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Reflective Rings

It's not hard to find headlines that scream "Why Millenials Aren't Buying Diamonds" it's not totally true, spoken as a full-on millennial with a diamond on her hand...

What is key when picking a ring for the potential bride to be?  It's so important for it to reflect their style and personality. They will be looking at it every day!

InStyle has a great collection of unique celebrity engagement rings to help you get inspired. From Reese Witherspoon's pink diamond to Princess Diana's sapphire stunner which now adorns Kate Middleton's left hand.

These amazing Simon G sparklers could be a great option for the off-beat bride.

Just remember, every girl is different. If you're out there shopping for that special ring looking at a wide variety of options is key. You'll find that one that screams her name.

 

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Finding the Right Path – The History of Janina's Part Three

Finding the Right Path – The History of Janina's Part Three

Missed the previous post? Find both part one and part two on our blog.

“When he said we were approved to go to Canada, I cannot even tell you how happy that made me. There was nowhere else I wanted to go.”

In a series dedicated to Janina’s history, Andrzej outlines how he came to Canada and his first impressions of his new home.

Following Sound Advice

With Mr. Eisler’s advice in mind, Andrzej began looking to learn more about goldsmithing. In a world without the internet, the resources to learn about other professions – even finding out where you could learn the profession – were more limited. 

So, he headed off to the provincial building. When he arrived, a lady asked him what he was looking for.

“Goldsmithing,” Andrzej said. 

She stared at him, then said, “Let’s see what we can find under ‘Jeweller.’” From the shelf behind her, she pulled down a large binder and they began leafing through it, page by page, until they found one: 

“The Watchmaking Institute of Canada. Offering courses in goldsmithing.” 

Andrzej took down their information and wrote a letter to the institute. They responded, informing him that the course was $300, and they would also require an additional $350 fee for materials and tools. 

Call it an impulse, call it destiny: Andrzej knew that taking this course was a necessary step in his life. So, using the money he earned doing odd jobs around town, he sent the money to this institute. 

Andrzej Stacking Fruit at Safeway

A few weeks went by. Eventually, he received a package. Inside was a bunch of booklets, ten lessons on goldsmithing, some tools, and a few men’s signet silver rings – rugged rings which served as a blank canvas for his new craft.

As soon as Andrzej started, he realized that – despite sending a soldering torch – he was missing a very important material: the gasses needed to use the torch. The bottle needed to light the torch contained oxygen and acetylene, which are illegal to transport via mail. 

Able to speak a minimal amount of English, Andrzej searched for a place to purchase the necessary gasses to use his soldering torch. A trip to Grande Prairie’s industrial area provided Andrzej with the right materials to complete his lessons. 

A Lesson Worth Translating  

With all the right materials, tools, and lessons, Andrzej sat down at a small wooden desk pushed into the hallways of their apartment and started on his new craft. As he leafed through the booklets – all written in English, a language he was nowhere fluent in – he knew he had a new difficulty to overcome. 

He took out his dictionary and translated each document, word by word, into Polish. Bit by bit, he pieced together these goldsmithing lessons. He learned how to size rings, how to fix gold chains, how to shape metals, and more. 

Goldsmithing lessons taken by Andrzej


Evening after evening, he worked away at this craft, spending his days working. Any spare time he had was dedicated to finding a goldsmith in town who was willing to help him receive more hands-on experience than he was getting from his workbooks. 

Searching for Opportunities

An old jewellery shop in the Prairie Mall called Warrington’s provided a small opportunity for  Andrzej. After walking in and introducing himself, Andrzej asked if there was anyone on site who could teach him how to be a goldsmith.

The man replied, “No. But, hey! If you ever learn, you come back and see me because I have a job for you.”

Andrzej walked away from his meeting ecstatic: he didn’t even know this profession yet, and he was already being offered a job? He could hardly believe it.

Continuing the Grind

He returned to talk to the owner of Warrington’s every once in a while, but he continued to study goldsmithing with his paper booklets and his cozy hallway workspace. 

When he finished all his modules and lessons, he sent in his final work. It included a written exam and the assessment of the rings he had been working with. What had started as some rugged, silver signet rings turned into his final exam. 

He waited patiently to get the results, nervously remembering that – should he pass – he might just have a job waiting for him. He continued working and caring for his family, waiting for the news of his marks to come in the mail. 

