Jewellery exhibition off to a glittering start

A model showing a necklace at a jewellery exhibition in Vijayawada on Friday.

A three-day B2B exhibition Grand Abhushanam, organised by the All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (AIGJDC), was inaugurated at SS Convention Centre here on Friday by Municipal Administration Minister P. Narayana.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Narayana said about four lakh people were dependent on making jewellery for their livelihood, and the government was committed to extending support to them and entrepreneurs looking to invest in the sector.

The government was giving incentives to attract investments, which jewellery makers should utilise, he said.

AIGJDC vice-chairman Anantha Padmanaban said road shows were conducted across the southern region in the last few weeks and jewellers were excited to visit the exhibition.

AIGJDC director Ashok Kumar Jain said the exhibition was intended not only to boost the trade in small towns and cities, but connect manufacturers from small towns with local trade bodies. Exhibition co-convener Rajesh Rokde, A.P. Bullion Gold, Silver and Diamond Merchants’ Association president K. Vijaya Kumar and chief organiser Shantilal Jain were present.

[“source=ndtv”]

Politics is a dangerous game: Rajinikanth

Photographs by Bandeep Singh

Will he, won’t he? Southern superstar Rajinikanth has exhibited Hamletian indecision about pursuing a political career ever since he announced he was joining the fray in December 2017. So far, he has not even announced the name of his political party, choosing instead to deploy his massive fan following under the umbrella of his Rajini Makkal Mandrams and using them to build a cadre of party workers across Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, the ageing star (he is 67) continues to do what he knows best-make iconic films. His latest-2.0, releasing November 29-has a monster Rs 540 crore budget, possibly the costliest Indian film ever made. A sci-fi thriller, it is a sequel to the blockbuster Enthiran (Robot), where Rajini played a double role, one as a robot replica of himself. His political fortunes now ride on the success of 2.0. If it proves to be another superhit, it will put his entry into Tamil Nadu’s political arena on the fast track. The star has always been cagey about his political plans. But in an in-depth interview at his home in Poes Garden (close to former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa’s), Rajinikanth spoke candidly to India Today not only about his life and films but also his political vision for Tamil Nadu, and a range of burning public issues. Excerpts:

Q. Despite your age, you continue to exude tremendous energy and passion in your films. Where does it come from?

A. In the beginning, I took to acting for a livelihood. Thereafter, I met the needs of my life. Now, I am enjoying it. It is entertaining to me. It is not like a profession. If I treat it like a profession, then work becomes a burden. Now it is like a game, it is relaxing. That’s probably where I get my energy from, from that thought.

Q. What kind of movies do you enjoy doing the most these days?

A. Comedy. I am very comfortable doing comedy scenes. When I go to the set and they say they are doing comedy scenes today, I jump. It is very difficult to make someone laugh, it is a bigger task. Not the dialogue type of comedy. Situation comedy is more challenging.

Q. Your early life was a struggle, you even worked as a bus conductor. How did that mould your outlook on life?

A. I am grateful to god that I went through all that suffering, those difficulties, which is why I am enjoying this life. [Pointing to the surroundings of his house] Otherwise, I wouldn’t have tasted this. I have known suffering, so I am enjoying this so-called success.

Q. Tell us why and how you took to acting?

A. It is a long story but I will tell you in short-it began with a play I did in Bangalore. Every year, for its anniversary celebration, each depot of the Karnataka transport department [where he worked as a bus conductor] had to stage a play. I chose to play Duryodhana because I was an NTR fan. I was a good imitator and I imitated him on stage. Raj Bahadur [a fellow driver] told me you are fantastic, you are not fit to be here, go to the film institute in Chennai, one day you will become a big actor. He encouraged me, and my brother [Satyanarayana Rao] also supported me financially. I joined the film institute where I met [director] K. Balachander who chose me for a film of his. The rest, as they say, is history.

Q. Who was your role model in acting, especially the style you developed?

A. From the beginning, Sivaji Ganesan. I used to imitate Sivaji. Even in dialogue deliveries. But when I was working with Balachander, it changed. He told me why do you want to imitate Sivaji Ganesan when Sivaji Ganesan is already there? That completely changed me. He identified in me the speed, the fast way I did things or whatever it is I did while acting. He told me: Retain it, that is your originality, your style, this is your hallmark, your signature. And that is how my style came about.

Q. That famous cigarette flip, how did you pick that up?

A. Shatrughan Sinha first did it in a Hindi film. I took it from there and improvised on it. I had to practise it for over a thousand times to perfect it. It is a skill but, more than that, the timing is important. Just not throwing it up, but to deliver the dialogue, the kind of situation and then you flip it.

Q. Your swagger, did you pick that up too?

A. It is not style, it comes to me naturally. People say I am stylish, okay, right.

Q. What is the biggest lesson you have learnt after all these years in your long career?

A. Everything is drama (laughs out loud).

Q. How challenging was acting in 2.0 compared to your other films?

A. 2.0 is a technician’s movie. It is Shankar’s creation, it is completely his picture, he is all in one. Which means we don’t have to do any thinking, we just do what he says, that’s it. He takes full responsibility. In other films, I give my inputs, my thoughts, my imagination, I improvise. I also discuss things with Shankar. But it is 90 per cent his job and he does it well.

Q. 2.0 has climate change as its theme. Are you trying to convey a larger message?

A. It is science fiction. It is a thriller. It is a matter of pride for Indian cinema. It can easily be compared to any Hollywood movie, in its making, in its content and in everything else. It is really an excellent picture.

Q. How is it different from Enthiran?

A. 2.0 is an advanced Enthiran. It is on another level. Now we are dealing with universal issues, it has a larger message.

Q. Do you like to convey messages through your films?

A. Basically, I am an entertainer. A Rajinikanth film means that children, parents, the family come expecting some entertainment. So I have to cater to them. In that, if I get any space to convey a good message, I try to do it.

