Friday, February 26, 2016

We Love Our Jade, and Our "Other" Jewelry

My previous blog, I fell in love with a jewelry that wasn't jade while I was shopping during my Caribbean cruise.  During the 17 years I've been buying and selling jade, I've also bought other interesting items when I traveled through China.  I bought and sold cinnabar for awhile, and we still have genuine natural pearls on the web sites.  One of the items that I still really like is the crystal pendants.  Sometimes the woman who makes jewelry for YYJ uses the crystal pendants when she makes jade and pearl necklaces. 

In the year 2000 I was visiting a Buddhist temple in the mountains between Shenyang and Dandong and discovered an orphanage behind the temple with children that were not adoptable because they had major disabilities.  I knew China child adoptions were big business in China because I stayed at the White Swan hotel on Shamian Island near Guangzhou, and that's where many of the couples adopting children completed their adoption tour.  Most of the children for adoption are girls, because with the one child policy, boys were favored, so girls were often given up for adoption or abandoned.  The one child policy has changed recently, for many reasons.  But children with major disabilities were not in the adoption programs, and their conditions were extremely frugal.  The monks at the monastery gave me a tour, which was heartbreaking.  The monks sold the crystal pendants, and I bought a large quantity and gave them as much money as I could.  There are still a few of the crystals pendants on the Ying Yu Jade web site. 

Spiritual Crystal Pendants on Ying Yu Jade web site  

Recently a long time customer purchased two "medicine Buddha" crystal pendants, and told me she was making earrings with them.  She sent me photos.

She sent me another photo of her wearing them but it "disappeared" when I was editing it.  They look very nice on her, and she did a good job.  Wish she was next door so she could custom make these crystals for YYJ!   

I also have vintage pre-owned jewelry that I bought at estate sales of Chinese people.  Sometimes there was a box of jewelry that included jade I wanted to sell in the Vintage and Pre Owned Estate Jade collection.  I listed the jade, but not the other jewelry.  I sell some of  it on ebay, but thinking about adding it to the web site.   It's not Chinese or Asian jewelry, just older jewelry that is interesting.  I don't know the value of the jewelry, and don't know what some of the stones are, or if they're "real and natural", or the carat weight of the stones.  I donated the "cheap stuff" to Goodwill, and wish I had more time to get photos and list some of the interesting, possibly valuable jewelry.  When I get it listed, I'll send an email to those of you who signed up for emails on the Ying Yu Jade web site. 

We love our jade.   And usually jade lovers enjoy other jewelry, too. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cruise Shopping (No Jade to be Found in the Caribbean!)

Usually when I take a trip, a cruise, I see a few women wearing jade.  This time, I didn't see any jade:  no jade pendants, jade bangle bracelets on cruise ship passengers or in the shops at the ports we visited.  People asked me about the jade bangle I was wearing, and were surprised it was really jade.

Kathleen's personal Qing Dynasty carved jadeite bangle bracelet

The shops in the ports had the usual cheap China costume jewelry, and I didn't even see any jade, or fake jade, in the shops.

I like to buy "something" in every port, even if it's a small piece of costume jewelry so I can wear it for awhile while I'm still basking in the memories of the trip.  Forte-de-France, Martinique was completely closed down for the Festival of the Red Monkey parade and celebration, their version of Mardi Gras before Lent begins.  So no shopping there.  San Juan Puerto Rico didn't have anything locally made.  I like the clothes, especially white dresses, tops, but they were all imports from China.  Just before we got back to the ship I found a seller who had magnets with photos of Puerto Rico that she made, so I bought one of those for $2.  Money was burning a hole in my pocket.  I have no idea why we went to the port of Samana in Dominican Republic.  That's the best place to buy larimar jewelry because it's mined there, but Samana is nothing but a row of houses, few vendors on the street selling (of course) Chinese novelties, but I found a booth with a women who hand croched items, and purchased a small bag for carrying my iPhone around, just because she was the only person trying to do something different.  Our last stop was Co Co Cay, and I knew their Straw Market is more Chinese novelties at high prices, so I was hoping Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos would still have the port shopping I remember from the last time I was there.  And it was there and thriving.

About three years ago I purchase a larimar stone and sterling silver necklace, nice quality and wear it often.

I considered purchasing another larimar necklace,  and there was a good selection in the same shop I bought from three years ago, so I decided to walk around to the other shops and think about it.

