Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why some Pearl Jewelry is more Expensive than others

For ages now pearls have been revered as a sign of status. Pearl jewellery can, however, be quite the expensive addition to your collection. Pearls are rated much like gems, and each different type of pearl will have a different value. Natural pearls are extremely rare and make the most expensive jewellery. These pearls are naturally created by hard-shelled mollusks in the wild. Matching strands of naturally occurring pearls is almost unheard of. Almost, if not all, naturally occurring pearls are purchased and sold by serious collectors because of their rarity.

There is an option, however, for jewellery lovers that don't have the bank account of a collector: cultured pearls. Essentially cultured-pearls are grown by adding a bead and a piece of tissue into a shelled mollusk, or by grafting a piece of tissue from one mussel to another. In enabling the growth of the pearls for mass production, the rarity of the gem has been toned down for cultured pearls. They are still quite breathtaking, retaining the beauty and elegance you would expect from jewellery, yet at a significantly more affordable price. There are many types of cultured pearls, each one having a different value, and thus each one used creates pearl jewellery of different value. If you are a pearl lover it would be wise to get to know the different types of cultured-pearls.

The most expensive cultured-pearl jewellery would be made using the South Sea pearl. They have an insurmountable color of white, cream, and gold. South Sea pearls can grow to be quite large. The Tahitian pearls would be next in line for expensive pearl jewellery. These are sometimes referred to as Black South Sea-pearls. Next are the Akoya-pearls. The most inexpensive pearl jewellery is made using the freshwater pearl. Freshwater pearls have been cultured since the late 20's, making it a fine-tuned art. All levels of cultured pearl jewellery have their own unique identifying features; just because the cost is less doesn't necessarily mean the aesthetic value is affected. In addition to personal preference each type of pearl has a different look and feel, transferring this uniqueness to the jewellery it is used to create.

Pearls have a variety of colors and sizes. Luxurious, mirror-reflective, pink Akoya pearl jewellery would make an amazing addition to the jewellery box. If you are going with one color spectrum though, don't forget to include some dazzling black Tahitian as well.

Pearls will continue to be synonymous with elegance and class. They will always be a dazzling sign of status; however that status no longer has to be defined by income.
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Chang-an’s mid size sedan spotted out testing

Chang-an’s mid size sedan spotted out testingThe problem with self developed mid size sedans from Chinese auto makers is that they lack the branding ability and marketing ability to push their vehicles from being economy boxes into mid size sedan fighters. Only Brilliance and Roewe appear to have the ability to make a mid size that sells but they started in a different way as they started by making expensive cars and then made economy cars, its easier to go from high end to low end than it is from low end to high end. Chang’an have so far been focused on building small economy cars that sell in the thousands each month but they have not yet made a mid size fighter to rival Chery’s Riich G5 or Geely’s Emgrand EC7/8 series.

The below Chang’an sedan is based on the CD101 concept sedan that we have seen before at the Shanghai and Beijing Auto Shows, the sedan is likely to launch in early 2012 and will be powered by a 1.8L, 2.0L and also a self developed 1.8T engine. As with all Chinese mid size sedans they will launch first with a manual gearbox and then launch an automatic later, note that most mid size car manufacturers usually launch with an automatic only and then only offer manuals on the low end models. Are Chinese companies failing to understand their target consumers, or are we?
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Luxury car sales lift as economy recovers

Luxury car sales lift as economy recoversLuxury car sales increased five per cent in the five months to May–almost matching the 6.5 per cent growth for the new vehicles industry in the period, reflecting renewed consumer confidence in tandem with expectations of economic growth.

The performance of the luxury segment, which sold 83 units up from 79 units a year earlier according to data from the Kenya Motor Industry, was driven by increased demand from private enterprises and wealthy individuals.

Players attributed the increased demand to the strong economic recovery that started last year, a move they say could cushion the industry from major cutbacks in government spending on luxury car brands like Mercedes, Range Rover, and BMW.

“There is increased demand from high net worth individuals and the private sector where directors and senior managers are buying more luxury cars,” said Roy Kyalo, a sales manager at Bavaria Auto Kenya, a fully-owned subsidiary of Simba Colt Motors.

The economy grew by 5.6 per cent last year, double the 2.6 per cent recorded in 2009. High fuel and commodity prices have however cast a dark cloud on growth this year, with Treasury downgrading growth forecast to between 3.5 and 4.5 per cent.

Government cut: The government has since 2009 stopped buying luxury cars that consume more fuel and are more expensive to maintain in a bid to cut its transport spend.

That decision saw sales of new luxury cars drop within its first year of implementation, forcing dealers to launch aggressive marketing targeting the private sector and wealthy individuals.

Last year, 204 units of luxury cars were sold, down from 218 units the year before. “Sales of new luxury cars slowed down due to lack of orders from the Government,” said Sanjiv Shah, the general manager of Mercedes saloon cars at DT Dobie said in an earlier interview.