Q. The late MGR and Karunanidhi used their films to convey political messages. Have you tried to do that?

A. From the beginning, I decided not to mix the two. Entertainment is different and politics entirely different. We should not make use of the entertainment media for that. Of course, some dialogue here and there will happen. How people interpret it and how they take it, we cannot stop. But I won’t do that deliberately.

Q. If you were to assess MGR’s contribution in cinema as well as politics, what would it be?

A. One thing is enough. As a cinema hero-for the first time in the world-he proved that he was a good politician and ruled the state. He proved that an artist can rule a state. That in itself is a very big thing.

Q. Is he in some way a role model for you?

A. For anyone in cinema who wants to enter politics, he is a role model.

Q. What lessons did you learn from MGR?

A. Mainly, his giving, helping nature. He had empathy for the poor and weak…not only after becoming a politician, but even before when he was in the cinema industry. He was known for his humanity and that is what I liked the most about him.

Q. What are your views on Jayalalithaa; she too was in films and came into politics?

A. Whatever else you may say, she was a great lady. Her courage, her determination, I appreciated that.

Q. What about her governance?

A. Governance, I don’t want to talk about now. But her quality of how she ruled and lived, a single woman in a man’s world… that is historic.

Q. You had differences with her. In 1996, you made a statement against her that adversely affected her electoral fortunes. Did you make up with her after that?

A. Ya, ya. She attended my daughter’s marriage. We used to respect her a lot.

Q. Do you consider Kamal Haasan a rival now that both of you have decided to enter politics?

A. Rivals? Not at all. Says who? I won’t even say competitor. My god, he is such a good friend. He is a co-star, in fact, in a serial he would help me even with the dialogue delivery, adjust dates for my sake. He is still a close friend of mine.

Q. What is your impression of Prime Minister Narendra Modi?

A. He seriously wants to do good for the nation, he is trying hard and he is trying his best. That’s all I want to say for now.

Q. MGR was a hero in most of his films and was careful about his screen image. But you have acted as a villain, even drinking and smoking in many of your movies. Will that have an impact on your image as a public persona now that you have announced joining politics?

A. My films are different and my life entirely different. Why should you merge the two? I am paid as an actor for films, whether I like the role or not. If I enter politics, I will be myself. I want to make a difference in politics. Otherwise, why should Rajinikanth join politics? I want to introduce a new and different type of politics. Otherwise, I am 67, my health too is in a check-up stage (chuckles). It is not easy to enter politics at this age, it is not a path of flowers. But still you have to change things, change that will make a difference in politics.

Q. Going by your experience, how is politics different from films?

A. I have not become a full politician as yet. With my little experience of it, I can say, my god, it is tough, really tough. I told you everything is a game, drama. In cinema, everybody is there, the producer, the director, the writer…someone else does the script. Whereas in politics, as a leader, I am the director, the writer, everything… It is very challenging.

Q. In films, your acting is all about being superfast. Yet in politics you are cautious and are not rushing things or speaking about your plans.

A. Politics is a very big game and very dangerous too. So I have to play it cautiously. And timing is very important.

Q. Why did you decide to join politics?

A. It is all god’s will. When I say god, it is an answer. Everything is in that.

Q. You talk a lot of about spiritualism, even when you said you were joining politics. What role does spiritualism play in your life?

A. My elder brother Satyanarayana is a very spiritual person. The Ramakrishna Mission ashram was near my house in Bangalore. When I was around 7 years old, he put me in the Ramakrishna ashram. So from childhood, I had the Vedas, the Upanishads, meditation with me. Later, there were many gurus and I made many trips to the Himalayas. It is a deep subject. Only someone who experiences it knows about it. It is difficult to convey in words. Mainly, you get peace. When your mind is peaceful, whatever you do, you do it well. That is most important.

[“source=indiatoday]

Fashion for a cause

Image result for Fashion for a cause

Maija Onzule models at the Fashion for a Cure event in Queenstown on Thursday night.

The fourth annual Queenstown Fashion for a Cure event was held at The Grille.

Hundreds of people packed in to the venue see the fashions.

The event supports Breast Cancer Cure, a charity that fundraises for research to find a cure for breast cancer.

Fashion for a Cure started in Auckland and has spread around the country.

Breast Cancer Cure general manager Phillipa Green said last year’s show in Queenstown raised a record $90,000.

This year’s event, hosted by Shane Cortese, featured fashion from top designers Trelise Cooper, Storm, RUBY, Zambesi and Kathryn Wilson Footwear.

[“source=forbes]

A guide on global online shopping for Indian buyers

It may not be as simple to shop from a global e-commerce website as it is from familiar online retail firms like Flipkart or Amazon India. Photo: iStock

It may not be as simple to shop from a global e-commerce website as it is from familiar online retail firms like Flipkart or Amazon India. Photo: iStock

Are you bored of your gaming console, and want to switch to Nintendo Switch? Or have you been eyeing that premium Harrods bag, or the latest collection from Saint Laurent or beauty products from Glossier? One way is to buy these global brands, not available in India, on your next trip abroad, the other is to hand a list to your NRI relatives. If you can’t wait that long, there’s always the option of shopping online from global e-commerce websites that ship internationally.

Click here for enlarge

Of course, there’s a cost attached to it, which many Indian shoppers don’t seem to mind paying, given the quality and choice. According to a report published by logistics firm DHL, The 21st century spice trade: A guide to the cross-border e-commerce opportunity, which quotes the Google Consumer Barometer, what drives consumers in less mature e-commerce markets like India to shop cross-border is better quality, broader range and trustworthiness. According to the report, 42% of surveyed Indian respondents said they shop from websites abroad due to better quality of products, while 37% liked the available offers. Electronic items (55%) and fashion apparels (45%) are among top purchases by Indian consumers, followed by beauty products and cosmetics (26%) and toys (20%).

