I like going to the source for unique jewelry parts. While celebrating New
Year's Day 2012 in Hanoi, I saw some cow and water buffalo horn bracelets
in town and thought of many ways they could be made into more beautiful
pieces. Most products sold in Hanoi shops are made in small villages
nearby. We decided to ask where the horn is carved and then go visit that
area. English is readily spoken in the capital of Vietnam, but hardly at all
more than 10 kilometers outside of the city. We hired a driver for half-day to take us to the rural outpost known as Ha Tay , and had the receptionist at our hotel agree to be our lifeline if we needed
translation done by phone.
Once off the Hanoi grid, roads seem to change name and direction
frequently. Our experience driver was out of his element quickly. There
were no signs, and the first four times we held up a bracelet to show a
villager what were looking for, it lead to a dead end. It was a fun, but
frustrating experience. We just couldn't seem to get where the Hanoi
merchants told us to go. Was that by design? Maybe they didn't want us to
find the source.
Finally, on the fifth attempt, we found what appeared to be a
manufacturer. Our driver called the number on the building, and we awaited
the proprietor's arrival. Soon enough, he came speeding up on his
motorcycle (in Vietnam, there are 100 motorcycles for every car), and
unlocked the gate to his warehouse. He rolled up the corrugated metal door
and there we saw boxes of . . . almost everything but horn. Sure, he had
some, but he was just another retailer without the hoped for resources. Next time we now know where to go and who to contact after returning from Ha Tay We figured it all out.
Heading west from Montana or east from Washington atop Interstate 90, we always stop at the historic silver mining town of Wallace, Idaho. Our diversion has nothing to do with silver, though. The entire downtown of Wallace is on the National Registrar of Historic Places. We enjoy walking around absorbing the history and finding a place to top off our coffee cups. But now, we stop for the cannolis, too.
A few weeks ago, heading east toward Seattle, we made our usual exit 62 stop. We parked by the quirky bordello museum, then walked past the stone chateau of the former Burlington Northern depot and a few regular haunts, before entering a different place. And there on Cedar Street, behind the counter of the D & G Bakery, we met Anne Alexander.
When asked about her specialties, Anne responded: “I'm known for my little
cheesecakes,” her Italian New Yorker accent coming out heavy with each syllable. Two bites into a delicious mini huckleberry cheesecake sample, Jolica said to Anne: “That was awesome. Any chance you make cannolis?”
Cannoli was my Italian grandma's specialty dessert, and I'll admit to being a cannoli snob. They're hard to find because making them is labor intensive and they demand precise timing. Anne said, “I make the best, but I need at least a day's notice.” No worries, I said, letting her know we would be back her way again in 18 days.
Grandma used to say the perfect cannoli starts with a shell made from wheat, eggs, sugar and other “secret ingredients.” She would lightly fry the shell, then add a filling of cream, ricotta, chocolate chips and more “secret ingredients.” The keys were the texture and the timing.
Seventeen days later, we gave Anne the reminder call she requested , but
she didn't need it. The shells were done, and ready to be filled when we arrived. She said, “we will have them like the Sicilian's do: with a shot of espresso, a slight twist of lemon, and a few drops of Sambuca.”
The bakery was closed the day we returned, so we knew we were in for a special treat. Anne's husband John joined us to clank glasses and savor an absolutely wonderful dessert. And then another. And one more for good measure.
We visit a lot of silver mining and manufacturing villages, mostly for, well, the silver. But not this one. We'll happily return and not even think of the precious metal Jolica uses to make the Lavaline. We'll just keep coming for the caffeine, and now, the cannolis too.
Larimar is from the family Pectolite. Pectolite is an acid silicate hydrate of calcium and sodium. It's beautiful color gives it the nick names of dolphin stone or water stone. This a very rare stone since it only can be found in the Caribbean
The darker the stone the higher quality. I like to use this stone mainly in the Lava Line. It is very popular due to the color of the waters of Hawaii. See more infromation at http://www.caribbeanlarimar.com
It’s always nice to spend time in our college town, even when we’re working. Our booth at the big Seattle Gift Show was next to a few cool people with really creative products: Nina J Design Studios,
who make colorful accessories, and Shupaca,
vendors of creative Alpaca products. Also Great hand made soap and hand lotions by Good Fortune.
We previewed the new Fall/Winter Lavaline, featuring sparkling Murano glass, gemstones and pearls, plus a few dozen new twists on the Nautilas line. Buyers are here from all over the West. We’ve met store owners from a dozen states and several Canadian provinces.
Silver-Artgentium Silver: Nautilus Line
Artgentium is whiter and brighter then other precious metals including white gold,platinum and sterling silver. The two grades of Artgentium are 93.5% and 96% minimal silver content. It has higher durability and hardness then standard sterling silver .92.5%. it is also tarnish resistant and firestain resistant. Gerinum is the alloy that makes all this possible. To read more go to:http://www.argentiumsilver.com/
Gold-14k gold filled: Nautilus Line
A layer of karat gold is bonded to a base metal through heat and pressure. When used to create wire, the gold is formed into a seamless tube around a base metal core, which is usually brass, and then drawn out to the desired thickness. The finished product has a fairly thick outer layer of karat gold, is very durable, and is considered a lifetime product. The gold layer of 14K/20 will not wear off with normal wear, as it will with gold plate.
.950 Sterling Silver: Lava Line
- Fine silver (99.9% pure) is generally too soft for producing functional objects; therefore, the silver is usually alloyed with copper to give it strength, while at the same time preserving the ductility and beauty of the Precious Metal. Other metals can replace the copper, usually with the intent to improve various properties of the basic sterling alloy such as reducing casting porosity, eliminating fire scale, and increasing resistance to tarnish.
- For more information:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sterling_silver