I may not have found what I thought were some of Rio’s gems – beautiful women and men with sun-kissed and well-endowed bodies stretched endlessly under the sun in Copacabana – I discovered gems that I thought were lovelier and hotter. I could admire or hmm… ogle them as long as I want and bring them home as well.
Exploring Santa Clara Street near Copacabana on our last day in Rio, my colleague and I were directed to this shopping mall that looked like an office building when we asked where we could find a souvenir shop. We found the place, bought the usual souvenir items and decided there was nothing else worth our remaining Brazilian reais after checking out the neighboring shops.
When we went back to the ground level, we noticed several small display boxes in a glass casing. We figured out they were displays of some shops’ sample products, because unlike most modern shopping malls in Asia and elsewhere, the building didn’t have an open space or lobby on each floor from where one could view most if not all the shops on every storey.
A lover of jewels and trinkets, my colleague was easily drawn to a display box of mostly amethyst necklaces and bracelets. The next minute we found ourselves outside this little shop whose display shelf was oozing with items made of gems like amethyst, agate and other kids of quartz. The rest I had no idea how they were called as I had always content myself with just trinkets and cheap blings.
When I saw the prices – BRL45 (US$22.5) for a pair of quartz drop earrings and BRL24 for a ring with a chunky stone – I said to my colleague they couldn’t be real gems.
So I decided I would just tag along and check out the items inside to see if there were any quirky and pretty designs that I could share with my sister, who is into jewelry, trinkets and accessories business.
But once inside, after waiting more than 40 minutes for the owner/shopkeeper to come back from what we thought was just a quick lunchbreak, I couldn’t resist being awed by the so much variety and the beauty of the items. There were just so many to admire and choose from! And they were genuine gems. Even locals flocked to the shop the two hours we were there.
But being the frugal and practical person that I am, I was bent on just looking and admiring and taking photos. Then I saw and tried on this agate necklace…
and the rose quartz earrings on the left…
I was sold on K. Pedras’ gems and happily handed her my credit card. US$450 for all my loot? Surely worth it. Designed by K herself? Even more worth it.
And K was a wholesaler, she said, as she used to work with some gem mining companies before. So if we bought those items from retailers in Rio, we were told they would have cost us twice K’s price. I should convince her to consider shipping her products to Asia.