But it may not be as simple to shop from a global e-commerce site as it is from familiar online retail firms like Flipkart or Amazon India—there are charges to take care of and payment and shipping options to consider. We hand-hold you through the hiccups and tell you smart ways to reduce your costs.

THE CHARGES

Shipping charges: While we are used to one-day free delivery option from most domestic e-commerce sites, ordering products from an international website typically attracts shipping charges. There are various factors that determine how costly the shipping is going to be. “Shipping charges are calculated based on factors like weight, dimension of the product, origin-destination, duties and taxes, insurance as applicable, and the service type (express takes 2-3 days, economy takes 5-15 days and postal takes 15-30 days),” said R.S. Subramanian, country manager, DHL Express India. Most global e-commerce websites have preferential rate agreements with a particular courier company and the same is displayed upfront at checkout.

Customs duty: All products, if imported for personal purposes, attract basic customs duty of 10%. On top of that, you also have to pay goods and services tax (GST) depending on the slab rate fixed by the government. Check the import customs tariff of various commodities here. While some websites might levy local taxes to be paid in your country in advance, some collect the customs duty upon delivery.

“Basic customs duty is 10% on majority of the products. It’s levied on the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value. If you are purchasing something online, the CIF value will be mostly put up by the courier company; their cost generally includes insurance, too,” said Bipin Sapra, tax partner, EY.

However, the customs officer takes into account the “assessable value” when calculating the duty. “Generally, the assessable value and CIF value are the same and the customs duty is imposed on such value. Assessable value is self-assessed by the importer and is accepted by the customs officer. In case, such value is rejected by the customs officer, then the officer may determine the value as per applicable rules,” said Suresh Nandlal Rohira, partner, Grant Thornton India LLP. The CIF value may sometimes get rejected by the customs officer if she has any reason to believe that the product has been undervalued by the sender.

“Online shoppers should take care that the products ordered online by them are imported through courier and used for personal purpose to avail the concessional rate of 10% basic custom duty,” added Rohira.

Currency conversion: Websites usually list products in their local currency (say US dollar or British pound). The rupee is not one of the strongest currencies globally and hence conversion rates might spike up the charges.

PAYMENT OPTIONS

Most international websites only accept credit cards, payments via Paypal account or Amex cards. Domestic debit/credit cards that are not enabled for international transactions may also not work on international portals.

However, debit cards of some banks might work for international transactions. So check with your bank if your debit card can be used to shop internationally. If not, ensure you either have a Paypal account or a Visa or Mastercard credit card.

SMART WAYS TO REDUCE COSTS

Compare prices with package forwarding sites: If you are shopping for multiple items, package forwarding websites like Borderlinx, Shipito, and Shop and Ship may help you save some money.

Once you sign up, these sites will give you access to local warehouse addresses of different countries, for a fee. Just shop from any website and enter this local package forwarding address during checkout. After receiving the product from the e-commerce portal at their warehouse, they repackage and consolidate items into one package (in case of multiple items) and also help reduce the weight and size. They also work for those looking for brands that are shipped only domestically, say within the US.

While they may work for multiple items and in a situation where the main website doesn’t ship to India, they can turn out to be expensive otherwise because they have steep shipping costs. So make use of these services only if you really need the product and are willing to pay a premium on it. Compare costs before going for it.

Look for cheaper currency: You can also save at the time of currency conversion. You can get slight advantages by checking if the product is available on another country’s portal, say the US or Europe, where conversion rates might be slightly better. “Customers should do their research to not just see what the listed price is but also what the delivered price is going to be,” said Sapra.

However, “customs duty would remain the same for that product regardless of the country (you order the product from),” said Rohira.

Look for offers: One way to avoid the shipping charge is by shopping when the websites come up with offers of free international shipping during festive or sale seasons. Many sites also waive off the charges on a minimum order amount.

While Indian consumers are willing to pay extra if they can find quality products online, shipping charges and customs duty often make the products 40-50% more expensive than the listed price. So research well. Last but not the least, be careful of online fraud and only shop from reliable websites.

[“Source-livemint”]

We compared online shopping at Costco and Boxed, the ‘Costco for millennials,’ and one had a clear advantage over the other

Costco Grocery

Costco’s website has a lot to offer, but it can be tricky to navigate.
  • Costco and Boxed are both bulk retailers that sell pretty much everything.
  • Boxed has been called the “Costco for millennials” because it’s an online-exclusive store with mobile ordering and speedy delivery. Costco also has an online store and mobile ordering, but its prices can be as much as 20% more there than in the physical warehouse stores.
  • Costco shoppers can shop online without a membership, but a 5% surcharge is applied at checkout.
  • The websites themselves have some obvious differences, and we found that one was much easier to use than the other.

Costco and Boxed – the so-called “Costco for millennials” – sell everything and anything in bulk.

Unlike Costco, Boxed is digitally native. It has mobile ordering and one-to-three-day delivery. It also offers free two-day shipping if you spend more than $49, and it doesn’t require a membership to make a purchase.

Costco has an online store in addition to its physical warehouses, but products across all categories tend to cost more online than in stores. Though the website allows shoppers to order from Costco without paying for a $60 annual membership, a 5% surcharge is applied at checkout. However, Costco has been taking some steps to reach more millennial shoppers, like offering two-day delivery through Costco Grocery and one-day delivery through a partnership with Instacart.

One of the most clear differences between Costco and Boxed is that Boxed members don’t need to pay an annual fee to access the savings. But the company did recently launch Boxed Up, a premium service that costs $49 a year and provides shoppers with perks like free shipping on orders over $20, 2% cashback rewards, and price matching with competitors.

Both websites offer major savings for bulk shoppers, but upon trying both, I found one was easier to use than the other. See what it’s like to shop at each:

Costco was the first site I went to. On the homepage were members-only savings deals, buyers’ picks, and a selection of different featured products in a variety of categories.

