Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tanzanite: Meaning + History

This glorious designer cocktail ring by LeVian is fashioned from solid 18k rose gold. Over 200 round brilliant diamonds pave the gallery, shoulders, and halo surrounding one of the most remarkable oval cut tanzanite gemstones we've ever seen. Weighing over 14 carats, this deep bluish-violet tanzanite stone performs with phenomenal light return. This is a rare and beautiful find, a tanzanite of such stunning clarity and size.

Tanzanite is a member of the zoisite family. Zoisite is a fairly obscure gemstone family consisting of several species of stones formed from silicates of calcium and aluminum. This yellow-brown stone acquired its name in 1805, when geologist Baron Sigmund Zois von Edelstein found it in Austria. It would be several centuries before anyone took any marketing notice of the zoisite family.

That notice came with the discovery in 1967, in Tanzania near the eastern shores of Africa. A prospector named Manuel d'Souza was hunting for sapphires in the northeastern portion of the country. Careful to make connections with the local tribesman, he finally hit the jackpot when a group of Masai natives guided him to the Merelani Hills, a stone's throw from Mount Kilimanjaro.

The purple-blue stones he found there had been circulating among the tribes for centuries. The Masai herders found the crystals scattered across the ground after lightning set a grassy field on fire, transforming the local brown zoisite into this mesmerizing new blue stone. Since then, the women of the tribe wore beads made from the beautiful stones, particularly after giving birth.

At first, d'Souza thought these stones were a variation of the blue sapphires he'd been hunting. But later testing proved them to be a rare and unusual form of zoisite. Three years later, in 1970, Tiffany & Co. acquired the lion's share of marketable blue zoisite.

Jeweler Henry Platt, working for Tiffany at the time, coined a new name for the beautiful stone: Tanzanite. For a number of years, Tanzanite enjoyed high fame. Tiffany's jewelers had a grand time fashioning gorgeous contemporary pieces from the lovely blue stone.

Crystal healers and mystics attached much in the way of significance to the newly discovered gemstone. Their beauty is thought to stir the mind toward communion with the heart, increasing compassion, spiritual insight, and connection to divine love.

Tanzanite is thought to be a self-actualizing stone. As such, it is purported to aid a person in discovering their true calling. It is believed to illuminate one's motives and purposes, aiding the soul-searcher to discover the reasons behind the choices they've made.

Tanzanite is believed to vibrate at an accelerated rate, infusing its wearer with joy, happiness, and relief from anxiety. It is said to allow access to the heart's wisdom, allowing one to evaluate the ideas of an activated mind with the wisdom of the ancients.

It is advisable to wear a tanzanite ring, pendant, or bracelet when you're facing significant life changes, such as a change in career. It is also recommended when facing communication difficulties, whether business or personal, and also when facing what seem to be insurmountable problems or obstacles.

Since Tanzanite is the birthstone of December, it is believed that these positive attributes of the gemstone will be enhanced for those whose birthdays fall in that final month of the year.

If you would like to feel the essence and power of Tanzanite for yourself, we invite you to make an appointment to meet with us in our Bellevue area showroom.

~Angela Magnotti Andrews, Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

KK: In Search of the Mystery Designer

We recently acquired a trio of stunning jewels all made by the same designer: KK. These jewels are of baroque design, featuring stunning semi-precious tourmalines in a range of colors, from ruby wine red, to murky yellow-green, to verdant shamrock green. These statement rings are astonishing in both design and execution.

Crafted from sterling silver and solid 18k yellow gold, these rings are masterpieces in design. The first is a north-south dinner ring featuring a cabochon rubellite tourmaline set bezel style in a halo of white diamonds. These are all set in a patina finish. Scrolling flourishes lead the eye to the stately panthers that lie atop and below the gorgeous central stone. On the bright yellow gold shoulders rest an almost-leaf-like flourish studded with diamonds set in channels of silver patina.

The second ring features a central bezel-set, shamrock green tourmaline surrounded by a halo of diamonds in an oxidized sterling silver channel. In brilliant 18k yellow gold, a pair of diamond-studded fleur-de-lis radiate in an east-west direction.

A bowl of yellow gold underlies the entire central design. This bowl is encircled by a double halo of diamond-studded silver. The outer rim is punctuated by evenly spaced dimensional bezels featuring smaller green tourmalines. The shank of the ring is completely etched in sterling silver, gilded by a rim of twisted yellow gold. The entire ring, underside and all, is a masterpiece in design.

The final ring in the KK mystery designer trio is a study in oxidized silver. The only gold can be seen on the inside of the band, in the twisted braid of gold around the gallery, and the gold bezel around the mossy green tourmaline cabochon placed at the center of this exquisite statement ring. Surrounding the bezel-set tourmaline is a rim of silver embedded with a halo of white diamonds.

Four points emerge from the halo, also studded in diamonds. A second halo forms the outer rim of the design and features square individual bezels in silver set with a single round diamond. The edge is trimmed in braided gold with four cabochon tourmalines set horizontally to the design. The band is coated in beautifully etched sterling silver. This ring is an understated wonder.

All of these rings are engraved with two letters, the only letters giving credit to the masterful mystery designer: KK. The letters are engraved within a horizontal etched diamond.

After doing extensive research online, I have been unable to track down this mystery designer. I've found a number of KK designers out there, but none of them equal the artistry of these beautiful rings. That is why we need your help.

If you have any information regarding the mystery woman or man behind these gorgeous Gothic rings, please get in touch with us. Simply fill out this contact form and let us know what you know.

~Angela Magnotti Andrews, Staff Writer

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Honeymoon Destination: Oak Island, Nova Scotia

Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia. Photo taken by Dennis Jarvis, 2012.
Sandy Cove is situated north across the bay from Oak Island.

