Archive for category Give me your Thoughts

You are cordially invited…..

Coming to the Radisson Blu, Little Island Cork this March is a Charity Wedding Fair.

Wedding Fair Invite

Wedding Fair Invite

Run by Cork Weddings and Events, it will be held on the 24th, from 2 – 5.30pm and it is run on behalf of the wonderful Irish Dogs for the Disabled.

Based in Cork, Irish Dogs for the Disabled attempt to enhance the quality of life for young people and adults.

They provide fully trained assistance dogs that in turn provide physical and psychological support to their partners. They receive no funding.

So on the day there will be over 50 suppliers, myself included, covering every aspect of your wedding.

Michael Wall Bespoke

So what will I be doing on the day?

I will be on hand to offer advice on all things bling. Will be happy to talk with you about jewellery styles, metals, and of course Diamonds.

I also offer a pre-wedding service, which is a full complement of services for brides to be. Ring resizing, inspection of settings and mounts, polishing and plating service.

Do ask me on the day.

As well as the above I will be offering a Full Valuation Service** to include:

  • A full Valuation service on ‘Multiple Items’ of Jewellery.
  • An Itemised list of all Items of Jewellery.
  • A full check of the Settings, and Stones in your Jewellery.
  • A printed Schedule of all Items for Insurance Purposes.

Flat Rate of €60* for all of the above.

*I will donate €10 directly to the charity.

I will NOT be charging a ‘final value fee’ of the Item(s).

If you wish to make an appointment, you may call me on: 086 8687456 or e-mail:

Booking is advised. You can also drop by my stand on the day. As mentioned the fair is running from 2 – 5.30pm

The Entrance Fee is €5 for adults. Prize giveaways and a fashion show throughout the day. There might even be a fabulous give away from me too!

Do please check out the wonderful work Irish Dogs for the Disabled are doing, and do please come along the 24th March 2013 to the Radisson Blu, Little Island.

Below is Breffni, held by Irish Dogs for the Disabled patron Graham Norton. Breffni was matched with 8 year old Patrick, a young man from Cork with cerebral palsy.

Irish Dogs for the Disabled patron Graham Norton with Breffni

Irish Dogs for the Disabled patron Graham Norton with Breffni

Patrick is now 10, walking independently and is also managing to ride his own bike.

For more information about the Wedding Fair visit Cork Weddings and Events:

For more information on Irish Dogs for the Disabled:

If you have any questions you can contact me by phone or by e-mail.

Alternatively you can join in the conversation on Twitter:

Would love your feedback, your comments and thoughts.

Thank you.


**Multiple Items of Jewellery appraised by Michael Wall, Accredited Jewellery Professional.
I am NOT buying or selling any gold, or precious metals. If you do have any items that you want to bring along to ask advice about, I will be happy to oblige.

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Size matters. But why ‘weight’ for the best Gem

There is an issue that seems to be confusing people. That is Carat.

Carat is the ‘weight of a Diamond. It does not refer to dimension size. One Carat or 1ct weighs 200 milligrams.

Loose Spessartine

When I mention that a stone is 2.04ct or 3.15ct or 1.50ct I’m talking about weight. Not dimension size.

A 1.00ct Diamond with an ideal cut, will ‘measure’ approximately 6.40mm in diameter. That is the bit you see on top, the surface area of the stone.


Another point I must make. A 2.00ct Gem is ‘not’ twice the size of a 1.00ct Gem. It is twice the weight. Please do bear this in mind.

A 1.00ct will ‘measure’ approximately 6.40mm and a 2.00ct will ‘measure’ approximately 8.1mm. But a 2.00ct will ‘weigh’ twice as much.

Big is not better, as sacrifices are often made to accommodate and satisfy the need for dimension size.

Sapphires differ. Emeralds and all other Gems differ as they all have different specific gravity.

photo (18)

When I choose a Gem for you, I do so based on best cut grade, the optimum colour and clarity for the size and shape of your Gem.

For example I can put a 0.90ct Round with a 6.10mm size and ‘ideal cut’ beside a 1.00ct of 5.90mm with a lesser quality cut. The difference?


