Colognoisseur Holiday Perfume Buyers Guide 2019 Part 3- Cyber Monday

The last part of the Holiday Perfume Buyer’s Guide is for those of you who like to do your shopping online. Cyber Monday has become the day when this hits its peak as online retailers offer online-only deals. Buying perfume online is an especially tricky business. For this piece of the Buyer’s Guide I am going to suggest a couple things which are easier to get online.

The first suggestion is what I think is the absolute best gift for anyone in your circle who loves perfume. Michael Edwards the man behind the perfume database Fragrances of the World released a new book this fall; Perfume Legends II. It is a large format coffee table book. It tells the history of modern perfumery in 52 bottles from the first, Fougere Royale, to 2010’s Portrait of a Lady. What makes this so fascinating is Mr. Edwards also examines the impact of perfume societally as he moves through each successive chapter. He accompanies each entry with archival photos and pictures of the bottles, of course. It is as beautiful to look at as it is educational to read. For Cyber Monday and the entire Holiday season I have a discount code which will allow you to take 10% off the price if you enter COL19 at this link.

The other great online choice for anyone interested in perfume is a subscription box. These are services which send you monthly selections to try and eventually buy if you like them. My favorite of them is Ofactif. You can take a subscription for as little as a month or as long as a year with almost any fraction available. For the term of your subscription you will receive a box containing three samples of niche perfumes. Each has cards accompanying it telling you about the creative team, style of perfume, and the note list. Each sample is enough for anyone to wear the perfume for a few days. This has been one of the best ways for small brand independent perfumes to be available to those who aren’t in large urban areas. For Cyber Monday they are offering across the board discounts on their website.

My final suggestion is for a copy of the perfume magazine Nez. Published twice-a-year it is a compendium of many great articles, interviews with perfume makers, and perfume reviews.
Each issue is the pinnacle of perfume editorial content. On their website you can buy a subscription or an individual issue.

I hope everyone has a fabulous Holiday Season and something I have suggested ends up in someone’s hands.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of Perfume Legends II from the publisher. I subscribe to Ofactif on my own. I have purchased the issues of Nez I own.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Holiday Perfume Buyer’s Guide 2019 Part 2- Support Your Local Perfumery

One of my favorite initiatives for Holiday shopping was begun in 2010. The brainchild of the American Express company it was meant to turn the day after Black Friday into something local; Small Business Saturday. It is meant to encourage shoppers’ attention to the small shops in their local area and to spend the day shopping there.

For perfume lovers these are the stores which give shelf space to the most creative independent brands. Almost always owned by people who also adore perfume. These are the ambassadors who show people there is more to perfume than the mainstream. For this year’s buyer’s guide I am going to focus on some stores which produced their own perfumes. Along with some other independent brands which have produced notable new releases this year.

The Creative Director as Store Owner

For a column like this I am going to start locally with Arielle Shoshana Sunday. Owner of the shop Arielle Shoshana in Arlington, VA Arielle Weinberg oversees her second collaboration with perfumer Cecile Hua. This time they make a one-of-a-kind gourmand around a pairing of matcha tea and the Mexican drink horchata.

Dave Kern has been releasing limited editions under the name of his perfumery American Perfumer in Louisville, KY. He won an Art & Olfaction Award for last year’s collaboration with perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz; Colorado. These are limited editions which have generally sold out. This year’s version with perfumer Hans Hendley, Bloodline, was gone in a day. Mr. Hendley has other perfume which is more available. Hans Hendley Bourbon captures the sweetness of whiskey encased in woods. It is an ideal Holiday season style of fragrance.

I only recently tried the perfumes overseen by owner Nir Guy of the store Perfumology in King of Prussia, PA. This year’s release Perfumology L’Ima continues his work with perfumer Justin Frederico. A fantastic mixture of the smell of the summer garden. Tomato leaf, citrus, florals, and warm amber capture the milieu.

Other Great Indie Perfume of 2019

You should be able to find these perfumes at smaller boutiques all of which usually have online sales.

Bogue Douleur! takes you from metallic rose to strawberry cotton candy.

Dasein Winter Green is a Holiday mixture of mint and Christmas tree.

