Ramsey and District U3A


The chairman (Sheila Gilbert-Hill) welcomed all to the second meeting of 2019. Usual safety notices were read out.  And a reminder that table and chairs are available for less able members when we have tea and coffee.

One of our committee has stood down due to family commitments. The committee can continue for the moment with eight members, but we need volunteers so that our U3A may continue in the future.

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place on 9th April 2019, AGM Proposal Forms and Committee Nomination Forms will be available in the foyer or online. The deadline for the return of forms is 13th March 2019.

The Groups Co-ordinator (Jane Cusworth) then gave group news, The Chess group are looking for new members to join, they meet on the fourth Monday of the month. Petanque will now start in April. The Film Group will be resuming in February. New members are also required for Book Clubs, Writing for Pleasure, Food and Cookery, Hand Chimes and Cycling. Jane asked for volunteers to take part in our pantomime, which will be held on Saturday 7th December, when we will have two shows. Front of stage, backstage and costume and set designers are all required. Volunteers to contact Enid Hubbard. Rehearsals will start in September! Travel group will be announcing new outings and holidays at their meeting next month. The trip to the Thurston Spectacular, by Dews coaches will cost £58.00 per person, if more than 15 members go then they will get 10% discount on the coach fare, at the current time, only 5 places remain. Petanque will restart in April as the court where we play has problems with drainage.

Each month in the foyer, groups will be able to display their wares and have the chance to talk to members about their activities. It will be first come first served, so group leaders, get your groups working on your presentations.  This month, it was the turn of the Card Group to show what they have been making.  In March, the Metal Detecting Group will be displaying their wares.

A big thank you to all Group Leaders for keeping their web pages and calendars up to date.  To all members, please keep looking at our website, Aspire and the notice boards. Quiz sheets for Thomas a Becket church were made available after the meeting, cost £1.00.

The chairman then introduced the speaker for the afternoon, Jason Middleton, his topic “History of Jewellery.” Jason introduced himself to the meeting by thanking members for his second invitation to speak to us. His talk took the form of a PowerPoint presentation and interesting samples were passed around during the talk.

Jason told the meeting that he had been in the trade for 17 years and travels to Hong Kong to attend major jewellery trade shows, he gets to see jewellery from across the world. 

The earliest jewellery was formed from shells, bones and teeth, our Stone Age ancestors made nose rings and pendants from shark’s teeth. It was when metals such as bronze, copper and gold were discovered, do we see how brooches, torques were fashioned from the new materials and were appreciated by people who wore them. Gold items were high status and were worn by the wealthy.

In the Bronze age, gold torques were highly valued along with amber and mother-of -pearl. The Iron age produced beautiful gold ornaments, which were used in Celtic religious ceremonies. Ancient China had the technology to produce beautiful artefacts, with many being discovered when the Terracotta Army were uncovered, many were of jade which holds healing properties.

The Incas were into gold, the Spanish conquests main purpose was to get hold of as much gold as possible and send it back to Spain. The Incas worshipped the Sun who was the giver of life and used gold in their religious ceremonies. Ancient Greece and the Roman empires made sophisticated jewellery from materials found in their colonies.

Moving on to the renaissance and baroque periods, this is when pearls became very popular as can be seen in portraits of kings and queens of the time. The Georgian and Victorian period gold and gemstones became popular again, but with the death of Prince Albert, Jet was all the vogue and worn by royalty.

Moving on to the Edwardian period, platinum became popular mixed with old cut diamonds. Faberge made and the Imperial Russian tsars enjoyed high quality enamels – the Faberge eggs for example. In the 1920s we moved into the flapper era when long necklaces of natural or cultured pearls were all the rage. The Arts and Crafts period moved into more natural age of plants, birds and flowers, made from enamelled glass and Bakelite.

The civil war in the Congo lead to a black-market economy where diamonds were sold to raise funds for opposing armies. The Kimberley process was adopted to not take diamonds from war-torn areas.

Jason has some words of advice for buying jewellery, don’t watch or buy from Gems TV and Pandora are overpriced. If you can afford it buy from Tiffany or Cartier. The chairman thanked Jason for an interesting afternoon, and we broke for tea, coffee and biscuits.

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Next Meeting

The next general meeting of 2019 will take place on Tuesday 12th March at the Community Centre, Stocking Fen Road, Ramsey, starting at 2.00pm., the presentation will be by Sue Jordan-Tubbs from Guide Dogs for the Blind

And Finally


Car Parking – Please remember to park your car considerately and use car sharing, if you are able.



“A sandwich walks into a bar. The barman says, ‘Sorry we don’t serve food in here.”’  – Peter Kay. 

“I rang up BT and said: ’I want to report a nuisance caller.’ He said: ’Not you again.”’ – Tim Vine.


Can you help BBC’s The One Show?

The One Show (BBC1) are hoping to create a light hearted film in the next few weeks interviewing people who were born in, grew up in and still live in the same house (and hopefully don’t intend to ever move).

They wondered if any U3A members fit the bill and could help?  If you can then contact jo.adnitt@bbc.co.uk

If you do, please let  elizabeth.drury@u3a.org.uk know how you get on.