First, I'd like to extend a very happy mothers day wish to every "MOM"! Let me clear something up. The title of this entry isn't a typo, an oversight, or a short cut. Since this blog is my platform the title, of this entry, is my way of illuminating and expressing my opinion. Throughout my 57 yrs. I've had many spirited discussions about the role, responsibility, joys, foibles, and sorrows of parenthood.
The title of mother or father is bestowed on anyone who procreates because those are technical terms. Any technicality comes with loopholes. Mothers and Fathers may never rise to the level of mom or dad. MOM, on the other hand, is an honorific title that should only be bestowed on those individuals who rise to the challenge, exhibit boundless love, shed and wipe away countless tears, endure sleepless nights, gruelingly long days, change mounds of dirty diapers, offer millions of hugs, scare away night demons, and minister to all sorts of maladies of the body, mind, and soul. MOM is a title that has to be earned. Calling someone "MOM" is high praise indeed. Giving birth isn't the end and be all to being a mom - although it is the textbook definition of miracle. This may come as a shock to you - you don't have to be female to be a great mom. There are slews of men who are single parents or are co-parenting with their same-sex partner that are (in the very best sense of the word) MOM's . As you can see, as my title suggested, the lines have become somewhat blurry.
It's about time!
The face and the title of mom (and for that matter dad) is expanding along with our appreciation of the wondrous and wide diversity of the spectrum of human orientation, lifestyles,etc.
OK, I realize that, to many, the very idea of changing long conceived convention is a serious shock to the status quo. So what! Get over it and enjoy the changes. For myself and those who feel the same it's my hope that, from this Mother's Day forward, we'll celebrate everyone who makes the monumental effort to be a MOM. Happy Mom's Day!
Written with love and admiration for all the truly wonderful "moms" past and present that have contributed to me being - me.
Bill "the barefoot jeweler",
I am a Jew and I have often decried the lack of public outcry from the Muslim community when a synagogue is attacked and Jews are targeted, injured, or killed. If I am to remain true to myself I now must publicly speak out to denounce the attacks on two mosques yesterday in Christchurch,New Zealand. Hate crimes are crimes against humanity. End of story!
NO person should be made to feel unsafe and afraid especially while they are in a house of worship (or anywhere else for that matter) because of their religious or cultural belief. I have no stomach to "hate for hate's sake". A mosque, like a church, synagogue, or temple, should be a safe haven - not a killing ground! I urge all humanity to put aside partisan politic, religious difference, and cultural differences to recognize the human tragedy that has befallen these two New Zealand communities. When we refuse to speak out or to lend a hand in times like this we are passively condoning the dastardly actions taken yesterday.
Speak up. Act kindly. Please, send the survivors and their families your support, your compassion (rachmones), your care...
If you believe in a higher power, or not, isn't important. It costs nothing to act kindly, humanely, with care and respect. The cost of perpetuating this behavior (even tacitly) is incalculable.
Bill Green 3/15/19
note: Rabbi Albert Gabbai (in the photo) presides over my synagogue KKMI, Philadelphia
Sheik Imam Mohammed Shchata, left, and Rabbi Albert Gabbai talk during a public assembly for religious tolerance on September 11, 2010, in Philadelphia. (photo credit: AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek) published in Israel times 2 April 2015
It's that time of year again when time, budgets, and patience are stretched thinnest and because of that frustration ensues. As a retail jeweler, goldsmith, and watchmaker of over 40 yrs I think I may have some wisdom and advice which may help. First - What your lady wants more than anything else is something frivolous. That frivolity should be something that shows you've listened to her and thought about what she likes. How much you spend isn't really what's important. Make the effort to ask her jeweler, her mom, her siblings, or her besties, about what she's been pining after or talking about. Love isn't ever about a price tag and your jeweler should know that. When a client comes in to me and they're looking to buy a holiday gift I will specifically ask to know a bit about the gift recipient (if I don't know them already). Once I know a little, about the person who will open the little gift box on Christmas morning, I can guide the buyer in finding the perfect gift.
