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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

What's in a Name, Fossiltique

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas NOVEMBER. 14, 2020

[101-365] 14th. November 2020- To see any point to this post at all, you have to have at least watched some of QVC, the home shopping channel.

Many years ago when we first got cable TV and found ourselves with tens of channels with nothing worth watching there was a sort of novelty entertainment value in occasionally clicking your way through to QVC. Having never witnessed this sort of sales extravaganza before we watched rapt as the presenter seemingly spent hours telling you about something that really did not need very much explanation. This was the world where we discovered Diamonique which seemingly was produced in container ship loads of products all available at the end of the phone, as it was then, no internet.

Today's word of the day Rapt- completely fascinated or absorbed by what one is seeing or hearing. Having been carried away bodily or transported to heaven. (hang on we're talking QVC, let's keep some perspective). Rapt developed from the Latin raptus, meaning to “seize, carry off." So imagine something so interesting that it seizes your attention and carries you off to another world. In fact, rapt is related to the word rapture, which is an experience of extreme, other-worldly happiness. Like the day you get married and that Diamonique is slipped on to your finger.

Diamonique is the brand name used by television shopping network QVC for their cubic zirconia simulated colourless diamond, simulated coloured diamond, and simulated coloured gemstone jewellery (cubic zirconia is a common type of gemstone substitute). QVC acquired the manufacturing facilities, proprietary technology and trade name rights from MSB Industries, Inc. in 1988. Starting in April 2001, QVC began a limited distribution of Diamonique jewellery at Target retail locations. In the 1990s, Diamonique jewellery made up approximately 5% of QVC's sales, yet as of 2017 sales have declined. (Wikipedia)

So Diamonique time was showtime for us and many hours of amusement were had when we could have been watching something more enlightening. It helps to have our sense of humour it has to be said, and I like to think it is what we brought to the show that made the difference.

I am going to change tack now. Change Tack- When referring to a change in direction, position, or course of action, the correct phrase is to change tack. This is in reference to the nautical use of tack which refers to the direction of a boat with respect to sail position.

My tack changed, I am going to tell you about Kent's Cavern, a tourist attraction not far from here.

Kents Cavern is a cave system in Torquay, Devon, England. It is notable for its archaeological and geological features. The cave system is open to the public and has been a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest since 1952 and a Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1957.

You don't get much ancienter than caves.

The caverns and passages were formed in the early Pleistocene period by water action, and have been occupied by one of at least eight separate, discontinuous native populations to have inhabited the British Isles.

The Pleistocene is quite a big window in time from 12 thousand years ago to two and a half million, so a pretty ancient monument indeed. There were Homo Sapiens loitering around here in these caves about thirty to forty thousand years ago, I'm not sure if there was a Gift Shop there back then. Anyway bits and pieces of these early tourists have been discovered, it's always jaw bones for some reason and they are in the local museum. There is also carved graffiti on some of the stalagmites, "William Petre 1571" and "Robert Hedges 1688" so although ancient even then, it was not officially a monument, just another hole in the ground, so William and Robert did not behave appropriately and defaced the place. I am guessing they were naughty schoolboys on school outings.

A good spot for my dinosaur joke. A little boy is wandering around the Natural History Museum and stands in wonder looking up at an enormous dinosaur skeleton. The museum attendant wanders up and the little boy asks him how old the dinosaur is. The museum attendant says 145 million and 13 years old. "Wow" says the little boy, "how can you be so accurate?" The museum attendant says "Well when I started work here they told me it was 145 million years old and I've been here 13 years now".

So where is all of this leading and what are we looking at in these photos? Back in the gift shop which was quite large and well stocked with pleistoceney sorts of stuff (no jaw bones) I spotted an unusual vase. It had a little label explaining what it was and I was suitably impressed with the look of it and the description.

My other half who will be referred to hereon in as MOH was the other side of the shop and as the said vase was not cheap I thought I would get a second opinion. I strolled on over carrying said vase and waved it around at MOH thinking it could only impress. MOH was not impressed, was singularly unimpressed in fact. MOH listened to the sales patter from Moi, and heard the words "it's actually made from Fossiltique". This had really impressed me and induced awe in fact, but MOH was increasingly seriously unimpressed and starting to think I was having some sort of mental aberration.

So I say, "don't you think it's amazing that it is millions of years old?" MOH is now on the point of seeking medical help and looking completely bemused and not really listening anymore. "Why on earth would we want to pay £40 for an imitation fossil made into a vase?" says MOH. I say "It's not an imitation fossil" so MOH says "then what is Fossiltique?" I say "No you plonker it's not Fossiltique it's Fossil Teak, it's petrified wood millions of years old and turned into a vase". MOH says "Wow how amazing, and only £40, I love it, we must buy it."

So I had read the label and seen the words and MOH had watched just a little too much QVC. That is what's in a name if you spell it correctly.

Addendum. I would like to state here and now that if QVC should ever introduce a range of synthetic fossil products, that I thought of the name first, so don't you dare go calling it Fossiltique without speaking to my lawyers first.

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