Why We Wear New Clothes on Easter – A History of the Tradition From a Fashion School Perspective

Many of us can remember our parents dressing us up in new clothes every Easter so we could parade around the neighborhood in our finest. It was a fun tradition to look forward to (or avoid, as some fashion-phobic children were known to do), whether we went to church or not. But where did this tradition come from? A look through history shows that its origins are not what we might expect. And examining the custom from a fashion school point of view, we see how changing retailing patterns have altered its significance.

Origins in other cultures. Although we associate wearing new clothes in spring with the Easter holiday, the tradition dates back to ancient times. Pagan worshipers celebrated the vernal equinox with a festival in honor of Ostera, the Germanic Goddess of Spring, and believed that wearing new clothes brought good luck. The Iranian new year, celebrated on the first day of Spring, has traditions rooted in the ancient pre-Islamic past. These traditions include spring cleaning and wearing new clothes to signify renewal and optimism. Similarly, the Chinese have celebrated its spring festival, also known as Lunar New Year, by wearing new clothes. It symbolized not only new beginnings, but the idea that people have more than they possibly need.

Christian beginnings. In the early days of Christianity, newly baptized Christians wore white linen robes at Easter to symbolize rebirth and new life. But it was not until 300 A.D. that wearing new clothes became an official decree, as the Roman emperor Constantine declared that his court must wear the finest new clothing on Easter. Eventually, the tradition came to mark the end of Lent, when after wearing weeks of the same clothes, worshipers discarded the old frocks for new ones.

Superstitions. A 15th-century proverb from Poor Robin’s Almanack stated that if one’s clothes on Easter were not new, one would have bad luck: “At Easter let your clothes be new; Or else for sure you will it rue.” In the 16th Century during the Tudor reign, it was believed that unless a person wore new garments at Easter, moths would eat the old ones, and evil crows would nest around their homes.

Post Civil War. Easter traditions as we know it were not celebrated in America until after the Civil War. Before that time, Puritans and the Protestant churches saw no good purpose in religious celebrations. After the devastation of the war, however, the churches saw Easter as a source of hope for Americans. Easter was called “The Sunday of Joy,” and women traded the dark colors of mourning for the happier colors of spring.

The Easter Parade. In the 1870s, the tradition of the New York Easter Parade began, in which women decked out in their newest and most fashionable clothing walked between the beautiful gothic churches on Fifth Avenue. The parade became one of the premier events of fashion design, a precursor to New York Fashion Week, if you will. It was famous around the country, and people who were poor or from the middle class would watch the parade to witness the latest trends in fashion design. Soon, clothing retailers leveraged the parade’s popularity and used Easter as a promotional tool in selling their garments. By the turn of the century, the holiday was as important to retailers as Christmas is today.

The American Dream. By the middle of the 20th Century, dressing up for Easter had lost much of any religious significance it might have had, and instead symbolized American prosperity. A look at vintage clothing ads in a fashion school library shows that wearing new clothes on Easter was something every wholesome, All-American family was expected to do.

Attitudes today. Although many of us may still don new clothes on Easter, the tradition doesn’t feel as special, not because of any religious ambivalence, but because we buy and wear new clothes all the time. At one time in this country, middle class families shopped only one or two times a year at the local store or from a catalog. But in the last few decades, retailing options have boomed. There’s a Gap on every corner, and countless internet merchants allow us to shop 24/7. No wonder young people today hear the Irving Berlin song “Easter Parade” and have no idea what it means.

It’s interesting to see where the tradition of wearing new clothes on Easter began, and how it’s evolved through the years. Even with changing times, however, the custom will surely continue in some form. After all, fashionistas love a reason to shop.

Source by Lily McCallister

Heirloom-Quality Jewelry (Part 1)

What makes a piece of jewelry worthy of being called “heirloom-quality” and what is meant by the term? Simply speaking, heirloom jewelry is recognized as jewelry that is passed down through generations, where as a “heirloom-quality” piece may or may not be passed down but exhibits several principle qualities that one should expect from jewelry meant to withstand many many years of wear. An heirloom-quality piece is best described as high-end jewelry exhibiting quality materials, precise craftsmanship and solid construction. The most precious heirloom jewelry also exhibits unique design, special treatment and sentimental value. This two-part article will help readers distinguish between precious pieces meant to be treasured for a lifetime and pieces that are less valuable.

Quality Materials

The most obvious characteristic of heirloom-quality jewelry is that it is constructed with quality materials. Such materials may include but are not limited to high-karat gold, fine and sterling silver, platinum, precious and semi-precious stones, and organic gems.

The precious metals gold, silver and platinum, are valued for their rarity and beauty. Although they are malleable, these metals are remarkably resistant to corrosion, which makes them highly desirable for jewelry making.

Pure gold is measured as 24-karat and is generally considered too soft to be worn as jewelry, therefore it is commonly alloyed with other metals such as copper, silver and titanium to strengthen it. The result is gold of varying karats and shades, and generally the higher the gold content the more precious the piece is considered to be. In the U.S., 14-karat gold is predominant. In Europe, 18 karat is most common, and in parts of Asia and the Middle East, 22- or 24-karat gold is the standard. On high-end jewelry, the karat content is usually stamped on the piece.

Silver is the most plentiful of all precious metals, and when given a high polish, its reflective properties are unrivaled. It has been perhaps the most sought-after precious metal throughout the ages, likely due to its durability in combination with its beauty. One of the secrets of silver is that it easily flatters all skin tones. Though it is more durable than pure gold, like gold, pure silver on its own is too soft to be worn as jewelry. Sterling silver is an alloy of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper. This combination strengthens silver while retaining its precious metal properties.

