Snowdrops, (dreaming of) Flipflops, Ancient Spanking Rituals and Valentines

Snowdrops and Flipflops

For me February conjures up so much hope and promise.February is a month of rebirth and fertility as the natural world prepares to leap out of the resting dormant cycle of Winter and into Spring. Despite the still apparent cold and the dragging on of Winter it is the beginning of new life with the first brave snowdrops pushing through the soil filling my heart for the Spring just around the corner. It will soon be time to dust off the flipflops!  It is a time of Snowdrops, Flipflops, Ancient Spanking Rituals and Valentines!

Spanking Romance

The promise of romance is also in the air with Valentines. Last year in my personal avoidance of the whole thing, being a very much single lady at the time, I choose to spend the 14th in the air flying home from Thailand after visiting my silversmiths. Funny how the flights worked out more reasonable going that day.

The history of Valentines is rather somewhat interesting beginning in ancient Rome with Lupercalia, a pagan fertility festival. Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather and sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat and dog hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets. The men would take the goat or dog skin whips to spank the bottoms of women in a hope to improve their fertility, they also blessed the fields in the same way for the crops fertility.

The declaration of love and the promise of romance which has evolved into what we have today was done a little differently back then (or maybe not that differently either, spanking yes, just less sacrificial animals and blood hopefully).

Also during Lupercalia, all the young women in Rome would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. The original way of swiping right! Shuddering isn’t it!

Martyred Priests and Prisons

St Valentine of Terni was beaten, stoned, and beheaded for the crimes of marrying Christian couples.  Emperor Claudius had outlawed marriage for young men forcing them to be single while they served in the Legions of the Roman Empire which Valentine defied.

Thanks to the marital angle of his story, Valentine became the patron saint of love, and marriages (and also randomly of plague, epilepsy, and beekeepers).

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. By the Middle Ages Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Valentine Cards

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.

Today there are estimated to be 1 billion Valentines cards sent each year and the date is celebrated in many countries across the globe with a few exceptions such as Saudi Arabia and Malaysia where Valentine’s is banned as deemed a Christian festival and inappropriate for Muslims to celebrate.

But regardless of religion or culture a single marked day to celebrate the love you have with someone else isn’t really necessary. Little gestures, gifts and cuteness is rather lovely when made as a surprise any time of the year. But if you do want to lavish your loved one with gifts for the same price as a luxury box of chocolates we have some fantastic paintings such as

Soul Mates https://lunatreejewellery.co.uk/product/ef045-elephant-painting-soul-mates/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

or how about Entwined https://lunatreejewellery.co.uk/product/el018-elephant-painting-entwined/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

or Millie and Billie http://lunatreejewellery.co.uk/product/elephant-painting-millie-and-billie/

Painting, elephant, elephants,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gorgeous gifts you and your loved one can treasure forever rather than forever on your waistline and even our flower inspired jewellery won’t wither and die like a bunch of the real thing.

http://lunatreejewellery.co.uk/product-category/shop-by-range/flowers/

and for the traditionalists out there we have hearts galore! https://lunatreejewellery.co.uk/product-category/shop-by-range/hearts/

However you celebrate the day of love I hope you have a good one.

Big love to you all and thanks for reading

Clare

New Year New Me and a Ruby Red Beginning

New Year New Me

My blogging input has been shameful. I’m the first to admit. It’s true.  I’m an adorer of words poetically strung together, an avid reader and a lover of how language can sing and touch the soul. Yet I lack the conviction to get cracking with stringing these 26 letters of the English language together on my own website. Maybe it is just laziness, or my busy life that has kept me away. A mixture of the two most likely.  I’ve also considered who would really want to read my ramblings and do I even have something to say that hasn’t been said before?

There is nothing worse than some waffling blog banging on about the weather or an anecdote about some observation regarding their snotty nosed spawn when all you want to do is scroll right past all the waffle to find the recipe at the bottom which could have been there without any scrolling at all. I don’t want to be that person. I also aim to be true to my word. So, I will cut the crap.

My New Year thing (apart from getting an eye test after a 3-year lapse…still to make the appointment but one thing at a time) is to write a monthly blog. Stuff relating to Fair Trade, Jewellery and other relevant things to my little business.  If it is down in writing for all to see here I have to do it don’t I?  Gulp.

