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Sapphire, September’s birthstone, symbol of truth, nobility, and loyalty

By Lorraine Hornsby

Sapphire, the September birthstone, has historically symbolized many things, including truth, nobility, and loyalty. The best quality gems are a “cornflower” blue – a pure, rich color which is not too pale and not too dark. The photo below is of a gorgeous example of sapphire, the 62-carat Rockefeller Sapphire, which was purchased in by John D. Rockefeller in 1934 from an India Maharajah. Most recently, it was sold at auction by Christie’s in 2011, for just over $3 million.

Sapphire, Septembers Rockefeller

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Photo from Christies

62-carat Rockefeller Sapphire

Related Gems

What do rubies and sapphires have in common? They are both varieties of the corundum gem species. This means that they have the same crystal structure and base chemical composition, but the presence of trace elements results in different colors.

In its pure state, corundum is composed of aluminum and oxygen and is colorless. Such a gem would be known as white sapphire, and has been used to imitate diamonds.

When the trace elements of iron and titanium are present, however, the result is a blue sapphire. If the trace element is chromium, the resulting color ranges from pink to red (aka ruby).

The Many Colors of Sapphire

Besides the traditional blue, sapphires can be violet, green, yellow, orange, pink, or purple. These are known as “fancy” sapphires, and the color descriptor should be included as part of the name. So when a stone is described simply as “sapphire,” it refers to a blue gem, but the other varieties would be called “pink sapphire” or “green sapphire,” etc.

Sapphire, Septembers colors

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Courtesy of Jeff Scovil and GIA

Fancy Sapphires

If you come across a gem called a “padparadscha,” it is the orange variety of sapphire, and it is my favorite of the fancy colored sapphires. 

Phenomenal Sapphire

Like rubies, sapphires can have geometrically aligned inclusions of another mineral, rutile, which can result in a “star” effect.

Sapphire, Septembers large gem

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Courtesy of Chip Clark and the Smithsonian

330-carat Star of Asia

Sources of Sapphire

Sri Lanka and Myanmar have traditionally been considered the best sources of sapphire, but they are also found in Madagascar, Tanzania, Australia, and the United States.

Synthetics and Look-Alikes

Gem-quality sapphires can be lab-grown. These synthetic versions are beautiful, but they are significantly less valuable than natural gems, so it is important to know whether the stone you are buying is natural or man-made. Always ask, and be sure the receipt documents what the seller has told you!

Lorraine Hornby is a local jewelry artist and Certified Gemologist, SCC. Her work can be viewed at, and you can read more about gemstones and jewelry fabrication on her blog,

Sip & Shuck Shindig returns Sunday, Nov 4


I know the 5th Annual Driftwood Kitchen + The Deck Sip & Shuck party isn’t happening for an entire month (November 4 to be exact, 2 - 6 p.m.). The tickets for this event, though, disappear faster than oysters on the half shell, the namesake for this event. 

Our fine folks at Driftwood and The Deck restaurants introduced the Sip & Shuck in 2014 as an oyster/champagne party in the name of nonprofit love for Laguna Beach. This year, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is the lucky recipient.

The first Sip & Shuck party in 2014 included all sorts of tray-passed small bites and was filled to the brim with a sold-out crowd from the moment it opened its doors. 

Sip n chef

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Submitted photo

Chef Rainer Schwarz

Each year since, the champagne and food offerings have only expanded, and the party has only gotten bigger. 

Ticketing Price Provides Serious Benefit

Admittedly, the price for entry has gotten bigger, too, and understandably so. While Chef Rainer Schwarz and business partner John Nye can either donate or find donating partners for most of the party’s expenses, there are some hard costs that just have to remain what they are. 

And, given the popularity of the event, Schwarz and Nye want to be sure that the nonprofit they select to honor each year actually receives enough funding to prove beneficial.

Party goers seem more than happy to comply with the goodwill gesture. 

This year, general admission tickets for 21 and over are $125. VIP tickets, which include early entry at 1 p.m. are $150. 

Food & Beverages as Far as the Eye Can See

The press release I received about this year’s Sip & Shuck says that “admission includes oysters and other small bites, as well as access to champagne, wine, cocktail and beer sampling.”

Trust me when I say this is quite the understatement.

Sip n glass

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Submitted photo

Libations as far as the eye can see

The event will include beverages from Veuve Clicquot, Laguna Beach Beer Company, Piper Sonoma, Nicholas Freuillate, Nolet’s Gin, Bianchi Winery, Kendall Jackson, Tito’s Vodka, Reyka Vodka, Cote de Roses, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Ketel One, Sailor Jerry, Bloom Gin, Casamigo Tequila, Lavazza Coffee, Chambers and Chambers wines, and more. 

These are typically served up in very creative ways, including iced luges, drizzled snow cones and more. 