Do you love moderate temperatures, crisp sea air, and pristine island views?

Are you inspired by a good old-fashioned mystery, one that has yet to be solved?

Are you in search of a romantic honeymoon with a touch of intrigue?

If you said yes to any of these questions, then may we recommend a honeymoon trip to Nova Scotia, with a tour of Oak Island thrown in for good measure?

Nova Scotia is a northern paradise, offering a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities. On a beautiful day, tour the zoo, visit a wildlife park, go to a fun park, or spend the day on the water. Nova Scotia offers year-round surfing, tidal bore rafting, kayaking, whale watching, hiking, and golfing.

If the weather is sour, then spend the day indoors. Visit the Science Centre, one of the provincial museums, or go see a play at one of the local theatres. Or visit an art gallery or boutique artisan shop.

Whether you enjoy shopping, sightseeing, water sports, or boating, Nova Scotia has it all. And if that is not enough to intrigue you, then Nova Scotia also has a 200-year-old mystery that has yet to be solved.

The seat of this mystery lies on a lush, 140-acre island off the southwestern coast of Nova Scotia. In 1795, Daniel McGinnis discovered an indentation in the ground on the island. He and his friends began digging in the area, only to discover a deep and mysterious man-made shaft.

After boring through layer after layer of oak-log platforms, charcoal, putty, and even coconut fibers, the boys hit a stone slab that was engraved with a message of symbols and shapes. They stopped digging for the night, thinking to return and continue their investigation the next day. However, when they returned to the site the following morning they found the deep shaft completely filled with seawater. No matter how hard they tried, they could not continue digging.

From that day to this, men from all walks of life throughout progressive centuries, including President Franklin Roosevelt and actor John Wayne, have tried in vain to find a way to stop the shaft from flooding. Over the years, it has been assumed that this elaborate man-made structure must be hiding something extremely valuable.

Could it be lost pirate treasure?

Or the lost Crown Jewels of France? 

Or perhaps the riches of the Knights Templar?

The most popular rumor is that Captain William Kidd hid his pirate treasure on the island before his execution.

However, to date it is all rumors and speculation. Whatever lies beneath the sea on Oak Island remains a mystery to this day. There's even a History Channel TV show about it: The Curse of Oak Island.

While it sounds like the mystery is very close to being solved by the island's current owner, Dan Blankenship, one thing stands in the way of what would become the find of a lifetime: a treasure trove license. Until Mr. Blankenship and his team of mystery hunters can find a way to convince the government to give him a treasure hunting license, the mystery will remain unsolved.

There is only one way now for visitors to see the site of this long-time mystery. Private tours are held just a few times annually by the Friends of Oak Island group. Their website has recently undergone an overhaul, currently they're offering $10 memberships that will enable members to purchase tour tickets before they open the tours up to the public at some point in the near future. Check out their website and consider making Oak Island and Nova Scotia your honeymoon destination!

If you do decide to make Nova Scotia your honeymoon destination, and you do make it on one of the Oak Island tours, please let us know what you learn about the mystery. We are waiting with bated breath to hear the latest news as it breaks over the next year.

Perhaps this will be the year that the mystery is solved once and for all!!

~Angela Magnotti Andrews, Staff Writer

Monday, January 4, 2016

History + Significance of Red Coral

Red, the color of power and passion, vitality and vigor, courage and boldness. It is a color for both men and women. For men, red represents victory, status, and personal power. For women, it represents independence, seduction, and personal power. The powerful effects of red reverberate throughout history.

Ancient Romans gave red coral to their children as protection from danger, evil curses, and disease. To other ancient people groups, red coral symbolized life and blood force, offering hope to those plagued by violent madness or deep depression. Red coral was used as a fertility charm, believed to regulate a woman's menstrual cycle and restore reproductive health.

In China, coral represents longevity, and in India it is believed to prevent hemorrhages. In many Old World cultures, red coral is believed to strengthen the blood. Ancient Egyptians believed that red coral contained traces of divine blood, energizing and granting wisdom to all who wore it. Ancient Greeks relied on red coral to bring them happiness and immortality, driving away illness and adversity.

Many ancients believed that the more conspicuously red coral was worn, the more effective its powers. Tibetan Buddhists and Native Americans associate red coral with creativity, passion, wisdom, enthusiasm, and romantic love.

Tibetan Buddhists also believe that all coral is an important gift of the sea, and that red coral represents the highest level of compassionate energy. Rooted in the earth but swaying freely in the ocean currents, it reminds us of our eternal foundations. Though we are rooted to our mortality upon the earth, our spirits live and breathe freely in the air of heaven. Coral also reminds us of our durability and strength. Though coral appears fragile, its skeletal composition makes it quite hard and durable.

Modern crystal healers lean on coral to provide strength to one's emotional core. Coral is said to promote inner peace, diplomacy, and stability. It is said to enhance wisdom and reduce stress and fear. It represents the transformation of that which is ugly into that which is beautiful. Immeasurable joy is thought to be the end result of the full manifestation of red coral's work.

Are you looking for a change in your life? Are you seeking transformation in some aspect of your life? Do you need personal power to overcome a deep wound from your past?

If so, may we recommend experimenting with red coral for yourself?

This gorgeous red coral ring may be just the choice for a man or a woman in need of the powerful divine life force of red coral. It features a substantial 18k yellow gold setting carved in intricate openwork style. The 5-carat red coral cabochon appears raw and ancient in its form, evoking red coral's ancient roots and powers of impartation.

We invite you to make an appointment today to sample the power of red coral. See what it can do for you.

~Angela Magnotti Andrews, Staff Writer