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Gem Water and Wine Tasting April 25th

Have you tried Gem Water yet? If you haven't experienced it yet, come in to the store this Tuesday, April 25th from 2pm-6pm for a special tasting! We'll be tasting water that has been treated with VitaJuwel as well as water that hasn't. We'll also be tasting red wine directly from the bottle compared to red wine that has been decanted into a VitaJuwel decanter. 

From the VitaJuwel website:

Amethysts enjoy a long association with Dionysus, the God of Wine. The ancient Greek already created drinking vessels from amethysts. The word “amethyst” means “not intoxicated” (from Greek a- “not” + methystos “intoxicated”). 

A little while ago, selected wineries and professional sommeliers rediscovered the tradition to enhance wine with amethysts and achieved amazing results. But nowadays, amethysts are no longer placed directly into the wine.

With this blend we bring this tradition to the next level. Vino features a twisted surface and as the amethysts are enclosed in the wand, it makes infusing wine so much more hygienic. The effect on wine is truly stunning. The tannins are usually percepted to be smoother and more pleasurable. Vino gives even great wines a very special tune.

 In order to celebrate a great wine properly, we created a uniquely shaped wine decanter. Handcrafted in Europe, it is an exquisite masterpiece. Fill it with a bottle of wine, place the VitaJuwel Vino inside, wait for 7 minutes and pour yourself and your friends a glass. You‘ll be amazed!

April's Birthstone: Diamonds

Alex Sepkus old European cut diamond ring

Perfect in structure, the diamond is referred to as the “king of gems,” unique in its powers of light reflection and dispersion, and the hardest natural substance known. Composed of pure carbon, the foundational element of life, it is the one and only gemstone rated as a 10 on the hardness scale, crystallized deep in the earth’s mantle under intense heat and pressure billions of years ago. Its name is derived from the Greek adamas, meaning "invincible." 

Harry Kotlar artisan diamond eternity band

Due to its hardness, the diamond has been known since antiquity as a stone of invincibility, bringing victory, superior strength, fortitude and courage to the wearer. It is associated with lightning and fearlessness, and for its properties of protection. The diamond, in its rarity and beauty, is a symbol of purity and innocence, of love and fidelity. In antiquity it was regarded as dependable in its virtues only when received as a gift. 

Mark Patterson micropave halo diamond ring

April babies will be interested to know that diamonds come in a wide range of colors such as black, blue, green, pink, red, purple, orange and yellow. The color is dependent upon the elements that were near the diamond when it was formed 100 miles below the earth's surface. For instance, yellow stones have minuscule traces of nitrogen while blue ones contain boron. The cost of gem-quality colored diamonds can be exponentially higher than white diamonds due to rarity.

At Fox's we also love the uniqueness of the unpolished and rough diamonds that Todd Reed uses in his jewelry. Stop by and give diamonds in all their colors and forms another look! 

Todd Reed rough diamond palladium ring

 

Spotlight on Diamonds: Botswana

Here at Fox's, we are frequently asked about diamonds and how they are sourced. Clients are frequently concerned that diamonds from Africa, in particular, are obtained at a negative cost to the country and people who mine them.

Our graduate gemologist,Gina, recently attended a GIA lecture about diamonds and learned some fascinating facts about how diamonds are increasing the quality of life for the citizens of Botswana.

In 1967, the year after Botswana gained independence from British rule, a huge diamond mine was found by DeBeers, the largest supplier of rough diamonds in the world. At this time, Botswana was one of the poorest countries in the world, with an agricultural economy and a per capita income of $80.

DeBeers and the government of Botswana entered into a 50-50 agreement to mine the diamonds, and DeBeers opened a diamond cutting factory in Botswana. This partnership has been so successful that in 2008, DeBeers closed their diamond sorting facility in London and built the largest, most technologically advanced sorting facility in the world in Botswana.

Because of the foresight of the government of Botswana and the social responsibility of DeBeers, the GDP per capita has risen from $80 in 1966 to $16,400 in 2013, second only to South Africa. Infrastructure, schools, hospitals, banks, hotels, retail, and transportation have all grown around the diamond industry. Literacy and education have risen dramatically, and Botswana is now one of the world's fastest growing countries, with 10% annual growth for the last 30 years.  

If you'd like to read more, check out these great articles:

https://www.gia.edu/research-news-botswana-making-beneficiation-work

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/09/business/worldbusiness/09nocera.html

 

 

Nicole Kidman and the Art of Ring Maintenance

If you watched the Oscars or read any of the recaps, you probably noticed Nicole Kidman's hilariously awkward clapping.

