” or “gold electroplated”, the gold layer needs to be at least 7 millionths of an inch thick and of at least 10k gold quality.
GOLD OVERLAY/ROLLED GOLD PLATED
A “gold overlay” or “rolled gold plated” jewelry has a thicker gold coating and is thus more durable over time. The gold content must be of at lest 10K gold quality but can be lower than 1/20 of the total weight. The base metal can be brass, stainless steel, or copper. It uses heat and pressure process to mix and bond the metals.
a slightly mis leading term since it is not actually “filled with gold” but rather its base metals are brass or copper covered by sheets of gold. It uses a heat and pressure process (bonding process) to mix and bond the metals together. The gold content must be of at least 10K gold quality and the gold content must be at least 1/20 (5%) of the total weight. The gold layer will not flake or peel off with reasonable care.
Vermeil (pronounced ver-may) simply means “gold plated sterling silver”. The difference between “vermeil” and “gold plated/filled”, is that gold vermeil jewelry has a thicker gold layer and uses sterling silver as its base metal. This is why vermeil is a better choice (compared to other gold plated jewelry items) for those with skin allergy. Vermeil is usually not marked, but if a gold jewellery is marked with a “925” stamp, it probably means that it is a gold vermeil. (The stamp for sterling silver is 925,.925, or the modern stamp S925. It stands for 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloyed metals.) Most of the jewellery at Lustre is vermeil, and these items are referred to on the site as “Gold plated sterling silver,” or “gold plated silver.”
Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery
MAY - EXQUISITE EMERALDS May 01 2016
Emeralds - Gems of fascination in many cultures for over six thousand years. So prized for their value, that karat for karat, a flawless Emerald may be 3 times as valuable as a flawless diamond.
Records show that the stone was known and sold in Babylon as early as 4000 BC.Until South America’s rich bounty of Emeralds was discovered in the16th century, Egypt was the primary source. It is believed Cleopatra was an avid collector of Emeralds, and historians believe that the ancient Egyptians mined Emeralds as early as 3500 BC. The Spanish explorers discovered large Emeralds in the possession of the Aztecs and Incas - the Incas actually offered Emeralds up to their Gods.
According to Indian mythology, the name Emerald was first translated from Sanskrit as “marakata,” meaning “the green of growing things.” The name we know it as now is believed to come from an ancient Persian word, eventually over time, corrupted to “Emerald.”
This gem has been mentioned in biblical information about the apocalypse and has been written about scholars going all the way back in time to Aristotle.
Emerald, the green variety of Beryl, is the most famous and valuable green gemstone. Its beautiful green colour, combined with durability and rarity, make it one of the most expensive gemstones. Emeralds range in colour from light to dark green. The shade of green is determined by the presence of chromium oxide and vanadium. Deep green is the most desired colour in Emeralds. In general the paler the colour of an Emerald, the lesser its value. Very pale coloured stones are not called Emeralds but rather "Green Beryl". They are sometimes heat treated, which causes their colour to turn blue and transform into Aquamarine. Apart from Emeralds, Beryl also has other important gem varieties, including blue Aquamarine, pink Morganite, and yellow Heliodor/Golden Beryl Pure Beryl is white.
Emeralds are notorious for their flaws. Flawless stones are very uncommon, and are noted for their great value. Some actually prefer Emeralds with minute flaws over flawless Emeralds, as this proves authenticity. Flaws are often hidden by treating the Emeralds with oil or synthetic lubricants, and this is a common practice in the industry.
The availability of high-quality Emerald is limited; consequently, treatments to improve clarity are performed regularly.
Emeralds are found in granites, pegmatites, and schists, as well as alluvial deposits. Some Emeralds find their way into gravels where the action of the water tumbles and smoothes them to they resemble shiny pebbles. Much smaller quantities of medium-light colour Emeralds come from Brazil. Emeralds also come from Austria, India, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt, the USA, Norway, and Pakistan. In the last few decades, increasing quantities of Emeralds have also been found in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania. These stones tend to be a very strong colour, as are the stones from India, Pakistan and the Soviet Union.
