Saturday, January 30, 2010


 At nearly a century old, Oregon's International Rose Test Garden continues to be the premier "testing ground for new rose varieties." Though currently closed for the winter, the lush grounds are populated with additional gardens each providing a distinct function. Oregon is also the home of featured jewelry designer Kevia Jeffrey-West.

Friday, January 29, 2010


The Montjuic Castle sits atop a hill in Barcelona, Spain providing the city with even more picturesque beauty.

The 17th century structure houses both a military and comics museum. Spain is also the home of featured jewelry designer Gemma Draper.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Completed nearly half a century ago, Canada's Skylon Tower looms over the falls that compose the powerful Niagara Falls.

Towering at a height of 520 feet, its observation deck provides a breathtaking view of the borders of Canada and the United States. Canada is also the home of featured jewelry designer Laura Goldstein.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Open to visitors, India's beautiful Golden Temple (a/k/a Harmandir Sahib) is one of the country's many sacred sites.

Initial construction of the temple began over four centuries ago; however, many centuries would pass as the structure underwent numerous restorations. India is also the home of featured jewelry designer Hanut Singh.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


The Hanbury Botanic Gardens in Italy sits amidst the backdrop of a protective shield of mountains.

Built 143 years ago, it is home to an international array of plants all of which flourish in the lush surroundings. Italy is also the home of featured jewelry designer Mario Buzzanca.

Monday, January 25, 2010


When we enter South Africa's Walter Sisulu National Botanic Garden, we are met with the spectacular Witpoortjie Falls. It is a lovely area with over 600 species of flora, and different habitats. South Africa is also the home of featured jewelry designer Beverley Price.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


14K Gold Filled Edwardian Era Pendant
with Cream Freshwater Pearl Drop
We are in downtown Dallas, Texas today and we would not be on point if we passed up a visit to the Hyatt Regency's Reunion Tower.

Built over 30 years ago it stands 560 feet consisting of three floors that include a revolving restaurant. Texas is also the home of featured jewelry designer Elizabeth Showers.

Friday, January 22, 2010


During the 17th century, notable Dutch writers and scholars, such as PC Hooft and Joost van den Vondel, used the Netherlands' Muiden Castle as a temporary place to kick back and discuss ideas. The Netherlands is also the home of featured jewelry designer Marijke de Goey.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Encompassed within a forest is France's Chateau de Lanquais; a historic castle built during the 1300s with a distinctive blend of architectural styles. France is also the home of featured jewelry designer Arabelle Morgan.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


The distinctive architecture of Japanese castles lightly peppers the country's landscape.

Once boasting at least 5,000, Japan is currently home to about 50 castles one of which is the 14th century Himeji Castle.

The majestic structure served as an exotic backdrop in the Tom Cruise film, The Last Samurai. Japan is also home to featured jewelry designer style Yoriko Mitsuhashi.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


After a series of renovations, England's Buckingham Palace presently sets on fifty acres of land and is known for its extensive library, and art collection. England is also home to featured jewelry designer Kelvin J. Birk.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Erected during the 10th century as a small fortress, in subsequent years, under the direction of dukes and counts Germany's Stuttgart Old Castle developed into an aggregate of buildings with the castle at the compound's center.

Germany is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Petra Class.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Once the cold spell finally lifts, the Florida Botanical Gardens is a great place to visit.

I hope the icy weather hasn't damaged its varied gardens and natural habitats too much.

Florida is also the home base of vintage couture jewelry brand House of Lavande.

Friday, January 15, 2010


David sought refuge from Saul in its caves, while King Solomon compared its beauty to his beloved.

Today the beauty of the Ein Gedi region, located near the Qumran Caves in Israel, captivates with its diverse variety of plant and wildlife.

Israel is also the home of featured jewelry designer Tamir Zuman.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


At just over 10 years old, the Siit Arboretum Botanical Garden, located in the scenic Philippines, houses a conservatory of a diverse variety of trees, which provides in-depth details about each trees importance to man's survival. The Philippines is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Maritess Damian-Vivier.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


A considerable number of centuries-old, well-preserved Buddhist temples populate the country of Korea beautifying the country's already spectacular landscapes.