Does size matter?

Weight’ and see.

If you have any questions as to what you should be looking for, do get in touch:

086 8687456 Mon to Fri, and

Do feel free to leave a comment, some feedback, or even a hello.


Call over to join the conversation on Twitter:

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A glorious little post. Get your wellies, fairy skirts and wellies on people! Thanks Belle.

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D is for Diamond. D is for Dangerous.

I spoke to various people over the last couple of days. One was a Goldsmith, the others included a self-declared novice, a Gemologist, and a Client. We spoke Diamonds.

Obviously with each it was a different conversation. It dawned on me as I put the phone down at the end of the most recent chat, there is a phenomenal ‘grey area’ that causes so many problems when talking Diamonds and more so when it comes to choosing them.

A little information is a dangerous thing. You can freely research every aspect and feature of a Diamond. You can read about colour, clarity, symmetry, crown and pavilion angles etc.

But what does that mean to you the customer. Can you confidently say after all your research that you know enough to buy a Diamond?

I know I couldn’t, and if you can I am highly impressed. From what I read on the net, I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to what I could end up buying. If you tell me you want a round cut, 1.22 carat, G colour Diamond, with VVS1 clarity you do not impress me with the fact you know the 4 C’s. That isn’t knowing the 4 C’s. That’s just reading about them and interpreting what it means.

That is highly dangerous. It does not give you any grounding in how to ‘Buy’ a Diamond.

If I were to show you 2 Diamonds exhibiting the same weight, colour, and clarity and put them side, then tell you one was €1,100 more than the other could you tell me why?

If I were to show you two Diamonds and tell you one was F colour and the other H, would you be able to tell me which one is which?

I can’t. Not without a loupe of at least x 10 times the magnification. Even then there are a lot of factors to be considered.

I can tell you what to look for when buying a Gem. But I am telling you that even if you know all about the 4C’s it won’t make a blind bit of difference.  

There are a lot more differences to consider; good, fair and excellent symmetry, how lack of or the presence of fluorescence affects a stone of lower colours, how a wavy girdle or an off centre table affects a stone. Even these won’t make a difference to you.

Why? Because of the ‘naked eye’, that’s my eye, yours, the onlookers, the observers. If you have a stone that is clean to the naked eye that’s what matters. If you’re considering an E colour instead of a G, the only difference you will visibly notice is the drastic amount of money you spend to have a feature in a stone you won’t be able to appreciate. That’s what matters.  

I’m hoping I’m not coming across as brash or rude or ignorant. Most people will find it difficult, if not near impossible to distinguish colour and clarity.

These are features of the Diamond. These features in your stone will be there forever. The beauty of the stone is the benefit you will receive. But what is the point of paying for features such as clarity and colour when you will never benefit from them.

If you have a question as to why a 1.00ct F colour with I1 clarity is costing the same as a 1.00ct I colour VS1 clarity stone, ask me. I can also tell you which one of those stones will be a better buy. There are other 1.00cts out there that will have the colours and clarity’s of the ones mentioned above yet will be percentages above and below the cost. Ask me before you buy.

I haven’t touched upon the mark-ups associated in the retail trade, nor do I want to. The differences you will see are quite noticeable. There is a reason. That reason is that Shop 1’s Diamond may be wholly different to Shop 2’s stone.

Be fully aware of that. It doesn’t mean you are getting less, it means you’ll end up paying more.

You can freely mail me if you have any questions. Alternatively do leave me a comment. I appreciate your feedback and all likes are welcome.



You can join the conversation here on Twitter:

Thanks to the GIA for the use of their images.

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‘Can it clean a Diamond Ring?’ Probably, but may do more damage. Here’s how.

There is an ad on the telly box that annoys me slightly. Now I don’t really mind the fact it is mainly trader’s puff, and in all fairness the claims in the advert are true.  It will clean anything.

However even though it may ‘clean’ your Diamond Ring it may do serious damage to the metals, other stones and finish.

When I sent a Tweet pleading with all you lovely people not to clean your Diamond Rings with this product, I forgot to say do not clean any jewellery in that manner. There are one or two correct ways, and a plethora of incorrect ways.

