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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.

 

 

Why Shop Brick and Mortar?

“We are right now in the middle of the biggest, most profound transformation in the history of retail,” according to Robin Lewis, CEO of the Robin Report and a former executive at VF Corp. and Women’s Wear Daily. Due to a combination of factors, including the internet and mobile phone technology, the spending power of the millennial generation, retiring baby boomers, globalization, being a brick and mortar store is more challenging than ever before. This past holiday season, Amazon took nearly 40% of all retail sales. Meanwhile, Macy's just announced that they will be closing 68 doors and laying off 10,000 workers. On January 7, The Limited closed all of their stores, and will now be online only.

This past holiday season, we heard from customers who were disappointed that we no longer carry the large watch selection we used to have. The fact is that the watch business had changed so much, that every brand we carried was available online, at prices lower than we could purchase them for. The fact that these watches weren't sold by authorized dealers or with valid warranties didn't matter - our store became just a showroom for watches to be tried on, then purchased online. We too miss the old days when our watch clients would come in and hang out for hours talking watches, but retail is changing, and we must adapt in order to stay in the business that we love.

When you shop brick and mortar, not only are you supporting local small business, but you are also ensuring that you have a place to go when you need to get your jewelry repaired, watch batteries replaced, and heirloom jewelry redesigned. Here is where you can learn that even diamonds with all the same certifications on a piece of paper can look completely different from one another - every single one is unique! We can work with you to create custom pieces that you won't see on anyone else. Jewelry is meant to be special, and we love sharing these moments with you.

Mariko had a touching interaction recently that really hit home to us how meaningful the relationship can be between jeweler and client. A man came in during Christmas with his daughter, who was home from college. He told us the story of how many years ago, he came into Fox's to buy a gift for his wife, who was due to go into labor any day with the daughter who was standing beside him. He shared with Mariko how worried he was that day, and she gave him a piece of nephrite jade. She told him to keep it in his pocket and rub his worries into it. He ended up using that piece of jade for the births of all four of his children!

We look forward to being here for you for many years to come.

 

Bridal Metals - An Overview

With so many choices, how do you choose the metal for your wedding rings? Here are some fun facts about each metal:

Gold: Gold is a rare element, and has been used throughout history as currency, jewelry, decorative objects, and more. It has spawned wars and launched voyages. It is extremely durable and malleable. One ounce of gold can be pounded into a 187 square foot sheet or stretched into a wire 40 miles long. Pure gold is 24 karat, although you will more often see it alloyed with other metals to bring it to 18 karat or 14 karat. Its bright yellow color is loved for being rich and beautiful.

Alex Sepkus Diamond and 18K Yellow Gold Ring

Rose Gold: Rose gold is simply gold that has been alloyed with copper to give it a pink or red hue. Almost every designer who uses rose gold has a slightly different shade. Rose gold is available in 14 or 18 karat, and has a lovely romantic look.

John Apel Diamond and 18K Rose Gold Engagement Ring

White Gold: White gold is gold that has been alloyed with nickel or palladium, then plated with rhodium to give it a cool, white tone. Rhodium is extremely hard and bright, and is actually one of the most expensive precious metals. Over time, rhodium may need to be reapplied to maintain its white finish.

Harry Kotlar Diamond and 18K White Gold Wide Ring

Platinum: Platinum is the strongest and rarest of the precious metals. It is naturally white, and platinum jewelry is typically 95% pure, making it a good choice for those who have sensitive skin or an allergy to nickel. Platinum is a dense metal, and jewelry made from it will be more expensive than gold. Platinum is also used in the medical field for pacemakers, and in the automotive industry for catalytic converters.

Mark Patterson Diamond and Platinum Engagement Ring 

Palladium: Palladium a naturally white metal from the platinum group of metals. It is lighter weight and therefore less expensive than platinum. Palladium was first used in jewelry when all platinum was declared for military use only during World War 2, and grew in popularity in 2008 when platinum soared to $3000 per ounce.

Todd Reed Raw Diamond Diamond and Palladium Ring 

Titanium: Titanium is a non-precious metal that is popular in men's wedding bands. It is a grayish white color, and is extremely lightweight. Titanium is as strong as steel, but 45% lighter. It is commonly used in aircraft and missiles due to its strength and ability to withstand high temperatures. Titanium rings are far less expensive than the precious metals above, but they cannot be sized or cut off in an emergency.

Titanium Beveled Band 

January's Birthstone: Gorgeous Garnet

Garnet, January’s birthstone, is one of the most diverse gemstones. It comes in an array of colors, although it’s most commonly known for its classic shade of red. Garnet varieties and species actually come in a rainbow of colors, including orange, yellow, and green. While rare, these gemstones can also come in blue and violet, and even color change! Here at Fox's we have hand picked some of the most rare and vivid species of garnet. Below are some amazing one of kind pieces featuring these special gemstones.

Alex Sepkus 18ky and mint green garnet ring, $7,500

Alex Sepkus 18ky and spessartite garnet ring, $11,600

Alex Sepkus 18ky and hessonite garnet ring, $10,380

Alex Sepkus 18k rose gold and tsavorite garnet necklace, $5,725

Arman Sarkisyan 22k gold and tsavorite garnet locket, $3,780

 

 

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