Friday, August 21, 2009

Mikomoto Pearl Parure

Haven't posted in a excuses, just the explanation of spring, summer, business, mom stuff, student stuff, yoga stuff...there ya go. A great summer and now, back to work.

Hope you can check out a listing that I just ran on my site for my friend who just became a grandma a few weeks ago. This set belonged to her mom, who passed a few years ago, and it is very special.


Drop me a note and please, if you've not already done so, join my Family Jewels page on facebook!

Family Jewels on Facebook

FAMILY JEWELS ONLINE SHOP (for those locals who want to do some yoga with me!!)

Friday, April 3, 2009


Well, I started off with a bang, just a bloggin' away, and here it's been over a month and nada. I've not been slacking...I am still high from my yoga teacher training, and, I think, not waiting for the other ball to drop. Working from the inside out. Teaching a lot, taking care of myself, being of service to my students.

Lots has son survived college spring break in Panama City, the city was blanketed by snow, I finished my basement home yoga studio, and I've begun teaching yoga classes out of my home..

It's been fun, scary, enlightening, frustrating, plus other emotions as well. After hearing so much positive feedback about my shift as an instructor, I had a humbling experience as a student at my home class stayed for under a minute and then left. My heart stayed with the people who stayed in class...I know I cannot please everyone all of the time, and that's ok. It has to be.

So this is a quickie..just a check in. I've fallen back in love with my home and the studio I've created downstairs. I no longer have a housemate and am enjoying the privacy and space and organization I have without that second person in my space.

I'm groovin...and grateful.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Shift

The past several weeks have been a whirlwind of growth and intensity as 6 months of training towards my 200 hour yoga teacher certification culminated in an amazing and beautiful graduation ceremony for my classmates and me and our receiving our Certification Diplomas. After another 23 hours of intense physical and mental work on and off the mat this past weekend, including athletic yoga asanas, vigorous sun salutations, and each student's practice teaching for a facilitator, we enjoyed a lovely reception and delicious food. My mother, one of my best friends, Walter, and the owner of the yoga studio where I've been teaching, Decatur Yoga and Pilates, who is greatly responsible for sparking my yoga journey all came to share the evening with us all. I even received lovely fresh flower bouquets!

Several of us, including myself, not wanting to end the celebration after the friends, family, and food was gone, went to see a sold out show at the Variety Playhouse of Michael Franti and Spearhead. Franti is an activist, a musician, a filmmaker, and a yogi...not necessarily in that order. He writes about love and peace, accountability, empowerment, and speaking up for what is right and against what is wrong. I'm in love with this man.

Here's my little amateur video of a minute or so of the show.

Well, those who know me know that I rarely go out at night, often choosing to be in bed by 8 or this was an exception for me. I figured I'd go to the concert, stay for a few songs, then leave so I could be in bed before 9 or 10 that night. It didn't happen. I found a seat early on, and once the music began, I hopped up and danced for the next 2 1/2 hrs. The positive energy was overwhelming, and I got caught up in it. I simply couldn't stop! And this is from someone who has proclaimed to not care for live music...afterall, I went to concerts all the time in the late 70s through the late 80s...I was done. But this concert was rocked, yes, but it was about being active and positive and having the power to change not just yourself, but the world. Idealistic perhaps, but why not? Can't hurt.

This week has been anything but anticlimactic. Perhaps I am still on a pink cloud. Perhaps my dedication to abstaining from sugar and caffeine for a solid period of time has given me physical strength and mental clarity and focus...whatever. I see and feel the possibilities so much clearer now. I see that the end of this training is only the beginning of more growth. I see that while the intense work has subsided in this area of my life, yet more intense work and growth is needed in other areas. I also see that my greatest actions are those that give service and compassion to others. Staying present and calm and still are such gifts. I'm still human. I still forget all these things at times. But the training has caused a shift. I have taught several classes this week...more than usual...stepping up to substitute teach when I've been asked, even at last minute, and I see the yoga room and the students differently. I know now that I have my own special contribution to offer and it is enough. I know also that each student is a gift and that I am still and always will be a student as well.


It's all good.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Endings are only New Beginnings

In the summer of '93, a couple of months before my son turned 4 (and I was to be 28), I bought my current home in downtown Decatur. It was a dream to be in a neighborhood that was not only safe but also a real community with friendly neighbors and a great shops and restaurants within walking distance. ...much different than the inner city war zone I had lived in for 7 years prior. I figured that within a few months, 6 tops, I'd have the house organized and fixed up just like I wanted it.