The over 400-year-old Beomeosa Temple is composed of several smaller buildings, which the country declared national treasures.

Korea is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer the late Aud Charlotte Ho Sook Sinding.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


The world is full of fantastic landscapes, and the country of Iran has some grant ones to explore.

The crystal clear waters of Avan Lake is located in the Province of Qazin; while the third largest salt lake in the world, Orumieh Lake, is believed to possess healing properties.

Iran is also the ancestral home of featured jewelry designer Mona Assemi.

Monday, January 11, 2010


With a grandiose history of political intrigue, Ireland's Cahir Castle is a well-preserved national monument.

The 12th century structure is one of the country's largest castles where guided tours and audiovisual shows are regularly conducted.

Ireland is also the home to featured jewelry designer Rachel McKnight.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


With over 200,000 species of plant, it is amazing to learn that four decades ago the South Coast Botanic Garden, in California, was once a sanitary landfill. California is also the home of featured jewelry designer Nathan "Nate" Waxman.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Spring and summer are distant memories so let's make the most of Brazil's summer season by visiting Copacabana Beach.

Clear views of the ocean's vivid blue waters will be a little challenging since we will have plenty of company.

Brazil is also the home of featured jewelry designer Francisca Bostas.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


It is winter in England right now, but a great place to visit during the warmer seasons is Capel Manor Gardens, a 30-acre stretch of gardens amidst a Georgian Manor House and Victorian Stables. England is also home to featured jewelry designer Monica Boxley.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


A trip to Taiwan would not be complete without visiting a few of the country's historic temples that include Buddhist, Confucius, and Taoist temples. Taiwan is the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Chao-Hsien Kuo.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Shrouded by a history of political intrigue, Ireland's grandiose Connagh Castle sits ominously atop a bluff in the Brade Valley. Ireland is also home to featured jewelry designer Angela O'Kelly.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Surrounded by the healing waters of a therapeutic spring, the Indonesian temple Pura Tirta Empul is undoubtedly a place for regeneration and renewal.

Indonesia is also the home of featured jewelry designer Nyoman Rena.


Like many gemstones, the garnet has a fossil-like existence. Cultivated by heat and pressure the minerals quietly take form within the earth.

To my surprise, garnets are composites of two or more variations of minerals that include almandine, grossularite, spessartite, andradite, pyrope, and tsavorite.

Consequently, the variations provide garnet with a range of hues from the popular red pyrope to colorless grossularite to tsavorite green and even a blue-green variation found in Africa.

Due to the garnet's large variety of colors, the gemstone has often been mistaken for other gemstones. Mined around the world, the varieties of garnet are found in Brazil, India, Kenya, Russia, Canada, Switzerland, and the United States.

Garnet is a highly durable gemstone with nearly flawless clarity and was widely popular among the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians.

During ancient eras, the stones were fashioned into protective amulets, as they were believed to ward against evil. According to legend, the biblical patriarch Noah used a lantern made of garnet as a safeguard to steer the Ark at night.

Aside from its use as a protective talisman, many believe the garnet to hold healing powers that sooth depression, arthritic and pancreatic problems, as well as stabilize heart rates.

One of the world's most famous garnets is a cabochon flower brooch once owned by Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis. One of the largest grossularite garnet minerals is located at Vermont's Eden Mill Nature Center measuring three-eighth inches across.
Photo 1 (top right): Red Rhodolite Garnet

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Untouched, natural beauty is on supreme display within the western, California portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Looming trees and flowing rivers are just a sampling of the area's scenery. California's Sierra Nevada Mountains is also the residence of featured jewelry designer Karen Olsen Ramsey.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Laugh at yourself, but don't ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don't leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.


A trip to New Zealand's Onetangi Beach is the perfect remedy to the wintry mix hovering over the Midwest.

An expanse of blue skies and a wide stretch of golden sands are an inviting combination for shaking off winter's frosty grasp. New Zealand is also the home of featured jewelry designer Louise Douglas.
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