Researchery

My last post (ahem…right here) showed off my recent accidental Goodwill find: an ivory bangle. As I mentioned in the post, this is a very complicated piece of jewelry and it has prompted me to do some research in deciding if I (likely) keep it. My honey and I brought it to our jeweler Isabella Hutten to confirm it’s ivory-ness. Which she did. It’s tricky to place a value on ivory because of the laws surrounding the sale of it in many states, the undesirable yet valuable nature of ivory, and the lack of comparable ivory items on the market. So I started googling ivory like jewelry.

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It seems bone is the popular ivory looking material. I guess because it might be cow or horse. Basically a waste product in our meat eating economy. Like this second hand Chanel bangle. Yep I just called a Chanel bangle “waste product”… That is how we do! For seriousness tho the raw look of bone is highly popular. Bone, along with geodes, fossils, and skulls are definitely having a moment. In an odd way, most ivory is too polished looking to be fashionable.
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The other big ivory-like material out there is acrylic resin. Handling my ivory bangle it feels and looks very much like a synthetic material. Maybe because I’m so accustomed to synthetics. The big difference in ivory is the very light cross hatching pattern. It is a tooth, afterall. It has some tiny natural rings and details. Like a tree pattern but much more delicate.

Anyway, I enjoy this research and reason to read about jewelry. My honey and I are staying in Lake Tahoe for the week to commune with the snow. Whenever we come up here I have the most challenging time packing. I’m all “Do people wear jeans in winter weather?” I can’t ever remember.

Our friends and their ridiculously cute 1.5 year old are staying with us at the cabin we rented. Most people come up here to ski, but I enjoy the hiking and snowshoeing. Bandit is all about the outdoors whereas Leroy likes to remind me that he is a Chihuahua.

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Yep, this is how we do it with our visiting dog. (This is actually a pre-Tahoe shot- see my ivory bangle? Paired with the yellow enamel my brother gave me. Below is the legit Tahoe shot. You’ll note I finally decided people in the cold *do* wear jeans. Unfortunately I brought the pair with the fly that’s afraid of heights.)

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#weirdselfies 🙊

12.27.14 back from the dead

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Oh! Hey there! It’s been a while, right? December kills me every year. Those last 14 days leading up to Christmas is solely work and sleep, that’s it. I still have this weird hangover. But now it’s over and I’m wearing cozy pants! And a big sweater and my honey is making some coffee. But I have some crazy shit to tell you all.

First, some background. I started buying bracelets by the pound from Goodwill for the purpose of selling some jewelry at my shop (ok, really because I love bangles, duh, but selling is an added perk.) These Goodwill bracelet grab bags are a crap shoot. In one lot there were two pieces of Sterling Taxco stamped jewelry. But that kind of thing is balanced by a bunch of junk stuff I throw out, then there’s the in between fun and inexpensive costume jewelry. Each time I open my grabbag I’m hoping for Bakelite. Bakelite, for those who don’t know is a vintage type of resin/plastic jewelry that was very mod and popular in the 60s. The black rhinestone one on my wrist in the pic above is probably Bakelite.

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So when this 👆showed up I was stoked. I thought it might be Bakelite. But you know what? This is not Bakelite. Guess WTF this treasure is?!?

Fucking ivory.

Giant ass ivory bangle.

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My picture makes my arm look deformed long, but you get the idea. This is a huge bangle that was part of my $20 for 10 lbs of bangles. Now the question is, what do I do with my new albatross? It’s gorgeous, it’s valuable, it’s impossible to sell and maybe even illegal for me to try. It represents the needless slaughter of one of my favorite animals (elephant). I’ve never seen anything like it before.

Today’s bangles include two XMas presents- the yellow enamel bangle was from one of my brothers, and the Hermès Colliers de Chien is from my honey. I cried when I opened it, I assumed with my dad’s death that was the end of the line for my Hermès bangle collection. But my honey! I love him. The rest of the bangles are Goodwill, black rhinestone square Bakelite, a red jeweled Indian bangle, black needlepoint bangle, Swarovski crystal bangle.

