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Jeweler’s Giveaway Comforts Fire Survivors Who Lost Their Homes

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The store has given away more than 175 necklaces.

With fire raging through Ventura, CA, on the night of Dec. 4, Debbie and George Fox left their home and took refuge in their car, and when they finally could make it to their downtown store, Fox Fine Jewelry, they camped out on the floor there.

Within a couple of days though, before the smoke had begun to clear, the Foxes were looking for ways to help their neighbors, many of whom had lost their homes to the Thomas fire.

By Wednesday, Dec. 6, local businesses were already feeding first responders, planning fundraisers and collecting donations.

“I thought, `Wow, that is so incredible, I wish I could help like that.’ But we were just trying to manage our own selves,” Debbie says. “In the end we decided we would do what we do best; we make jewelry.”

In 2009, Fox Fine Jewelry offered a free “Hearts of Hope” sterling silver pendant to the unemployed on Valentine’s Day, an initiative that garnered tremendous goodwill in the community and, over time, around the country. Years later, recipients return to the store, wearing their necklaces and sharing their stories of how they pulled themselves out of the recession. They still remember the retailer’s kindness that gave them hope during a bleak time, and in many cases have become loyal customers.

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This time, they decided the giveaway had to be even more significant to make an impact. So they designed a Ventura Wave necklace with a 5-point diamond.

They wanted to give something to everyone who had lost their home. At first, that number seemed to be about 150. But by Dec. 14, 900 homes in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties had been destroyed. The fire had burned more than 242,500 acres and was 30 percent contained.

And by late last week, 175 people had already come to the store to claim a necklace. Others clamored to buy it.

In response to the expanding devastation, George designed a second pendant, too, with the message “Thrive 805,” for the area code, recognizing that the tragedy has spread beyond their town.

Although the Foxes have an extensive in-house shop under George’s direction, Jewel-Craft is helping them keep up with the demand to make as many as possible before Christmas.

“I’m encouraging people who lost their homes to take this as a gift that has meaning in the beginning of their healing,” Debbie says. “Because most of these people in Ventura, at least those who left on that first night, left with nothing.”

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Christmas shopping in Ventura is not what anyone expected this December, but Fox Fine Jewelry has seen crowds every day as a result of their generosity.

“All of us on the sales staff are emotionally drained,” Debbie says. “It’s very hard to be there, because people start breaking down and crying when they tell you their story of how they escaped, of how they survived. Every visit takes half an hour. They start talking to other people and sharing their stories.”

They are selling the pendants, as well, and will donate 50 percent of those proceeds to those affected by the fires.

Woman with facemask and free necklaces

Couple with burned up jewelry

“We’re discussing having a survivor party for everyone to have the opportunity to be together,” Debbie says. “One of the most healing things has been for them to connect with each other and tell their stories. Ventura is a small town so many people know each other and even if they don’t there’s an instant camaraderie.”

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Of course, Christmas in Ventura won’t be what anyone anticipated. “It is what it is,” Fox says. “You just keep going.”

In 2015 Fox Fine Jewelry was named America’s Coolest Store in the Big Cool Division.


This story is an INSTORE Online extra.

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Video: Jewelry Store Owner Hits Robbers With Jars of Pickles

3 suspects have been arrested.

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A jeweler in Sandy Springs, GA, fought off robbers by using pickle jars, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The owner and witnesses managed to subdue two suspects, holiding them until police arrived on the scene. The robbery happened late Saturday afternoon at a store on Abernathy Road close to Roswell Road, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Police said three people have been arrested: 40-year-old Antonio Collier, 17-year-old Antwan DeKarlos Robinson a 16-year-old suspect. They’re charged with several crimes, including armed robbery as well as battery.

A fourth suspect is being sought.

A witness said that when the robbers entered the store, “they had hammers and were breaking everything and grabbed Rolexes.”

The owner reportedly struck the suspects with a bag of pickle jars, hitting them in the face and head.

Two of the suspects got away, resulting in a police chase and car crash, authorities said. One of the suspects in the car was arrested and the other ran away.

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Jewelry Store Was Going Out of Business … But a Former Employee Had Other Ideas (Video)

Stan and Mary Sherwin operated the store for 40 years but decided to retire.

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A jewelry store in Atascadero, CA, was about to close for good as its owners retired.

But a former employee had other ideas.

Stan and Mary Sherwin operated K. Jons Diamonds and Gems for 40 years and were set to cease operations in early January, The Tribune reports.

But then Lindsay Jane Chatham, who began working for the store as a teenager and continued for several years, decided to move back to town with her husband, Greg, and take over the business.

“We found out they were retiring, and so many things had to fall into place. It was crazy,” she was quoted saying.

The store will operate as K. Jons Jewelry Co., according to The Tribune.

The Chathams, both of whom are gemologists, will lease the store space from the Sherwins. They’ll keep most of K. Jons’s employees.

One thing they aren’t buying from the Sherwins is inventory. Most of that was purchased in a going-out-of-business sale.

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Louis Vuitton to Sell Jewelry Made From World’s Second-Largest Diamond

The deal follows LVMH’s acquisition of Tiffany & Co.

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LVMH Sewelo Diamon

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE has entered a deal to sell jewelry made from the world’s second-largest diamond, known as the Sewelo diamond.

It’s a 1,758 carat gem that’s the size of a tennis ball.

Lucara Diamond Corp. announced a deal with LVMH and the HB Co., a diamond manufacturer from Antwerp, that will see the diamond cut into pieces and made into Louis Vuitton jewelry.

Bloomberg reports that LVMH “will likely create several extremely high-end pieces  to establish a sense of exclusivity.”

A price tag for the Sewelo has not been revealed. Yahoo Finance notes that it sold for $53 million in 2017.

The acquisition is further evidence of LVMH’s plans to grow its jewelry business, according to Bloomberg. It follows the company’s nearly $16 billion acquisition of Tiffany & Co.

The diamond was recovered from Lucara’s Karowe Diamond Mine in Botswana in April 2019.

According to a press release from Lucara:

Lucara will receive an up front non-material payment for the Sewelô and retain a 50% interest in the individual polished diamonds that result.

Further, 5% of all of the retail sales proceeds generated from this historic collection will be invested directly back into Botswana on community-based initiatives undertaken by Lucara.

Lucara CEO Eira Thomas said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Louis Vuitton, the famous luxury House, to transform the historic, 1,758 carat Sewelô, Botswana’s largest diamond, into a collection of fine jewellery that will commemorate this extraordinary discovery and contribute direct benefits to our local communities of interest in Botswana.”

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