Introducing Marcasite Jewellery and Its History

Marcasite jewellery is often refers to silver jewellery decorated with Pyrite gemstones. Sterling Silver and marcasite have been proven to be the perfect march, because the dark coloration of marcasite and makes it blend in spectacularly without making it look like it was a cheap stone.

People, nowadays, often confuse the mineral marcasite with pyrite. The gemstone used in jewellery making is pyrite, however pyrite used as a gemstone is widely called as marcasite. The name marcasite in jewellery terminology stems from the Arabic word for Pyrite, Markaschatsa. In general, it is lighter and more brittle than pyrite, but it is never used as a gem in jewellery, because of its chemically unstable structure.

According to Archaeological record, the Incas are the first known civilisation to use marcasite jewellery. There are considerable amount of marcasite jewellery pieces found in Incan burial chambers throughout South America. There are also archaeology discoveries in ancient Greece of the use of marcasites in jewellery.

In the 1600’s, marcasite jewellery became increasingly popular due to the introducing of Sumptuary Laws which forbade the use of diamond by ordinary people but the most aristocratic. The law were later introduced to other parts of Europe, including England and France. Since marcasite is an excellent imitation of diamond, the injunctive gave a boost to its production in the Europe market. In the late 1700’s, the Swiss and Italians began to produce Marcasite for the European market.

In 18th and 19th century, silver jewellery with marcasite became very popular in Britain. The popularity reached its peak during the Queen Victoria’s reign, due to the Queen’s endearment to marcasite jewellery. She frequently wore beautiful marcasite jewellery I public as a substitute for diamonds. The lower cost of marcasite jewellery made it affordable to the masses. At the time, marcasites became the standard substitute to diamond. If it’s properly crafted, marcasites were as beautiful as diamonds.

Today, the jewellery with marcasite is as popular as ever. The combination of sterling silver and marcasite give the jewellery a special vintage look. The most popular marcasite designers are romantic Art nouveau styles and classic Art Deco styles. The most commonly seen cuttings are oval cut and trilliant cut. It’s no longer the poor relation of diamond.

Kaftan Dresses – Customs and Fashions

At its simplest, the kaftan dress is simply a type of long-sleeved, ankle-length robe or tunic that closes or buttons in the front. This simplicity, however, disguises the long and varied history of the kaftan and its dozens of styles and variations across many different cultures. In the last several decades, the kaftan has become increasingly popular in Western countries, primarily as a woman’s fashion. The kaftan dress appeals to all tastes because it is simple, adaptable and can add a touch of the traditional or the exotic into a wardrobe.

The classic kaftan typically has open, billowing sleeves and a high collar, though modern variations may have v-neck collars or other cuts. Some traditional versions have tighter, narrower sleeves, although this varies from region to region. Buttons or ties are found on the front of the garment from the neck to the waist, except on pull-over designs. A sash or a tunic is worn along the waist to give some shape to the otherwise freely-flowing tunic. The traditional design reaches down to the ankles, though modern versions may be shorter, and kaftan-inspired tunics are sometimes worn as shirts or blouses. A sweater, cloak or loose outer-jacket completes the traditional kaftan.

Perhaps the greatest virtue of the garment is its adaptability to different weather conditions. Loose kaftans made of lighter materials are perfect for hot climates, while heavier versions are appropriate for cooler conditions. The kaftan is loose enough to be worn over undergarments and flexible enough to be worn under heavy outerwear. It can be held close to the body at the waist or loosened for coolness; the buttons or ties can be kept buttoned to different heights based on temperature. The kaftan was and remains a kind of all-purpose, everyday garment for year-round wear in its countries of origin.

The kaftan’s traditional homeland stretches from North Africa to Central Asia, though it is generally believed to have originated in the Mesopotamian region, in or around present-day Iraq. Kaftan, therefore, is also considered as a form of women’s Islamic Clothing. In its original cultural context, the kaftan is either a unisex outfit or primarily a man’s item. The word “kaftan” itself is derived from the Persian language. Depending on the cultural context, kaftans may have been plain, homespun garments or ornate robes with impressive patterns and decorations. In certain kaftan-wearing cultures, decorative elements and accessories were used to indicate the wearer’s rank or status. Materials range from plain cotton to silk and beyond; in Morrocco, for example, women’s kaftans often appear with intricate lace decorations.

