- Round Brilliant – By far the most popular, accounting for more than 75% of diamonds purchased today, they are also the most expensive. Most coveted as an engagement ring, they also find their way into earrings and pendants. Round Brilliant Diamonds are noted for their fire and brilliance.
- Oval – A perfectly symmetrical design yields a large surface area that gives the impression of a much larger diamond, oval diamonds are favored by women with smaller hands or shorter fingers, it’s shape giving an elongated look to the hand.
- Princess Cut – Though in appearance the smallest of diamonds, a Princess Cut Diamond is basically an inverted pyramid which puts most of the carat weight near the bottom. Princess cut diamonds are most often sought as solitaires, and are a relatively recent shape.
- Marquise – Another diamond shape that looks larger than it actually is, the Marquise diamond is elongated with points on each end, though sometimes altered to a “French tip” where the end point is excised. A great choice for a solitaire.
- Emerald Cut – Rectangular with corner cuts, this diamond is also called a step cut, because of the shape that resembles stair steps. Large, open facets on this diamond make it imperative to choose a stone of greater clarity and higher color, as inclusions and weak color are more noticeable in this cut.
- Pear Shape – Exactly as it says, this diamond is pear-shaped, or sometimes reminding one of a teardrop. Most often found on pendants and earrings.
- Heart Shaped – A brilliant cut, the heart shaped diamond is a romantic choice that varies from jeweler to jeweler as it’s shape can be greatly influenced by the skill of whimsy of the gem cutter, as well as variable facet configurations. Seek out a perfectly symmetrical stone.
- Trillion Cut – A newcomer, born in the late seventies, this diamond is a triangle stone with equal sides. These can make stunning earrings.
- Baguette Cut – Another step cut diamond shape that is most frequently employed as side stones. Because it has few facets, quality and color come into play more here as imperfections become more visible in these uncomplicated, though elegant diamonds.
- Radiant – A square or rectangularly shaped diamond, the Radiant resembles the emerald shape but has 70 facets, making it much more brilliant and dazzling than the Emerald shape.
- Asscher Cut – A rectangular shaped diamond with high crown step facets, this shape was patented in 1902 and is know for it’s fire and ability to return light.
- Cushion Cut – Sometimes referred to as “pillow cut”, this shape was popular in the 1800’s. Cut with candle light in mind, (nothing else available at the time!) the cushion cut is a rectangular/squarish shape, with more than a touch of old world elegance about it.
- Kite, Trapezoid & Half-Moon – Lesser know shapes used mainly for side stones.
The art of jewelry-making started to flourish with the start of the Middle Kingdom, when pharaohs decided to express themselves better through gold objects. Egyptians started to master the technical methods of cutting semiprecious and precious stones with a sleek accuracy. Because of the regular missions to Nubian regions as well as Eastern Desert ones, Egyptians became more and more sophisticated in stone sculpturing, bringing from these regions not only gold, but silver, turquoise and agate as well. Pharaohs and high representatives of the ancient Egypt took to the tomb a large series of jewelry pieces like crowns, wreaths, rings, ear-rings and imposing necklaces, which were all placed on their mummified bodies. As a particularity, the vest that ancient Egyptians used to wore around their chest, has not been seen anywhere else in other ancient civilizations. It was made of pure gold, and sometimes surrounded with other precious stones. Ancient Egyptians used to make the vest even before the gold era, making it from other materials that they used to color in golden shades to make it look like gold.
Around Christianity period, and the time that followed, most jewelry were made of cheaper materials, but all incrusted with Christian symbols such as crosses, pigeons, a branch leaf, and the ancient Ankh sign. After the arrival of Islam in Egypt, men were prohibited from wearing jewelry, especially ones made of gold. However, they were allowed to wear silver ones. Not a lot of the ancient jewelries were recovered, since the artifacts were brutally ravished by thieves and the amount of gold from the ancient tombs was stolen. Still, what remained are true works of art and they are cherished at their real value, as should.
Nowadays of course, the sales begin long before Christmas. When I ventured to the shops at the weekend to get the last few gifts, there were many temptations for myself! Whether we like the ritual of conscious sale shopping or not, most of us like a bargain and most of us have bought things we later regret, whether it be that discounted coffee maker (my parents!) or the heavily discounted designer jacket.
