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Posts Tagged ‘jewelry’

062219-Provincetown-ladies-modeling-lockets

In the picture above, my sister had already had a recurrence of glioblastoma. But, you know, while there’s life, there’s hope. We went on a junket to Provincetown.

Not long before our trip, Suzanne, who pays regular visits to antique shows in Brimfield, Massachusetts, found the perfect locket for my sister. By some implausible alignment of the stars, it was inscribed on the back with both my sister’s name and her husband’s name. Suzanne does keep an eye open for particular designs for particular customers, but only magic could have turned up a locket with both those names.

Later, Suzanne found a similar design for me. It had my husband’s initials on the back.

Longtime readers know that this blog got its start when Suzanne said that she needed a blog for her jewelry business and that if I took it on, I could write about anything I liked. The offer of freedom was too good to refuse as my knowledge of jewelry, despite having a grandmother in the business, too, did not extend to a post a day. And I wanted to write a post a day.

Here’s a thing to know about Suzanne’s company, Luna & Stella. From its founding a decade ago, it’s been about relationships and the meaning that special pieces of jewelry can convey. At first, Suzanne’s emphasis was on her line of contemporary birthstone jewelry, which remains popular. But as she began to introduce antique lockets created with the craftsmanship of the famed Rhode Island jewelers of the 19th and early 20th centuries, she learned something interesting. Customers not only appreciated the beauty of their lockets but also felt a connection to the previous owners. Some people chose to keep the time-worn pictures inside instead of having Luna & Stella size and place images of their own family and friends.

Do check out Luna & Stella for a holiday gift of meaningful jewelry, here. You can use the discount code CarolineFriend at checkout. And Suzanne even has an installment plan now.

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Hunting for the best vintage lockets for Luna & Stella at the Brimfield antique fair, we really had to bundle up. It was awfully cold (and muddy) for May.

Ever since Suzanne first admired the nearly invisible hinges that characterized the old, handmade lockets, she wanted to offer lockets at Luna & Stella. At first, she investigated whether hinges like that were being made today. They weren’t. So she started an antique and vintage line to complement the way her contemporary birthstone jewelry preserves customers’ special memories.

The best place to start the hunt for vintage is at the Brimfield, Mass., antique fair, a mega event that occurs three times a year and involves thousands of dealers. According to one website, the show extends about a mile along both sides of Route 20 and several hundred yards back from each side of the road.

The dealers are not all selling lockets or even antiques. The event is also a flea market. You can find pretty much anything there. All that stuff you give to the Goodwill, or even throw out because it’s broken, could easily be displayed here with a price tag. It doesn’t even have to be old. People will buy anything.

I had never been on any of Suzanne’s Brimfield expeditions, and as my sister was interested, I decided it was time. Alas, at the last minute, my sister was not able to make the trip. Getting to see pictures is not the same as being in those crazy crowds, eating at food trucks, and using Port-a-Potties, but it will have to do for now. It was definitely fun to see Suzanne in action. She was like a bloodhound on the scent, and I hope my sister will get a chance to watch her in action another time.

Here are a few photos. If a dealer has a dinosaur, you can bet it will get displayed prominently on the roadside. I noticed that the one below eventually talked Lady Liberty into hanging out.

One thing you can do at Brimfield is get ideas here for the stuff you have at home. For example, if you have a fake rhino head collecting dust in your attic, you might want to spray it gold.

I sent Stuga40 the picture of the Swedish tent. Here’s what she said about the clocks, moraklocka: “Mora is a small city in Darlicalia (Dalarna). These clocks were painted and decorated by peasant artists. There are certain areas in Sweden like Dalarna and Hälsingland  where the ‘kurbits’ type of painted furniture is found. The red ‘dalahäst‘ [or wooden horse is] painted in this style and now used as a souvenir from Dalarna and Sweden.”

I loved the morning-glory look of the old Victrola. The quilt picture is for a few of my favorite readers.

The last photo is from the rural B&B where we spent a night. We needed the quiet haven after all the crowds.

You can read about the event here and get “tips on surviving Brimfield” here.

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Photo: Kacper Pempel/Reuters
In the top photo jeweler Katarzyna Depa, 26, holds a silver ring with coal at her atelier in Katowice, Poland. Below, Grzegorz Chudy, 36, paints at his atelier in Katowice, where affordable rents have drawn artists.

Having recently watched the devastating 1976 documentary Harlan County, USA about a Kentucky mining strike, I’ve become a little more skeptical about longtime miners’ ability to transition to a new kind of life. Although I have blogged about efforts to help miners learn programming skills, for example, or be trained for jobs in the solar industry, such things may attract only younger people.

In this story from Public Radio International (PRI), we learn about recent changes in Poland, where the conservative government still supports the mining despite climate-change issues.

“When the Wieczorek mine, one of the oldest coal mines in Poland, closed [last] March, Grzegorz Chudy noticed for the first time the neighborhood was vibrant with trees in the full bloom of spring. The smell was heady.