Blog readers know I always recommend that you purchase the jade that appeals to you the most, that you almost drool over when you look at it, because that's how you know it has the right qi energy for you.  I took my own advice, although it wasn't jade that attracted me.  It was mother of pearl and 18K gold.  And, oh my goodness, what lovely mother of pearl, like I had never seen that quality before.

Mother of Pearl and 18K gold pendant and chain

It glowed when I held it.  It gave me the feeling of calmness, spirituality, well being.  I have a knack for finding and falling in love with the most expensive pieces when I shop, and this was no exception.  The shop was Mark Henry Boutique, which has stores based in New York and ports that are know for good shops.  Of course I bargained for the best price they would offer, and was satisfied with what I paid.  When I got home, I searched online for similar items, didn't find anything as nice as this, and what I did find that was similar in size, with 18K gold and total weight was three times what I paid.  So if you ever stop in Grand Turk, and want a fabulous piece of jewelry at a good price, shop at Mark Henry Boutique.

That purchase was my splurge, but I couldn't leave Turks and Caicos with buying some larimar stone for gifts for my girlfriends (and myself!), so bought some very inexpensive pieces at a local market.

Larimar and silver necklace

Larimar and coral necklace

That was the extent of my shopping.  I didn't even buy jewelry on the ship.  The pearls on the ship were man-made pearls, and talking with jewelers it sounds like real pearls are becoming too expensive to purchase because there is so little profit when selling commercially.  A style of jewelry that was very popular both on the ship and in ports is the Pandora style bracelets with charms.  My friend who helps design and make jewelry from the jade we have was able to find good quality silver bracelets that we could add the hollow carved jadeite bead, which are on sale today since she got them finished this weekend.

Hollow Jadeite bead on Pandora Style Bracelet

I like to come home from a cruise or a trip with my suitcase bulging with things I bought but the mother of pearl and 18K gold pendant and the larimar necklaces and magnet  didn't take  up much room in the luggage.  I'm very happy with my purchases, and love the port of Grand Turk for it's beauty (and the shopping!)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Wearing Black Jade Bangle Bracelet for Protection and Peace of Mind

Our 10 night Caribbean cruise was wonderful. The first two days were at sea days, and I spent most of those days sitting on the balcony of the cabin, doing nothing.  Resting my brain.  I was so busy getting ready to leave, packing and other commitments, getting orders packed and shipped, responding to customer emails...when I got on board I turned my brain off.  And it felt so good!

I did notice that many of the passengers on the cruise were coughing, that deep chronic cough when you "get the crud".  I kept my deep deep green, almost black, jade bangle bracelet on.  Everywhere you went on the ship, there was an attendant with a squirt jar of antibacterial hand liquid to catch all the cruisers and make sure they got some on their hands.  I'm very good at avoiding getting that antibacterial stuff on my hands.  It makes my hands itch, makes the skin dry, and actually the vapors make me cough.  But I did wash my hands so much that I carried around one of the tubes of lotion from my cabin.  And twisted my black jade bangle around my wrist frequently. 

Two Dragon Protect Pearl Chinese Black Jade Bangle Bracelet

The weather this year was quite a bit cooler and more windy than the same time last year.  Every day people seemed to get more sick with "the crud" and some were confined to their cabins for three days.  I always heard coughing. (Rub that bangle).  Then my husband got "the crud" half way through the cruise.  By the end of the cruise when we had to leave our cabins to disembark, some cruisers were so sick they were lying on the floor. 

But I didn't get sick.   And I'm high risk for lung related illness because I had asthma for most of my life.  So I give credit to the black jade, with qi energy for protection.

An hour before we were scheduled to disembark, a severe storm struck Ft. Lauderdale and a tornado touched down and knocked out power, including traffic lights, in the area.  We were delayed disembarking two hours until electricity was restored and the gang plank was connected, the computers ready for customs to enter USA.  Chairs and heavy outdoor items  had been blown off the decks by the tornado winds, it was quite frightening, but no damage, no injuries.  Black jade protection?  Maybe.  And when we finally got on the road, we just missed being in a terrible vehicle accident that brought in helicopters and delayed us another hour.  But we barely missed it by a few minutes.  Black jade protection? 

Perhaps I've become "superstitious" working with jade and the Chinese culture for 17 years.  But maybe jade really does protect.  Or maybe it's like a placebo, and keeps one positive and more alert.  I don't know.  But I do know my black jade kept me well and safe on this trip.  I always carry a black jade bangle with me, and when I feel like I could be in a threatening situation, I take it from my handbag and put it on my wrist.  