Hiram Green Lustre is an all-natural rose soliflore of uncommon quality.

Maison Violet Un Air d’Apogee is a tobaccoed floral which captures the retro nouveau aesthetic.

Marc-Antoine Barrois Ganymede is an amazing lightweight leather.

Masque Milano Kintsugi reconstructs the broken chypre into a new modern form.

Monsillage Route du Quai is a unique take on the aquatic which captures the flow of a large freshwater river.

Providence Perfume Co. Drunk on the Moon is a slightly boozy tuberose from one of the best indie perfumers.

Roberto Greco Oeilleres is a throwback style of perfume which uses an overdose of chamomile to make an artistic thesis.

Rogue Perfumery Chypre-Siam is an old-school chypre as filtered through a Thai restaurant.

Rubini Tambour Sacre captures the rhythms of the Horn of Africa in golden tones.

Ryan Richmond Rich Mess is anything but a mess; it is a mesmerizing kinetic blend.

Get out and shop this Saturday and every other shopping day. It is the support of local perfume lovers which keep these stores going.

Disclosure: All the perfumes mentioned provided samples from the brand.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Holiday Perfume Buyer’s Guide 2019 Part 1- At The Mall

1

It is Thanksgiving in the US. It is also the pause before the frantic Holiday shopping season. Which will begin at about the same time the dishwasher is turned on in most homes. Black Friday has now encroached on the day before.

Fragrance is always a popular choice as a gift. I think it can be a difficult effort because we all experience scent so differently. I have posted a way which requires some extra steps but can make perfume an intimate gift at this link.

For most everyone else they are just going to be faced with sales reps trying to tell you this is the best perfume ever. They’re probably incorrect but you never know. To help navigate the season I am going to spend the next three days with different buyer’s guides. Today in Part 1 it is what has come out over the past year at the mall. Tomorrow in Part 2 for Small Business Saturday I will focus on small stand-alone perfume boutique offerings. Finally, in Part 3 for Cyber Monday I’ll have some suggestions for things to click on and get delivered to your home.

This list should all be available at large department stores. Links to the full reviews can be found in the names.

Aerin Rose Cocoa followed up last year’s Holiday offering of Cocoa Woods. This is a gently spicy rose gourmand perfume where the cocoa acts as chocolate snow upon the rose.

Bastide Verveine du Sud is a perfume from the husband-and-wife team of Frederic and Shirin Fekkai inspired by their Provence home. Verveine du Sud is a Provencal twilight as the cool night meets the green florals.

By Rosie Jane Lake is a new discovery by me but I admire the well-blended perfumes of the brand for their simple aesthetic. Lake takes you on a fall hike around Lake Tahoe.

Chanel Gabrielle Essence follows the release of Gabrielle two years ago. Perfume Olivier Polge turns Gabrielle Essence into a sweeter floral than its predecessor which I think exudes a greater assurance.

Ellis Brooklyn West is another release from Bee Shapiro’s excellent line of fragrance. Working again with perfumer Jerome Epinette they create an unusual citrus perfume featuring basil and blood orange.

M. Epinette is also the nose behind Floral Street Ylang Ylang Espresso. In this case he takes a fractionated version of ylang ylang which is contrasted with a bitter oily coffee bean accord. If you’re sick of sweet gourmands, this is a great alternative.

Twilly D’Hermes Eau Poivree is a perfume which wanted to be a modern floral for a contemporary woman. Perfumer Christine Nagel uses herbal baie rose, powdery rose, and a less earthy patchouli to create a simply elegant perfume.

If you need a cologne for the men in your life who only want a bottle or two, Zaharoff Signature pour Homme is exactly that. Perfumer Claude Dir creates a classic woody fougere that feels young instead of dated. Probably the best thing on the Men’s Fragrance counter at the mall today.

I am going to end with a suggestion that you should be careful about buying for someone who doesn’t wear a lot of perfume. But you should absolutely consider it for anyone in your circle who is a perfume fan.

Gucci Memoire d’une Odeur is unlike anything else in the mass-market sector. Creative director Alessandro Michele and perfumer Alberto Morillas are asking the provocative question, will consumers take a step out of their comfort zone. This is an incredibly intricate perfume focused on the edgy floral chamomile. It is the kind of perfume which comes around so rarely in the mainstream.