He said government orders accounted for about 30 per cent of Mercedes sales in recent years—a percentage that analysts says resonated across other luxury brands. CMC Motors has been the biggest loser in the move by the government.

CMC, which sells Jaguar, Land Rover and Range Rover luxury car brands, sold 13 units in the five months to May, down from 33 units a year earlier. This reduced its marketshare to 20 per cent from 43 per cent. It however sold four Jaguar cars in the five months to May, signalling diversification of market.

Market leader DT Dobie that sells Mercedes cars grew its market share to 57 per cent from 40 per cent, entrenching its dominance in the segment. Bavaria Auto Kenya, the local franchise dealer of BMW brands, also expanded its marketshare to 23 per cent from 17 per cent.

General Motors East Africa (GMEA) which introduced the rugged Hummer luxury brand in Kenya a few years back has exited the segment after selling the last four units of the vehicle last year. Second hand car dealers however said concerns about high fuel prices have weighed down demand for luxury cars from their clients

“People are worried about buying the fuel guzzlers at a time when fuel prices are high,” said Ms Angela Mecha, a used-car marketer at Kenya Bazaar.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 Porsche Panamera

2011 Porsche PanameraPorsche’s king of the four-passenger sedans is a pretty impressive combination of the German automaker’s design skills and engineering, and I liked the big car in previous trims I have used (the S and Turbo) for its roominess and trappings of luxury. My current test model is the 2011 Panamera 4, which brings all-wheel drive and a smaller engine (3.6 litre V6) to the platform. At its core, my tester is very much the same car as the ones propelled by the larger powerplant (4.8 litre V8), give or take some options and a few thousand dollars in starting price.

Its strengths are all intact; the extra passenger capacity and luggage space of a touring car is a nice feature to have in your luxury car (without having to water the Porsche experience down by opting for the Cayenne SUV) and, of course, a premium quality interior.

My Panamera tester boasts very good fit and finish throughout; all the surfaces feel and look good and have been applied well. This one has a few blanks left in the button-covered center console, for the options that weren’t included in this particular specimen, but for those who like a lot of switchgear it will still offer a lot of high-tech fiddling.

A fun inclusion on the tester is the adaptive air suspension (a $4,550 option) that I am using more to delight curious passengers than I am to balance the ride and driving modes. The dash is capped with Porsche’s sport chrono package (which adds another $1,690 to the bill ... you see how this works) and the entire control layout at least puts everything within easy reach and view; though not everything is necessarily easy to use.

However, while all the toys and tools on the Panamera 4 are what one should expect, the vehicle doesn’t include everything I expect to find in a car of this rarefied class. Keyless start, for example, or proximity keys that unlock the car when the driver approaches. Seems a little behind the times to leave those out.
I know I always complain about that when using a Porsche, just like I always complain about the placement of the cupholders (and then people write in to complain “du-uh who cares about cupholders; it’s a Porsche!” like that should somehow excuse poorly executed design), but consider this: In addition to the spring-out ‘holders inset over the glove compartment that hold your drink right over top of those expensive electronics, the one in the center console sits right where you rest your elbow while having a leisurely highway drive.

So imagine you have a cup of, say, grape juice and mustard and a special chemical that instantly bonds to leather in that cupholder, and just happen to smoosh your elbow into it; the results would be… unpleasant.

That aside, the driving experience in the Panamera 4 is much the same as in its siblings - very good. The V6, though not as enthusiastic as the eight-cylinder engine, still delivers good acceleration; and increases in responsiveness when operated in Sport or Sport Plus mode. One thing I am noticing, though, is that the six isn’t getting better mileage than the last V8 I drove. Odd.

The suspension, regardless of setting, skews toward a stiff feel that allows the road surface to be felt (this is not an advantage when cruising over rough roads, however) and gives the car the flat-cornering sensation that has made Porsche’s straight-up sports cars so desirable. Top the whole thing off with a smooth seven-speed PDK, the only transmission for Panameras of any trim, and the car remains a Porsche for all seasons that imparts prestige, at a price. My tester and its kin start at $92,700 for the all-wheel drive trim, but the options added to make it a near-complete package take that to a staggering $108,150.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Favorite Expensive Cars of 2011

My Favorite Expensive Cars of 2011Let’s have some fun in this edition of Cars Coming Soon, whaddaya say? We all need to take some time to dream once in a while, and lucky for us, plenty of automakers give us seriously dream-worthy automobiles.

We’ll start with Jaguar, which is about to release its fastest XK-Series ever. The XKR Special Edition coupe will debut at the Geneva Motor Show and have an electronically limited top speed of 174 mph, along with styling features that Autoweek calls “sinister.” Cool.

Power comes from a supercharged 5.0-liter V8 that makes 510 horsepower and can hit 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. I’ve always been a fan of Jaguar design and believe Jags capture a British elegance better than any other automaker… and that includes Bentley. It’s no secret that Bentley design doesn’t exactly do it for me, but I reserve my judgment on the 2011 Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible. Holy smokes, that car is hot. Here’s what MotorAuthority says:

Next up is the 2011 Porsche Cayenne, an SUV I fell in love with after a single test drive. Now an image has leaked that shows a much more Porsche-esque design for the 2011 version. Again, the official debut will happen in Geneva, but from the looks of it, a lot of Cayenne doubters should stop their quibbling after seeing this bad boy.

