Tuesday, September 03, 2013

All that glitters - Annie West

Gold fit for a princess, don't you think? I saw these amazing 22 carat gold necklaces and tiaras in the Gold Souk in Dubai. I've never seen anything quite so over the top in jewellery. I'm sure it must look magnificent on, and with the right clothes. I gather these intricate designs (sadly you can't see the incredibly tiny detail on them) are for brides to wear at their wedding celebration. How would you like to wear something like this as you tied the knot?

The whole souk was an amazing eye opener. I've been to some Middle Eastern souks before and I've seen some of the jewellery on sale but this place was something else. I understand at certain times of year it's flooded with shoppers and the jewellery in particular is a reason to visit and spend money.

Me? I hate to disappoint but I didn't walk away with a fortune in tinkling gold. Not even a ring or bracelet. And on the subject of bracelets, have a look at this small part of a huge window display of gold bracelets that took my eye. It simply dazzled!

I'd thought it might be nice to take home a gorgeous golden souvenir of my stay there but when it came to it I focused on other things instead (if you see me in the cooler months you'll know I had a ball adding to my pashmina collection!).

But even just visiting the souk for some window shopping was an amazing experience and one that fed into my story writing. Ask any writer and you'll find almost everything does! Not so long ago I found myself writing a story about a woman who grows up in the Middle East then marries a dark, enigmatic foreigner and moves to London. When it came to writing Leila's wedding I remembered these necklaces and bracelets, the amazing chandelier earrings that dropped almost to the shoulder, and the elaborate silks and delicate embroideries. They made Leila in her finery come alive as I wrote, so the scene was incredibly vivid to me. As were the scents, henna and spices. After the wedding there's a focus on jewellery too, when Leila wears her mother's pendant hanging down her almost bare back in a sexy dress that makes her husband-in-name-only look at her with a whole new appreciation.

How about you? Are you a jewellery fan? What's your favourite piece (one you own or maybe one you've seen)? Are you a bling sort of girl or a more conservative jewellery wearer?

Annie's IMPRISONED BY A VOW (August Harlequin Presents) is the book with the scene inspired by this amazing jewellery. It features a woman up against the odds who refuses to give in, and a hero who's sworn off emotional entanglements but who can't walk away from his marriage of convenience wife. You can pick up a copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble of the Book Depository. Look out too for Annie's next release AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY on 19 September.


Mary Preston said...

I do love bracelets & earrings, but necklaces just drive me crazy. I think if I saw the displays of jewellery like that I would just feel overwhelmed.

Jan Vanengen said...

Bracelets all the way and Middle Eastern designs I love :)My sister came back with a solid gold necklace from Dubai and it is so beautiful the gold is more purer that is why it is so yellow compared to ours

Annie West said...

Hi Jan,

Aren't the bracelets amazing? I don't think I've ever seen so much gold in one place as I did in that gold souk. Some of them had the most delicate designs on them too. You'll have to get your sister to bring one back for you next time, or go and get your own.

Annie West said...

Hi Mary,

How interesting about the necklaces. I prefer to wear them to earrings. Having said that, the earrings here were spectacular - mainly huge chandelier drops that looked amazing in the light.

I second your comment about feeling overwhelmed. I think the first visit is just for looking to decide what you want!

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Annie, those are some spectacular photos! And you can tell how pure the gold is - look at that rich colour! Amazing stuff. And I'm sure enormously inspirational. I've read your wonderful Imprisoned by a Vow and I remember the scene where Leila is weighed down with all the gold!

Annie West said...

Hi Anna,

Yes, the gold was an amazing colour. Not that pale straw colour you see so often.

Smiling here at you describing 'Imprisoned By a Vow' as 'wonderful'. Very chuffed at that. Poor Leila, she has a tough wedding day, doesn't she?

Pat Cochran said...

I have read IBAV and that particular scene
has stayed with me. I remember thinking of
a certain gown, from many days gone by, with
a lowcut back. I could have worn a necklace
in that fashion! I am a jewelry girl, love
necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings.
I've had to tell Honey, "no more rings, I've
run out of fingers!" My favorites: black and
white freshwater pearl necklace and bracelet
set, Southwestern-style turquoise and silver
cross pendant on a "heavy" silver chain. BTW,
I so enjoy reading your books!

Sue MacKay said...

Hi Annie. That jewelery is amazing. I buy myself a bracelet or a setof earrings every time I sell a book. Mostly bling but occasionally I get something more special.

Annie West said...

Sue, how terrific to celebrate each book sale that way! What a great collection. I know someone who buys a charm for her bracelet every time she sells a book! I wonder if there's a connection between romance books and jewellery?

Annie West said...

Hi Pat, thanks for sharing your special jewellery. The black and white pearl necklace sounds stunning! We don't see much of the turquoise and silver jewellery here in Australia but what I've seen looks lovely. No wonder it's special.

So chuffed that you like the scene in Imprisoned when she's wearing the gown with the deep V at the back and the black pearl pendant down her spine. I was thrilled when they used that for the cover. It's nice to think it struck a chord with you too.

Annie West said...

Pat, I forgot to say how glad I am to hear you enjoy my stories. Yay! Thanks for letting me know.

Kaelee said...

I'm not a real jewelry girl but I love rocks. Thus I have malachite, tiger eye, and amber necklaces. I also have a gold nugget pendant and a silver nugget broach. A turquoise western tie gets an airing each Stampede.

Kaelee said...

Need to add the pictures are dazzling. I'm just amazed at all that glitter.

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

I would love to see that in person, as I adore beautiful jewelry!

Annie West said...

Girlygirl, believe me, they were amazing to see in person. Almost worth the visit just for that!

Annie West said...

Kaelee, that sounds like quite a collection. Isn't malachite amazing? I've been eyeing off some amber myself for a while but haven't yet succumbed. What you need is an Australia opal for your collection. They can be amazing.

So glad you enjoyed the photos!

Wendy Hreha said...

I am more of a conservative jewelry girl. I have a favorite pearl necklace that is my go to piece. These are gorgeous and I can only imagine the detail in each piece.