It's early 2009. My son is in his 2nd semester as a freshman at UGA and will be 20 in September. My home is nearly "there". I'll be 44 in September. This summer marks 16 years since I moved into my 1954 brick ranch. Lots of changes have taken place from renovations, additions, and decor, to my own personal changes with boyfriends, housemates, careers, and inner growth.

As I work towards putting the finishing touches on my own personal home yoga studio, 800 square feet of clean, fresh, open space, I can't help but be on the verge of tears (of joy) everytime I walk downstairs and see the evolution which has taken place. After nearly 6 years of my basement being an extra-large doghouse, filled with all the lovely (and yes, I am being sarcastic) aromas of big hairy mutts, what began as a "easy" job of removing some carpet and painting the floor turned into a huge project. Two layers of ooky, stained, yucky carpet, a layer of deteriorated padding and the surprise layer of old asbestos tile attached with thick black mastic glue later, and now I have an ecologically sound acid stained marble-like floor. Some small area rugs, artwork on the walls, a small library of yoga and health books, yoga props and mats, and a sound system, and I have my own little nirvana.

While decorating, I came across a dream board I had put together several years ago, and I decided to display it. I think it was about 3, maybe 4 years ago when I sat around with friends, magazines, glue and scissors, and made my collage. I got so into it, that I did both sides of the poster and then began some smaller ones. A common them was yoga, health, and nutrition, along with positive affirmations as to my own personal strength and abilities.

And here I am..mid February 2009. Things seem to always take longer than I had envisioned, but the visions are coming through. I've been teaching yoga now for over 3 years and this Sunday I will be graduating from my yoga teacher training with a 200 hour certification. I am about 2/3rds of the way through my holistic nutritional consultant program and should be finished within about a year. I am healthy and strong. And I'm even somewhat sane.

Oh yeah...I'm humble too. While the basement is finished, my yoga training is nearly over, and I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel regarding my nutrition studies, I realize that all these endings just make way for the beginnings that are yet to come. Once I achieve my 200 hour certification, I will more than likely begin taking workshops in pursuance of my 500 hour yoga training. And once I finish school, I'll have to focus on my direction as a health counselor and direct my energy in a way that can best serve my clients. And of course, once the basement appears "finished", I'm sure some other changes will be in store as I begin to use the space in a productive way for the first time in many years.

Before I know it, Alex will finish college, marking the beginning of a new world for, career, graduate school...who knows. And I may end up selling my home afterall, though with my basement finished and all the new beginnings ahead who knows.

My mantra for today:
Inhale possibilities; exhale fear.

Life is good.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Cash for Gold Scams

You've probably seen them.the commercials with famous dudes, like Ed McMahon telling you how much dough you can make by cashing in your old gold.

Well, in case that little voice popped up in your head and said, "RIP OFF!!!"...


I knew it.

Read THIS:

If you have old gold, like broken chains, old ring settings that have no real antique value or attractiveness, please, find a reputable dealer who will give you a fair price.

First, go online to see what actual gold value is on the open market. There are many sites that list the current fair market value. Many of these sites also offer online calculators to determine the value of the gold based on the carat content. 18K gold is 75% pure gold, 14K is 58.5%, 10K is 38.5%, 9K is 33.3% and so on.

Second, make some calls to some local pawn shops and ask them what they are paying per gram weight for whatever carat you have. 10K and 14K are generally most popular.

Third, stay away from the phone book ads or TV ads. Instead, call a reputable jeweler and ask him or her if they are buying gold and what they pay. Often they will pay much more than a pawn shop.

Fourth...finally, unless you are desperate, shop it around until you find someone willing to pay you at least 90% of the current fair market value. A simple google search found this:
(I am not suggesting using them, only their online caculator...and note, they charge a $100 processing fee on any request, as do many and most places. The more you have the better as far as minimizing these "smelting" or processing fees)

Be aware, though, that in desperation, the bottom feeders are likely to come out and that you will most likely get a small fraction of what your gold is actually worth. As of this morning, gold is about $913 an ounce...there are about 28 grams or 20 dram weights per ounce.