Lotus fans get to celebrate an update to the much-beloved Elise, with the 2011 model set to arrive in the States this year. A new entry-level model will be offered, with a 1.6-liter engine pushing out 134 horsepower. Not stellar numbers, but remember the Elise is super lightweight, contributing to its top speed of 124 mph and 0-60 time of about 6 seconds. Step up to the Elise R and 0-60 drops to 5.4 and top speed jumps to 138. What’s not to love about the Elise? Hot, sexy, small, and fast. I’m in!
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Monday, June 6, 2011

5 Great Gift Ideas for Dad this Year

5 Great Gift Ideas for Dad this Year5 Great Gift Ideas For Dad This Year : Find Great Gifts For Dad At Any Price Point
Father's Day 2011 has rules -- OK, only one rule: don't buy Dad a tie for Father's Day. Need a little help? Look no further.

Take a look at these tips and you'll navigate your way through another gift holiday with no problem.Let's focus on getting Dad something he'll really dig, something to show how much you appreciate him -- at any price point you may be at currently.From accessories for that most forbidden of gifts to gadgets, hobbies, food and something really touching and uniquely you, you'll find a variety of ideas. Be inspired, call other family members for tips and ideas and find the perfect gift for that Dad or Dads on your list.It is possible to get something for the guy who has everything.

Father's Day Gift Idea No. 5 : Get Dad Some Bling

Getting Dad a tie for Father's Day started out as a great tradition, but if your dad doesn't have a need for too many ties or now has closet overflowing with the fashion pieces, let's help him use what he's already got.Tie accessories are a great gift and can dress up what Dad is already wearing. Find a great tie tack at your local jewelry store or online. While this mind sound a bit basic, know that you can personalize tie tacks and also, you can find tie tacks from organizations such as fraternal groups and sports teams.

Tie clips can also help sharpen up a tie. They range from simple, classy looks, to clips with logos and personalization.Try a tie rack for his current collection, or keep clicking and find an option that really speaks to you.

Father's Day Gift Idea No. 4 : Dad Needs A Gadget

Whether your dad is really into technology, or just dabbles, there's something out there that he can really use. Technology moves so quickly now, that you can use Father's Day as a great time to help Dad update what he currently has. Do some research and see where he needs an upgrade. If he's really picky about his purchases, you may need to be sneaky and ask him questions yourself.

If it's in your budget, help Dad update his cell phone. Get something that you know he will love and that he'll use. Consider how he'll use a new phone before buying one with all the bells and whistles.Help him catalog his old CDs with a new mp3 player. Buy him that digital camera he's had his eye on, or a Kindle or Nook. Or buy great accessories for the technology that he already uses.

Father's Day Gift Idea No. 3 : Zero In On What Dad Loves

Buying items for a hobbyist can have its challenges, but have faith that you can find something within the realm of Dad's interests. Target his hobby. Does he grill? Have a personal home library? Does he jump on his motorcycle to relax?

If you feel confident buying him a grilling tool, a specific book or a new helmet for his motorcycle, go for it. But this is where it can be tricky and he might want to help pick out some of these things for himself.A gift card might not seem like a very personalized gift, but it can be. Buy him a gift card to his favorite bookseller and write a personalized message about how he can use the credit.No matter what, a gift that shows Dad that you pay attention to who he is and what's important to him will go a long way.

Father's Day Gift Idea No. 2 : Take Aim At Dad's Tastes

Remember how they used to say that the stomach was the way to a man's heart? That is still true and it also applies to dads. Does your dad have a sweet tooth? What's his favorite restaurant? What's his favorite homemade meal?

This is another great way to personalize your dad's special day. Buy those red velvet cupcakes that he loves so much and present them in a special way. Offer to cook his favorite meal as a gift to him or take him out to his favorite restaurant to celebrate him.

If you don't live near your dad, find alternatives to these things. Have his favorite sweets shipped to him, buy a gift card to his favorite restaurant and request pictures of the meal or gift him a homemade gift certificate for his favorite meal to be cashed in at a later time.He'll appreciate you thinking of him.

Father's Day Gift Idea No. 1 : Give Of Yourself

The last idea is the gift of "you." Commit to spend an afternoon with dear old Dad. Take him to a baseball game, out for ice cream or for a walk. No matter what, he'll appreciate you setting aside time to spend with him.Another way to personalize this day is in writing. How does your dad best communicate? How do you best communicate the way you feel? If writing sounds like good option, find a nice card -- or better yet, make one -- and fill it with memories of him, a top 10 list of why you love him or thank him for specific things he's done for you.

Remember, the more specific the better. It may be difficult for you, but this will mean the world to him and it's better than any tangible thing he could have received.Make it the best Father's Day ever.
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