Ivory & Certain Types Of Fur Are Basically Banned From All Markets

For a long time, antique and vintage ivory and furs were in a different category from the new ones. It was generally considered okay and ethical to buy and sell these items if they were classified vintage or antique. I have never had much attraction to buying vintage fur, with the exception of some mink hats and headbands, and a few items with genuine fur collars. The list of banished furs includes fur from all big cats, all primate fur, and all types of bear fur. Sealskin products cannot be exported to the USA, European Union, Mexico, or Taiwan. Canada is one of the few countries that permits the sale of sealskin items.

Ivory has become a taboo product due to the poaching, endangered elephants, and the skill artisans have to make it look antique. Although it is not illegal to own inherited or antique ivory, it can no longer be exported or sold. Some of these laws are fairly recent and expanding to include other countries. The only way to identify the age of the ivory is through carbon dating. Recently an antique dealer in Toronto was fined and charged for having carved elephant tusks for sale. As it turned out, they were able to identify the age of the tusks, which placed them in the seventies when poaching was a real problem.

Over the years, I have picked up some ivory necklaces and bracelets but cannot be sure how old the pieces are. It seems the best thing is to donate them to a museum or educational institute. Different types of ivory can be identified by the pattern of the schreger lines. The location the ivory came from can also be identified because they can determine the diets of the elephants by the tusks.

One of the many sad things about the poaching, is that of all the elephants that die naturally, the ivory cannot be used because of the illegal activity associated with it. It’s too bad the elephants were not protected from poachers in the first place. There should have been a method of making sure all tusks were matched to the death of the elephant. The product made from the tusks of elephants that died naturally should have been hallmarked as such. It would be a good idea to have a method of marking during the creation of the piece, similar to what they did to help people avoid buying blood diamonds. Ivory is very beautiful, especially since it has often been combined with some of the most exquisite carving known to man.

As far as the example set in Kenya where tons of confiscated ivory was burned – on principle, I disagree with the destruction of artifacts. However, the issues surrounding the endangerment of these beautiful and intelligent creatures, the horrors of poaching, and the difficulty in accurately dating the ivory – makes the bans understandable.

There can be some confusion in terminology surrounding vegetable ivory and what is referred to as “French ivory”. Vegetable ivory is from tagua nuts and can be carved, decorated or dyed. French ivory is a type of celluloid or plastic that looks like ivory. French ivory and vegetable ivory have nothing to do with elephants or endangered species.

Now it’s time to see if any of the feathers on the hats are from endangered birds! I do have one hat with a real bird on it. It is a black hat embellished at the front with a small blackbird – dating it prior to the 1909 ban on such practices. The moral of this story is an anthropomorphic oxymoron. From an animal’s perspective – humans do some very strange things!




Where Do Women Stand In Small Business Ownership ~ When It Comes To Canada’s High Potential For Growth In E-commerce?

According to the Federal government SME research and statistics (2012-2016)  Canadians are among the most wired in the world with Internet access available to 87% of the population. Some of the northern and rural areas do not have the same service as the urban areas do. Within Canada, BC and Alberta are the biggest users (according to 2012 stats).

As far as small to medium businesses in Canada, more than half are located in Ontario and Quebec. The average number of people owning SME’s is 45.2 per 1000 population nationwide. Western Canada has consistently demonstrated a robust growth in small business development. The majority of small businesses (78%) offer services. The highest percentage of small business is made up of micro-entrepreneurs consisting of businesses with one to four employees.

Small businesses have a revolving door element. Out of 13,820 start-ups, there were 12,590 deaths. A high percentage of those are in the professional, scientific and technical service sectors. BC and Alberta combined, contribute more than the national average in SME according to GDP measurements.