Platinum’s popularity as high-end jewelry began more than 2,000 years ago in South American Indian cultures and like silver, it is prized for its highly reflective color. Another defining feature of platinum is its durability, which is unsurpassed by any of the other precious metals. Even the most delicate of styles fashioned with platinum permanently retain their shape; this allows jewelry artists extensive creative freedom when forming intricate pieces. Most platinum jewelry is manufactured with at least 85 percent pure platinum. Palladium, ruthenium and iridium, which are also members of the platinum family, are often alloyed with platinum to enhance its brilliance and durability.

Beside metal, heirloom-quality jewelry can feature a variety of skillfully set stones and organic materials. These materials can range from the very expensive and rare to the semi-precious and lusciously colored. What is most important is how well these materials are incorporated into the overall design and how securely they are set into the piece. Just because a 5-karat diamond is slapped into an 18-karat gold ring does not mean it qualifies as heirloom-quality.

Expensive gems such as diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires represent precious stones. Although diamonds enjoy instant recognition as being rare and precious, sapphires are theoretically four times as rare as diamonds. Sapphires are very durable, second only to diamonds in hardness and sometimes come in rarer colors than blue, called “fancies” or “party colors. Treasured by the ancient Inca and Aztecs, emeralds are the most valuable precious stone in the world – by weight. Colombian emeralds are among the world’s most beautiful, prized for their undiluted pristine green. Incredibly deep red luster is the signature of the gorgeous ruby with the finest and rarest being referred to as “pigeons blood” due to their unsurpassed intense red color.

Semi-precious stones are by definition more plentiful than their higher priced relatives and are primarily valued for their beauty. Examples of semiprecious stones include turquoise, amethyst, bloodstone, cubic zirconia, garnet, onyx and opal. Although coral and pearl aren’t technically stones, they are considered semi-precious as well.

Other materials considered semi-precious include amber, ivory, fossils and exotic woods. These materials are often referred to as “organic gems” and present a unique and unusual treatment for jewelry of distinction. Amber is fossilized pine tree sap, most of which comes from the Baltic states of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Ivory can come from a variety of animals including prehistoric mammoths, but for …

Which Real Butterfly Jewelry Is Best for Me?

In recent years, it has become quite popular for various vendors to advertise and sell real butterfly jewelry. Although many vendors are careful to only sell jewelry made from butterflies born, raised, and passed away naturally on humane butterfly farms, some vendors are not so careful so if you are environmentally sensitive, be sure to ask the vendor where they get their butterflies from before purchasing.

Historically speaking, there have been three types of butterfly jewelry on the market: laminated wings, wings encased in cases covered with glass, and wings dipped in resin. All of these are typically used for earrings but they are occasionally found for use in necklaces as well. Only recently has a fourth version of real butterfly jewelry arrived in the marketplace. Before addressing the newbie, let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages of traditional real butterfly jewelry.

Laminated Wings

While laminated butterfly jewelry varies somewhat in quality, the biggest difference that you may want to consider is selection. All laminated products yellow with age so prolonged exposure to the sun will eventually render the jewelry unattractive – prolonged exposure to the sun will slowly fade the colors on the original butterfly wing as well. If you are wearing them in primarily indoor venues, they should last quite a while before yellowing and losing their beauty. Although they are fairly durable as you might expect, the lamination will eventually start to curl or peel apart slightly and will produce a frayed edge. Of course, with lamination comes glossy texture, so you also lose some of the natural beauty of the butterfly – but not much. Generally speaking though, these are minor critiques – the big differences between vendors is their selection of butterfly wings. Look for a vendor that carries dozens of species rather than only a few. Of all butterfly jewelry, this type is often the least expensive, so finding a vendor with a great selection and a good price is not too difficult.

Wings Encased in Glass Cases

Real butterfly jewelry encased in glass cases makes durability a non-issue when compared to laminated products. Although some few vendors carry cheap cases that may even unexpectedly pop open if you are not careful, most butterfly jewelry sold in this fashion comes in attractive (usually silver) cases that surround a portion of the butterfly wing. This preserves the natural beauty of the butterfly wing for a very long time. However, jewelry of this nature almost never allows you to see the entire butterfly wing and often produces a fairly heavy earring. Further, when real butterfly wings are used, prolonged exposure to the sun will slowly fade until the original colors are lost forever – this is a problem with laminated products as well. Despite the fact that UV protected acrylic sheets are available on the market, it appears that no vendor uses this technology to make this type of butterfly jewelry last longer or to make the earrings less heavy. In short, your taste in which cases are the most attractive is the biggest factor when looking for butterfly jewelry encased in glass cases – the selection of butterfly wings is less crucial with this genre of jewelry because the whole wing is almost never used so many people will not even notice that the jewelry is made from real butterfly wings. Of all butterfly jewelry, this type is often the most expensive.

Butterfly Wings in Resin or Lucite Cases

Real butterfly jewelry dipped in resin or Lucite varies drastically in quality. Some butterfly wings are so badly damaged in the process that you can barely tell that it is a butterfly wing encased in a plastic coating at all. Others preserve the beauty of the wing fabulously. Generally speaking, the better the product, the higher the price; there are some exceptions but you will have to shop around to find them. Although this product is more durable than the laminated products, it has the same problems with discoloration – both the resin/Lucite coating and the butterfly wing discolor over time – and it tends to make a heavy earring as well. Few vendors offer much selection with this product so you may not have the same ability to be picky about which species that you would like to wear.

The Newbie: Natural Looking Real Butterfly Wing Earrings

There is only one vendor in the world that offers these fabulous products. Like the laminated wings described above, this product features whole butterfly wings rather than a small portion of the wing, which allows for a better view of the butterfly’s natural beauty. There are at least two big differences between the treated butterfly earrings and the standard laminated earring: first, the butterfly wing (in its pristine natural state) is exposed for viewing, which uniquely preserves the natural …

Radley Bags and Handbags – How to Spot a Fake Radley Bag

Radley bags may not be as well known as other designer handbag manufacturers such as Gucci, Fendi, Coach, Louis Vuitton etc… but since the company was created in 1998 it has grown in popularity regularly every year since, and Radley bags are now the best selling UK designer handbag brand. They are also famous for their Scottie dog logo.