This post is part of a ten-part series on the history of Janina’s. To learn more about our local roots – and to stay up-to-date on events and promotions – make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram

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Landing on Your Feet: The History of Janina's Part Two

Landing on Your Feet: The History of Janina's Part Two

Missed the previous post? Find the first one here.

“When he said we were approved to go to Canada, I cannot even tell you how happy that made me. There was nowhere else I wanted to go.”

In a series dedicated to Janina’s history, Andrzej outlines how he came to Canada and his first impressions of his new home.

The Interview Process

As Andrzej and Janina aimed for Canada, they realized a few obstacles stood in their way. Namely, how to actually get into Canada.

To come to Canada required passing a screening process conducted by a Canadian immigration officer. This interviewer asks international refugees questions, hand-selecting candidates for Canadian resettlement. It helps to speak English or French, and it helps even more to speak fluently in either language.

Andrzej spoke a little French and even less English. “Hello. My name is Andrzej,” was one of the few sentences Andrzej himself spoke. He stated this in the interview, and the interviewer asked if that was it.

“No, no. Of course not.” Andrzej continued in English: “This is my wife. My wife name Janina. My wife..." he continued, switching to German, "krakenschwester (nurse)."

When he stopped, the interviewer asked again if that was all.

It was.

The interviewer didn’t look impressed. Andrzej continued talking, his words translated through an interpreter to the official. He started with his work experience. He could work as a mason. He was an adept violinist. He could use these skills in Canada, surely.

The interviewer’s expression remained unchanged, so he kept talking: Canada was the only place for him. It was the place where people cared. It was a place that valued hard workers. It was the place he’d find a safe home.

The interviewer hesitated. “Well, where do you want to go in Canada?”

“Anywhere,” Andrzej said.

“How about Grande Prairie?”

“Is this Canada?” When the interviewer nodded, Andrzej continued. “As long as it’s Canada, it’s perfect. That’s where we want to go.”

“Then you’ll go to Grande Prairie.”

They were going to Canada.

Introduction to Canada Booklet given to Andrzej once he was permitted to come to Canada

The book Andrzej received once they were permitted to come to Canada.

A New Life in Grande Prairie – in November

At the end of November, Andrzej and Janina headed to Canada. When they arrived in Grande Prairie, they stepped off their prop plane to negative 30 temperatures: the coldest weather they’d ever experienced.

They waited inside the airport for a ride and spent the next night in the Grande Prairie Inn, climatizing to their new weather and new home.

Nearly 40 years later, Andrzej still remembers the shock at the temperature and the climate. He also remembers looking at Janina and thinking, “Here we are. This is our new life. And we’re in it, together.”

The first challenges to tackle were the language barriers and the need for income. Speaking very little English meant dedicating themselves to night classes. In the meantime, Andrzej’s job choices were limited to those that required him to speak very little.

Luckily, Andrzej was used to working hard.

Janina's Jewellers Diamonds And Time Andrzej working art gallery window masonry brick laying Grande Prairie Alberta

Having previously worked with a mason, Andrzej was chosen to lead a window reinstallation at the Centre for Creative Arts. You can still see his handiwork there today.

Dinner & An Idea

Andrzej kept working. Eventually, he ran into an older Polish watchmaker, Eugine Eisler, who invited him over for dinner. They discussed everything, landing on the biggest question in Andrzej’s life: what was he going to do for a career? What was his life purpose?

“You’re a watchmaker,” Andrzej said. “Maybe this is also for me.”

Mr. Eisler shook his head. It was the 80s, and handcrafted timepieces were falling out of style. More and more, people were favouring electronic digital watches because they were cheaper. When these watches broke, they rarely looked to fix them and instead just replaced them.

“No, not watchmaking. But, goldsmithing. That might be for you.”

Something clicked. Yes, goldsmithing. But where would he learn that?

This post is part of a ten-part series on the history of Janina’s. To learn more about our local roots – and to stay up-to-date on events and promotions – make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram

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A Love Affair with Canada: The Start of a Journey

A Love Affair with Canada: The Start of a Journey

Perhaps, I should start with my love affair with Canada.”

Andrzej established Janina’s in 1986 in the basement of a historic building downtown. But the story – the pieces that allowed the company to form – began long ago. It began, as Andrzej aptly puts, as a “love affair with Canada.” 