In my shop we always offer a hot beverage (in a real ceramic mug), holiday cheer, or a nibble to soothe and relax you. Reducing a buyers stress makes the experience a lot more meaningful and fun. For my second probing question I'll ask what the budget for the purchase is? I consider it my personal challenge to find something that will make her eyes twinkle and take her breath away for a much lower price than was budgeted. Once I have gathered information I let my buyer relax, with the beverage or nibble, and I get working. Like the good holiday elf I try to be I search the shop and our vendors for items that seem "just right" for their special someone. Hopefully, I provide the buyer with easy choices tailored to their special needs. Once a choice is made I write up the sale and before you leave the shop I'll make sure it's gift packaged. If I think it might enhance the impact of the gift I may even make a suggestion for a local florist, card or candy shop for those special extras...
All my effort and attention is because I love what I do. I want you to have such a great experience that you recommend me to friends and return when you need something else (even if it's only for advice or service). It's not that difficult, boys... She loves you. She just wants to feel a little pampered and a lot appreciated. Happy Shopping and Happy Holidays.
Bill - the barefoot jeweler
I'm a GIA graduate and have been a shopkeeper, bench jeweler, and watch repair person for more than 40 yrs. I've been a raconteur and storyteller for most of my life. Many know me as "the barefoot jeweler" since I rarely wear shoes in the shop or out in the world. From my experience with Native American artisans, Mexican silversmiths and jewelers, to studying and practicing in the U.S.A. the jewelry and watch business has been my passion and my home for much of my life. I hope I'll be able to shed light on some issues that vex us all and offer a few laughs along the way. If you ever have ideas for my blog or questions you'd like me to answer or pontificate over email me.
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relaxlikeaboss.com/yogic-relaxation/ In a society full of mumbo-jumbo and hustle and why would I want to add more mysticism and strangeness to my life with yoga?
A. That's simple. Although it is often infused with a lot of mystical and foreign sounding words and concepts, at it’s core yoga it is about the self.
So now ask yourself another question –
Q. In a world full of selfishness why do something that’s all about the self?
A. Again, the answer is as simple as it is complex. When you do something to recharge your “self” you create an energy reserve which creates an added ability to give of that "self".
Every day that you work and do things for family and friends you are giving away your own precious life force. By practicing meditation and yoga you restore that energy. After the replenishment you, then, have more to give to yourself and to others. Doctors and pundits alike will tell you that STRESS KILLS. The way it kills is slow and cumulative. It is a continual depletion of emotional and physical energy, empathy, and resources that accumulates until it adversely affects your well being,
your health and the health and well being of the people you come in contact with.
It is not unlike unplugging your cell phone but leaving the unused charger plugged in at home. The charger does absolutely no good to your phone since it’s not plugged in while it continues to cost you money and wastes energy because it’s still drawing current from the wall. Health experts are in agreement that we need to reduce our stress, but how? One of the best ways is to work your body. Our human bodies were never designed to be sedentary. Sitting on a couch in front of the TV, talking (or playing) on a cell phone, staring into a computer screen, sitting at a desk, or driving a vehicle for 18 hours a day becomes physically, morally, and emotionally stress inducing.
Our bodies were designed for work. We are equipped with the ability to work for what we need. After exertion we need some time to rest and recharge so we are capable of more work. We can continue the work/rest cycles until finally we have just enough reserve to make one last heavy exertion in order to get to the fruits of our labor to a convenient place and to use our new resources. Finally, at night, we sleep to allow the mind and body to regenerate for the next day. Our modern life does its' very best to interrupt the natural cycles that we are designed for.
Activities, like yoga, help to restore our natural mind - body - breath rhythms by stretching muscles, ligaments, fascia, your diaphragm, and your mind. Working your body, calming your mind and using your breath reinvigorates your sleep cycles, enhances your health, can decrease your weight, and even lower your blood pressure. You'll even find that you've got more energy
It's your life, your health, your practice - Namaste
It's a cold and snowy day so I thought I'd look for something interesting for my customers to read.
I was doing a bit of research into this subject when I came across an old blog entry from one of our
vendors - Rembrandt Quality Charms. RQC has the largest selection of charms in the world and we're quite proud to be their hometown dealer.