They are based in London in the UK but their bags are also available in the USA in stores such as Bloomingdales and Lord and Taylor. They also have websites in both the UK and the USA where they are rapidly becoming well-known by women who like quality and slightly unusual designer bags for a reasonable price.

Their motto is that they are devoted to “making beautiful things that women can fall in love with”. Their handbags are known for reflecting the exceptional creativity of the Radley designers, who strive to ensure “original design, exceptional hand-crafting, distinctive pattern work, extraordinary colour schemes and unusual textures”

Creativity is a very subjective concept of course so what do Radley mean by ‘creativity’? Well in their own words creativity means “lighting fires of inspiration and doing our job with passion and …. being stimulated by the world outside the window as well as the world inside our head.” In their opinion their handbags must be “works of art” and they see themselves primarily as artists, and vision as their greatest asset.

Radley bags are also well-known for being colorful. In their words color is “the essence of Radley” and they make use of color to “capture humor, or display an emotion. To give off attitude or make a statement. To add character and enrich. To bring fun into our lives and onto our products.”

Their bags are always designed to stress originality and surprise as they prefer “to fail in originality rather than succeed in imitation”.

They also aim to make their bags affordable and in this respect are very much like Coach in the USA. They refuse to cut corners but are not extravagant, striving for “Creativity without extravagance”. Their handbags are consequently high quality products that won’t break the bank that tend to be bright and colorful and incorporate distinctive details and shapes. They are manufactured from fine colored leathers plus a variety of other materials. Their craftsmen pay extreme attention to detail throughout the manufacturing process.

This year their spring collection is a choice of soft leather bags with creative hand-crafted detail that emphasize light Summer shades of yellow, pale pink and ivory, with “vibrant apple green highlights”.

The spring collection was a great success with the fashion press and has been featured in the main fashion magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Elle Accessories and Marie Claire.

How to Spot a Fake Radley Bag

The growing popularity of Radley bags has unfortunately led to the creation of fakes and replicas.

Radley take the problem of fake bags very seriously and have taken steps to combat the forges.

In the Autumn/Winter of 2008 they introduced a new authentication label in the form of an LCD printed label containing a form of Mirage technology. The Radley dog logo changes color from light to dark when you lift it up to the light.

Radley bags are the manufacturers of designer handbags to introduce this form of advanced security.

All Radley bags have an aluminum dog logo inside, on which is embossed the RADLEY name. Radley is also embossed on the leather square beneath.

The Scottie dog tag on a Radley bags is attached to the bag in such a way that you can remove it easily. With fake Radley bags it is often difficult or impossible to remove this tag.

Radley bags have a glossy, cardboard label on the outside, there is no dog on this label.

The word ‘Radley’ is only embossed on the dog suspended on the tag on the outside of the bag.

Radley bags are sold with a set of leather care products. They are also supplied in a dustbag with drawstring.

Prices for Radley bags in the USA range from $150 up to $400

Source by Adva Jones

Decorative Functional Accessories – The Dual Purpose

A home has a limited amount of space, and within that space you need certain items to live. Each room has its own set of unique necessities, without which the room would be less functional.

However on the other hand, a house is also a living environment, and beauty is important in life. You can’t just ignore the artistic aspects of your home in favor of Spartan utility. Luckily, there are a wealth of design choices, including various colors, models, sizes, patterns, and shapes, available for even the most functional and common every day home accessories.

Take for instance the trash can. This is probably one of the most base and common objects in your home, and yet it is absolutely necessary, and in fact multiple trash cans are probably necessary in various rooms throughout. However, rather than being an embarrassing eyesore, you can actually make your trash stand out, by purchasing can which feature unique designs, or exotic contrasting colors.

In the kitchen, many people will match stainless steal trash cans to stainless steal utensils and appliances to bring the ambiance of the space together. This is a trick which can be used in a variety of spaces throughout the home, and in most rooms simply having the various functional pieces all matched up will be enough to give the space an attractive look.

The bathroom is one of the best examples of using functional accessories as the decorative part of the space. That is because most bathrooms are way too small to add very many decorative pieces too. Instead, the wide variety of functional pieces can combine, contrast, and congregate with one another to make up the look and feel of the room.

This is not just limited to soap dispensers and toothbrush cups either. Even the linens, the towels, the wash clothes, the carpet itself, can all be mixed and matched in color to contribute to the overall attractiveness of the space.

Another place where you can add beauty to a functional piece is with clocks. Whether its wall clocks, mantel clocks, or little desk timepieces, the wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and prints, allows you to choose something that will do more than tell time, it will act as a centerpiece of the entire room.

Larger pieces are also part of this mix. Coffee tables, sofas, even beds with their bedding are all major aspects of the rooms in which they reside. By coordinating colors and patterns, you can achieve an integrated effect which will naturally enhance the look of the space.

The most important thing is to never overlook the art and beauty that can be found in even the most base and functional accessory. Just because it is useful, doesn’t mean that it can’t be gorgeous. Keep your eye open, and coordinate these items with the rest of your décor, to achieve a fully rounded decorative effect.

Source by Joey Pebble

Cross Necklaces – The History and How Wearing Religious Jewelry Can Express Your Christian Devotion

The history of cross necklaces used to display Christian devotion can be traced back at least to the 2nd century. Tertullian, a great Church Father, described the faithful Christian followers as cross devotees. And, it was noted that it was the center of the Christian’s life.