On the food side…well, that presentation just goes on and on, with fare from all three of Schwarz’ menus – The Deck, Driftwood Kitchen and Laguna Niguel-based Hendrix. The food fare meanders on over-laden tables from the Pacific Edge Bungalows, up the stairs to The Deck, and up more stairs to even more tables in Driftwood Kitchen and the Stateroom Bar.   

And, then, there’s the Entertainment Factor

Sip & Shuck has been known to introduce a few “surprises” along the way. In the past this has ambled between live sand castle building, live painting and art exhibits, actual tattoo artists in play, photo booths, raffles, swag shops and more. The team also brings in phenomenal live music. 

While there’s nary a promise as to what may be lurking at this year’s party, you can bet you’re not going to be bored. Not for a minute. 

Buy your Sip & Shuck tickets at (Sorry, ages 21 and over only allowed to the party.)

Glennwood House will celebrate five wonderful years tomorrow, Saturday, Sept 29 at Seven 7 Seven

Glennwood House in Laguna Beach will be celebrating its 5-year anniversary tomorrow, Saturday, Sept 29 from 12 - 4 p.m. This fundraiser/party will be held at Seven 7 Seven (formerly Tivoli Too, next to the Sawdust Festival). All ages and community members are welcome.

The community is invited by Glennwood House to join in for an outdoor festival of fun. Two well-known local bands will be performing at the event, The Stick Shifts and Elu The Dust. There will also be face painting, a photo booth hosted by Desi DJ Productions, which will be set up in a 1970s VW van, a silent auction, food and beverage and local vendors to browse.

Glennwood House Residents

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Submitted photo

Glennwood residents are an integral part of the Laguna Beach community

Glennwood House, which opened the summer of 2013, is a 42-room independent living facility serving special needs adults 18 through 59 years of age. With an amazing ocean view and walking distance to beach access, Glenwood is truly a magical place. The campus includes a full service dining hall, gym, organic garden, media room, art studio and game area for residents to enjoy.

Fundraising events at Glennwood support their program services and recreation programs and ensure that independent living is a fulfilling and life giving experience for all who live at there. 

Glennwood House Diana

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Resident Diana Neff enjoys the sun on the Glennwood patio

Tickets are $60 per person and $20 for children. For more information and tickets, visit or call Jill Epple at (949) 715-4863. 

Seven 7 Seven is located at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Kahuna Cares to hold inaugural Charity Golf Tournament on Nov 2 at Pelican Hill Golf Club

Kahuna Cares Foundation, a local nonprofit providing support for organizations that help enrich the lives of people with special needs, announced it will be hosting the inaugural Kahuna Cares Charity Golf Tournament on Friday, Nov 2 at The Resort at Pelican Hill Golf Club.

Kahuna Cares Charity Golf Tournament and After Party will be held at the beautiful Pelican Hill South Course in Newport Beach with an afterparty featuring live music by Nick Hernandez, Billy Sherman, and Phil Gough of Common Sense with proceeds to benefit Surfers Healing, OC Autism, and Fish for Life, and the thousands of individuals they serve.

Co-founded by Jennifer Tracy and Veronica Hoggatt, and launched earlier this year, Kahuna Cares was founded in tribute to Jennifer’s father, the late Terry “Tubesteak” Tracy, who sparked the inspiration for the “Big Kahuna” role in the Gidget movie craze. Kahuna Cares honors his legacy of love for others by raising money for organizations that support children, teens, and adults with special needs.

“Kahuna Cares’ philosophy is to hold events which bring together many family and friends, new and old, celebrate the memory and legacy of an amazing man, support our special needs community, and raise awareness of the value of those community members living with special needs,” Hoggatt said, which includes championing the needs of her son and others with autism. “That’s what this Charity Golf tournament is all about.”

Kahuna Cares surfing

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Submitted photo

Surfers Healing will benefit from funds raised at the Kahuna Cares Charity Golf Tournament by providing people with special needs a priceless experience

Tracy and Hoggatt have been actively involved with the special needs community for decades; it’s their passion. Together, Kahuna Cares has raised money through holding special events like the popular “Big Kahuna Koncert for A Cause” concerts, and the Charity Golf Tournament and After Party.

“Today, one in 59 children are diagnosed with autism and one in 700 are diagnosed with Down Syndrome,” Tracy said.

“To me there is nothing more meaningful than working with special needs kids. There are so many local Orange County programs that offer great free programs, which Kahuna Cares raises funds for and supports,” Tracy said. “I have seen the effects of these programs and the happiness it brings to the kids and families and to my own family members.” 

“The setting at Pelican Hill Resort is spectacular, and we wanted to share this amazing experience, have a great party, and at the same time, raise money for great charities, along with introducing people to our new nonprofit,” Hoggatt said. 

Participants will have an opportunity to win a brand new Ford Explorer, thanks to the generous sponsorship by Tuttle-Click Ford Irvine.

For more information about the Kahuna Cares Charity Golf Tournament and After Party on Friday, Nov 2, or to register, go to or click here.