Certainly when it comes to clothing, it’s easy to be coerced into buying something because it is ‘cheap’. However, it is very expensive if you then never wear it! You are not alone if you have items in your wardrobe with the labels still on, many of my clients do. So here are my top tips for making sure you make wise purchases in the sales if you are going rather than ending up with items that in reality you will never ever wear.
They might not be rocket science points but most people won’t have considered them before coming back laden with bags!
- Look in your wardrobe before you head out, we all forget what we have lurking in there. It’s disappointing to come back with something that is a carbon copy of something you have already. Yes black trousers are versatile but do you really need 5 pairs?
- Identify items in your current wardrobe that you don’t wear and would like to. If it’s because they don’t go with anything, think carefully about what they would go with so you can look for those clothing items, accessories and shoes.
- Make a list of 3 things you want to look for and decide in your mind how many more you’re prepared to buy so you have something to aim for.
- Set a budget, how much are you prepared to spend?
- Visit shops that are a higher price bracket than you would usually go to. Often the discounts are heavier and you’ll get a higher quality item. Remember the cost per wear equation. If it’s a staple such as a nice jacket that you’ll wear to work several times a week, it’s worth spending a bit more on it so it remains looking good.
- Don’t be swayed by sales assistants or even others in the changing room. They can’t always be trusted. If you know you suit charcoal grey much better than black then stick to that.
- Unless you are really sure, buy from shops where you can return items, especially if you want to check out how they combine with existing items in your wardrobe.
- If it’s an item in an accent colour i.e. a colour other than black, brown, grey, navy or white then think about what else it will go with in your wardrobe. Avoid buying a load of tops or shirts that only go with black trousers or jeans. If you are doing that and are female, make sure you have some accessories/shoes to match it so your outfit looks well thought through.
- Ask yourself if you really like each item you are considering buying. Would you consider it if it was full price?
- Never knit a scarf in stockinette stitch. Yes, I know, this is the basic knitting pattern for just about everything you see out there. But, it will not work for a scarf. Stockinette stitch will roll your scarf into a tube and no matter what you do, it will stay that way. The best solution is to not use stockinette stitch, rather than to try and fix that stitch once you have. There are many variations of knit and purl stitches that you can use to craft a scarf, so just look for those. And they are usually very simple to knit.
- If you can’t find the yarn that is called for in a specific project, then substitute another yarn. Check your instructions to see how many yards of yarn you need, then buy a substitute yarn in that amount. Skeins and balls of yarn vary in yardage, so don’t assume that buying three balls of another yarn will suffice. Always check your numbers.
- Be creative with color. Scarves don’t have to be knit all in one color; in fact, the self-striping yarns which are very popular these days, will create the most sublime color patterns without you doing anything but knitting. Or if you like, start with a main color (MC), then switch to another color, then back again. It’s all up to you.
- Pay attention to the length. Some scarves look wonderful at a very long length. Others, not so much. For cowls or muffler-type scarves, there are usually a set number of rows to follow. And for children’s scarves, make sure they are the proper length for your little one.
- Know what you are knitting. Is your scarf going to be for deepest winter or a gossamer summer attraction? It makes a difference in the yarn you choose, and also in the knitting stitches you use. Before you begin knitting, have a clear end in mind. Not every scarf pattern is the same, or should be used in the same way.
Plan well in advance of what you want to buy
I hit the high street after hearing all sorts of news reports of heavy discounts being offered and the huge queue of people getting a good bargain. I didn’t had really an idea of what I wanted, which shop to go and ended up buying something I didn’t want.
Do your homework on price comparisons
I didn’t compare the prices from various high street providers and just bought something at the first shop, assuming that was the best price. When I went to the next shop, they were selling pretty much at the same price, however were giving some additional goodies which could have helped us.
Not all high street shops will be considerate to store your goods while you continue your shopping, as space is premium. We bought something heavy at the first shop, and had to carry out the thing all around, which was not helping. We should have planned adequately so that we buy the heavy stuff at the end rather at the beginning.
I debate the general belief that a push system more quickly gets a lead to the right person. In fact, if the organization is managing their lead to sales capacity the timeliness in getting to a lead should be equal on both systems. I have always maintained, even when I was running high performance sales teams, that throttling lead distribution based on productive performance (taking action on leads) and ensuring that leads do not drop into “dead” queues was the key to my success. So, in selecting a push versus pull lead management system is typically a commitment to a certain sales tempo. A push methodology will lend to sales people expecting leads to be “given to them” and in my experience a lower regard for aggressively responding to customer inquiries. In contrast, a pull methodology creates an expectation that every lead is “earned” by meeting the last customer’s needs or at least responding quickly to their request. So, in creating high velocity sales teams the edge goes to the push methodology.