In the 3rd century St. Clement of Alexandria again describes the great devotion of Christians to the cross of Christ and defines it as the symbol of the Lord. St. Paulinus of Nola, at the end of the 4th century noted that it was recognized as both a sacred symbol of the passion of Christ and also a sign for protection and defense.

Archaeologists have found numerous items marked with a cross from many civilizations dating to the 5th and 6th centuries. These articles included: drawings and etchings on walls of burial chambers and catacombs in Rome, paintings in Egypt, coins, earthenware vessels, mosaics, devotional medals and saint medals, necklaces, rings, and liturgical vestments. They were even placed on documents from the 10th century believed to be used as signatures. They have been depicted on Christian Churches and monuments from the 4th century, and of course beautifully decorate our Catholic and Christian churches and Basilicas today.

Crosses were not only seen in artwork. As early as the 6th century beautiful necklaces were shown to be worn by Christians to demonstrate their devotion to Christ. Large pectoral crosses were worn by Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant clergy as a sign of reverence, devotion, and often to designate the level of the clergy in the church hierarchy. They were made of gold, silver, platinum, and often contained beautiful gemstones.

The use of a cross necklaces to display relics was identified as early as the 6th century. These reliquaries contained relics of the True Cross of Christ or relics of the saints. They were worn by clergy, royalty, and lay persons. One very interesting discovery demonstrates this use among Christians as a demonstration of their faith and devotion. St. Cuthbert was a monk and later a bishop of Lindisfurne, England. He was responsible for many miracles even prior to his death in 687. In 698 when they exhumed his body they found it uncorrupt. During the Danish invasion monks fled in fear of their safety and carried the body of the saint with them, wandering for years to Cumberland and other cities before it was finally taken to Durham, England. Another miracle occurred here. According to tradition it was believed that this miracle was St. Cuthbert indicating his desire to have his burial spot there. The incorrupt body of the saint has his final resting place in a cathedral in Durham. Interestingly, they also found in his tomb a very beautiful jeweled cross necklace.

Tombs of queens and kings were also discovered with fine religious jewelry of gold, silver, and gemstones. Another famous historical account identified both a reliquary and gemstone cross necklace in a tomb of a queen in the middle of the 6th century. Queen Theodelinda of Lombards received a very precious gift of a reliquary containing a relic of the True Cross of Christ from Pope St. Gregory the Great, an early Church Father and Doctor of the Church. Both of these wonderful expressions of Christian faith in jewelry are still preserved today in the treasury of Monza.

What a marvelous tradition we have as Christians in demonstrating our faith and devotion to Christ by proudly wearing cross necklaces whether it is a simple design of silver or gold or elaborate gemstone. We can follow in the footsteps of our early Christian brothers and sisters who were unafraid to display their Christianity daily by wearing this beautiful religious jewelry.

Source by Marianne Buzzelli

How to Get an Aries Man Back – Surprising Strategies to Reclaim His Heart

You want to get back an Aries man. Obviously things didn’t work out the way you hoped for with your boyfriend. Relationships have a way of careering off course when we least expect it. After the dust has settled, and the break up is behind you, you may come to an awakening. Realizing that he’s the guy for you is difficult enough. Figuring out how to get him back in love with you is where the real challenge begins. If your guy is an Aries you’re going to have to approach things from a specific angle. You need to regain his trust so he can open his heart up to you all over again.

There’s a big misconception among women that they feel the brunt of the emotional turmoil after a break up. That’s simply not the case. Men feel things just as passionately. They experience the same pain that we do and it naturally leaves them wary of trying the relationship again. In order to get an Aries man back you have to show him that he can trust you with his heart once again. To do that you must be strong and emotionally stable. You have to work towards getting him to see that you’re the only woman for him.

The first thing you should be doing to get him to feel closer to you is initiate a platonic friendship with him. This is important for two reasons. First and foremost it ensures that you’ll remain a positive influence in his life. You already know him very well and so becoming a friend to him will feel comfortable and natural to both of you. Aries men are very open to the idea of maintaining contact after a relationship ends, so he’ll likely welcome the idea with open arms.

The other reason you want to become a friend to your ex is you need to work on showing him the improvements you’ll be making to yourself. You’re going to work on being more confident and self sufficient. Aries men go wild for women like this. You’re also going to be mature enough to recognize that the past needs to stay in the past. Drudging up the break up time and time again will only alienate him more. He wants to move forward and away from that pain, just as much as you do.

As your new friendship develops show him that you’re definitely someone he can lean on. Be there for him but keep the romantic feelings at bay. Your focus needs to be on demonstrating to him that you’re a strong and reliable presence in his life. Once he senses this, his heart will be much more open to the idea of the two of you moving from friends to romantic partners again.

Source by Gillian Reynolds

Popular Designer Salwar Kameez Styles for Spring 2011

Salwar kameez still in trend

Fashion is never constant and for women it's changing every day or rather every hour from clothing to hairstyles. For Indian women despite the costumes vary as per the occasions but surely salwar kameez is ageless piece of elegant clothing. With cool and pleasant atmosphere around this summer suddenly has lots to offer. Designer salwar kameez are great authentic pieces of a professional innovative works for every festive season. This outfit is exclusive and is for every occasion from a cocktail to reception. It's preferred because of its easy to carry drape rather than other outfits. It's a must buy for every women. Spring collections are made from fabrics like crepe which is apt for climate transition phase from winter to summer too.