With Mother's Day, Births, and Wedding & Graduation season approaching charms are a great way to celebrate, commemorate, and display your thoughts and feelings. Come in and see our fine selection
(including our new Yoga Jewelry website page) of charms. We'd love to offer you a fresh cup of coffee or tea while you browse our shop. Come in and see why for over a 1/4 century we've been proud to be your jeweler. "We Love to Make You Sparkle"
Bill - the barefoot jeweler
"Charms have been enchanting people since prehistoric times. Frequently referred to as amulets or talisman, the wearing of charms has been associated with magic, mystique, protection, spirituality and love.As early as the stone age, people began making jewelry from clay, animal bones and shells to use as objects of adornment. Different cultures came of age at different times throughout history, in Africa, there is evidence that as early as 75,000 years ago early stone-age man used shells as adornments. In a cave in southwestern Germany, tiny intricately carved ivory figurines made of mammoth tusks were found dating back 30,000 years. These findings support the claim that early man made and wore charm-like jewelry.
During the Bronze Age, jewelry making became more sophisticated along with the materials used. Early charms were made of lapis lazuli, rock crystal, and other semiprecious gems and were inscribed with small designs associated with special powers. Different civilizations including the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians made and wore charms. The Babylonians are believed to be the first people to wear charms on a bracelet around 700 BC.
The Egyptians started using charms as early as 3000 BC. They used charms to ward off evil spirits, protect loved ones in the afterlife, enhance fertility, and assure prosperity. As master goldsmiths they were the first to develop the ability to cast gold, using the lost-wax technique which many jewelry manufacturers, including Rembrandt Charms, still use today.
Leading up to the industrial revolution, charms were custom-made pieces of jewelry. Only wealthy and affluent citizens had the means to afford such treasures. The machine age introduced the technology to mine precious metals and mass-produce them into affordable jewelry for the growing middle class, both in Europe and the United States.
In the mid-1800’s, Queen Victoria further popularized charm bracelets by wearing small lockets containing family portraits and locks of hair of her beloved husband, Prince Albert.
Charm bracelets reached the heights of popularity in the United States after World War II. American soldiers returned home with souvenir charms from the cities they had liberated. Jewelers soon added charms of various metals, styles, and occasions to their lines. Today, charms are as popular as ever. The first piece of fine jewelry a young child receives is typically a charm of faith, such as a cross or religious medallion. People continue to use charms and charm bracelets to tell the story of their life, whether it be a simple heart charm worn around the neck or charm bracelet filled with tiny treasures.
There are two times in a woman’s life when she traditionally receives a charm bracelet; as a young girl and for her marriage.Quite often, charm bracelets are given from mother to daughter, either as a new gift or passing it on as a family heirloom. The daughter then adds her own charms to the bracelet, including ones that represent her favorite hobbies, interests and beliefs. As the daughter matures, so does her charm bracelet, increasing not only in number of charms, but also in sentimental value.
When a woman marries she is given a charm bracelet to celebrate her future. A charm bracelet with wedding bells or a marriage certificate can later be filled with charms representing the honeymoon, anniversaries and the birth of children. This bracelet is frequently referred to as her “Lifetime” bracelet, growing over the years to one day be passed on to her daughter, continuing the tradition of charm collecting from generation to generation. "
Peggy Olson, that emblem of the pioneering ad woman in a man’s world on the television show “Mad Men,” would have been all of 8 years old on the night in 1947 when the real-life copywriter Frances Gerety coined the phrase “A Diamond Is Forever.”
As Ms. Gerety recalled in a 1988 interview with a co-worker, Howard Davis, she had just finished a series of ads and was headed to bed when she realized that she had forgotten to create a signature line. Exhausted, she said “Dear God, send me a line,” and scribbled something on a slip of paper. When she woke up and saw what she had written, she thought it was just O.K. A few hours later, she presented her idea at a meeting. According to her, “Nobody jumped.”
When Ms. Gerety applied to work at the Philadelphia advertising agency N.W. Ayer & Son in 1943, she was told that her timing was perfect: the agency had just lost a female copywriter. At the time, women were usually hired to write for women’s products only. Her main account would be De Beers. For the next 25 years, she wrote all of the company’s ads.
Her counterpart in publicity was Dorothy Dignam, a plucky brunette who kept a list of questions male co-workers asked her in the drawer beneath her typewriter; things she was meant to know as a woman, like, “Could a winter hat have a bird’s nest on it? Is Macy’s singular or plural? What do you give a girl graduating from a convent? Is this thing an inverted pleat?”
Neither Ms. Gerety nor Ms. Dignam ever married. But their greatest professional achievement arguably was helping to create a sense of emotional attachment to the diamond engagement ring.