The most you need to do is use a soft lint free cloth, or a polishing cloth.

There’s a distinct difference between cleaning and removing a tarnished look.

Is your Ring dirty? Is there grit or dirt or foreign substances on it? If yes, it may need a clean. If it’s a little off colour or tarnished then it needs a polish etc.

Now I hear you all saying ‘Oh I clean mine in Baking Soda’, or ‘Granny cleans hers in Gin’, ‘I use Vodka’, and ‘I scrub mine with an old toothbrush’.

Firstly, if you are using Gin, or Vodka, or any other clear Alcohol here’s what you do. Take a glass, fill with ice, add sliced lime (or lemon), then pour in a decent measure of Gin or Vodka, top with your favourite mixer (I use Tonic, but any mixer will do), some garnish if you are so inclined, then sit, relax and enjoy. End of. The Gin is for drinking. So is the Vodka, so no more of that.

Toothpaste is an abrasive, especially the whitening pastes etc. It can scratch stones, even the metals. Yes it can, as Gold is not indestructible, and neither is Platinum. So no more of that either.

Using a toothbrush to clean it can be a dangerous method if it is old or stiff bristled. As well as dislodging dirt, it may dislodge a stone. Dirt may have also dislodged a stone as it caked on, so an overnight soak in a proper cleaning solution would be the best option. From there you can see if your stone(s) are loose. I’ll get to that in a bit. If not, use a soft bristled brush and the same cleaning solution to gently clean the setting and the stone(s).

Carefully pace ring into solution, to leave soak.

Let’s just look at the simplest, most effective method to clean your Rings.

As I mentioned previously if it is caked in dirt it is best to soak overnight in a solution of warm water and washing up liquid. Yes, washing up liquid. What you need to do is just use that soapy solution to allow the dirt to soften so it will become easily dislodged with the minimum of effort.

For the majority of you they won’t be caked in dirt, so here you go.

Take a small bowl, preferable plastic or any material that won’t damage the Diamond Ring lest you drop it.

Apply soft bristle brush, and gently clean.

Using warm water and a drop or two of washing up liquid, immerse the Ring in and leave to soak. Take the ring by the shoulder (the pieces to the left and right of the setting), hold firmly, and clean gently with a soft brush. An artist’s bristle brush or a soft unworn toothbrush is fine for this.

Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft lint free cloth.

Your Ring is clean. If there is still some dirt remaining repeat the process, or consider soaking for a longer period.

That is it. No more.

Keep Jewellery boxed when not in use.

If your Ring still has scratches or looks dull after cleaning that does not mean you have done it incorrectly. Cleaning won’t remove that. To remove scratches it will need to be professionally done.           

There are a few points I want you to note:

Ultrasonic cleaners: Never ever put an Emerald, Tanzanite, Opal, Coral or Pearl in. Some mineral and organic Gems will crack, fracture and even dissolve! Stones that have been thermally enhanced or treated in some way can lose their colour. Be aware of your Gems, even Diamonds can come out worst for wear. So if in doubt leave it out.

Vigorous Cleaning: There is no need. As mentioned earlier a stone can be dislodged or pushed aside if dirt has built up. Here’s something you may not know. A Diamond will scratch, erode and wear metal if it is loose in its setting. Surprised? I thought so. Diamond is a very hard substance and will wear a setting if it is loose. If a stone is loose in its setting it can become looser over time by wearing away the surrounding setting.

Loose Stones: After you soaked the Ring overnight how can you check if the setting is loose? Here is a very handy way of doing this. Get yourself a cotton bud (cue-tip) remove the cotton ball, and just tip the Stone with it. If the stone moves, or appears to move, get it checked as soon as you can.

Detergents and cleaning agents: Some of these leave a soapy scum, some remove oils from Emeralds and other porous minerals. Some contain harsh chemicals and abrasives, that not only affect the Gems, but the Gold or Platinum and the metals mixed with them. So no more use of toothpaste’s or any chemical substances that could damage your jewellery.  