Columbian Emeralds are one of the most valued stones on the market, with the best ones from the Chivor and Muzo mines.
Only the finest quality Emeralds are clear and flawless. Most have tiny mineral inclusions or fractures, referred to as “jardin,” from the French word meaning garden. This refers to the moss or branch-like appearance of the flaws. Flawless Emeralds are rare and usually only found in small sizes. There are fewer fine large Emeralds in the world than there are diamonds! Most large Emeralds have cracks and flaws, or are cloudy in colour. It is common to oil these Emeralds to disguise the flaws and enhance the colour. The inclusions are sometimes not visible to the naked eye, especially in high-quality stones
Emeralds are brittle and easily fractured during handling and setting. Though they are classified with a hardness of 9, they scratch easily but the scratches can be wiped off. Its colour is a symbol of new life and the promise of spring, which is why it is the birthstone of May. A square cut to the Emerald actually emphasises the richness of colour by leading the eye into it rather than deflecting attention away from it.
As far back as there is evidence of Emeralds there has been evidence of their healing powers. Some said Emeralds would heal if simply worn, others said gaining help required gazing deeply into the green for a while. In every language, there are reports of the Emerald helping eyesight.
The Emerald’s healing powers have been associated with the skeletal system, the flesh and skin, the cardiovascular system, the adrenal glands, the kidneys, liver and intestinal system. The stone is also considered to be very cleansing and prevents infection and diseases
Emeralds are known to be calming and balancing, promoting creativity and eloquence and restoring faith and hope. They are believed to bring good fortune and are used to kindle kindness and sympathy. They are also used to improve one’s intuition, thereby increasing one’s perception. They bring truthfulness and are symbols of love. Believed by the ancients to empower the owner with foresight into the future, Emeralds are a symbol of rebirth.
CARING FOR YOUR EMERALDS
Do not leave your Emerald ring on while washing dishes or using soap as an Emerald will attract grease and soap. After a while, these substances will accumulate on the bottom of the gemstone, causing it to lose its lively brilliance.
Do not wear your Emerald when you might be engaging in physical activity that might scratch the stone. To clean your Emerald, use room temperature running water and a soft toothbrush with mild soap like hand soap . Brush repeatedly on the underside of the Emerald to remove accumulations of dirt and grease. It should then be rinsed with warm water,and patted dry.
Do not clean an Emerald in ultrasonic cleaners, steam cleaners or acetone. These may cause damage to the stone or the setting. Cleaning should be done no more frequently than is necessary, and never more than several times a year.
More than anything else, if you own any jewellery with this gorgeous prized gem, cherish it, but above all, enjoy wearing it.
Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery
THE GIRL'S GUIDE TO GEM CUTTING April 15 2016
Lapidary, the art of working or cutting in stone, only applies to working with small gem materials, and you will hear the word often in reference to gem cutting. There are four basic styles of gem cutting: tumbling, cabbing, faceting, and carving.
The simplest form of gem cutting is tumbling. This is where the rough material is put in a revolving barrel with abrasives. Progressively finer abrasives are used until a polish is obtained. This process closely resembles what happens to rocks in a stream or on the beach, except that the level of polish is much higher.
CABBING - CABOCHON CUTTING
Cutting cabochon, or as it is more commonly known, cutting “cabs,” is probably the most common form of gem cutting. Cabs are gems that are cut with a flat bottom and a curved or domed top. If you can envision an opal or a piece of turquoise, you are looking at a cab. Cabs have distinct resale value based on the material they are cut from, and their cutting can be profitable.
Faceting is the style of cutting that has the greatest profit potential. If you can envision a diamond in an engagement ring, you are looking at a faceted gem. The surface of a diamond is covered with several geometrically arranged, flat surfaces. Each of these flat surfaces is called a facet. The gem is faceted by a faceter on a faceting machine. The purpose of faceting is to bring out the brilliance of a gem. That is where the light entering the stone is reflected off the bottom facets and returned to the viewer. Brilliance should not be confused with dispersion or fire, which is the multicoloured flashes you see coming out of diamonds and some other gems.
