domingo, 19 de mayo de 2013


This sounds like a long and complicated blog, but we will only touch essentials trying to make sense of the relation among Xátiva, socarrats and the Borjas.

XÁTIVA:  Has its origins about 100,000 years ago during the Neanderthal period, being the last ones of that species before their extinction.  In that same location the Iberus created a "castro" or settlement called Sae Tabis where the Castle of Xátiva originated.  The Romans also constructed other areas of the castle, but the walls and terraces are from the Islamic period.  This period was one of cultural and economical splendor and the city was called Shatiba.  Most notably were the water canalizations of the city, the construction of the walls of the city and of the castle and very especially paper.  Xátiva originated paper in Europe. This time of splendor lasted until around 1244.  Its inhabitants are called "socarrats" (meaning burnt) because the city was burnt by Felip V.  
 Typical street of Xátiva

House where Rodrigo Borja (Alexander VI)
was born in Xátiva

 Castle of Xátiva with its walls
 An antique car in el Paseo de la Alameda
An old pharmacy
 The main entrance door of the Old Hospital
    The cathedral or Seo

SOCARRATS:  These are fired clay tiles covered with a white kaolin base and generally painted in red (Fe oxides) and black (manganese).  Their origin is typically medieval, although, a similar technique was used in Iraq and other Arab countries hundred of years before.
There are three basic types of representations on the tiles:  .religious  .magic  .social
...religious:  crosses and inscriptions like koranic verses
...magic:  Fatima's hands for protection and chimeric figures like the Butoni (a popular monster in Valencia)  heraldic symbols and satiric scenes
They were used mostly for construction and ornamental purposes, but also to do public announcements.
LUZ MINERVA visited Xátiva in search of socarrats with our own designs, which seem to blend perfectly well.

And of course, couldn't help paying attention to the Borjas as our hotel was right in front of the house where Rodrigo Borja (Alexander VI) was born.

BORJAS:  Noble family originally from Borja, town in Aragón, that later were established in Xátiva, Valencia.  It originated with Alfons Borja.  This family was very influential during the Renaissance and having settled in Italy their name was italianized to Borgia.  Rodrigo Borja was born in Xátiva and later became Pope Alexander VI, father of Cesare, Juan and Lucrezia Borgia.  His uncle Callixto was also a pope before him.  The Borja family has been considered the first great criminal family in history, being their most prominent figures Rodrigo Borja (Alexander VI), Cesare, Jofre, Juan and Lucrezia.  They were a very powerful family not only in religious and political matters with popes and cardinals abounding and their corruption, cruelty and murder legendary, but also were excellent patrons of the arts helping artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Pinturrichio, Beneto, Tiziano and El Bosco.
Borgia family

Rodrigo Borja (Alexander VI)

miércoles, 15 de mayo de 2013


As for any gemstone care, these simple rules will help to maintain our intaglios in healthy conditions for longlasting enjoyment.  Most of the rules are Do Nots, but at the end of the blog you will find the easy way  to do it.

-Do not store different stones together...they have different hardness and the harder ones may scratch the softer ones...individual cases or wrapping is best.

-Avoid washing hands with soap while wearing a quartz intaglio as soap may remain under the stone and will alter the aspect of the gem giving it a splashy tone.

-Do not use jewelry cleansing products on lacquered intaglios or on organic engraved stones such as:
      ..mother of pearl
      ..lapis lazouli

-Do not leave them sitting under the hot sun or heaters

-Avoid direct contact with hand creams, parfums and any kind of chemical substance...these, most especially, affect organic stones, soft stones and lacquer intaglios.

-Do not use ultrasound cleaning machines as an inner inclusion of the gemstone may become a crack.

So, then how should we clean them?

Easy and simple...clean the stones gently with a clean soft cotton fabric.

martes, 14 de mayo de 2013




The LM team

miércoles, 8 de mayo de 2013


Once upon a time, days went by drawing, cutting and sewing clothes for her dolls; and with beads and trinkets jewelry was also created by those busy hands and curious mind.  Creativity has always been a central part of her life.  Her perspective of things has always been different and is reflected in the designing and creation of unusual pieces of jewelry.  Laura loves textures and colors, discovering new places, new ways of doing things, new ways of adapting to life, new ways of creating.  This passion moves her forward in all her endeavors.

Every collection of Luz Minerva is different, although the LM flower is ever present.  Each one of the collections reflects an aspect of her global vision, bringing together materials, techniques and cultures to unite in art and beauty.


The LM team

domingo, 5 de mayo de 2013


Its date is based on the Julian Calendar, while the Western World uses the Gregorian Calendar.  Greek Orthodox Easter is celebrated more than a month later than Western Easter.

This season is uniquely Hellenic in terms of food and traditions.  It is the greatest time for food, feasting and celebrating their Greek Orthodox faith.  Octupus, squid, prawns, cuttlefish, mussels, bean stews and salads are favorites in the meat free period that precedes the Easter Saturday.

Typically, every family dyes eggs, especially in red, to celebrate the resurrection of Christ and to celebrate life.  It is a time for busy cooking and baking.  It is a time for family, friends and relatives.
The Easter Table main dish is lamb or kid goat whole, spiced and roasted over a charcoal fire.

People participate in church activities, lighting their candles there and taking them home with the special blessing to last for the holidays.