Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 25, Tuesday December 21, 2004






Check it out

Carbon Kraft

"A kiss on the hand may be quite continental / but diamonds are a girl's best friend," Marilyn Monroe had cooed once upon a time in the stage musical version of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."

While gold may make the hearts of many a Bengali lady skip a beat, nothing amounts to the impeccable glitter of a diamond, meant to last forever. If you're out diamond hunting for an occasion or other, Carbon Kraft is a good place to start. Tucked away in a corner on the fourth floor at Rifles Square in Dhanmondi (Shop #305), this diamond jewellery Importer and Retailer is relatively new in the city, having started its business 2 ½ years ago.

The décor is quite simple, walls done in paste green, with an array of studs, nose pins and earrings out on the display counter, and pendants and sets arranged inside glass showcases. Hedayetul Islam, owner of Carbon Kraft, mentions that all their diamond jewellery is imported from production houses all over India, but mainly from Mumbai.

A prominent and reputed store, Carbon Kraft showcases some of the finest quality diamond jewellery in the city. All their jewellery is done on white gold and gold. Diamonds with fancy cuts such as Round-brilliant, Oval, Marquise, Pear, Emerald, and Princess (square) encrust delicate sets, and are fashioned into pendants, earrings and finger rings. Rings, earrings, pendants, nose-pins and so on include both multiple and solitaire. Designs include both Oriental and E}ropean, the former being more popular in the sub-continent in general. The difference between Western and Oriental designs is that the latter has more intricate filigree work, whereas Westezn jewellery tends to incorporate more gold. Young customers are attracted to the store's trendy jewellery designs, whereas older customers prefer their traditional range.

'Nakshatra', produced by DTC, also happens to be the latest in-design, and is available at Carbon Kraft. The cost of earrings range from Tk8,000-50,000. Nose-pins are Tk 2,500-25,000. Womens' finger rings will cost around Tk8,000-1 lakh, while men's rings are Tk10,000-1 lakh. (Men's accessories also include cufflinks, tie pins, punjabi buttons and so on.) Bracelets are priced at Tk40,000-75,000, while bangles in single pairs with mostly traditional designs, are Tk80,000-3.5 lakhs. The readymade se|s on display are all medium (Tk1 lakh and above) in size, but heavy sets (Tk2.5 lakhs and above) have to be ordered from the store's catalogues. One may order separate jewellery pieces as well.

A combination of precious stones such as Emerald, Sapphire and Ruby could also be incorporated in designs one may choose out of these catalogues. Combinations of diamonds with semi-precious stones could be ordered as well if desired, but Islam mentions that they haven't received such orders yet.

A diamond is forever, especially if it is a flawless one, and if you're out hunting for these precious stones, Carbon Kraft is the right place to look.

By Rubaiyat Khan

Style wise

Know your jewellery

Jewellery no doubt accentuates a woman's beauty, but have you ever been frustrated with how your silver gets tarnished so easily, or how your precious and semi-xrecious stones get tinted so quickly? That is because jmwellery suffers as much from the daily grind of dust, grime, and ever-increasing pollution. A little effort is all that is needmd to keep your fine jewellery always sparkling and appealing.

Diamonds: Undoubtedly, diamonds are a girl's best friend, and proper care must be given to it. Do not wear diamonds when applying cosmetics, as soap, cream, powder and dirt all dim this precious gem. A diamond can damage other stones, and one diamond can scratch another, so don't cluster them together in a single case. Wrap }p your jewellery in tissue paper, or keep them in separate boxes. To clean your diamonds, soak |hem in warm water and a little detergent, for half an hour. Take ou| and scrub gently with a soft brush, rinse in l}kewarm water, and dry on tissues.

Even cultured pearls with thicker coatings are more fragile than most other gemstones, so you must handle them carefully to keep them in the best condition. Your pearls will stay cleaner if you put them on after you've applied your makeup and pmrfume. Wipe your pearls with a soft, lint-free cloth as soon as you take them off. The cloth can be dampened with water or it can be dry. Dirty pearls can be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution. As with diamonds, don't store your pearls with other jewellery, because they can be scratched easily when metal or gemstones rub against them. Find a special slot in your jewellery box for the pearls, or keep them in a soft bag made from chamois or another non-abrasive material.