Reasons to own designer salwar kamiz:

Many designers have presented this spring collections in many fashion weeks like Lakme, Wills lifestyle and several new collections are expected to arrive. To own a designer salwar kameez is a desire of every woman. The specialty in them is the intricate sequencing and patch work done in every piece without any two costumes of a kind. As designer work is not cheap so the clients are specific on their purchase. This adds a unique element to their personality and wardrobe too, making the person a trend setter in surrounding. The best part of designer product is the unmatched comfort fitting, the research they put in creating a single piece due to the label value. The differences are very evident from the local pieces and a designer work from prints, stitching; quality of fabric, sequences, delicate hand and machine work stands always apart. In kameez the low neck line are very trendy and hot this spring season. Above all the final look of attire which is because of the pecicular design and finishing from the choice of threads in the color of sequences makes the costume timeless and can be worn several times. Designer salwar kameez for spring is forever multi utility costume. Salwar kameez are categorized as per different events like exotic salwar kameez, trendsetter salwar kamiz, Patiala, chudidar salwar kameez to simplify choice.

Let's have a look at the fabrics used by designers for salwar kamiz collections:

Chanderi jacquard, semi crepe, chanderi silk, cotton, pure crepe and rayon material! Many designers have their specific likes which are clearly visible in their collections. Like Manish Arora will always keep black color as base is filled with various bright colors. Another prominent designer is Neeta Lulla who spring collections are inspired by the life around her and her fashion forecast is fusion wearing making kurta's give every girl and women the very classic Indo western look. Ritu Kumar too is very fashionable and leading designer clothes clothes offer a range for fashioners from 18 years till 70 years.

The prices vary as per designer brand and fabrics used. Normally initial range is not very expensive and starts from 3000 / – above. I know it's hard to stop yourself after reading this. Gift yourself this Christmas a good designer salwar kameez and fall in love with the exclusive wear.

Source by Vikas Chaudhary

A Tribute to Seafarers!

Somewhere around 1500 BC, the Lapita people (ancientors to the Polynesians) moved across the ocean carrying their plants of food and domestic animals. This marked the beginning of true seafaring skills in the Stone Age. The traditional craft used back then is what we now call a catamaran. These seafarers knew how to read wind and wave patterns, and navigated by the sun and stars. Once could say the Lapitas studied the flight pattern of birds as they headed towards landfall, the drift of vegetation, and even cloud formation; skills old salts still use today.

In the mid-14th century, European Sailors ventured out into the Atlantic. On August 2, 1492, sailing the Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue leaving the Canary Islands. Financed by the king and queen of Spain, Columbus sailed westward in search of silks and spices in Asia only to discover America instead.

In the 1600's:

— 1620, December 21, wind-battered and weary, the Pilgrims anchored in Plymouth Harbor, MA after being at sea for approximately two months. They spend the winter on their crowded ship (Mayflower) and lost half the people due to disease. Over the next several years the population in Plymouth great due to new arrivals from England.

— 1659, the first homesteaders (two men, 1 woman, and six children), arrived on Nantucket Island traveling by open boat through seas churned high by winds of approaching winter. Farming and fishing were main activities till 1712 before whaling became popular.

— 1675, Boston Harbor Islands had historically been places where society had set apart unwelcome institutions and people on the margins. American Indians were interned on Deer Island during King Philips' war.

— 1684, the English purchased the Rumney Marsh and Pudding Point properties from the Native Americans. Then between 1753 and 1763, a fishing industry was located at Point Shirley and 300 people stayed and worked there.

For millennium Northeast coastal Indians fished, farmed and hunted on the islands, and European settlers used them for much the same purposes. The large natural harbor and New England's transportation network have made Boston a thriving seaport since. The port had its share of sea tales, as ships plying the harbor's sea-lanes intercepted pirates.

The pirates would ride up and down the Atlantic coast between Newburyport and Winthrop. It was here they would hide out at Pudding Point waiting for other ships to come down then attack and sink the boats. Before the boats would sink, though, the pirates would take the treasures of gold and jewelry off the boats, then sail back up towards Newburyport where they'd bury these rewards. Where exactly no on today really knows. However, if you come and visit Winthrop, be sure to walk the three-mile path around Deer Island and stop dead center at the tip. In front of you is a tiny island with a light on it called Nix's Mate. It is here where the pirates were actually imprisoned and some are believed to have died there. On a dark, windy day you can hear them cry revenge. Today boats make it a point to stay clear of Nix's Mate. The actual structure is a ledge and meeting place for four different channels; Nubble, Narrows, South, and North. The tide swirls pretty strong there and if you get caught, you may end up with the pirates.

Boston was also a port of entry for early settlers and alter immigrants seeking a better life in a new world.

In the late 1960's Winthrop had lots of mud flats surrounding their three yacht clubs. There was a problem at that time with some of the overflow from Deer Island coming back into the harbor. This "fertilizer" was causing sea lettuce to grow. Unfortunately, the sea lettuce was covering all the clam-flats causing the clams to die off. The odor and pollution from the clams were permeating the neighborhoods and peeling paint off the houses. A doctor was brought in to find out what could be done and he recommended putting everything under water by dredging.

Clamming is a lively industry in Winthrop and supplies many restaurants in the area. In fact, Boston chefs have claimed the best clams are the ones from Winthrop.

Every week the biologists at Plum Island's Purification Plant sends out an email to all the clam diggers in Quincy, Boston, and Weymouth. This email notifies clam diggers where and when they can dig for soft shell clams. According to Massachusetts State Law, a clam digger is allotted five racks of soft shell clams per day. This really is not a lot of clams in the scheme of things, but it's back breaking work all the same. Rules and regulations keep changing making it more difficult to support a family this way.

So, no matter if …

Horse Jewelry

Dan Fogelberg's "Run For The Roses" speaks of our love for horses; our enchantment of a graceful warrior and trusted friend to man. As the Western theme starts to reappear in clothing, and boot cut jeans become a preferred style, horse themes are taking their prominent place once again. From artwork on T Shirts and air brushed designer jackets, to horse jewelry in a shining sterling silver finish, adorned with rhinestones and turquoise, or the more stoic leather and stainless steel – equine shapes are everywhere.