Carving is the most challenging of the lapidary arts and there are very few recognised experts in the field. To be successful, one must have a distinctive artistic sense and a thorough understanding of the principles of lapidary. Unlike working in wood or metal, the materials present define limits as to what can be done. There are several types of carving. One of the best known is cameo. These are usually cut from sea shells or agates, but they can be carved from almost any material.
Cabochons are often carved. If the design is cut into the top, it is called an intaglio, or a relief carving. If the design is carved on the back, it is a reverse intaglio. Some carvings are not designed to be used in jewelry; they are cut simply for their beauty. These are classed as stand alone carvings.
Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery
BOHO - WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT April 01 2016
You might be asking……. because Boho chic is one of the biggest trends to hit us this year. Whilst every summer sees the resurgence of Boho in some way or the other, this year its set to be a really big thing. There’s going to be no getting away from this, especially since it is just so darn pretty.So what the heck is Boho anyway?
Bohemian style has, for over 200 years, been an exotic alternative to the accepted fashions of a given period. Generally associated with artists, writers, and intellectuals, bohemian culture incorporates various ethic clothing styles, as well as historical costume.
Bohemian style consists of loose, colourful clothing and has been known as boho chic, hippie style, and Aesthetic dress. With their long flowing hair and rich, though threadbare fabrics, bohemians stand out in a crowd representing a colourful counterculture based on creativity, poverty, and an indifference to social structures and traditions.
Origin of the Bohemians
The Bohemians, as a counterculture, appeared in France after the French Revolution. Deprived of the former system of patronage, where wealthy clients supported the arts, artists were plunged into poverty. Formerly, an artist was seen as a skilled and talented crafts person. But the Romantic Movement of the late 18th century rejected the confines of bourgeois life only to embrace the imagination. A new cult of personality emerged with the artist as hero and individual style expressed in the way one dressed. An artist became a special kind of eccentric genius whose creativity was displayed in the way they lived and looked. The artist himself (or herself) was a piece of art.
By the 19th century, the Aesthetic Movement became a type of bohemian life style. The Aesthetics rebelled against the rigid social constraints of the Victorian era and embraced a style based on the belief that the mass production of the Industrial Revolution was dehumanising. They strove to encourage the old techniques of the Middle Ages with individually crafted goods. Clothing was loose and soft, using fabrics coloured with organic dyes and decorated with hand embroidery.
Elements of Bohemian Style
Bohemian style, now referred to as boho chic, has come down through history, reappearing as beatnik style and in the hippie culture of the 1960s. For 200 years, bohemian style has consisted of several fashion elements.
- Loose, flowing clothing made of natural fabrics
- Less restrictive garments worn without corsets, bras or other restrictive elements
- Loose, flowing hair
- Colourful scarves worn at the neck, on the head, or instead of a belt
- Peasant style clothing including tunics, loose trousers, boots, and sandals
- Oriental elements including robes, kimonos, and the ethnic designs of Persia, India, Turkey, and China.
- Matching of garments in a nontraditional manner, such as mixing prints, or unusual colour combinations
- Multi strands of beads, several bangle bracelets, and the wearing of unusual, hand crafted, or unmatched jewelry
- Large dangle or large hoop earrings
- Broad brimmed hats
- Patched clothing
- Paisley, flowered fabrics, ruffles, lace edged sleeves
This might be the year, you actually let your inner bohemian child out. And the fact of the matter is, living in our always sunny clime, it's ridiculously easy to embrace a softer, breezier way of dressing.
Have a look at Lustre’s BOHO collection HERE
Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery
APRIL - DAZZLING DIAMONDS April 01 2016
Symbolic of eternal love, and thought to be one of the hardest substances on the globe, diamonds date back billions of years.
The diamond is the traditional birthstone of April and holds significant meaning for those born in that month, thought to provide the wearer with better relationships and an increase in inner strength.
Wearing a diamond is purported to bring other benefits such as balance, clarity and abundance.
During the Middle Ages, diamonds were thought to hold healing powers and to cure ailments stemming from the pituitary gland and brain. By heating the crystal and taking it to bed, it was thought to draw out the harmful toxins that were crippling the body.