So here goes nothing…….

Ruby Red Beginning (Well, Garnet Beginning Actually)

Stones have always fascinated me. In fact, the first jewellery I ever made was with stones I had tumbled myself as a child. One birthday, I would have been about 8 or 9 my parents gave me a tumbler. I had no idea what it was at first but I dutifully followed the instructions counting off the weeks until I could open the barrels and check on the progress of my stones. Children lack patience for this sort of thing and my dad was really good at making me wait the correct time for the magic to happen. It was so worth it! Beautifully smooth magic jewels. Exotic and tactile. They all had stories singing from them to me. Wrapping them in wire and making pendants, using strong bonding glue to back them with brooch pins I set about adorning my loved ones with my stones. My Nana wore a beautiful piece of Agate as a brooch on her coat for years and when she passed away this was the thing I wanted to remember her by. I still have it.

So, my love of stones got me thinking about how they are traditionally thought of as birth stones and with this month we are blessed with Garnet the birthstone for January.

Garnet can be actually found to be many colours; Pink, purple, orange and also found on rare occasion as a blue or green stone. However, the colour which does immediately come to mind when thinking of Garnet is a deep red colour, sumptuous and rich. Warm and inviting.

Garnet Then and Now

Garnet is often associated as a symbol of friendship and trust. So, a great stone to gift to a loved one. Historically is was believed to offer protection to the wearer and many ancient warriors wore Garnet into battle. It is also believed to be a re energiser stone, bring wealth, prosperity and even an increase to sex drive.  With so many great things going for it we all need a little Garnet in our lives!

The word garnet comes from the 14th‑century word gernet, meaning ‘dark red’. This however is derived from the Latin word for ‘seed like’. The similarities of the inside of a pomegranate holds the key to the name. Pomegranate seeds are natures exotic jewels after all! Their similarities to garnet stones is very apparent too.

Throughout history Garnet has been well loved; In Ancient Greece it was treasured for its mystical powers with claims to heal relationships and feuding lovers. Garnet has adorned the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt and found in many tomb artefacts.  Garnet was favoured within the Roman Empire as the most used and widely traded semi precious gem stone. The Romans inlaid intricate metalwork and jewellery with Garnet and it was also set into signet rings which were put to use when wax sealing important documents by dignitaries.

In the Middle Ages, red garnet was fashionable among clergymen and nobility.

Fast forward through time and here at Luna Tree we have our Vicky Necklace, Bracelet and Earrings which marry garnet and silver beautifully. Pretty and delicate with the passion red of this beautiful stone a shining statement.

N035 Fairly Traded Vicky Necklace

BR020 Fairly Traded Vicky Bracelet

E039 Fairly Traded Vicky Earrings

Thank you for reading…..See you next month!

Love

Clare

International Woman’s Day Festival Chester

chester womens day 2016

We will be here in  Chester’s prestigious Town Hall in a couple of weeks taking part in the celebration of International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day is celebrated officially on 8 March every year although the earliest Women’s Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York.

The day has been embraced as a time of expression for equality, working rights, voting rights and protest for justice for a whole host of female issues. Over time there have been many women led marches, rally’s and strikes around this time of year.

International Women’s Day is celebrated all over the globe on the same day.

The day is an official holiday in Afghanistan,Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan,Belarus,Burkina Faso,Cambodia,China (for women only), Cuba,Georgia,Guinea-Bissau,Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos,Macedonia (for women only), Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal (for women only),Russia,Tajikistan,Turkmenistan, Uganda,Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia.

In many countries it is customary for men to give the women in their lives – friends, mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc. – flowers and small gifts. In the UK it coincides with Mother’s Day which is celebrated on the 6th March this year.

While it is a day of celebration, we have after all come a long way culturally, economically and socially which definitely requires celebration I also see it as a time to reflect on the very real struggle women across the globe face and how actual progress can also be slow for change to happen.

#PledgeForParity

The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.

You can find out more about International Woman’s Day here:

http://www.internationalwomensday.com/Theme

 

Elephant Paintings and ENP

Alongside our exquisite silver jewellery  we also sell a range of elephant paintings, these paintings are reproduced from the originals by Thai based artist Lertsark Bangkaew.