Time to Initial Contact
Although I concede that in sales organizations where the sales velocity is already high there should be no difference in push versus pull in regard to time to contact. There is still, in the push system, the opportunity for the dreaded “dead” queue. Inherently, the push system allocates each lead to a user on the system. However, is that user logged-in, or is he or she on that well deserved two week vacation, or do they even still work at the company? In a push system you had better be very active in user management or you may allocate valuable leads into “dead” queues and once allocated they can be very difficult to see–a very expensive mistake. The last sales shop I ran we had thousands of sales people and a push system. Managing that many sales people can be daunting, especially with the typical high rate of turn over, but at this scale it is nearly impossible. My experience is to routinely finding hundreds of leads in “dead” queues–that equals thousands of lost dollars and hundreds of disappointed potential customers.
Pipeline management, the nurturing and cultivating of leads, is one of the most critical components of the conversion equation and the area where push versus pull dramatically differ. In the push system, leads are put into queues and it is entirely up to the sales person to effectively manage their pipeline. What happens in the average case is you hope the sales person calls the lead even once. Much less than the 5-7 contacts it generally takes to close a lead. In contrast, the pull system continually forces pipeline leads back to the sales person until a final disposition is reached; compelling the 5-7 contacts. Add to this the power of an intelligent lead selection engine that is continually allocating the next best lead and you have guaranteed conversion rate lift.
One final critical factor in increasing sales velocity and conversion is the consistent and disciplined sales process. The difference between the two methodologies is once again about enforcing tempo. The push approach puts a lead in a sales queue and hopes the sales person does something that acquires that customer (note the lack of accountability in the sales process). The pull system compels the sales person to annotate and disposition every lead in order to “earn” the next lead. This creates the consistency in the sales process and feedback for team leaders and marketing.
The modern everyday interpretations of the two garments are cousins of dresses and suits, both of which are perfectly viable office wear. But would you take your cousin to work with you? And let’s not forget that the definition of what is “formal” is as much of a moving target as you’re ever likely to encounter in style terms. As business in general is toning back its need to appear formal, the meaning of formal wear is itself becoming more open to interpretation. Somewhere in the middle the two will meet with an enormous explosion of laid-back businesswear, and anyone who hasn’t got their finger on the pulse of style is going to be a casualty.
But that’s for the near future. What about now? Can you really turn up at the office in a playsuit? It’s tempting to say that depending on the context, the answer is probably yes. After all, the world of playsuits and jumpsuits is itself pretty diverse, with some very straight lines and fitted silhouettes on one side and loose, flowing, floral fabrics on the other. A neat and tidy playsuit could definitely be a replacement for a skirt suit, and likewise a jumpsuit would pass unnoticed in an environment where trouser suits were expected. You can always wear a jacket or cardigan if the look works, and this will make the illusion complete. There are a number of styles in the shops at the moment, but as with any timeless look, a good place to find a great garment is in a vintage clothing store.
Office work does not necessarily automatically mean traditional formal any more, either. Even in working environments where men have been expected to wear a suit, the leeway offered to women has usually been pretty generous, with trouser or skirt options, and a blouse, knitwear or jacket on the torso. So it’s not such a huge leap for women to wear a jumpsuit or playsuit that’s at the more tailored end of the spectrum. Try it out in front of the mirror, have a good look at what your colleagues are wearing (as if you don’t already), check out the looks on the city streets at 8:30 a.m. and see how you could pull off the look.
Best of all, if someone suggests a drink or a meal after work, the subtleties of the style mean it can, perhaps with a little accessorising and a tease of the hair, become a rather smart looking piece of casual wear. While your colleagues are shedding their uncomfortable jackets and loosening their collars and cuffs, you’ll already be choosing your starter. And as the evening ends, it’ll be good to know that your clobber is designed for jumping – but hopefully into a taxi.
Wear Comfy Clothes. Wear clothes and shoes that are easy to take on and off, with a camisole that can be left on. Slip-on shoes are much easier than something with shoelaces or worse, boots. High heels are usually not the best choice, either.