One final suggestion. If you have gold in the form of a Victorian brooch, an old watch chain, an art deco filigree ring, or any other piece of vintage or antique jewelry and it is NOT damaged and IS still wearable, do NOT scrap it..its antique and collectible value is generally MUCH higher than what even the best paying scrap dealer will ever pay. If that is your situation, and you want to sell or consign a piece of fine jewelry or estate stuff, just give ME a call and I promise you an honest and fair assessment!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Tale of the Bracelet

I just wrote about my feather "lure" from the 1980s, and thinking about jewelry I've had over the years sparked my memories of the early years of being a collector and jewelry dealer.

Back in the day, I was always on the hunt for great early morning yoga or long runs before the sun came up. Nope...if I was up before dawn, it was for a flea market, antique show, or to check out the estate and yard sales. It was the late 1980s, and it seems that barely a week went by back then that I didn't find at least one or two fabulous finds. Treasures such as Roseville vases, antique wide brimmed hats, and even a Steiff stuffed giraffe (which I still have) for a $1.

One day, I was driving to open my shop from my first home, a Sears Craftsman's bungalo in southeast Atlanta's historic Grant Park. This required me to drive through a pretty sketchy section of town, which was filled with old pawn shops, abandoned strip malls, and junk stores. Most of these junk stores were truly just junk...not the "junque" that I was looking for, so I rarely stopped. This particular day, however, I felt compelled to go into a store I was passing. I'm not sure why...all that was outside were old broken lamps and repaired vacuum cleaners. But I stopped anyway.

So I walked inside to find a cramped dusty shop filled with typical junk store stuff....appliances, FTD milk glass vases, bad 70s art, chrome and glass furniture that hadn't yet had its resurgence. The shop had a big spaceheater that was cranked up to about a bazillion degrees, and an elderly black couple were watching The Jeffersons on an old console TV. It was so hot and loud that I was ready to just turn around and leave, but then I saw It..the Glass Jewelry Showcase. I walked over to the showcase. I began peering inside...past the strands of broken faux pearls, past the goldtone contemporary earrings, past the costume rings. I had very little hope..though I DID have some hope...until the elderly lady said, "Oh, an antique dealer just came in yesterday and bought all our good jewelry." Bubble bursted, I prepared to say thanks and walk out...then I saw it.

The bracelet.

Among the dusty junk jewelry was a bangle bracelet. It was tarnished with little diamond shaped purple stones and little clear stones. It was missing a purple stone. Somehow, though, it caught my eye and prompted me to ask how much. "Three dollars," the woman replied. I thought for a moment...."hmmm, it's missing a stone, I'll offer $2." So I made my offer, which was promptly denied. Again, on the verge of walking out, I studied the bracelet for another was hinged, and it seem well made for an old brass and glass bracelet. Then the true test of value hit $3, it was still cheaper than a Wendy's sandwich (I ate those back then!). So, I figured, what the heck...I coughed up the 3 bucks and left. The bracelet got thrown into a "fixer-upper" project box and somewhat forgotten.

A few weeks, maybe months later, while playing "show and tell" with a friend, looking at jewelry that I'd bought fairly recently, I came across the bracelet. For the first time, I actually really looked at it...the open backs behind each stone, the high quality of the setting, the nice construction...and then I opened it, also for the first time. Instantly, my friend asked, "what does "14" mean?" WHAT?? FOURTEEN? Uhh...well, here I was, jewelry dealer/buyer/collector extroidanaire and I had failed to even look for a mark. I had assumed that gold didn't tarnish and hadn't even bothered to check.

My bracelet turned out to be an authentic art deco period piece, circa 1920s-30s, 14K, diamonds and amethysts. My first real find! I kept it for a while and eventually found a jeweler to cut an amethyst to replace the missing one....for $50...due to the diamond shape and custom cutting, it was a bit pricey, but well worth it. I "test drove" that bracelet several times over the next year, enjoying it immensely. Eventually though, I decided to "recycle it on...and I offered it for sale in my shop. A dealer soon came in and bought it...for $900!

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of the bracelet, but I will always remember the thrill of the hunt and of finding great treasures like this bracelet. It's been over 20 years since that fateful day, and while every so often, something wonderful comes my way, I doubt I'll ever find another art deco bracelet even close to that one again.

Now, I can only hope I can disprove that last statement!