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Charms, then and now

By | Uncategorized

As you know, IYOS has added the Thomas Sabo charm and jewellery ranges to our list of products we proudly stock. Thomas Sabo fits in perfectly with our desires to have a piece of jewellery for every personality, every day, every event or occasion, and every important occurrence in the lives of our customers. With our strong focus on individualising and matching our products to each customer, charms definitely form a strong part of that focus.

Charms have been around for centuries. The first records of charms were found to date back as far as 600 BC, with items being made from shells, animal bones and clay. Later charms were made from wood, rocks and gems, and throughout the ages charms have been worn for many different reasons. It is speculated that the first charms were worn as amulets; warding off spirits or darkness, and our more modern meanings started in ancient Egypt where charms were worn for symbols of faith and luck. During the Dark Ages, Knights wore charms to denote family origin, religious views and even political convictions, giving the little ornaments a very important part in society at the time. Charms were a part of every culture; for hidden meanings, to show some alignment or belief, or simply for their beauty.

Ancient Greek Leather Charm Bracelet

Ancient Chinese Coin Bracelet

It only truly became a fashion trend in the early 1800’s. Queen Victoria was an avid lover of charm bracelets, and she started a charm craze amongst the European nobles. She wore them constantly, gave them as gifts, and had many special charms made including “mourning” charms, which she had commissioned after the death of her beloved Prince Albert.

"Mourning" bracelet crafted from Jet Stones

Charm bracelets only grew from there. From dangling charms to bead charms, to the more modern flat, interlocking charms, they are definitely here to stay. I was asked once whether I believed the charms to be only a “craze” that will blow over, and all I can say is that after more than two centuries of growth I don’t think it will, and I wouldn’t want it to! Start your journey today, express feelings to loved ones, remember important events and pass your precious charms onto your children one day. Memories must never be assigned to the picture books and the archives; wear them and keep them with you every day.

Modern Charm Bracelets at IYOS: Thomas Sabo, Trollbeads and Nomination Bracelets

Polycarbonate Plastic…and Swimming

By | Uncategorized, Watches

So I have not really been watching the Olympics, but I do know we’ve been doing really well in the swimming! I can do a whole length of a pool myself, perhaps just from one side to another, never mind getting back, but it’s a work in progress! I always get water up my nose or the pool is too salty and my eyes go red, so I blame the water really. But I did get some goggles which seemed to help. Incidentally, I found out the very good swimming goggles are made of polycarbonate plastic, just like the ICE and STAMPS watch straps. So what, it’s plastic right? But having gone to a University where research is imbedded into your soul, I did some reading up on it.

Polycarbonate plastic is fascinating! It is used for (good) swimming goggles, our watch straps, sunglasses, automobile headlights, outdoor fixtures, medical tools we are scared of, and even police riot gear just to mention a few! Add to that the fact that bullet proof windows are also made of polycarbonate plastic and we suddenly realise this is one hard core thermoplastic polymer. It is incredibly light, virtually unbreakable and unbelievably scratch resistant. It does melt though…at about 147 degrees Celsius you might feel the plastic soften slightly. The plastic is completely recyclable and environmentally preferable to many other materials so it is an eco-friendly option as well. The negatives of polycarbonate plastic? It is ever so slightly more expensive than your Five Rand Store plastic goodies.

ICE Classic PinkICE Classic White

The polycarbonate straps on the ICE watches make them feel airy and light on your arm, whereas for the Belta Strap on the STAMPS watch it makes for a strong, impressive strap. It is comfortable and cool in summer and winter, nonallergenic and if you are also trying to swim, the ICE Watches are perfectly waterproof!

Clear Belta

New Trollbeads Spirituality Collection!

By | Uncategorized

Happy 21st Birthday to the internet!! But even more exciting than that, Trollbeads’ new Spiritual Collection is out! So thanks to the fantastic world wide web, we can all have a look at the new beads together.

The People’s Bead 2012 Spiritual Collection truly lives up to its name as the “People’s Bead” collection. The fans themselves designed these gorgeous beads and voted for the winning designs, and to ensure that all these loyals fans can be a part of the excitement the collection contains five Price Group 1 beads! Here at IYOS we love the fact that anyone and everyone can now add a beautiful little new bead to their bracelet or necklace because the beads in this range are so affordable. No need to wait for payday! Which suits us very well…Dani’s can be impatient creatures.

