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The Truth About Scheduling and Discounts (in a PWD-Run Business)

Photo of a piggy bank

The holiday season is now fast approaching! With expenses going up around this time, who isn’t on the lookout for a good bargain?

That said, we’re glad that you’re considering buying from us (we assume that means you think we offer a pretty good deal for your hard-earned money).

Don’t worry, we totally get it! As a new mom and dad, we’ve cut down significantly on on our holiday shopping budget in hopes of saving up for baby’s upcoming expenses. (Not to mention her birthday is coming up soon!)

We rely on this business alone to provide her with her daily needs — milk, diapers, cold and fever medicine, and the occasional pretty dress.

As a couple living with chronic and mental illness, we’ve seen our fair share of financially troubling times. For the “normal” person, having a decent job that pays the bills can prove challenging enough. What more if you face employer discrimination or debilitating mental illness while at work? Just having a source of income is something to be thankful about.

As this is the reality of our situation, we would just like to remind that we are a mom and pop shop staffed by only people. One of us is a PWD with hemophilia and epilepsy. Apart from that, we are also full-time parents to our 10-month old baby, Citrine.

Daddy J and Baby Cittie

It’s been our personal choice to stay home and NOT consider 9-5 employment, at least while baby Cittie is young. Our experience dictates that there’s really no substitute for the presence of a parent in a child’s life. Not even the prospect of additional income, or the perceived “certainty” of earning while working five or six days a week, is a worthwhile trade-off for being there for your kid.

This business is our attempt to be self-sufficient and we’re thankful a million times over to everyone still around to support us, even now that we have closed made-to-order-services that we were first known for.

Parenthood is our primary focus. We might make a few mistakes in managing this business — a few delays here and there, maybe. We pray for your understanding.

That said, we are doing our best to deliver quality items as promptly as possible. Please take note of TUESDAY and THURSDAY as our primary resizing days. On these days, we can actively work alongside our smiths and oversee production of items.

What About Discounts?

There goes another thing we’d like to address — discounts.

Everyone likes a good discount! But as much as we’d like to make our pricing flexible, they MUST stay fixed. Here’s why…

To be completely honest, we operate this business out of our own pockets. No investors, nothing. We do incur losses, especially when we make mistakes. It’s always on us. Given our situation, with our chronic illnesses and striving to manage a family, we’re very much likely to make them.

The earnings we get from every piece of jewelry you get from us are what we use to sustain our family. They also pay for our overhead costs, which can be overwhelming too. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I pay parking fees as high as 200 php a day because the only parking spot available to us charges that much.

If we could give our services for free to those who need it — we would, in a heartbeat. But we also need to pay the people who patiently build, craft, and repair your jewelry. And we also need to be paid the right amount for our 24/7 job of answering queries, taking and editing photos, implementing our marketing plan, and crunching numbers for finances. After all, this is a full-time job!

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November to December 2019: Schedule for Resizing, Plating & Gem Acquisition

The Christmas season is fast approaching, and along with it comes the season of heavy traffic as well.

My anxiety does not bode well with severe traffic jams, so I will be taking active steps to reduce the amount of time I spend driving in busy roads.

J and I would also love to spend more time with our baby Cittie. She’s growing up so fast — before we know it she’ll be walking, talking, wreaking havoc like a toddler…

“Peek-a-boo!”

We’re the type of parents who don’t want to miss a single magic moment with our baby girl. After all, this whole enterprise is for her!

So if you ordered an item from us (thank you!) and you purchased your item on a Friday, to cite an example, necessary revisions such as plating and resizing will be done on the next sizing day — Tuesday.

Hoping for your patience as we get things in order.

Sparkly day!

-C

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True Story of A Bleeding Episode

Last Sunday, J got another random bleed in an unfortunate location: his iliopsoas muscle group.

