Articles of Interest: The Most Shocking Piece of Jewelry Ever!!!

The Most Shocking Piece of Jewelry Ever!
August 10, 2017 by ROB BATES

In 2012, Maneesh Sethi was, like so many writers, having trouble sitting down to work. So he came up with an idea: He hired someone, via Craigslist, to follow him around and slap him on the face every time he didn’t write.

“I got five months of writing done in five days,” he says now. His post about this experiment went viral, and he began to think about how to turn that concept, based on “aversion therapy,” into a business.

The result: Pavlok, a bracelet that helps users break bad habits by giving them a slight electric shock every time they engage in the prohibited activity. Named after Ivan Pavlov, the famed Russian behavioral scientist and inadvertent dog trainer, Pavlok currently claims 5,000 to 6,000 daily users, with 35,000 bracelets sold. The most popular habit it’s used for is waking up early (Pavlok also has a shock alarm clock), followed by wasting time online, smoking, and unhealthy eating.

The concept sounds like something out of bad sci-fi, and it raises a lot of questions. For one, how painful are these zaps?

“You ever touch a doorknob and you get jarred awake?” Sethi says. “It’s like that. We wanted to make it very simple and safe. The charge rapidly hits you. It’s like a surprise. It makes you aware and in the moment. It’s not very painful.”

Second, how does a bracelet monitor your habits? It’s easy to see how it could, say, track your addiction to Facebook by monitoring your smartphone. And using location tracking, it can see if you stop into McDonald’s.

But harder-to-track habits—like quitting drinking—require a five- to 10-day course with accompanying audio.

The course “forces you to keep doing the behavior with our audio and the zaps,” Sethi says. “The best metaphor I can think of is, if you have too much tequila, it takes on a negative association—it makes you feel sick to look at it. When you are done, [the bad habit] creates that gross feeling.”

That’s in theory, of course. The most important question is whether the Pavlok actually works. Sethi claims a success rate of over 50 percent, and says the Pavlok is particularly successful for ending smoking and nail-biting.

But anecdotal evidence is mixed. One journalist said the shocks didn’t break her nail-biting habit. Another thought it helped him curb overeating on Thanksgiving.

The Pavlok has received tons of publicity; Stephen Colbert even made fun of it. Sethi admits that he’s still living down an off-the-rails appearance on Shark Tank; when he turned down a panelist’s offer for financing, he was cursed and called a “con artist.”

“That really destroyed our image,” he says now, noting it led to a flood of one-star ratings on Amazon.

Since then, Sethi has kept a lower profile, and he now hopes to broaden Pavlok’s concept.

“The shocks are what everyone focuses on,” he says. But he wants to build a behavior-modifying ecosystem, which will, in addition to punishing bad habits, offer reminders and rewards for the good ones. He is also developing a Pavlok necklace.

And while this product may never be sold in most jewelry stores—Money magazine said it looks like a “house-arrest bracelet”—it shows the increasing effect of Silicon Valley on our industry.

For a long time, the jewelry industry has acknowledged—sometimes it’s even boasted—that our products serve no practical purpose, aside from looking beautiful. Yet, inventors of wearables are increasingly looking at jewelry that also has a function—whether it’s monitoring your bodily functions, or reminding you of something, or, well, this.

It’s an entirely new way of looking at our product. And in a way, it’s kind of shocking.



Articles of interest:4-areas-jewelry-retailers-should-focus-on-to-stay-competitive/?
4 Areas Jewelry Retailers Should Focus On to Stay Competitive
August 7, 2017 by EMILI VESILIND

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Froeschle, senior sales director for Stuller and former Stuller Interiors executive, recently for an article about how small jewelry retailers can maintain their competitive edge in the face of increasing competition.

I wasn’t able to fit all his smart ideas into the article (out in the September–October issue!), so I wanted to share this short list—a rundown of crucial retail areas he advises his clients to zero in on.

“These are four areas where jewelry retailers can do it better and faster than the big-box stores and online retailers,” he notes, adding, “and they can do them with a personal touch, which makes all the difference.”

