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Fox's Summer Pop-Up Shop: Heron's Nest Gallery

Please welcome Heron's Nest Gallery to Fox's Seattle! We've brought our own little slice of Joy and Chai's beloved Vashon Island to the heart of Seattle just for the summer.

 

Heron’s Nest is owned and operated by Vashon Center for the Arts, a non-profit organization that supports Vashon Island artists and arts programs. The Nest showcases fine art and handcrafted items by island artists of all ages who reside full or part-time on Vashon Island or have a personal connection to the community. All money earned by Heron’s Nest is either paid directly to local artists or is used to fund Vashon Center for the Arts programs, productions and scholarships.

Come in and take a look at the eclectic array of paintings and prints, pottery, photography, basketry, glass, metal, wood, stone, and jewelry completely unique to our corner of Puget Sound. You may even see a piece or two from our beloved Joy!

 

 

June's Bonus Birthstones: Moonstone and Alexandrite

Lucky June babies have not one birthstone, but three! The two alternate birthstones for June are moonstone and alexandrite, although moonstone is the preferred June birthstone in parts of the world like Germany and Scandinavia.

Pliny, the Roman natural historian, coined the name of moonstone when he wrote that its shimmery appearance shifted with the phases of the moon—a belief that held until well after the sixteenth century. Moonstone can vary in color from clear to blue-white or peach, and was considered by ancient civilizations to be a sacred stone. Some believed that the moonstone could even make a person invisible!

Florida adopted moonstone as its official state gem in 1970 to commemorate the Apollo 11 moon landing and other spaceflights that launched from Florida – even though moonstone is not naturally found in Florida or on the moon.

The second alternate birthstone for June is the Alexandrite.  A brownish green in color, this gemstone has the unique characteristic of changing color to a red hue depending on the light.  Because of this quality, it  has been characterized by poets as "an emerald by day, a ruby by night." Alexandrite was first found in Russia's Ural Mountains, where its Finnish discoverer mistook it for emerald until he realized that it changed color under different light sources.

According to legend, this gemstone was named for Alexander II because it was discovered on the future czar’s birthday in 1834. Because alexandrite’s red and green hues matched Russia’s military colors, it became the official gemstone of Imperial Russia’s Tsardom. It is a rare and expensive gemstone, symbolic of joy and good fortune. 

 

 

June's Birthstone: Pearls

June's birthstone, pearls, are extra amazing because they the only gemstones made by living creatures. Mollusks produce pearls by depositing layers of calcium carbonate, called nacre, around microscopic irritants that get lodged in their flesh. Over the course of years, layer and layers of shimmering nacre coats the intruder, creating a lustrous pearl.

Ancient civilizations had many stories to explain the origin of the pearl, such as the Greek belief that pearls were the hardened tears of joy that the goddess of love shook from her eyes as she was born from the sea.  According to Arab legend, pearls were formed when oysters were lured from the depths of the ocean by the beautiful moon and then swallowed moonlit dewdrops.  And the Ancient Chinese thought that these gems originated from the brains of dragons.

Naturally occurring pearls are rare, and historically were once only worn by royalty. Because these natural pearls fetched such high prices, they were gathered without restraint, becoming scarcer with each passing year. Concerned about extinction of the pearl-producing oysters, Kokichi Mikimoto embarked on his life-defining mission to grow pearls within his own oyster beds. In 1893 he successfully developed the process of culturing pearls by inserting a particle inside Akoya oysters, which were known to produce the best pearls. Today, Mikimoto pearls are still known as the finest pearls you can buy and we are proud to carry them at Fox's!

In addition to traditional white Akoya pearls, we also have gorgeous South Sea pearls, These large, white, black, or golden pearls are naturally occurring colors that are produced by different types of oysters. It can take as long as 15 years to create a strand of perfectly matched golden pearls.

Pearls have been a passion and even an obsession of people throughout the ages.  They have been ground up and used in cosmetics and as a medicine to treat heart and stomach conditions.  Some cultures swear by pearls as an aphrodisiac.   These gems have adorned crowns, clothing, and temples, and were said to be a favorite of Cleopatra.   