Who can deny our admiration of a beautiful stallion, his mane glistening, tossing in the springtime breeze, as his soulful equestrian eyes search for a friend. This graceful animal, raises it's head along its beautiful and muscular lines, to proudly proclaim it's graces, its strength and its confidence.

Merchants across the country have taken notice of this increased interest interest. Retailers are seeking to add items to their shops, while others add a wholesale horse jewelry category to help fill displays at local shops. From the simple to the elite, inexpensive to quite a bit, the variety keeps expanding as the demand grows. It seems like the fascination and adoration for these majestic creatures is growing daily.

Horse jewelry allows us to keep our love for these incredible animals in our minds and close to our hearts. Distributors are beginning to pick up on this trend, and adding wholesale horse jewelry to their collection of offers. From the lovely and steadfast palomino, to the sturdy strength of a thoroughbred, horses elegantly represent an ability for us to live and move forward, to work hard and make our dreams happen. As many of us are facing questions on how best to move forward, possibly seeking the comfort and joy of watching one of these beautiful creatures may give us an insight on our own path that lies ahead – as we pursue our own "Run for the Roses . "

Source by Julie W Hall

Celtic Jewelry – Symbols That Tie The Present And Past

If you weren’t paying attention, it may have seemed that the sudden popularity of Celtic jewelry was something that just burst on to the scene. But those that know better understand that this revival of sorts was actually thousands of years in the making.

If you are looking for jewelry that is both striking and makes a statement, it’s time for you to take a look at what this jewelry has to offer. This bold, stylized type of adornment is derived from the art of the ancient Celtic people of Europe. It has a variety of different meanings and it is no wonder that this kind of jewelry has become so attractive and desirable in recent years.

Celtic art, which is reproduced in silver and can easily be found on earrings, rings, bracelets and pendants, is ornamental, but it could be found in a wide variety of different locations. Perhaps most famously, it has been found on large stone monoliths and posts, but the distinctive, intertwining knotted designs have also been seen on jewelry and on the illuminations of the day, done up in bright and vibrant colors as well as in gold and silver paints.

Today, Celtic designs can be seen primarily on silver and gold jewelry, and there are many reasons why it is so popular. During the middle part of the nineteenth century, there was an Irish revival that featured a reclaiming and reassertion of Irish identity. It was, in many countries, called a Celtic revival. As a result of this movement, there were many showcases of Celtic art that exemplified the twisting designs of the art that is so very distinctive.

This notable form of Celtic art is important to various people in various ways. For some, it is an important part of claiming their Irish or English heritage, one that goes back more than a thousand years. As such, it can put them in touch with their roots in a very visual manner. Similarly, other people are fond of the Celtic designs because of their unending nature; the long loops without breaks are very striking and can be quite meaningfully interpreted by the people who choose to adopt them as personal symbols.

Still other people like the symbolism of specific pieces of artwork themselves. For instance, one example of an ancient engagement ring was the claddagh, a representation of two hands holding a crowned heart. Many couples have adopted this piece of jewelry as a personal statement of their commitment to each other and as an assertion of their bonds with the past.

It is no wonder that Celtic jewelry has made such an impression on people today. Along with a fascinating intriguing design, it offers a great deal of insight into the past, and like any good adornment it decorates and beautifies the wearer!

Source by Ned D’Agostino

Benefits of Jewelry Designing Courses

There are number of online and off line courses in jewelry designing offered by accredited institutions. The training imparted culminates in a diploma certification and especially targets the hard-core sales professionals. The jewelry designing courses focus exclusively on essential product knowledge and tried and tested proven sales techniques. You are taught how to sell diamonds and jewelry.

The training is not directed towards technical grading, but to develop the confidence to provide accurate descriptions and deliver sales presentations. Some distance education resources also offer the courses within the environment most convenient for learning:

your home. The courses are designed to enable you to apply practical skills, trust and credibility.

The courses are usually offered in the basic categories of ‘Essentials’ and ‘Stones’.

The ‘Essentials’ category imparts concise sales information, to increase sales and your level of confidence. The theory is made available via engaging texts and photographs and color reference guides.

In the ‘Stones’ category, you are taught which metals and settings are durable. You get acquainted with manufacturing techniques like casting, die striking and electroforming.

This category is designed to enable you to have all the important information right at your fingertips and create better “sight value”. You will learn how karat gold affects appeal and value and understand various cuts and stone settings. You get to discover for yourself the sales process and learn how to relate quality, rarity, and color to the gem values.

The courses are designed to make you a pro at jewelry designing and selling. By the end of the course. you will be able to access all the information and sales tips you would need to start selling more jewelry than you ever imagined! You can also take advantage of moneymaking tips on turning product knowledge into sales. You are taught how to apply practical theory to explain appearance and value effectively.

You also learn which gem shapes are the most popular and get to familiarize yourself with the best-selling types of jewelry. The online and off line courses enable you to take full advantage of the ‘real world’ sales tips. The guides made available to you within the course, keep information at your finger tips.

Topics like the creation and sale of exclusive Bridal Jewelry is included within the course material, which gives you ample scope to function within the target market almost immediately. The jewelry designing courses are offered via real classroom training and online courses. The fees are very minimal, in comparison to what you would be earning months down the line.

The jewelry designing taught includes the eternal traditional designs and the art of meeting customized designs. If you choose to cater to a particular target market, then the sky is the limit to the earnings possible. You could also tie up with established businesses in the industry and make your designs available to them. Or you could showcase your own collection online and encourage online sales and auctions. Jewelry designing is catching up fast as a very lucrative vocational option and one that is here to stay.