How do women fare in the participation surrounding business ownership? Unfortunately, we do not fare that well. According to stats from 2014 – small businesses with the majority of male ownership was 64.7% while the majority of female owned businesses was 15.7% The female owned businesses tend to be concentrated in the service sector, mostly in information, administration, aesthetician services, decorating, daycare, health care and recreation. Outside of these service areas, the business ownership by women drops to around 8%

The average educational levels for SME owners is a Bachelors or Masters degree for 30-60% of them. This comes as no surprise since Canada already has a high percentage of tertiary level education among its population. Since women tend to be more cautious when it comes to business, we are also inclined to do more research. The reality of it is that only 4.5% of the population establishes a successful small business. It doesn’t take much math comprehension to see what a minuscule representation women have in the bigger picture. But women do tend to be strong in semantics at a time when there is value in being able to write semantic HTML. Many women also have a good eye when it comes to colours, layout and design.

What are the barriers for women in business? It cannot be denied there are many barriers, when there is such a dramatic gender difference in business ownership. Whatever the reasons, women do face an uphill battle. The most obvious barrier and lack of support pertains to financing. But the gender barriers are far more complex, longstanding – and much more deep-rooted than money alone. They surround us. Maybe even engulf us, in the amount of disdain we have to endure.

E-commerce provides an opportunity for female owned micro-enterprises to gain some ground in developing and owning businesses. Ten years ago, a website could not be developed without learning how to write code. Five years ago you had to take hours and hours of computer instruction just to be able put a blog and online store together on the same website. And if not done correctly from a technical perspective – it would slow your site to less than a crawl.

Another valuable tip for E-commerce start-ups is to ignore all advice (advertising and hype) telling you it is possible to set up an online store in minutes. No such concept (of instant gratification or results) exists when it comes to building something with lasting value. Businesses do not get built in minutes. You need to have a long-term commitment to task, combined with some clear day to day directives. I set mini mottos and foundational criteria in my head for almost everything. Otherwise I get sidetracked.

Before they started doing automatic file compressions and cloud computing, you would be charged bandwidth on images. In some cases, they took your credit card number and titrated it according to some non-identifiable bandwidth usage. It was very limiting in the number of pictures you could upload, as well as in trying to estimate what the bandwidth would cost overall. Plus every single image had to have several captions, alt tags etc. which made it tedious and prohibitive if your site relies on showing multiple images on thousands of products. Now you can upload as many pictures as you want to. The one thing to note is that once uploaded, they are lossy images and cannot be photo edited. In looking back at some of the bad pictures I took, I thought maybe I could use a photo editing plug in to make improvements. But the photo editing has to be done before uploading – due to the loss of resolution in the compressions.

Web developer costs range between 65-100 dollars an hour. Don’t be taken in by the cheap outsourcing costs you read about. For 35-50 dollars an hour you get a language barrier, which is not conducive to developing anything. You have to learn how to do things on your website without hiring a web developer. There are too many changes and tweaks to make, never mind allowing someone you don’t know onto the admin panel of your site. There is nothing worse than a bunch of cluttered up code. It can break your site. Whoever made up the slogan “Code is Poetry” must have different neuronal pathways than I do!

Just a few years ago you could not set up payment gateways without going through rigorous and complex settings that required you to store all credit card data on your site. It put a huge burden of responsibility on the web developer or business owner because of the threat of hacking and phishing. In an effort to overcome that hurdle, they set it up so when the customer paid they were re-directed to the secure payment gateway. But it was only a partial solution as it had the disadvantage of taking the person away from your website at the critical point of conversion, and disrupted the continuity of your branding.

The technical advances now are such that the purchase goes to the secure payment gateway using screen shots so that it gives the impression of staying on the site while the payment is being made. This means the website does not need to store any credit card data or a customer’s personal banking information on the site. In addition, the newer platforms are connected to QuickBooks. All of the parameters surrounding taxation, shipping etc. can be entered and tracked on one site. As they streamline these attributes, they improve them. For instance, they recently added a feature to enable an E-commerce business to give partial refunds. Such features permit compromises to be made between the business and customer, without losing customer satisfaction or losing the sale.