Costco was the first site I went to. On the homepage were members-only savings deals, buyers' picks, and a selection of different featured products in a variety of categories.

It was hugely different from the Boxed homepage, which was very simple and sleek. Scrolling down on the Boxed homepage, there were links leading to more information about bow Boxed gives back to different causes.

It was hugely different from the Boxed homepage, which was very simple and sleek. Scrolling down on the Boxed homepage, there were links leading to more information about bow Boxed gives back to different causes.

Costco had far more departments on its website, but it was cluttered and hard to navigate compared to Boxed.

Costco had far more departments on its website, but it was cluttered and hard to navigate compared to Boxed.

Boxed had a cleaner look. Though there weren’t quite as many categories, it was easy to find everything because the existing categories were pretty broad.

Boxed had a cleaner look. Though there weren't quite as many categories, it was easy to find everything because the existing categories were pretty broad.

The grocery page on Costco’s site, for example, is divided into 18 further categories such as pantry goods, packaged goods, snacks, and cookies. There were a ton of categories, but they were all very broad.

The grocery page on Costco's site, for example, is divided into 18 further categories such as pantry goods, packaged goods, snacks, and cookies. There were a ton of categories, but they were all very broad.

The Boxed grocery landing page is much more user-friendly. The homepage lists popular products, and on the lefthand side are categories like salty snacks, chocolate and candy, condiments and spices, and other more specific categories. Products can also be sorted by brand on both websites, and both offer two-day delivery.

The Boxed grocery landing page is much more user-friendly. The homepage lists popular products, and on the lefthand side are categories like salty snacks, chocolate and candy, condiments and spices, and other more specific categories. Products can also be sorted by brand on both websites, and both offer two-day delivery.

Comparing prices isn’t an exact science. For example, both sites sold Tide laundry detergent. Boxed sold a 150 oz. package for $19.99, and Costco sold a 200 oz. package for $28.99. The price was higher, but you were getting more for what you paid.

Comparing prices isn't an exact science. For example, both sites sold Tide laundry detergent. Boxed sold a 150 oz. package for $19.99, and Costco sold a 200 oz. package for $28.99. The price was higher, but you were getting more for what you paid.

Costco: 200 oz. for $28.99Boxed: 150 oz. for $19.99

As for the snacks, the prices seemed to be a little bit higher throughout Costco’s site.

As for the snacks, the prices seemed to be a little bit higher throughout Costco's site.

Costco’s private label, Kirkland Signature, was an exception to this. Boxed also has a private label, called Prince & Spring, but it was almost always more expensive than Kirkland Signature for identical products. A 27 oz. jar of almond butter from the brands’ respective private labels, for example, was $3 more expensive from Boxed than from Costco.

Costco's private label, Kirkland Signature, was an exception to this. Boxed also has a private label, called Prince & Spring, but it was almost always more expensive than Kirkland Signature for identical products. A 27 oz. jar of almond butter from the brands' respective private labels, for example, was $3 more expensive from Boxed than from Costco.

Costco: $8.79Boxed: $11.99

Both sites have a service for booking hotels, with prices typically starting around $100 a night. Costco had more luxury hotels that surpassed $700 a night, while the highest rates on Boxed were around $600. But Boxed was much easier to navigate than Costco — you couldn’t even see hotel prices on Costco without entering a membership number.

Both sites have a service for booking hotels, with prices typically starting around $100 a night. Costco had more luxury hotels that surpassed $700 a night, while the highest rates on Boxed were around $600. But Boxed was much easier to navigate than Costco — you couldn't even see hotel prices on Costco without entering a membership number.

In fact, nothing could be purchased from Costco’s website without a membership, unless you’re willing to pay a 5% surcharge on your purchase. A membership starts at $60 annually, with an executive membership costing $120 annually. The executive membership offers perks like 2% cash back on purchases.

In fact, nothing could be purchased from Costco's website without a membership, unless you're willing to pay a 5% surcharge on your purchase. A membership starts at $60 annually, with an executive membership costing $120 annually. The executive membership offers perks like 2% cash back on purchases.

The membership service at Boxed is optional. It’s structured similarly to Amazon Prime, offering free two-day shipping on orders over $20, price matching with competitors, and 2% cash back on purchases. It costs $49 annually.

The membership service at Boxed is optional. It's structured similarly to Amazon Prime, offering free two-day shipping on orders over $20, price matching with competitors, and 2% cash back on purchases. It costs $49 annually.

The shipping policies are also slightly different. Costco offers free two-day shipping for orders over $75 …

The shipping policies are also slightly different. Costco offers free two-day shipping for orders over $75 ...

… and Boxed offers free two-day shipping for orders over $49. With Boxed Up, shoppers only need to spend $20 for free two-day shipping. On Boxed, you don’t have to spend as much to get the perks.

... and Boxed offers free two-day shipping for orders over $49. With Boxed Up, shoppers only need to spend $20 for free two-day shipping. On Boxed, you don't have to spend as much to get the perks.

Overall, the Boxed website was much easier to use than the Costco website. Even though the Costco website offered the same treasure-hunt experience that its stores do, it was difficult to browse for products, and the deals weren’t as good as in stores. Boxed also makes it easier to get perks like free shipping and 2% cash back.

Overall, the Boxed website was much easier to use than the Costco website. Even though the Costco website offered the same treasure-hunt experience that its stores do, it was difficult to browse for products, and the deals weren't as good as in stores. Boxed also makes it easier to get perks like free shipping and 2% cash back.

