Profession of Pharmacy Under Siege

There is a battle raging in the state of Illinois regarding the dispensing of medicines designed to induce abortions. Many pharmacists object to filling these prescriptions on moral and ethical grounds. Many see this as an infringement upon the doctor – patient relationship. However, Christian pharmacists offer an alternative view.

We are indeed all familiar with the battle that has been raging in our profession regarding pharmacists refusing to dispense drugs for abortion. Recently, our brethren at the American Medical Association (AMA) have joined in the fray by approving a new policy to encourage States to allow physicians to dispense medications when there is no pharmacist nearby (within a 30-mile radius) willing to do so. The AMA asserts large numbers of pharmacists are refusing to fill prescriptions for contraceptives and abortifacients. Some pharmacists, according to AMA delegates, are also refusing to dispense psychotropic and pain medications.

In addition, the policy-making body alleges pharmacists are refusing to return unfilled prescriptions to patients, thus preventing them from taking the prescriptions elsewhere, and they are “lecturing” patients about the drugs. While these accusations may sound extreme, I have no doubt there is at least a “grain” of truth therein. While I do not believe we have a right to confiscate legally written prescriptions, I do believe we have an obligation to counsel patients regarding the medications they are or are about to take. This is our professional duty and it is imputed upon us, so to speak, through our taking of the pharmacist’s oath. As it may have been a few years since we studied the oath, I have included it below and have specifically related it to the issue of dispensing abortifacients further below.

Oath of a Pharmacist:

“At this time, I vow to devote my professional life to the service of all humankind through the profession of pharmacy. I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of human suffering my primary concerns. I will apply my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal drug therapy outcomes for the patients I serve. I will keep abreast of developments and maintain professional competency in my profession of pharmacy. I will embrace and advocate change in the profession of pharmacy that improves patient care. I take these vows voluntarily with the full realization of responsibility with which I am entrusted by the public.”

The recent issues addressed by the AMA, particularly those related to our refusal to fill prescriptions specifically designed to end a human life, go to the very heart of the pro-life moral position. As Christians, we view the beginning of life as the moment of conception. It is that miracle moment, which science cannot completely describe, where God fashions a human soul with a divine purpose.

Jeremiah 1:5 illustrates the beauty of God’s authorship of mankind as God speaks of His Sovereign purposes. Luke 1:41-44 shows that the purposes of God begin prior to birth as John’s first act as the forerunner of Jesus was to leap in his mother’s womb when the as-yet unborn Lord approached. God indeed has a purpose for all from even before the time of conception. Thus, we look at our oath in perhaps a different light than others. Our view is a biblical worldview. Consider our oath sentence by sentence:

1. “At this time, I vow to devote my professional life to the service of all humankind through the profession of pharmacy.”

All humankind includes those who are not yet born because life begins at conception. As a pharmacist I must consider an unborn baby as a patient.

2. “I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of human suffering my primary concerns.”

Ending a human life does not consider his/her welfare and actually increases human suffering as many who have undergone abortions suffer physically and emotionally for years. (See Johnson T. Christianity and Pharmacy 2005;8 (l):21-22). Additionally, there is blessing in suffering, though that is yet another topic…see Romans 8:28-39.

3. “I will apply my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal drug therapy outcomes for the patients I serve.”

Ending his/her life is not and “optimal drug therapy outcome” for my patient.

4. “I will keep abreast of developments and maintain professional competency in my profession of pharmacy.”

Not all developments in medicine or pharmacy are positive according to a biblical worldview. God allows discovery through general revelation, yet how we apply that discovery determines its usefulness. There is no room for pragmatism in a biblical worldview.

5. “I will embrace and advocate change in the profession of pharmacy that improves patient care.

Is this not the mission of Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International (CPFI)? What could improve patient care more than their coming to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

6. “I take these vows voluntarily with the full realization of responsibility with which I am entrusted by the public.”

Yes, our profession’s view from the public eye is important. However, I am infinitely more concerned about serving my Lord. He is my first concern, followed by my wife, children, other family members… and somewhere down that list is the public’s view of my profession. As such, I will adhere to His Word and the principles contained therein to guide all of my earthly relationships, including my professional conduct.

As a resident of the State of Illinois (though a pharmacist in Missouri), I was deeply concerned over a recent decision by our State’s Governor, Rod Blagojevich-D, to force pharmacists to dispense emergency contraception, specifically, Plan B. In response to complaints by two women in Chicago who had been denied prescriptions for Plan B, Blagojevich signed an executive order ordering pharmacies and pharmacists to make the medication available. The rationale was if a pharmacy carried traditional oral contraceptives for preventing pregnancy, that pharmacy must carry all the agents in that category, including drugs not intended for prevention of pregnancy, but for abortion.

Likewise, in a pharmacy carrying those medications, the pharmacist must dispense any medication in the category, including Plan B, “without delay”. Herein, we have a situation where the government has:

1. Singled out a particular medical profession, pharmacy, 2. Eliminated its member’s ability choose what their pharmacies will stock, and 3. Eliminated a pharmacist’s ability refuse to fill a prescription based on moral convictions.

In response, Luke Vander Bleek, a Roman Catholic pharmacist in Northwestern Illinois, has filed suit challenging the order on the basis that it violates Illinois’ “conscience” law. The conscience law gives health care practitioners the ability to refuse to perform certain procedures based on their moral objections. Vander Block asserts the conscience law gives him the right to refuse to carry or dispense Plan B.

This is an important test case for our profession as well as the entire nation because Illinois’ conscience law is quite strong. The case is likely to be lengthy and may be subject to numerous appeals due its potentially broad reaching implications. We plan to carry a detailed interview with Vander Bleek in an upcoming issue of the Journal.

More immediately, we all need to remain vigilant and rooted in our convictions. Prior to joining my current organization, I made it clear to both the district and pharmacy managers that I would not dispense Plan B. Just this week, I was involved in an emotionally charged discussion with another pharmacist and a pharmacy student-both of whom know that I am a Christian. They invoked the pharmacist’s oath as a reason for me to dispense Plan B, which we do not even carry. I argued that the oath is intended to protect human life, not end it, and that since life begins at conception, I could not, in good conscience, dispense the medication. The pharmacist asked me if I would adopt the child whose life I would not end. I responded that if I could prevent the death of a child by my own hand, I would certainly adopt the child. Interestingly, he had nothing more to say.”

