You’re Already Making A Difference… And More

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Wow it’s October already! This year is going so fast! Lots of lifeboat pendants to make, tie bars and all. And more pieces in preparation for next months local Papdale Christmas Shopping Night extravaganza, as well as Glasgow’s Country Living Christmas Fair. Even some one off pieces for some lovely customers. Busy. Where did summer go!

pave setting stonesLast week was an unusual one. First off, whisked off to Glasgow to take part in an Intermediate Stone Setting Class taught by the fantastic Scott McIntyre, part of the Vanilla Ink team. From smooth flush settings on day one to pave settings, day two. These settings are definitely something that takes practice – but have to say – pretty proud of what I achieved. Something which will be very useful for bespoke items such as engagement and wedding rings. If you’ve not heard of Vanilla Ink, I’d highly recommend having a wee look! They have some great jewellery classes throughout the year.

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Then back in Orkney, two ladies came into the studio to receive a big donation from Zoe Davidson Jewellery. Bella and Mai from the Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild collecting their 10% from the Saltaire lifeboat range. This was only launched 3 months ago and has already raised over £300! Thank you RNLI for this chance to give something back for all the effort you voluntarily give to saving lives at sea round here. And thanks to you for all supporting this charitable cause. I am humbled by your generosity and the RNLI’s selfless energy. saltaire-thank-you-donation-zoe-davidson

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Favourite Places in Orkney

Stromness, where I live and work now! A wavy necklace of stone gables and piers and slips along the edge of our sheltered harbour. Yet the Hoy Sound tides roost and rage just off the harbour month and the North Atlantic winds can howl over Brinkie’s steep slopes, above us. A quiet haven in the storm. A beautiful place to live. A well knit community living close to each other and sharing our problems, music and joys.

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Beautiful Warebeth overlooking the Hoy hills

Warebeth, a rocky beach to the South of Stromness. A place to relax and clear the mind. Stack rocks into a tower as high as you can. Balance on boulders but watch you don’t fall. Walk right round the shore and try spot a seal or two. Tractors working their fields as birds pick up the worms. Such a sight and different every day.

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Walking down to Rackwick Bay

Rackwick, somewhere completely different from Orkney! A huge green valley on the edge of huge hills and the Firth. Almost abandoned, now lived in by a few hardy souls and folk from Stromness on holidays.

A dramatic land cut off from the rest.

Almost.

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The iconic Old Man of Hoy

The Graemsay ferry sails from Stromness to Whaness on Hoy over the swirls of the tide. Then a cycle – walk – mini bus a few peat bog miles round our big hill, past ancient fallen stone circles and a house carved from a huge stone block! To a warm and sunny valley set around a huge sand and red bouldered beach. Camp at the Burnmonth hostel, free! Fish in our ‘river’ for a monster troot and swim in the sea – if calm! Tramp to the famous Old Man of Hoy, the dramatic Kame or even more lonely Rackwick Little and the jewel of Hoy, Mellsettar House. A surprising Arts and Crafts masterpiece set at the end of Longhope, even has a peedie forest! And mind on to take Avon skin so soft for the blood-thirsty midges!

 

Orkney is full of surprises. Come visit. And please come by my workshop in Stromness!

Further reading: Orkney.com is a fantastic online resource for everything ORKNEY! Provides great information regarding what to do in Orkney, upcoming events, local arts & crafts and more.

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New Saltaire Collection in Conjunction with RNLI

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Photoshoot on the Stromness RNLI lifeboat

Wow! Not only the launch of the new RNLI “Saltaire” collection for Stromness’s 150th Anniversary later this month, but a photo shoot on the huge blue and orange lifeboat and crew! Good start to this month!

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Zoe Davidson joins up with Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild. Photo credit: RNLI/David Bowdler

So how did this RNLI project come about you ask?

The Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild approached me for jewellery that was unique and individual to Stromness, Saltaire’s town of launch. A special collection to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the first lifeboat in Orkney.

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The Saltaire lifeboat being launched in Stromness. Photo taken from RNLI blog.

Where does the name “Saltaire” come from?

“Saltaire” is named after a man called Sit Titus Salt who was from the village of Saltaire, West Yorkshire. He donated this lifeboat and was a leading figure at the start of the Bradford lifeboat branch. Saltaire was a ten-oared lifeboat, which relied on the power of strong men alone. It is safe to say, we have come a long way from this.