It started out as a mere “lump” on his hip area, which he didn’t think much of at first, since bruises with some swelling are quite common among people with hemophilia. Only when it began to progress in terms of pain and scope did he start to think it was another bleeding episode.He had just recovered from a bleeding episode in the same site last month. In my thoughts, a month’s interval between iliopsoas bleeds was way too short.

According to J, iliopsoas bleeds are one of the worst kinds of bleeds a person with hemophilia could possibly experience. The iliopsoas muscle group is a large muscle group spanning from back to buttock to groin. Injury to this muscle group may be life-threatening for a person with a bleeding disorder.

So what happens exactly when J gets literally knocked down by this unfortunate bleed?

1. He’s bedridden.

Ilopsoas bleeds are extremely painful. Even after he’s had a factor transfusion to bring his blood clotting factors up artificially so that healing may commence, the injured site (butt and hip area) will continue to hurt until the internal wound heals completely. This means J will be in excruciating pain for a week or so. As a result, he’s often stressed due to the pain (and since he has epilepsy, he may also have stress-induced seizures). The only way he can manage is by staying in bed the entire time and taking painkillers which make him drowsy. (Having a comedy show playing in the background also helps.

2. I (C) hardly leave his side.

Call me a doting wife, but I just don’t want my husband to feel like he has to face his condition alone. I’ll be honest, it’s not easy to tend to his needs now that there are things he can’t do on his own for the meantime. Nor do I feel great about watching him scream and writhe in pain while I sit by his side and attempt to fix what can be fixed, e.g. his sitting position — but there’s really nothing more I can do besides that. As with all bleeds, all you can really do is wait for it to heal.If I’m not accompanying J and helping him with his needs, I’m watching over our baby Cittie while she plays in our bed. Since J can’t exactly reach out to get her if she gets too close to the edge or puts something nasty in her mouth, I have to be the one acting as “child police” and performing baby restraint when needed.

3. Work? What work?

As a result of everything I’ve described above, it’s just very difficult for us to get any sort of work done. I’m not usually able to concentrate if I take my work to bed — maybe it’s a quirk of mine. Also, J is in charge of photography for the store, and in this case he can’t shoot or edit from bed. In the first place, he can’t (and shouldn’t!) even move. I could take over, but I don’t have as much practice in that department… and let’s admit it. It’s hard to be in the proper mental state for doing any work when you know a loved one of yours is suffering.

That said, we are so sorry we can’t get anything done in this time of great pain and (physical) agony.

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A 10K Rose Gold Ring Tarnished On Us. Here’s What We Did Wrong.

Previously, we published a post about how 10K gold resists tarnishing from normal wear.

This is still true. We’ve had interesting client feedback stating that the 10K rings they purchased from us months ago still look as fresh as they did upon purchase. Some have even survived trips to the beach. Awesome!

Now, we wouldn’t recommend that you take your 10K gold jewelry to the beach regularly. Nor should you bring it to the pool, because chlorinated water can cause your jewelry to break.

Personally, we do own a few 10K rings that we use somewhat regularly. We keep them in a glass-topped leather ring box with individual slots. We also make sure to clean them with mild soap and water to get rid of any grime. Afterwards, we dry them carefully.

I have a condition called palmar hyperhidrosis which causes me to have very sweaty hands. The sweat often starts randomly, with no cause. Because I have anxiety, the sweating can get even worse.

Nevertheless, I don’t let my sweaty hands ruin the fun of owning sweet jewelry pieces. I wear my 10k rings and truly enjoy them. None of my personal rings, whether rose or yellow gold, have tarnished on me.

Imagine what a surprise it was to see that one of our stock rings tarnished! From a beautiful rose gold, it turned into a rusty brown with some almost black areas.

Continue reading A 10K Rose Gold Ring Tarnished On Us. Here’s What We Did Wrong.
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On the Pricing of Gems

The outside gem market is a huge one – spanning numerous nations across the globe. It’s composed of various sellers, re-sellers, and also jewelry brands who source gems from different places.