Care: Yes I’m going to tell you to keep your Jewellery in a pouch, or a box. I know in the real world we all don’t sit at home in front of mirrors unclipping our Diamond Earrings before we go to bed, but a little care and attention goes a long way towards maintaining your Jewellery. It minimises the amount of knocks, and possible damage.

So there you go. I hope that covered the basics. Any questions feel free to ask. As always I welcome your feedback.


As always you can connect on Twitter:

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Well Blog’on It!

blog awards ireland

This is a Thank You.

Amanda, Lorna, and Beatrice, thank you. Maura, Wendy and Margaret, and all those tireless volunteers that finished the long list for the Blog Awards 2012, thank you.

Friday 10th and late in the evening the lovely, but ‘Awful Bloggard’ limmster alerted me to the fact I had been nominated for the 4 categories below.

Now as you can read from her post World Naked Gardening Day you can understand why she herself has been nominated 8 times.  No mean feat, and even though my 4 nominations pale in comparison, I’m nonetheless ecstatic with each and every category nomination.

They are:

 Best Beauty/Fashion Blog – Long List

Best Personal Blog – Long List

Best Craft Blog – Long List

Best Lifestyle Blog -Long List

The biggest Thank You of course goes to the Lord Jesu… no I’m kidding. No offence intended.

It’s goes to the wonderful person(s) that took the time out of their schedule to not only read, or be one who perhaps left a comment, but to click that important little button I discreetly added to the Sidebar. It was the ‘Nominate Me’ button. And yes it was discreetly added. Unlike the flashing neon one I was trying to add.

This you will notice has now been replaced by a glorious sized ‘Nominee’ Badge.

This is not just because I want to let you know I’m nominated. The reason behind it is because of that person(s). I am genuinely touched that the information contained here is of benefit to at least one person.

I don’t know who you are. So that badge is for you, in the hope you see it and understand that I am thankful. To you who have read, commented and made that nomination(s) I am grateful.

I thank you.

 You can check the #bloggm hashtag on Twitter so if you are dropping by you can check what’s happening. You can also leave a comment below. Let me know how you feel about your nomination. As always the outlets are there to get in touch.

Do. It’s why I’m here. And I’d like to hear from you.

You can read all about Blog Awards Ireland and get a feel for how and why it is organised.

As always you can say hello to me here.

On the Tweet machine you’ll get me:

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Michael Wall Bespoke

Showcase of Designs and Pieces in Gold and Platinum.

Fully Bespoke Service with G.I.A Certified Diamonds. in Gold or Platinum.

If you would like to chat to me live (almost live) you can find me here:

Video courtesy of Nobomedia

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To Quote you Happy

A few calls during the week got me thinking.

I am normally blessed with clients who pretty much know what they are looking for. Although from time to time I will still be asked some questions like ‘How much would a Diamond cost’, and ‘How much would it cost to get a ring made in Platinum’?Platinum Comfort Fit Wedding Band

I could ask, ‘How long is a piece of String’? There is no definite answer, as all the criteria differ. Do you want a 1 carat stone, a half carat stone, and what type of Platinum ring would you like?

There are variables to be considered. The difference in all these will be the reasoning behind my final answer.

Now there is one variable that some but not all of don’t want to bring up. It is something that I discuss with everyone.

It’s Budget.

Don’t worry. It isn’t an ugly term.  Don’t be afraid to mention it. To my mind a Budget is the price you are willing to pay. Don’t be worried about it. If you want to spend small, big or astronomical, you will still have a budget in mind.

Talk to me about it. Let me know what I can do for the Budget you have in mind. Do not be put off by it.

Daisy Yellow and Blue Marquise Sapphire EarringsYou are as important to me as my last and prospective customer. More so in fact as it is the first time I get to look after you, and hopefully build a relationship with you for many happy years to come.

One of my calls yesterday was a little disappointing as I did not quote my client happy.

Now this I like to do. I don’t like to be beaten on price. I won’t sacrifice quality but I would prefer to know that I have quoted a higher price. Why?? It’s because I want to work with you, bring my experience to the table, and bring the best of what is available to me to you.

Yes it is that simple. No matter how grand or small your piece of Jewellery, it is the satisfaction of knowing that I have found you the exact Stone or Stones that you have searched for.