Blue Nile is certainly a tempting option for consumers shopping for wedding jewelry. But studies show that brides and grooms overwhelming want to browse in person for what, in many cases, is their first major fine jewelry purchase. Which is why savvy indie retailers including Catbird in New York City, Esqueleto in California, and Art + Soul in Boulder, Colo., have made stocking a wide selection of trendy-but-traditional and “alternative” bridal styles the focal point of their businesses.

Social Media
Tiffany & Co. and Pandora maintain slick social feeds—but independents have the ability to align themselves with their region, town, and community on social media in a way that the big guys just can’t.

“Something like 60-some percent of bridal customers want to make at least one change to the ring they’re looking at,” says Froeschle. “To me, a retailer has to have resource on their floor where they are showing customers they can change or make changes to a style.” He adds that the resource doesn’t have to be a full-blown CAD program. Stuller, for one, offers retailers the ability to put their digital “skin” on the company’s inventory showcase—so retailers can sit down with clients and show that they can swap in a bigger diamond or choose a different metal.

Having an in-house repairs shop, staffed with skilled and creative pros, is a fail-proof way to maintain a competitive edge. Undoubtedly, jewelry repair businesses will increasingly emerge online. But, as with buying bridal, consumers have expressed a strong desire to discuss their repairs in person.

(Photo courtesy of @thecaratclub)


Articles of Interest: Are Shoppers Turning Away From Expensive Jewelry?

Site location:

August 4, 2017 by ROB BATES

Slate’s advice columnist, Dear Prudence, recently fielded the following question from a woman who was embarrassed by the engagement ring bought by her fiancé:

The diamond is so big, and the setting so flashy, it’s completely unlike the kind of rings most of my friends got….I’ve gotten so much unwanted attention, with people asking to see “the rock” and calling me celebrity nicknames. My mom has used every synonym for tacky in the book, and friends have asked if I know whether or not it’s a blood diamond. It’s humiliating.

My fiancé is so proud that he was able to get me such a nice ring since he comes from a working-class background. I just don’t know how to tell him that I want him to take it back and get a semi-precious stone or something more to my taste…
For many in the industry, this comment seems absurd. Who complains about jewelry being too big?

But societal tastes are changing. To many, flashy has become synonymous with excessive, and wasteful.

This brings to mind a recent Facebook thread on the industry’s woes. On it, Patrick Slavenburg, the chief commercial officer of, said he’s noticed a sea change in consumer attitudes.

“When we interviewed Gen X women in 2006 before launching Farlang the most frequent comment was: ‘Why buy expensive jewelry when so much great looking cheap jewelry is available?’” he said.

He recently questioned an affluent jewelry-loving friend about what she considered a reasonable price point for jewelry.

“For something nonessential like jewelry, probably $200,” she replied. “More than that, I would have to really love it. And give it lots of consideration.”

This doesn’t mean that the market for fine jewelry is dead, of course. Many stores still sell plenty of high-end watches and diamonds. There are many jewelry markets; there always have been.

But we are seeing something of a societal shift. America has become more casual. More offices have adopted informal dress codes; $5,000 jewelry doesn’t always fit with jeans and a sweater. Marc Zuckerberg is considered the epitome of the dot-com billionaire. And what is he known for wearing? A hoodie.

“We all have an increasingly casual lifestyle,” noted industry analyst and editor of the Centurion newsletter Hedda Schupak on the same Facebook thread. “It’s hard to sell a lot of heavy gemstone pieces to customers that wear Lululemon most of the time, and they can’t justify the cost for something they might wear a few times a year.”

Which brings up the cost issue. American consumers are squeezed these days; they have been since the recession. Not that many have the ability to buy a $3,000 piece on a whim.

“The designers we support are amazingly creative and talented,” says Slavenburg. “[They] make masterpieces. But the price points are not affordable outside the one percent.”

A recent survey by Cashelorette found that most millennials only wanted to spend one month’s salary on an engagement ring.

“Older millennials could still be saddled with student loan debt, and many are trying to save for a down payment on a house,” the site’s Sarah Berger told CNBC, adding those most millennials prefer spending on experiences, rather than things.

