How Much Does an Amber Cost?

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The price of amber is determined by the different life forms which are found in the stone. Intact insects, plants, flowers etc will increase the value of amber and these stones will be highly priced. Typically, an amber necklace with say, a trapped dragonfly, will have a high price and will enjoy a heavy demand in the market.

The prices of these gems can vary depending upon the clarity, color, polish and size of the piece. The prices mentioned in this article are in general for gems of fairly good color and good clarity. Opaque pieces of amber can usually be bought quite cheap – for as much as $0.10 to $1 for a carat or less. For pieces around an inch in size and with insect inclusions, the prices can range from $50 to $60. An average stone of a good size and with inclusions would cost around $195.

Good wholesale quality beads can also be purchased for as low as $15. Shapeless and uneven pieces without any fossil inclusions ranging from 1 to 1.5 inches in size and weighing around 10 to 12 carats would cost anywhere between $30 to $40. Polished beads without any inclusions of about 1 centimeter usually cost from $1 to $2 per carat.

Many a times, this gem is heated to give it an old or aged look. These pieces usually cost less compared to a similar piece having the original color.

Amber pieces with unusual flora and fauna are a collector’s item. Fossils in this gem always increase its value and beauty. A pendant with inclusions is guaranteed to get a good price in the market. A carved ring is also very highly priced in the market.

A significant difference in the price of the amber is made depending on the period from which the amber originates from. The older the gemstone, the higher is its price. However, it is not easy to identify the age of the stone. Most gemological laboratories also do not often certify amber gemstones. The process of finding out the age of the amber stone involves identifying the inclusions present in the stone and estimating the period in which it existed.

There is an interesting piece of news about a piece of Dominican amber with inclusions. Recently, such a piece with a large lizard trapped inside it was sold for $ 75000. This figure cannot really give us a hint of how high a price this gemstone can fetch.

In fact, the amount of history associated with amber jewelry would only serve to increase its market value. Similarly, antique jewelry or a pendant with insect is very highly valued in the market.

There are frequent attempts made in the market to sell amber ‘simulants’ as genuine amber. Simulants of this gem include ambroid, copal resin, kauri gum, dammar, celluloid and plastic. These simulants would normally cost a fraction of what a real stone costs.

Thus, we can see that the price of this gemstone mostly depends upon factors such as age, inclusions, quality and size.

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Stephen King’s Cujo

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In his partially autobiographical book On Writing (Scribner, 2000), author Stephen King admits that he was heavily into alcohol when he wrote Cujo (Viking; 1981). As a result, Stephen King’s Cujo lacks the true other worldliness that marks his best novels. Dog lovers will also be appalled at the description of the book’s title character – a gentle Saint Bernard that turns into a man-eating monster after getting bit by a rabid bat.

But still, a bad book by King is still better than a good book by most other horror and suspense writers, including Iris Johansen, Dean Koontz and Edgar Allan Poe. Stephen King’s Cujo offers some interesting tidbits for diehard King fans to discover. It’s set in a fictional town familiar to King fans, Castle Rock, Maine, the home for many King books, or is the town next door to the book’s action, as in Under the Dome (Scribner; 2009.)

Strong Characters

King’s great characters are his core strength. Even if a situation seems completely implausible, readers will still keep those pages turning to find out what happens to the characters. Stephen King’s Cujo is no exception. There is a town maniac, a beleaguered cop and a young couple with a small son trying to keep going after the wife admits to an affair. Even though King claims to have been drunk while writing the book, he has some touches that makes a character seem more real than a real person.

Even the title character is fleshed out. His unusual name gives a slight hint at the dark weirdness to follow. Cujo was named after one of Patty Hearst’s kidnappers, who everyone called Cujo but was really named Willie Wolfe. Cujo’s white trash owner at first doesn’t seem to be capable of making the logical leap to name his dog after a kidnapper, but then nothing in Cujo is quite as it first appears.

Problematic Plot

The main downfall of the book is the plot. Anyone who has kept dogs or bothered to learn anything about rabies knows that no matter how rabid a dog is, they do not become a Cujo. Although the book at times hints at otherworldly forces at play (such as the son’s persistent fear of a monster in his closet) they never materialize. This teasing with the reader goes on for quite a bit of Stephen King’s Cujo.