Now let’s take a closer look at the beads, starting with the Price Group 1 beads (which retail for only R315).  First up we have the feather! The feather is a symbol of spiritual ascension in native America, and very much like the second bead, Heaven’s Garden, it brings a sense of peace and quiet as it wraps so delicately around your bracelet chain.

Price Group 1 New beads

In Order: Feather, Heaven's Garden, Stay Positive, World Within, Spirit Light (R315)

 

For those a bit more light-hearted there is the Stay Positive bead. It is an adorable creation and regardless of how the bead rolls around on your chain, you will always have a plus sign staring up at you to remind you to be positive and look on the bright side of life. If you are looking for a more simple design, the World Within would do perfectly. With its shiny outward surface that reflects everything around it and the core running through it, this little guy is all about the search for inner meaning.  Lastly in Price Group 1 we have one of the two glass beads this collection offers, the transparent Spirit Light bead. Pictures do this bead no justice. With a pearly reflection from its core, this glass bead truly is something beautiful. Simple, understated and above all else, elegant.  As the light is caught up and reflected by this little gem, it is a reminder of how our spirits also reflect and soak up that which is around us.

 

The second glass bead in the collection is the Chakra Colours bead, and as it name suggests it combines all 7 chakra colours into one so you always have all the energies you need!  This bead is a Price Group 2 glass bead, and it leads us up to our next silver category as well, the Price Group 2 silver bead Loving Light. This bead symbolises the relationship between humanity and God; the cross represents faith, the heart represents love and the star represents light. It is a sweet and meaningful bead.

 

Colours and Light

In Order: Chakra Colours (R440), Loving Light (R470)

The larger beads in the collection are Price Group 3, retailing for R570. My favourite bead is from this category! The Happy Dragon! It is adorable as it spins around, always smiling up at its owner. In China the dragon is associated with a new beginning, growth and energy and I cannot wait to get this little one. Next up we have to Rosary which is also a larger, lovely bead. With its dangling crucifix it will add something new and beautiful to any collection. Then we have the Dream Catcher. It’s a gorgeous design and its size allows that design to be displayed to perfection. Also from the native Americans, it catches your dreams; holding onto the good ones and chasing the bad dreams away.

In Order: Happy Dragon, Rosary, Dream Catcher (R570)

In the way of pendants this collection brings us the Prayer pendant. Exquisitely crafted, this pendant is customisable with a stone in order to become something that reflects a part of who we are.

Prayer Pendant (R645)

Last but not least, Trollbeads have brought out an exciting addition to the Fantasy necklace collection, the Black Onyx. Instead of the Pearl this necklace boasts a Black Onyx stone, adding a feeling of mystery and the sense of adventure. It is quite different and striking, and I am already imagining all the stunning combinations that can be added to this chain!

Onyx Fantasy Necklace

Olympic Medals

By | Uncategorized

So the Olympics are in full swing; gold, silver and bronze medals just waiting to be handed out! Admittedly, the only medal I ever received for sports was a tiny disc to congratulate me on doing a 5km charity run which I, to my shame, ended up walking. We can’t all be athletes!

My sad attempt at athletic glory gave me a sad excuse for a medal, a lightweight copper mixture with a gold colouring that does not even begin to resemble a true medal.  So I took a closer look at real medals that REAL athletes work for!

Olympic gold medals used to be made of solid gold, but the 1912 games were the last games where these solid gold medals were handed out. Since then, the gold medals have been made of sterling silver and plated with at least 6 grams of gold. Silver medals are all made from sterling silver and the bronze medals are made from the standard bronze alloy; a mixture of copper and tin.

Each host city’s organising committee designs their own medal, but all of them have to comply with the standard for the Olympic Medals; the gold and silver medals must be crafted from sterling silver, there may be no less than 6grams of gold on the gold medals, and all medals must be at least 3 mm thick and at least 60mm in diameter.

It must be a beautiful thing to hold and examine the true item, but unfortunately the closest I will be able to get to the Olympics or a medal would be these little Nomination Links on my bracelet!

Happy Birthday Madiba!

By | Uncategorized

Our Blog was delayed this week in honour of this special day. Madiba is special to us because he gave each and every person, regardless of their race, age or gender the opportunity to be proud as South Africans.

We will always thank him for being a voice of reason and calm in a difficult time and for guiding us as a country to become what we are now; many voices and faces working together.

Thank you, Madiba, for including everyone in your new South Africa.