[“Source-businessinsider”]

How To Become A Jewellery Designer

Gemstones, diamonds and precious metals: jewellery is born of nature’s finest handiwork. It’s unsurprising, then, that it carries an intrinsic emotional value too. It’s not only the act of buying, receiving or wearing jewellery that invests a particular piece with meaning – jewels are charged with their designers’ experiences and values, too. “It’s important to have a personal relationship with the people or stores that are buying my jewellery,” muses Danish designer Sophie Bille Brahe. “If I made it, I want to make sure it has a good life when it leaves my office.” Thus, jewellery is where personal stories, luxury and traditional craftsmanship intertwine, and any aspiring designer needs to have a handle on a broad mix of artistic, technical and commercial skills. Want to know what it takes? Vogue speaks to six industry leaders for a step-by-step guide to becoming a jewellery designer.

What does a jewellery designer do?

The breadth of a jewellery designer’s job depends on whether you work in-house for a brand or set up on your own. Either way, the most important part of your role is to provide a strong artistic vision. At Bulgari, creative director Lucia Silvestri lays out coloured gems, picks combinations and fixes them in putty to model her preferred constellation. The process involves creating a technical sketch, modelling it with computer-aided design (CAD) software and selecting the stones. Production then follows, starting with a 3D-printed prototype and ending with the work of the goldsmith, which includes metal-casting and stone-setting as well as engraving and enamelling. Unless they are going it alone, most designers won’t be physically involved in this part of the process – but they’ll still need to understand the mechanics of how jewellery is made if they want their designs to be wearable.

Lucia Silvestri.

DAVID ATLAN

Guidance from industry leaders and famous jewellery designers

Whether you want to design in-house or run your own brand, the first step is to get educated. And while you can expect to be in school for up to six years, the good news is there’s a lot of flexibility to jewellery design courses. London’s British Academy of Jewellery (BAJ), for example, offers programmes that last from six months to three years, including paid apprenticeships. Depending on the level students apply for, the interview process can include a bench test – in which you’ll show off your measuring, cutting, forming and soldering skills – and a portfolio review. So how do you get that portfolio to the top of the pile? “I would certainly want to see what’s behind a finished piece,” says Sofie Boons, BAJ’s head of academy. Students should always include moodboards and prototypes in their presentations – “so that I can see their thinking, their problem solving, [and] how they have come to a certain solution,” adds Boons.

Alternatively, you could hone in on your preferred craft. Bille Brahe trained as a goldsmith for almost five years at the Copenhagen Technical School of Design & Technology before enrolling on an MA course at London’s Royal College of Art. “Without having the craft, [the design process] becomes quite hollow,” she explains. Or how about gemology? Among Silvestri’s team at Bulgari are graduates of the European Institute of Design (IED), the Academy of Costume and Fashion in Rome, and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Other designers place less emphasis on technical expertise. “I don’t think it’s useful to go deeper if you [want to] create your own brand,” says French designer Anissa Kermiche, who advocates a short technical course to provide the necessary introduction to 3D printing, sketching and stone-setting. It suited her perfectly, combining two technical courses at the BAJ – CAD for jewellery production and Level 2 jewellery manufacturing – with a creative BA in jewellery design at Central Saint Martins.

Lucia Silvestri’s Rome studio.

DAVID ATLAN

How do you go from a student to a working jewellery designer?

Silvestri’s advice on getting that first break? “Shadow expert leaders, maybe abroad, even as an office assistant,” she says. And once you’ve got your foot in the door for an interview, you’ll need a strong portfolio of existing work showing competency at technical sketching and CAD. The BAJ advertises jobs through its social channels, but Boons advises students to keep an eye on trade publications and websites such as Benchpeg, Retail Jeweller, The Artists Information Company and The National Association of Jewellers. In some cases, it’s worth reaching out to companies directly, and important to bear in mind that the jewellery trade still relies on word of mouth. Applying for competitions such as HRD Antwerp or Talente in Munich – which in turn can lead to exhibitions – is essential to let yourself be known to as many industry professionals as possible.

The job interview process varies widely. Small businesses might require only one stage, but established companies can involve up to five, including bench tests, interview panels and, in some cases, a written exam. “Research is key,” says Boons. “Students should look into why their skills can contribute to the company, read their strategic plan and see how they could complement it. [Ask yourself] what job could get me the experience that they are looking for? It’s about planning and being resilient.”

Practice makes perfect

If you’ve been hired by a big brand, expect to keep training for the first two years of your career. “School is good, but practice is essential,” sums up Silvestri. “Even if our new recruits have commendable degrees, they always start by copying jewellery sketches from the Bulgari archives.” It’s the same at the Japanese heritage jeweller Mikimoto, where trainees spend 18 months learning Japanese traditional ink and fine-point brush techniques while sketching the entire Mikimoto design archive. The goal is to better understand how to manage your artistic goals with the mechanics of making jewellery. “Pearls are spherical and it’s quite difficult to incorporate round objects into jewellery,” explains Akira Haga, Mikimoto’s general manager of merchandise development. “It’s not something that you can learn in a day or two; you need a lot of experience.”

Akira Haga.

Learn how to communicate

At Mikimoto, designers compete to have their sketches chosen among dozens of other drafts, so it’s important to learn how to sell your design internally. “We line up all the rough designs on a table, followed by each designer’s presentation,” explains Haga, adding that communication skills are also essential between designer and craftsman. It’s this latter relationship that’s essential for a designer to master, as it’s the artisans who will interpret your design. This is easier in smaller houses; Bille Brahe, for example, manages a team of seven in her Copenhagen workshop. For bigger houses, it can be more complicated: at Cartier, the designers and craftsmen work under the same roof to ensure smooth communication, with Pierre Rainero, the brand’s director of image, style and heritage, describing “an endless discussion between the designers and the jewellers.”