Gold: Gold may be resistant, durable, and malleable, but it certainly needs as much care as your precious stones. Protect your gold jewellery by storing it safely or keeping it wrapped in a soft cloth when not being worn. Always keep your genuine gold jewellery away from costume jewellery. Keep your gold jewellery free from dust, mois|ure and perspirition. Exposure |o direct sunlight for a long time can also affect its lustre. Once in a while, gold ornaments should be cleaned by dropping them into boiling water with a pinch of sodium bicarbonate for half a minute; then they must be wiped dry immediately with a soft cloth.

If they've begun to tint and lose their charm, you may get all your jewellery cleaned by a reliable jeweller, after which, store them with as much care as mentioned above. Needless to say, all will marvel and wonder at how you've kept your jewellery pieces looking so new over the years.

By Rubaiyat Khan


Quick fix

Star with these quick recipes. You will soon find yourself thinking of many more exciting combinations…

Minty Raita: Whisk some fat-free yoghurt with a cucumber and a tiny sprig of choppmd mint. Add some roasted and ground cumin seeds for aroma and a pinch of paprika for colour.

Cilantro Rice: When boiling rice, throw in a few sprigs of coriander (cilantro) just before the rice is done. Squirt the juice of half a lemon too at this time. I| lends tang and fluffs out the grains.

Fenugreek Potatoes: Melt some ghee in a pan. Throw in a teaspoon of ajwain seeds. Wait for the aroma to rise, then pitch in some mashed potatoes and fry on high heat for three minutes. Flavour with fresh chopped fenugreek (methi) leaves -- and lemon to balance out the sliohtly bitter fla~our.

Peppy Soup: Fry crushed red chili flakes and cumin in olive oil. Add to soup pot for instant pep. Ayurveda recommends chillies to reduce the Kapha dosha.

Flavoured Rice: Stir three strands of saffron into half a cup of warm water, and add to the water in which you cook basmati rice. Add the crushed seeds of one green cardamon when done.

Turmeric Milk: Ayurveda loves turmeric! They yellow spice is considered an antibiotic and a terrific digestive. The next time you take your bedtime glass of milk, stir in a pinch of turmeric and a drizzle of honey.

Coriander-Cumin Dal: Roast a tablespoon each of whole coriander seeds and cumin, and pound them together. Mix this with boiled lentils of your choice, and a squeeze of lemon juice. This makes a healthy stand-alone dish.

Minty Potatoes: Boil potatoes and scoop out the centres. Fill the hollows with a paste of mint, rock salt and olive oil. Bake on high for 15 minutms and you have hot, minty potatoes, bursting with flavour.

Marinade: Try this sense gratifying marinade: Blend ginger with yoghurt, mustard and green chillies. Dunk vegetables in this for a good hour or so, then grill. Luscious!

Coriander Tofu: Cook tofu with kidney beans, olive oil, chilli powder and turmeric. Toss in yoghurt and minced coriander.

Preserve fresh vegetables

The kitchen markets and the roadside stands are celebrating winter among fresh, leafy and crisp vegetables. Not only do these veggies meet your nutritional needs, but they taste just as mouth-watering if cooked propezly. Winter offers a really wide range of vegetables of different sizes, shapes and colours. While the radishes are snow-white with baby pink stripes, tomatoes are brilliant red and the gourds are pale green. Now think about whether you want to continue enjoying these wholesome vegetables all through the year. If yes, then continue reading this article.

Have you ever thought of preserving thesm winter vegetables in the refrigerator so that you can consume them all the year round? If no, then try this idea this time. Choose your favourite vegetables, wash them thoroughly in cold water and then blanch them. Blanching is a process where you put vegetables in boiling water for a brief period of time before preserving/ preparing them. After blanching, cool the vegetables from top to bottom, and put them in airtight bags and preserve them in zero degrees Fahrenheit or in temperature much lower. Preserve vegetables hen they are at the peak of their crispness.

If you don't want to use plastic bags, you can use large glass, metal or firm plastic jars to preserve the veggies. Choose square or rectangular containers with flat sides as they make optimum use of your fridge's space.

Another thing, label the packages with the name of the product and the date of preservation. Remember that most winter vegetables will maintain high quality for 12 to 18 months at zero degrees Fahrenheit.

A few more pointers…don't pinch and poke vegetables while buying; they are as bad for the veggies as well as the retailers. Handle them with care as they are perishable. The less you touch them, the longer they will remain fresh and crisp. And always buy mature vegetables, so that you can readily cook them. Don't try to ripen them in your fridge.

If you have last year's vegetables saved up in your refrigerator, bring them out and cook them right away. Remember to thaw them before cooking. And cook frozen vegetables for a shorter period of time if they were blanched before storing.

So, wish you all a very wonderful winter among fresh and green vegetables.

By Penelope


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