Monday, October 31, 2022

October 31st , 2022 ~ Another month is coming to its end and what better way to bid it goodbye than to have fun and enjoy while we can right ? Yesterday was my friend's birthday celebration and she had planned for us to go out celebrate her special day in time for halloween. 🎃🎃🎃

All 3 of us were dressed up as Snow White ( Matet the celebrant ), Medusa ( Zeenat)  & Morticia ( me 😁 ).

Clark Quay was still quiet around 6:30pm so Zeenat & I were still able to scout the area for a better party venue eventhough we were already booked in Cuba Libre for drinks & dinner. Unfortunately, due to on going renovations in its Block, Cuba Libre Cafe & Bar had been relocated to an area away from the busy center of Clark Quay. So we contemplated for a while whether to enter in Cuba Libre or find somewhere else and cancel the booked table for 6:45pm. 

It didn't take us long to decide to get a new table and stay at Warehouse Bar instead. It has a good lively ambience and located straight right beside the middle area where a stage for a live band to play was placed for Halloween celebrations. Perfect place to have a view, listen to the live band and see all the passing people in costumes or the rest of the general public. 

 Great decision ! 

Then the food came flowing... as well as the drinks which were 50% off the price since it was happy hour till 7pm. 
What a bargain !  But of course I got mocktails for my drink since I was the assigned driver like as usual. . I needed to be a responsible driver... he he. 
So Snow White & Medusa had good reasons to be drunk. Lol! 

Of course I had worn my Morticia outfit with my Halloween themed jewelries too. I had my lariat necklace, Earrings and bracelet with the Metal skulls in Hematite Color mixed with Siam Red / Silver Shade Swarovski Bicones & Round Crystals for a more sparkling effect. Of course they never fail in making people give me compliments on how I look with my jewelries on .... success !

But eventhough it was fun celebrating halloween in Singapore, it was't same for other places. Sadly, Korea had suffered from a worst scenario.

" In Itaewon, South Korea, more than 150 people were killed in the Halloween stampede, accdg to officials last Sunday,. South Korea's president vowed for a full investigation into one of the country's worst-ever disasters.

street in Seoul's Itaewon district is pictured full of Halloween revelers before a stampede killed and injured hundreds.   © Yonhap/Reuters

The crowd surge and crush hit in the capital's popular Itaewon district, where estimates suggest as many as 100,000 people -- mostly in their teens and 20s -- went to celebrate Halloween Saturday night, clogging the area's narrow alleyways and winding streets."

So, I guess we will all mourn for this partygoer'sntragic fate and wish that they may all Rest in Peace! 


Saturday, October 15, 2022

Buying Stuffs Online

October 2022 ~  Listen everyone. Specially artists / artisans out there who love beading and acquiring their materials online just like me . I got here some tips for you to learn & consider seriously  which are solely based on my recent experiences. 

I am really so fond of buying my beads online mostly from overseas over the last few years. Aside from several trips to my local beadshops here in Singapore  which now came down to just 2 trusted shops located in Chinatown, I do buy most of the stuffs via Instagram or ordering from online shops like Fire Mountain Gems, Pandahall , Etsy, etc. No more Ebay though coz I had ceased to deal and sell in that platform since 2018.

My designs require a lot of semi- precious stones so I made sure I can find them from sellers which unfortunately are based mostly oversea ~ Indonesia, India, China and the US.  So my shipping costs is somewhat a big pain in my budget especially if I buy from different sellers. But lately, Instagram sellers had fixed their postage costs to US$5- up to $7 no matter how many pieces you buy from them. Sigh of relief when purchasing bulk items !

But then again, shipping cost is not the only main factor to look at when trying to buy beading materials online and at the same time minimizing the costs incurred. Product Quality and seller service must be added to the main factors too.

Things to Check When Buying Your Materials Online :

1.  Online Photos Of Item

 I often had this problem of items I had received were not the same as how it looked in the photos online when I bought them. The colors were totally enhanced in photos making them look either more bolder or lighter in color for a more appealing. look but at the same time deceiving the buyer. Some beads got polishing defects like little minute cracks not seen in pics and some chips behind or by the sides not shown on videos as well. It's a rule of thumb to ask seller to show the whole or certain parts of the said items you are not sure of if you;\'re really keen to buy it. Don't hesitate to Ask the size / dimension as well. Some of them look bigger/ smaller than the actual item.  Let the seller measure their items just to be sure you're getting the measurements right. No point in blaming each other after the sale for not checking the item properly. 

It can be troublesome for sellers to perform this but hey, if they need your business, they will do it and go an extra mile. Trust me. Customer service counts big time in making a sale. 