It was also believed that diamonds could have an effect on an individual’s balance and clarity and could boost their energy when combined with other crystals like amethyst.
Deemed as the “King of all Birthstones,” diamonds make the ideal choice for an April birthday gift.
Adapted from the Greek word “Adamas", meaning “invincible,” diamonds come in a wide range of colours such as black, blue, green, pink, red, purple, orange and yellow. The colour is dependent upon the type of impurities that are present in the stone. For instance, yellow stones have minuscule traces of Nitrogen while blue ones contain Boron.Whilst tradition dictated a colourless diamonds, we now have more choices than ever with fancy colour and cut combinations.
Fancy-Coloured diamonds are natural, rare and truly exotic gems of the Earth. They come in hues of yellow, red, pink, blue, and green range in intensity from faint to vivid. Generally speaking, the more saturated the colour, the higher the value. Because a naturally fancy coloured diamond is rare, they will always be priced higher than a colourless diamond of the same cut and clarity.
In today’s gem and jewellery industry, because coloured diamonds are being used more frequently, the colour is sometimes introduced in a laboratory and are correctly called colour treated diamonds. When purchasing a fancy-colour diamond, you should ask if any enhancements or treatments were used to improve its colour and/or clarity.THE REAL DEAL OR A SWEET STEAL?
There is no synthetic gemstone on the market that has had a greater impact on the jewellery industry than cubic zirconia. "CZ" as it is sometimes referred to in the industry, came on the market around 1978. Initially, prices were quite high when compared to current price levels. A one carat "Russian" cubic zirconia was sold for around US$20.00+ per carat wholesale. And business was good.
The first question that usually comes to mind is why cubic zirconia was first made. And just as synthetic diamonds and synthetic corundum had their beginning in industrial applications, so did cubic zirconia.
The first cubic zirconia was made in Russia, for the purpose of laser technology. It seems the Russians did not have enough natural rubies that were required at the time to generate laser beams. So they set about to find a synthetic material that would have the properties of ruby.
Their development: Cubic Zirconia. Though CZ is not particularly close to a ruby geologically, it optically served the purpose for the Russian laser technology.
It wasn't too long before someone noticed that the new material would be very nice in jewellery since it also looked a lot like a diamond. So the ball got rolling to start producing CZ as jewellery items. Which leads us to where we are today.
The reason for Cz being manufactured only in the late 1970’s is because of the amount of heat it takes to get the zirconium oxide mixture to melt. The temperature is so high that there is no crucible or container that will withstand that much heat. Not even platinum will take the heat required to melt zirconium oxide. Which is why we did not see cubic zirconium on the market until the late 1970s to early 1980s. Why? Because we needed a microwave oven. What the microwave did is to give a method of synthetic crystal growth called a skull melt. This means that the material itself makes its own crucible. Since a microwave oven heats from the inside out, this allows for the interior of the substance to become very, very hot, while the outer layer stays cools and forms a crust that holds the molten interior. This is how the skull is formed and how we get the term skull melting.
When the Russian scientists discovered how to actually grow these crystals using a synthetic process, they named their synthetic crystals “Djevalite”. It was under this name that they began to market them as simulated diamonds.
Djevalite never really impacted the jewellery marketplace until Swarovski, jumped into the market with its own version of cubic zirconia. Swarovski coined the abbreviated term CZ for cubic zirconia. This was the jumpstart this crystal needed. It was nearly 90 years after it was first discovered that CZ became a popular and cheaper substitute for real diamond jewellery.
However you cut it, it still remains that all you April-born ladies have just one more excuse to go out there and get yourself a new sparkling piece of jewellery.
MARCH - ALLURING AQUAMARINE March 01 2016
Aquamarine refers to a specific type of Beryl that is pale blue, light blue-green, or even light green. It is usually clear, but iron content gives it its blue/green colour. The name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning water, and marina, meaning the sea. Not commonly known, but Emeralds are a deep green variety of Beryls.