12.18.14 fool’s gold

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Remember my love of Goodwill? If no, here is why- the middle wide ribbed cuff that I am wearing today. I bought it and it looked like this:

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Can you see that? Here’s the closeup:

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Hideous, right? Some numnuts splatter painted a cuff bracelet with ugly colors of acrylic paint. But, I’m proud to say, I saw the potential. The little chips showed something shine-y and for a few frantic moments I thought I’d found gold. GOLD! I freaked out, then soaked, scrubbed, and chipped at the paint. Despite the top photo with the jewelry cleaner this was mostly accomplished with my finger nails. I am a classy dame.

Alas, no gold. The easy test was holding a magnet up to it. Gold is not magnetic, brass and other metals are. But whatevs. Look how gorgeous it is, regardless of the material.

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Yay me!
Today’s bangles are: Astrologie from my honey, the Angela Cummings bangle that was a gift from my dad to my mom, my Goodwill find, and a silver Tiffany’s woven looking bracelet.

12.17.14 hair brained schemes

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This time of year whenever something goes missing I assume my honey took it for gift giving reasons. Like he needs to know the size of my shoe, or brand of makeup, or to engrave something for me. I believe this despite the fact that a. he has never done this before and b. the item missing may be a hairbrush. What could he possibly use my hairbrush for in gift giving terms? Hairbrush upgrade? I don’t think so. So the brutal truth is, I’ve lost my hairbrush. Which explains my hair today.

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Various emotional states call for special grooming rituals. If I’m extremely tired I paint on ridiculous levels of makeup. If feeling insecure? I wear A LOT of jewelry. Granted, I tend to wear a lot of jewelry for other reasons too, so you’ll never know if I’m feeling insecure or in a magpie mood.

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(Ack! My skin! *adds a face veil*)

“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” Clearly I do not abide my Coco Chanel’s policy. I suspect I have the entire female population of Texas on my side for this one.

Today’s jewelry: Left hand: two Indian rhinestone bangles from my best friend, red Clic Clac a Pois, Tiffany’s braid from my dad, Goodwill rhinestone bow.
Right hand: Jawbone UP, my dad’s Baume & Mercier watch
Necklaces: Tiffany’s candy cane charm, I’m Your Present bow tie
Earrings: red gifts I’ve had since about 4th grade

Anybody seen my hairbrush?

12.16.14 all quiet on the Western front

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The rain cloud bursts and business stops. STOPS. In case people have forgotten, today is Hanukkah and there’s only 8 shopping days until Christmas. Why then, when I am in retail, is there a moment of peace and quiet? And yet, it’s kind of nice…

The thing with retail and the holidays, for those who have never worked retail, is that a mania takes hold of your body and possesses you. I feel constantly wired/on during December. Completely manic. I wish I had thought to tally all the “hi there” that I say in a single working day. “Hi there, yes yes,” crazy lady laugh “you finding everything all right?” That’s me. I drink more during the holidays for no reason but to unravel at the end of the work day.

Bet you guys are wondering what’s going on with my uterus, aren’t you??? Oh, you’re not? Well nothing is going on. No hormones or anything right now for which I am super thankful. Can you imagine retail mania + hormone hysteria? What an awful combo. Going forward now I will be starting another round of IVF in January and we have a follow up appointment with the adoption agency. My vote is adoption, my honey’s is IVF. I’ll take whichever way gives us a potato sized human being. Large potato, I guess, or Butternut Squash sized.

Are any of you, my readers, adopted or have adopted a child? Any of you from mixed race families, as in parents are one race and kids are another? Do you have any insight about your experience you’d be comfortable sharing? I’d love to know so many things.

So today’s bangles are: a trio of rhinestone Goodwill bangles, and my Elsa Peretti X from my dad.