A good part of the book is taken up with the wife’s affair, perhaps in an attempt to show which was the worse monster – the guy she has an affair with or Cujo. But these two plot lines never merge, as they would in most other King books. This is another annoying tease for the reader to put up with.

Another stumbling block is that many problems facing the young mother and her son in their showdown with Cujo is that it just wouldn’t happen today in the age of mobile phones. Modern readers have to keep reminding themselves that things like the Internet, standard air-conditioning in cars and mobile phones did not exist back in 1981.

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Cell Phones – Advantages and Disadvantages

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Cell phones are a mind blowing invention of the current century. If you take a look few years back, a mobile was not measured as a necessity, but it was rather seen as a luxury that was available to a minute group of people. It was not affordable by everyone and only high class or business people actually owned one. But presently, life without mobile seems impossible. No one can imagine a life without a cell phone. Many people don’t even leave their home without it. No matter what is the age, people all across the global village are addicted to cell phone.

There are thousand reasons behind its popularity in such a short span of time but mainly it is because of the fact that mobile phones are no longer considered just as a hand phone but they have transformed into a technological device, offering various technologies such as GPS, music player, PDA and much more. To stay in competition, almost every week, manufacturers all over the world are introducing a new model with upgraded features that fits best to your lifestyle.

Large number of people finds it to be a convenient mean to interact with others. With the blink of an eye you can contact with anyone across the globe. Nowadays, mobile phones are constantly being update which allows you to enjoy a wide range of new features. Based on the mobile model now you can easily watch television on your handset, can play huge number of games, can surf for information from internet, can receive or send electronic mail, can send or take 3D pictures, keep a balance tracks of important meetings and appointment via reminders, store a huge list of contacts with complete description and a lot more.

In simple words, a mobile phone is a need of every individual. Nowadays, the need has also transformed into a fashion. People opt for expensive mobile devices to impress others. Every phone has an option of ‘customize your phone’ through which users can easily adjust the phone according to the environment or taste.

You will come across with many such parents who gift their children with a cell phone. This is not because they want to provide their children with a new technology but the major reason behind it is their safety. Mobile phone can proof to be the best source of protection in case of emergency.

Everything has pro and cons, and cell phone has its drawbacks as well. Following are some drawbacks of cell phone:

1- Health issues: Recent research says that radiations emitted by the cell phone results in blurring of eye sight, earaches, and headache and can even lead to cancer.

2- No privacy: If somehow your cell is misplaced, it will lead you to a couple of difficulties; unless you have put on strong passwords which are not easily breakable with software.

3- Cell phone and driving: Mostly, accident occurs because of carelessness and the major reason behind it is the use of mobile while driving.

No matter what are the disadvantages of using cell phone, its pros are simply uncountable. These advantages have made people an addict of the cell phone.

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The Attractive Power of a Book Well-Written: Love & Erotic Novel Which Engulfs Us All

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Falling in Love

Have you ever fallen in love with someone much older than you and from the same sex? Well, it happened to Rivi, a 14 year old girl falling in love with Michaela, her literature teacher at school. And, surprising or not, Michaela has fallen in love with Rivi, and their mutual erotic love has continued for years…

This, apparently, is the core of Judith Katzir’s “Dearest Anne” (the Feminist Press, 2008) who has devoted pages on pages to describe, in much detail, the erotic love between the two; their longings for each other; their “sexual games”; their adductive, forbidden love. Written in beautiful, aesthetic language, as you read the book you can’t put it aside; you are attracted to whatever happens between the two, at time wishing you could have been a fly on their wall…

The power of attraction

The reason for the readers’ “attraction” is simple. The sexual descriptions are written elegantly and beautifully, and as much as the two women never “gotten tired” of each other and never had enough, so does the reader never feels he has read enough. Part of it is due to the beautiful, artistic language of Judith Katzir, which makes the book not only a page-turner but an aesthetic experience in its depiction of places, characters, love and sexual attraction.