She recently addressed it during an interview, and we loved what she had to say: "I was like, 'Gosh, I want to clap. I don't want to not be clapping,' which would be worse, right?" Kidman explained. "'Why isn't Nicole clapping?' So, therefore I'm clapping, but it was really difficult because I had a huge ring on that was not my own, but was absolutely gorgeous. And, I was terrified of damaging it."

We don't know the exact carat weight of the ring Kidman was referring to, but we do know that she was wearing an eye-popping 119 carats total worth of diamonds on Oscar night!

We say kudos to Kidman for understanding how to take care of fine jewelry! It's a little known fact that if you're wearing rings on both hands, clapping can be incredible damaging to your jewelry. Think of the force you're using to crush your rings together. It's true that diamonds are extremely hard, but the metal that holds the diamonds into your rings is not. This is how rings get bent out of round (which can cause diamonds to fall out), how prongs can get bent, and even how diamonds can get cracked (diamonds are hard, but can still cleave if hit at just the right angle). Delicate pave styles are especially susceptible to this type of damage. In addition to clapping, any other activity that puts metal against metal can damage your rings. Think gardening, weight lifting, and even clutching a pole for stability while riding the bus. If you do find yourself with both hands full of rings and you are called upon to applaud, we recommend the elegant golf clap.

March's Birthstone: Aquamarine

March babies have an especially lovely birthstone - calming, soothing aquamarine. Aquamarine's name comes from the Latin for "water of the sea." Just like seawater, the color can range from pale blue, to greenish blue, to a deeper blue. The deeper the blue, the more valuable the aquamarine will be. Aquamarines are a member of the beryl family, which includes emeralds and morganites. They are naturally very clean gemstones, and it is rare to see inclusions. Aquamarines are found in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Africa, Colombia, and the United States.

Alex Sepkus aquamarine necklace and ring

There are many myths and legends about aquamarines. Roman legend has it that that the stone absorbs young love: “When blessed and worn, it joins in love, and does great things.” Aquamarine was also considered the most appropriate gift for a groom to give his bride for their marriage. Today, many brides love to wear aquamarine for their "something blue." The Greeks and the Romans knew the aquamarine as the sailor’s gem, ensuring safe passage across the seas. In Medieval times, the stone was thought to reawaken the love of married couples, and today is the traditional anniversary gift for a 19th wedding anniversary.

Alex Sepkus aquamarine ring

 At Fox's, we have two lovely aquamarine pieces right now, both one of a kinds from Todd Reed:

This stunning cuff features a 12.62 carat aquamarine set in a palladium and oxidized sterling silver bracelet with 0.52 carats of flush set diamonds.

This incredible waterfall necklace features 26 carats of aquamarine, 2.72 carats of diamonds, and Todd's signature finish work on 18k yellow gold.

Whether you have a March birthday, a wedding, and anniversary, or an upcoming sea voyage, come in to Fox's and let us help you pick out the perfect aquamarine piece!

February's Birthstone: Amethyst

February's birthstone is the regal purple amethyst. Amethysts are a member of the quartz family, The name comes from the ancient Greek a- ("not") and μέθυστος méthystos ("intoxicated"), a reference to the belief that the stone prevented drunkenness. Medieval European soldiers wore amulets made out of amethyst into battle, believing that it would keep them cool-headed, and Tibetans consider amethyst sacred to the Buddha and make prayer beads from it.

Amethyst "Cityscape" ring by Alex Sepkus

In the Old World, amethyst was considered one of the most precious gems until large deposits of it were found in Brazil. Amethyst can also be found in Siberia, Sri Lanka, Austria, Canada, and even the United States, where it is the official state gemstone of South Carolina.

At Fox's, we think the perfect February birthday gift is this gorgeous amethyst necklace by Ray Griffiths:

If you don't like purple but still want to be protected from intoxication, you can still wear amethysts. These gemstones can be heat treated to become citrine and prasiolite, which are yellow and green in color, respectively. You may also find very pale amethysts, which are called Rose de France. Whatever shade you prefer, we can find it for you at Fox's!

 

 

Fox's Seattle Loves: VitaJuwel by GemWater

We are so excited to tell you about our newest find - VitaJuwel by GemWater! If you're walked past our shop recently, you've probably admired and wondered about the display in the windows.

These are lead-free glass water bottles filled with gemstones! Other than looking incredibly beautiful, why would you want to have a water bottle with gemstones in it?