How Scholl Shoes Can Help Your Feet

Dr William Mathias Scholl founded the Scholl Shoe Company in 1907. The son of German immigrants to the Unites States, Dr Scholl started working in a small shoe store that specialised in comfortable footwear in 1901. Customers with painful foot conditions instilled the desire in him to learn more about the anatomy and physiology of the foot. He dedicated his life to understand the 52 bones and the complicated system of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that make up the human foot.

In 1904 Dr Scholl graduated from the Illinois Medical College as a doctor of medicine. In 1912 he founded the Illinois College of Chiropody and Orthopaedics with a shoe fitter, a pharmacist, a chemist, a chiropodist, and five other doctors. The college was later renamed the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, it is a part of the Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago, Illinois. Today, it educates about a third of all U.S. podiatrists.

In the year of his graduation, 1904, Dr Scholl made and sold his first foot care product, the Foot-easer for arch support. By 1907, he had founded the Scholl Manufacturing Co. Inc. The worldwide expansion of the company started in 1913 with the first Foot Comfort Service shop opened in London.

Dr Scholl never stopped inventing devices to help customers with all sort of foot and leg ailments. By the 1930s, the Scholl brand sold compression hosiery to help against swollen ankles and varicose veins. Many cushioning devices that are designed to improve a wide range of foot conditions were created by Dr Scholl.

The first Scholl Exercise Sandal was launched in 1959. An international fashion hit, the Scholl Exercise Sandal became an icon for the Scholl brand. During the 1960s and 1970s celebrities, models Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton among them, wore their Scholls with pride. Nowadays, Scholl shoes are available in a full range of models with a Scholl shoe available for every need, weather, or occasion

Scholl sandals do not longer look as if the wearer has a foot problem. Women get to choose from many stylish designs from glamorous high heel sandals that are sure to make an impression at dinner parties, and gladiator style sandals for comfortable walks through the city. Scholl has comfortable casual ballerina shoes for everyday wear with leisurely clothes. Boots are available in many different styles from ankle high to over the knee. Robust boots for hiking and soft leather boots for the city in a wide range of colours ensure there is a Scholl boot for everybody. Sandals, athletic shoes, mules, professional clogs, and flip flops with Orthaheel technology are available for men and women.

The Scholl vision is to be the leading brand for foot health and wellbeing. Scholl keeps listening to consumers and developing new products that meet the needs of modern people. Responding to the needs of customers, Scholl launched Scholl Flight Socks in the late 1990s to help against the incidence of travel related Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). In today’s world where many people take planes for transport, these special socks are clinically proven to reduce DVT in travellers.

Party Feet was brought to the market in 2003. Consumers who enjoy an active nightlife, like to wear high heels, flip flops, or sandals with narrow slings find comforting products in this line. Scholl Party Feet Flip Flop Strips help with the discomfort between the toes. The balls and the heels of the feet of those who enjoy wearing high heels can be cushioned with invisible clear gel cushions that fit into all sandals that are worn without any socks. Burning pain in the balls of the feet while wearing high heeled shoes is a thing of the past with Scholl cushions. The Party Feet line also encompasses a special plaster to give immediate pain relief at pressure points and prevent blisters from forming.

Scholl has not limited its range of products to shoes and insoles. The skin on the feet is specially adapted and thicker than at any other spot on the body. The Scholl brand has remedies for nearly any foot skin ailment from rough skin to warts. Beautiful feet begin with healthy toe nails. The Scholl Nail Brightening System is designed to whiten, brighten, and condition the nails. The Crackling Ice Spray cools and refreshes feet instantly. The Scholl Verruca Removal System helps to remove warts and is also approved for use by children. Scholl’s Athlete’s Foot Power or Spray reduce soreness and itching, treat the condition, and prevent reinfection.

Foot odour can be combated with Scholl Deo Active Fresh Spray or Gel. The Deo-Active Fresh products are formulated with an enhanced oxygen active component called Aseptix. It delivers instant and long lasting freshness by limiting the growth odour causing bacteria for up to 24 hours. Scholl also has odour control insoles.

The Broken Crystal – The Misunderstood World of Mary Todd Lincoln

In the year was 1818, Robert Todd, wealthy patrician and descendant of Revolutionary War heroes, Indian fighters, merchants, politicians and philanthropists from the various branches of his family tree (Todds, Porters, Parkers) occupied the president’s chair in the Lexington branch of the Bank of Kentucky.

Robert Todd, in addition to his banking duties, held minor political office. It was not greatly important by itself, but it put him in league with Henry Clay. That was important, both for him and the tiny daughter born to Robert and his wife Eliza Parker Todd on December 13 of that year. The Clay connection put Robert in close counsels with every other prominent Whig in Fayette County and most of the state. Robert and his wife entertained, in copious style, the important politicians from the Senate and from state houses, party politicians, and important visitors from across the country and abroad.

Early on the Todds pampered little Mary, a charming and vivacious child to a fault. She was often to be found at her father’s bank sitting on the lap of one of her favorite people, a man she called ‘Uncle,’ but who was in actuality no relationship to her. He was Calvin Morgan, master of Hopemont Estate in Lexington.

Etched in little Mary’s mind was a day when she looked out the window at a long line of Negroes in a chain gang slowly walking and chanting sadly as they made their way on the torturous journey south to the slave auctions. “Oh, look, Uncle Calvin!” Calvin Morgan took her and turned her back to the room, his face reddening and his manner upset. Mary remembered Mr. Morgan leaving the bank and then pausing outside the window to look long and hard at her father. Then he turned and watched the slow, doleful procession, shaking his head sadly.

Mary also found lap on the person of the great Henry Clay, on whom she had a childhood crush. She thought he was the handsomest man in the world.

A Dramatic Turn of events

When she was six years old, Mary’s ideal world took a violent tumble. Her mother died after giving hard birth to her fourth child and Mary’s only living brother, Robert Jr., had died in babyhood. Seventeen months later, her father married again and fathered nine more children. Her stepmother, Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Humphreys was a good woman from a good family, but not a good mother of so large a family. Mary went from being pampered to being neglected. Mary was never trained in the Southern womanly virtues of patience and self-control. She continued to feel that she should get the attention she had always gotten, but did not get it for a number of years.