But the reader’s attraction to the book is due not only to the erotic descriptions, but also for another crucial point: As much as the love story between the 14 year old girl and her 27 year old teacher is “unique” for the two of them, it echoes universal love stories of people throughout history (not necessarily between two people of the same sex and of different age groups) and very possible echoes some of your own experiences with love and eroticism.

Existential, universal daily-life issues

Yet another reason for the attractive power of the book is the broadness of issues it brings before us: the novel circles around existential issues such as: where is the balance – or the border – between love and passion, between giving and abuse?

What motivates people to do what they do and behave in the way they behave? Is there “pure love” or is love actually often based on neediness, on the need to be loved and accepted?

In addition to these – and other – questions, the novel deals, among other, with issues of existential love, sickness and death, girlhood and womanhood, aspirations, disappointments, forgiving and missing opportunities (such as: If I had to live my life all over again, what would I have done differently?).

Our personal life vis-à-vis “Dearest Anne”

By raising such important, universal issues, Katzir’s book prompts us, the readers, in addition to experiencing pure pleasure in reading her book, to delve into our own life, our own fantasies and aspirations, our own love (or lack of), our own life-experiences, sorrows and/or joyful moments. It also drives us – consciously or unconsciously – to bring up questions regarding our self-awareness, as well as our understanding – or lack of – of the way we “do” life; the way we communicate with our loved ones; the way we hurt ourselves and others and last, but not least, the fears and needs which drive us to behave the way we do.

Self-Awareness

This issue of being aware to one self is dealt with elegantly yet hesitantly throughout the book. Is Rivi – as 14 year old girl – aware of what she does? Is she aware of the dangers which might be posed on her way? Is she aware of what motivates her to fall in love, lie to her mother, and become obsessed with her love for Michaela? Is she aware of the (bad) relationships she has with her mother and understands how these might have driven her to fall in love with Michaela?

Once again, these questions motivate us, the readers, to think and contemplate about our own parental qualities – or lack of – if we have children and about the relationships – of lack of – that we have developed with them.

Pleasure in reading as an inspirational board to developing our own awareness

Katzir’s “Dearest Anne” not only gives us pleasure in reading a well-crafted, aesthetically written courageous “love-story” (could we have had the courage to actualize our own love or other desires we might have had?), but in addition it raises in us a whole bunch of existential-philosophical questions regarding life in general. Then, if we wish (and have to courage to delve into) – the book encourages us to deal with questions regarding our own life, encouraging us to view and observe, in retrospect, our own accomplishments and missed opportunities (whether love-related or otherwise).

“Dearest Anne” can become an inspirational board for us to develop our self-awareness regarding our own life, vis-à-vis the universal issues the book presents in front of us.

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Hardwood Floor Refinishing – Do It Yourself Tips

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If you’re lucky enough to find hardwood floors hiding under your tired carpeting, you might feel like covering the wood back up. That’s understandable because refinishing the floors yourself seems like an impossible task.Hardwood floors were a common feature in houses until the 1960s. Before that, having wall-to-wall carpet was considered a luxury upgrade. From the 1970s on, most homes had wall-to-wall carpet in nearly every room. However, tastes change, and over the last couple decades, hardwood floors have once again become fashionable and desirable. Oftentimes, when I’m talking with someone about fixing houses, they ask if refinishing hardwood floors is something they can do themselves. Unless the person has a physical reason why they can’t do it, I generally say yes. However, I also remind them that redoing hardwood floors takes a great deal of time, sweat, and elbow grease.

