Tag Archives: opals

MY AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURE Pt VII – OPALS, OPALS, OPALS!

Winton in Queensland, is a beautiful little outback town that’s filled with picturesque turn of the last century buildings, sculptures and art installations down the centre of the main street and stores filled with opals and other locally mined gemstones and minerals. My favourite store is run by a couple who have appeared on the hit tv series, Outback Opal Hunters, so it was great to meet Joe Taranto and his jewellery designer wife, Natasha and their doggy mate Duncan, when I walked into their large store, The Opal Miner.  https://www.facebook.com/theopalminerwinton

They told me how hard it was digging for opals out in the heat, dust and flies. They’ve been mining for over 20 years, searching for “boulder opals” which are most sought after and valuable. Their store showcases their efforts in both raw form and stunning jewellery designed and crafted by Natasha.  They also have cool t-shirts, jackets and other logo’d clothing & accessories. And yes, I bought a fab t-shirt. If you visit their Fcbk page (linked in beginning of story) you’ll find examples of Tash’s spectacular, award winning designs such as…

Their new website will launch in the new year so make sure to check it out early 2023 for int’l sales – yes, they will ship to North America.  www.theopalminer.com.au  You, too, could own a gorgeous pair of opal earrings…like mine!My favourite memory of my visit, apart from buying my earrings, was all those doggy kisses from Duncan. Who’s a good boy…yes you are!

 

MY AUSTRALIAN ADVENTURE Pt. VI – QUEENSLAND’S OUTBACK “HOLLYWOOD DOWN UNDER”

Although I travelled around Australia visiting all the big cities and coastal tourist havens, the small country town that really won my heart was WINTON, Queensland.undefinedI first became aware of Winton when it was the location for films and tv shows featuring my idol, Aaron Pedersen. The whole point of visiting with my travel companion and fellow Pedersen fan, Suzi, was to visit some of the town locations and recreate the scenes (eg: sitting on his bar stool at Tattersall’s Hotel from Total Control – see below) and paying tribute to our screen hero who has apparently now retired without formal notice. Suzi and I actually visited several known locations including Broome which was where his final Mystery Road series was shot (I’ll post a Broome blog later).Aaron is featured prominently in both the Waltzing Matilda Centre and the Royal Theatre which is the location for the annual Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival which takes place at the end of June. Winton is also home to great opal shops and suppliers, in particular Joe and Natasha of The Opal Miner store who have appeared on the hit tv series, Outback Opal Hunters.The residents and business owners in Winton are a wonderful bunch – friendly, welcoming and eager to chat about their town – I hope I can do them justice here.  So first, let’s chat about Aaron, director Ivan Sen and the impact Mystery Road has had on the town. In the large museum dedicated to legendary poet and journalist A.B. “Banjo” Patterson and his world-famous poem/song Waltzing Matilda, there are numerous phots, movie posters and quotes on Mystery Road/Goldstone that stand out as soon as you walk into the first exhibition hall… The museum is a treasure trove of historical artifacts from the earliest settlers when sheep were the mainstay of daily life. Shearing equipment, old photos, as well as stockmen’s gear, gold mining artifacts and ANZAC memorabilia – we spent nearly 2hrs going thru the halls and outside into barns…it kept going and going and going. But for any proud Australian, the song Waltzing Matilda is considered the unofficial anthem of the country and brings a tear to any eye, esp. those of us who have been away from home for so long. If you’re interested in learning more about the centre, log on to: https://www.matildacentre.com.au