Source by Victor Epand

How to Maintain Your Silver Jewelry

Silver is known for its beauty and versatility. It is widely used to make different kinds of artifacts, dinnerware, and cutlery, etc. Jewelry like silver ring and silver bracelet is the most popular and well-known form of silver. The elegant luster of silver is what makes it very popular for jewelry production. But like most other metals, silver develops stains and tarnish over time. That is why it is important to clean your precious silver jewelry to avoid damage. Let us look at some easy methods to maintain your jewelry.

Prompt cleaning and buffing

When you use silver jewelry, you must remember to promptly clean it after every use. You can clean the jewelry in slightly warm water using a mild detergent that does not contain phosphate. Do not wash your silver jewelry along with other dishes as it can scratch the silver. Rubber causes corrosion on silver jewelry so make sure you do not use rubber gloves while performing this task.

After washing the silver, promptly wipe it thoroughly with a soft cloth. When you gently rub the soft cloth over the jewelry it will make the silver shine. In case of tarnished silver, washing alone will not help. You can purchase polish that is specially made for silver jewelry. Read instructions on the polish container carefully. Then take some polish and use a soft sponge or cloth that usually comes with the polish and rub the silver with it.

You can also use white toothpaste that does not have any special ingredients for whitening. Put some toothpaste on a soft sponge or cloth that's damp, and gently rub the silver. You can also try moistening the silver first and then directly applying the paste on it. Continue the process until the tarnish is completely removed. Rinse the jewelry with warm water and then use a towel to dry it.

You can also make use of dips that are available at stores. Jewelry is soaked in this solution which has the capacity of dissolving stains. In this method you will not be required to rub the jewelry. Remember not to make use of this dip on silver that has a gray or an oxidized finish as it may damage it.

Storing silver jewelry

In order to maintain your silver jewelry it is also important to store it in the right way after it has been cleaned and polished. Use pieces of a flannel or tissue that is acid free and individually wrap each piece of silver in it. Then store the wrapped pieces of silver jewelry in properly sealed zip lock plastics. Do not let the silver ring, silver bracelet, or other jewelry come in contact with paint, stainless steel, or rubber materials.

Source by Alok Gaur

Dressing for Success at the Workplace

Dressing for any career-related event is definitely one of the major sources of anxiety for everyone at some point in their career. As vital as it is for a company to maintain a product’s image in today’s business world, it is even more important for individuals to package themselves in a way that is smart and professional. In Today’s Job Market, first impressions can never be overstated, especially if you are trying to set yourself apart from the pack of other job seekers who are trying to land the same job. The image you portray can either make or break you, and the look you go for reflects your ability to perform adequately on the job. This is a well-known fact among all professionals, especially those who aspire to high managerial positions. Looking and behaving like a highly qualified and well-groomed professional will definitely help you gain the respect and admiration of your boss, colleagues and clients.

Here are a number of helpful dress code tips to get your wardrobe right in a professional setting that suits all the different professional environments that you might need to dress for in your career and a number of fashion faux pas to avoid when dressing for success.

Types of Workplace Attire

There are 3 main types of workplace attire that you need to fully understand. Each attire depends on your company’s dress code policy. The three types of dress codes are: Professional Dress, Business Casual and No Dress Code.

Professional Dress

In most conservative industries such as, Sales, Accounting or Banking you will find that this type of business wear is dominant. In general, the business dress for men that works best in most corporate environments is a conservative dark or charcoal gray suit, a white or blue long-sleeve, button-down shirt and a necktie with a minimal or no patterns. Women’s business attire consists of a pantsuit or a suit with a skirt, paired with closed-toe high heels. This type of dress code helps you reflect a conservative and professional look that is classy but not too flashy.

Business Casual

For those who are still not familiar with the business world, defining what the business casual style is can be vague. The key to appropriate business casual attire is to understand your company’s definition of “business casual”. Basically, business casual for men is suit pants or khaki type pants, a button-down collared or polo shirt and traditional black or brown shoes. Wearing a tie or a blazer is optional. Business casual for women means classic black or brown pants, a well-pressed shirt or blouse and high-heels.

The No Dress Code Policy

While most companies have a specific dress code, there are actually some exceptions to this norm. A company with a “No Dress Code” policy allows you to wear what you probably won’t be wearing to work, such as jeans, T-shirts, flip flops, sneakers and shorts. This policy is common among IT companies, where employees have no direct interaction with clients, but employees may be asked to wear professional attire at networking events, conferences or client meetings.

Things to Avoid When Dressing for Success

Strong Fragrances

Smelling good is definitely a vital part of looking good. However, if you do not apply fragrances correctly, it might not work in your favor in the business world. Avoid wearing strong perfumes or colognes in the office or workplace and keep in mind that some people are allergic to some perfumes. So if your fragrance is too strong, only use it in your personal time!

Poor Grooming

Personal grooming is just as important as what you wear. You may select the right clothes, but having poor personal hygiene will ruin the image you wish to present. Make sure that your body is freshly showered and your hair is clean, trimmed, and neatly combed. For men, mustaches or beards must be neatly groomed or better yet, shaved. When it comes to makeup, women must try to wear the minimum and be as natural looking as possible. After all, this is not a beauty contest!


Accessories can definitely reflect your personal style and can be a plus if worn in moderation. There are some accessories, however, that should be avoided in order to look professional and credible. Women should avoid dangling earrings and must wear no more than one ring per hand, a nice watch and a simple necklace. Men should stick to a watch, one ring, and a simple belt. Ties with loud patterns should be avoided. Always remember that when it comes to accessorizing in the workplace: Less is more!

Many professionals commit a number of fashion faux pas without even realizing it due to their lack of experience when it comes to corporate attire. This can sometimes lead to being passed over for …

How To Clean Diamond Jewelry in 4 Easy Steps

Many people often ask how to clean their diamond jewelry so that it is brilliant and full of fire. Diamonds attract grease and dirt like a magnet. Lotions, creams, hairspray, makeup and perfume form a film over your diamonds over time and make them look dull and lifeless.

