Sunday, May 23, 2010

Knock It Off

swarovski crystals fall colorsExecution of a great creation involves a discerning sense and quality ingredients. ART - whether it be culinary, visual or wearable, it must begin with passion.

Jesee's love affair with Swarovski is a key element to the shimmering success of our jewelry designs. There are many faux Swarovski components out there and to the untrained eye would be a very sad disappointment if ever compared side by side to the real thing...it literally pales in comparison.

Stuart Freedman of Fire Mountain Gems wrote the following article on how to identify real Swarovski crystal. Before one starts to shop around for crystal jewelry, one should first know what they are buying.  As the old adage goes, "You get what you pay for".

Swarovski (Swore-off-ski) crystal components are regarded as the highest quality machine cut and polished crystal beads in the world. The demand for luxury products unfortunately can create a host of imitators. The imitators are all over the Internet and at every bead show that we have visited.

The Swarovski company creates its glass with a special compound that imitators cannot duplicate. This special compound creates the incredible brilliance of their product. The delicate color palette is another quality that sets Swarovski crystal components apart from others.

With so many crystal beads and components out there, how can you tell if the crystal you are purchasing is actually a Swarovski crystal component....or an imitation?

Here are some tips that can help you determine which crystals are genuine:

1. Swarovski crystals are generally not strung when offered for sale.

2. Look for the original Swarovski packaging. Dependant on size, the bulk packages will range from 10 gross to 1/2 gross, in well-branded, sealed envelopes. The newest Swarovski bulk packaging is sealed with an authenticated silver toned hologram saying "CRYSTALLIZED."

3. Swarovski crystals are perfectly uniform. Since they are machine cut, each crystal is the same. This means that the height, width and slope are consistent. A hand polished imitator bead will not have as uniform a cut. You may also notice different dimensions from bead to bead.

4. Swarovski uses machinery that precisely cuts each crystal. According to Swarovski, "cutting hard materials such as crystal and gems, in such a way that they have a hundred identical facets in several directions, is a very complicated task; each direction of the reflected light must first be calculated by computer, then this has to be simulated in 3D, optimized and finally converted into control programs for complex machinery." This is just part of the technology that gives Swarovski crystals their unbelievable flash.

5. The precision cutting of Swarovski machinery allows each crystal to have its facet juncture "pointing up". This means the facet junctures all meet at precisely the same point. This is a similar aspect of diamond faceting. See the illustration above.

6. AB finish Swarovski crystals have a uniform surface luster. There are no swirling marks from the vacuum process that produces the AB finish, and generally there are no scratches. The "imitations" often have scratches, swirl marks ("oily" looking surface). Some of these imperfections, in the "imposters", have to do with the lower quality of the finish. See the illustration above.

7. When you look inside the crystal, you will see no bubbles. If you see any bubbles, you know immediately that it is a fake.

8. Because of its special glass compounds, Swarovski crystal will out-sparkle a bead of lesser quality when placed in a side-by-side comparison.

Your best bet is to buy from reputable suppliers known to be Swarovski distributors. Just because they display the logo does not mean they are true distributors. We have seen many vendors incorrectly (and illegally) displaying the swan logo of Swarovski when selling beads at shows.

Monday, May 03, 2010

VGH Spring Craft Market

A wonderful little market with a variety of great artisans and a whole slew of Mother's Day gifts to choose from!

Partial proceeds from the show benefit the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

This photo from noted Indian designer, Manish Arora's 2009 Spring Collection captured my attention, as it reminded me of our "Siren" earring from 2003. LOVE the shades of BLUE!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Lobe Wonder-ful

Two and a half years after we posted about this innovative product, we have finally received feedback from a reader who suffers from droopy earlobe syndrome. Thanks to this surgery-free option she can now adorn her ears with pretty, shiny earrings once again!

Previously known as the Ear Lift, the Lobe Wonder continues to do its magic...

"Okay. So I did it. I went to the "Lobe Wonder" website and I purchased said otic marvels. And damned if they don't work! You had to buy a minimum of 2 packages but even with shipping and $ conversion, I spent less than C$17 for something like 120 little ear patches. I've tried them with big hoops (!). It's been years since I've worn any hoops. Then I tried studs. Worked for them too. I am one very happy camper. Thanks for leading me down the lobe-prosthesis path!"
~Laurel Bailey, Owner - Naked Soapworks