Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Fiore di Neve necklace...

The idea behind this piece was just a simple one. I used white Murano fioratto beads and lots of crystal and moonstone beads, and, due to this icy appearance I simply called it "Fiore di Neve" (Snow Flower, in Italian).

The vintage fioratto beads also gave it a more traditional, conservative look, like an antique necklace. These beads I managed to win in an auction and I was very happy with them, since they are in perfect state, no chips of flaws whatsoever. I still have some left - I did not want to use them all because I think it is a pity to have lots of beads and some of them being inevitably hidden behind your neck or under the hair! I really think it's a waste, then I used some few where they are more visible and mixed it with gemstones and Swarovskis for that extra touch.

Here it is:

For Fiore di Neve I have used:

- Seven white vintage fioratto beads with gold foil and details in pink, yellow, blue and green;
- Eight medium white moonstone round beads;
- Several Swarovski crystal elements in different colours and sizes: round beads, flowers and bicones;
- Several Czech gold-lined clear seed beads;
- Antique gold bead caps for the fioratto beads;
- One clip gold-plated Swarovski clasp with embedded crystals.

Follows some details of this piece...

On these pictures we can see details of the white fioratto beads, along with the antique gold bead caps and some Swarovski elements (bicones, small flowers and round faceted beads). The 2nd picture also shows some of the nice gold-lined Czech seed beads, very small and delicate.

The 1st picture displays two of the moonstones along with lovely Swarovski Rose Water AB bicones, butterflies and faceted rounds. Moonstone is a type of feldspar that occurs in several shades and is characterised for that lovely opalescence and play of colours under different lights. This effect is known as Adularescence (from the Adula group of mountains in the European Alps) and moonstones are also called "Selenite" (from the greek Selene, Moon).
The 2nd and 3rd pictures were taken in the exact same position but using different lights. The so-called adularescence can be easily exemplified here and the surface of the stone is pretty much like soft snow reflecting the light.
One thing with moonstones is that they are very sensitive and have a low degree of hardness, meaning they can change appearance/texture under extreme heat and sweat and may break easily. Variations in texture can be easily fixed by a specialised jeweller though.

Another detail of the bead caps and Swarovski elements, while on the 2nd picture we can see the Swarovsky old-fashioned clasp, and more of the round faceted ones and gold-lined Czech beads.

Below, pictures of the necklace under different light settings:

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 6:43 PM 1 comments

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Vendemmia necklace...

Some weeks ago, I saw some really lovely lampwork beads and bought them on eBay. I received six beads in the lot. I love their colour and the patterns: grapes and wine leaves. So pretty and different. I am not sure if they are Chinese, or American, or where they were made. I think they are gorgeous and original, and that should be enough. Yesterday, I made a necklace with them and called it Vendemmia, which is Italian for "harvest", or wine grape harvest, more specifically.

Italian names once again, because when I think of grapes, that's what comes to my mind: Italy and (red) wines. My much loved Sandrone Dolcetto d'Alba, which is virtually impossible to find in the shops, unfortunately. Not that I drink a lot or know anything about wines whatsoever, but I really love that one. And I will not even describe it here, because I would not know how to do it. Still, what can I say? Hhhhmmm, I do love perfume and this Dolcetto is very fragrant. So, I love it... That's it. A very simplistic and a bit silly description, but the best I could come up with!

But it also reminds of my first trip to Italy, 20 years ago exactly, and a nice afternoon I spent in my friend Gaetano's villa in the Emilia-Romagna, where he used to produce his own wine and make his own bread. All very lovely. I was with another friend at the time, the old man Oreste and his lovely German shepherd called Coniglio (meaning "Rabbit", for the dog really had those funny long ears that made him look a bit like a rabbit, so cute). I don't know the whereabouts of both Oreste and Gaetano nowadays, we lost contact, and I knew that Coniglio died some years after my visit. Still, these are nice memories, which I tried to retain somehow in that necklace, with its grapes and sunny afternoon shades. Like the sky on that day.

For Vendemmia I used:

- One vintage long teardrop Czech crystal pendant;
- Four lampwork Grape beads in shades of lavender, cream, gold and green;
- Some few Miyuki Delicas seed beads;
- Four iridescent Czech Fire faceted beads;
- Several Swarovski bicones in different sizes, colours and effects;
- Several Swarovski pearls in powder green and powder rose;
- Swarovski round faceted small beads in a rose tint;
- Gold-lined small Czech clear beads;
- Gold-plated Tibetan spacers;
- One lovely Swarovski gold-plated and crystal old-fashioned clasp.

Close-ups of Vendemmia...

A close-up of one of the grape lampwork beads, which really looks like a little antique! They are almost 3 cm long and have a slight iridescence in the coating. The other picture shows the vintage Czech pendant, gold-foiled. and two of the Swarovski pearls. The pendant I recycled from one of my necklaces that I bought a bit before my trip to Italy, 21 years ago! But that's a coincidence and I only realise that now, while writing about it...

Another close-up of the grape beads along with the Swarovski pearls, bicones in various colours and Tibetan spacers.