To all my US readers Happy Thanksgiving! To everyone else I hope this helps you when you end up at the perfume counter.

Disclosure: The manufacturers provided samples of all the perfumes mentioned.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Ciro Columbine- Expectations Rewarded

The Holidays are all about the traditions. In other words the expected. In my family if there is something missing it can cause heartburn. Additions are welcome though. Holiday traditions can grow bigger just don’t make them smaller. There is a comfort to those things we are used to. The same is true of perfume. I generally am happy to see a perfume which shows me something different. There are fragrances which just want to execute a classic style; Ciro Columbine is one of those.

Rainer Diersche

Ciro is another of those resurrected heritage brands from the first half of the last century. Overseen by owner-creative director Rainer Diersche it is choosing the path of new perfumes with heritage names. Since only a charmed few will have ever heard of a brand which stopped making perfume in 1961 those names shouldn’t carry too much weight. Hr. Diersche is not new to the fragrance game. He has also been the creative force behind Linari since 2008. He began Ciro last year with an initial collection of six. Columbine is the first I’ve tried but based on it I am going to seek out the others.

Alexandra Carlin

When I saw Columbine I was thinking the flower. Hr. Diersche was thinking about the heroine of Italian Commedia dell’Arte. The lover of the more well-known Harlequin. Hers was to provide honesty through lines which pierced while also engaged in the seduction of Harlequin. She was beloved for her truth and beauty. Hr. Diersche collaborates with perfumer Alexandra Carlin to capture this multi-faceted character.  

Columbine opens with a mixture of genial mandarin and acerbic tagete; capturing the playful sharp tongue of its inspiration. Baie rose and neroli come next. The neroli creates a floral version of the mandarin while the baie rose finds the tagete and gives it an herbal contrast. Columbine begins to shift as tobacco and osmanthus provide the next layer. This is a balanced pairing as the leatheriness of the osmanthus and the narcotic sweetness of the tobacco find an amplified richness. It gives way to a straight suede leather accord which gives a slight animalic tinge to things. Musks give that tinge a deeper shade. The sweetness of benzoin provides the finishing touches.

Columbine has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

I like the idea of a heritage brand making contemporary versions of classic styles. Columbine does a great job of this. Sometimes I just want a perfume done well. Columbine exceeded my expectations.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Bogue Profumo Douleur!- Synthetic Symphony

Perfume can be a personal statement by the creative team. That’s not most of the world of fragrance but it is truer in the independent community. One of those who looks to create a new boundary seemingly every time he releases a new perfume is Antonio Gardoni. His Bogue Profumo is one of the most creative collections available. Usually Sig. Gardoni has more than enough percolating in his mind he just has to work into translating it into a perfume. For his latest release, Bogue Profumo Douleur!, he had a collaborator; Freddie Albrighton.

Antonio Gardoni

Mr. Albrighton and Sig. Gardoni met through the community of perfume lovers over five years ago in London. Their love of perfume along with their disdain for the commercial functional fragrances created a bond. Mr. Albrighton finally asked Sig. Gardoni if they could work on a perfume together. I heard about this through the various perfume groups I am a member of. One thing I knew about Mr. Albrighton was his love for huge florals. I expected Douleur! to be that style as translated through the lens of Sig. Gardoni. What I didn’t know was both men had a fondness for the synthetic ingredient rose oxide; wanting that to be the keynote in their perfume. Instead of a vintage-style blowsy floral Douleur! is a pedal to the metal synthetic symphony.

Freddie Albrighton

Not sure why this is but the metallic floral of rose oxide is having a moment. This is the fourth new perfume of 2019 to feature it. None of them has as much rose oxide in it as Douleur! does. The transformation into an incredibly outré gourmand is one of the most fascinating transitions of the year.