The serene colour of Aquamarine is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded. Its pale, cool colour beautifully complements spring and summer wardrobes. In the past, the most valued aquamarine stones were green. Today, however, the most valued aquamarine stones are a rich, sky blue, but even the blue stones have a green or bluish green tint to them. Depending on which angle you look at an aquamarine, it may look blue, green, or colourless. This is called a pleochroic effect.
NOT ALL BLUES ARE EQUAL
Nearly all Aquamarines on the market have been heat treated to enhance the colour. In meeting with the consumer preference for aquamarines in deep blue, the stones are heated near 800 degrees Fahrenheit, which causes the blue colour to emerge and the yellow/green tones to disappear. As a gemstone, they work equally beautifully set in silver or gold. Many aquamarine stones are virtually free of inclusions and their lustre is vitreous or glass-like.
Aquamarine is commonly found in cavities,and in some cases grow even up to 30 feet. The most common cut for an aquamarine is the emerald cut, followed by oval or pear-shaped cuts. It rates a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, making it quite a durable stone to wear. What is great about the gemstone is that the wide price range makes them accessible to almost anyone.
Aquamarine is a wonderful stone for meditation as it quiets the mind and facilitates communication. it invokes a state of spiritual awareness and encourages dispassionate service to humanity. If the spiritual and physical bodies have become misaligned, aquamarine gently realigns them, releasing intuitive communication on all levels.CARE
WHY YOU SHOULD BE SHOPPING LOCAL......AS WELL! January 25 2016
From Bestseller, to the latest gadgets, and sometimes even groceries, there is no denying that the internet makes it easy to do comparison shipping.
However, with over 40 million businesses being “self employed”, and with more than 50% of new jobs being created from there, there is no better time to shop local.
From your favourite coffee shops, local boutiques to veterinarian clinics, it is impressive to think about the amount of time, commitment and labour, these owners contribute to make sure that their businesses both come to life, and stay alive.
But for many shoppers out there, small and independent businesses are often overlooked too often for all the wrong reasons.
Here’s WHY you should be shopping local.Your spending boosts the local economy
More that 50% of every dollar spent, stays in the local economy, compared to only 40% with larger businesses.
For every purchase you make online that comes from halfway around the world, your eco credentials get lowered, and your carbon footprint, larger. A smaller footprint also comes with the benefits of less packaging and waste, not to mention a cleaner more global conscience.
Quirky One- Offs
Independent boutiques and designers stock items, which are often hand crafted and unique. This means that there is little chance of you turning up at the office Christmas party wearing the same out or accessory as someone else. Very often, you get the meet the designer, artisan or owner of the business yourself. Thereby completely changing your perspective on the item you bought, and enriching the sales experience for you both.
Supporting Local Entrepreneurs
Artisan markets help to foster talents for the next generations of designers and retailers in your local community. They are often the hotbeds of innovation and there is a contestant turnover of new products. Sellers get direct feedback from the customer’s demands, thereby creating a tailor made experience for the local shopper. Think durian ice-cream, and you will understand what I am talking about.
Some of my favourite local labels in Singapore include:
A newcomer on the local scene, I happen to love this brand. Helmed by local social media icon Velda Tan, the label brings adorable luxury, sharp looks that are timeless and elegant to today’s savvy set.
By the self taught designer Danielle Woo, Aijek has everything you want from fun bright colours in clean minimalist looks, to a more floaty ethereal look. With generous sizing that goes up to a US size 14, they have real clothes, for real bodes. Am particularly in love with their lace skirts - perfect for those hot summer nights.
BAKER & COOK
It really can’t get more local than this for me. Located a short stroll from my back gate, perfect for those lazy Sunday mornings. The kids play in the park, we stock up on fabulous bread for the week and indulge (far more than we should) on yummy baked goods. Helmed by one of the most respected bakers on the plant, but brought about very locally, this bakery can very often have standing room only.
Pronounced similar to the word “NICE,” this quirky shop has all Singapore made products across art, kitchen, homeware, fashion and tech.
Located conveniently around the corner from Lustre @ Amoy, I love surfing their website and trawling their store.