On the 1st shot, a detail of the Czech faceted beads, and Swarovski elements, along with the Miyuki green beads I used near the pendant. I have tried to use for this necklace, all shades that could match the colour of the grapes: lavender, rose, greens, creamy yellows. The 2nd picture shows the Swarovski elements in more detail.

This is the Swarovski clasp I have used. It is a lovely old-fashioned, clip-on style clasp, with lots of crystals embedded on its flower-shaped filigree frame. It's the 1st time I use this kind of clasp and I really like how it looks. It is a very safe one, however not recommendable for the ladies who are always in a hurry!

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 4:46 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Vivara by Emilio Pucci

What really made me buy this scent was my memory of the original Vivara in the 60's, which my Mother used to wear and whose box and bottle I loved. I still remember how beautiful those flacons used to be - much nicer than the ones nowadays - and a real treasure for any curious little brat (as I used to be, easily amused - and enchanted).

Alas, I cannot quite remember the smell though. I try and try, but I cannot.

A soft Chypre, it is described as, and also as a lighter version of the original, a more modern approach to that concept.

I was absolutely attracted to the lovely flacon, which reminds me of some retro Murano paperweights - another cherished childhood memory. As one can see, I had some really subjective reasons to buy it, and I don't regret it. Not one bit.

This will certainly be one of those memorable scents (for me at least) of 2007. It is fresh, elegant, subtle, and sometimes I can smell some green pears and limes mixed to narcissus, orange blossom and jasmine in the heart notes. The bergamot in the head also reminds me of beautiful Amalfi, one of my favourite places in this world. A sudden whiff of Southern Italy, warm sunsets and deep teal seas.

As for the base notes, I can smell some very familiar accords, something that I really have smelled before, a long time ago, perhaps the remains of the original Vivara: rounded patchouli, a hint of silvery iris (or maybe violet, hard to tell) and a tamed and feminine vétiver note, lingering and striving to live forever.

It sometimes brings me to mind the lovely sweetness of the citrussy notes in Hierbas de Ibiza, and some almost Penhaligon-ish freshness also seems to try and make an appearance - but then again, I think it's only my mind playing tricks. Maybe. Maybe not! Smell of good things that I try to locate somewhere, and some time ago.

Vivara is a happy yet restrained little gem, a green fragrance that is sure to bring you many happy moments and fragrant memories.

To be cherished...

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 7:45 PM 0 comments

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Mt. Vesuvius

The thing that mostly impressed me during this trip to Italy was being so close to Mt. Vesuvius. It is one of the most dangerous volcanoes of the world and its last eruptive cycle lasted from 1913 to 1944. Right now, it seems to be having a "quiet time". Thanks to the gods.

The image on the right I got from the Discovery website and their documentary "Pompeii: The Last Day". Worth checking it for more details on the history of the site.

I have selected it because I think the image does capture very well what the image of the volcano conveyed to me while driving through Naples. Three words, simply: beautiful, imposing, intimidating.

You drive through it to/from the Aiport on the way to Amalfi. All you can see is the volcano, quitely watching the towns at its foothills. And it's a bit of a shock. It's still active, of course, and there is a whole world living underneath its shadow, towns and people, life just going on. Brava gente, I would say. Of course people cannot think about what may or may not happen there. I think it's touching and courageous at the same time. It makes me admire them even more.

I remember the Vesuvius from my chilhood: watching pictures from Pompeii and Ercolano. I could never forget the photographs of those bodies, like macabre pictures taken at the moment of their (apparently) painful, agonising deaths. Actually, these people were enveloped in some few seconds, dying instantaneously from either the heat and/or gas poisoning. I remember there was a picture of a dog laying dead. And several people. I could never forget that. However those were not actual bodies, of course, but plaster casts made by pouring the plaster into the hollows left by the actual bodies (now long decomposed of course). At any rate, it was shocking to have those images captured somehow.

But there is a fun way to remember Mt. Vesuvius too. And that's the crazy witch duck Magica DeSpell! I had great fun reading the Disney magazines and Magica and Donald Duck's adventures were my favourites. Magica is a "sexy" duck villainess (a bit like Sophia Loren maybe) who tirelessly tries to steal Uncle Scrooge's "first dime". Guess where she lives? Righto! In the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius! Although sometimes she spends time in her house at Ducksburg, closer to Scrooge's, of course... Her name in Portuguese is "Maga Patalógica", and her inseparable friend was Mad Madam Mim ("Madame Min"). As far as I can remember, she wanted to get the dime and throw it into the Vesuvius for some crazy, magical purpose, a bit like a twisted version of Frodo and the One Ring! (Or maybe I am just mixing things, he he!). Of course, while driving in that region, I thought of her too! Not only the serious stuff...

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 11:30 AM 0 comments

Friday, June 09, 2006

In Dublin + pics from Amalfi and Ravello...

(This picture here is me playing silly in one of the countless covered alleyways of Amalfi...)

