I wonder if you can help. I have a nail file that looks like a very fine stone, about four inches long and 3/4 inch wide. It's finer than an emery board. I bought it many years ago from John Lewis, the British department store. It doesn't sell them any more and the name - Crystal Stone, extra smooth filing - didn't produce anything when I searched the web, and mine's looking rather dirty.
Crystal Unclear, Central
The Dictator rules: Never heard of them. So, you think you're too good for the common emery board? I'm all for getting the best tools available and paying for good quality, but this is getting ridiculous. Next, you'll be asking where to buy mink make-up brushes. (Yes, people, they do exist). I'm sure we could find someone to put diamonds on the soles of your shoes. Heaven forbid I should answer a question in total ignorance, though. Initial research shows there's an environmental benefit to using reusable nail files instead of disposable ones. Then, of course, there are the claims that certain materials are less harsh than others. I'm relatively certain you have a Ruby Crystal Stone Nail File (www.rubycrystal.com ), which is manufactured from thousands of synthetic ruby crystals and has a hardness rating of nine compared with, say, the 10 of a diamond. Note that the website says they can be cleaned with soap and water, acetone or even a turn in the dishwasher. The brand doesn't deliver outside the United States, but you can track it down through Amazon.com (US$14.95). Also take a look at Nailing Hollywood Crystal Nail & Cuticle Smoother by Jenna Hipp (US$12; www.goodsie.com/store/nailing-hollywood ). We also found a selection of 'glass' alternatives at City'super (Times Square, Causeway Bay, tel: 2506 2888), including the Celebrity Nail Glass File (HK$48).
I don't like anything I wear to stand out, but I like luxury and quality. I'm a big fan of Henry Cuir products, which I haven't been able to find in Hong Kong for years. They used to be at Lane Crawford, and they are too expensive in Japan. Do you know anything about this?
Looking for a Cuir, Tai Tam
The Dictator: Sure, I'll tell you what I know (a lot, naturally). First, Swiss designer Henri Beguelin began creating handmade leather goods on the Italian island of Elba in the 1970s. As the business grew, he opened shops in Milan and, eventually, around the world. Second, the website, www.henrycuir.it , will tell you what some of the designs look like, but little else. Third, although very popular in Japan, where the brand has quite a few standalone boutiques, all the goods are made in Italy, but it's sold in Hong Kong by Japanese retailer 45 rpm (Leighton Centre, Causeway Bay, tel: 2504 2445). The staff told us the new delivery is due to land soon (if you leave your details with them, they promise to call you when it arrives). With a focus on hand-craftsmanship rather than fashion statements, the brand uses natural cowhide and recycled materials to create limited series and one-of-a-kind pieces. In contrast to the obvious branding, logos and coloured soles used to signify status symbols these days, Henry Cuir is identified simply by its quality and a tiny embroidered stick figure emblem. Buyers should expect to spend about HK$1,495 and up for leather and bead necklaces or keychains; HK$2,495 for wallets; HK$4,395 for women's shoes; and HK$8,895 and up for bags.