Before long, Mary, a vivacious, outgoing girl with a passion for nice clothes, developed worldly ways. She did not divorce her religion but it was no longer the whole consideration in her future plans as it had been earlier. She made an earnest effort to be sedate and sweetly pretentious like girls were expected to be, but she simply could not keep her real self in.

Mary’s Countenance

As she reached young womanhood, that open face was pretty and intelligent but not accurately placed in the category of striking beauty. It was complimented by a small, up-turned nose, a broad forehead, pretty blue eyes set moderately wide apart, a rosy complexion, and soft brown hair with touches of copper-gold. Her mouth always looked sternly set because it was juxtaposed by a chin that jutted a little and was a bit too large. But these flaws that showed up when posing for photographs were lost in a ready smile and the merry eyes. She was short but not inordinately so at five feet, two inches. Later it was to fret her a good deal beside the six feet, four-inch frame of her husband. Her well-rounded figure and her full bosom were just the thing for the trends of the times. Her best physical feature was her artistic arms and hands that hung perfectly at her sides and went into clever motion when she spoke.

A Political Bent

Mary Todd had a love of and a flair for politics. At the age of fourteen she was a “fiery little Whig” who said the most dreadful things about Andrew Jackson and how she thought that Henry Clay was the grand man of finest manners and had the brightest future as a Whig.

The Very Influential and Important Mammy

One of the early influences of Mary’s life was her very own Mammy Sally who put her in mortal fear of the “debil!” As Mary began to take note of the world around her, she was greatly troubled about the slave auctions, whippings. and public hangings that took place in Lexington. She came to understand the revulsion of Mr. Morgan and she was happy to know that Mammy was part of the Underground Railroad in the very small sense of leaving out food for runaway slaves passing through and those hiding in the city.

Mary Starts the Journey

In the fall of 1832 the Todd house on Main Street was swamped with children, servants and visitors and Mary’s step mother Betsy was relieved to see her go off to boarding school, only coming home on weekends. The boarding school was a fashionable place called Mentelle’s. The proprietors were Victories Charlotte LeClere Mentelle and her husband Augustus. Mary spent four years there during which time she learned to speak and write French fluently, became an accomplished student in English literature, learned etiquette and excelled in the polka, the schottische, the gallop and the waltz. Like everything she ever did, Mary applied herself totally to her education. She was now in the position to put on airs with the best of them. But Mary had something that few others, male or female, possessed. She had a brilliant and smart and a ready mind; and she found putting on airs inferior to a demonstration of what she really was and what she really knew.

Sadly Misplaced in History

If any woman was ever born one hundred years too soon, it was Mary Todd. In her day, the brightest most educated, most intellectually superior woman had no future outside of matrimony. When she completed Mentelle’s at age seventeen, that–whether or not she knew it, planned, to or wanted it– that was the next step. In the fall of 1836, her sister Elizabeth, the matchmaker of the family invited her to Illinois. Mary did not stay in Springfield as Elizabeth had hoped, but returned to Lexington where she committed herself to post-graduate studies. She was there until 1839. Then she returned, why she did not know, to Springfield. She did at times return to Lexington for a few years thereafter, but finally stopped going home, except on rare occasion.

A Major Change for Mary and America

When Mary arrived back in Springfield in October to make her permanent home with Elizabeth and Ninian she found it much different than she remembered and eminently acceptable. The Edwards’ home was beautifully situated on a hilltop over looking the city and was a meeting place to a lively and fascinating group who called themselves the ‘Coterie.’ It was an elite group and those who were excluded from it had another name for it: The ‘Edwards Clique.’ It included the towns most beautiful and marriageable girls and the most eligible bachelors, among whom were Stephen A. Douglas, Edward D. Baker, James Shields, Lyman Trumbull, and a newcomer named Abraham Lincoln; all of whom would make their mark in history. Mary was very popular there and very much in demand. Both Douglas and a man named John C. Conkling were known to covet her hand. Conkling wrote to a friend about her: “She is the very creature of excitement you know, and never enjoys herself more than when in society and surrounded by a company of merry friends.” Her brother-in-law Ninian W. Edwards revealed even more of her powers: “Mary could make a Bishop forget his prayers.”

A Dance that Changed the World

It was at a ball shortly after her return that Mary Todd first met Abraham Lincoln. He had made a place and a modest name for himself in association with the Stuart Law Firm and a growing reputation in Springfield for intelligence and integrity. Mary was immediately drawn to Lincoln but not for his good looks or his abilities on the dance floor. The story is told of the first time they met and danced. Lincoln is supposed to have said, “Mary, I want to dance with you the worst way.” Her later, witty comment to her cousin was: “And he certainly did.” But Mary saw behind and beyond. He was not like any of the men she knew or had grown up with. His background, his presence, his manners, and his intellect were anomalous to her circle. Still he fascinated her. At thirty, he was extraordinary and Mary Todd saw it when no one else did. Like many highly intelligent, cultured, and finished people, he was a lonely and barren man. Earlier he had been deeply involved with Mary Owens, a perfectly lovely and qualified girl but Lincoln did not see in her the understanding that would make his life with a mate what he desperately needed it to be. The physical attraction was there, but not the congeniality of mind. But when the winsome Mary Todd turned her energies, her interests and her charm on him, he saw what he had not seen before. She understood him. Not a person to ever put on airs, Mary laughed lustily at his dry humor because she thought it was hilarious. She sat and earnestly discussed poetry, literature, and politics with him and disdained other swains who tried to toll her away for lighter fare. Sometimes she just sat and looked at him, warmly, approvingly, and understandingly. Those were the most impressive times of all to Lincoln.