Another great heritage site is the famous Royal Theatre which shows movies under the stars and also has a museum attached. Look what was playing the week Suzi and I were in town!! Visit their website for a great virtual tour: https://royaltheatrewinton.com.au/What a great building to tour – the old box office, the dramatic entrance into the theatre itself with deck chair seating as well as cushioned chairs, with lots of displays around the projection equipment, then into the museum hall with vintage movie posters, cameras and equipment, as well as tributes to locally filmed movies….and lots of Aaron Pedersen pics! …and outside, they have a Walk of Fame which was created with the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival (founded by Butch Lenton) hosted at the Royal each year. So many Aussie greats are represented there but we hope Aaron makes it to the sidewalk soon. http://www.visionsplendidfilmfest.com/ Mystery Road fans may also recognize this motel location – the rooms have been reno’d and upgraded since filming several years ago (it’s under new mgmn’t, too) but yes, this is where Jay Swan slept…and so did we!!   In fact, Mystery Road is all around town…including a back alley garage decoration and a “Pinky’s” sign found in a hair salon window. The single main street of the town is filled with architectural treasures – typical Aussie pubs and cafes, stores and art installations…

and the sunsets were spectacular, esp. from the patio outside Tattersall’s Hotel. BTW, the food there was deelish. The other big attraction in Winton for me is the opal market…tons of raw opals and beautifully designed jewellery can be found up and down the street but my fave store to drop into is The Opal Miner. It was such a great experience that I’m dedicating a blog just to their fabulous gems..so stay tuned for my next story. In the meantime, here are a few more random pics of Winton before we head off to the Age of the Dinosaurs archeological park attraction located just outside of Winton. It’s Jurassic Park without the screaming, running and biting! It was so hot, hot, HOT throughout my stay that only an icy popsicle would help!

get your rocks off at the spring gem expo in toronto!

Here’s the ultimate “rock concert” – if you like gorgeous gems and baubles, then this is the show for you.20180316_144750Big thank you to Salim Moorani, Founder of The Gem Expo, for inviting me to come out to the spring show which opened today at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on King W in Toronto – show runs tomorrow, Saturday Mar.17th  10am-6pm and Sunday Mar.18th 10am-5pm.  www.thegemexpo.com  Salim greeted me at the door along with his charming wife and daughter (below) and then let me wander the aisles, meeting up with vendors and gem ambassadors.20180316_135028I was pleased to run into the lovely folks from Sonatona Natural Gemstones & Minerals (below) who I met last year…they’re always ready with a smile and willing to share their extensive knowledge about their precious and semi-precious stones. www.stores.ebay.com/sonatona20180316_140551 20180316_140636Lots of ready made jewellery as well as loose gems for crafters and home bead-makers….20180316_140802 20180316_14081420180316_14131920180316_14103120180316_141910One new vendor I was delighted to meet was Deb from Karibu Beads, featuring hand-made Kazuri Beads from Kenya. The story of these beads is fascinating so I encourage you to visit www.karibubeads.com to learn more. Here are just some of the gorgeous colourful beads I saw….20180316_142719 20180316_142724 20180316_142745The Gem Expo also features some stunning glass work, too, including these giant “crystal balls” and some spooky stone skulls. Groovy, baby!20180316_135155 20180316_135219How about some fossils? Check out these prehistoric shark teeth…yikes!20180316_135320Meet another new vendor, Ryan Desantos of Laya Skye Jewelry (below).  He brings in handcrafted designs from Bali and I particularly liked the amazing “floating” rings that are all sterling silver with a rotating element so you can fiddle away and calm your nerves with them. One of them almost fit…I was soooo tempted. His new website is currently under construction but do check it out next month: www.LayaSkyeJewelry.com20180316_142957 20180316_143403More fabulous bling…..what’s a girl to do?!20180316_143615 20180316_135642 Lots to see and buy so come on down this weekend – most vendors take credit cards and Debit cards/Interac, plus there are cash machines in the hotel.20180316_141521

DIAMONDS AND EMERALDS AND PEARLS, OH MY! GLORIA BASS BRINGS HER AWARD-WINNING DESIGNS TO YORKVILLE TRUNK SHOW – TODAY IS LAST DAY!