As I said the opening moments are the metallic rose of rose oxide. This is going to be challenging for many. Even for me, when I was ready for it on successive wearings, it is like chewing tin foil. Pleasant and irritating in almost equal quantity. For one of the rare occasions I welcomed the presence of mint to tone down the rose oxide. I’m glad because the real fun comes in the heart as we go from irritating to the carnival midway. They came up with a fantasy cotton candy accord that is awesome. If you’ve ever seen them making cotton candy in those heated giant aluminum containers as the strings of sugar are captured on a paper spindle. That’s what is here. There is the heated metallic and the classic maltol; what turns this crazy good is the use of a technicolor strawberry ingredient. As a guess I am thinking Aldehyde C-16 or one of its analogs. This is like sticking your nose in the aluminum drum as sugar and strawberry form a crystalline confection. It picks up a chewiness as benzoin appears later to thicken things up.

Douleur! has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Douleur! is like nothing else in the Bogue collection. It is wonderful while also being completely odd. I am appreciative of where Mr. Albrighton got Sig. Gardoni to go with Douleur! This is what great collaborations do; create incredible perfume.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Comme des Garcons Copper- The New Green

About halfway through the year I wondered if Comme des Garcons was going to do anything to celebrate their twenty-fifth anniversary. For a brand which has been so influential I thought it would be a shame for this milestone to go by without something new. Right about the time I was going to ask I received an e-mail announcing the end-of-year plans. Six new perfumes along with a stand-alone fragrance store in Paris. I have reviewed the other five perfumes for this anniversary, but I’ve left the best one for last; Comme des Garcons Copper.

Christian Astuguevieille

One of the things about the current popularity of transparent perfumes is it too often produces linear fragrances without a top-down development. It is that development which has always attracted me to my favorite perfumes. It is not that a linear perfume can’t be beautifully interesting. It is the ones which act like chameleons shifting colors as the hours pass that keep me engaged more fully. I think of those perfumes like classical music; evolving in movements. The best perfumes will have phases that have distinctly different rhythm and flow just as a symphonic piece has. Copper does all of this.

Alienor Massenet

As he has for the entire twenty-five years of Comme des Garcons fragrances creative director Christian Astuguevieille has overseen Copper. He chose to work with perfumer Alienor Massenet for the first time. In my press package I was told Copper was “inspired by the idea of lying in the grass next to someone wearing excessive suntan lotion”. I have no idea what that means in relation to the perfume inside the bottle. If you expect Copper to be another of these suntan lotion perfumes it is not even close. It wasn’t until I got a different description that I was satisfied; “fiery red metal; cool to the touch.” That describes it much more closely except the cool comes before the fire.

Copper opens with an overdose of galbanum. Overdose is almost too gentle for how much galbanum is here. This is so much galbanum it has rough edges around its emerald-like crystallinity. Before it gets to be too much, Mme Massenet adds in a precise amount of baie rose. It pierces that sharpness of the galbanum creating a gorgeous dried herbal accord. Then a dynamic transformation occurs upon a flying carpet of slightly metallic aldehydes. It whisks us away to a gentler movement of ginger and violet at first. A lot of the time ginger is a buzzy kind of ingredient. In Copper it is allowed to be at rest as the violet shades it in purple hues with grains of subtle powder. This becomes sweeter through dried tobacco leaf wrapping it up like a cigar. The interplay between violet, ginger, and tobacco is compelling. Then like an usher tonka bean takes this accord, by attaching itself to the tobacco, to the waiting embrace of amber. The base accord turns completely cozy. Vanilla and myrrh provide different vectors of comfort. A cleverly subtle use of labdanum stitches it all together into a warm place to spend the rest of the day.

Copper has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

I have said it before over these past twenty-five years of perfumery there has been no brand more influential than Comme des Garcons. M. Astuguevieille sets the trends that others emulate. Back in 1994 M. Astuguevieille collaborated with a talented perfume, Mark Buxton, to redefine Orientals with an opening of galbanum. The same can be true of Copper as he now asks Mme Massenet to create the new version of green for the next quarter century. Copper is the best of what perfume can be.  

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Comme des Garcons.

Mark Behnke

The Sunday Magazine: CBS’ Evil

If you have been reading this column for awhile you have probably surmised; I like entertainment which scares me. I like all of it. I don’t have a favorite. I just like that moment when a chill runs down my spine in a good version. I do admire those who can scare me without resorting to tricks. If you can do it with smart writing that is something even better. There is a new example of this type on broadcast television in CBS’ show “Evil”.