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The Saltaire Tie Bar, which will be available on Zoe’s website after the launch on the 23rd of June, 2017. Photo credit: Suzanne Lee Photography

About the new Saltaire Collection

Zoe’s new collection “Saltaire” is designed in collaboration with the Stromness Ladies Lifeboat Guild. For each piece sold, 10% will go to the RNLI Trust, used to purchase life saving equipment and help train volunteer crews. Saltaire is the name of Orkney’s first lifeboat, launched in Stromness 150 years ago. Inspired by the RNLI lifeboats and it’s volunteers, the pieces reflect the unpredictable swirling tides and seas here.

Some of the works feature gemstones such as London Blue Topaz and the brilliant Fire Opal, a symbol of courage, representing the colours of our current lifeboat. For Orkney folk, the sea is part of everyday life and has been for centuries, whether it be for work, transport of leisure. So it’s a great comfort the lifeboats are there in need. Not only can you buy a unique piece of jewellery, you can help raise funds towards the life-saving RNLI.

Further reading:

Sign Up to Zoe Davidson Jewellery’s Newsletter and be the first to buy from the Saltaire Range!

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Our First Year in Business! Let Us Reflect…

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Wow what a year! So many changes in 365 days.

Hoy Sound Collection of swirls announced our birth in May 2016, then the cubic squares of the Barriers Collection in September.

Meeting lots of friendly Orkney folk at the annual County Show in August. Going down to my first ever Trade Fair in Glasgow this year in January!

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Zoe showing her works at Scotland’s Trade Fair at the beginning of the year.

And of course, Gok Wan!

Gok Wan’s Fashion Brunch Club invited me to show my collections on his eight glamourous models at the Perth Race Course in May to celebrate Ladie’s Day. I trained down to the plush event, all glitz and glamour, in a huge 600 seater marquee. And the sun shined too. See all the highlights of the event on my Instagram and Facebook page.

What have I learned in a year?

Work hard, every day counts, don’t be afraid of change and you never know what is round the corner – so be prepared and stay positive! And thank you for following my work as it grows and changes, who knows where we will be next year.

If you are interested in keeping informed…

…please sign up to my Zoe Davidson Jewellery Newsletter! You will receive special discounts, tips and trends on jewellery, as well as the latest news on my business. Please click “Sign Me Up!” to opt-into my newsletter.

Sign Me Up!

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Why Celebrate the Life of St Magnus?

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Magnus’s Plaque in the St Magnus Cathedral

Magnus was murdered on the orders of his cousin 900 years ago, on the lovely island of Egilsay. Power corrupts.

Magnus was a peaceful lad but his cousin Haakon Paulson, who shared the earldom, was a traditional viking who resolved problems by the sword.

The two cousins agreed to meet on Egilsay to settle their differences. On terms of truce, only 1 ship would be used for each earl. However, Haakon maliciously brought 8 ships full of armed men. Magnus was trapped and killed.

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St Magnus Cathedral standing tall with its warm red sand stone

Magnus’s body was buried at Birsay and after the St Magnus Cathedral was built by his nephew, Earl Rognvald, he was carried there and his bones placed in a column of the nave. What a beautiful memorial in red for Magnus, and peace. Let’s celebrate peace a bit more, be a bit more positive about folk and feel the sun shine a bit more everyday. Springtime. Life after dark.

 

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Find out what’s going on and how to get involved during the Magnus 900

This year Orkney folk will be commemorating Magnus’s death, making a path following the route his body was carried hundreds of years ago. A good walk keeps our body active and healthy, let’s walk a bit more and appreciate what we have. Life is good.

 

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How to Clean Your Jewellery. A LIVE Facebook Tutorial

live tutorial with zoe davidson jewellery

I frequently get asked

           “Zoe how do I clean my jewellery?”

So I thought I’d share with you a little something special.

Please join me on Thursday the 13th of April at 3pm (BST) LIVE on my Facebook Page and I’ll show you how I clean my jewellery using a few simple tools you can use at home.  You can even ask me questions during the video!

Hope to hear from you then!

Zoe.

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7 style savvy secrets for pairing your necklace with your neckline

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We’ve all been there. You’re running late, you’re just about to dash out the door, but you need that perfect necklace to complete your look. What should be a seemingly easy task quickly descends into chaos as you try on a multitude of dazzling options, none of which seem to be a perfect partnership.

Thankfully, I’m here to make this common scenario a thing of the past, with my 7 style savvy secrets to perfectly pair your necklace with the correct neckline.

