For the Tender Care of the Soul
About Dolphin Designs Artwear
Our Service Pledge To You:
I will respond to questions and orders within 24 hours of receipt. I will give you great customer service with wonderful packaging. When you need me to ship within seven days of payment, please tell me in a message. Thanks.
Here is what the Secret Shopper learned that caused me to be awarded the ONE Shining Star Award across ALL RL shops for September 2012. It was the first Shining Star ever awarded to any vendor on Ruby Lane.
Shining Star – Dolphin Designs Artwear
Congratulations to Pamela Brown of Dolphin Designs Artwear.
The Secret Shopper stated: "A good buying experience. Very quickly responded to all communications and the emails were more personal than my other buying experiences both on Ruby Lane and elsewhere. Lovely (Item details removed), personal communication, a 'real person' type of experience."
HERE IS THE WAY I APPROACH LISTING IN THE VINTAGE JEWELRY LANE:
I have a pricing formula that takes one thing ONLY into account: The price I paid for the item. I won't buy rings and things that are being sold above my limit just because someone says the stone is rare or the ring is old.
From December 2012 through Feb 2013 almost everything vintage I sold came from my own personal jewelry. Now I'm restocking in two ways: The first is through obtaining a lot of rings and other vintage things from family members and boomer age friends: Their jewelry from earlier times that they are giving me outright. I can know those are vintage, because I know from where they came and when they were obtained.
The second source is reputable store owners who sell vintage and antique items along with curio items in curio shops that cater to tourists exploring the small towns outside of Atlanta's beltway. Their prices have to be low or nothing would ever move. They get most of their inventory at large estate sales INSIDE the beltway.
The pieces I've been buying don't cost me any more than brand new jewelry, so they won't cost you more than that, either, here in my store. Still, I don't want to call something vintage if it isn't or name a stone something it isn't.
Ruby Lane has a new "store" called "Fake or repro". I recommend anyone concerned with this issue to learn to use this feature of Ruby Lane. I use it, because I want to learn, but also because I don't want to misrepresent anything. I think most of what I buy is in the twenty to thirty year range, because it isn't very tarnished. Nevertheless, I silver polish everything before I take pictures to upload into the store.
Kappas are mischievous creatures plentiful in Japanese folk tales and mythology. They are an enormously popular and frequently seen motif in hand carved Netsuke art. Our benefactor had many in his collection when he passed them onto us, and I found several more in the eleven I unearthed about two months ago when sorting through more of the "stuff" Norman dumped into my dining room over a year ago when Uncle Ken died. I was quite giddy to find MORE vintage Netsukes AT ALL to list here, but to find a number of Kappas, one of my favorite creatures of all time, made me jump for joy.
Surface information regarding Kappas: They tend to be carved to look like a cross between turtles and humans. They have scales on their arms and legs and "turtle" shells on their backs. Their hair is often long and covers the backs of their necks. Many Kappa Netsuke carvings have dents in the tops of their skulls. They are unbearably cute.
The REALLY important facts about Kappas: Children all over Japan hundreds of years ago were protected from drowning in that noble country's numerous rivers by their parents' Kappa stories.
Kappas were MONSTERS to little kids, because (according to the folk tales that the grownups knew were not literally true) if a child got too close to the natural habitat of a Kappa (the water in a river) that rapacious creature would grab the child's legs and pull him or her under water to death by drowning. HOW HORRIBLE. The Kappa might be not much taller than the child, but Kappas had superhuman strength.
Over the centuries stories about Kappas became more benign, and according to the most recent accounts I've read, Kappas began to be viewed as beings with personalities somewhat like those of young teenagers labeled "oppositional-defiant". Many adults (me for instance) love the "bad" middle school teens the most: We can FEEL that they need us more than their peers, have deep stores of love and loyalty, and come up with delicious practical jokes. (Anyway, any incorrigible behavior didn't start out being the young person's fault.) If such an American young adolescent meets an American adult he or she can absolutely trust, there are no ends to which that teen will not go for that elder. (I KNOW. As a professional counselor for decades specializing with this demographic, I have experienced the fierce loyalty about which I write.)
