JNET banner ad

Leibish & Co

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Leibish & Co. Unveils Colorful Gem Jewelry And Free Engagement Ring


Online colored diamond retailer, Leibish & Co., has expanded its colorful offerings into gemstone jewelry. The new collections include sapphires, rubies, and emeralds set within necklaces, pendants, bracelets and earrings.


A significant part of this new push into colored gemstone jewelry is engagement rings. White diamonds (often paired with white gold and platinum) is the standard for bridal jewelry and has been for many years. Other tried to convince consumers into adding color gems to their engagement rings but success has been sketchy. 


To help promote this jewelry category, the company is giving away a free gemstone engagement ring to one subscriber to the website


“Over the past three years, I have seen in the market a new trend developing for strong colors, intense pinks, intense blues, vivid pinks and vivid blues. Only, these diamonds have become unaffordable to the majority of buyers,” said Leibish Polnauer, founder of the Israeli-based company. “Not wanting to lose the opportunity to serve all of our clients, we created an exciting and beautiful new line of jewelry made with precious stones that are larger and more modestly priced.” 

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Inaugural Mineral & Gem Asia Fair Opened Today


The first edition of the Mineral & Gem Asia opened Saturday and will run until Tuesday at the AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong. Organized by UBM Asia, the fair has 101 local and overseas exhibitors in about 12,000sqm of exhibition space. Participants include exhibitors from about 27 countries and regions around the world displaying a variety of rough and polished gemstones, fossils, art pieces and rough, loose, semi- and fully finished mineral products.

Exhibitors include Amberstream from Poland; Blue Gems, Chili Jewels, Iskcon Gems, KGE Rough & Gems and Rusgems from Hong Kong, Duarte & Bastos from Brazil; Ram Narayan from India; and Star Mountain Mining from the US.

Apart from the rare mineral specimens, three dinosaur fossils are on display. They include a pair of dinosaur fossils in fighting position, Allosaurus atrox and Suuwassea emiliea, which are being shown for the first time in Asia. Tyrannosaurus rex – King Kong, which was displayed at the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair 2014, will be at Mineral & Gem Asia as well. In addition, a three-dimensional model of the Thermopolis archaeopteryx specimen, the first of its kind, is on display.


“The launch of Mineral & Gem Asia is an important milestone in UBM Asia’s fair history. We are glad that the fair is receiving great support from the industry,” said UBM Asia Senior VP Wolfram Diener. 

This support includes The Stephen Hui Geological Museum of The University of Hong Kong and The Mineralogy Society of Hong Kong. The organizations are showing their latest mineral and fossil collections and are hosting onsite activities, such as a game and workshops, to give students the opportunity to explore, learn and appreciate mineral specimens, fossils and rare stones from around the world.


The Stephen Hui Geological Museum is displaying rare fossils including the skull of a Hipparion coelophyes, a well-preserved Jurassic plant fossil from Lantau Island and a two-cm large fossilized cone of pine from Tertiary rocks of Dong Ping Chau found in Hong Kong.

The Mineralogy Society of Hong Kong is showcasing valuable mineral specimens found from around the world including Calcite, Dioptase, Tourmaline, Tsavorite.

Mineral & Gem Asia at the AsiaWorld-Expo is running in parallel with the 2015 edition of the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, which at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, June 25-28. The June fair features 2,273 exhibitors from 45 countries and regions. 

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Christofle Creates Silver Crowns As Art Objects

Sterling silver crown with black onyx accents

For anyone obsessed with royalty or if you just want to add a bit of royal flair in your life, you can now own a hand-crafted crown with much of the ornamental details that adorn traditional crowns historically worn by kings and queens. 

Christofle, the French luxury silver company, has teamed with Los Angeles-based interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard to produce two silver crowns. These crowns lack the priceless gems that adorn royal crowns. In addition, they are not meant to be worn. Instead, they are art objects to be displayed. But one can still dream. 

The collection of two crowns is called Silver Kingdom. Christofle built the crowns at its Haute Orfèvrerie atelier based on Bullard’s design. It is their debut collection together. For Christofle, it is part of a larger project in which the silver company teams with designers to create new pieces. 

Silver plated crown with gold accents

“I have always been fascinated with silver and its sensuous qualities, from the time I began collecting silver spoons as a child,” said Bullard, known for his A-List clientele as well as having his work appear in more than 4,000 publications around the world. “Silver Kingdom reflects my love of the materials and craftsmanship for which Christofle is renowned.”

Christofle said that despite the traditional theme, the collection is a reflection of its “modern spirit.” It was inspired by Christofle’s legacy as silversmith to France’s King Louis-Philippe and the House of Orléans. Bullard’s designs for the collection were influenced by the shape and form of the original French crown jewels. 

The collection features a large sterling silver crown produced in a numbered, limited-edition run of 20, customizable with embellishments and stones including onyx. It retails for $10,000. The second piece is a smaller silver-plated crown with gold accents, which retails for $2,500. Both objects can be customized and crafted to a buyer’s specification. 