Try Two Sizes. Take two or more sizes of everything into the fitting room. These days, clothing sizing is incredibly inconsistent, even within the same stores and brands, so don’t assume you know your size in a particular garment. Don’t worry about the fact that a size might be larger than you’d like. The important thing is that it fits, not the number on the tag.
Keep Options in Mind. Find fit first, then color. If you love the style and fit, ask about having the color you like shipped to you or sent from another store, if not in stock. This can also work in the reverse, so if you find the color you like, but it’s not in stock in your size, try to get it from another store or have it shipped.
Go it Alone. It’s usually best to shop alone, which will help you perceive the trip as a job that needs to be done, rather than a fun outing with a friend. There are times for browsing with friends or relatives and getting ideas, but if you want to have success, and you’re serious about buying clothing items that you really need, go by yourself and take advantage of the sales help.
Savvy clothing shopping helps keep your look current and in turn, feel more confident and successful. If you can’t face the task, hire a personal shopper who will give you all of her attention and work with you to find clothing pieces that are right for you, help you try them on, and help you make decisions. Don’t give up, you can shop with style.
Even if not shopping that day you can just walk and wonder at the range of items on offer. Hide your credit card away – you’ve been warned.
Head for Barcelona to cheer you up if you need some shopping therapy. There are boutiques, historic shops, and designer label stores galore and you’re sure to find something to your taste.
The Catalan capital city is stylish and modern in design and its shops are no different. Those who like high fashion will love it. The designer outlet shops are worth a weekends visit alone.
In central Barcelona you should head for Passeig de Gracia and the streets nearby including the Bulevard Rosa and the Barri Gotica streets such as Carrer de la Portaferrissa, Carrer de la Boqueria, Carrer del Call, Carrer de la Llibreteria and Carrer de Ferran, and around Placa de Sant Josep Oriol.
French fashion and Italian style are promiment but Spanish leather goods also feature highly – you can of course also find most of the major international major brands. Second hand fashion outlets also offer a good place to browse.
Most shops open at nine or ten in the morning and stay open till about eight o’clock at night – but often close during the day for several hours – as is the Spanish habit.
El Corte Ingles and Fnac – the larger department stores will stay open during all day – as do the two huge shopping centres where you’ll find just about anything you want under one roof.
Don’t try bargaining in Barcelona – the shops won’t usually budge on their prices.
Like Paris – Barcelona has a number of good flea markets – and you’ll find both locals and tourists swarming to them at the weekends.
Need a shopping therapy session? You now know where to head for. Just point your credit card at Barcelona and off you go.
In short Barcelona is an amazing place to shop and you will literally shop until you drop.
Compare and shop: Possibly the biggest advantage that online shopping marts offer is the ability of the prospective buyer to compare features and prices of multiple products between different brands and within the same at the click of a button. No more running from shop to shop collecting brochures and trying to memorize facts. Mostly, no more post purchase dissonance when a person finally buys something only to find something better and cheaper elsewhere.
24×7 Shopping: Another great benefit of Internet shopping is that these shops are virtual; therefore, they are open round the clock making it possible for people to see products for sales at midnight or any other time that they want. This is a boon for working people who come home to find that almost all shops are closed or about to shut down. It is also more convenient to shop from home, avoiding traffic jams, parking queues, and pesky sales assistants. All that one needs is a laptop and a working Internet connection.
Offers in your mailbox: It is possible for interested buyers to get updates on offers and other product launches in the products for sales categories that they might be interested in. It is therefore no longer necessary to browse ad sections to check if your choice of product is on offer; it is delivered into your mailbox. Which means that you do not have to waste precious time looking for products for sales; once you update your requirements, you can get information packaged and delivered to you to read when able.
Convenience: Shopping in your pajamas in the convenience from your home is possible through online purchases. Products for sales can be delivered to your doorstep without you having to get out of bed. This saves time, money, and effort that can go toward doing things that you really enjoy.
Critics may argue that it is more fun to browse through things in person; it may be so for certain people and certainly so for certain product categories. But for most product categories and people, purchasing online has a lot of benefits to offer. More and more companies are ensuring that they are not only present on these shopping marts but also include online purchase options for their customers. With advancements in technology, it is natural to expect that the online purchase experience will surpass a brick and mortar shop on most counts. But the biggest benefit that online shopping offers is the huge savings that get passed onto customer by companies who are cutting down on middlemen. This means that people can get discounts ranging from 20 to 40% when they buy online as compared to a regular shop.