The Strangest of All Engagements

Mary and Abraham let it be known to all their friends that they had an understanding and were to be married. On New Years day, 1841, they broke off their relationship and both went into an extended period of pain and loneliness. Many were the stories of what happened. They ranged from Lincoln supposedly telling Douglas that he simply did not love her enough to the utterly ridiculous invention that Lincoln left bride, minister, and wedding party standing at the alter and did not show up. The truth was not known and would not have been understood if it had been. Mary had simply decided that she loved him too much, that she was not good enough for him, that she would not be able to be the woman he needed in his hour of need, and that she would wind up destroying the only man she ever truly loved (historically speaking Mary Todd might have added being clairvoyant to her many other talents). Lincoln, never an arguer or a pleader, simply told her she was wrong. Many of their friends saw the agony they were both going through. Finally Simeon Francis, editor of Springfield’s Whig newspaper, covenanted with his wife to bring these two unhappy and lost souls together where they belonged. They were successful and the happiness and joviality that returned to Mary convinced them that they had been fully justified in interfering.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

On the evening of November 4, 1842, they were married by the Episcopal Minister Dr. Charles Dresser at the Edwards’ home. In a blinding rainstorm, they drove to his little hotel boarding house at the Globe Tavern where they lived until 1843. In the winter of 1843-44, they moved into a house that had more room. Mary had left her family and her fortune behind to go with her husband. She could have gotten money for a home and their needs if she had crawled but those who wonder why she did not never knew Mary Todd. Her life was now with her husband and a happier and more contented couple could not be found. Both she and her husband relished the quietness of home life and the profound joys of just being with one another and the baby. A second son was born in 1846, named Edward Baker after Lincoln’s political ally. They lived simply in a home they had built on a little lot. Mary knew how to pinch pennies when she wanted to, and she did. They had more money now from Lincoln’s practice and his speaking engagements. But in one area of her life Mary was extravagant, even then. She had to have the best and most expensive clothes.

The Bloom Begins to Fade

Both Lincoln and his wife cared deeply for each other. But little problems began to surface about 1848. One of her great burdens was her hatred of Lincoln’s law partner William H. Herndon, a very intelligent, but somewhat eccentric young man. It dated back to a dance with him before their marriage. He had told her that she danced with the ease of a serpent (take heed, young men). She was highly offended by the analogy and had utter contempt for him from that day forward. “Billy” viewed her as mean and cantankerous. He felt that Lincoln had chosen poorly a member of the “Coterie” and that Lincoln was unhappy. Though Billy convinced many people of this it was false; Lincoln was sublimely happy with his home life in those days. Even so, Billy’s view of her succeeded in making her worse. Poor Lincoln was caught in the middle of an ongoing struggle for his affections and loyalty, which so far as he was concerned was a begged issue on both their parts. It was a tension that lasted a lifetime. Herndon in the final analysis struck the cruelest blow with the total fabrication of the Ann Rutledge Romance, which was done just to hurt Mary. It succeeded in doing that and hurting the whole nation as well.

The Beginning of a Fateful and Fatal Political Career

In 1847, Lincoln was elected to Congress with Mary as his staunchest ally and campaigner. She had great desires for both her husband and herself. It is doubtful if Lincoln would ever have become president had it not been for Mary’s belief in him and her drive. In 1850, he was again practicing law while holding his position in the legislature. In 1854, the issue of the Stephan A. Douglas bill repealing the Missouri compromise came up. But the bill, while repealing Henry Clay’s work, also gave each state the right to decide for itself whether to be “slave” or “free.” Lincoln went on the stump opposing Douglas’ bill, but in the process, committed himself to farther-reaching things. He had publicly taken on the institution of the Senate. Now he must resign his seat in the legislature and make a run for the Senate.

A Big Shoe Drops in the Lincoln Domestic Crisis

In mid-December of 1849, Eddy Lincoln fell desperately ill with diphtheria. The Lincolns worked together day and night for fifty-two days trying to save the boy’s life, but could not. It had a profound and sobering effect on Mary’s husband. As a child, he had known Christianity as a sometimes-attendant at backwoods prayer meetings. He had never made any personal confession of faith and had few resolved convictions. He had never been one to attend church but now he sought out Dr. James Smith, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Springfield because Lincoln had been both impressed and challenged by words said at Eddy’s funeral. The thought of seeing his son again at the Resurrection set the hook of hope and interest deep in Lincoln. Because of his great mind, Lincoln bore the stigmatism of the natural skepticism’s and doubt of academia. He found solace in Dr. Smith’s kindness and deep and lucid explanations of the Bible. Dr. Smith had written The Christian Defense to challenge skeptics and fence-setters like Lincoln. Lincoln read the book with interest and professed that it put down many if not all of his doubts. The faith instilled by his readings and conversations with Dr. Smith helped Lincoln through the tragedy. The same was not true with Mary. She suffered with that same instability, lack of confidence, and frustration that had plagued her earlier. The sparkling humor was replaced by fear, self-indulgence, and tantrums sometimes directed at Lincoln and frequently audible to neighbors. The saving grace was that Mary was with child again and with the birth of William Wallace, a beautiful and happy child, much joy returned to Mary and much relief and gratitude to Lincoln.

Lincoln’s strange Political Conscience

In 1855, the Illinois legislature met to elect a second senator. After the first ballot, Lincoln was far ahead but did not have enough votes to get in. He had forty-five and fifty-one were needed. On this seventh ballot, Lincoln despaired of wining. He threw his strength to Trumbull in order to defeat Governor Joel Matteson, a Democrat much disapproved by Lincoln for his support of the Douglas bill among other things. Mary was bitterly disappointed and disapproving of her husband’s generosity. If he had held out, someone would have thrown to him and he would have won. Lincoln consoled her. The Whig party was dying. He was going to ‘unwhig’ himself and join the Republican Party where, he assured her, he would run again. Mary was consoled.

Mary Todd Lincoln’s Fatal Flaw

Mary’s family in Lexington was upset. Lincoln was now a Republican. Was he now an abolitionist as well? Mary defended him and revealed the first of what was to become her and their major problem. In her defense of her husband and her placating of Emilie and the rest, the views she espoused were not Lincoln’s but her own version.

The Best and the Worst of all Possible Worlds

Upon his election to the presidency in 1860, Lincoln had not gotten to Washington for the inauguration when the kinds of demons that were going to try to destroy Mary Lincoln attacked in force. The Pinkertons had uncovered a plot to stop the train and kidnap Lincoln. When it was confirmed, a plan was hatched to take Lincoln off and have him travel though Baltimore at night on an unmarked train. In consideration of his wife, Lincoln insisted that she be told. It was a well meant but serious mistake. Mary was plunged into panic and made such a noise and fuss that the plan was almost betrayed. Nor did it leave her when they got to Washington. The experience was so dramatic for Mary that it planted in her the seeds of conscious dread that continued to grow. The Lincolns were reunited February 23 at Willard’s Hotel in Washington. Mary had been born into a distinguished family and had always been in or near the center of attention. She waited expectantly for the crowds of women who would flock to her but very few came. One of her old obsessions returned. She had been slighted. She was being discounted as a parvenu. She reacted negatively in public. She was deeply hurt by the social slight but she was more hurt by the cruelty of the press that abused her mercilessly. They attacked her for her southern roots and accused her of being a southern sympathizer. They called her rude and indiscrete. They belittled and questioned her for her unwomanly interest and attempted influence in her husband’s appointments. Usually discrete journalists abandoned decorum and attacked her for her appearance, the way she talked, and her lack of manners. These were brutal and false characterizations. A few commended her for her poise but not many. Lincoln was deeply disturbed at this abuse of his wife but put it down as political baggage. He was preoccupied with the affairs of state and could not spend time worrying about something he could not change.