1. Style up your scoop neckline

A scoop neckline is one of the most flattering, carefully working to elongate the neck and draw the eye down. And because this neckline affords plenty of room, when it comes to adding a necklace, go long or short, statement or subtle. My guidance is usually to focus on the style of the top. If it boasts a print, choose an understated piece, or if it offers a plain backdrop, choose a bolder piece to take center stage.

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Small Swirl Pendant with Gemstone, available here

2. Add some sass to your sweetheart neckline

One of the most common necklines (especially in the world of weddings), the sweetheart neckline works particularly well for ladies with broader shoulders and a straight waist. The open neckline creates the illusion of curves around the neck, so that the eye focuses on the center of your figure. This neckline calls for a shorter, statement necklace, such as a large pendant, or, due to the openness of the neckline, a delicate drop won’t be missed.

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Barriers Gemstone Pendant, available here

3. Heighten high necklines

A high neckline, such as a polo neck will bring the eye out to your shoulders, helping narrow faced and small chested ladies appear more proportioned. The high neckline can be tricky to navigate. With so much going on at the top, sometimes it’s good to draw attention downwards, by choosing a pendant on a longer length chain.

4. Don’t overwhelm your button-ups

Again, this one is a little tricky, but we’ve got the perfect solution. Shirts and blouses offer the option to be open or closed so if you would prefer to wear jewellery, my advice is to open a few buttons and create a V-neckline. This palette now offers the perfect backdrop for your necklace. Choose a shorter length chain with subtle pendant or drop so as to not overwhelm your look.

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Small Wavelet Pendant, available here

 

 

5. Mirror your V-neckline

When it comes to the V-neckline, a higher option is perfect for smaller chested ladies, while a deeper V-neck will elongate, lengthen and slim the chest for those with a larger bust. When choosing your necklace, the ‘less is more’ motto comes into play. A smaller drop pendant which comes into a point, and perfectly matches the shape of your neckline has a visually pleasing effect. This subtle and sophisticated look packs a real fashionable punch, yet oozes true elegance.

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Wavelet Necklet, available here

6. Show off a square neckline

The collarbone and décolletage region is one of the most flattering, yet overlooked areas of the body and a square neckline really highlights this. This style quite literally creates the perfect backdrop for your necklace. Choose something which fills the space, such as a shorter, wider pendant, for maximum effect.

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Narrow Barriers Gemstone Pendant, available here

7. Create balance with a boatneck

The perfect option for pear shaped beauties, the boat neckline offers balance. It is marked by a horizontal line, which carefully follows the collarbone, helping to enhance narrow shoulders by widening them out. This neckline offers coverage so choose a long pendant to add length and depth. This also helps to break up the look by creating a focal point.

Now that you know your necklines, when it comes to adding your necklace, if it doesn’t feel right or make sense, it probably isn’t right. Selecting the perfect necklace for the job can not only make you look great, but feel it too. Happy accessorising.

Highlights from ZDJ’s Launch

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Visitors Catching Up at the Launch

Cannot believe it has been a whole month since the launch of Zoe Davidson Jewellery! And what a month it has been. Since the launch, I have been busy creating beautiful jewellery for my lovely new customers and thankful for all the wonderful supportive comments so far.

In this post I would like to highlight a few key moments at Zoe Davidson Jewellery‘s launch, held on the 1st of May 2016.

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Samples of Zoe Davidson Jewellery’s Fold Form

Demonstrations
Every wondered how jewellery is made? This is exactly what I wanted to show my visitors on the launch day and enjoyed doing it! It is a great way to socialise and create a connection with your audience.

Before working in jewellery, I’d always want to watch a professional at work, no matter the craft. Almost proof that they are who they say they are. At the majority of exhibitions and fairs, you meet the makers behind their stands of emaculate work but think, how did it get from a sheet of metal to a piece of jewellery?

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Hoy Sound Collection on Display

I take great pleasure in showing individuals how small a jeweller’s saw blade is and how to measure their ring size. The most common question I had was:

 “In what form do you get the silver in?”

The surprise they got when I said “in sheet or wire”, like many jewellers. Demonstrating and explaining the fold form technique was my favourite part: using some fire, banging the metal and showing that something so rigid can be shaped with just a bit of heat. It’s always memorable if you can surprise someone.

Drinks and Nibbles
I believe if you want to make an impression at a launch party, keep visitors drinks topped up, give out delicious food and have a consistent theme throughout.