After years of experience, we have found that the following method is one of the surest ways to keep your diamonds clean and brilliant if cleaning at home. It is a simple yet effective method that takes no more than fifteen to twenty minutes of your time. This method is not advisable for Pearl or Emerald jewelry or for any gemstone jewelry that has been enhanced.

1. Mix one part Mr. Clean (available at most major supermarkets) to eight parts of hot water. (Water does not need to be boiling hot).

2. Carefully soak your diamond jewelry for a short period of time in this solution – approximately 10 – 15 minutes is usually enough. (Reminder: Please do not put pearl jewelry or emerald jewelry into this solution – pearls are too soft and some emeralds may discolor).

3. Remove all your diamond jewelry slowly and gently brush off residue and dirt with a SOFT bristle toothbrush.

4. Rinse well with water, set jewelry aside to let air dry. You now have diamond jewelry that sparkles and is full of fire and brilliance.

Source by Nikki K

Differences Between Damask, Brocade, and Jacquard

Often times, uneducated individuals use the terms damask, brocade, and Jacquard interchangeably with one another. It can often confuse those who are unfamiliar with the world of fabrics. Jacquard is a decorative or woven pattern that is created by using a Jacquard attachment on a loom. The attachment resembles the punch card on a piano. It is purported to offer better versatility and fabric control for the operator of the loom. The Jacquard technique can be applied to a variety of fabrics, and it is commonly used on brocade and damask fabrics. It is commonly used in a variety of apparel and home goods, from tablecloths to bedding.

Brocade is defined as a lavishly decorated, shuttle woven fabric. It is primarily woven from silk; although, it is possible to find brocade constructed from a blend of silk and synthetic fibers. Often, it will be embroidered with gold or silver thread. Brocade can trace its origins back to India, where weaving is a traditional art form. It is typically woven on a loom, and it may or may not be woven using the Jacquard technique. It is also characterized by the manner in which the brocaded or broached parts of the fabric hang in loose groups or are clipped away. Although the scenes and patterns on brocade appear to have been embroidered, the scenes are actually woven into the fabric using advanced weaving techniques that involve manipulating the weft and weave of the fabric. The most common types of scenes depicted on brocade fabric are those of floral prints.

Damask, similarly to brocade, is a fabric that features woven scenes of floral patterns, intricate geometric designs, or simple scenes of domestic life. It may be woven of silk, wool, linen, cotton, or synthetic fibers. However, it is most commonly created from silk. It is primarily different from brocade in the fact that its woven fabric pattern is reversible, while that of brocade is not. Similarly, shorter weft patterns in damask allow for more subtle effects in the fabric to be created as it plays off of shadow and light. Damask weaves also contain a higher thread count than that of brocade. Double damask weaves are the highest quality of damask produced; however, it is also the most expensive.

Source by Gabriella Ramirez

About Charm Bracelets

Beside a wedding or graduation ring, there is a piece of jewelry on the market that has the capacity to signify some of the best moments in your life. Charm bracelets are placed around the wrist with numerous decorative trinkets dangling about. These small pendants are meant to symbolize the things most important to whoever wears them.

Often, charm bracelets are started at a memorable point in a person's life, usually given to them as a gift. This is referred to as a starter bracelet and every once in a while, as new events and memories arise, the wearer will add to their bracelet. A perfect example of this is when an expectant first-time mother receives a charm bracelet. She may add to the bracelet after her child is born during various milestones. Relevant charms include baby booties, pacifier, a tooth, teddy bear and their initials.

The History of Charm Bracelets

Charm bracelets have a history dating back to the Neolithic era and were used as a way to ward off evil. The jewelry form of these amulets were not fully realized until Egyptian Pharaohs began creating charm bracelets from pieces of metal and precious stones. During the early 20th century, charm bracelets became a feverish fad as Queen Victoria began wearing them. This time, additional items were placed on the bracelets, such as glass beads, family crests and small lockets containing images of loved ones.

The Charm Bracelets of Today

Today, anyone can have an interest in charm bracelets, either it is for the art of collecting or to display their warm memories. They are given to love ones on the day of their graduation, wedding or sweet sixteen-birthday party. Best friends, mothers and bridesmaids are also common wearers of charm bracelets. A mother may have a charm to represent each one of her children.

Charm bracelets can be obtained from catalogs, department stores, antique jewelers, as well as fashion boutiques. You never know when one will present itself. Charm bracelets and their accessories are often tucked away in hotel gift shops and art shows, as well as flea markets.

Choosing a Charm Bracelet & Charms

There are three main sizes to choose from when picking out a charm bracelet: small, medium and large. This may also determine the amount of links available for a charm. For instance, a medium bracelet provides room for 18 charms. The number of links can always be subtracted or added at any time. Once you have the bracelet, the next important thing is to collect the charms. When choosing charms, you should familiarize yourself with their meaningings. For example, a ballerina signifies that your dreams will come true. Elephants stand for cherished memories and a key symbolizes a happy home.

Charm Bracelet Prices

Depending on where you purchase a charm bracelet, you will find that the market is filled with numerous price ranges. Some can cost as little as $ 5, while others may set you back $ 500. It is the quality, material and charm detail that often dictates the price of a charm bracelet. Today, Italian charm bracelets are quite popular. The age of the charm bracelet is also a factor. There are vintage pieces that date back to the 1930s that will fetch quite a high price.

Whoever is responsible for creating your charm bracelet will also influence the price. For example, a diamond and platinum charm bracelet from Tiffany & Co costs $ 15,000 with nature-themed charms attached, such as a dragonfly and salamander. The Louis Vuitton charm bracelet costs $ 25,000 and features a bottle of champagne and a charm of the world. Often, these bracelets are given as gifts without the intent of charm collecting.

Source by Roy Dietelzieg