The inauguration and the inaugural ball were a great success. Mrs. Lincoln entered the ballroom on the arm of Stephen Douglas. Afterward she went about to make the Whitehouse a national monument and a public meeting place. By the end of the month, things began to taper off. Only her cousin Elizabeth Todd Grimsley had remained to help her through the early months of Whitehouse strain.

No Sense of Propriety

Perhaps her biggest problem, and the one that ruined their peace and tranquility as a family, was her penchant for sharing everything she knew with anyone she happened to be talking to. This led to an open gossip line from the Whitehouse to the press. The President was very irritated with her for doing this and insisted that she stop. She agreed to, but she did not (or, perhaps, could not) and it drove an ever-widening wedge between Mary and her husband. Because he would not fuss with her, he simply avoided her, going to his study, or to bed. One of his aides had remarked that the only time he ever saw Lincoln happy was with Mary and his children at home. This began to cease and it was sad because it was the magnet that brought them together and the glue that had held them. Their loyalty to one another and their joy in one another was their whole life. But now he would not tell her things and he would not fuss with her. Probably Lincoln was wrong but it was the only way he could cope with the information leaks. He would go in and brief her on the affairs of state but when she turned to gossip Lincoln would simply excuse himself and leave. The effects that it was having on her were devastating. Her dream world had crashed at her feet. Mary Lincoln, partly of her own doing, partly because of the press, partly because of Lincoln’s enemies, and partly because of her husband’s impatience with her, was an unhappy and disturbed woman. Everything she had spent her youth training for–to be a grand hostess, a ready conversationalist on any subject, and an intelligent, effective and important part of her husband’s public life, was denied her because she was a quick-witted, clever woman in a man’s world. She had been in Washington for more than four years and no one gave her the credit she was due or recognized any of those qualities. It had driven her to the edge of emotional endurance. One press report had been unkind enough to call her family heritage a history of inbreeding by relatives that had resulted in mild insanity in many of the latest generation including Mary Lincoln. Mary wondered; was it true?

The President rubbed his tired eyes, and then looked at her. “Mary, I wanted to let you know that Banks has left town disappointed that he did not get the appointment as Secretary of War, which of course was never being considered. The rumor that Seward and Weed were pushing me for the appointment is without a shred of truth. I have never talked to Seward or Weed about an appointment for General Banks.”

Mary stiffened. “But Abraham, why are you telling me this?”

“Well, I knew you were concerned about it and I thought you would like to know.”

Oh no! Did he know about her letter to Sumner? He must have–but she had asked Sumner to keep it private. “Someone has been falsely accusing me again and there you go siding against me.”

Lincoln looked weary. “No, my dear, not that. I think you asked me about that yourself, did you not.”

Mary was becoming emotional. “I most certainly did not! You are trying to trick me. Since you told me to stay out of the appointment process, I have been very careful not to say anything.”

Lincoln tried to be conciliatory. “Well, then I am wrong, and I have troubled you for nothing. It must have been someone else.”

Mary’s voice was rising. “Abraham, have you been talking to other women about the Cabinet?”

Lincoln shook his head sadly. “No, Pet.”

“Then, I don’t know what you mean. Who has told you I said anything?”

Lincoln drew himself up off the settee. “No one, dear, no one at all. I am sorry to have upset you. I thought I was doing you a service.”

Mary was driving him away again. She tried to change her tone. She wanted him so much to stay and talk to her. “Abraham, I am glad when you tell me things. It is no bother. I just thought you were accusing me again, but of course, you weren’t, were you. Stay a while and I will tell you about Mrs. Stanton.”

Lincoln shook his head negatively. “I have to get ready for a meeting with Stanton and Halleck in the morning and I am about past going.” He left the room.

She hoped that he would come out but she knew he would not. She wondered where it had all gone wrong. It was so frustrating to be one of the worlds most talented and qualified women for her position and yet to have everyone think she was a pitiable maladroit. In the Coterie, she had been much esteemed for her brilliant mind, her quick wit, and her ability to hold her own. In debate, she often bested great minds like Stephen A. Douglas, James C. Conkling, Lyman Trumbull, Edward D. Baker, James Shields, and Abraham Lincoln. They all now held prominent and important positions in the country and three of whom had been open about the fact that they wanted her hand. But while they now basked in the rich rewards of that preppy, elite circle of intellectual giants, Mary was worse than ignored; she was regarded as a person with a poor mind, no graces, an embarrassment as a hostess, a know-nothing meddler in politics, and a burden to her husband. Washington’s high society women whom Mary expected would flock around her and whom she would charm with her eruditeness, her social finish obtained at Mantels and her broad knowledge and insights into human nature and men in particular for which she was once renowned, avoided her like the plague. The crime that had sentenced her to this isolation had been her unwillingness to suffer fools gladly and to stand by in helpless embarrassment while a gaggle of press people of mediocre intelligence and armed with little more than undisciplined imaginations and rumors, almost all of which were wrong, belittled her and her husband.

Well, she thought she could change that and she tried, but it was not to be and now she saw that it never would be. She hoped she would be able to live with it and not let it send her into one of her infamous temper tantrums. As much as she resented having to do it, she would strive to get a grip on herself. She purposed, in the coming four years, to find the way to change it, and above all, to renew her relationship with her husband and get back the fulfillment they once found in each other. If it meant no more talking in public, more letters to Congressmen and Senators, no more parties–just staying home and being a wife and a mother–so be it. After all, that was where all the happiness she had ever known had been found.