If you ever wanted to buy a curry puff shaped cushion, or find the perfect quintessential Singaporean gift for a friend that's leaving here, this shop should be your go to place.
Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE SHOPPING ONLINE October 17 2015
When a piece of jewellery is displayed in a shop, show booth, or even at a private event, surrounded by hundreds of other designs, all vying for your attention, it can sometimes be damn near impossible to make a choice. Some people get that scared, “Deer in the headlights” look, freeze, hum, haw, try on loads of pieces and then buy……Nothing. Take that entire process online, and you can take all the time in the world, create piece charts and spreadsheets, compare brands, and generally come to a careful decision that is entirely your own.
With shopping online you get:Convenience
Where else can you shop in your jammies, whilst sipping on a beverage of your choice?
No waiting in lines, no being pestered by an assistant. ‘
You can shop in minutes, (assuming you’ve consulted all those pie charts and spreadsheets). You’re not subjected to the art of upsetting or impulse buying. ( okay, I’ve done the last one)
Better Deals/Price Comparison
Many Online retailers, Lustre included reward their online buyers with coupons and deals.
And many of them, again Lustre included manage to keep their prices lower than their bricks-and-mortar competitors, for the simple reason that they don’t pay rent.
Free Shipping, Returns and Protection
Ok, I admit, I loathe parking, I hate actually trawling the mall, and I love being able to try on my new clothes, shoes etc with the accessories I actually own.
Buy what you want, return what you don’t. Made that much easier with so many sites offering free shipping, and or returns. Pay with Paypal, and as a buyer, you are incredibly protected as well just in the event that the experience goes sour.
Lustre is just one of the many companies that offer you a no questions asked refund. Bought something and that beautiful emerald green looked puce on you? No problem, just send it back, and we give you a refund.
Some things are just better done in private. And NO! We’re not talking about picking your nose.
There are just some people who would rather their significant others not know what they’ve bought when they bought it, or how much they paid.
Once again, shopping online just makes it easier. Not to mention that if you're a working professional, you quite frankly, just DON'T have time to shop.
But what if you refuse to see that E-commerce is just going to keep on growing, you want to touch, feel, taste, and smell before you lay down your plastic?
Well, in that case, you drop us an email and visit us at our showroom right here in Singapore!
Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery
A LITTLE BIT OF CANDY........ October 09 2015
Setting up our fabulous showroom has also added to the exciting, but exhausting start to the school year.
However, when i am not feeding, ferrying, or chivvying my kids along, and ONLY if the days work is done, I allow myself to indulge in a golden 30 minutes of jewellery porn.
There are a few jewellery blogs that I follow, because in addition to what I do here with Lustre, I must confess, I love ALL jewellery. Fine, fun, vintage, semi precious, ALL of it. And the funny thing is, the older I get, the less I covet it to actually own. Looking at it is almost as much pleasure most of the time.
A few of my favourites here:GEM GOSSIP
You cannot write a blog post of about jewellery bloggers, and not mention Gem Gossip.
Danielle has been a jewellery collector since she was four years old, but her career in the business officially started in 2008 when she began her successful blog, Gem Gossip.
The blog focuses on trends, antique and period jewellery, celebrity jewellery, and exclusive designer interviews.
It is also a fabulous hub for gemstone and jewellery education, considering Danielle’s Graduate Gemologist Studies through the Gemological Institute of America. With five years of experience as the head gemologist and appraiser at a local antique jewellery store, she has most recently decided to pursue writing and consulting full time.
There truly is joy in the world when you meet people who are happy to share freely with the world all that they love and have learned about. Her blog has stunning images of even more stunning jewellery. And even though most of it falls into the fine jewellery category, a girl can dream.
JEWELS DU JOUR
Natalie at Jewels du Jour highlights a variety of topics int he jewellery world. When you visit her blog, you can learn about jewellery shows, antique jewellery, trends, designers, jewellery books, auction and much more. Filled with a sophisticated feel, daily updates, this blog is a great resource of auctions highlights and news. The fact that her photos are beautifully shot, makes this entire experience a visual buffet.