As a general rule, floors of fifty square feet or less can be sanded by hand, but for any floor larger than that, rent or buy a small orbital sander. Everything necessary for doing it yourself will be available at your local hardware store. You can buy a pretty good electric sander nowadays for less than $100, which can be a good investment, especially if you’re planning to work on your home on a regular basis.The first layer to be removed is often a thick wax coating, followed by a coat of either polyurethane or varnish. A heavy duty commercial wax stripper can remove the wax, and then a lacquer thinner or acetone can be wiped on to prepare the wood for the next step. If there are any carpet tacks or pieces of old nails in the wood, remove them first. The remnant of a nail can tear up sandpaper, damage a sanding pad, and do serious damage to the palm of your hand, so check carefully to make sure all remnants of tacks and nails are gone before you begin sanding. Fill all nail holes with a quality wood filler, matching the color as closely as you can, and let it dry. Then you’re ready to begin sanding the floor with 220-grit sandpaper, whether by hand or with a sander. When you’re done sanding, wipe the entire floor with a damp cloth to remove as much sanding dust as possible. Damp cloths work better than vacuum cleaners. Let the floor dry, and then wipe it again with a tack rag, which is a cloth impregnated with resin to pick up fine dust particles. Again, your local hardware store will have what you need.After the floor is as clean as you can get it, apply three coats of polyurethane with a paint pad, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly, lightly sanding with 220-grit paper, and wiping the floor with a damp cloth and a tack rag between coats. If you prefer an old-fashioned finish, you can use a 50/50 mixture of linseed oil and mineral spirits and then wax the floors with beeswax or paste wax. Take caution with the chemical mixture and the rags because they can catch on fire.

You can refinish hardwood floors yourself. It just takes time and effort–and a good set of kneepads wouldn’t hurt, either! Once you finish, you’ll have a gorgeous floor to be proud of and ready for that next “do it yourself” project–perhaps the next room with hardwood floors.

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Marketing Strategy and Movie Distribution Plans

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It’s too easy to neglect having a marketing strategy and movie distribution plan when producing on an indie film budget. Producers are focused on fleshing out a tight screenplay, hiring cast and crew while keeping track of every dollar they spend. Studio budget movies hire goliath companies to develop a marketing strategy and movie distribution plan for their latest blockbuster.

Indie filmmakers have to get creative with their marketing strategy and movie distribution plan so their creative hard work doesn’t just disappear after it’s done. I’ve been learning a lot of good stuff by following what other filmmakers are doing to market a movie in order to make film distribution money.

One movie with a sexually driven theme created artwork and an attention grabbing marketing package that included condoms with the name of the film printed on them. I read they stood out at film festivals with this creative approach. There are also rare indie produced movies that are so damn entertaining they secure meaningful movie distribution without a strong marketing strategy to promote them.

But why take the gamble that your movie will be one of the rare ones? Thinking about a marketing strategy and movie distribution plan early as possible is what successful indie producers do. I don’t read entertainment industry trades like The Hollywood Reporter or Variety because they don’t have information based off the real life indie cinema scene.

I’ve been turning to blogs more and more that are ran by indie producers and filmmakers that share what marketing strategies and movie distribution plans have worked for them. I really like reading Indie Slate Magazine and MovieMaker Magazine because they spend time focusing on the business of indie filmmaking not just the creative part of the process.

Creating an online buzz for an indie feature is one of the most effective ways to market a movie without having to spend money you don’t have. It only takes personal time to run a movie blog, Twitter account, Facebook page, Google +1 and other popular social networking outlets. Crowd funding for indie movies has really shown that people do respond to online marketing. The effort to keep a movie blog fresh and stay connected with people pays off in the end. Building interest for a movie online is the way to go.

Having an idea of what the movie distribution plan is going to be will depend on what you want as a producer. Are you going to self-distribute or look to land a distribution deal with a company?

Movie self-distribution makes financial sense for smaller budget indie films. Self-distribution allows the creators to keep control of the rights to their movie. Less money has to be made from direct sales to make a real profit from a movie because there aren’t distribution fees and percentages taken out by a distributor. Many filmmakers have made money for their film investors and themselves from their work through self-distribution combined with an aggressive online marketing push they do themselves.

Landing a movie distribution deal normally offers greater exposure and more people see a movie that is released by a film distribution company worldwide than a self-distributed titled. Movie distributors that cater to releasing indie films usually don’t put together a big marketing strategy. They have relationships with film buyers all over the world that receive their catalog of available titles or see what they have at film markets.

Avoid a past mistake I made by sitting back after signing a distribution deal expecting the distributor to market the hell out of the title. It’s important to still have a workable marketing strategy after you sign a movie distribution agreement. You’ll have to check with the distributor to see what you can and can’t do to market your movie online. But overall it’s a win-win for both parties in exposure and film sales.

