How can it be June already? I know the years seem to go faster as we get older but the past five months seem to have whipped by in a flash, making QVC’s 25th birthday, on October 1st, a mere four months away! More about the road to that later in this blog and thanks to those of you who have left comments about enjoying the reminiscing with me.
But first, as we have entered a new month, we have a new gemstone to feature and this month it is pearl. As June is often regarded as ‘wedding month’ (no plans to reveal for mine as yet), pearls very often feature in wedding jewellery or even stitched on to wedding dresses, but they are also the gem given to celebrate the thirtieth wedding anniversary – a fact which may come in useful if you are ever on a television quiz show like ‘The Chase’. To digress for a moment, it’s amazing how many questions about jewellery and gemstones I answer correctly as a direct result of knowledge gained over twenty five years at QVC, so here is a bit of extra info about pearls for your memory bank:
1. They are the only gem created by a living animal
2. Only 1 pearl in every 10,000 found in wild oysters are of any value in jewellery.
3. They fall into three main categories; Natural saltwater (rare), cultured saltwater (Akoya, South Sea and Tahitian making up only 5% of global production each year) and cultured freshwater.
4. The main difference between a natural pearl and a cultured pearl (apart from price) is that in the latter, man introduces an irritant to the mollusc which is then coated with layers of nacre rather than the irritant entering the mollusc naturally.
5. You can get beautiful pearls with no nucleus – keshi pearls, which are flatter and have an almost metallic lustre.
One of the most recent developments in cultured pearls is ‘ming’ pearls. These are grown one pearl per shell (like Tahitian, South Sea and Akoya) and come in some beautiful natural pastel shades as well as white. I really like them, as they are very organic and they’ve been really popular with you guys too over the past couple of years. Watch out for this set of 2 stretch bracelets coming up this month from Honora, at less than half price.
As a June birthday myself, I was pleased to receive the strand of pearls which had belonged to my maternal grandmother when she died. Pearls are so special because they don’t rely on the artistry and ability of a lapidary to bring out their beauty but they do vary in quality and are best judged by their lustre and smoothness of their surface. Happy pearl shopping to fellow June birthdays, of which there are several among the QVC presenters both present and past, which leads me nicely into this week’s look back.
On last week’s blog, I mentioned a trip to Italy, which technically was in September of 2000. QVC was going to be broadcasting ‘live’ from Vicenza where a world famous jewellery fair was held three times a year – January, June and September. I think it was the second year we had done the live broadcast and it was decided that a crew would be sent to Italy ahead of the live shows to film some footage to be played out during the shows and to promote them in advance. We started in a small town called Marostica, where there is a life-size chess board in the town square and locals dress up in costumes depicting the pieces to play a game of chess. We were supposed to be loaned some costumes but wires must have got crossed somewhere and we ended up having to improvise with two wallets, a magazine and a big cheese… don’t ask!
We also filmed in a beautiful place called Bassano del Grappa before concluding our piece in Venice, where we raised a glass to the ‘wrap’. Pictured next to me, dressed in black is our sound operative, Gordon, who is also still with QVC after all these years. It was only my second trip to Italy (the first was in 1975 when I was a dancer and rehearsals for the cruise ship I was joining were held in Rapallo) but it is a country I feel an affinity with. Maybe it is something to do with my name – Giulia is fairly common in Italy.
I had three further trips to Italy with QVC, which I may mention on future blogs. Incidentally, Dave Bradford presented the live show and I believe it was not long after that he left to join a rival TV shopping channel along with Dean Wilson. To bolster our ranks, Pipa Gordon joined us as a presenter, having guest presented for a while. I was trying to find a picture of Pipa from the early days but I’m afraid I failed. She looked very different back then with her very short hairstyle which I think may have been red? I sometimes wonder who has had more changes of hair colour and style, Pipa or Catherine Huntley?
Mind you, I’ve had a few changes of style myself. These photos were taken soon after I’d decided to change from my natural curly style to a more blow-dried look – I can’t believe how short it was.
The filming outside the Tower of London (Dave on camera and Joe on sound) was for a link-up with QVC America, but I can’t quite remember why. I think maybe they had sent QVC US presenters over to the UK for a few months… in fact it may even have been a presenter swap but I don’t recall who went stateside… maybe you do?
The funny thing is, I discovered this article in Now magazine, from November 2000, and I’m wearing exactly the same outfit. I guess it must have been a favourite at the time. Do any of you remember the old ‘L’ with all the information on it? And how young does Dale look? Even I don’t remember Britt Ekland and Linda Evans appearing on QVC but I do remember us winning the prestigious Jewellery Retailer of the Year Award – a real honour.
Before I finish, I just wanted to point you in the direction of a new feature on our website. Until September last year, we used to have a Look of the Week which I would feature here on my blog. Well, it’s back this coming Monday, sort of, as it’s now called the Style Look and is fortnightly. The first one features a fabulous Coco Bianco dress. We do this dress with various different patterns on the skirt part but it is the cut that is really fab on this dress – one of my faves from the Coco Bianco range.
It’s my weekend off but watch out for two fabulous TSVs. Saturday we have a Sealy Posturepedic bed at a hugely reduced price and you could lie in that watching a brand new 50 inch Samsung TV, which is Sunday’s TSV.
Anyone got a favourite to win Britain’s Got Talent? Mine (so far) is Gruffydd Wyn… what a voice!
See you next Thursday,