11.21.14 vexillology

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Lately I’ve been all about the Goodwill bracelet finds. There’re so many treasures to be found at Goodwill, stuff that has a feeling to it. It’s beautiful that one item was cared by somebody, and now it’s under my watch. There’s a special link between me and them. I think that’s why I love ID bracelets so much. It’s actually pretty funny how I have this odd little collection of other people’s ID bracelets, but none in my own name.

The flag charm bracelet is also a Goodwill find. My dad was a big flag collector, a vexillologist if you will. I paid more than my usual Goodwill budget to purchase this guy, $19.99, an outrageous sum in the world of Goodwill shopping! Now armed with my inherited collection of flag books I’ve set about IDing the various flags.

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From left to right:
1. Italy (but the center stamp is slightly incorrect)
2. Netherlands or Luxembourg
3. UK
4. USA
5. Canadian Red Ensign (the predecessor to Royal Union Flag which was replaced in turn by the familiar Flag of Canada)
6. France
7. Belgium
8. Tria Juncto In Uno medal: “the Order of the Bath”, 4th most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry
9. Standard of the Governor-General of the Belgian Congo 1936-1960
10. Luxembourg or Netherlands
11. USSR
12. Belge flag number two
13. Poland
So what I’ve deduced so far is this is a Belgian charm bracelet from the early to mid 1900’s, maybe a collection of Belgian allies? I don’t know. I welcome anybody with some historical insight to chime in! What do all think? Any theories?

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11.11.14 sunny San Fra-no-freezie

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It’s totally not freezie today, or at all, or maybe ever again even. SF is never cold enough to snow, but it does get charmingly brisk this time of year. USUALLY. But I don’t know, this drought and warm spell? It continues to stretch out before us now, making most SFers grouchy. It leaves my bedroom uncomfortably warm at night! Nobody knows how to deal with this! We aren’t equipped for warm weather. Should I wear sandals? Or will I get cold by the end of the day? I just don’t know!

Today’s bangles are: brass bow bracelet, silver bangle, Guadalquivir bangle by Hermès, seashell charm bracelet, Tiffany’s silver latch bangle, and my extra special Crazy Loom bracelet from my niece.

11.7.14 yelp and the anonymous reviewer

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As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts ahem, Full Dinosaur Disclosure I own a shop. One of the evils of being in a customer service business is Yelp. Most of the time I’m completely tickled by my reviews. Actually, most of the time it takes me three months to notice a review, and then I’m tickled. Every once in a while there’s somebody who’s annoyed with how I’ve handled a situation, and the lesson there is that you can’t make everyone happy. Hello? I’m not Nordstrom’s, I just cannot accept a return of a pair of PJs that has been washed, worn, and the size tags removed just because your grandchild no longer fits them. Regardless of rightness or wrongness I feel bad about this kind of Yelp review. But I brush it off. Yelp happens. I doubt it even effects my business.

I sometimes use Yelp myself. To get a phone number or to see the reviews of a new restaurant. I prefer to read the bad reviews to see if the complaints are legitimate (food poisoning) or not (bad date, location is happenstance). But again, this is rare, since I’m a creature of habit and usually frequent the same five restaurants.

What bums me out about Yelp is this Hutten Jewelers page. I’ve mentioned Hutten Jewelers before. They are the most amazing jewelers for so many reasons. Izabella, the owner, is a 60 year old Brigitte Bardot type lady with a heavy Polish accent. Not like the current Brigitte Bardot, mind you, but if Brigitte Bardot had aged the way we all expected her to. This is a picture of her below, usually she’s got this giant contraption strapped to her head that magnifies the gem stones she’s working on.

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Izabella’s customer service is amazing. My husband shopped around for a jeweler when he was preparing to pop the question. He had some vintage diamonds and needed a jeweler to set them. Most jewelry stores charge a “corkage” fee for supplying your own diamonds. Not Izabella. But the greatness of Izabella is more then this. We bring everything to her: engraving needs, mending, designing, appraising. The other day I dropped in with one of my Goodwill finds to ask her what kind of material it was. (Agate, it’s an agate bangle. I am such a pest.)