As a micro-enterprise, I have not launched the online store yet. But, as I have been doing the research and photography – working quietly on getting product listed, I have also noticed that advances in technology have already passed many of the concerns I had. Once the store is launched and up and running – I hope to be able to encourage other women to look toward E-commerce as something that can be achieved, without facing such astronomical hurdles. After all – we have a lot of catching up to do!

The Variety Of Vintage Necklace Clasps ~ Ideal For Short Hair & Updos

Similar to the extra little details that make luxury scarves stand out – beautifully crafted vintage costume jewellery will have interesting, decorative and secure clasps. In some cases the clasp is the most decorative part of the necklace. Often there is a brass hook with an extra trailing of beads or gemstones dangling from the clasp. In the case of multi-strand necklaces – there will be a decorative metal clasp, with the strands attached in rows on each side.

The hook clasps are the most common. I have seen a cylindrical bar clasp on a few bracelets, but the one shown in this post, is the only necklace I have come across that has one. It is a mix of crystal and chalcedony. The following are some examples of vintage necklace clasps on some costume – and some sterling silver necklaces. The first example is a classic vintage Oscar de la Renta very realistic string of pearls with a purple art deco clasp. A good tip to pass on for collectors and vintage enthusiasts – is to check the clasps on a rack of necklaces as a shortcut to finding the authentic vintage ones.

Oscar de La Renta Faux Pearl Necklace With Art Deco Purple & Clear Glass Clasp

Martha Sturdy Clunky 1980’s Necklace With Large Hook Clasp & Signature

Silk Cord Asian Knot Necklace With A Loop & Nephrite Bead

Sterling Silver Square Clasp On A Wood & Amber Three Strand Necklace

Mini Glass Bead Covered Clasp On A Torsade Necklace

Vendome Faceted Crystal Aurora Borealis 1950’s Three Strand Necklace With Fancy Clasp

1950’s Four Strand Necklace With Flowers As Joiners

Chalcedony Powder Blue Necklace With A Unique Sterling Silver Double Hook Snake Clasp

Antique Rock Crystal Necklace Made in Spain

Multi Gemstone Vintage Necklace With A Bar Clasp

Japanese Blown Glass Necklace With Round Beaded Clasp 1950s

Panetta Vintage Necklace With Safety Chain On Clasp


1950’s Cerise & Burgundy Hat Made Of Individually Hand Cut Leaves

This delightful 1950’s hat has an American made Union label. It is made of hundreds of individually cut-out leaves, alternating between cherry and burgundy colours. The hat has a netting with a small velvet bow on the top. It would be unlikely to see someone wearing a hat like this today – but in the fifties, this type of hat would have been a coveted treasure in the top shelf of the closet, and saved for special occasions. It would have been matched to an outfit, possibly a dress and jacket set, and accessorised right down to the gloves and bag.

Shirokiya Japanese Silk Kimono From The Showa Era ~ With Breathtaking Scenic Art

This silk kimono features a mountain scene with people – some walking, and others on donkeys or horseback, others with carts, as they wind their way down the mountainside. The scene is on the back of the kimono only. It is in a dark grayish-green base colour, with other muted blues and some luminescent colours blended into the grandiosity of the mountain scenery. Underneath the main image – there are abstract looking gold tone trees, giving an appearance of being uprooted and blowing in the wind. It is lined in a muted, lighter coloured silk.

Thankfully it has a label dating it to the Shirokiya department store in Japan somewhere between 1903 and 1940’s. It looks to be twenties or thirties to me. The store burned down in the thirties. Apparently the women in the building on the upper floor did not want to jump because they wore no underwear underneath the kimonos. As they looked down upon the growing crowd of onlookers – they could not bear to be so exposed. The story might be myth though – however widespread. Regardless – it led to a surge in the sales of western undies and pantaloons!

After doing a little more reading – this kimono would be from the Showa era 1929-80’s placing it in the thirties or forties, based on the label and artwork. Once you examine the imagery on this kimono – and then compare it to the earlier period kimonos depicting wealth, stability, prosperity and brightness – you can see this one has a more somber tone. Instead of having bright floral scenes and birds – it shows people leaving an area. It represents being dispossessed as opposed to being carefree, happy, stable – and able to demonstrate the artistic elements of a fanciful existence. There are no signs of light-hearted whimsy on this one. They are not chasing butterflies.