Haunting specters lurked in the dark and solitary sitting room. In her reverie, Mary was surrounded by nostalgic and melancholy images of her childhood in Lexington. She saw the darling little red haired, green eyed Catherine Morgan and the dashing, handsome Henry Clay. She was again at the Lexington Bank in the big chair, surrounded by the grand and sumptuous smell of rich leather, mahogany, and pipe smoke. Out the window a train of manacled slaves slowly passed, tragedy and hopelessness etched on their stony faces and the dolorous tones of their minor chanting falling like a plague of Egypt on the indifferent town, as they were dragged down the long road south to fate little better than death because of their ethnic descent. It all seemed to come together in this moment: the brilliant and beautiful promise of youth, the rich heritage of her ancestry, the great political ambitions that had been instilled in her, the ardent and committed years of preparation in what she believed to be that land of opportunity, and the pathos of the long, sad, cruel, depressing, desperate road to nowhere, held by bonds into which an ambitious woman was born and from which she, unlike even the slave, had not the slightest hope of escaping alive.

To her surprise, her husband did come back out. He sat down in a chair near her and took her hand. Some of the weariness seemed to have vanished. He looked at her with more softness in his face than she had seen for while. “Pet…” he said, and then was silent. Finally, he spoke again. “There is not much in this life one can count on, but we’ve got each other, haven’t we?” Overcome with the emotion of her thoughts and afraid of breaking down, she said nothing, nodding her head and squeezing his hand. Then he said, as an after thought: “Until death separates us. Anyway, I’m not quite dead yet, so tell me about Mrs. Stanton. What’s she up to now?”

I have written a Civil War Novel that is getting good reviews from libraries and women’s groups. It is called Glory in the Dust, it is the story of the War as seen through the eyes of an actual historical woman, Catherine Morgan Hill of Hopemont House in Lexington, Kentucky. It is available at amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Borders.com, Authorhouse.com Book store and it can be purchased at most any book store. Earl Cripe, Ph.d

Where to Shop for Plus Size Tops

If you are a full figured lady who wants to shop for some trendy, plus size tops, blouses and dresses, the best way to do it is by online shopping. You can save a lot of travel time and for convenience sake, you can do it right in the comfort of your bedroom. You will not run out of a wide array of fashion collection of curvy plus size tops from sexy to classic, halter, club, wraps, sweaters, special occasion and more. You can combine the tops with slacks for work, and then add a pair with a flashy bottom and elegant accessories for the evening. There are a huge variety of styles designed to enhance your curves to show off a confident and charming personality in you.

When you do online shopping, be alert on the different come-ons and freebies being offered such as discounts, clothing coupons, free delivery at a minimum purchase price, and all the information you will ever need. They have a blog, F&A section, store locations, the latest news about Model Danielle Line joining new plus size activewear company, Adorama, the launching of a new collection of plus size lingerie by Evans, the premier presentation of the Diva Plus Size Bridal Boutique in Glenn Elyn, Illinois, etc. to keep you updated on trends.

When it comes to the most recognized name in fashion and fit plus-size clothing, the trend setter is Lane Bryant of the Charming Shoppes, Inc. family. With its exclusive Cacique’s plus size intimate line of bras, panties, sleepwear, etc., you can do your shopping online or offline. To find out a store near your area, you can check the Lane Bryant Store Locator. If you are browsing, you can just click their different categories of new arrivals, top rated, camis and tanks, jeans, dressy, jackets and vests, shirts and blouses, shrugs and wraps, sweaters, tees and knit tops, tunics and more. When it comes to sizing, you can view from size 14 up to 28.

As far as their new arrivals of plus size tops are concerned, here is a brief breakdown with prices of their items. A pen cardigan sells for $50.95, faux fur jacket for $139.95, V-neck cable knit sweater for $54.95, a Watercolor ruffle front halter top for $44.95, a Bell sleeve thermal hoodie by Seven7 for $59.95, an open stitch pullover sweater for $69.95, a double breasted twill cavalry jacket for $99.95, a Long sleeve crew neck tee for $26.95 under a BUY 1 GET 1 offer, Rhinestone emblem 3/4 sleeve top for $39.95 and a Mesh tiered sequin tank for $44.95.

If you happen to go to Macy’s, you can scan their variety of designer brands like GB, Alfani, Anne Klein Woman, Apple Bottoms, Calvin Klein, Charter Club, INC International Concepts, Michael Kors and Style & Co. for both affordable and high end prices. The site of IGIGI offers it’s sexy, stylish and sophisticated collections of plus size lines in the highest quality fabrics and top workmanship with all of the apparel designed and made in San Francisco, California. Their plus size fashion is being worn by the world’s top celebrities and models and can be found online and at specialty boutiques and stores worldwide.

With Mimi’s curvy corner, it specializes in trendy women’s plus size clothing and junior plus size items sizes 14-36. They ship to Canada and internationally. In Pazzas Net, they have featured sales and plus size coupons for $20 off for any order of $120 or more. The site is also offering their new Plus Size Style Guide book so that you can learn many tips on how to dress and flatter a plus size figure. With Alight, selection of plus size clothing and apparel for women and teens is one of the largest on the internet, with over 1,000 unique items from over 75 brands.

From the above, you will be able to look for a plus size dress and top that is body flattering and fashionable through pictures of a curvy full shaped model. You can get inspired watching video and pictorial fashion tour of all styles like junior, shirt, bottom, maternity, tee, etc. So, if you are excited and truly have the passion, you won’t have any problem getting the best plus size tops!

Skull Pendants and Rings

There are various ways of accessorizing ourselves and based on our preferences, both men and women find some conventional means of achieving their desired look. Among the multiple accessories wears we have; necklaces, pendants, bracelets, rings, earrings and many others. These ornamental wears can have branded or inscribed with images that add versatility to the accessory. Pendants and rings can have images such as skulls, which is a popular fixture, engraved on them to give a fashion statement or add an appealing touch to the outfit.

The use of skulls on fashion wear has been embraced since the medieval times as a symbol of bravery, life, and death. The trend has spread to the recent times where social icons and celebrities are rocking in all manner of designer outfits bearing the skull symbol. The symbol is such an eye catcher wherever it is placed on, be it T-shirt imprints or on rings, making it one of the uniquely great motifs.

Types of Skull Pendants

There are different types of these skull pendants, and one difference is based on their make, such as the metal they are made of, we have, silver, diamond, gold and simple metallic pendants. The most widely available are the silver pendants, preferred for their durability and shininess making them glimpse catching pieces.

The other difference is based on the gender preference where women prefer slightly smaller pieces while men go for bigger and boldly showing pieces. This, however, can be alternated based on personal demands.

