About Me

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hi, I am a 40+ year old who loves jewellery and all things sparkly. I also enjoy trying out and reviewing new makeup products, finding stylish walking sticks, reading and writing book reviews. I will review anything from bird tables/ hedgehog houses to the latest fashion! My Instagram account is @sparkling_magpie

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Brooch or pin converters

Ever had that special brooch or pin that you just don't wear in case it pulls your clothes? What about investing in a brooch or pin converter.   Available at most jewellery maker online shops and on Amazon UK (mine cost under £5 each including shipping), these nifty little inventions can stop your beloved brooch from languishing at the bottom of your jewellery box.

There are both horizontal and vertical converters, which one is suitable for your brooch depends on where the pin is situated. The converter slides over the pin and is locked into place by closing the clasp. The necklace then goes through the loop at the top of the converter, either saving your brooch from being abandoned in the jewellery box or by making a new piece of jewellery!!

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Sparkling Magpie : [Pastel] Sticks And Stones!

Sparkling Magpie : [Pastel] Sticks And Stones!: As the proud user/ owner of a walking stick I am always on the lookout for ones that are not floral but fashionable, hopefully sparkly an...

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Sparkling Magpie : Welcome and My First Ever Post - A Review of the L...

Sparkling Magpie : Welcome and My First Ever Post - A Review of the L...: Welcome to my brand new blog dedicated to all things sparkly and jewellery related -Sparkling Magpie. My first post is going to review the...

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

[Pastel] Sticks And Stones!

As the proud user/ owner of a walking stick I am always on the lookout for ones that are not floral but fashionable, hopefully sparkly and will coordinate with what I am wearing without it standing out saying "yes I am a stick" (I do know sticks can't talk).  So for the first in the series of fashionable walking sticks I am going to combine them with stones - sticks and stones! 

As one of the main trends for summer is pastel hues and a theme for makeup is mermaid, again - muted pastel but sparkly tones. I went looking for some candy/ pastel coloured walking sticks. Derby Canes have a massive selection of canes from flowered to very neutral black and brown and yes they have produced Candy Canes:

These are available in four colours: lilac; blue; pink and green and the canes are either extendable or foldable. Derby canes are comfortable to hold and quite light. Even though these do not come in petite (the extendable version is 29" to 39" and foldable version is 32" to 36") I did get my local Timpsons to saw some off the bottom without making the stick unsafe to use. 

Jewellery wise Lola Rose has some fabulous tumbled stone pastel hued semi precious bracelets and necklaces and if you want to be an all out pastel mermaid there is a kaftan which would match all 4 colour ways of the cane. Even though the canes and jewellery are very muted and summery the colours would pop against traditional Autumnal and Winter colours of black, brown and green providing a great contrast in colour and more importantly baking sure you haven't spent your hard earned money on something that can only be worn/ used in the warmer seasons.

If you want to go all out pastel mermaid, coordinating your makeup with jewellery and cane Jouer have brought out a limited edition mermaid themed summer makeup collection which would bring some pastel sparkle to your overall look without looking over the top as though you have just thrown some sparkly glitter on your face look!

All items have either been bought by me or the images taken from Google. If you object to these images being used please contact me and I will remove. 

Walking sticks: http://www.healthandcare.co.uk/derby-canes/derby-extending-candy-cane-with-acrylic-handle.html

Lola Rose:  http://www.lolarose.co.uk/

Jouer Costmetics: https://www.jouercosmetics.com/

Friday, 20 May 2016

Review of Z for Accessorize Constance Semi Precious Pendant

As moonstone is in the same family of stones as labradorite I thought it would be opportune to review the Z for Accessorize Constance Semi Precious Pendant (RRP £17) as the next review my jewellery post. 

The Z for Accessorize range is exclusive to Accessorize and is designed by Zara Simon. The necklace comes on a tag, as does all their jewellery,  and is displayed on a Z for Accessorize  display or rack depending upon the size of the store. It can also be purchased online at their website.

The chain is gold plated and  14" in length without the extender. There is also an extender attached to the chain which is 1.6".  The stone is inlayed in to a substantial setting, is oblong shaped and faceted.  The stone does not "fill" the setting but is a sliver of stone which sits on top of and just inside the setting. The facets make the light bounce off and through the stone so it is a very eyecatching piece to wear. It is a shame the chain is not made out of vermeil as I have noticed that as I have very acidic skin the gold is wearing off and leaving a black mark on my skin. 

Moonstone originates from Sri Lanka and can be also found in Brazil, Germany, India, Mexico, Myanmar, Madagascar, Canada and the US. Moonstone comes from in a variety of colours including colourless, orange, grey brown and pink.    The most popular and easily identifiable is the white stone with blue iridescence. 
Rainbow moonstone was discovered 15 years ago in India and is often referred to as white labradorite as it gets its blue sheen the same way light refracts through traditional labradorite.  Moonstone is thought to bring good fortune, help in foretelling the future, enhance intuition, promote inspiration and bring success in both love and business. Moonstone's healing ability is said to  align  your  vertebrae,  be  a  good  digestive  aid  and  also  regulate  emotions.  Moonstone is associated with those travelling at night or by water and is a stone of inner growth and strength. As moonstone is traditionally associated with the moon, the most powerful time to use this stone is when there is a full moon. 