Hoy Sound, my first jewellery collection, is a fast flowing channel of water situated to the South of Stromness. Thus, I thought because my work is sea-related, why not provide fresh local seafood? It also helps that I work at my local fish shop part-time!

Orkney Fish, my local fish shop, were kind enough to sponsor me with providing delicious seafood for the launch. On the menu: smoked salmon pate, crab pate, flaked hot smoked salmon and some scrumptious veggie options. This is an opportunity to thank Orkney Fish and OFS Ltd greatly for the amazing support and providing a fresh taste of the sea to compliment oceanic jewellery launch. Thank you.

But this goes for anyone starting a business: don’t be scared to ask for help. You will be surprised at how generous companies are as they have been there themselves.

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Our Hoy Sound Collection shot by Art Mosomi Photography

Images and Film
In the gallery space beautiful images by Art Mosomi Photography had been printed and hung up for show. Images of some Hoy Sound pieces worn on the gorgeous Johan, the face of this collection. Photography sets a pleasant atmosphere and allows individuals to get a clearer understanding of what the work is about. I suggest you get images printed professionally and make sure they are actually good photographs. It shows you are serious in what you are doing. In Orkney, iDesign have been invaluable in creating some amazing work for me, from posters to signs to leaflets. Their customer service is friendly, prompt and more importantly, local.

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Zoe Davidson Jewellery [Our Story] Screen Shot

Finally, adding a bit of movement and sound in the gallery creates drama to the whole launch. On display, a film telling the story of Zoe Davidson Jewellery, made by Videographer, Gustavo Castro Elgueta and Orkney Musician, James Watson. Artistic to watch and easy on the ear, this film made a great back drop to the event. Having final items to sell is one thing, but giving them a personal story is another. The full video is on my website if interested: Zoe Davidson Jewellery [Our Story]

Finally some tips if you are planning a launch:
– Plan a good launch date ahead of time.
Make sure it is not clashing with any other events that may be on in your area.

Ask yourself: what would I want to see at a business launch? Because it is probably what other people are wanting to see too. For me, is seeing how the work is made and tools uses.

Ask for help. I could not have launched on my own without the help of friends and family. Make sure you have someone on hand to pass out drinks and nibbles as you need to be connecting with your customers.

– Lastly, relax and enjoy the event, as your business only starts once.

To finish this post, I would like to say a huge thanks to:
– Art Mosomi Photography for the launch photographs and many other services you have provided.
iDesign for sponsoring our launch and delivering excellent service.
Orkney Fish who provided us with some amazing local seafood.
The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, for supporting us consistently and lending their film projector.
The Royal Hotel, Stromness who kindly lent us their wine glasses as we would never have that many in the house!
– Finally, my friends and family. For being at the launch, for helping and being so positive. I cannot thank you enough.

To view my website and products please go to www.zoedavidsonjewellery.co.uk

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Cheers!

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Jewellery That Can Save You

Have you ever wandered alone at night worried you are being followed? Or are aware of someone walking behind you? I think it is quite natural to be a bit paranoid about these things.

I have stumbled across some amazing new research and products that may actually save you from situations like these – and even better – these devices come in the form of jewellery!

  1. The Siren Ring

jewellery safe siren This looks like a normal piece of wearable jewellery. Beautiful stone and totally suitable for wearing on a night out. However, this Siren Ring comes with a special contraption. With just a simple twist of the ring’s top, the piece lets off a screeching alarm which can project a sound of up to 110 decibels. Now that is loud. With this said, this ring only acts as a deterrent –  warding off any potential danger. However, there are products which can now track the users location and alert authorities when activated.

2. The ‘Safer’ Pendant

safer-pendant-jewelleryWith crime against women increasing in India, five engineering students in Delhi have designed wearable jewellery that incorporates potentially life-saving technology.

Safer‘ is a pendant which, with a double click of the device, sends alerts to pre-selected phone numbers (such as family and friends), authorities, as well as nearby users. The device is linked with the wearer’s mobile app and people using the same app within the vicinity of the wearer will receive an alert on their phone. This is an amazing piece of technology, giving power to the wearer when going on a night out.

If the pendant is misplaced or stolen, it will not work without the mobile which it is linked with. On the app, you can mark the device as ‘lost’ or ‘stolen’ and the developers can track the item and help get it back to it’s wearer!

3. The Guardian Angel

guardian angel jewellery safe saveOn a date that is going badly? Look no further – there is a necklace that can help.