On top of this, the industry hasn’t always made the case for why its products cost so much. And now that shoppers have the ability to buy virtually anything, it’s not surprising that some will opt for the cheaper alternative.

“There still room for jewelry,” says Slavenburg, “but it’s ‘great, original design’ for up to $300, $400 retail.”

So it’s quite likely we will see a continuing shift towards affordable product. In some ways, this has already happened: The most successful jewelry brands of the last ten years are Pandora, Alex and Ani, and now, Kendra Scott.

But this won’t be easy. Jewelry has always been low-turn but high-profit. Selling cheaper items—even lots of low-end items—won’t always support high retail rents.

Still, this seems to be where the market is going. As one New England jeweler lamented on the Facebook thread:

People around here just don’t really like jewelry that much anymore. I find that I have to ambush people at unlikely events with jewelry that easily translates into a tangible meaning for them, is made of sterling, and is handmade. And costs less than $100.00.

This will only get worse as the current generational wave continues. The concept of spending one week’s pay in a piece of jewelry is ridiculous to anyone under 30.
(Illustration: Getty Images)


Newest Jewelry designs

I wanted to share some of my newest designs some of which I created while working at El Pedregal Gallery in Cave Creek/Scottsdale. How very exciting to be able to work on your jewelry while working at the gallery. I hope you enjoy them.

seaside melody #2974
Oriental Autumn


Copper Forest
Pearl Dancer
Pearl Dancer
Quail Flight
Quail Flight

A newsy note about Friday Art Walks

Don’t forget the Friday Art Walks at El Pedregal Gallery in Scottsdale/Cave Creek from 4:00 – 7:00. You can also stop down to the Spotted Donkey for a drink and happy hour before you head on down to the galleries. All the galleries will be open for you to browse through and there will be demonstrations from one or two artists as well. This is an opportunity for you to see the work of a variety of artists who represent the 400 artists within the Sonoran Arts League. We hope to see you there.

Gems and Minerals – Baryte

About– The mineral Baryte, or barite, (BaSO4) consists of barium sulfate. It is often associated with the minerals Anglesite and Celestine. It has also been identified in meteorites. Baryte is generally colorless however it may take on the color of the host mineral. Most baryte is ground to a small, uniform size and used as a filler or extender, before adding to industrial products or as a weighting agent in the mud used in petroleum drilling. Baryte commonly occurs in limestones lead-zinc veins in hot spring deposits with hematite ore.

History – Baryte has a radiating form referred to as Bologna Stone. The alchemists in the 17th century found phosphorescent specimens near Bologna by Vincenzo Casciarolo. The name baryte comes from the Greek word βαρύς meaning “heavy”. The American spelling of barite was adopted in 1959 by the International Mineralogical Association. It was later recommended by the Mineralogical Society of America to return to the former spelling of Baryte in 1978.

Location- Baryte has been found worldwide in conjunction with other minerals. Large barite crystals have been found in Nevada in the US, in Perthshire, Scotland; and in many of the following locations: Brazil, Nigeria, Canada, Chile, China, India, Greece, Guatemala, Iran, Ireland, Liberia, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Romania, Turkey, South Africa, Thailand, UK. It is also mined stateside in Arkansas, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Nevada and Missouri. Baryte with Cerussite is found in Morocco deep in the ocean.  Baryte has oxygen in its sediments and has been used to help maintain paleotemperatures in the oceanic crust.

Folklore -Folklore – Metaphysically it is believed that barite helps to heal the Earth. It is said to aide in dreamwork eliminating restraint, enhances friendship, harmony, and love.  and Barite is mined extensively as the only source of barium metal and barium compounds.  A native American legend states that Oklahoma rose rocks were formed from the blood of the Indians on the Trail of Tears. In fact, Baryte Rose Rocks date back 250 million years to the Permian Period. At that time western and central Oklahoma was covered by a shallow sea. Barite precipitated out of the water and crystallized around grains of quartz sand as the sea retreated.  Large formations of reddish sandstone were left behind which contained deposits of rose rock.” (From Wikipedia: Desert Rose).  Barite roses are also said to be used to establish a connection to the spiritual realms and in ancestor work.

