Wednesday, 18 March 2009

South African flowers

Flowers make a timeless and classic gift for Mothers' Day. The only trouble is that floral arrangements and bouquets are so expensive these days and they usually only last for a few days – possibly a week at best. What’s more, most of them have come from far-flung and exotic locations around the world, so they’re not nearly as eco-friendly as they might appear.

At ShopCurious, we’ve some unusual gifts in the form of beautifully hand painted pendants made from natural materials such as wood and mother of pearl, featuring designs of vibrantly coloured South African flowers. These necklaces and chokers have been handmade and intricately painted much closer to home by micro-biologist Margherita Maggio, who certainly knows her flora.

I have to admit that I did add a little to my own carbon footprint last year when I flew to South Africa. The scenery was stunning with magnificent views - from the sandy bays of Cape Town, to the lush green hills of Franchoek in the winelands region and the quirky Candelabra Cacti of the Kruger National Park.

I’ve just been looking for photographs of some of the beautiful blooms I saw on my travels and it turns out that I didn’t take any shots of the flowers on these unique pieces, but I can tell you a little bit about them:

The Bird of Paradise flower is said to have originated in South Africa and evolved in Madagascar. It’s called this because its flower resembles a bird’s head - and you've probably seen this before as it’s very popular in tropical flower arrangements.

Apparently this one - the Protea - is the national flower of South Africa and its name comes from the Greek god, Proteus, who was capable of changing shape and assuming many different forms.

The other flowers featured on these original pendants look like Hibiscus (though not so easy to identify as there are around 5,000 hybrids of this five-petaled, bell-shaped flower) and the South African Geranium, of which there are also many varieties.

Anyway, there are four of these stylish necklaces to choose from and, at around £80 a pop, you’ll be getting great value for money – along with a collectable mini-work-of-art that can be worn and admired for many years to come. So, if you’re curious to find something a bit different for your mother, or for any other cherished person in your life, I suggest you invest in one of these - and, if you're in the UK, we promise to get it to you before the end of the week.

Will you?

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