Kaftan dresses and garments can also be found outside of these regions. In parts of west Africa a kaftan-like pullover is common, and some southeast Asian cultures utilize a similar garment in batik fabric. The word itself also made its way into the Russian language, in which it refers to an old type of man’s suit rather than a loose tunic.

The kaftan made its way into the fashions of Europe and North America in the 1960s amid a growing general interest in Middle Eastern cultures. In the United States, the hippy subculture adopted the kaftan, and the dashiki, based on West African kaftan-style garments, gained popularity in the African-American community. Today, the kaftan dress has become a staple of women’s Islamic fashion, either in its original form or through kaftan-inspired designs.

The kaftan’s status as a versatile, all-purpose garment ensured its adoption by contemporary fashion. It can be worn long or short, tied or loose, and can be cut or worn to flatter any body-type. Kaftan-style garments are adaptable to any situation or lifestyle. Designers have produced tops in a kaftan style with billowing sleeves and v-necks for everyday wear. Full-length kaftans can be used as cover-ups for the beach or pool. Wearers are free to accessorize their kaftan dresses along traditional lines, for example with a sash, belt or outer-coat, or they may adapt it for their current wardrobe. The kaftan’s presence in diverse cultures across a wide geographic area is a testament to its versatility and usefulness.

The Effects of Silk on the World’s Economy

Silk has been known for years to be an overwhelming economic impact on the world of finance in many ways, beginning with the China connection back one thousand years.

We know of many facets of financial woes because of this fine fabric. It may be because of the dynasty’s that have come to have a real say in the monetary value of silk, but we all know that many countries have had their hand in manufacturing this fabric. The economy of China has benefited largely from the sheer numbers of factories in the provinces of this Asian nation. At one time 28% of its gross domestic product was silk export. Up to half of Japans export was Silk at one time as well. Of course with many nations getting into the act of manufacturing this fine material, times have changed.

Widely known for its upper echelon clientele, silk, currently, has more average folks, purchasing clothes, made of silk now than ever before. In the United States, silk apparel poses a true threat to cotton, which for many years had a wide spread in the purchase of clothes. Silk exporters have many opportunities to sell western nations with our thirst for luxury. The USA imports 11 billion a year in silk and silk related material. Not to mention, silk is actually made in the USA as well currently. Most of it is what’s called NO KILL silk. This process is great because the moth is let out of the cocoon. The US is no match for manufacturing of silk, compared to the orient or India.

The US does, however lead the world in buying silk. It is closely estimated that the United States purchases 75% of the silk manufactured throughout the world. In the case of charmeuse silk, which is usually utilized for softer female apparel, the US has imported more than 2 million tons and that is just for blouses. Other silks like Dupioni are used for more substantial commodities as drapes, comforters and even Car seat covers. These silk fabrics are double and triple weaved for thickness, yet still have that wonderful silk feel. The import of Dupioni silk has quadrupled in the past 10 years in the North American Geographical area. Dupioni silk sometimes gets confused with Georgette silk. This is due to the longer weave they both have, although they don’t look alike to the naked eye, the true silk aficionado can feel it.

One of the upcoming economic powers of silk is Indonesia. This largely Muslim nation has an Asian twang, when it comes to silk manufacturing and its economic effects on the country. Most of its silk is manufactured for clothing to Australia and New Zealand. These two countries use the geographic location to its advantage, by wholesaling it to the rim of Asia. 4 Billion US dollars are invested in the GNP for this nation. Silk drapes are huge in this part of the world, for manufacturing most of the west’s need for luxury in this category.

Lastly, without having silk in our economies, there is a 2% deficit in the world economies, as a whole. It is safe to say, where we would be without silk. For we are nations of need and want for sure.