Care & Uses-Historically Baryte was used to produce barium hydroxide for sugar refining, and pigment for textiles, paper, and paint. Baryte is not considered to be toxic but is a “heavy” metal. It may flake or chip and is often fragile and threadlike. Clean by brushing gently with a soft toothbrush. Do not use cleansers as it may damage the crystals. It should be stored in a jewelry bag to avoid scratches, chipping, and general damage to the crystals. It is very sensitive to heat and prolonged exposure to the sun.

Favorite Books –The Lampworked, fused, and Carved Dichroic Beads of Carol Fonda and Monty Clark

I was across the aisle from Carol and Monty at a show in California where they introduced me to their amazing beads and glass. Monty has taught lampwork at the American River College where he met Carol. They each have their own style and have amazing glass and beads as well.  I have made necklaces with their central flowers and one with a Lola bead.

This is an excellent book that gives step-by-step instructions for a variety of lampwork beads that were specially designed by the authors. They also include acid etching, bead stock fusing, and even a piece on developing your own style. I would highly recommend this book created by Jim Kervin, © 2007   ISBN -10 0-9742621-6-1 ISBN -13 978-0-9742621-6-1

Favorite Books – Practical Casting

A wonderful book which covers many different types of casting from Lost Wax Technique, Sand Casting, Molds, and even Foundry Casting. It starts with mold making and tools needed for the casting process. Torch melting or kilns are discussed. Vacuum Casting is also discussed as well as curing, pouring, and various materials available for making molds. It was very informational and had a great number of pictures which aided in understanding. I would highly recommend this book by Tim Mc Creight ©1994 ISBN 0-9615984-5-X

Current Shows for Absolutely Unique LLC


May 25-28, 2017 10:00-7:00    Phoenix Comicon
May 2017 to October 2017 El Pedregal Gallery is displaying my Jewelry
El Pedregal Gallery  34505 N. Scottsdale Road, 2nd Floor, Scottsdale,                        AZ   85266  480-575-6658
El Pedregal displays rotating one-of-a-kind juried works by Sonoran Art                 League Artists.  The Gallery is open from 11:00 to 6:00 daily with                     Friday Art Walks, and Saturday Art Parties on the 3rd of each                           month.
July-21 & 28-2017   Friday Art Walks every Friday 4-7:00
July-16-2017 El Pedregal Gallery Reception 4-6:00 meet the new artists   August 4 & 11 & 18 & 25, 2017 Friday Art Walks every Friday 4-7:00   August-18-2017  3rd Saturday Art Party 1-4:00 with catered food & galleries October-21 to 22, 2017 – Arizona Opera Hercules vs Vampires       November-17 to 19, 2017 – Arizona Opera – Tosca
November-17 to 19, 2017 – Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour                                 November-24 to 26, 2017 – Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour                            December 9 or 16, 2017 – Vermillion Promotions – Christmas Art in the Park February 2 to 4, 2018 – Arizona Opera – Candide                                               March 9 to 11, 2018 – Arizona Opera – Barbara of Seville
April 6 to 8, 2018 – Arizona Opera – Das Rheingold

Newest Jewelry Additions-Religious Collection

Hallowed Lilac


This is amazing piece within my Religious Collection has a Fabrége Souvenir Egg. The golden egg has a pretty white crystal cross and a lovely enameled lavender hue. The Cross case opens to reveal a golden angel which dangles down. It is complemented by dyed button pearls, hand crafted Lampwork Beads, faceted Rock Crystal, and exquisite Ametrine beads. The Gold-filled clasp and 3mm round GF beads complete this truly remarkable necklace.

This lovely piece will be presented and displayed at the Arizona Opera and at the Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour in November 2017 until sold. The length of Hallowed Lilac is 21″. My website or Etsy store sell it at a retail  price of $836.00 and it is offered for Wholesale Price of $418.00 at the current shows listed above.