When launching your own business, start small

When launching her brand, Kermiche transformed her house into a jewellery lab, crafting her first prototypes with small, relatively inexpensive stones. “I managed to save money because I spent [the previous] years learning how to make my own prototypes, so I didn’t have to spend on manufacturing,” explains the designer. “I don’t recommend mass producing right away,” adds American designer Jennifer Fisher, who was a wardrobe stylist before launching her own label. “You have to start small, grow from there and see what is successful.” Fisher made personalised dog tag charms for clients on set before setting up a customer-facing website, while Bille Brahe began making bespoke pieces while sourcing the financing for her brand. For the investments you do make, be strategic. “[It was important] getting a team that had the experience I didn’t have,” says Bille Brahe, while Fisher adds the simple but all-important advice to “make sure that the infrastructure of the business is sound.”

Jennifer Fisher.

Learn to tell stories

“Journalists love telling a story,” says Kermiche. Designing personalised pieces with a narrative can help you create an identity for your work in the international marketplace. Fisher, for example, created her dog tag design to celebrate the birth of her first son, while Bille Brahe started incorporating pearls in her jewels after her mother gave her a pearl necklace to celebrate her pregnancy. “You cannot offer anything as amazing as some of the big jewellery houses do,” she explains. “The only thing you can do is offer something that is very different and personal.”

Social media vs traditional PR

If you’re launching your own brand, social media can be your friend in getting the word out. Kermiche used her Instagram account as a lookbook, creating a fully-fledged visual identity for her new-born brand at a minimal cost. She then used the app to find journalists. “It won’t be long before they notice if your product is right,” explains the designer. Hiring a PR agency is another option, but for Kermiche the decision boils down to the designer’s personality. “If your friends are influencers, just do it yourself,” she explains. “But if you’re more of a creative mind, then of course a PR is vital.” However, thinking carefully about commercial partnerships you make and being aware of legal implications, including avoiding long contracts, is paramount. “I would have loved to have had a background in law,” she adds. “It would have saved my life on a daily basis.”

Sophie Bille Brahe.

Value your relationships with retailers

“I think it’s very important to respect relationships in this business, stay true to your word and respect the people who have respected you,” says Fisher. Barneys was the first US brick-and-mortar department store to approach her and she has maintained that relationship exclusively ever since. Similarly, Kermiche manages up to 20 face-to-face monthly meetings with retailers and mines these relationships for consumer insights she can feed back into her design work. “I ask them what sells in [their] shop, what’s the price point they like the most, what’s the colour of gold [they prefer],” she says. “It really helps me target my designs in a way that will sell.”

A step-by-step guide to becoming a jewellery designer

If you want to work for an established company:

  1. Choose a degree in fields like Design, Gemology or Fine Arts.
  2. Scan trade publications for job offers. Applying for competitions, exhibiting your work and networking are the easiest ways to get noticed by future employers.
  3. Get in touch with established brands, even if they are not publicly advertising for a role.
  4. When applying for a job, your portfolio should showcase your technical, manual and creative skills as well as your thought process. Include sketches, prototypes and moodboards.
  5. Do your research and keep up-to-date with industry news. Showing a good knowledge of a company’s history and commercial strategy can give you the upper hand over other candidates.
  6. Communication is key: as a designer you will be required to work with artisans, so practise explaining your thought process and concepts in a clear and concise manner.

Sketches at Akira Haga’s studio.

If your goal is to launch your own business:

  1. Combine a short technical course with a creative degree.
  2. Be financially aware: start with a small production, support yourself with bespoke orders, make your own prototypes and find people with the experience you don’t have.
  3. Self-promotion is essential: learn how to use social media to your advantage by creating a strong visual identity and connect with journalists, clients and retailers. Be mindful of your relationship with retailers: nurture them with personal meetings and use them to better target your designs.

[“Source-vogue”]

Mistakes to avoid while applying make-up, tips to get a flawless look

Dump all the products that have crossed their expiry date. Old and expired products are not safe to use and can lead to rashes, allergies and irritation.

Make-up can be your best friend or your worst enemy, depending on how you use it. To get it right, find the right blush for your skin tone, don’t wear waterproof mascara daily and don’t go overboard with your love for matching your everything with your outfit. Make-up artiste Mouna Lall, and Jason Arland, senior manager at Artistry, have listed the dos and don’ts of make-up:

* The biggest mistake is not using a moisturising cream. One must wash and apply a cream or moisturiser depending on the skin type at least 15 minutes before pruning the skin.

* Always use a primer which helps the foundation to have a smooth surface to settle on. This makes make-up last long.

* If you have dry skin, any kind of moisturiser can be used where as if you have an oily skin then only water based foundations should be used.

* It is important to know how to apply foundation. We make big mistakes like using both our hands and rubbing it away instead of tapping and placing it on the skin with two fingers or a brush.

* Confusing correctors and concealers is a major confusion people often have. Correctors are for correcting one’s skin tone whereas concealers will conceal the corrector and foundation, giving an even skin tone.

* Use a fine mineralised powder just to set the make-up base to avoid a heavy cakey face as the natural make-up look is in fashion.

* Matching same colour eyeshadow, lipstick and nail polish with clothes is a big no as the look becomes one-dimensional and is not appealing to the eyes. If you wear a pink outfit with gold work, then the eyes can be brown gold or smokey with only lipstick matching the dress.

* Heavy punched in the face kind of smokey eyes is a big turnoff. Blend it well.

* Go for a blush that is closest to your skin tone. Fair and medium skinned people can try the rosy pink and peaches. Nude, red and brown coloured blush look best on people with dusky and deeper skin tones.

* Using same colour lip liner all over the lips and following with lipstick is important for the lipstick to have a long stay and not leave a line after a while.

* Waterproof mascara is amazing, but not always. The water-resistant formula can dry out your lashes causing them to break easily. Also, removing the waterproof mascara takes a whole of effort which can again damage your lashes. Keep it reserved for weddings and parties.

* Dump all the products that have crossed their expiry date. Old and expired products are not safe to use and can lead to rashes, allergies and irritation.

* Make-up brushes are important tools that give you the right application and finish. Keeping them clean prolongs their life and saves you a lot of trouble of breakouts and infection. Wash them regularly with warm water and detergent and then soak them in antiseptic liquid before drying out completely.