Customer service to my mind is a little more than you buying from me, or me selling to you for that matter. It is more than that. It is talking with you. It’s understanding you. It’s delivering exactly what you come to expect, and then exceed that.

If you have been searching a long time for a stone/piece that is uniquely you, then I want the privilege to find that for you.Pear Shape Sapphire and Fancy Diamond Pendant

Out of all the people I speak to on a daily basis, friends, colleagues and clients, you can be assured of one thing. I am approachable. I will happily look after you, and enjoy sitting down with you to hear what you have to say. So talk to me.

I honestly hate to see anyone including myself settle for second best because a Budget brings you there.

So if you think you can find the same Certified Diamond or Coloured Stone that I have quoted you for less, I want to know.

My promise to you is that I will do my best to meet or exceed your expectations.

So call me, or mail with you questions.

086 8687456

If you have a question you can ask me live (almost live) here:


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And now for something completely different


No, not a Monty Python intro, with big feet, and silly walks. This post is a break from the normal, albeit infrequent posts about Gems, Jewellery and the like. Apart from the Pictures of course. I thought it might be nice to look at something pretty, while having a read.

I had a very quiet week thanks to a little wobbly episode on Monday evening. All fine now, thanks for asking (I know you wondered, of course you did.) But I’m not telling. Suffice to say it took the wind out of me a little bit, so rest and recuperation was needed for the last few days.

Prior to this, I had an eventful week. Thanks to Enterprise Ireland, I had a ‘Twitterrific’ Day as Business of the Day last Thursday. I was glad to see a welcome amount of congratulations, e-mails, and enquiries, and got stuck in as best I could to answer all. If I haven’t gotten around to you don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you. I will get to answer all e-mails as best I can this coming week.

It was part of a week that was altogether random, intriguing and eventful. The kind I like.

Ok, so what am I blathering about? Oh yes, something completely different.

It’s actually directed at you dear reader. So if you have reached this far, then you are’ required’ (only if you are generous and kind enough) to leave a comment. Would help. After all I don’t want to look like I’m idly rambling ad nauseam.  

ImageThe crux of the question is based on the idea of doing the best you can every day of your life, being forthcoming, and generally as nice as you can be to all around you. (I hear the sniggers and scoffs of hard hearted cynics, but you do it too. So read on.)

Last week I was being asked to provide an amount of information based on certain criteria, and after all had been discussed I was asked the inevitable ‘off the cuff’ question, as to how much it would cost. Duly obliged, was asked to send this in an e-mail, was thanked. End of.

Not even ten minutes had passed when another call came in, with another set of questions along the same lines as above. Different criteria this time. Another lengthy conversation, and some time spent checking whether or not the items(s) could be secured, and at what cost. I made a quick call back and was sent a request to put all this into another quote and send through e-mail.

The third phone-call came, and so I asked what ‘exactly’ was needed. I had a fair idea at this stage that items were being compared. I don’t do sales pitches and don’t do spiels. I do however make sure you understand ‘bespoke’ is not the same as ‘buying off the shelf’. Handmade Jewellery is a quality process, one that takes a little time, one that is designed for you. Stones hand set, and Jewellery finished by hand.    

ImageAt this point I brought up as delicately as I could that any budget can be catered for.

I offer advice as best I can on what is available. In simple terms if you’d like an ‘Art Deco’ style ring, with certain shapes and types of Stones I will put together sample ideas on paper, balancing everything to get the most out of what is available.

In this case, ‘Budget’ was no issue. And so in the ‘Final’ quote, I put together a selection of ideas and styles and stones that would meet the requirements.

No call back this time. Instead an e-mail came stating I was too pricey, and that the ‘Budget’ would not allow for it.

A textbook case of ‘Maximus Arsing Aroundus’, the Latin I believe for wasting one’s time. Names of Deities were taken in vain, and copious amounts of coffee required to steady nerves. Inner calm restored, and all was well in the World.

And so, the question to you is as follows. When do you just draw the line? Wave off the ‘Tyre Kickers’, and say goodbye to the time-wasters.