I stumbled upon his lovely studio quite by chance during my 2010 trip to visit our silversmith producers. At the village I had been placing orders and working on new design ideas with them, so once our work was complete here it was time to head back to the city of Chiang Mai.

As soon as I saw the juicy vibrant colours of these paintings and the quirky comical elephants I just knew I had finally found what I was looking for,  to financially assist  the elephant sanctuary I had fallen in love with, visiting  it for the first time the previous year.  Yes in 2009 realising a lifelong dream to get up close and personal with the animals I adore most; I lost my heart to a motley bunch of fat bottomed, big eared and extremely long nosed gentle giants at Elephant Nature Park.

Everything was suddenly fitting into place quite by chance.

After my first visit to the sanctuary I was internally driven to seek out a means of support via my Luna Tree business and Lertsark’s paintings fitted the bill perfectly! Since our initial order in 2010, our range of paintings has grown into quite an impressive herd, we have a great range of consistent best sellers and with Lertsark’s prolific continuous painting, always new designs to add to the mix.

But the best bit about this whole extra departure from the silver jewellery is being able to donate to Elephant Nature Park and assist in their wonderful work. This place is Elephant Utopia and a truly magical place! The stories behind each herd member will reduce you to tears, you cannot imagine the brutal harrowing beginnings in life so many of these elephants have endured and your heart will be crushed with this knowledge. However,  there are also tears of joy; after spending time with these battered and damaged animals you realise that they are healing mentally and physically, although some will always bare the scars of what their old lives entailed. However now they are living as natural a life as possible within herd groups established naturally shortly after  their arrival to the park. The elephants look after each other; watch out for each other, having extremely loyal bonds between them. They share an understanding of what was before and now their freedom and safety of the sanctuary. Wonderfully, every new baby born at the sanctuary, will never know the horrors of having their spirits broken down, just more aunties than they can possibly handle as the only real hardship of their lives!

This year our donations  to Elephant Nature Park have been made to the Land Purchase Fund; with the park at elephant capacity right now purchasing more land surrounding the sanctuary is vital so the work of rescuing more elephants in desperate need can continue. Extra land will benefit the herd at Elephant Nature Park for many years to come.

We couldn’t make our donations without you! All our wonderful customers who have purchased from our painting range this year have contributed to this little slice of elephant heaven and for that we send you a BIG THANK YOU!

Best Wishes

Clare

elephant 1 elephant 2 elephant 3

Our Eco Friendly Gift Boxes

Probably the most people and planet friendly gift boxes in the world!

Presentation is everything, especially when it comes to the art of giving. Beautiful jewellery deserves the best packaging, something to keep it safe, secure and make it a real pleasure to unwrap.

When you’re an Eco conscious recycle nut trying to tread as lightly on the earth in private as well as in business you would think compromises would have to be made. Ethics thrown aside for the sake of business or business compromised because of personal ethics….wrong, it all comes together beautifully for Luna Tree with our handmade gift boxes.

Our gift boxes are crafted from Mulberry tree bark in Thailand, the bark is naturally shed from the trees each year, a native species, they grow abundantly in Northern Thailand. Known as Saa paper, our gift boxes are environmentally sustainable and ecologically sound to produce. Manufacture is clean with no waste. The paper making process from Mulberry bark has not changed in over 700 years.

We source our boxes from a wonderful Alternative Trading Organisation in Northern Thailand which co ordinates the orders with a women’s cooperative. The co operative promotes skills training for its workers and combats exploitation of vulnerable rural women. By financial empowerment through their employment these women have gained an increase in their confidence and have a realistic alternative to exploitation, particularly by the sex industry within Thailand. In many poor areas this can sadly be the only source of income for some  families..

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This Alternative Trading Organisation supports the women’s co operative in other ways too. They are very much integrated with the village’s which are home to the women workers and take on a pastoral care and social work role of support. This helps to facilitate improvements within these communities which is very much the driving force behind the business. A significant percentage of the proceeds from the orders is made available as cash bonus incentives to the workers solely for the use in community based projects.

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All retail orders placed through our website are presented in one of our gorgeous Saa paper boxes. These boxes are also supplied free of charge to our stockists to accompany our jewellery should stockists wish to use them.

Thank you for reading!

 

Clare