On Sunday Nov. 27th, Montreal-based award-winning Canadian jewellery designer GLORIA BASS launched her 2-day Christmas trunk show at 24 Bellair St in Yorkville, Toronto, and oh my, what wonderful bright sparkly treasures she showcased! Like the stunning Labradorite necklace above, each piece is unique and hand-crafted by Gloria and her goldsmiths so if you’re looking for a little luxury for this year’s festive season (or any season!), please drop in todayMonday Nov. 28th, between 10am and 5pm to experience the ultimate in bling!  Here’s just a little taste of what you’ll see……20161127_10451620161127_10493320161127_10583120161127_10493820161127_104649Gloria only uses the finest quality gemstones sourced from around the world and works in 18kt gold; she also works with exquisite pearls from the south seas, Tahiti and freshwater or cultured pearls from Japan.  You can see more of her innovative designs on her website:  www.gloriabassdesign.com  She also works on commission, as well as custom bridal pieces.20161127_11010520161127_11012120161127_11043020161127_104535As you can probably tell, I’m a huge fan of pearls and Gloria has created a special “ombre”style design (below) with perfectly matched Tahitian and South Seas pearls….what do you think of these beauties?20161127_110227There are many different pieces featuring South Seas, cultured or fresh water pearls set with precious stones in 18kt gold from which to choose…20161127_11571320161127_105029

20161127_105023You simply MUST come in to see these treasures in person.  You will not find Gloria Bass Design jewellery in any department stores so today is your last chance to view work from one of Canada’s leading designers. Again, 24 Bellair St, Yorkville (close to Bay & Bloor) from 10am until 5pm. Cash, credit card or debit.

Gloria (left) & her assistant Marie-Josee

Gloria (left) & her assistant Marie-Josee

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MONTREAL JEWELLERY DESIGNER GLORIA BASS BRINGS STUNNING COLLECTION TO TORONTO POP-UP BOUTIQUE

The other day I received this invitation (below) via email and being located only a few blocks from my home, I decided to visit the pop-up shop in Yorkville and meet fine jewellery designer Gloria Bass. I’m sooooo glad I did!gloria-bass pop upJust extended for one more day, the pop-up is located on the West side of Bellair just past Sassafraz, in the Ritchie Estate Jewellery store at #24, the walls are lined with display cases filled with Gloria’s exquisite jewellery. My photographs don’t do the “wearable art” justice so I borrowed a couple of shots from her website (linked at end of story) – I encourage you to visit online for descriptions of each unique piece, handcrafted with the finest gems and metals (18ct gold) and South Sea pearls of varying sizes and colours. Gloria’s signature filigree gold wire accents and clasps are intricately woven into each piece.20160515_133740 20160515_133746 20160515_133755collection-gloria-titillium_15For over forty years, Ms. Bass has channeled her passion for design and her skills as a goldsmith, to steadily build the reputation of Gloria Bass Design. As the soul of the company, her sensibility can be found in every Gloria Bass Design creation.20160515_133905(0)Based in Montreal, Gloria (above Right, with her charming assistant Marie-Josee, above Left) and her team of highly skilled assistants and craftsmen continue to serve an international clientele. The pieces of jewelry produced in her workshop are the outcome of her curiosity, creative talent and thought. They evoke sensuality and elegance.  The unique Gloria Bass Design style is easily recognized in each stunningly beautiful and quality-made piece of jewelry. The world’s most voluptuous pearls and breathtaking gems are combined with distinctive goldsmithing techniques to become wearable, and at the same time, extremely comfortable pieces of art. Insistence on precision and detail, and the use of the finest materials, ensures superior quality.s-rThe exhibition and sale has been so popular that Gloria is extending the pop-up for another day (Monday May 16) before returning to Montreal, so if you’re in Toronto, please make sure you drop in anytime tomorrow between 10am and 7pm to see the magnificent statement necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and men’s cufflinks. 24 Bellair in Yorkville….and be sure to tell Gloria and Marie-Josee I sent you.      www.gloriabassdesign.com/