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Her fees? So reasonable. Plus, as repeat customers she always knocks the price down for us to be even lower than reasonable. She nurtures our relationship. She can never retire, we need her too much!

But so what breaks my heart about Yelp is when Izabella, who is excellent at her job, but who does not use the internet, or really understand that a Yelp review is not such a big deal, when she gets herself all worked up over a bad review that is completely meritless in its criticisms. And she has no recourse to dealing with it. There’s no check and balance system in place where Yelp confirms “Yes, this is a legitimate complaint” or “No, this is a person who demanded the name of Izabella’s landlord and when Izabella did not feel comfortable providing this kind of info to a stranger on the sidewalk, they wrote her a terrible Yelp review.” She cares about what you think about her and her business when you read that review. She has three reviews. She really needs a freaking website already, but that’s a different pig to fry.

So I say fuck it! Fuck Yelp for making people feel bad about doing their jobs. Fuck the power of this anonymous stranger. You got a problem with a business, address them directly. Cut out this awful Yelp middle man. Yelp has far too much power for its own good. If you can’t cut out the Yelp? Then your complaint is probably ridiculous to begin with.

Today’s bangles are the North African hinge bangle, horn skinny bangles, Hermes Caleche in puke green (Just kidding! I think it’s Chartreuse), brass Goodwill feather which may or may not end up in my online shop, and four skinny brass bangles. I’m loving those guys this week, huh?

11.1.14 no good

So I was extremely excited to brag a little about my day yesterday. It was quiet at the shop until LINDA RONSTADT walked in! She bought some soaps, and a nightgown. She hadn’t signed the back of her credit card and I made a little joke like “How on earth are you going to prove who you are?” Or something. I swear it was smoother than that, though. Anyways, she has shopped with me before but it still gives me a mild heart attack. LINDA RONSTADT.

She’s my most famous customer, though one time Danielle Steele’s assistant phoned looking for a full length, zip up cashmere robe. Because, who doesn’t need one of those? And Adam Savage from Myth Busters bought slippers once, but on a day I was out. And my silly 20 year old employee didn’t recognize him. Twenty year olds, I swear.

But so, I was all “I can’t wait to blog about this! This is the most exciting thing to happen to me.” That is, until the gunshots on my corner this morning.

Yep. Gunshots on my corner. If you know SF I bet you can guess where I live. It’s not Hunter’s Point, go with your second guess. This is part of the heart break about SF. I live across the street from a church, and behind the church are the projects. But on my block there are million dollar homes.

Everybody swarmed outside with the arrival of the cops, medics, and fire engines. My side of the street basically 100% white, the other side of the street 100% black. It’s shocking this clear cut division of racial and economic lines. White people = million dollar homes, black people = projects. Like I said, it’s heart breaking.

The shooting happened in our corner store, the ambulance rolled a black man out on the stretcher and loaded him in. An air mask was strapped to his face, so he wasn’t dead at the moment. But we don’t know now.

What I don’t understand is this: how are any guns ever allowed in SF proper? No one should have guns here, there is zero reason except to shoot a fellow human. Self defense argument or not, that means the only reason anyone carries a gun in this city is to shoot another person. We don’t have deer, we don’t have skeet shooting, the closest shooting range is in San Bruno. Again, the only reason a person in SF has a gun is to shoot another person. So it stuns me that the NRA recently lobbied for guns to be allowed in the projects. And they were successful.

That’s it. I’ll get off my soap box now. Argue with me if you want, and I’ll know you are the kind of person who thinks it’s acceptable for a human being to shoot another human being. It’s as simple as that.

3:30 PM UPDATE: the shooting victim died and the suspect is still at large.

Today’s bangles are Paris by Maximal Art, Paris themed charm bracelet from Goodwill, and Hermes Tohu Bohu bangle.

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