Over the last four or five years the horror genre has migrated to the streaming services or premium cable. It is because they can get away with more than over the air. When “Evil” was announced I was interested enough because of the writers; spouses, Robert & Michelle King. I have enjoyed the King’s writing style ever since I discovered their earlier series “The Good Wife”. They were as much the reason I picked up the CBS All Access service so I could watch “The Good Fight”. Three years ago they tried to make an experimental show work on broadcast TV with “BrainDead”. That show pushed in too many directions at once. I think that has helped them refine their approach when it came to “Evil”. They are still pushing but mostly in one direction; the scary kind.

The premise of Evil is a man who is training to be a priest David Acosta is partnered with a psychologist Dr. Kristen Bouchard. They are employed by the Catholic church to confirm or debunk the supernatural. When you read that you might think “X-Files” and there is a similarity starting with the give and take between believer and skeptic. Actors Mike Colter and Katja Herbers play David and Kristen with that dynamic in front. Each week the show has a “case of the week” along with the way these investigations impact the two detectives in their private life.

The cases have been well-executed twists on classic themes. Including a nod to the poster of The Exorcist. Except in the movie ad it was the priest being silhouetted in the streetlight. Here it is a psychologist arriving to stop the ritual.

There is an overarching plot which ties the cases together and that has become more obvious in these later episodes. The villain is played by Michael Emerson who provides many of the tension-filled moments. He is back to his creepy best as it was when he was on “Lost”.

All together this has turned into an hour of television which has provided those chills I look forward to at least a couple times every episode. There are a couple of very brave writing choices which makes “Evil” the darkest show on broadcast television. At some point there will be a great story on how the Kings convinced CBS to stick with their vision.

If you like scary stories and thought they couldn’t do that over the air anymore try watching the first four episodes of “Evil”. I think you will be surprised at what can still be done to scare you in the dark.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Etat Libre d’Orange Spice Must Flow- Holiday Corsage

I have a whole section of perfumes I wear over the Holidays. Probably my favorite of all of them is 2010’s Etat Libre d’Orange Like This. I enjoy it because it is the perfume which closely resembles cocooning at home with family and friends. It is a cozy, happy fragrance I will never be without. Earlier this year I heard that the perfumer, Mathilde Bijaoui, was making a new spicy perfume for creative director Etienne de Swardt. At the time it was exclusive to a European department store and I resigned myself to waiting until it was released more widely. It turns out that time is now as I received my sample of Etat Libre d’Orange Spice Must Flow just in time for the Holidays.

Etienne de Swardt

Anyone who is a fan of the science fiction series “Dune” by Frank Herbert will recognize the name. In the book “God Emperor of Dune” we are told, “The spice had glowed radiant blue in the dim silver light; and the smell- bitter cinnamon, unmistakable.” If you are of the mind-set to pair your perfume to its name, there is plenty for you to find within Spice Must Flow. Because it has arrived at the beginning of the Season, I’m in a more Holly Jolly Christmas mood about it all.

Mathilde Bijaoui

Spice Must Flow opens on an overdose of cardamom. It provides a zesty green tinted whoosh. Ginger comes along to add even more kinetic energy. Mme Bijaoui adds a tiny bit of warmth as cinnamon wends its way in between the cardamom and ginger. Then an opulent Turkish rose arises. This is that spicy rose I prefer. The previous set of spices finds plenty to harmonize with. The ginger slowly mellows out until it provides a subtle gingerbread accord as if there was some baked a few hours ago. It ends on shiny silvery frankincense atop a fir tree.

Spice Must Flow has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

It might become easy for many to label this Like This 2. It is not that. If Like This is about the joys of being home. Spice Must Flow is the excitement of going to a Holiday party wearing a Turkish rose on your wrist, or lapel. I think I have a new perfume for my holiday shelf.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review By Rosie Jane Lake- Tahoe Autumn

Ever since I regularly started receiving samples from Sephora I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of what I find. There has been a great trend over the last few years of entry level perfume brands using some of the best perfumers. Most of those seem to end up in the fragrance section at Sephora. I think it is great that the style of these artists can be found in any mall. It also makes it fun when I get a new line and immediately think I recognize something. After the perfume has made itself known when I go do my research, I have an “a-ha” moment. This just happened with By Rosie Jane Lake.