The Guardian Angel can be worn as an elegant necklace or a discrete bracelet. If you are, say, on a date that is not going to plan, simply press the pendant’s secret button. This activates the pendant, linking to the wearers mobile and makes it ring. This is called a ‘fake phone call’. A great way of faking your way out of any situation.

In a more serious situation, the wearer can press and hold down the button for 3 seconds which sends an emergency text to a family member or friend to notify that one is in danger. This text provides important co-ordinates and a link to Google Maps which pin-points her location.

4. The Escape Ring

escape titanium ring safe You never know what situation you will get yourself into. How about getting cuffed and taken by a stranger? These things can happen and do happen.

The Escape Ring is a simple ring made from titanium. But on the inside, this ring contains a feature like no other. Hidden from sight, the item contains a handcuff pick/saw-blade tool all-in-one. The saw is flexible so it can fit into the inside groove of the ring. The saw blade is sharp enough to cut through cable-ties, disposable handcuffs, rope, and other non-metallic materials.

With a bit of practice, this tool becomes easy to use. See a great review at The Gadgeteer.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post as you never know when you will need one of these life-saving pieces of jewellery.

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My Top 5 Favourite Jewellery Tools

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the absence been very busy! But here I am finally settled into my new jewellery workshop. I’m going to give you a wee tour of the top 5 of my favourite tools – new and old! – which I use everyday in creating my jewels.

zoe-davidson-jewellery-workshop-orkneyI’m always fascinated by new tools on the market, always eager to find those which save time or make a job a little easier. Since accumulating tools over the years, I’ve noticed that there are some tools which I can’t let go of. Some which I use everyday and am so glad that I paid the money for. So I’m going to share some of these tools with you and maybe you’d like to share some of yours?

  1. The Fold-Forming Hammer

foldform-hammer-zoe-davidson-jewellery.jpgThis was the first tool which has stayed with me from the beginning of my jewellery journey. At first I was a bit skeptic and was unsure if this was going to be worth the money – thinking maybe I’d change my style of work. But no! Nearly every piece I create, this hammer is helping me. It stretches the metal to create my folded-forms and has a comfortable ergonomic handle. So this definitely has to be at the top of my list.

2. The Slip-Joint and Accessories

slipjoint-zoe-davidson-jewellery-orkneyIf you have the traditional pendant drill/flex-shaft, you all know how much of a faff it is to change the drill accessories. You have to get the wee spanner, unscrew the cap nut and change the accessory – but I spend most of my precious time looking for this tiny spanner! Now things have changed for the best. I decided to invest in a ‘Slip-Joint’ which attaches to the end of the pendant drill. I have to say – this is one of the best things I have purchased. Just a simple press of the lever and you can pull your accessory out of the collet – no spanner – no faff. Saves a lot of time. Yes it was quite a big investment but it was definitely worth it in the long run. Would recommend it to anyone.

3. The Sand-Paper Rolls

sand-papers-zoe-davidson-jewellery-orkneySimple and easy to use these little things are. They are used in your pendant drill and come in various grades. I used to have a split-pin mandrel, wrap sandpaper around it then fix it with binding wire. Again, a lot of precious time wasted. Whereas these little paper-rolls are next-to-nothing and do the job perfectly well. I say – another amazing buy!

4. The Pliers

pliers-zoe-davidson-jewellery-orkneyI love my pliers. Have all types – nylon, parallel, cutters, round and so on. The nylon pliers (front right of picture) are quite a new purchase and are the most useful. Mostly, I use these for making ring shanks because they don’t mark the metal! Even better, the nylon pads are replaceable so you can go on using the same frame for ages. The parallel ones (front left) are handy too in straightening wire. I also bought a pair of Tronex Flush Cutters (left of picture), they are the sharpest wee things and the term ‘flush’ means it cuts at a right angle so leaving you minimal sanding to make the cut straight.

5. The Face Visor

visor-zoe-davidson-jewellery-orkneySanding and polishing can be a messy job. Bits of compound and particles spitting onto your face is never a nice look, especially if you’ve got customers coming through your door everyday! So here, we’ve got the face visor. So good. Forget about those safety specs – why not just save your whole face!? Make sure you look for ones with decent padding around the headband – just makes things a little more comfortable. They’re great too because you can simply lift up the visor up over your head when not in need! The visor plastic sheild is also replaceable so can be used for a long time.

Hope you enjoyed my favourite tools in the workshop and please don’t hesitate to share yours in the comments!

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