Skulls have been matched together with crossbones; therefore, a pendant can have a clear skull engraving or have both the skull and the crossbones.

The price difference also is a factor to consider; it is primarily dictated by the material made of the piece and the design touch given to it. The more expensive, the more sophisticated it is.

Conclusion

To make a grand fashion statement, go for bolder outfits that bear more significant meaning and are uniquely designed for that particular purpose. Skulls and crossbones symbol offers this and is widely recognized. Thus, it is advisable to wear such accessories that radiate with your intended gestures rightly where they can do so in a perfect way. For example wearing a skull ring on the dominant hand or wearing a pendant with a dress that allows it to be visible.

To enjoy best of this ornamental jewelry, purchase them from recognized dealers and go for quality rather than appealing prices.

How to Tell If Your Diamonds Are Cracked

The precious gemstones that we buy hold a great deal of importance in our lives. If you did some research prior to purchasing your diamond, it’s likely you have read about the items people do to be able to safeguard their diamond jewelry from chips, breaks, cracks etc. sometimes, however, despite all the protection, your diamonds do get cracked, or seem to get cracked.

In that case, you are most likely on the search for ways to find out if your jewel really is cracked and what could you do to repair it. Like the majority of people, you almost certainly freaked out just a little when you accidentally hit your diamond clad hand hard against the wall. For a short while, you would have been searching for marks or cracks just like the most of us.

Let me assure you by first telling that it is relatively hard for a gemstone to be seriously broken at such an insult. What you may see as a blemish may have nothing in similarity to a crack. Here we will attempt to answer some of the common questions people have about broken diamonds. I’ll also demonstrate how a damaged gemstone actually appears like in order to set all your irrational worries at rest.

Daily Deterioration: Breaks Are Unlikely, While Blemishes Are common

After purchasing their first precious stone rings part and putting on it for a couple weeks, there are a lot of people who get paranoid and start to worry if they had broken their diamond. Have you experienced anything similar as well? from what I have learned from my relationships with viewers and other customers, most people only start realizing details they never found before because that they now have the time to scrutinize over their jewelry. The actual fact that almost all of us don’t examine their jewelry in depth when actually deciding to purchase it, perplexes me.

This is why we often end up finding faults that were originally there at the time of purchase. Naturally, you are far more likely to notice the details when you look at something with leisure. The questions only arise after they viewed their jewelry for an extended time period. Plus they start noticing things like girdle reflections or feather inclusions that have been there all along. Don’t think it’s a tiny bit too late to understand those issues now?

Having said that, more often than not, it’s Only a Cleanliness Issue. People often fault a diamonds to be damaged when they see a whitish looking line running right through the stone. Instead of an actual crack. This is because of the unavoidable issue of having a dirty diamond. The truth is, throughout the span of your day, a gemstone diamond ring worn on your palm will inevitably get in touch with a number of things including, soap, water, your fingertips, dirt and actual mud. Initially, this coating of grime may direct resulting superficial blemishes that appear like a covering of clouds or greasy stains. Over time, some of this grime can become so thick that it actually starts to look like solid white lines. If you see this kind of dirt or grime on any stone, you are sure to mistake it for actual cracks or blemishes.

“Repairing the Splits” – Cleaning the Diamond

Also, as the diamond’s surface becomes dirtier, the natural stone will start looking uninteresting and lifeless. Subsequently, a few of the inclusions which were masked by the stone’s brilliance and sparkle would now be observed easily. This may lead to you thinking that new defects have developed, when in fact, they had been there all along. By cleaning your diamonds and removing a great deal of the grim, you will easily regain the natural stone to its original condition. More often than not, a soft tooth brush plus some detergent solution would be sufficient to complete the job. If your engagement ring has sides that happen to be difficult to access with a brush, you might like to consider using an ultrasonic cleaning device or take it back again to the jeweler for professional vapor cleaning.

You Get What You Paid For: How It Might Really Be Broken

In truth, gemstones are somewhat hard to break. To be able to really cause a crack in the natural stone, you have to use the right amount of power at the right position along its cleavage line to see results. The ability to crack represents a direct relationship between the quality of the precious stone and its own “break-ability”. A diamond with low-quality grade and an unhealthy cut class (crowns that are too shallow or with an extremely slender girdle width) could be more susceptible to ruin when put through external forces.

From the view of the crystalline framework, excessively mixed diamond jewelry have weaker material integrity because of the existence of problems and foreign materials. That is why you always want to check the diamonds carefully prior to making any purchase. Generally speaking, the word “you get what you paid for” applies strongly to the precious stone industry. By paying more for quality, you indirectly buy many years of sturdiness and satisfaction for yourself. This is why many diamond experts recommend buying from renowned diamond retailers and professional dealers.

Solitaire Earrings: Symbol of Eternal Love

The word solitary has its etymological roots in solitary, which suggests alone. When a diamond of any size makes it appear alone in a piece of jewellery it qualifies as a solitaire. The late actress and fashion icon, Audrey Hepburn, was so right when she cited remarkably, “You can always tell what kind of a person a man really thinks you are by the earrings he gives you.”

Solitaire Stud Earrings
Solitaire stud earrings have always made a wonderful wedding day present or when celebrating a special milestone in life with a cherished one. Treating yourself to a pair of those dazzlers is also a great idea.

Finding Solitaire Earrings
Given that you are in search of solitaire stud earrings, you can follow our handy guide to find the perfect pair below.

Here are our top various reasons to add them to your jewellery box right away. What makes a pair of diamond solitaire earrings so special is that you should do so very little to enhance its beauty, which makes them among the best additions to any diamond jewellery collection. Nothing conveys class and sophistication more than a simple pair of diamond solitaire stud earrings. In this era, a pair of solitaire diamond studs still holds the most merit with regards to value. Simple in design, they are a versatile accessory that may complement most looks and styles. They work well with everything and may be cherished and worn again and again.

Solitaire Diamond Studs: A Timeless Classic Option

Regardless of the outfit or occasion, a magnificent piece of jewellery like this will always attract attention and admiration. The durable nature of diamonds is such that theirs beauty will never diminish with wear. This makes a pair of solitaire diamond studs extremely attractive and desirable. Irrespective of design, they’re a prevalent selection and a timeless classic as they concentrate on the beauty of your diamond. Solitaires have stood the test of time and there is every reason to add it to your collection. With an understated look, they are an excellent option for regular wear as well as special occasions.

