Tag Archives: earrings

Peachland: A Sweet Place to Be

Peachland is just north of Penticton by about a half hour. Some would call it a bedroom community and I think there are some people that keep “cottages” there for the summer. It is a town that is long but not very wide, averaging two-four streets at the deepest. One side is hemmed in by Okanagan Lake and the other by the highway and the mountain beyond it, though some building and extension of Peachland has gone up the hillside.

In all, the town is probably about two miles long, maybe a bit longer, with a narrow, rocky beach(small palm-sized rocks) necessitating shoes for walking. Yet there are still people frolicking in the water and many boaters as well. It is the 100th centennial of the town this year and there were couples on Saturday renewing their vows. They had hoped to get a hundred couples but probably didn’t get that many. It was an extremely hot day, (36 degrees Celsius) and the long walk from the town shops to the other shops had me melting, especially since I had to cover up from burning myself the day before. But still it was pleasant.

Peachland memorial

I dropped into Peachland because it has one of my favorite jewellery stores there, Dragonfly and Amber, www.dragonflyandamber.com (the picture of the store on the site is of the old location). The store has moved from the main shopping area (all of about three blocks long) and is now down on 13th St. near the other end of the beach. I found the store quite a few years ago and whenever I go out that way I stop by, just to look if nothing else. She carries many other items as well, intriguing tchatkas and gewgaws, a few clothes, house and garden items even. But the main thrust of the store is jewellery, earrings, rings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets; unique and designer made. Dragonfly and Amber carries pieces I’ve never seen anywhere else and designers may be from Israel or the US or local.

Anything that is handmade is often unique or individual, but it’s not cheap. Having dabbled in some aspects of jewellery making (stringing beads, making earrings, using various stones and bits) I find the longest time spent is often in arranging everything in a pleasing way. Jewellers who cast and carve, sculpt and mold take even longer, increasing their costs in materials and price. Most of what is at Dragonfly and Amber is costume jewellery; semi-precious stones, rhinestones, crystals, glass, even plastic, but the handmade, individual aspect still sets most pieces at $100 or more. There are rings and earrings cheaper but not that many of them.

So I like to look, treating the store as a museum if nothing else. PeachlandShould I win the lottery, I would order something (or things) but even though the site is massive, some items will sell out before you have a chance to order them. True eye candy, Dragonfly and Amber is a lovely store to visit or even buy from. And Peachland is a quaint little town that’s been a getaway for city people for a hundred years.

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Body Adornment

The other half to yesterday’s blog on camouflaging the true shape of our bodies is one of adornment. People are like crows. We have always been attracted to shiny and colorful objects. Ever since Grog the caveman noticed the bright blue stone, we’ve been collecting these things. The best way to store such objects, if you were an itinerant caveman, was to wear it. And look, that blue stone brought the sky back again or slowed the mammoth down so we could kill it.

Body adornment covers jewellery made of glass, metal, clay, wood, stone, feathers, bone, etc. strung or worn in many ways across different parts of the body. As well it has been stuck through and pierced into whatever piece of flesh could be pierced. From lip and nose discs to rings on fingers, toes, nipples, to pieces of wood or stone or metal punctured through chests, backs, arms and other fleshy bits–if it could be done, someone has done it.

Jewellery has as many uses as clothing does. In many cases such adornment started out as a ritualistic aspect with Grog, perhaps a dedication to a belief or god or path. As well, certain body markings indicated tribal/familial affiliations or ranks of authority. A pope would wear an amethyst ring that the faithful would kiss. A particular group in the jungle may have their noses pierced while their neighbors had their eyebrows be-ringed. Whether a fashion trend in that area or a mark of community, these regional differences served the purpose of identifying one group from another.

Facial and body makeup also came along, where applications may have been used for special occasions, rituals, power or to enhance characteristics, such as outlining the eyes to make them look bigger; but also the kohl liners worked to reduce sun-glare into the eyes. There have been practical applications for some body makeup and painting, such as coatings to keep sun off, or insects from biting.

Tattoos and scarification are other ways in which the body has been marked for centuries. Piercings can be temporary, as in the sundance done by some plains nations in North America, where the man’s chest is pierced for the (up to) four-day sundance. But permanent marks are part of identification, authority or belonging to a particular group. Scarring the skin with ridges and whorls, along with embedding items under the skin have been done in some areas for quite a while. Sailors were long known to pick up tattoos on their travels. I’m not sure of the reason why and that would take a bit more research. Some I believe had to do with visiting foreign countries where some of these practices were more common.

Tattoos are big now in parts of modern tribal culture as well as the resurgence of the burlesque dance style. Dancers often have designs that are reminiscent of the 50’s and the earliest North American white tattoos (I say white because I’m not sure if any First Nation groups did tattooing like the Maori have done). Maori tattoos served several purposes including looking fierce in battle, along with the facial gurning.

But last and probably the most popular reason for adorning one’s body, whether with rings, earrings, necklaces, piercings, makeup, tattoos or scarification is for the sheer enjoyment of decoration. We have not traveled that far since Grog started smearing red clay handprints onto his chest, tying a blue stone about his neck and piercing his ears. Though he may have decorated some for superstitious reasons or protection from spiritual or real elements, there came a time that it was just cool and fun to decorate himself. And let’s not forget the status symbol of having the brightest colored rocks or the largest gems in the whole tribe. That hasn’t changed much. If it had, we wouldn’t pay through the nose (does that term come from jewellery?) for precious gems and gold. As long as there are humans we will be given to adorning ourselves and structures around us. If you don’t like a particular fashion of body decoration, be assured that within a hundred years it will change again.

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