Every type of gemstone has its own unique energy. The energetic charge of quartz is what makes quartz watches work. The idea behind VitaJuwel is that the gemstones in the water impart their energy into the water, and then into you, the drinker.

This idea is nothing new. Dating back to ancient Greece, gemstones have been used to vitalize water for centuries. More recently, Japanese researcher and scientist Dr. Masaru Emoto dedicated his study to water. He determinted that water treated with gemstones water takes on the characteristics and energy or fresh spring water.

This is ordinary tap water under the microscope:

 And this is water treated with VitaJuwel under the microscope:

 A scientific evaluation by the renowned German Institute Hagalis, Überlingen validated VitaJuwel’s effect on water. The institute found that the gemstone infused water became more alkaline and less acidic, and that the oxygen content in the water increased.

Because they are products of nature, every gem has its own vibration and affects the water in a unique way. There are 18 different VitaJuwel blends for water, and 1 specifically for wine. If you want to have a sense of well being, "Wellness" is the bottle for you. It contains amethyst, rose quartz, and clear quartz to stimulate and soothe the mind and emotions, foster tranquility, and support healthy and radiant skin.

Feeling stuck? "Inspiration" contains lapis lazuli and rutilated quartz, which are said to relieve sore throats, allow one to speak with wisdom and authority, encourage honesty, and help to lift the feeling of anxiety. 

In addition to the personal glass water bottles, there are also hand blown glass vials, droplets, and decanters available to revitalize your water in quantities small and large. Come in to Fox's to see these works of art and see which one can add a little beauty and vitality to your life!

The History of Valentine's Day

The story about the origin of Valentine’s Day goes that Roman Emperor Claudius II didn’t want men to marry during wartime because it would affect their fierceness. However, Bishop Valentine performed secret weddings against the emperor’s decree. When Claudius II got wind of Valentine’s acts, he had him jailed and later executed. Before his death, During his internment, Valentine had signed off a letter to the jailer's daughter “from your Valentine.”

In 1381, Geoffrey Chaucer made the first recorded connection between St. Valentine's Day and love in his poem "The Parliament of Fowls," identifying the day as the time when "every foul cometh ther to choose his mate." French and English writers of the 14th and 15th centuries also allude to the day as one reserved for lovers. Valentine's Day was declared a holiday in 1537 by none other than King Henry VIII. Manufactured Valentine's Day cards first appeared in England in the 1800s, and by 1835, over 60,000 Valentine's Day cards were being sent in England alone.

The tradition of sending Valentine's Day cards hit the United States in 1847, and today 150 million cards are sent every year, not including the hundreds of millions of classroom valentines exchanged by children.

 

Physicians of the 1800s commonly advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for a lost love. In the 1890s, Cadbury was the first manufacturer to produce heart-shaped boxes of assorted chocolates, which the romantic Victorians went crazy for. Today, 35 million heart-shaped boxes are sold every year.

We love chocolate, but our favorite Valentine's Day gift by far is jewelry! It lasts longer than a box of chocolates, and gives the wearer joy for years to come. Whether you are buying for a significant other, your "valentine," or a special treat for yourself, check out our Valentine's Day Gift Guide for gorgeous jewelry starting at under $200. Happy Valentine's Day!

 

 

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Heirloom Jewelry

One of our favorite things about jewelry is the way it can last from generation to generation if cared for properly. Jewelry that has been worn and loved by a beloved relative can be powerfully sentimental and give the current wearer a feeling of closeness to the previous owner.

If you have inherited a piece of jewelry, the first thing to do is assess how it works for you. Does it fit? If not, we can size it! Is it broken or damaged? We can repair it. Occasionally we'll see ring mountings passed down, but with all the gemstones removed. In these cases, we can find gemstones for you and restore the ring to its previous glory. Sometimes the opposite happens, when you have an heirloom gemstone that you want to make your own. These are some of our favorite heirlooms to work with!

Here is an example of a ring we made for the store with an heirloom diamond. This Alex Sepkus ring is set with an Old European cut diamond. This diamond was cut by hand, probably by the light of a gas lamp, between the late 1800's and early 1900's. Old cut diamonds are increasingly hard to find, as they are frequently recut into modern round brilliants. We love the way they play with the light!

https://www.foxsseattle.com/products/alex-sepkus-r84md-oec-2-62

 If you have any heirloom jewelry that you'd like to start wearing, bring it in! We'd love to help you make it your own.

 

 

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