A few weeks ago, Mashable put out an article on how to customize a few real life treats via the Internet. Among them: mix your own chocolate bar, smoke your own jerky, create your own pet-food, shoes, handbags, shirts. And the one that stuck out the most to me (other than the jerky): customize your own jewelry.

Say what?

Every girl likes diamonds right?

And boys (in many cases) are the ideal deliverers.

Thanks, pop culture. It’s because of you that I have this grossly generalized fantasy in my head:

Girl meets Boy.

Boy is smitten.

First date.

First kiss.

Move in.

“Dear Boyfriend,

When you propose, it will preferably be on a cruise to Costa Rica.

Think that’s too cliché? I’ll ask again when our mouths are full of lobster, and we’re riding a horse named Steve through the rainforest.

But most importantly, I would like you to present me with a 10 carat, princess-cut diamond in a platinum  setting . . . or was it a marquise in white gold with two emeralds on the side. Or maybe I . . .

On second thought. Don’t propose until I consult my jeweler to find out what the heck it is I want.

Love, your adoring, baby darling, shmoopie.”

Well, this is how it used to go in my head anyway. Except now, I want a wedding on the beach, and maybe a proposal that takes place on a ferris wheel. And the ring. Jewelry is either supposed to be extravagant or sentimental, right? So maybe expecting a bajillion-carat Harry Winston is a bit much. So, let’s go for sentimental. You know, like a test of how much the boy knows me. (It seems the boy never wins in my fantasies)

Except I haven’t found any jewelry that’s quite up to my taste and sentiment. Until now. Which is where Gemvara steps in – with the perfect combination of two things I love: bling and tech.

Everyone’s a critic and I am no exception. Owning a domain name and fingers with which to type a blog suddenly makes me an expert consumer, right? Well, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. I want my cake and eat it too. That sort of thing. Which makes it no surprise that one of the first things I asked Cheryl Kremkow, Gemvara's VP of Content and Merchandising, was whether customers were uncomfortable with the idea of creating and buying jewelry online because they couldn’t try it on. I mean, half the fun of buying bling is putting it on and imagining the subsequent avalanche of compliments. Luckily, Kremkow was incredibly sweet, especially when pointing out that even if you are creating custom jewelry at a store, there is no way to actually visualize or touch the exact piece until it is too made – which is sometimes too late. But on Gemvara, you can pick and choose until you get it just right.  In fact, each gemstone has 16 different varieties, and there are eight different metals to choose from. So, take a standard ring, let’s say – a diamond with two supporting stones – add 16 different choices for each stone, and eight different metals, and thousands of designs: you do the math. The possibilities are endless. And here’s the cool part: you can SEE every single one of those possibilities, as long as your patience matches the number of times your index finger can click the mouse.

In fact, the endless customer stories Kremkow receives on a daily basis is proof of the platinum pudding that Gemvara is feeding a very hungry niche.

“One of the surprises for me, is the different colors of engagement stones. People want something different, and we can give that to them. Sapphire, amythest, emerald – even a black diamond. We’ve seen birthstones, and if it’s a second marriage and there are kids, the ring might even have the birthstones of the kids. I’ve discovered that people want to do so much more than just a diamond. There really are no rules. We want to help our customers express themselves. If you’re only going to do this once, you should do it right!"

So, I went online and expressed myself. Here is my wish list:

Ok, so I happened to choose the most expensive engagement ring of the bunch. Lucky boyfriend.
Thangka Pendant in 14K Rose Gold
So many colors, so little time!
So that’s the bling part. Now the tech.

One of the reasons Gemvara is doing so well is because this sort of thing has never been done before. And one of the main reasons it’s doing so well now is that the technology is just starting to exist for jewelry designers. The CAD cam (computer aided design) is just now becoming more accessible. And along with CAD comes a whole new community of designers who are becoming well-versed in this tool. And that’s what tech is for right? A niche need surfaces; a tool is built to aid that need; a community is born to aid that tool; everyone goes home with a nice piece of bling.

And the women in tech? No women developers yet, although their Chairman of the Board is female, and a lot of their designers are women. But Gemvara is looking to expand their team, looking for: online marketers, graphic designers, front end developers, and people who are familiar with the CAD system, particularly those who use Rhino and Matrix design and manufacturing platforms. So if any of you ladies (or gents) are partial to the industry of bling, you might want to consider a Gemvara career. And if not, you can just join the rest of us who are relishing in the luxury of creating our own treasure troves of diamonds, sapphires, rubies and rivers of yellow gold. Not a bad way to indulge in a few hours online, I’d say.

For more info, visit Gemvara’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

I'm taking 10,000 steps a day. And I'm using a pedometer to count them. Pedometer strapped to my hip = unsexy. But achieving 10,000 steps a day = very very sexy.

I'm doing it to cure the acute sense of agoraphobia that builds up when I've spent too much time working. 

To cure the fact that I've been in NYC for almost eight months now, and still haven't seen as much of the city as I'd like. 

To cure the few extra pounds as a result of sitting on top of a computer every day, with my fingers jammed on the keys as if this little piggy had no roast beef and went wah-wah-wah, all the way home.  

To cure any fears of not being able to achieve something when all you have to do is get off your ass and take a few steps forward. 

There will be more to follow, I hope. Because it's Monday. Because it's time to move those happy feet. Because there are no more excuses left to not do it. Unless I find an iPad app that closes business deals for me, and takes me on tours of the city while putting chocolate in my mouth. Because then, I wouldn't really need 10,000 steps, would I. 
This past Saturday (May 8th) saw the Launch of Girls in Tech China

WHAT an experience:

Because I planned the entire event in Beijing . . .FROM New York.
Because I have an amazing team (special shout out to @acrosstheC and @eiyssa for being excellent mid-wives for the deliverance of #GITChina).
Because we launched an amazing #GITChina cocktail: Girls in TECHquila by @beijingboyce.
Because we had an amazing panel of female Influencers (Tudou, Wall Street Journal, Mobinode, Zebra Media) moderated by Twittamentary's @sioksiok
Because we officially announced the 2010 Search for Girl 2.0 (to be launched on June 1st).
Because it's history in the making. 

Video of the event will be out soon. Watch this space.