Recycled Gems and The Jeweled Butterfly Effect

May 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm (Art, Excellence in Business, gemstones and Jewels, Local Made, Remanufactured goods) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This pair of earrings is made from a single emerald (once part of a pair of earrings) and a sapphire cabochon which was once a pinky ring. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The coins are early 20th century and the wires are handmade from recycled sterling. They can just as easily be two separate pendants on chains. I love the idea of quality jewels no matter the size as they are always worth remaking down the road. I must admit that this is nothing new for me…I was busted turning my mom’s presidential silver spoon collection into bracelets back in the 70’s. The JFK spoon was my favorite. I still occasionally turn a piece of random sterling flatware into a ring.

058 These tourmaline cabochons and slices were from three old tourmaline crystals in a collection given to me by a boyfriend. I didn’t learn to slice and cut them for a couple of years after I received them. A couple of them are drilled and now employed as pendants. The tourmalines were from Maine, USA.They were mined many many years ago so I am not impacting the environment today which adds to their beauty.

Mining in Sri Lanka

As you can see mining even in a primitive way disrupts the natural landscape in ways that are rarely if ever reversed. This is my small contribution to the land which has given us so many gems and with the advent of the shopping channels has been scraped, dug, and tunneled to provide even low grade commercial stones so that every price point from Walmart on up is covered.

By using antique and mid century Italian coral instead on newly harvested I am not part of the problematic issue of over consumption of precious corals.  This dependence on vintage and previously manufactured has its limits on being able to produce commercial quantities of my art and frankly I am A-OK with that. One of a kind has always been my niche and small collections based on some locally sourced vintage beads or gems makes my creative process stretch and grow in ways that having a mainstream supply does not.

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This is another reason I recycle. I am not interested in low grade gems. I try to work with quality even if small gems and rarely use gems which are irradiated or dyed or stabilized.  I love jewelry and all that it stands for so it is important to me that my jewelry share my ethics of respecting the planet and the humans who inhabit this planet. Jewelry means many things from religious or spiritual beliefs to love, affection, ancestry and as a symbol of wealth, fashion, style and energy. Respecting the process means respecting those meanings which people assign to their gems and jewels.

Ask where your jewelry comes from and why?

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How to be a Non Consuming Consumer…and look good doing it!

May 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm (Art, Eating Nature, Excellence in Business, Freedom, gemstones and Jewels, Health, Letting go, Local Made, LoVe, Polo, Remanufactured goods, Sailing, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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My own lifestyle often sparks my deepest thoughts.

I love quality well prepared food.

I love beautiful well made clothes.

I love learning new things.

J’adore bijouterie! That’s French for I LOVE jewelry (and gems).

I also love the planet and all of us on it…well most of us.

I love the creatures and the flora.

…and so I strive to live in harmony with these values. How do I do that you may wonder (work with me here I know you may not really care), well let me break it down for you.

I grow some of my organic  food such as Persian melons as they are hard to come by organic and buy at farmer’s markets organically grown and my local Windmill Farms neighborhood market. This helps limit what I buy at Bigbox inc. I like knowing my food is as fresh as I am and is employing my neighbors and compadres without coming from a hemisphere away and all the pollution that entails. I live in Southern California so we grow a ton of the food out there.

I regularly donate to the Amvets and Goodwill as well as shop there. I find some sweeet finds in USA made, Italian made and French made couture for a small fraction of what Mrs and Ms. Big buck$ paid for them and very often in near new condition. There are a zillion reasons why this is a score.

  1. I’m not paying full price.
  2. The reseller makes money to pay employees when I choose to buy there.
  3. I get to be the fashionista I was born to be…don’t judge I see you looking when I stroll by.
  4. I am not contributing to new sweat shop labor from major companies who source the cheapest available markets as well as freighters again crossing the seas leaving their oily ooze in their wake.
  5. I get to enjoy things for a season and then pass them on when I redonate them for the next lucky customer or gift them to adoring friends.

When I buy new clothes I buy from locally designed and made companies and individual designers. Here is why this is a major win/win.