Rosie Jane Johnston

By Rosie Jane was begun in 2010 by Rosie Jane Johnston and has slowly expanded its fragrance collection. In the past year and a half Ms. Johnston has begun to position her eco-friendly line with broader distribution. I must admit when I opened my latest envelope a perfume titled Lake seemed to be off by a season, or two. When I read the text to go with it, I was mistaken.

Sarah Horowitz-Thran

Lake is inspired by an autumn hike around Lake Tahoe in California. This is the essence of west coast fall; there aren’t the changing of colors. Just the chill of the air as you walk through forests of pines. This is the kind of perfume Lake is trying to be. When I tried my sample, I was immediately struck by how well-blended it was for a brand that advertises itself as green. If there is a drawback to that description it is many of those fragrances fail at finding a balance in the perfume. It is what makes the best independent natural perfumers so adored by me. They know how to be green and relevant. As I kept sniffing Lake, I was thinking this smells like one of those. Once I went to find out who the perfumer was. I smiled. That was because Sarah Horowitz-Thran was grinning back at me from my sample. Ms. Horowitz-Thran is one of those indie natural perfumers I was speaking of. To find her behind Lake was a happy surprise.

Lake is a simple breath of fresh air along the slopes of Tahoe. It starts with the chill of autumn air as lime fills the nose, and lungs. A fantastically subtle pine comes next. This is not a Christmas tree pine. This is that scent as the wind blows through the evergreens. It gets woodier and sweeter as sandalwood and vanilla provided the final ingredients. When it all snaps together it is like standing in the Rockies on a fall day.

Lake has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

Nothing makes me happier than to know my favorite perfumers are finding a wider audience. With Lake Ms. Horowitz-Thran’s version of Tahoe autumn will make some new fans.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Sephora.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Olivier Durbano SpeM PetraM- Stone of Mary

All independent perfumers look for their guiding light. Olivier Durbano has found his muse to be stones. Ever since he appeared, in 2005, he has created perfume meant to evoke some aspect of stones. Early on it was actual gemstones. More recently it has been some of those stones from fictional influences. M. Durbano has never failed to engage me with his bold aesthetic. In these days of transparency he stands like a monolith forcing those other perfumes to flow around him. That audacity has maybe never been as pronounced as it is with Olivier Durbano SpeM PetraM.

Olivier Durbano

Before you all think I’ve fat fingered my shift key the capital “M”’s are intentional. The name translates to “Stone of Hope” while the double-M is meant to represent Mary Magdalene. That inspiration is seen in two specific ways in SpeM PetraM. The first is M. Durbano’s use of a Bible-named root; nard. The other is the personification of Mary Magdalene as a rose. In SpeM PetraM the nard provides the stone while the rose provides the feminine hope within.

M. Durbano, and Google, inform me that nard is a plant of the Himalayas related to valerian. In its American incarnation it has been called spikenard. I have encountered it in the perfumes of natural perfumers previously. It seems like it must be a difficult ingredient to work with because it has three strong pillars which make up its scent profile. One is an earthiness, the other is mineralic, and the last is terpenic. Because of that variability it explains why this was an ancient perfume because it was good by itself. In the present day a perfumer must adroitly balance those competing aspects into something greater. M. Durbano is the kind of perfumer who is up to this task.

SpeM PetraM is all nard to begin. Those three faces I mentioned above are all on display early on. M. Durbano accentuates the earthiness with the warmth of saffron and the heat of cinnamon. The mineralic is wrapped in a haze of olibanum. The terpenic is given the lead as fir amplifies it into predominance. This is where M. Durbano brings MM into view as a gorgeous rose rises out of the nard accord. The ascendency of the rose is what makes SpeM PetraM something special. Every time I wore it the rose felt like a tiny piece of hope among the stone.

SpeM PetraM has 12-14 hour longevity.

I think there are some who will find the strength of the nard off-putting. This is not a perfume for everyone. It is for those who enjoy experiencing something different in the hands of a perfumer who can turn that into beauty. It might be a stone of hope, but I think of it as the Stone of Mary.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I purchased.

Mark Behnke