2. Product Familiarity

I always buy semi precious stones in Cabochon Shape ( my prefererred and favorite )  items which were normally called the flatbacks. Some sellers say they 're  cabochons  but said items will come out to be dome shape in both sides. 

Some sellers are not familiar of the shapes and names of what they are selling so a buyer should always have a sample picture on hand to show them for comparison with what the sellers have available in their stocks. This way,  confusion will be avoided and a buyer get the right type of stone really needed for the beading project / design. 

Not only shapes / sizes, the name of a particular stone  must also be provided for easy counter checking with the invoice. This way a buyer Can differentiate one item from the others especially if they had ordered in bulk and most items look almost similar with each other in the order. If a seller is familiar with all the products they sell by heart , he is a reliable business person who can name all his merchandise no matter what. 

3. Packaging & Shipment. 

It's always a good part of the seller's service to track the parcel sent and update the buyer and that buyers receive their much awaited package on time without any damage. Buyers spending  their  hard  saved $$$ for shipment /packaging costs only expect their items to be well wrapped to arrive in good condition and in specified time. 

 I had several shipments were items were broken especially the Crystal clusters and towers which were delicate and needed bubble wraps and a stronger thick box for extra care. A good seller would do that normally. But some sellers were cutting costs and only re-use newspapers to wrap items and place them inside recycled boxes and delay the posting of the parcel to await for more orders to add.  A big No no no !

 Inform them of the seller of their shortcomings ( I always do ! ) and let them either refund the damaged item's cost or replace the item with a similar one with free shipping or they must try to compensate buyer for the ite's damage..  

Despite of sellers cutting their packaging costs, I had also encountered some sellers who on the other hand were too generous and had wrapped my crystals and bead items endlessly with rolls and rolls of toilet paper before putting them in rolls and rolls of bubble wraps then rolls of scotch tape all around! .Yes, no joke ,so space consuming and adding more weight need for such at all ,, toilet paper  ? indeed !  i had saved them for wiping dusts at home or wiping water drops on the floors or for even more recycling purposes. Matter of truth is It took me months to finish using all these rolls . 
 Holy Molly ... praise the toilet paper ! 
No wonder people went in panic during the toilet roll shortage few years ago. 

Wa ha ha , made me laugh so hard ! 🤣🤣🤣

My word of advice to sellers out there. please don't put too much tape all around the items like it was totally mummified ! I hate cutting layers and layers of tape with scissors / cutters coz they had made so many of my sharp scissors/ cutters dull and totally useless afterwards.  Extremely troublesome with excess tape . So please don't do that !

Hellooooo ... Please please hear me ! 

Last but not the least is :

4. Customer Feedback 

This is the best part now. One way of knowing if the seller can be trusted and come up to buyer's expectation is to check their customer's feedback .Customer feedback is the information, insights, issues, and input shared buyers about their experiences with the company or seller, product, or services. This feedback guides improvements of the customer experience and can empower positive change in any business — even (and especially) when it’s negative.

 A negative score even less than 3 is considered  already a red flag for me. I would surely hesitate and worst is to ignore them and not buy any item from them at all. Why take a risk ? so, What about you ?

Ok, Tricky sellers can only make business with me once and that's it whenever I find flaws in their service & quality of sent products. I had paid the amount they need so they should give me the items and service I had paid for. Not defective craps they wanna get rid off and not their being such a cheap charlie attitude in cutting packaging costs to profit even more.  Good service , Confidence and Trust are the keys to a repeat buyer. Think about that ...
By the way
Oh and By the way, let me say a big thank you to all my repeat sellers who had gifted me for my orders and putting up with my meticulous ways.
 Thanks much greatly for your generosity. 
Looking forward to keeping a good business relationship with you in the coming years. 



Tuesday, September 27, 2022

September 27, 2022 ~  Rise and shine for me this morning and excited as well. Why ? The JGW Singapore had started their trade fair at the Singapore Expo. Commencing at  10am. I had planned to get there after lunch inorder to avoid the rush hours of the crowds getting to queue for the issuance of the entry badge. I was sure it would be very busy during the first few hours and it was the 1st day of the event. I was not in a hurry to get in anyways, 

I was able to convince Anne my lady friend to join me there so I could share with her the experience of being surrounded by millions worth of Diamonds, gemstones and fine jewellery she could ever imagined. Funny thing was I discovered she didn't even know what her birthstone was. Born in October, her stone was supposed to be an Opal.  She had no idea how an Opal looks like so I showed here what are the various colors and shapes of it. Even how much it s worth. Wow... it was an eye opener for her to see how beautiful her birthstone was. Thanks to me for being the great tutor ... LOL! 