” ‘It was incredible. You never knew all those trees were there,’ he told Reuters in his art studio in a housing estate for mining families in the southwestern Polish city of Katowice. ‘The smell wasn’t there while coal was being transported on trucks. The dust covered it up.’

“The Wieczorek mine in Katowice, with its towering brick shaft, is among dozens closing down throughout Poland, home to one of the most polluted coal mining regions in Europe. …

“Poland has had a painful and difficult experience with the economic transition from coal. Even as it counts down to [November 2018 climate talks], it announced plans for a new coal mine in the south of the country.

“Its government drew support in part from those with an emotional attachment to the job security, social fabric and national pride associated with mining that overlooked the downsides for health and the planet. …

“Chudy, 36, whose paintings often depict the life and architecture of Nikiszowiec, is one of hundreds of people who have moved to the area, drawn by its industrial feel and affordable housing.

“Built to house the families of miners at the start of the 20th century, Nikiszowiec was designed as a self-sufficient neighborhood with its own communal bread ovens and pigsties, as well as a bath house for miners and laundry facilities. …

“Those in the artistic community say their work could only exist with the inspiration provided by decades of mining.

” ‘For me using coal in a different way than it used to be, which was energy, shows its completely new face, so we can call it our new, cool black gold,’ said Katarzyna Depa, who makes jewelry from coal.

“But for those with mining in the blood, moving on is harder and the smell of coal dust is as sweet as blossom. Above all, they miss the community spirit even if it meant shared danger and hardship.”

More at PRI — which is, by the way, an amazing window on the world. Check it out if you don’t know it.

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121618-African-soaps

When you want to bring a small token of your esteem to a party and you are not sure of people’s interests, you can start by making a list of things pretty much everyone likes.

Candy, flowers, wine, specialty coffee, exotic tea, unusual soaps, fancy olive oils, and candles. If it’s a Christmas party, maybe Christmas cookies, a tree ornament, or holiday napkins would be good. I know you’d rather not see your present regifted all around town, but be sure you’d like it for yourself in case it comes back to you.

Next: How about finding a gift that serves a second important purpose? My first thought was to get something at a retail shop in town whose business has been hurt by a chain that just moved in. But I was also thinking about buying from a nonprofit that helps the needy. Then by chance I ran into a charity representative on the street and was delighted with the soaps pictured above. I hope my friends like and use these soaps, but if they regift them, I’m fine with having them land back at my house. I hardly ever entertain, though, so seeing them again is unlikely.

Meanwhile, if you want a really special gift for someone you adore, you’ll check out Luna & Stella — the business this blog is connected to — because Suzanne sells meaningful contemporary birthstone jewelry and amazing vintage lockets. Of course, each locket is one of a kind. (Men can wear lockets, too, you know.) If you want your locket delivered by Christmas with your digital photos sized and placed, then December 17, 2018, is your deadline. That’s today! (Click now.)

For other occasions, such as birthdays, weddings, and Valentine’s Day, you have more time, so what would it hurt just to take a look?

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Mother’s Day is a week from today. Be sure to check out Suzanne’s antique lockets and contemporary birthstone jewelry at Luna & Stella.

 

 

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Suzanne’s lockets were featured in the Boston Globe last week, and I wanted to tell you about that — and the lockets — in time for Valentine’s Day.

Longtime readers know this blog has a connection to Luna & Stella, Suzanne’s jewelry company. It’s easy to forget that, as she was willing from Day One to let me write about whatever interested me, and I’m interested in an awful lot of things in addition to jewelry.

The antique and vintage lockets are a fairly new addition to Suzanne’s offerings, and they have been a pretty big hit. Although Suzanne acquires them from all over, many, if not most, originated in the greater Providence area, once known as the jewelry capital of the world. Some of the lockets have the original photos in them, but Suzanne will size your photos to fit if you like.

Among the more fascinating aspects of the lockets, in my opinion, are the handmade hinges, which are practically invisible. Hinges made today tend to be clunky and stick out. Suzanne went through a long search to see if anyone could make hinges the old way and even looked into buying some antique machinery, but in the end, attending flea markets and working with vintage dealers meant she could sell the lockets for a more reasonable price.

You can see lockets here, some in Valentine shapes. And the website also has chains and birthstone charms to pair with a locket — Luna & Stella‘s trademark stars, moons, suns, hearts, and more.

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I want to share a few more examples of Luna & Stella jewelry and let you know that Suzanne is offering free shipping for everything in stock if you order today.

After today, you can still get a gift to your mother in time for Mother’s Day if you order by Thursday, May 11, 2017, and use FedEx Overnight delivery.

Check out these beautiful pieces. Think about mixing modern and antique stacking birthstone rings for a uniquely personalized gift. The mother and daughter necklaces are another great Mother’s Day idea: for example, the smaller and larger suns below.

And do remember to sign up for Luna & Stella’s antique locket giveaway by tomorrow, May 8. My fingers are crossed for a blog reader to win.

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