Paul Rico

  • Locally made means more people locally working.
  • More local tax revenue.
  • I look amazingly stylish and not like everyone who bought this season’s offerings at Bigbox inc. or Massmall.
  • The clothes are designed with my specific area’s climate and lifestyle in mind…you know old school. I live in a temperate climate (or until global warming bakes us all I do) and I need cool breathable clothes for days and layers for early mornings and evenings. I live in a city on the Pacific ocean so beaches, boating, sailing, hiking in the mountains and desert and polo are all under an hour away.
  • The cost is not greater than many mainstream department store lines and yet surprise not made in a sweatshop in Bangladesh or China but here in my neck of the woods often by the designers themselves. Major win!
  • They don’t travel far at all. Often under fifteen minutes by car or 45 minutes by public transportation. Less global warming more great weather.
  • When I choose to give them to a friend or local thrift store they will be treasured as the gems they are and snapped up again by savvy shoppers.

Last year I went to a variety of sailing schools to learn to competently sail a yacht or dingy. I spent a year learning something so new to me my brain ached and so did my body after very windy days…and I love it! Joining a local sailing club affords me discounts on my zero carbon hobby and allows me the ability to take friends out for a beautiful day too.

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This year I am learning to play polo. All new rules all new whole body workout and balance work at its finest. Another green sport played outdoors with other humans and horses all working in teams and cooperating while competing and learning on a fast curve…as my coach says you only leave the field one way if you ignore the rules…in an ambulance or life flight helicopter. I always want to play another day so I catch on quick!

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  1. I want the earth to live another day too so I strive to live in a way that enhances everyone’s opportunity to live another day in peace and prosperity.
  2. Hobbies that are green enhance everyone’s enjoyment.
  3. Workouts outside don’t need well lit air conditioned gyms, with bleached infused workout towels and chemical soaps (but if that makes you happy who am I to tell you how to get your sweat on) but for me that was a toxic way to work out and caused allergic reactions to the chemical cleaners. I am a canary.
  4. I don’t need to take vitamin D supplements as the sun is abundant even in the early morning.
  5. I get to wear my cowboy boots more often without line dancing.
  6. I meet and bond with players versus being next to people at the gym.

On the bijouterie front I remanufacture jewelry here in San Diego so I’m not adding to the issues of conflict minerals and mining slavery and injustices. I buy broken stones and recut them, I buy mining cast off parcels of rock and use water and grit to cut them. I recycle silver and gold to make the settings and I take buy backs from my clients. Here is why buying from your local remanufacturer versus the HSN or QVC is a planetary win.

New Jewels 007

  • There are no conflict diamonds or rubies unless you are referring to the fact that your aunt wanted the ring grandma gave you. Want to preserve her legacy and make sure all the cousins have something from the family jewels. Break it up and make a charm using the stones for each or make earrings. The possibilities are only as finite as your imagination.
  • No additional stress on the planet from mining.
  • No sweatshop labor to cut the gems (sweatshop in my world is me on a hot August day).
  • No sourcing through dodgy governments or buying cartels who routinely abuse their citizens and your wallet.

So I’ve probably rambled on too long so I will release you dear reader with a question.

Are there easy ways you can lower your carbon footprint while also enhancing your individual life?

I would love to hear from you.

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Following Your Dream Without All the Baggage

April 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm (Art, Excellence in Business, Freedom, Local Made, organized simplicity, Relationships, Style, Travel) (, , , , , , , , , , )

A few years back when my then husband and I were doing trunk shows as vendors with Nordstrom we developed a philosophy of never checking our baggage. We needed to carry on the jewelry for obvious security reasons and being parents we never had an extra minute to spare in our 48 hour sales weekends. We would fly out of San Diego first flight on Friday, race to the rent a car location at our destination and find our way to the Nordstrom store in time to be set up and ready to sell when the doors opened. In this we were successful.

I had parents who, although somewhat supportive made it clear they did not want to be burdened with picking up our children and minding them while we were as they put it “gallivanting off somewhere”. My dad would drop us at the airport every other weekend and say “okay have fun on your vacation”. He was not being funny, I think he honestly thought we were flying out for fun and frolic.  Airport, rent-a-car, store, quick meal, hotel rinse and repeat then fly home. Not a whole lot of sightseeing going on unless you count how many rent-a-car kiosks or Nordstrom lunch rooms I have toured.