We arrived yesterday, after a pretty uneventful journey. It's good to be back. But I miss the place a lot, I mean, I miss Italy. It's not only because of the wonderful places, but people also make me feel very at home. There is something in the Italian way that is very, very similar to Brasil. probably due to the strong Italian immigration there. It makes me feel comfortable: the accent, the language, the gestures... Not that I speak Italian, no, far from that. I don't. I just can make myself understood and can understand everything when people talk to me. However it is a pity that I cannot express myself that easily, I mean, as easilly as I can understand them.

Below is another picture of me in the Bartolo shop, in Amalfi. The owner is a gem, Mrs. Pinto. I bought that top, which was love at first sight, and also a skirt, an embroidered coat, a necklace with jade stones and glass beads and a little tapestry bag. Prices were quite good too. Mrs. Pinto gave me a lovely elf-green silk scarf as a gift!

And, finally, the pictures below were taken in the Ravello gardens...

That's all for today! I will write a bit more tomorrow...

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 7:48 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Arrivederci Amalfi...

Aaaw! This is our last day in Amalfi, unfortunately. No more time for a boat trip, but I want to stay and relax. Sitting at the Il Protontino café and having gelatti and caprese salads... And having a laugh with Patrizia, the best waitress in the world!

I am so relaxed that I could even play Pokémon Link without getting bored. I mean, it is a great game, but lately I was not in a mood for Nintendo games. But this time... Just relaxed, and I managed to do great and link lots of Pokémon, as well as getting lots of extra prizes.

But this is just a quick post, for I will only be able to post tomorrow or the day after, when I arrive to Ireland.

I want to come back here, and stay for 2 weeks or so. I love this place, and people are just amazing. This is my second visit to Italy. First time was in 1989 and I stayed in the North, near Parma, in Busseto where Verdi was born. It was amazing too. And I feel glad that it is close to Ireland and I can come back at any time!

Ciao, Amalfi! Arrivederci! I will miss you,



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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 12:07 PM 0 comments

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Sick in Amalfi!

Yes, as usual, I got sick. Headcold, as expected. I had a bad cough attack at the Wedding yesterday, and today I stayed in bed for most of the day. But then I woke up and went with Mark to join Audrey, David and everybody at a lovely pizzeria on the beach. It was fun. I had a Limoncello after the meal, and it was just great, my first Limoncello in Amalfi! We have only 4 days left here, but I sure want to come back, when I get healthier, and not as wrecked as I have been feeling lately.

The wedding was lovely, the little church/chapel is in an old convent dating back to the XIIth century, the church of St. Anthony. As for the convent it seems that St. Francis of Assissi himself has founded it, when he came to Amalfi in pilgrimage to visit S. Andrea's tomb, here in the cathedral. Nowadays it's been converted into a Hotel, the Luna.

S. Andrea (St. Andrew) is the patron saint of Amalfi and it seems that most guys here are called "Andrea", which is a man's name alright. I am an odd exception, and when the locals learn my name, they always say: "Like the Saint!"... Mark says I must get a bit confused when I hear someone yelling "Andrea", for that happens quite often here. But I don't get confused though, of course! And you know something, I think I am in the right place and should maybe pay a visit to S. Andrea's tomb. In the end, he is my protector, it seems, and somehow I feel quite connected to this town, since I got here.

By the way, the photograph above was taken by Mark when he was wandering around yesterday. This town is like a maze, full of covered alleyways and stairs all over the ground and the hills. This photograph was taken from one of those alleys. I think it captures well the atmosphere of the place.

And the one below we took yesterday, from the "Torre Sarracena" facing the convent, at sunset. The wedding banquet took place there, and it was a fantastic spot, very romantic with such a wonderful view... It's a town where you just want to relax and enjoy the views. You become completely unable to make any plans, such is the beauty the place, amazing!

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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 9:27 PM 1 comments

Friday, June 02, 2006

Amalfi: love it!!!

We are in Amalfi! This must be one of the most wonderful places in this already wonderful world! I have been feeling great in general, as I didn't feel for some months now. Weather is perfect: not too hot, not too cold. Mark is driving through the windy, narrow roads on the Coast as a pro. Landscape leaves you breathless... That's paradise. Like being in an old Italian painting. A miniature. Or an old sepia photograph brought by Italian immigrants from a land of dreams.

Foodwise is wonderful too. Fresh green olives, lots of Caprese salad, amazing "gelati", coffee of all kinds, "pastiera di grano", and of course nice welcoming people everywhere. What else could we ask for? Even when it rains, everything looks and feels gorgeous. My favourite spot so far: Ravello, up in the mountains, with beautiful gardens and ralaxing atmosphere.

I even bought a perfume there: "Aqua di Ravello". It will make me think of that place when back to Ireland. A nice smell of lemons, grass and sand.

For some pictures of what we've seen so far, please go to Mark's blog... I will post more later on, if not while we are here, when we come back for sure. The internet at the hotel is way too slow (no cable, unfortunately!).

Buona sera!


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posted by Andrea Leite Marques at 10:04 PM 0 comments