Kappas NEED water, and so in many of the Netsuke carvings you may come across they will have dents in their heads to hold the water that is necessary for their survival if their insatiable curiosity causes these solitaries to wander away from the river "block" they claim as their own.
Usually a Kappa will take leave of his river dwelling to make trouble for a human. But like wise humans interacting with "defiant" adolescents, the human who is targeted by a Kappa will be firm, take no nonsense and will set limits.
Generally a Kappa will sneak up on the elder human and seek to trip him or fight with him. The human will ONLY win in a battle with one of these beings of super human strength IF enough of the water spills out of the cup in Kappa's skull bowl to weaken him. Most people won't try to spill ALL of the water out of a Kappa's holding vessel, because most people are kind.
In these cases the human will win the battle with the Kappa. THEN the Kappa will be loyal to that human for the rest of the human's life: (Kappas are immortal) and will watch over him or her and provide constant protection: "Someone to watch over me." I wonder if one reason is that Kappas are in transition toward becoming humans, and they've developed gratitude. If so, they must be deeply grateful to the human they've picked on for NOT spilling out all the water from their head bowls.
If the human loses the battle, the Kappa just runs back to the river and finds another human to pick on later. It seems something like gratitude in a mortal situation is necessary to produce something like a protective life-long bond.
Now you know how wonderful Kappas can be. I hope you will meet one some day, so that you can get acquainted with the superhuman strength, mischieviousness and loyalty they can offer to us.
I prepared this section after I read that it is possible to be tricked into buying "reconstituded Larimar". You'll never find anything but the best genuine Larimar in my shop, but a little guidance will protect you.
For starters, smaller stones with dark matrix inclusions of red, brown and even black are almost always authentic Larimar. Some people prefer them in their jewelry, because they are advertising proof that they have real Larimar when wearing their pieces. Inclusions can also hilight the heavenly blue that will be in the beads, Larimar's hallmark.
My research on "fake Larimar", "reconstituted Larimar" and "authentic Larimar" always led to articles that directed readers to the Larimar Museum in the Dominican Republic.
The most professional article I found was written by a gemologist who wrote that there are only two veins left (vertical, deep, and half the year in water)in the one mine in the world where this beautifully colored blue stone is found, and that mining it is so dangerous lifes have been lost. He wrote that in the Dominican Republic and around the Caribbean Larimar became plentiful after it was discovered in 1974 (imagine that) because the news of it's wonderful hue took a while to spread.
As more and more people learn about it, Larimar is becoming increasingly.
It's quite expensive and getting more so every day. One country in the Orient wants to purchase ALL the Larimar left in the Dominican Republic, but laws there prohibit selling very much to any one buyer. It's not a wealthy country though, and the author pointed out that corruption could lead to the breaking of the law. He suggested buying Larimar before if becomes so rare it could be priced out of most folk's reach.
The most prized Larimar stones are richly light blue in hue and often have rivers or clouds of (sometimes hard to see) white in that blue that is generally described as "heavenly". For more information, you all know how to google "Larimar".
The ring is beautiful and I loved your narrative. Thank you.
I am a writer and poet, and I see that you are a word person as well. I don't think any other owner is as personal about the store as you, it is nice.
Pamela, thank you again for YOU and your incredible customer service.
The necklaces arrived. Oh....my....God!!!!!! They are both gorgeous. I opened each box with literal squeals of delight. The Madonna pendant is even bigger than I expected, which is a good thing. I'd never seen the particular painting you used and I love it. It's so different from other Madonna portraits, yet so moving. It really captures the feel of the Great Mother. I've never pictured her as a mature, grandmotherly type. She's always been a young mother to me.
The dragon pendant is so beautiful. The beads are even more magnificent than you described. Wherever did you find them? (That's a rhetorical question. I wouldn't know what to do with them if I had them. You're the artist here.) Thank you so much for such beautiful works of art.