In looking at the political time frame that brought about the upheaval – it makes sense. This kimono would be from the thirties or possibly the forties – as displacement and unrest became increasingly prevalent in Japan, and the rest of the world. Nevertheless – it is a poignant and beautiful scene. Whatever emotions reside in the human spirit – will be expressed in the art of the time period. It is a deftly transposed reflection of their experience – and the overwhelming power that looms larger than they are. It creates a majesty all around them in the mountains as they weave their way to a destination on a downward journey.

It is a depiction of just one stream of humanity in our human history – as they were caught up and swept along by external forces beyond their control. It is another reminder, as we approach this Remembrance Day weekend – that peace and democracy has great value to all of us, regardless of what culture or historical time frame we come from.

A 1960’s Bold Scarf Pattern That Resembles Fractal Geometry

Back in the late eighties I did a career change for a few years – into advanced remote sensing technology and satellite image mapping, which was in its infancy at the time. We ordered data by plotting the scene centres on a large paper path-row map. For the most part we used the Landsat satellite data. We created and published the “Satellite Images From Space” series. We also did special applications contracts using advanced remote sensing technology. The data came rolled in big movie-like reels and covered the entire range of the electromagnetic spectrum, limited to a thirty metre ground resolution. The data had to be read into the computer through a tape reader. Once loaded, the data could be used for a variety of things. Different band combinations would enhance certain features on the earth’s surface. Without digital image processing the Cities From Space would have been in bright neon colours – instead of the natural looking blue water and green foliage. It took hundreds of hours to do the image processing on each scene.

In addition to the advanced remote sensing data – different equations could be entered into the computer and left to do the number crunching overnight, or over a weekend. We would marvel at the colourful imagery created as the equation worked it’s way into infinity. This scarf looks similar to some of the fractal geometry images. We were so impressed with a few of them, we made transparencies, then enlarged the images photographically on ciba-chrome prints – and hung them up in the office!

Rare & Absolutely Stunning ~ Three Dimensional Carved Rock Crystal Necklace In A Floral Theme

This is one of the most beautifully made necklaces I have ever seen. In most cases a carved rock crystal necklace will have one flower with a couple of leaves. It may have a single faceted (or round orb) as a pendant. Other than the pendants, there are only two carved flower and foliage rock crystal necklaces that I could find on the Internet. One is by Seaman Schepps and is listed as a rock crystal, pearl and diamond silver suite to include a pair of earrings (for $97,632.00). That one depicts alternating foliage (leaves) with pearls, diamond accents, and rock crystal.

The other carved flower rock crystal necklace on 1stdibs is by Russell Trusso (sold). It features a row of five single dimension clear rock crystal flowers at the front of the necklace and is accented with clear crystal leaves. When we hear the term “pools of light” – we think of round rock crystal. The clear smooth orbs look like marbles. They do not string or wire them through the bead. The beads are either encircled in order to be held in place, or as in this example – the clear beads are attached at the tops.

What makes this necklace so outstanding and rare? The fact it is three dimensional, which captures the light like magic. Plus the entire necklace is made of carved and faceted rock crystal, to include every single flower petal. It has five large clear faceted orbs that alternate with three dimensional carved flowers, in delightfully luminescent pastel shades of carved quartz. Because it is all rock – it is fairly heavy and is strung on steel wire. It has smaller faceted quartz beads toward the top, and a round sterling silver clasp. This necklace is quite a masterpiece. It is a design that literally brings rock to life. And with great finesse – enhances the enchanting, light-catching beauty of the gemstones.

Carved & Faceted Rock Crystal & Coloured Quartz

Interplay Of Colours On Carved Flower Petals

Copyright Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie J. Hayes and Quiet West Vintage with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.