Solitaire ear studs are a great investment. Diamonds are a fantastic investment, both emotionally and financially. Owing to their timeless and classic appeal, solitaires in any form of jewellery are frequently passed down for generations and bring delight and joy to the recipients. They are a symbol of eternal love and are a tangible investment one can keep for the rest of their lives.

Silver Jewelry – A Must for Your Next Occasion

How often have you browsed through an e-catalog of sterling jewelry diamond jewelry and said, “I wish I could have them all.” Several women love to show off the elegance of such jewels, be it bracelets, earrings, studs, rings, pendants or necklaces.

Jewelry made from silver and integrated with diamonds are high quality and gives off a pleasant shine to make them as valuable as they are. They have the desired qualities of being smooth and delicate and are resistant to wear and tear.

Personal Appeal of Sterling Silver

After years of making its occurrence in the world, sterling silver has maintained its position of uniqueness. It provides a different style statement to make women swoon at its amazing qualities.

The charm of silver is increased when the diamonds become the center of attraction. Oh yes, wherever they are sold, the diamond jewelry pieces will make you look bright and gorgeous.

Evaluating the Quality of Silver Jewelry

Silver jewelry, with an exquisite and glossy finish, features a stamp on them. The stamp is a certainty of the quality of these pieces. There are two symbols on the stamp, the first symbol shows the amount of silver in the jewelry piece and the second symbol is the word “silver” or simply “s”. Sterling silver jewels can be as beauty with high quality.

What and when to wear?

Sterling jewelry with diamonds and gemstones are found in the market. A variety of jewelry pieces like earrings, bracelets and brooches are up for grabs at affordable prices. They are perfect for special occasions and daily wear. There are several kinds of vintage rings, cuff links, tie clips and antique rings to select from. Sterling silver can be easily matched semi-precious and precious diamonds and gemstones alike.

Ideal as Gifts

Along with being ideal for everyday wear and special occasions, Authentic silver is perfect for gifting purposes as well. For example, you can have the name of the recipient inscribed into the base of the chain, bracelet or pendant.

Always in Style

Sterling silver is always in style and demand. One of the ideal features of authentic silver is its natural beauty and brilliance. Genuine silver jewelry with diamonds is something you can choose at a blink of an eye.

Conclusion

Most women looking for something exquisite and different prefer sterling silver jewelry. If you are one of them, look no further for the best accessory that compliments your personality.

India – Jewellery Destination and Jewellery Shops in India

India and Jewellery, Jewellery and Indian women are interlinked with each other from decades. In almost every occasion starting from marriage to any event the fashion of a woman is incomplete without teaming up with proper jewellery. Some traditional and some modern styles of jewellery caters to the need of jewellery selection. Not only the affluent class can afford jewellery but there are also low cost jewellery items that cater the wide demand of jewellery in India. While picking up or choosing jewellery in India has lot to do with fashion trends heritage and culture. Different regions and culture follow their unique designs that go at par with their tradition. Kundan jewellery is a renowned art that we can see in Indian jewellery which usually comes from the state of Rajasthan. Almost every small and renowned jewellery shops in India showcases unique styles of Kundan art. Apart from Kundan jewellery Meenakari, the art of coloring the surface of metal to give a gorgeous look to the jewellery is quiet famous in India. Traditional temple style of Jewellery depicting the style of south India is quiet famous.

A married woman in India has to flaunt variety of Jewellery pieces as a part of culture that actually gives the lady a gorgeous look. A pair of toe rings is a symbol of a married lady these toe rings can be of silver or any other material. Apart from toe rings nose ring is also a part in Indian marriages. These nose rings are generally called nath that depicts prosperity of husband. Necklaces are an untouchable part of traditional bridal attire. Necklace can be of different designs. It can be of traditional temple design or it can be of curved design. This piece of jewellery actually is an essential part of bridal or non bridal attire. In any occasion women can flaunt a necklace simple or heavy as per their occasions. Bangles usually worn in the hands to decorate the hands of a woman are also a part of bridal attire.

In India there are a variety of jewellery shops catering to the wide demand of jewelleries. These shops provides almost every type and form of jewellery. Some of the important and renowned jewellery shops in India are P.C Chandra Jewellers, Malabar Gold & Diamond Jewellers, Kalyan Jewellers, etc. Apart from visiting a jewellery showroom nowadays online shopping from portals like Caratlane has become quiet famous among women who hardly gets time after their office hours. To brief out India and its craze for jewellery is inseparable.

Where Are Beaded Necklaces Today in Fashion Among Men?

Body decorations as well as jewelry appeared not necessarily out of the need to show some form of artistic manifestation, but rather to express religious respect. How could man actually stand out by looks and attitude in front of the “gods” on a special days? From such a perception to actually using body jewelry, there was only a small step to make; beaded necklaces were definitely among the easiest to manufacture, since round shapes have always been the most common in all societies.

Either plant seeds or small stones were at the base of the very first beaded necklaces; it was only later that gems or semiprecious stones, pearls and choral pieces came to be used as well, though they definitely required a more intense production process. Most necklaces which are beaded were attributed a ritual function: usually protection against evil spirits or disease. Turquoise stones, polished shells, jade and even bones were used to the matter.

Where are Beaded Necklaces today? Well, there is no longer a ritual function to be associated with them; however, they have extended their decorative function so much that jewelry manufacturing is considered one of the most profitable businesses nowadays. Produced in mass collections or hand-crafted, Necklaces with beads are important apparel accessories for both men and women. Presently, they are sold in the most common jewelry shops or online, and for prices that start at just a few bucks to get to hundreds of dollars.

Though for men, beaded necklaces come in somehow limited variants, they are nevertheless in the popularity tops. Sports and casual wear are usually the type of clothes that men associate with beaded necklaces, and they are usually short and worn close around the neck. Not the same thing can be said about women and their beaded accessories, since there is such a wide offer one really finds it difficult to choose. Worn tight or loose, with elegant fancy dress or casual wear, beaded necklaces make a woman feel glamorous.

Almost nothing of the ancient symbolism is still preserved with beaded necklaces nowadays. The only touch of esoteric meaning consists in the association of certain semiprecious stones with an astrological sign. The natives born under that sign would accordingly be protected and energized when wearing some form of crystal beaded necklaces for instance. Yet, one can never be sure about how much of the mystical charge is true, and how much is a pretext to sell more jewelry items.