Liza is a multicultural jewellery blogger, and professional gemologist. Her blog is exceptional - and not just because of it’s super cool title. It is professionally priced together and is presented in English, Brazilian Portuguese, and Russian. She travels the world to document her jewellery findings and interviews A-list celebrities, designers and fashion models.
DIAMONDS IN THE LIBRARY
Diamonds in the Library is a blog with an eclectic mix of gorgeous modern fems, timeless antique pieces and literature. Becky’s personal adventures and breakdowns of the jewellery she loves, is not only entreating to read, but also very thoroughly researched. Hop over from her blog to her Pinterest boards and be entertained for hours.
Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery
OOH! I COULD'NT CARRY THAT OFF....... September 30 2014 1 Comment
Having sold jewellery directly for over 3 years now, I have met with so many women - different ages, races, skin colour ( not being politically incorrect here), hair colour, height weigh, you name it - I’ve seen it.
Here are the 4 key thing that I have to say about buying jewellery, and you are unsure about whether or not you could carry it off. Whether you’re buying fine, fun or somewhere in between.
CONFIDENCE IS KEY
If you don’t think you look good in what you’re wearing, neither will any one else. If you have the confidence you can pull off almost any type of jewellery with any type of outfit.
If you are the self confident, the type of clothes and or assessor you wear, almost become irrelevant. I have a friend, who’s TINY!! ( 5 feet tall in her highest heels), and she rocks some of our largest necklaces and earrings with the greatest aplomb. She has never come to me and said. “Oh that’s too big for me to wear” Her confidence allows her to carry it all off.
DON’T OVER THINK IT
Have some fun with your jewellery. It’s just jewellery. Not a tattoo. Not a piercing. Not a life partner. Just jewellery.
You can take it off at the end of the day, and try with another outfit and or mindset tomorrow.
COLOUR. COLOUR. COLOUR
Many individuals believe that the colour of their jewellery must match the colt of the clothing that they are wearing. So untrue. Contrasting the colour of your accessories from those of y our clothing will actually add personality and intensify both elements of your outfit. As long as you keep your jewellery in harmonising colour groups, the style doesn't need to be the same.
Again on of the oldies - “Don’t mix silver with gold. Mixing metals creates a fresh and contemporary look.
Try mixing them up. Try wearing 3 metallic tones together.
Oxidised silver? Sure. Rose gold? Definitely.
Wear them all together? NOW, we're talking!Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery.
LABRADORITE - FROZEN FIRE! August 15 2014
Being surrounded by the beauty of natural gemstones constantly, it is hard to choose just one - but I would have to mention Labradorite as one of the first few gemstones that I truly fell in love with. What most peoplAe dont know is that Labradorite is a mineral that has crystallised in a hard rocky chunk. Technically a feldspar mineral ( basically means that it crystallises from magma ).In its natural state you may find Labradorite in many colours - white, gray, light blue, light green, pale orange - red, or black, usually with a strong multicoloured display of purple, blue and green Schiller’s. Schiller’s are the colour flashes that are present in a mineral or stone when it catch the light at an angle.
Labradorite was first discovered in Labrador Canada by Moravian missionaries in 1770 who named it for the area. It is however referenced in legends by the Innuit tribe whose folklore claims that Labradorite fell from the frozen fire of the Aurora Borealis - now how can you not love a stone with magic like that?
With it's quiet beauty it's often easy to overlook labradorite especially when compared to the more obvious charms of Opals or Amethysts \but have another look at that piece of jewellery, let it catch the light and watch the iridescence take your breath away.
According to crystal healers wearing or carrying labradorite brings out the best in people, making life more congenial. It encourages courtesy and tempers the negative side of our personality. It is beneficial to the lungs, aids digestion and metabolism. It calms an overactive mind and energizes the imagination bringing in new ideas. it is an uplifting crystal - helping to banish fears and insecurities.
Humbug or truth? quite frankly I'm a little more shallow than that. I wear it because I love it; because I never it never fails to thrill me when I discover a new Schilller in a piece of jewelry I have owned and worn for so long.