Rose Bay Country

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  1. It surprises me how many people have difficulty finding the right jewellery. I'm not talking here about the difficulties of choosing between that lovely pair of red drop earrings or the spectacular emerald green ones (buy both!)

    I firmly believe that jewellery should be available to all, and yet, so many of us struggle to achieve this simple goal, and for many different reasons.

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    Sizing

    Not being a standard size myself, I do understand the frustration of not being able to find something to suit your personality. This is actually one of the reasons I started to make my own jewellery in the first place. I think its better now than it used to be, but the situation is still far from perfect. For this reason, I now use extension chains on a lot of my jewellery to make them adjustable, make them multi-size or sometimes do a selection of sizes but not only can this can get very expensive, but isn't really practical as quite a few of my designs are one-off unique creations.

    Some of my pieces are in 'an average' size, simply because I have to choose a size to make the item in, and since I am running a business, this needs to be what most of my customers require. However, I am aware that there is no such thing as 'one size fits all' and not everyone fits neatly into one category. Nor would I want them to. Wouldn't that be boring if we all had the same shape?

    Materials

    Lots of you have allergic reactions to standard jewellery components. The most common is with ear wires, and because of this most of my wires are sterling silver. Unfortunately, a surprising amount of you can't wear sterling silver, and this is where it gets interesting because in spite of what the manufactures tell you, there is no such thing as 'safe for everybody' wires. Most of my wires are fairly safe. I use lots of sterling silver, hypo-allergenic niobium, goldfill (these are 14k gold-pated) stainless steel, and occasionally, titanium as well. If you have sensitive ears it might be best to steer clear of copper ear wires. I stock them because so many people like them, and copper earrings are beautiful, but they are not hypo-allergenic and the copper has a tendency to go green, so these might best be avoided if you have problems with jewellery components.

    Ability

    Jewellery can be fiddly for the best of us, and if you have, for instance, arthritis or mobility issues, putting on jewellery can, quite literally, be a pain in the neck. Even something as simple as being left-handed can be a nuisance in dressing day to day. I know you get used to it. Yes, I'm sure you can cope perfectly well, but if it bothers you, why suffer when you might not need to? There are often ways around these problems. But I can't help if I don't know what the problem is.

    What to do

    Come and talk to me. I will not share anything you tell me with anyone else unless you want me to. Nor will I judge you. I just want to help you find the fun and pleasure that everyone deserves. Nobody should be excluded from expressing themselves in this way simply because of their size, age, gender, or physical ability. I like to think that between us, we can find a style that will work for you. I don't generally make custom pieces, but usually that's not necessary. I would be happy to advise on which of my products could be suitable for your needs, and a lot of items can be adjusted to work for you – like changing a fastening, ear wires, or adding an extension, for instance. In special circumstances I would consider making something just for you, but unless you ask, that's not going to happen, is it?

     

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  2. If you were wondering what happened to my blog post last week, well, I was on a field trip. (No, not an actual field you understand...) My design inspiration can come from anywhere – a random comment from a friend or family member, an interesting colour combination, or something I've seen while out and about. But because I love historical jewellery, often the initial spark will come from that, and there is nothing quite like actually going to visit a good fashion or jewellery collection to see the item sitting in front of you.

    So last week we scooted off to Bath to visit the Fashion Museum. It's a beautiful place and was certainly well worth the journey. The museum has a lovely selection of clothing and often does extra exhibitions. It was one of these that I wanted to see – namely a collection from Royal Women. This exhibition finishes in about 10 days, but if you are in the Bath area, please go and visit; it's worth the trip!

    A quick warning about Bath if you have mobility issues. This area of Bath is very hilly, and something of a mountain goat trek, but there is one of those on-off tour buses that covers all the main attractions and costs around £16. The museum itself is in a very old – and very lovely – 18th Century Georgian house with lots of stairs. The conveniences are down a couple of flights of stairs but the museum is accessible for all, just speak to a member of staff who will escort you to the lift. For the record, all of the staff we spoke to were extremely polite and professional, and I'm sure they will be able to sort out any problem you may have.

    This elegant house was designed by John Wood the Younger and finished in 1771. There are some impressive inter-connecting Assembly Rooms, picture of the Ballroom below, and these, as are many old buildings in Bath, also available for public hire. The Assembly Rooms are lit by nine 18th Century chandeliers, measuring an average of 8 feet in height and were made from Whitefriars Crystal (from the Whitefriars Glass works in London). These chandeliers were originally lit by between 40-48 candles per chandelier, changing to gas in the 19th century and then altered again for electricity.

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    The standard exhibition here is 'A History of Fashion in 100 Objects' and shows off a fabulous collection of items from the 1600's to the present day and includes dresses, shoes, underclothes and men's wear as well. Alongside the Georgian and Regency clothes you will also find more contemporary fashion sporting names like Christian Dior and Norman Hartnell.

    But my reason for visiting the Museum was to the see the 'Royal Women' display, and in particular, this stunning mauve/purple wedding dress originally belonging to Princess Alexandria in 1863.

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    It did not disappoint, and my picture doesn't really do it justice, but it was every bit as beautiful as it looked in the pictures I've seen of it.

    The Royal Women display also included clothing from Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret.

    The Museum has a small display of clothing for dressing up purposes, for both adults and children. Several children were having a whale of time in there when we passed through, but sadly there was nothing in there in my size.

    Children can also take part in a sticker trail (info from reception) and there are drawing cards in the galleries to amuse them.

    There is cafe which serves a variety of tasty items but we can personally vouch for the delicious cake on offer!

    A nice shop selling books and knick-knacks was available, too. I bought a book covering the '100 objects' collection and a little booklet for the visiting Royal Women collection as well.

    Bath has an abundance of museums and art exhibitions as well, and you definitely should see the Roman Baths – yes, it really is that old – and still pretty impressive. If you intend to visit both the Fashion Museum and the Roman Baths, you can buy a combined ticket to save a little money.