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Alexandrite a Gem for Kings

Alexandrite is the unique mineral among the other stones which are highly appreciated. Subject to international pricing catalogue, faceted pure 1-3 carat alexandrite from the Urals with the intensive effect of color changing costs from two to twenty thousand dollars per carat, while the less pure alexandrite from the same Urals will take you one to four thousands per carat. A big size stone is rare and if it is worth paying fortunes for something that is not a diamond?

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Both men and women are welcome to wear signet rings, though men are more attracted by these jewelry items. Signet ring for women is just the luxury accessory while that for men is the symbol of the particular image and authority.

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Pierre Balmain, Mr. Elegance

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Pierre BalmainPierre Balmain, the founder of the most famous Fashion House, was born on May 19, 1914 in the small town St. Jean de Maurienne in the Savoy Mountains of France.  His family owned a wholesale drapery business that was directly associated with the fashion industry: his father was a wholesale merchant of fabric, his aunts owned boutiques and his mother was a professional consultant on styles in fashion.

Balmain's father died when he was only 7 years old and a little boy was cared by his mother and aunts. His happiest childhood memories were of playing in the shop where his mother and aunts made dresses. He played with the fabrics and admired the wonderful masterships of seamstresses.

His mother put high hopes that little Pierre would get a fame as military surgeon but he was only dreaming of sewing. At the particular time Pierre decided to go to Paris and study designing. But he did not dare to inform his beloved mother on his decision. And Pierre did what many people do in such cases - he lied to her. Hitherto, his mother was assured that he would go to become an architect after his study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. And Pierre left for the magnificent capital of France in 1934. Later on he showed excellent progress in his study.

The promising young designer was noticed and invited as an artist assistant at Molyneux. In the meantime, he quitted the idea to study architecture.

In 1936 Balmain was recruited to serve in the army. After two years of military service he returned back home but to that time he was forgotten at the Molyneux; he had no perspectives at that moment, nevertheless he did not intend to return back to his mother. And as a fortune, he received an invitation just when he decided to quit everything in a great despair. In 1939 Balmain joined Lucien Lelong. Then the war broke out and it became very dangerous to stay in the capital, and Pierre returned to Aix-lens-Bains and assisted his mother in her new clothing store.

Lucien Lelong opened his Haute Couture House in 1941 and invited Balmain again to Paris promising the moon. And Pierre actually succeeded altogether with the other talented designer Christian Dior exchanging ideas and   supplementing each other in fashion designing. And this is so much a case that sometimes it was impossible to identify who was the author of a particular model. They even discussed of opening a co-joint fashion house but it never happened.

And Balmain opened his Haute Couture house in the autumn of 1945 on the Rue Francois 1er in Paris. The same year on October 14th, he exhibited his first small collection mainly presenting pantsuits. He presented jackets from woolsey, new cut kimonos, evening wears, tight evening gowns from taffet, de luxe ball dresses trimmed with false berries and leaves, silver embroidery and rhinestones. It was only his first collection and it caused to recollect pure luxury so hopelessly forgotten as it would seem in the war time.

The periods of hard war time, pain and losses changed women. From infantile dollies they turned into confident, independent, emancipated and often tough partners in the war time. Female nature was «effectively» forgotten, the skill to look beautiful and dress up was not of high value any longer.  The credit of all famous couturier of post-war period is a new type of female - not weak, but neither strong, a Woman from the capital letter who is up to anything including a big love, big sacrifices, and a hard work.  A woman whose personality was not hidden behind a dress, however she couldn't do without dresses.

Balmain presented to public a new style that would be popular and in success over the period of 50s, and which would be named by the American author Gertrude Stein, a close friend of Balmain's, as the «New French Style» in her writing.

It is typical for Balmain to employ some features in his work that brightly distinguish his style:

- embroidery in gold, bronze and pearls. Silky fibers of the very delicate shades of gray, icy-blue, striking mastership and very often works wholly handcrafted;

- furs, especially fur clothing items like mink belt, fur braces, boas and muffs. And all this luxury is incredibly mixed with satin, silk and taffeta;

- pastel delicate shades, and more often rose-lilac or maize yellow and sometimes tenderly almond.

Rather strict and almost classic style of the fashion designer and eccentric life style. Being a real party person Balmain adored parties and never missed one. Yet, his passion to architecture was shown in another way - collecting houses that he possessed abundantly and that he loved with an equal passion. Elba Island is probably the most extravagant dwelling that he redeemed from Thailand and reshaped to be dear to his taste.

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