Madiba

In the words of Wayne Visser:

“I am an African. Not because I was born there
but because my heart beats with Africa’s.
I am an African. Not because I live on its soil
but because my soul is at home in Africa.
I am an African. For her wildness quenches my
spirit and brings me closer to the source of life”

Feel proudly South African with one of these beautiful beads from the World Tour Trollbeads African collection.

World Tour Africa Beads - by Trollbeads

Coffee Anyone?

By | Uncategorized

Good Morning on this rainy Monday! The mother city is in proper winter state and the weather forecasts do not look particularly positive for the next week. Blankets, fires and good books come to mind for this week’s activities, and of course popping down to Palmyra Junction to visit us here at IYOS for a cup of coffee. One thing we never have in short supply here at Palmyra is coffee. Hot, aromatic coffee! Lattes, cappuccinos…Take your pick!

Coffee is a strange thing; it helps students get through exams, gets you through that morning meeting, completes a breakfast and brings friends together. You just cannot be angry at someone over a cup of coffee. So this blog is a tribute to that intoxicating dark brown liquid so loved by millions!

The coffee tree is a hearty small tree that grows about 3 to 3.5 meters high. It’s sensitive to subfreezing temperatures and being a tropical plant, it is indigenous to tropical and southern Africa and tropical Asia. The tree grows red “cherries” and inside these cherries you find what we call the coffee beans, which are in actual fact seeds and not beans at all.

Coffee Cherries

Coffee Flower

Coffee Flowers

On top of these coffee seeds, the plant also blooms with delicate white flowers which are highly aromatic, making them lovely indoor plants. Coffee is one of the world’s most valuable and widely traded crops and several countries rely on it as their most important export. Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee get consumed per day, so if you haven’t had a cup today, you have some catching up to do!

Miyota Watch Movement, now we know!

By | Watches

The beautifully fun ICE Watches we stock are proudly branded with Miyota Movement, the magic that makes it tick. But to fully appreciate what this means, let’s actually take a closer look at what Miyota Movement is.

A little background on watch movements: In horology (the art or science of measuring time) movement refers to the internal workings of a clock or watch, and when we speak of movement it has nothing to do with either the case (the actual cover for a watch) or its face. Modern watches use Bridge Movement. Bridge Movement refers to the way the individual cogs and parts are mounted together, and in itself means little with regards to how well a watch ticks.

Bars, called bridges, have replaced the typically round backplate old watches used and allows for easier repairs and servicing of watches, since it is much easier to get to the little parts. So in short, all modern watches work with Bridge Movement. Mechanical watches are also these days self-winding, or automatic, since the natural motions of the wearer’s wrist winds up the watch while it’s being worn.

Miyota Movement is a type of Bridge Movement made in Japan. Good call for ICE to use this Miyota Movement! The movement itself is a smooth running little machine. Miyota is judged on its BPH (Beats Per Hour), shock resistance, finish, power reserve, winding mechanism and jewels. Yes, jewels. The Miyota Movement actually utilises 21 synthetic rubies, not to add value but to reduce wear and friction on the parts. Industry standard has quality watches pegged at 17 jewels or more and Miyota happily ticks in with 21. Miyota is well known for its longevity, accuracy and dependability.

Standard Quartz watches use an electronic oscillator that is regulated by a quartz crystal to keep time, but these Quartz mechanisms were made to be cheap and disposable. Quartz is the most used timekeeping mechanism in the world, utilised in computers and other appliances as well. So while Quartz is the most common type of watch movement, it cannot be compared to the accuracy and longevity of a good Miyota Movement watch!

Precious vs. Semi-Precious Stones, what?

By | Uncategorized

A very good Monday to you all! I hope you had a lovely weekend and that you are all feeling energetic and ready for the last week of the month. Pay Day! Yay!

Last week we received our beautiful new Spinning Earrings; it really is worth a trip down to IYOS to see them! There’s an exciting range of gorgeous little studs and elegant, beautiful composable earrings. We had a lot of fun squealing over them as we set up the displays!

But that’s not what this blog is about. Spinning Jewelry makes their rings using semi-precious stones and it got me thinking, what’s the different between precious and semi-precious stones? A little bit of reading convinced me that it really is something everyone should know!

The classification of gemstones into precious and semi-precious categories dates back to the Ancient Greeks and used to be based on the rarity of the respective stones in ancient times. Arguably, it is quite a dated concept! We aren’t mining these stones quite the way they used to be mined. In modern usage precious stones are considered to be diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, with all other stones being considered semi-precious. This is misleading though, as it implies semi-precious stones are less valuable which is definitely not the case! All stones in modern times are judged by gemmologists who decide on their value based on some complicated methods us ordinary consumers wouldn’t understand at all.