I received the larimar earrings today together with
your gift pair. And how beautiful they both are! I am so very
pleased! Thank you. Pamela, the clips you provided with both pairs are not only pretty but so comfortable on the ears. I'm sure you must
know from others' feedback if you don't wear clips yourself, that
it is quite difficult to find a pair you can wear painlessly. Yours
are those pairs. I can't thank you enough. I love the larimar earrings, and the turquoise! Blue and green are my favorite colors! I also appreciate your lovely notes, and the wonderful gift boxes! Have a prosperous and great weekend! Until the next time,
Pamela, I received the necklace today and it is really lovely. The
larimar is beautifully complemented by the blue stones which
capture so much light. The earrings are so nice - and so
thoughtful of you. Thank you! Peace and light,
Pamela, I actually wrote you a short note to say I find your descriptions refreshing and your lack of pretense disarming.
Pamela, I received this necklace and it is more impressive than
the pictures suggest - it really feels reverential to wear it.
I'll be checking your shop often; your customer service is fabulous and for me, that's a big part of any shopping experience and keeps me
coming back. Have a wonderful day in sunny Florida and I'll be talking
I keep thinking and feeling so happy that you have been so kind to me, just a stranger in this big wide world.
I received the necklace today. So beautiful. Can't wait to wear
it. Thank you so very much for the earrings. TWO pairs! OMG,
again...beautiful. So very generous of you to include the
earrings. You are definitely an asset to Ruby Lane. I will be
visiting your shop regularly. Thank you.
Both dresses are beautiful. You didn't have to do that and I am very grateful and impressed.
I have 2 daughters, both small: one's a size 4, the other a size 6.
I think they'll each find one of the dresses that fits!
I'm sending you the final payment on the necklaces tonight. I can't wait to see them. They both look so beautiful in the pictures.
Thank you again for going so far above and beyond on the dress order.
Thank you! I have a "thing" for earrings:) I can feel your passion for design and creativity when you describe your pieces! I look forward to wearing each pair:)
Dear Pamela thank you ! thank you ! My box arrived today in
perfect condition. The bears are great and I love my earrings and
your gift is beautiful. I will cherish it always One Jersey girl
to another. Happy Holidays
You continue to create very beautiful jewelry. . . . You are a "powerful woman" and you are a spiritual, creative unique person who has the ability to mesmerize with words. You are a true healer, and the healing comes through in your jewelry.
I'm writing to say thank you so very, very much. The gift was
wrapped beautifully, but nothing could prepare me for how
gorgeous the actual necklace is. I was speechless when my friend
opened the package and showed me. The pictures simply don't do
your work justice -- it was lovely beyond belief!! Needless to
say, my friend was overwhelmed and said it's the most beautiful
necklace she has ever seen. It's so perfect for her, and we're
both now devoted to your work. Your service goes so far beyond
what anyone could reasonably expect. You are absolutely the best
and I appreciate all you did to help me, as well as your patience
with my questions before purchasing.
Thank you again; I look forward to purchasing from you again.
Last evening when I removed the tangerine earrings from their case to try them on, I noticed that you had tucked in another pair of pink earrings behind the foam packaging.
Thank you so much for this gift. It was a wonderful surprise. The color of these briolettes are beautiful too.
You stock very pretty earrings in your store and I look forward to many more great purchases from your shop.
Thank you once again and Happy New Year to you.
I am going to share your card and your jewelry with all my friends when I return to work next week.
You are a very special individual and it is revealed in your writings, your jewelry, and your willingness to be open to life and other people.
Hello my dearest pamela!!!!
I received my turquoise necklace!!!!!!!!!
The post man brought it in this week tuesday!
It is sooooo beautiful! It feels so lovely and calming in my
hands and I want to keep looking at it so often...
I carry it with me wherever I go...
I just wanted to compliment you on how beautiful your designs are
and very well prices for the materials.
What a great necklace!
I just had to write to tell you how much I love the new necklace and special earrings!!! The necklace is even more beautiful than the picture and has all of my favorite colors. I also love the earrings. They are a perfect match for the necklace. Thank you so much for everything - I hope to be visiting your shop again soon, and I wish you all the best!!!
Your pendant / homage to Bob Dylan arrived in Friday's mail. It's wonderful! Will have to think of appropriate moments to wear the jewelry. Thanks for sending it in such a nice presentation box and including the perfect chain. I will wear this piece with pride and gratitude for the great musician.