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The Best Way to Book Hotels

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Hotels are generally taken for granted by most people in the world as they have become so used to finding them with ease in all regions of the globe. Travelers know they can usually get a hotel room in just about any city if they need one. However, these days, it might be a good idea to book a room in advance if possible just in case the establishment is sold out.

Most travelers book hotel rooms in advance over the internet in this day and age as it’s generally considered to be the easiest and quickest way to secure lodging. Just about all hotels on the planet have websites now days and you can visit them to get information about the establishment. Most sites will also let you book a room directly with the hotel over the internet.

However, there are many travel sites online that specialize in selling hotel rooms at a discount. These sites usually deal with hotels in all areas of the world and have a huge database of them. Visitors can browse the sites and search by a country, city, hotel name, date, star raring, and price etc. The website will take the information on the type of hotel, price range, dates, etc. And come back with a list of available rooms.

This method means that you could be presented with a list of hundreds of hotels in London, England, for example, and then narrow it down by price, or location, etc. You can then usually reserve the room in a matter of minutes over the website. There are also some sites that allow you to bid on hotel rooms for specific dates.

These are generally hotel rooms that are sitting empty and the establishment will sell them off at a reduced rate. For example, you may want to bid $75 a night for a hotel in London for three days. Simply enter your bid to the website and it will check the database of accommodations to see if any of them will accept the price you bid.

Like everything else in the world, there are some fantastic hotels that are well worth the money and there are also some poor ones that are overpriced. The personal service that a hotel offers can also make your stay more pleasant. It’s often a good idea to check out some reviews on a hotel before reserving a room. There are dozens of travel sites that offer traveler reviews as well as photos of various establishments around the globe.

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Review of Secrets of Millionaire Investor Book by Adam Khoo & Conrad Alvin Lim

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Before this book, I had no idea about what were the true techniques to invest in the stock market. When I saw this book on the shelve of bookshops, I immediately turn its pages to check it’s content and was pleasantly surprised at the level of detail and coverage of investing in the stock market. Impressed with what I read, I bought it without hesitation.

After reading this book and applying some of the lessons taught, I can say that I am a better investor in the stock market now. Before, I was only a rookie. I will explain to you why.

This book teaches both the fundamental aspects of selecting stocks which Adam will show you. The technical aspects to trading is illustrated by Conrad who traded his way out of bankruptcy using very good strategies. He easily makes US$5000-US$7000 a month trading stocks and options. That can replace anybody’s salary anytime, won’t you agree? His record is US$22k++ in a single month.

One of the important concepts mentioned early in the book is to invest in the stock market and use the power of compounding. You can be an automatic millionaire by the time you retire using this technique. All you need is patience and some consistency in investing. This was how Warren Buffet became the richest man by investing in the US market and let his investment returns compound.

The rest of the book explains four strategies to grow your funds in the stock market depending on which level of an investor you are currently at with the returns and time horizon you are looking at.

The first growth strategy is the most basic level for novice investors which teaches you to achieve compounded returns of 10%-12.08% annually by buying the market or buying sectors or industries that are outperforming.

The second growth strategy shows you about value investing which can achieve you an annual return of 15%-25%. This method requires you to buy great companies at huge discount and sell them for a huge profit. Warren Buffet uses value investing to pick his stocks. You will learn the nine criteria of value investing to pick stocks that investors like Warren Buffet or George Soros would.

The third growth strategy explains to you about momentum investing which you can achieve a higher return of more than 25% at a shorter time like 3 to 6 months. This involves picking stocks that are about to increase in price significantly due to market optimism. Adam shows you seven steps to screen for this kind of stocks.

The last growth strategy is the most advanced of all, which allows you to net a handsome 100%-500% returns in one day to 3 months. This strategy involves the buying and selling of stock options which is trading. Trading allows you to make money in any direction, be it up, down or sideways. The authors have dedicated 2 chapters to explain the fundamentals of options and clearly illustrated with examples on a few commonly used strategies for reader.

I enjoyed this book very much as it was clearly written and provided a practical approach to investing and trading. This book has given me a good foundation as a beginner to prepare me for more advance strategies and implementation. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to start investing or trade in any stock market and does not know how to start.

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