Only those with royal status once wore pearl jewelry, but eventually these gems were seen among all classes of people.  They continue to be viewed as a mark of taste and refinement as well as a symbol of purity, and they are often given to celebrate a marriage or the birth of a child.  Pearls are nature's perfect gift, suitable for all ages, and elegantly worn with everything from jeans to an evening gown.

 We think this Mikimoto set of pearl stud earrings and a strand of pearls is the perfect gift for any occasion.

 

Complimentary Engagement Session with La Vie Photography!

We are so excited here at Fox's Seattle to offer a very special gift with purchase - a free engagement photo shoot with our favorite photographers, Kim and Adam Bamberg of La Vie Photography!

Kim and Adam are a husband and wife team who have been photographing together for 14 years. They celebrate life through their lenses and see the authentic beauty in everyone they meet.

 

Kim and Adam's infectious positivity and joie de vivre puts their clients immediately at ease, allowing them to capture beautiful images that let the personalities of their subjects truly shine through.

An hour-long engagement session with La Vie Photography is our gift to you with your purchase of a ring from Fox's Seattle with a value of $8,000 or higher. Location will be specially chosen for you by Kim and Adam. We know you will love them as much as we do!

May's Birthstone: Emeralds

The luscious, vibrant green of May's birthstone has been captivating people since antiquity. Its name comes from the ancient Greek word for green, smaragdus. Emeralds and green are so synonymous that our lovely Seattle (which is especially green right now after a record-breaking streak of rain) is called the Emerald City.

Emeralds were mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC. The Egyptians used emeralds for jewelry as well as protection, and buried their kings and queens with emeralds. Cleopatra, probably the world's most famous emerald lovers, claimed ownership of every emerald mine in Egypt during her reign. Another famous Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor, also famously loved emeralds. Her Bulgari emerald and diamond necklace was given to her by Richard Burton while filming Cleopatra in Rome. In 2011 it sold at a Christie's auction for $6.1 million!

On the other side of the world, the Muzo Indians of Colombia had well-hidden and prized emerald mines. These mines were so hidden, it took the Spanish conquistadors nearly twenty years to find them. The emeralds they did find were traded throughout Europe and Asia. The most famous emerald from this time period, the Hooker Emerald, was purchased by Sultan Abdul Hamid II, the last sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He wore it on his belt buckle. It was later set into a platinum and diamond brooch by Tiffany, and currently resides at the Smithsonian, a gift from Janet Annenberg Hooker.

Emeralds are believed to have many powers. Its soothing green color is thought to ward off panic and keep the wearer calm. Anciently it was believed that emeralds could cure stomach problems, control epilepsy, and stop bleeding. Today emeralds are a symbol of loyalty, new beginnings, peace, and security. Its vibrant green color is perfectly symbolic of the month of May, and it is also the traditional gemstone of the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries. Come in and take a look at our two gorgeous emerald and diamond anniversary bands from Suwa:

Suwa emerald and diamond band, $3,960

Suwa emerald and diamond 3-row band, $11,500

 

 

 

 

Sethi Couture Your Favorite Bands Party

We're having a party! Come in and see our newest obsession - stacking bands by Sethi Couture. Sisters Pratima and Prerna Sethi are dedicated to making simple, delicate jewelry that can be worn every single day. Bring in your rings and bands and we will mix and match them with Sethi Couture bands to create a unique and fun stack. We'll also clean your rings so you leave feeling sparkly and amazing. There's also a special gift with purchase. Come join the fun this Friday and Saturday, May 5th and 6th from 10am to 6pm. Parking is validated at the Rainier Square parking garage and the Olympic parking garage. If you prefer to Uber or Lyft, with purchase we'll give you a $15 credit towards your next ride. We hope to see you there!

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 Gem Water 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 Gem Water decanter. 

From the Gem Water 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 Gem Water 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.

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