May you keep on "... like a rolling stone."
I received your package in Monday's mail, and ripped it open once I sat on the sofa. I love "Heroes in the Seaweed." I can wear it everyday. I love the stones, the mermaid, the proportion of it all, and the little silver dolphin bead. You must have fun finding all your beads and other embellishments. Thanks a heap for two pairs of turtle
earrings: I finally have the ones matching the necklace; it was heroic
that you located the two turtles in that wonderful peachy-pink-terra
cotta color. And the other pair of earrings is divine: I am very fond
of enviro-themes in jewelry. You are much too kind.
I just opened your package today. The bracelet is great as are the earrings, both sets. I collect frogs so these are very appropriate for me. Thanks for the bonus gift. Good luck in your endeavors.
I was attracted to looking thru your shop just because
of your stories. You shouldn't have to stop writing them! Vendors like you make Ruby Lane a place people like me who buy a lot of things return to. I will continue to return to your store remembering the days of your longer inspirational stories, try to be content with the paragraph of meaningful prose tales you seem only allowed to write at this point, and when I purchase artisan jewelry, it will be the wonderful items that come from your huge fount of creativity. Like others have said in the testimonials, the spirit in your stories and personality comes through in your jewelry designs. Thank you.
So excited to get the pants and thanks again for the bracelet. Picture me in Dayton, Ohio this summer wearing them with a colorful tank top, a rope belt and flip flops! I will be the hit of the city. Everyone hear LOVES Lilly Pulitzer but NO ONE will have jeans like those. I expect a lot of questions about where I got them and I'll
send them to you shop. Of course, they won't be able to have MY jeans,
but I hope they'll find other things that they'll love.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE MADONNA OF THE STREETS:
Below are facts about the portrait of a Madonna and Child I use in almost all of my religious pendants. The original portrait was rendered by the Italian painter, Ferruzzi, in the last part of the nineteenth century (the 1800s).
The art work began after Ferruzzi saw an eleven year old pauper/peasant girl caring for her baby brother as she foraged for food. She looked hungry and older than her years. Ferruzzi, who lived in a palace, never felt above anyone else, and he had deep feelings of sorrow for the poor.
In the young girl's devotion to her baby brother some think that Ferruzzi witnessed the incarnation of the Virgin Mary deep within the core of his own being.
Perhaps he wanted to MOVE US TO HELP by showing the desperation of hunger. He strengthened the message by pairing the depleted girl with an opposite; trusting, protected, sleeping contentment. The parents agreed to allow these two children to model for the painting. Ferruzzi would have graciously paid the family handsomely in return.
The artist named the work, "Madonnini" (little Madonna). It was displayed for the first time in 1897 and garnered instant fame for both the artist and the painting itself.
Within a short time "the people" (who could easily have included you or me), were calling Ferruzzi's art work, "The Madonna of the Street". Generous in every way, the kind Ferruzzi renamed the painting for us. Uncharacteristically, he created THIS work using an anachronistic style: The genre had been gone for over fifty years. Clearly Ferruzzi was an INDIVIDUAL who didn't care about being in style. That is usually the case with people intimately connected to their souls (What Carl Jung would call "the Self Archetype", the mystical center of every human personality).
I believe the artist was GRIPPED by the Virgin Mary. Some readers might rather I declare, "the Spirit of the Divine Feminine." That's okay with me, though I think the former words are more moving and accurate on the level of soul mentioned above. I sense that the openness and FEELING on the face of the girl came "FROM ANOTHER WORLD". (Bob Dylan lyrics): That extraordinary realm where everything is Eternal.
Rhetorically I ask: Was the ordinary every day working world behind the time lapse in the way Ferruzzi painted Madonnini, and in the surprise he felt when the artist faced the VIRGIN MARY after he finished painting a contemporary pauper girl?
Was the here and now behind all the people unknown to each other calling the art work by a different name than the artist gave it once it awakened THEIR compassion for the poor--- and it was the SAME NAME?
And was carnal reality behind the fact that no one has seen the original painting since 1924, and no one knows where it is, or if it even still exists?