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Divine Design

October 19, 2005 0 Comments

Amber_cameo_sunflowersWell, we can hardly believe it ourselves, but it’s that time of year again… Andzia & I just picked up our amber elf costumes from the dry cleaners & we’re already polishing our jingle bells…

Every year we feel like we make some strides in the variety & range of amber goods we offer. Amber- & Baltic amber in particular – is a strange animal to start with. The amber industry centered in Gdansk itself is a little self-referential & tends to drag  (at times, years) behind the trends.

We’re not necessarily crazy about every trend that comes along, but we do get a bit dismayed when – as for example happened this year- producers are excitedly offering turquoise & mixed amber pieces. And part of the problem for us is that it is often just cheap imitation or pretty questionable Chinese turquoise- because we are just evangelical about fair labor practices. It’s a point of pride for us that we support an industry that pays fair living wages to its skilled artisans, as is done in Poland & which cannot frankly be said about many mining & jewelry industry sources. (I’ll just stop now.)

But, I don’t mean to complain because my original point is that design is definitely on an uptick in the world of amber… and we’ll be doing our best over the next weeks to spotlight some of these for you.

Chacodog_1And, please- don’t get me wrong- we love turquoise- In fact, if you’re so inclined please visit my good friend Jim at where you will find the very best – stress on "very best" – Native American turquoise jewelry collection I can even imagine or dream of… You’ll want to wander these galleries for hours & bookmark it.

Pilot_mountain_native_american_turquoise_5 Jim (& ChacoDog!) were recently forced to flee their longtime home in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, able to take only the turquoise jewelry with them you see in the Chacodog shop & leaving many precious items & memories behind. They’ve resettled out West & are starting again.

I myself lived in New Orleans in the Garden District, near the French Quarter for about a year a long time ago, so I have a small sense of what they’re missing.

Speaking of dogs- we’re also happy to report that our Natural Cognac Pebbles Wristlet has been selected by WAG Magazine for a fashion spread. Known as a self-styled "GQ for Dogs" WAG is lots of fun, mixing pets & fashion in a devlishly cute & oddly practical way. They also run terrific contests- some really great prizes including well, a little upcoming amber jewelry, let’s say. 🙂 WAG Prizes

I’ll post the image of the wristlet & pooch pages when we receive them. It’s kind of fun for us Cognac_amber_pebble_wristlet_4_4  because WAG is new, gets national exposure & the people were really nice to work with.

But, back to this idea of evolving & of divine design, about moving forward. This year is no exception. I think it will be our strongest offering yet- from sublime intaglio amber sunflowers  inspired by Vincent Van Gogh to petite amber angels with the whitest of wings, to ultra modern sets that include design elements from feathers to Swarovski crystals & would be right at home in Tribeca.

Bohemian_amber_hoops_1And we have also been aware- basically since we implemented it- that our current website, as well as it has served us- just doesn’t have a lot of the functionality that we need. Like robust coupon codes, multiple images of each design, a "real" gift registry- better searching, integrated content, deferred payments, package tracking, lots & lots of things.

We’re very happy- no, make that "thrilled" to report that we’ve finalized plans to completely redo the website. Unfortunately, after many many many many many many months of research, we believe we have truly found the Holy Grail of small business ecommerce & an outside developer that are perfect for us, but- we also realize firsthand just how much thought & labor goes into the creation of a new website. And the closing months of the year are just not the time to do it.

We love the site- especially the warmth & the engagement of it- and the focus on the content- (face it, we’re a little right-brained!), but we would like to be able to integrate everything more tightly, so that if we’re discussing cameos & intaglio, we can insert a hyperlink into the description of an item that will illuminate the fine & nearly lost art of amber camina & intaglio, etc.

So- those are all projects that are moving forward- as is a new collection of: Drumroll, please- pretty snazzy men’s amber & sterling jewelry including cufflinks & tie tacks that we’re working on.

I just have one more little thing to add- which is that we’ve also been invited in the next few weeks by Count Me In to apply for a joint project between this New York based organization that specializes in working with women entrepreneurs towards economic independence & American Express called "Make Mine A Million!" – a competitive business loan package that involves a lot of mentoring. So, please cross your fingers for us. Because one of the projects we’re proposing is that nebulous amber jewelry print catalog we get so many calls & emails about! 🙂 We would love to launch Andzia’s Amber- the brand, and we’d love it even more if you came along.

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