 The venue was so massive it had occuppied 4  halls namely :

Hall 6 = Gemstones, Pearls & Diamonds 
Hall 5 = Diamonds, Premier Pavilion, Fine Jewellery, Gemological Labs & Institutes
Hall 4 = Fine Jewellery, Antique & Vintage Jewellery
Hall 3 = Silver Jewellery, Jewellery Parts & Accessories, Lab Grown Diamonds, Lab Grown Diamond Jewellery, Tools, Equipment, Technology & Packaging.

Halls 1 & 2 catered to the registrants and some on going seminars .

The Halls and the Stalls were all very neatly organized , very clean and well lighted. All the gemstones were sparkling like crazy in there. Wow !

Sorry guys coz  I was not able to take pictures of the jewelries up close at all coz most stalls got " No Photography" signs displayed . I undersood why coz of security reasons. Fair enough and I respect that.

But I found some sellers who were willing to be exposed even on social media like this gemstone shop where I found 2 very nice cabochon stones . Exposure means letting their name / brand / products be advertised by their clients somehow.

So, I got a Pietersite & Hypersthene Oval Cabochon stones. Say what ? Hypersthene was a new name I had encountered regarding stones so I really asked the seller if he could maybe write down its name for me so I could google what it was. He kindly obliged and happily did for me, Wow, I was so grateful to M, Siddique Gems for the efforts of doing so. 

Good service ! 
Good products ...  Thanks so much for the business card too!

What I got in my hand with a tight grip ( no intention of letting them go anywhere else at all  ..LOL )  were 2 Oval Cabochons in Dark Blue / Gold Hints ( Pietersite ) and a Black with silver Shimmering hues called Hypersthene. A lady standing beside me was eyeing them too and I knew she was just waiting for me to put them back down on the table. But nope, I asked the seller to price them for me coz I considered them mine already. So sorry lady , the stones were mine 😝😘

What is Pietersite ? 

 Pietersite is a variety of chalcedony that is embedded with fibres of amphibole minerals (sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron and aluminium). While the fibres cause a chatoyancy effect, it is not found in continuously structured bands or fibres, more in swirls, swathes and fibrous  segments. Pietersite colours include various blues, golds and reds, brown and black that may appear together or alone. Blue is the rarest colour, followed by red. The blues range from a baby blue to a dark midnight blue. Golds can be light to very deep and rich, sometimes having a reddish hue.


Hypersthene ~ The name "hypersthene" on the other hand comes from the Greek and means "over strength", and is an allusion to its being harder than the amphibole mineral hornblende (a mineral with which it is often confuse'

 Hypersthene is sometimes referred to as 'velvet labradorite', however the name is misleading, it is not labradorite at all. However 'velvet' definitely applies to the quality of its energy. Hypersthene calms, sooths, and quiets in general, and is especially helpful when the mind is overactive, shielding us from outside 'noise' in a velvety, protective cocoon..

This beautiful shimmering stone I would say really looks a bit like Larvikite.. 
Why , it's because larvikite meaning suggests that  its a cross between Hypersthene and Indigo Gabbro. 

Larvikite Bracelet together with Smoky & Rutilated Quartz

Larvikite offers up little moments of light and they appear more suddenly, they surprise you like little fireflies. A feature same with Hypersthene. No wonder now why they look so similar to each other, they have exactly the same features. Such fascinating stones ! 

These 2 stones had cost me US$63.00 equivalent to SGD$87.00 ... not cheap actually .But I'm fine with the cost coz I really really admire them the very moment I saw them on that table. Soon I will make necklaces out of them. I will surely add them to my personal collection too. 😍😍😍

Time to wrap up and go home during this selfie photo outside the door of the venue. My feet were achin due to my high heels. Anne was laughing at me LOL!  

Lesson learned ... Never wear high heels in a trade fair . Wa ha ha... it was torturre for sure... believe me. I had to walk back n forth so many times looking at these millions of gems and sparkling jewelleries. Such an eye feast ! 
 Oh well, well worth it anyways. I had enjoyed my day.  

I was so Happy to bring home my awesome souvenirs too , but I was wishing I could buy more ... LOl ! 
Maybe some other time when my budget already fits ... 😂😅😃 

Please visit the fair one of these days. It's still open till the 30th of Sept. 4 days of feasting your eyes to the wonderful gems and finished jewellery on display out there. You'll be mesmerized ,,, I  guarantee !