Most sellers we know and have dealt with (often from the Middle East – Pakistan/Afghanistan area) source directly from mines and are usually able to sell gems at fair prices. These gems usually come with no certificates and our primary basis for determining whether they are genuine or not is TRUST. Upon physical examination, we can tell that the stones are truly authentic. (For natural stones, we can tell by examining the inclusions found within them. Sometimes you can already tell by simply touching the stone and feeling its temperature – among other things you just get used to the more you handle gems.)

There is no consistent pricing system for such gems. Each seller is free to impose their own pricing system depending on where they get their gems. Usually, pricing is correlated with the difficulty of obtaining a particular gem given the market conditions in their area.

Continue reading On the Pricing of Gems
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Why I personally love 10K gold jewelry

I was exposed to jewelry from a very early age. When I was a toddler, I donned Saudi gold necklaces. As a grade schooler, I had sensitive skin, so I wore gold earring hoops. Whenever I ended up with honors at school, my dad would buy me a gold jewelry piece as a reward.

Like any person with basic knowledge of gold jewelry, I learned that the number of karats on a gold piece corresponded to its value. The higher number of karats, the more valuable it is, technically speaking. So it follows that 18k is more valuable than 14k; however, it is also softer and more prone to damage from everyday wear.

When I started buying my own gold pieces, I treated them as investments. I was attracted to the 18k gold pieces I saw behind the intimidating glass displays of jewelry stores. I also bought functional 14k pieces with the intention of wearing them everyday.

Then, a foray into gemstone jewelry changed my mind.

It started with dainty rings — inexpensive pieces which showcased the beauty of the gemstones they held. At first, I made these rings in silver. I didn’t have the budget to get them done in gold.

My now-husband got me a pink sapphire ring in silver plated with white gold, which lasted a good seven months. After that, however, I started to think about whether getting silver jewelry was still a good investment (especially as I wanted to keep my gemstone jewelry for a long time).

So I looked into getting my own jewelry done in solid gold.

Continue reading Why I personally love 10K gold jewelry
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On break

We are currently on break from Thursday, April 18 (Maundy Thursday) to Sunday, April 21 (Easter Sunday).

We will not be able to respond to any inquiries on our website and on Instagram during this time. However, we will be fulfilling remaining deliveries as soon as we can manage. The only LBC branches open are the ones in malls.

Operations resume on Monday, April 22.

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We Got Featured in ABS-CBN Lifestyle!

Your neighborhood gemstone jewelry store just got featured in an article on ABS-CBN Lifestyle, “In Focus: 6 Fresh Online Businesses Run By Female Entrepreneurs.”

We were so happy to talk about our humble beginnings in gemstone and crystal collecting, and share our advocacy to spread awareness about chronic and mental illness.

In line with this we would like to thank everyone for supporting what we do. Also don’t forget to check out our newly opened gems-only page, @auroragemsph on Instagram.

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Notice: Custom Orders Closed

Hi all!

It has been an extremely busy time for Mommy C and Daddy J, with baby Cittie growing bigger every day. We believe we may have underestimated the amount of effort and time required in raising an infant, especially as she goes through growth spurts and the inevitable stormy periods that ensue.

More than anything else, we need to be present for her during these times. This means we can no longer devote as much time as we would like to checking multiple accounts and responding to messages right away. That is why we created this site, to help manage the incoming traffic of inquiries and orders, which we admittedly struggle to manage.

We do intend to keep our client interactions personal, as they have always been, so we will do our best to respond to Instagram DM’s — however, please forgive us if we are unable to get back to you right away! We’re just preoccupied with our baby, because seriously, the infant stage doesn’t last too long, and she’s way too cute.

That said, we would like to inform you that the current set of orders finalized via Instagram will be the last set of orders for the mean time. Custom orders are momentarily closed until all current, standing orders have been fulfilled.

Additionally, ALL ORDERS from now on will be made through the custom consultation form on this site.

If your order has not been processed for more than 1 month, we urge you to please, please get in touch with us. We have been struggling with maintaining our Instagram inbox for quite some time since messages tend to pile up.