Thursday, February 25, 2010

Under the Stars Earring Kit - Won from

Vintaj is a natural brass company that makes beautiful findings and filigrees. I have used Vintaj brass components in my jewelry especially for some of my Custom Bridal jewelry. The Tree of Life charm in this bracelet for example, is made by Vintaj. Cute isn't it?

A while back, I received an e-mail from A customer of mine had entered one of her handmade necklaces on a contest and had asked me to vote for her, which I gladly did. I had also commented on their blog. Vintaj has a Daily Giveaway on their Blog, and I was chosen as a winner!! I won this Under the Stars Earring Kit. Isn't it pretty? There are slender brass filigree components along with two blood red faceted glass briolettes. I love that rich dark red color! The kit comes complete with small strips of brass wire. All I need to do now is just attach the component to each other and make a pair of earrings. Now is that simple or what?

The kit arrived very quickly keeping in mind that it travelled across the globe from USA to India. I was also impressed that they used USPS priority Mail International, and that I was asked to sign for the package. As a seller, I appreciate when someone goes that extra mile to make sure that the item reaches the destination. And safely.

I am thrilled to bits because I do not win anything. Ever. Well, now that bit of statistics has changed. Thank you so much Vintaj!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Trip to Jaipur and Re-opening of my Gemstone Store on Etsy

I know I have been MIA for a while, but all for a good reason. I reopened my Gemstone store! Its been very hectic over the last couple of months, first with a business trip to the famed gem city of Jaipur and then getting the pictures and inventory done.

The trip to Jaipur was extremely successful. I stayed at a hotel called Naila Bagh Palace. The Palace is centrally located in Jaipur on Mooti Dongri Road and very close to Johri Bazar, my main scouting grounds. This palace home of the ex prime minister of Jaipur (Thakur Fateh Singh ji) and has now been converted to a heritage house. The hotel is a large rambling property, with rooms build around a central courtyard that also houses the breathtaking pool. The main hall had a thousand lights dazzling in crystal chandeliers while vintage portraits of Maharajahs and Maharanis grazed the walls and ornate furniture. Musicians performed live at every meal, followed us everywhere we went at the hotel. Little children danced to the traditional Rajathani folk music with heavy anklets and traditional red badhni dhoti and turban. My suite was a really really large spacious bedroom with two walk-in closets and a huge bathroom with marble floor and chrome Kohler fittings. Stained glass windows added multi-colored light on the walls during the day and colorful chandeliers twinkled in the night. The room was magical and I felt like a queen staying at Naila Bagh Palace.

Day 1 and 2 were sheer disappointments, business-wise. Wholesalers and suppliers quoted abnormall prices even for less expensive gemstones like Agates. I guess it had something to do with my American-accented English, and less than traditional clothes. I was depressed.

I finally discovered a wholesaler on Day 3, who gave me resonable rates on all gemstones. I bought the most fantastic AAA grade gemstones from him and my inventory of Rubies, Emeralds and Sapphires from his brother, at the shop across. He also referred me to the most amazing Pearl merchant, perks of 'belonging' to the traders community, I was finally 'in'!

I was quite apprehensive of the male dominated gem industry of Jaipur. The gemstone business area had *no* women to be seen. Period. I took my husband everywhere as my escort. (He is tall, has muscular arms and a mustasche. He can look pretty fierce when he scrowls. But in reality he wont harm a fly...but only I know that. haha.) However, I was surprised at the respect and attention I received everywhere. Maybe it was my professional behavior, my 'fierce' escort or simply the fact that business is business. After all, these men have been doing business for generations!

Thanks to the wonderful trip I was able to reopen my gemstone store on Etsy from a new country. Maybe my move from USA to India was worthwhile after all. Just one drawback of the trip, no sightseeing, no pictures of Jaipur or of the colorful bazars. There was simply no time!

These are some of the pictures of the gemstones that I got from Jaipur. Enjoy!

Photo Credits for Naila Bagh Palace: