Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day, also called Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is an annual holiday celebrated on February 14. It has its origins in Christian, Roman and Pagan tradition.

The Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia, Pagan festival, around February 15. It was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. The Christian church probably decided celebrate St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February taking advantage of this pagan celebration. After declaring it a “Christian” holiday the celebration of Lupercalia was outlawed during the fifth century by the Pope.

It was first associated with love during the Middle Ages as it was believed that that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season which led to the idea that it would be a day of romance.


In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia.



Year of The Brown Earth Dog Begins Feb 16

Chinese New Year is one of the biggest and most important cultural celebrations in China. The story of the Chinese New Year and the Zodiac that goes with it begins with Buddha. He called all the animals to meet him at the height of the moon’s cycle. Twelve creatures joined him and he named the years in the order of their arrival.

The rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig have cycled through as symbols of a new calendar each Chinese New Year ever since. As legend has it, those born in the year of a particular animal will have characteristics of that animal.

The Dog occupies the eleventh position in the Chinese zodiac. You are a “Dog Chinese zodiac animal” if you are born in one of these years: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018.

The Chinese Horoscope 2018 predicts that this year of the Brown Earth Dog is going to be a good year in all respects, but it will also be an exhausting year as there will be ups and downs as well as challenges but will bring prosperity.

Year of the Earth Dog 2018 is a good time for lifestyle changes (time to start a healthier life or a change residence) and for the start of new business ventures. Being prudent and using careful planning will result in a successful outcome of projects especially those undertaken in the previous year. Communication between people and being selfless and generous will result in more positive outcomes. Lifestyle changes will result in better health.

People born in the Year of the Dog are independent and decisive. They respond well to challenges without fear. Loyalty is one of their best traits so they will have life long friends.

Jewelry for Chinese New Year

Aside from dogs, rabbits are good to wear this year. Shades of lavender or violet are the colors this year – from pinkish to those that are bluish. Lavender jade or amethyst will be good for this year as well as blue agate and other blues. Cherry red and golden yellows will be great complementary colors as well.   Brown is the neutral for the year.

This bodes well for February since the birthstone is amethyst. Originally only royalty were allowed to wear this beautiful stone. The Greeks believed that wearing amethyst would prevent intoxication. Amethyst comes from a Greek word meaning sober.   In medieval Europe soldiers wore amethyst amulets to protect them in battle.   It is believed that putting an amethyst under your pillow will bring about pleasant dreams and wearing it strengthen relationships and give its wearer courage. Leonardo da Vinci wrote that amethysts enhance intelligence and protect against evil thoughts



February 16, 2017
The rooster is the 10th animal in the Chinese zodiac and include the years 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005 and this year, 2017.  This is the year of the fire rooster.

This year is predicted to be a less volatile than last year - the year of the monkey.  Since historically roosters were the first to wake in the morning they embody the traits of leadership - responsibility, reliability, and intelligence.

Those who are born the year of the rooster are believed to be honest, intelligent, confident and ambitious.  They are generally healthy, active and sociable.  They are also interested in being fashionable and take pride in what they wear.  They make loyal friends.
A rooster represents achievement and fame.  It is believed to frighten away ghosts at sunrise by its crowing.  An image of a rooster communicates a desire for a promotion.  The rooster's crest,(guan) is a play on the Chinese word for official.



Mammoth Ivory Netsuke Bring Important Stories Back to Life

December 7, 2015

Throughout the ages, artists have carved beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces from ivory. Today, there is a rich history to be told through the stunning netsuke pieces from Asia. Carvings depict wild and historic scenes, mythology and spiritual symbolism.

While the use of Elephant ivory endangers those beautiful creatures that were killed to near extinction for their tusks, another type of ivory has long entranced Asian carvers.


Mammoth Ivory

Mammoth Ivory was first unearthe...

Continue reading...

Why Asian Artists Carve Fish Into Jade And Mammoth Ivory

April 19, 2015
Asian artists have been carving amazing and beautiful scenes into timeless pieces for centuries.  These carvings depict so many different scenes and tell so many stories.  Many times they feature a different animal, and every animal has its own symbolic meaning in Asian culture.  One of the most popular is the fish.

I have found hundreds of beautiful jade carvings, mammoth ivory netsuke, wood and silver carvings depicting fish. Some feature fish on their own, but most include figures of people...

Continue reading...

Earthy Year of The Green Wooden Sheep Begins Feb 19

February 16, 2015

The Year of the Sheep begins Thursday, Feb. 19 when the 4,713th Chinese year dawns with a bright moon.


The Chinese New Year is one of the biggest and most important cultural celebrations in China. The story of the Chinese New Year and the Zodiac that goes with it begins with Buddha. He called all the animals to meet him at the height of the moon’s cycle. Twelve creatures joined him and he named the years in the order of their arrival.


The rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dr...

Continue reading...

The Many Shades Of Jade

January 18, 2015

Most people think of jade as a green gemstone. While it’s most valuable color is a vibrant emerald-like green, jade actually comes in several different colors.

Since the Chinese first discovered the gem in Myanmar hundreds of years ago, it has been a cherished stone, often even more valuable than gold.

Mined primarily in Asia, Russia, Europe and the Americas, there are actually two different stones that we refer to as jade.  The most highly prized jade is mined in Asia....

Continue reading...

What’s So Special About Dragons?

December 31, 2014

Dragons are significant in nearly every Asian culture. So, it’s no wonder they’re depicted in so many of the beautiful jade carvings as well as wood, silver and mammoth ivory carvings I have collected and incorporated into jewelry over the years.


Chinese and Japanese artists both created some of the most stunning jade dragon carvings you’ll ever see. Some are centuries old and some are brand new. The dragon has remained a constant in Asian cultures.



Continue reading...

Tips To Help You Buy Jewelry For Your Wife This Holiday Season

November 18, 2014

Maybe you’re one of those gentlemen who know gemstones and can spot a quality piece from across the room. Maybe your wife is used to getting fine jewelry from you on special occasions. Lucky her. But if that’s not you, don’t fret. That’s not most men.


So, how do you find the right piece of fine artisan jewelry for you wife?


Where not to go

First, steer clear of the chain jewelry stores. They are known for their staples. They have lines and vendors, not artis...

Continue reading...

The Perfect Necklace Will Stand Out At Your Holiday Party

November 18, 2014

T’is the season. Holiday music is creeping into playlists. Decorations are going up at shopping centers. Christmas cards and party invitations are going out in the mail.


So, now the big question is: what to wear?


Halloween is over. It’s time for sophistication, elegance and a little bit of sparkle.


Before you buy new sequin-covered or rhinestone studded outfits for this season’s lineup of office affairs, friends’ dinner parties and organization galas, ta...

Continue reading...

Carol Barrett Jewelry Celebrates 25 years

September 13, 2014

For 25 years, Carol Barrett has crafted beautiful one-of-a-kind jewelry incorporating culturally significant artifacts from Asia and India with the highest quality semiprecious stones.

It’s hard for her to believe it has been so many years. She remembers her first journey through China when she collected so many unique historic figurines carved into mammoth ivory, jade, wood and silver.

They were irresistible to her. She brought dozens and dozens of artifacts home from ...

Continue reading...

Japanese artists take inspiration from animals

August 8, 2014

Animal symbolism is hugely important in Asian culture.


With that knowledge, it’s no wonder Japanese artists have been carefully carving animal sculptures for thousands of years. Many of the most prized Japanese animal carvings are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand or wear on a necklace. Beginning in the 17th century, Japanese men would hang small pouches for their pipes, coins, seals and other personal belongings from their traditional sashes. To keep the po...

Continue reading...