And that love affair started with stickers.

Born in communist Poland, Andrzej didn’t grow up around diamonds or gold. He grew up collecting North American memorabilia: stickers, pamphlets, sports swag. Basically, anything that contained information from the countries across the Atlantic. 

Of course, the stickers were the most precious. They could be (and were) plastered on bedroom walls and – if your parents had one – across the exteriors of cars. 

Getting these stickers was sometimes a challenge. It involved buying the mailing information to big businesses and then writing letters to those companies to hopefully receive pamphlets, fliers, and – most importantly – stickers. 

When he was about 8 years old, he received information about three companies: Penzoil, Saragossa, and Air Canada. Intrigued by Air Canada, he sat down and wrote a letter: 

“Hello. My name is Andrzej. I’m interested in your company. Could you please send me some stickers and some pamphlets because I would like to learn more about it.” 

Since a single letter mailed across the Atlantic could cost up to 8 or 9 dollars, Andrzej funded this hopeful venture by collecting bottles. Andrzej also spoke to his father, who let Andrzej do extra chores for the money, even though he didn’t think a “big American company” would care about a little boy. 

Andrzej sent the letter and waited. Months later, he came home to find a large envelope in his mailbox – one with red, white, and blue corners. It was an overseas package, stuffed with beautiful pamphlets, informational fliers, and – best of all – stickers. And so young Andrzej decorated his room with Air Canada stickers. 

Canada, it seemed, as a whole country – or at least one of its nationally named companies – really cared about its people. At least, enough to spark the attention of a young boy. 

At 17, Andrzej left his country, obtaining permission to watch an international violin competition in Switzerland. There, alongside a dear friend, he unearthed his old interest in Canada, determining that a country full of people who cared was where he could find home. 

That remained the focus of his journey, as he headed into a refugee camp in Austria. As they travelled to the refugee camp, Andrzej and his friend began chatting with a group of beautiful girls. Unknowingly, one of them was the namesake for a future company: Janina.

Over the course of 14 months, Andrzej and Janina fell in love. More attentively than ever, Andrzej directed his focus on finding a stable home, a place full of people who cared.

In other words, he aimed straight for Canada.

Ready for part two? Find more of the story here.

This article is part of a ten-part series on the history of Janina’s. To learn more about our local roots – and to stay up-to-date on events and promotions – make sure you’re following us on Facebook and Instagram

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7 Tips For Choosing The Perfect Wedding Band

7 Tips For Choosing The Perfect Wedding Band

 wedding ring is a symbol of your commitment. It represents the unity of your love and is the materialization of your marriage.

While a lovely sentiment, none of this makes it any easier to choose your wedding band. At Janina’s, we know choosing a wedding band can be complicated and overwhelming. We aim to make the process easier on engaged couples, starting with these seven tips for picking a wedding band:

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3 Ways Diamonds Can Be Formed Naturally

3 Ways Diamonds Can Be Formed Naturally
Natural diamonds form using carbon, heat (1,100 degrees celsius), and pressure (725,000 psi), but did you know that these gems are also billions of years old? Once you add together the special circumstances of the formation, migration, and true age of the natural diamond, it’s easy to understand why they are so sought after and why the most beautiful ones are so rare. Continue reading

6 Everyday Activities That Damage Your Jewellery

6 Everyday Activities That Damage Your Jewellery

Expensive jewellery isn’t indestructible. It’s actually quite fragile. Wearing these pieces during certain day-to-day activities actually threaten their structure and integrity, leading to worn out rings, tarnished necklaces, and lost gemstones.

The finer a piece of jewellery, the more likely it is to be damaged by regular wear or everyday events. Avoiding wearing jewellery during the following activities can help protect those precious pieces from premature damage and costly repairs.

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5 Reasons Watches & Timepieces Are A Timeless Investment – For Every Generation

5 Reasons Watches & Timepieces Are A Timeless Investment – For Every Generation

Time is forever. It’s inescapable, invaluable, and all-enduring. The same goes for watches and timepieces. Intricately crafted and marvellously designed, timepieces are a lasting investment.

Like all pieces of technology, timepieces were once expected to become obsolete. With the time itself available on nearly everything from cellphones to microwaves, it seemed like watches were no longer useful. Yet, here they remain.

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