It’s hard to imagine a time when diamond engagement rings were not the norm; today, even after a decade and a half of bad press about blood diamonds and working conditions in the mines, among other concerns, 75 percent of brides in the United States wear one, according to Kenneth Gassman, president of the Jewelry Industry Research Institute.
Last year, Americans spent almost $7 billion on the rings. But in 1938, when a De Beers representative wrote to N. W. Ayer to inquire whether “the use of propaganda in various forms” might boost the sale of diamonds in the United States, their popularity had been on a downward trend, in part because of the Depression.
N.W. Ayer conducted extensive surveys of consumer attitudes and found that most Americans thought diamonds were a luxury for the ultra-wealthy. Women wanted their men to spend money on “a washing machine, or a new car, anything but an engagement ring,” Ms. Gerety said in 1988. “It was considered just absolutely money down the drain.”
Still, the agency set an ambitious goal: “to create a situation where almost every person pledging marriage feels compelled to acquire a diamond engagement ring.”
Because De Beers controlled the world supply of rough diamonds, antitrust laws prohibited the company from doing business in the United States. The ads could not promote De Beers, or even show pictures of jewelry, so the agency commissioned bold paintings by artists like André Derain and purchased pre-existing works by Dalí and Picasso.
“Sentiment is essential to your advertising, as it is to your product,” it counseled De Beers in a memo, “for the emotional connotation of the diamond is the one competitive advantage which no other product can claim or dispute.”
Ms. Gerety’s early copy sometimes bordered on the heavy-handed. A typical wartime ad read: “Star of Hope: The engagement diamond on her finger is bright as a tear — but not with sadness. Like her eyes it holds a promise — of cool dawns together, of life grown rich and full and tranquil. Its lovely assurance shines through all the hours of waiting, to kindle with joy and precious meaning at the beginning of their new life to be.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Dignam was busy making sure average consumers saw diamonds everywhere. Her theory was that “the big ones sell the little ones.”
Capitalizing on the country’s newest obsession, she wrote a monthly letter to newspapers describing the diamond jewelry worn by Hollywood actresses. She sometimes appeared as a guest columnist on the women’s pages, writing under the name Diamond Dot Dignam. (“Jimmy Durante’s valentine to his dream girl, Margie Little, was an eye-opening diamond ring. Rosalind Russell wears only two costumes in ‘The Guilt of Janet Ames,’ but one of them consists of three and three quarters pounds of diamonds and only two and a half pounds of foaming tulle and net and sequins.”)
In the 1950s, N. W. Ayer started lending jewels to socialites and starlets for the Academy Awards and the Kentucky Derby. The campaign was a success from the start. After just two years, the sale of diamonds in the United States increased by 55 percent. In its 1951 annual report, N. W. Ayer noted that, “for a number of years we have found evidence that the diamond engagement ring tradition is consistently growing stronger. Jewelers now tell us ‘a girl is not engaged unless she has a diamond engagement ring.’ ”
The company also succeeded in promulgating ideas like the Four C’s, which arose from a surplus of very small stones. Buyers had been taught that bigger meant better, and had no interest. So N. W. Ayer added a box labeled “How to Buy a Diamond” to every ad, with the instructions: “Ask about color, clarity, and cutting — for these determine a diamond’s quality, contribute to its beauty and value. Choose a fine stone, and you’ll always be proud of it, no matter what its size.” (The final “c” stood for carats.)
In the 1980s, the agency introduced a series of ads setting a new arbitrary but authoritative-seeming benchmark: “Isn’t two months’ salary a small price to pay for something that lasts forever?”
Some attempts at changing cultural attitudes were more successful than others. The agency briefly tried to get men interested in wearing diamond rings. A representative ad features a shaggy-haired couple in pajamas, playing checkers in bed: “She has a mind of her own. She gave me a diamond.”
The “Women of the World, Raise Your Right Hand” campaign of 2003 also met with some eye rolls, though it owed a debt to a 1965 series of Ms. Gerety’s that featured “bachelor girls, divorcées, widows, or career women buying ‘on their own’ as well as some married women,” according to her assignment. “That part of the market which for one reason or another is either less, or not at all, motivated by copy appeals rooted in love.”
Deanne Torbert Dunning, N. W. Ayer’s first female vice president on the creative side, wrote the account during the turbulent years of 1968 through 1970.
