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It's like browsing through a global flea market -- and getting to know some of the 2,000 featured artisans. Novica.com, a Los Angeles site 19%-owned by National Geographic, showcases handcrafted works, including jewelry, textiles, and carvings, from seven countries -- Brazil, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, and Thailand -- along with biographies of the artists. Since there are no other middlemen, the artists make more than they can locally, even though Novica takes a 15% to 50% cut, says Catherine Ryan, Novica's spokesperson. The site lets you keep a list of favorite artists and get updates. New on the site is Brazilian Neide Ambrosio, whose crocheted bags using pop tops of soda cans start at $50. Now that's something you won't find at Saks. (SKS
) By Lourdes Lee Valeriano EDITED BY Edited by Toddi Gutner