Dianne’s Creature Feature

Osprey, a spectacular species unto its own


The osprey is such a unique bird that it’s unmistakable when seen at close range. Derek Strombotne captured some awesome shots of this female osprey spotted on Cress Street. (Evidently, he got close enough to tell it was a female.) There have been several osprey sightings recently, and I wonder if this is the beautiful lady I saw at Heisler Park last week.

The western osprey – also called sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk – is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm in length and 180 cm across the wings.

Found worldwide, it’s a rare bird in other ways as well: it’s the only species in its family, genus (Pandion) and family (Pandionidae). As seen in the photos, its breast and belly are mostly white, with some dark streaks. The white extends out the wings, but the primaries, secondaries, and tail feathers are mottled black-and-white. The back is mostly black or dark brown. The head is distinctive with a white crest, a face bisected by a dark eye-stripe, and intense yellow eyes.

Osprey a at rest

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Photo by Derek Strombotne

Osprey at rest, yet with a fierce stare

Don’t look into those yellow eyes

The osprey is the only hawk species in North America that eats almost exclusively live fish, with around 80 fish species making up about 99 percent of its diet. The raptor can dive as deep as three feet into the water for fish, but prefers to hunt in shallower areas. 

To make fishing easier, its talons are adapted for catching and carrying fish: their surfaces are rough, and their toes can be held with three forward and one back, or with two forward and two back, an arrangement seen in owls, but not in other diurnal raptors. In flight, they are most often confused with gulls because of their long wings, which are bent at the wrist. However, ospreys have a bounce to their flight that gulls lack.

Osprey a in flight

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Photo by Derek Strombotne

Stunning shot of osprey in flight on Cress Street

Watch out for those talons

Historically, it was widely thought that if a fish looked up at an osprey, it would be somehow mesmerized by the sight of it. This would cause the fish to give itself up to the predator – a belief referenced in Act IV of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus: “I think he’ll be to Rome/As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it/By sovereignty of nature.” 

The osprey species is at least 11 million years old and is so well adapted to fishing that it has evolved singular characteristics that set it apart from other raptor species. These include nostrils that can be closed during dives, and an outer toe that can be angled backwards to better grasp fish. 

Ospreys can live to be 15-20 years old. The oldest known osprey was just over 25. During that long lifetime, the migratory birds can rack up over 160,000 miles of travel. In fact, in 2008 an osprey being tracked by researchers flew an amazing 2,700 miles in just 13 days.

That’s a lot of miles, but I’m hoping that if this osprey finds the fishing is good here in Laguna, maybe she will stay.

References:, Smithsonian,

Parents Club hosts Annual Halloween Walk on Oct 24

On Wednesday, Oct 24, the Laguna Beach Parents Club will host its seventh Annual Halloween Walk. A treasured community event, the LBPC Halloween Walk will feature children of all ages as they parade up Forest Avenue collecting treats from each store. 

Parents Club hosts kids

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Children of all ages dress up and collect treats from stores along Forest Ave

The walk will kick off at Main Beach at 4:30 p.m. and will end at the parking lot of Laguna Presbyterian Church. There the community will join for an after-party with a DJ, costume contest, police car, snacks and more.

Parents Club hosts family

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The Stone family during Laguna Beach Parent Club’s Annual Halloween Walk and after-party last year

Where’s Maggi?

Maggi was looking for a book and found a little library. Can you name the place to find this one? (And would you like to know what to do when it’s your turn? Get to the little library soon before the two copies are gone!) 

Where is it? Let Maggi know if you’ve seen it too.

Drop her a note with your answer to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 9 28 18

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White moon, bright moon

White moon and house

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

White moon, bright moon, pearling the air

                                                                                             Zora Cross

The way we were

The way main beach

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Main Beach on Sept 28, 2013

What’s changed and what’s remained the same?

What’s been lost and what’s been gained?

Stu News Laguna and KX 93.5 to host forum on Tuesday, limited tickets remain

Join Stu News Laguna and KX 93.5 for our first ever City Council Candidate Forum. Stu News Editor and Publisher Shaena Stabler, along with KX 93.5 Founder and Director Tyler Russell, will be moderating discussion amongst our candidates on issues of concern to residents. Forum questions will derive from Stu News readers and KX 93.5 listeners.

The forum is on Tuesday, Oct 2 at The Woman’s Club with a reception beginning at 5 p.m.

A limited number of tickets are available for $20 each at There will be food, tote bags, and clappers for attendees.

Ticket proceeds benefit nonprofit KX 93.5’s “Tune In, Drop Out, and Vote” voter turnout initiative.

“We are challenging the community to tally 12,000 votes this election,” says Stabler. “We can do it, Laguna!”

KX 93.5 and Stu News Laguna would like to thank its sponsors for the event: COX Communications, RWM Home Loans, CBE Solutions, Dave Csira, Julie Laughton, AG Vision, The Ballesteros Team, and Laguna Baguettes.

The forum will also be broadcast live on KX 93.5 (both on the radio and online) as well as on Facebook live (video).

To submit an idea for a question, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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