 I genuinely appreciate when I’m approached with any type of question. I will answer to the best of my ability, and I hope that you will continue to ask. If questions amount to something else, as in quotes, or answers given that constitute same, and time gets spent wasting both parties time am I right to be slightly annoyed?

Is there a line to be drawn, or should I just accept that I’m not taken as seriously as I take my clients?

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Fit for Kings and Tzars – Topaz

Topaz along with Citrine certainly evoke all that is Autumnal. A warm and sumptuous stone in tune with the themes and colours associated with this time of Year. So a little bit of information for you all, in the hope you will understand this magical stone a little better.

Topaz is associated with the values of strength, wisdom, and courage.

There is some uncertainty regarding the name. Some say it comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “fire.” Others link it to the Red Sea Island of Topazios (Zabargad or St. John’s Island), where Peridot has been found.

The modern name of Topaz however, was coined by mineralogist J.F. Henckel*,
who described the specific mineral deposits in Saxony, Germany with this name. Historically the Topaz has been known for at least 2000 years and is one of the gemstones which form the foundations of the twelve gates to the Holy City of the New Jerusalem.

The enormous and magnificent Topaz from the Portuguese crown,
theBraganza’, was for a long time thought to be a Diamond. It weighs 1,680 ct. and was discovered Minas Gerais in Brazil, in the late 18th century.

Orange Topaz – This is also known as precious topaz, and is the traditional November birthstone, the symbol of friendship. Topaz can and does occur in numerous colours.

Blue Topaz. – Surprisingly naturally occurring blue topaz is quite rare. Typically colorless, gray or pale yellow and blue material is heat treated and irradiated to produce a more desired darker blue.

Imperial Topaz – It is said to have originated in the 19th century in Russia where the Ural Mountain mines were an important source. According to some sources pink topaz from those mines was restricted to the family of the Tzars of Russia. Today the gem trade generally uses the term for pink, orange and Red Topaz, which comes mainly from Ouro Prêto, Brazil.

Fine Pink Topaz also comes from the Katlang area of Pakistan.

Gem TopazGem Topaz has been found at a number of localities around the world, including Brazil, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Russia, Burma, Pakistan, USA and Mexico. The premier source is near Ouro Prêto in Brazil’s Minas Gerais state.

Topaz is unique among the Semi-Precious Stones as it has never been synthesized. A number of imitations however do exist, including natural stones such as Citrine and Smokey Quartz, and man-made imitations such as glass.

Topaz can occur in some enormous and staggering sizes. Clean gems in excess of 1000 ct’s have been found. Indeed faceted stones of tens of thousands of carats have been produced from some monster-sized crystals. However cut stones of the aforementioned Imperial Colors are more rare. Fine pinks and reds above 5 cts. are scarce and finally fine oranges above 20cts are also rare.

Due to the shape of the rough Topaz it is generally cut as elongated stones, typically emerald cuts, elongated ovals, cushions and pears.

To save weight, pears in particular are often cut with over any shape and style one can imagine. Cabochon-cut topazes are rarely seen.

Pure Topaz is colorless and transparent but is usually tinted by impurities; typical Topaz is wine, yellow, pale gray, reddish-orange, or blue brown. It can also be made white, pale green, blue, gold, pink (rare), reddish-yellow or opaque to transparent/translucent. Mystic Topaz is colorless Topaz which has been artificially coated giving it the desired rainbow effect. The Mystic Topaz was believed to strengthen the mind and prevent sudden death of the wearer.

Topaz due to it’s size and shape is particularly effective on it’s own.
Set in Gold or Platinum, or accented with Diamonds can give this Semi Precious Gem an undoubted lease of life. Topaz was used extensively with the finest diamonds in the jewelry of the Victorian era. There is no denying that some of these pieces are beautifully balanced, and that style is one that elevates this sumptuous Stone.



*Henckel J.F: Introduction a la Mineralogie V1: Ou Connaissance Des Eaux, Des Sucs Terrestres, Des Sels, Des Terres, Des Pierres, Des Mineraux, Et Des Metaux (1756)

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My life and views on everything from living with facial disfigurement to how I view the world.


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