“You had Betty Friedan and ‘The Feminine Mystique,’ you had the Pill, and by 1970, you had a full-blown women’s movement,” she recalled by phone recently. “There was an anti-establishment feeling. Whatever my mother had, I don’t want. So the ads shifted to a more everyday, casual approach. They said, ‘Yes, you can get married barefoot on a beach, but don’t you still want a beautiful ring?’ ”
But one thing, at least, has remained firmly established: the line “A Diamond Is Forever,” which has appeared in every De Beers engagement ad since 1948. In 1999, two weeks before Ms. Gerety died at the age of 83, Advertising Age named it the slogan of the century.
A version of this article appears in print on May 5, 2013, on page ST23 of the New York edition of the New York Times
with the headline: How Diamonds Became Forever.
If you know me then you also know that I am a proponent of equality. I am also unfiltered. We live in a country that often talks the talk but often fails to walk the walk. If you who are of the "America love it or leave it" mindset you may not like what I have to say. Fine! If you are of that paradigm, it's probably to you that I'm talking.
America is a family. In every family there are disagreements, divisions, and a fair share of blame to go around. Freedom and family coexist only when there is freedom to criticize a family member or a group decision as openly as you can praise them when you are in agreement or are proud of them.
Last week, we as a nation, stepped up to the plate when it came to the right of any two people to "marry". To my mind, it's a miracle when a pair of disparate people find each other, love each other, support each other, disagree with each other, and care for each other. Who they are, what their genders are (or their gender identity) is of no importance. NONE!
I have been supportive of the LGBT community and the right of any couple to love and marry for the bulk of my life. Did I mention that I believe that freedom and equality is for everyone?
Q. Within the last few days I was asked, online, whether the rainbow flag should now be the flag of equality?
I've thought heavily about it and here's my answer...
A. The rainbow flag was designed as a visual symbol of the fight for LGBT equality. Now that any couple has equal rights to marry I don't have to wave the rainbow flag quite as hard. Instead I can wave the stars and stripes. It's not that the Rainbow flag no longer has significance. I just believe that my fellow countrymen have become so "politically correct" that, in effect, we are dividing (not including) ourselves. Old glory, the U.S. flag was originally envisioned as the visual rallying point for a nation of equality.
Langston Hughes, one of America's greatest poets, eloquently wrote of the dream of America that has yet to be for many. We still have a long way to go.
"O, let America be America again— The land that never has been yet— And yet must be—the land where every man is free." (Langston Hughes)
A battle has just been won. Take my hand, and that of another, and we'll continue the fight until equality is reality. We may all have a bit to learn along the way.
All my love...
Bill "the barefoot jeweler" Green.
Our shop will be Closed on Wednesday.
My sister (whom many of you knew or met at my store) passed away peacefully, and in her sleep last Friday the 17th. She will be very missed and this is a devastating blow to all who met her. For 67 years she spread joy, warmth, and happiness. For 53 of those years she was my Sister, my best friend, my most trusted confidant and the "best present my parents ever gave me" It will be hard to go on without her but she left me with great nieces (and their families), tight knit family (both genetically related and through close and intense friendships) and they are a great source of comfort and solace.
She is survived by her immediate family - daughter Heather Munnell ,her husband Justin Munnell and grandson Gavin, as well as daughter Tiffany Ward ,her husband Joe Ward an granddaughter Summer, brother Bill Green and nice Rebecca Green, and nephews Jackson & Joshua Green, as well as ex- husband Isaak Somershein and many other family members. Her friends (who are much more like family) are too numerous to mention and they will miss her terribly.
There will be a memorial service honoring my Sister (Annette "Sunny" Somershein) held at Platt Memorial Chapels 2001 Berlin Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002. Services begin at 3:00pm on Wednesday. There will be no burial. Visitation and Shiva will be observed at my home afterword. Go to www.plattmemorial.com for information.
To those of you who can and wish to attend - Welcome. To those of you who wish to, but cannot, attend. Please do not apologize - We truly understand and feel your love. Even if you can't attend the service please feel free to come by the house on Wednesday.
The service and my home are open to all those who knew cared, and loved her without need for invitation. Please bring your stories and recollections of her. If you wish you may (but it isn't necessary) bring a favorite food or desert that reminds you of her. We have plenty but we realize that food and deserts were a great joy to her and some things simply remind you of smiles and happy times shared. To those who have dietary restrictions or who keep Kosher you may have to bring something for yourself..sorry.
There will be water and paper towels for the ritual of washing your hands before entering by the front door.
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