I had a leopard print chiffon over cotton sheath dress (remember the Debra McGuire style of the mid ninties)and heels (with a back up pair of Dr. Scholl’s sandals) and grey Anne Klein suit with golden blouse that were my uniform to show off my delicious jewels and maintain some sense of conservative decorum. One outfit on, one in the bag and my business partner cum husband just changed his skivvies, tie  and dress shirt. This time saving and aggravation saving philosophy saved us numerous hours and headaches. Many of our colleagues would travel as if they were heading to Europe for the season with steamer trunk size bags containing who knew what! I remember one occasion when one woman’s suitcase went to Chicago when we all went to Salt Lake City. She had nothing to change into and worse nothing to sell except her matrix, store owned merchandise. We cringed for her as she stood over her case of treasures pulling back stock to display up top and trying not to look like she came unprepared. She spent a small fortune on a new outfit to wear day two.

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Fast forward a few years and I had fired my partner (as sales rep and husband) and was preparing to leave for six months at a French business school. I brought my eighteen year old son along for the first couple of weeks for a vacation. He had a large backpack. I had a carry on bag and a backpack which contained my laptop, my zillion files and documents for the French government and my university. The carry on had all my clothes and shoes. I did not need to bring a lot since I was going to be in France the couture capital of the world (je suis desole NY c’est vraiment.)  I ended up shipping clothes home to avoid being a pack mule on my return that summer. Those early lessons in traveling light have always served me well.

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How does all this have anything to do with following your dream your ask? All of life is a journey…yes I know you know that…so with that in mind we need to carry on only…it just simplifies things allowing us to receive all the good things we deserve in life without being weighed down by the safe and known.

Happy travels.

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Can I be Green and a Fashion Lover?

April 22, 2013 at 8:20 pm (Art, Local Made, Remanufactured goods, Style, The decline of Civilization) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

The short answer is maybe.

Paul Rico

My ability to be green depends on some less trodden paths down which will make all the difference…

So as I focus on being a green fashionista I will continue to buy from local designers who make their clothes and accessories locally as well as shop my friends discards, thrift stores, consignment shops and swaps for charity. I m often complimented for my outfits and I believe selecting my clothes through time and space gives me greater freedom than just relying on what is new in the shops. This photo above is of myself and Paul Rico Fashion Week San Diego 2012 for Spring 2013. This is THE little black dress I ordered from Paul Rico who is an amazing local talent. I will post a photo of the one he made for me with a longer hem and made to fit my body not just a “size”. I can combine the latest and vintage for the look which can only be me. : )

Where is my fashion designed and manufactured? What types of safeguards are in place to minimize pollution in the creation process. Am I buying a pretty dress made in a not very pretty sweatshop employing humans who will never be able to afford this item and struggle to meet basic needs or was it made locally by independent artisans who determine their own working conditions? These are questions I want to ask at my favorite local boutique at home or when visiting another city.

That brings me to another thought. I like to buy things made in the area where I am. I don’t want to buy made in China in Paris, I want to buy made in China in China. I like to buy southern California made swimwear as the designers and manufacturers understand my lifestyle and how that one piece may become my top later at dinner with a wrap and a skirt.  My daughter bought me a beautiful cotton wrap while living in Thailand…they know sarongs.

Am I willing to buy remanufactured? I am because the cutest jean jackets ever have been cobbled together from others with patches, embroidery, changed collars and yet they are timeless and add fun to any casual outfit. My favorite turquoise mules have been repaired more times than I can count but they still get compliments and fit better than ever.

This photo taken with some phone that was still primarily a phone back when was taken in downtown SD after four hours of dancing at the EL D and walking back to my car parked a zillion blocks uphill away. My friend lent me one half of her flip flops she had in her purse should this need arise. The blue shoes have seen many a dance floor since as well and with the scalloped trim in light green they go with so many outfits. I haven’t had those jeans in years and the DJ from that night is big time in LA these days.

What can you do? Feel free to comment with your ideas, experiences and thought on this topic.
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