Black jade bangle bracelets look beautiful, too!

"Luminous" Deep Deep Green Almost Black Chinese Jade Bangle Bracelet

Thursday, February 4, 2016

"Monkey Business" Characteristics of People Born in Year of the Monkey

2016 is the Year of the Fire Monkey, fire being the dominant element this year. (the other elements are wood, metal, water and earth)

Characteristics of Monkey People:
People born in the year of the monkey are lively, flexible, witty and versatile with strong practical ability.
They love to be active and they enjoy sports.
Often highly intelligent, they are talented problem solvers, and are self-assured, sociable and innovative.
They love being the center of attention and have a magnetic personality.
Monkey people have an insatiable desire for knowledge and show amazing creativity in their work.
They like challenges and love to succeed, although they can be discouraged if things don't go their way.
Monkeys are mischievous; they are masters of the practical joke (though they can sometimes take things too far)
They tend to be healthy (probably due to their active lifestyle) but should remember to take a break from their busy schedule now and again.
Negative traits are that they can be jealous, suspicious, cunning, arrogant and impatient, and tend to look down on others.

I subscribe to the weekly "Beijinger" and keep up on Laowei  life in Beijing and China.  I would love to go to the Temple Festivals in Beijing to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

But I'm going on a Caribbean cruise vacation. One of the ports is having a Lunar New Year celebration, and it will be interesting to see how it's celebrated there.

And trying to decide which jade bangle bracelet to wear.  Of course I will wear the deep green almost black "Double Dragon" Chinese jade bangle for the protection energy.  With zika virus and other germs, I need this one to wear on my right wrist.  It also helps tame my seasickness.  I will also wear my regular everyday jadeite bangle, the white with imperial green veins, because it has the qi energy I need right now.  But I am also taking a carved jadeite bangle bracelet from my "stash" that I haven't worn since I bought it in 2001 but can't bear to sell it, either.

The jadeite bangle is classic green with honey hues (good for spleen meridian and maybe I won't over eat!)   The jade carver probably spent a great deal of time deciding how to utilize the colors and hues of the jade.  The three-legged Money Toad has a coin carved with it.  The flowers are carved on the most translucent part of the jade stone.  There are also lucky coins and Lingzhi immortal plant flowers.  It is very high polished, silky smooth.  About a third of the jade bangle is smooth and not carved and lots of color variation and translucence.  

I haven't worn it because the carving is not set in the jade, it's on top so it really shows itself off, but I can't wear it for everyday because I would worry about damaging it.  Since I'll be on vacation, it's a good time to wear it.  Very auspicious, lucky, happy and healing.

The stores will close tomorrow afternoon.  We'll finish getting all the orders packed and shipped before we leave. 

I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Monkey.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Chinese Lunar "Year of the Red Fire Monkey"

World news shows hundreds of thousands of Chinese people trying to get into train stations in Guangzhou, China, but trains are held up because of snow storms in the north.  It's traditional for Chinese people to be home with their families for lunar new year celebration.  The Lunar New year begins February 8, but people have already started going home, and the celebration and home time usually lasts 1-3 weeks.  In the past, businesses have closed for days, weeks, but now that China is more modern, the closures are not as long.

2016 is the Year of the Fire Monkey, fire being the dominant element this year. (the other elements are wood, metal, water and earth)

Fire brings huge energy and determination to the Monkeys. They strive to gain the upper hand and like nothing better than to be at the top of the tree. Being recognized for their achievements gives them greater job satisfaction than money.

In business they are good negotiators, persuasive and organized, but can get 'burnt' by taking risky shortcuts.

Fire monkey women, will be willing to give up their own wealth or dreams to raise their family and to ensure their spouse and children are successful.

Fire Monkeys should remember that there is a saying in China: "The further up the tree a Monkey goes, the more you see his bottom." If they use their talents and energy well, they can be extremely successful and popular with all.

Lucky colors: white, gold, blue. Avoid red, black.
Lucky numbers: 1, 8, 7 Avoid 9, 2, 5
Lucky flower: chrysanthemum
Compatibility: rat or dragon.  Avoid tiger or pig.

Chrysanthemum flower white  jadeite necklace

Our online stores will be closed February 6-14 while we take time off.