Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Gems of Venice - the Transformation


This post is about a sponsor of Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

(Venice, Italy) It is not easy to have a successful business in Venice. It is even more difficult when you are a foreigner, and female. Yet, British-born Angela Cook has thrived against odds that would have knocked a lesser woman out of the game long ago.

Gems of Venice is the name of Angela's jewelry shop, formerly known as Ganesha, located at Rialto, right in the heart of Venice itself.

Here is the story:


Gemstones.

Universal elements born on earth, cherished by humanity for millennia.

Some attribute mystical qualities to the dazzling stones. Some desire jewels for ornamentation. Others appreciate their monetary worth. Whatever the reason, the quest for gems has always been a part of mankind's adventures, conjuring up tales of exotic travels and enchanted encounters.  

Gems of Venice, a unique boutique located in the heart of Venice, opens another chapter in the story.

The Silk Road stretches back to the beginning of human history.

In the third millennium BC, the Jade Road foreshadowed the passage that would link Eastern cultures and Western nations.

Jade, prized by the Chinese Emperors, moved westward from China to Mesopotamia. Confucius believed it exemplified the perfect man: righteous and intelligent, benevolent, loyal and humble.

Jade came from the holy mountains and was thought to be crystallized moonlight. The elite drank powered jade to achieve immortality, and used it as an aphrodisiac. Jade could make people invisible and allowed them to fly. Praised in literature, jade gave enlightened emperors the god-like power to control storms and floods.

Jade and trade were the ancient foundations of the Silk Road.

Silk is created from the fiber of the cocoon of the silkworm, and was first developed in China more than 5,500 years ago.

It is believed the first traveler on the Silk Road was King Mu, who reigned the Zhou Dynasty from 976 to 922 BC.

Over the centuries, the Silk Road evolved into a massive East to West trade route, allowing an exchange of goods, art, literature, religion, music, dance, technology and knowledge between extremely diverse cultures.

Before the Silk Road, the Romans, who were familiar with cotton, believed that lustrous silk grew on trees, never imagining it was the product of a simple creature's marvelous metamorphosis from worm to wings.

The Venetian Marco Polo was one of the most famous travelers on the Silk Road. Marco Polo, his father, Niccolò and his uncle, Maffeo, arrived back in Venice in the year 1295 after traveling through the Far East for more than two decades, a trip which included a visit to the Great Emperor, Kublai Khan. Returning in rags, no one in Venice believed they were the Polos, nor any of the amazing tales they had to tell. The Polos arranged a banquet, ripped open the linings of their ragged coats, and out tumbled a fortune in radiant gems -- silencing the naysayers.

Centuries later, Gems of Venice continues the tradition by transporting precious gems from the East to Venice.

For more than 30 years, Angela Cook, the British-born founder of the boutique, has traveled to exotic locales on her own quest for treasures to offer her clientele: gems and jewels from India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia; antique jewelry, gold, silver and rugs from Pakistan; tribal Turkman jewelry from Afghanistan; Byzantium jewels from Turkey; turquoise from Nepal; amber from the Baltic Coast. Angela even traveled the Spice Route through Yemen in search of antique coral from the Red Sea -- and learned that Marco Polo had been there, too, whisking the famous Mocha coffee bean back to Venice.

Angela explains, "I've always been captured by the beauty of gemstones. More than 30 years ago, after apprenticing in a luxury shop in Piazza San Marco, I decided to strike out on my own and open this shop at Rialto. Afghanistan was laid-back and friendly in those days, before the Russian invasion. Back then, I would communicate with the merchants by looking in their eyes if we didn't speak each other's language. I'd sit on the rugs in their shops. They would offer tea, and we would talk by using sign language and visual expressions. "

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Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

2 comments:

  1. It is not easy to have a successful business in Venice. It is even more difficult when you are a foreigner, and female. Yet, British-born Angela Cook has thrived against odds that would have knocked a lesser woman out of the game long ago.

    Gems of Venice is the name of Angela's jewelry shop formerly known as Ganesha, located at Rialto, right in the heart of Venice itself. Here is the story:

    ReplyDelete
  2. Je suis amoureuse de cette boutique depuis très longtemps et je connais Angela. J'ai de très belles boucles d'oreille et quelques bagues en argent avec de très belles pierres.
    Ma dernière bague est un trèfle à 4 feuilles en améthyste verte, c'est mon porte-bonheur.
    Bravo pour ce joli billet.
    à bientôt
    Danielle

    ReplyDelete

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