For us, there are the four C’s (cut, clarity, colour and carats). If a stone scores well in all C’s, well, then we like it and it’s more expensive, but any and all gems can score well on all four C’s which brings us back to the distinction being a bit out dated and used commercially just to make it a bit easier. Instead of having to list the many, many different types of minerals we call gemstones, we simply use semi-precious stones for any stones that are not diamonds, rubies, sapphires or emeralds.

precious stones

Synthetic gemstones like Cubic Zirconia’s (synthetic diamonds) fall into neither category; but interestingly, synthetic gemstones have a much more vivid and pure colours as there are no impurities in the lab to affect the stones. But either way, one can rest easy knowing that semi-precious stones aren’t some strange minerals dug up in the backyard. Unless you are very lucky with your backyard.

What is Sterling Silver?

By | Uncategorized

Everyone always asks “Is this Sterling Silver?” but I have come to realise few truly realise what Sterling Silver is. What is the difference between pure Silver and Sterling Silver? Well, let’s find out!

Fine silver (99.9% pure) is generally too soft to create usable items with. That is where Sterling Silver comes in. Sterling Silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% of other metals. Sterling Silver has been around since the 12th century and originated in what is today northern Germany.

Copper usually makes up the 7.5% of ‘other metals’ and it is the industry standard for the Sterling Silver alloy. However, other metals can be used and these include germanium, zinc or even platinum.

Silver at a purity of less than sterling measurements have a far higher rate of corrosion and tarnishing, so be careful when you choose your jewellery and always ask whether it is sterling silver and nickel free! Nickel is the metal that causes jewellery to go green or blue on one’s skin after a few hours, and should be avoided extra carefully by those who have skin allergies.

Come pop by and see Sterling Silver for yourself here at IYOS; Trollbeads and the Spinning Rings are all crafted from Sterling Silver, and rest assured that none of the products we stock have even the faintest hint of nickel in them. Even careful shoppers can feel comfortable with us and know they are guaranteed good quality that will not let them down!

Father’s Day gifts made easy!

By | Uncategorized

Who would have guessed that it is so much more difficult buying gifts for a man? Since most men have a tendency to immediately go buy what they want, when Father’s Day or even birthdays come along, we’re all at a loss!

But luckily there is IYOS…Let us start with the bracelets. Now, I know…REAL MEN DON’T WEAR BRACELETS! Think again. Trollbeads and Nomination both offer elegant and sophisticated options for men while maintaining their rough and manly looks.

Trollbeads’ leather bracelets are a sure winner. The leather looks sophisticated and as it wears over time it becomes more rugged. If your dad is the DIY king at home or loves camping, then this is a great option! Available in black, dark brown, blue and even green, there is a colour for any and every man’s taste. Add a black glass bead or one of the many angled silver beads and you are off to a great start for a gift he will definitely love! The price of such a bracelet will start at around R865.

Trollbeads Black Leather for Men

If your dad loves his shirts ironed and his collars neat, there is the Nomination Portofino Bracelet. Nautical flags in enamel on twisted stainless steel gives this bracelet a very refined look, perfect with that collared shirt at work or for a lovely family dinner. These bracelets range from R1599 to R1899, depending on its design.

Nomination Portofino Bracelet

If bracelets really are not his thing, there is the old classic; a watch. Here at IYOS there are two options. A WeWood Watch, or an ICE Watch. WeWood watches are made from a mixture of Tea Tree Wood and Bamboo, and every watch is truly unique and stunning. It is a gorgeous gift! For the classic Round Face, the watch only costs R950, and for the larger Rectangular Face watch, it is only R999. However, these watches are not waterproof (or fire proof!) so if your dad is a bit on the rough side, there is the ICE Watch.

Watches for Men

Ice Watches are fully waterproof and the black ones look great on the sportier dad. Swimming, running, cycling…if the active life is your dad’s thing then definitely consider one of these hard wearing and yet fun watches that start at R990.

Ice Watches for Men
If you decide to go for a more low-key option for this Father’s Day, consider food. Personally, with my dad, food is always the easiest option! Chocolate covered peanuts, biltong, dried fruit, and any and all kinds of nuts always go into his basket. Some men really do have a sweet tooth too, so adding that MANLY Bar One makes the world’s difference. In this cold, a pair of nice thick socks, a scarf or a warm jersey will also be perfect, and we can ensure that our fathers stay bundled up this winter!