* Bronzer has become the next big thing in the make-up world. But while everybody wants to use bronzer for that sun-kissed look, wearing too much of bronzer and applying it all over the face can backfire. Use the smallest quantity of bronzer on the jaw line, edges of the forehead, temples and sides of the nose bridge for a warm glow that looks natural.

* Lipsticks are the easiest way to perk up the pout. A general thumb rule to follow is that, dark colours are likely to make your lips look even thinner while lighter ones will make the lips look fuller.

[“source=hindustantimes”]

Fashion’s Grand slam: why Wimbledon is a masterclass on how to look smart in the summer

Match point: the Duchess of Cambridge, Victoria Beckham, Serena Williams, the Duchess of Sussex and Anna Wintour Photograph: Guardian Design Team

From dreamy Ralph Lauren uniforms to all-white jumpsuits, your summer style directive is courtside SW19 – channelling Meghan and Kate, Anna Wintour and Serena Williams

Can we talk about the weather? Is there even any other subject right now? It is the beginning and end of every conversation. How marvellous it is, how lucky we are, obvs, segueing rapidly into the kicker: what on earth to wear? Holiday weather is a breeze when you are pulling a dress on over a bikini. But when you are still on-duty and expected to look smart, summer dressing is a challenge.

But as luck would have it, there is a masterclass on how to look smart in the summer being broadcast live from London for most of the day, almost every day, for the next fortnight. It’s called Wimbledon. While the rest of the country flails hopelessly around trying to figure out what to wear when your work wardrobe doesn’t suit the climate but your holiday wardrobe doesn’t suit the vibe, one corner of SW19 is showing us how it’s done.

Wimbledon is Britain’s best-dressed moment of the year. London fashion week has too many outsize trainers and miniature sunglasses; the Baftas has that baffling “it’s early February, I think I’ll stand outside in a strapless dress and no coat” goosebumpy thing going on; Ascot is Halloween for posh people. Wimbledon, on the other hand, is bona fide summer chic. And Wimbledon is more fashionable than it has ever been, because it lies at the crossing point of two axes of power in style this decade. SW19 is where the glamour of sport and the allure of the royal family come together – and the stock of both in fashion is at an all time high. The unstoppable rise of athleisure has made playing sport (or performatively watching sport, as exemplified by the royal box) more high-profile than ever. And the passing of the Wimbledon baton to a younger generation of the royal family (the Queen, not a tennis fan, has only ever attended four times) has amplified its profile by having coincided with the impact of the tennis-obsessed Middleton family in the royal landscape. Pippa Middleton is even more of a keen fan than her sister, and counts Roger Federer a close enough pal for him to have been a guest at her wedding last year.

If you don’t believe that strawberries and cream at Wimbledon now constitutes fashion’s top table, consider this. Serena Williams, the Duchess of Sussex, the Duchess of Cambridge, Victoria Beckham and Anna Wintour are probably the five most influential women in fashion in 2018, and the All England Club will probably play host to all five before next Sunday. Serena Williams, recent American Vogue cover star and currently to be seen in a Dior bodysuit on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, is dominating early storylines on Centre Court as she returns from maternity leave. The new Duchess of Sussex, whose every public appearance leads to an instant sellout of whatever she wears, is a tennis fan (she attended in 2016) and pretty much a dead cert to support her friend Williams. The Duchess of Cambridge is a tennis nut and patron of Wimbledon. Victoria Beckham is a regular at the men’s final. As eight-times champ Roger Federer’s most loyal fan, Anna Wintour is sure to make an appearance as he defends his title. This is a power front row like no other. Oh, and Beyoncé – another friend of Williams, who has attended Centre Court as her guest – is in Europe, so don’t rule out a courtside cameo from the Carters, if they can carve out a moment from their tour schedule.

Beyonce and Jay Z at the Wimbledon women’s final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber in 2016.
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 Beyonce and Jay Z at the Wimbledon women’s final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber in 2016. Photograph: Karwai Tang/WireImage
Wimbledon uniform by Ralph Lauren.
 Wimbledon uniform by Ralph Lauren.

But the A-list are not the point, because what makes Wimbledon truly relevant to the business of getting dressed is that its fashion power does not derive from untouchable haute couture wardrobes. The joy of Wimbledon is that everyone is chic. The famous all-white dress code ensures that every on-court shot is a pure visual harmony. Then there is the Gatsby-esque dreaminess of the Ralph Lauren uniforms. Ballgirls and ballboys wear simple preppy navy polo shirts and polo dresses, while umpires and line judges wear blazers and smart cream slacks. The elegance of the uniforms is a lovely thing, because it makes those working at Wimbledon as central to the glamour of the place as the Duchesses in their Alexander McQueen tea dresses.

Dress, Zara, £29.99
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 Dress, Zara, £29.99 Photograph: Zara

The many style lessons to be learned from watching Wimbledon begin, of course, with white. When you want to look cool and calm in summer, all-white is an excellent place to start. Who wouldn’t take style tips from Roger Federer, the snow-white Centre Court dream whose appearance at this year’s opening press conference caused a reporter to blurt out that he was looking “even more handsome than last year”? I have never mastered wearing white on holiday (incompatible with a regime of spaghetti vongole and pistachio ice-cream) but I have learned that when you want to look competent and chic, white is the simplest formula for summer power dressing.

Blazer, £49.99, zara.com
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 Blazer, £49.99, zara.com Photograph: PR Company Handout

Also, blazers. If you are still harbouring inverse snobbery against the blazer, take a good look at Wimbledon and then at yourself. It is true that if you wear a blazer with a striped shirt and a panama hat and ostentatiously expensive watch, you will look ghastly. But if, on the other hand, you wear a blazer with your normal wardrobe you will find it neatens the edges of your look in a pleasingly no-effort kind of way. The key is not to shy away from going full-on blazer and thereby end up in a boring suit jacket. Gold buttons? Great, wear the blazer with a white T-shirt and cropped trousers and gold hoop earrings. Double-breasted? Surprisingly flattering thrown over a sundress.