Acessorize is based around self service which can be a bit of a pain if you are a shortie (like me) as their displays go up to the ceiling and so some items can be difficult to reach. The staff, however, are always helpful seem knowledgable about and interested in their stock. The website is easy to navigate and Acessorize  have a loyalty card which is great for jewellery nuts like me! 

Like all socially responsible jewellery stores/ designers Accessorize have an established environmental and sustainability programme and are a founder of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). Accessorize state that they "believe in the positive, empowering, life-changing power of trade rather than aid." They aim to achieve sustainable improvements in working conditions and livelihoods wherever Accesorize/Monsoon do business.  Ever year, the Monsoon Accessorize Trust supports healthcare and educational projects for 15,000 women and children throughout Asia.

I purchased this item myself and all views expressed in my blog/article are my own.

The necklace can be found here: http://uk.accessorize.com/view/product/uk_catalog/acc_14.9/9853291000

Matching ring (£17): http://uk.accessorize.com/view/product/uk_catalog/acc_14.12/9811021053

Accessorize ethical statement: http://uk.accessorize.com/uk/content/heritage#sustainability

Rainbow Moonstone as white labradorite: http://www.jckonline.com/2016/02/19/labradorites-blue-rainbow-moonstone

Friday, 13 May 2016

Welcome and My First Ever Post - A Review of the Labradorite Vermeil Mini Nala Pendant

Welcome to my brand new blog dedicated to all things sparkly and jewellery related -Sparkling Magpie. My first post is going to review the Labradorite Vermeil Mini Nala pendant which can be purchased either in store at The Genuine Gemstone Company Ltd (the parent company) concessions or online at Gemporia.com.

The necklace  comes with a certificate of authenticity and in a faux leather blue box. The box has a white slip cover embossed with the company logo and when removed it reveals a faux blue leather jewellery case which feels and looks quite substantial in size. When you open the case to reveal the inside it is black and has a velvety feel to it. The piece of velvet that holds the necklace in place is removable so the case itself would make a fantastic travel sized jewellery box as it feels sturdy enough to protect your jewellery.

The necklace itself is  16" (44cm) long and is made of vermeil. Vermeil is sterling silver plated in gold. The clasp is a lobster clasp which is easier to grip than a trigger clasp as it is slightly longer so there is more to grip on to when fastening the necklace. The stone is 3.37 carats and measures.  It has a faceted cut, is very tactile and even though the back isn't smooth it still fits comfortably just above the collar bone. 

Labradorite was first discovered Labrador, Canada and can now also be found in Madagascar, China, India, Australia, Russia,  Mexico, Scandinavia and the USA.  
At first glance the stones appear a very plain grey/brown but when light hits it, They have blue/violet/grey/ green hues running through them. As seen in my photographs they also pick up and reflect the colours that are around/ behind them.  

As labradorite is associated with the third eye and is supposed to reduce negativity It is used in prayer and meditation. Labradorite is supposed to promote patience and intuition, helping you find your true path and destiny in life.

The necklace feels quite substantial and looks a lot more expensive than it actually is due to the vermeil chain and the cut of the stone. The light bounces off and through the faceted stone revealing a kaleidoscope of blue, green and violet from what appeared at first glance to be a boring, uninspiring, subdued grey stone. It is a piece of jewellery that could be pared with smart work wear, jeans or be worn if you were going out in the evening. I am very pleased with this purchase and will keep an eye out for other labradorite pieces.

When I commented on Facebook about the lack of a customer service assistance at their Manchester concession they replied within an hour even though I emailed during the evening.  I had a question relating to the necklace, emailed Gemporia.com on a Sunday afternoon and again got a reply within the hour. So Internet/social media wise their customer service is excellent. In store, however, customer service is not as exemplary. The first time I went to buy my necklace I couldn't find anyone to serve me and the second time although she was very polite she didn't know the names of the stones and took ages to find the necklace behind the counter. In the future I would definitely buy their jewellery as it is good quality and looks great but probably not from in store concessions due to the difference in customer service. 

No matter how beautiful or swoon worthy a piece of jewellery is, unless it and the company that made the piece have ethical credentials worth shouting about then that item is just not worth it.  The ethos and aim of Gemporia is "is to be original, inspiring and ethical" (their whole statement can be found at http://www.gemporia.com/en-gb/about-us/ ) They work closely with the Colourful Life Foundation whose mission is "is to improve the health and education of deprived communities - providing long term improvements to quality of life by the creation and support of sustainable economic opportunity". A recent example of the Foundation's work was their refurbishment of a toilet block for a school in Bhwani (India) creating male and female cubicles. This has resulted in a rise in the number of girls attending school. 
The fact that The Genuine Gemstone Company support this foundation make my necklace feel even more special as its purchase is helping those who are in dire need of projects like this. 

The Labradorite Vermeil Mini Nala necklace can be purchased from The Genuine Gemstone Company concessions or online at  Gemporia.com (order number QDDY87) and costs £21.99. I purchased mine from Debenhams Market Street Manchester where there is a Genuine Gemstone Company Ltd branch in store.

All views expressed in this post are my own and I purchased the item myself. 

Colourful Life Foundation http://www.colourfullife.org/