Self-Portrait dress, £300, from matchesfashion.com
 Dress, £300, frommatchesfashion.com.

The Wimbledon “look” is smart, but not fraught. Even in the royal box, the dress code for female spectators is surprisingly relaxed. This makes Wimbledon an infinitely more useful template for what-to-wear-in-real-life than the royal enclosure, Ascot, with its compulsory millinery, or the Met Gala with its impossible dress codes (this year, if you recall, was Catholic chic). Self-Portrait is a popular label – Pippa Middleton wore one of their dresses last year, and Beyoncé the year before that – reinforcing its status as the home of formal-but-still-fun dresses. Sienna Miller in a cream Galvan jumpsuit, red lipstick and tortoiseshell sunglasses (2015) will forever serve as a reminder that the Talented Mr Ripley school of summer dressing takes a lot of beating.

This year’s Wimbledon is only just hotting up, but the fashion game is strong as ever. For day one, Mirka Federer teamed her deckchair-striped cotton shirt with a Gucci belt while Laura Carmichael wore a Ganni wrap dress: two strong summer looks, right there. The grass is green, the dress code is white – but this is a red carpet. Pour yourself a Pimm’s, and watch.

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. The Guardian is independently owned. That means we don’t have a billionaire owner funding us but it also means we increasingly rely on contributions directly from our readers.

The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as £1, you can support the Guardian – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

[“Source-theguardian”]

OPINION: Seven habits of a successful online jewellery retailer

Guest column by The Diamond Store chief executive officer, Gary Ingram

The job of online jewellery retailers has never been so tough. The cost of acquiring customers and in particular Google clicks have soared. Brexit looms. Modern customer expectations and the social media landscape are forcing us to do more with less.

To combat the pressure, here are seven critical habits that I feel will help British jewellery e-tailers build stronger brands and bottom lines heading towards 2019, which we apply to TheDiamondStore.co.uk.

  1. Be adaptable

Digital trends, Google algorithms, smartphone touch payment technology; the tools that drive online sales are in a constant state of flux. As frustrating as it is sometimes, we must constantly be prepared to trash yesterday’s plans and start again. Embracing change is the only way forward in the fast-moving world of ecommerce.

  1. React to trends as they happen

Celebrities dictate trends – as we’ve seen with Meghan Markle. But if we want to sell products off the back of trends, we need to react to them in real time. Tomorrow is too late. During the week of the Royal wedding, traffic to our online magazine’s Royal Family articles spiked from 12,000 weekly organic visits to 35,000. This provided an incredible vehicle for sales, but we were only able to benefit from it because we had exciting, interactive web and social content poised to go live as the event unfolded.

  1. Get granular

Granular… this marketing buzzword has been thrown around so much, some have come to loathe it. Yet it is exactly what brings an online environment closer to a “real store experience”. Granularity refers to crunching marketing data down to the finest level of detail. For instance, we know that our biggest social media sales converters are females, 25-35 of age. We also know fairly accurately who, and for what occasions, they buy jewellery gifts for. This amount of detail allows us to create targeted campaigns that offer genuine value to our customer niches.

  1. Overlap customer services and social media

Today’s online shoppers expect to communicate with retailers instantly, via multiple channels. We offer Live Chat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, social media feeds, and of course, email and telephone. This means our Customer Service and Social Media teams need to work closely together to catch every customer comment and question. The focus is on gaining trust; when our teams align their efforts it makes our customers feel reassured.

  1. Find practical ways to refresh product lines

Baby boomers and generation X are still shopping for classic heirloom jewellery, while millennials look for pieces with a shorter trend-based lifespan. This makes curation of product lines incredibly tricky. But often simply updating best-performing collections by introducing variations in precious metal type, gems or design details, keeps things exciting for loyal customers, while attracting potential new shoppers.

  1. Expose your brand to unbiased feedback

The Competition and Market Authority (CAM) estimates that around £23 billion per year spent by UK consumers is potentially influenced by online reviews. We have been subscribing to the Feefo.com independent review platform since 2011 because it not only allows us to get honest feedback, but also respond to it. Again, in an online environment where we don’t meet our customers face to face, this is another route to personal interaction and trust building (as well as overall improvement).

  1. Provide value

Sales are what keep businesses going. But modern consumers don’t like to feel that they’re being sold to. Tweaking your message from “selling” to “being of service” adds value and creates a shopping experience so good your customer want to repeat it. To add value, do your research and give customers what they want; speak their language, provide attractive packaging, offer trustworthy advice, useful content and fast free shipping. Arguably, the overall message of value that brands provide can sometimes be even more important that the products they sell.

[“Source-professionaljeweller”]

Just Sonam Kapoor Shopping For A Snack Wearing A Stunning Saree. See Throwback Pic

Just Sonam Kapoor Shopping For A Snack Wearing A Stunning Saree. See Throwback Pic

Sonam Kapoor was last seen Sanju (Courtesy sonamkapoor)

Actress Sonam Kapoor took a trip down the memory lane and fished out a BTS photo of herself from the sets of PadMan. Sharing the throwback memory on Instagram, Soman captioned the photo: “Shoots make me hungry.” She accompanied the post with hashtags “#ThrowbackThursday” and “#BTSPadMan”. In the photo, Sonam, draped in a saree, can be seen scouting the shelves of a departmental store to grab a quick snack between the shots. “Sonam reaching out for some chips,” It’s making me hungry too,” and “Shopping time,” are some of the comments on the photo. Sonam Kapoor’s photo has been liked by over 224,794 fans in less than five hours

[“source=marketingweek]