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Buccellati Opens Second Store In Paris


Buccellati’s expansion continues unabated as the company announced that it has opened a new retail space in Paris, the second store opening by the Italian luxury jeweler in June. 

The new boutique is on the corner of Galeries Lafayette, the upmarket French department store known for its neo-Byzantine cupola built in 1912. Buccellati has had a presence in Paris since 1979 and was the first Italian jeweler to open a boutique in Place Vendôme. This new boutique is the company’s second in the “City of Lights.” 

The new store will have all of the brand’s jewelry collections including Hawaii, Tulle, Macri, Ghirlanda, Rombi the new Opera line, and the Romanza bridal rings.

About two weeks earlier Buccellati opened a new shop at Neiman Marcus in Palm Beach, Fla. The new shop marks a return to the shopping center of Worth Avenue in the luxury resort city. The jeweler opened its first store on the fashionable street in 1956.

Both stores reflect the architectural concept of Buccellati’s new global identity, first launched in the brand’s five-story flagship store on Madison Avenue, which officially opened in March. 

The new design was conceived and developed with the architectural firm, Vudafieri Saverino Partners. It is defined by wood floors, plush, white and cream-colored furnishings and neutral colors highlighted by modern artistic touches.

The new stores and design concept are part Buccellati’s rebranding effort, officially launched in February 2014 with the naming of Lucrezia Buccellati as the number two designer. At the age of 24 at the time of the announcement, she was the youngest person and the first woman to be given that responsibility. Her father, Andrea, is the head designer. Since the company was founded nearly 100 years ago, two generations of the family shared design duties. 

The move toward a young designer coincides with Buccellati’s plan to make it more appealing to a younger generation. Other changes included a redesigned logo and website, a first-ever line of engagement rings, one-of-a-kind bejeweled iPad and iPhone covers, and more affordable jewelry (at least by Buccellati’s standards). 

Other Buccellati boutiques are in Milan, Venice, Florence, Cala Di Volpe, Capri, Monte Carlo, Paris, London, , Mosca, Dubai, New York, Chicago, Aspen, Beverly Hills, Bal Harbour, San Francisco, Palm Beach, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul and Osaka e Nagoya. 

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Finalists Named For The 2015 JNA Awards

(From Left) Representatives from Guangdong Land, Shanghai Diamond Exchange, Rio Tinto Diamonds, UBM Asia, UBM Asia, Chow Tai Fook, Diarough Group, Gübelin Group, Israel Diamond Institute

Jewellery News Asia, organizer of the JNA Awards, has announced the finalists across 15 categories for 2015. A total of 49 honorees representing 31 companies from 10 countries/regions have been shortlisted.

The awards promote and encourage the sharing of best practices and innovative ideas for the international jewelry and gemstone industry, with a particular focus on Asia. In its fourth year, it continues to draw interest among companies across key markets in the trade, including enterprises from South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Vietnam and Taiwan that have been shortlisted for the first time. Other countries represented include Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines and Thailand.

The judging panel consists of five industry experts, namely James Courage, chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council; Albert Cheng, managing director of the World Gold Council, Far East; Lin Qiang, president and managing director of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange; Nirupa Bhatt, managing director of GIA India and the Middle East; and Yasukazu Suwa, chairman of Suwa & Son, Inc.

“It is indeed very exciting for us to see such positive and enthusiastic response from the trade both in terms of entrants and quality of entries,” said Wolfram Diener, senior VP of UBM Asia.

“I continue to observe the high level of energy and zeal to excel and advance among the participating companies and individuals,” said Letitia Chow, chair of the JNA Awards 2015 judging panel, founder of JNA and director of Business Development – Jewellery Group at UBM Asia. “This year, we have added a couple of criteria in the entry rules, which made room for smaller-sized enterprises and newcomers to be qualified as honorees. It is also encouraging to see past recipients entering and being shortlisted for categories new to them.”

The JNA Awards is supported by “Headline Partners” Rio Tinto Diamonds and Chow Tai Fook, together with “Honoured Partners” Diarough Group, Gübelin Group, Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies, Shanghai Diamond Exchange and Guangdong Land Holdings Ltd.

This year’s JNA Awards ceremony and gala dinner will be held Sept. 20, at the Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong, during the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. It is a ticketed event by application only. Interested parties may submit their request by logging on to www.JNAawards.com

The following individuals and companies have been shortlisted as Honourees for the JNA Awards 2015:

Three Decades of Excellence  
Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Manufacturers Association – Hong Kong
Jewelmer Joaillerie – Philippines
Paspaley – Australia
Shree Ramkrishna Exports Pvt Ltd – India

Brand of the Year – Retail  
Chii Lih Coral Co Ltd – Taiwan
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd – Hong Kong
The Genuine Gemstone Company – United Kingdom

Employer of the Year  
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd – Hong Kong
Hari Krishna Exports Pvt Ltd – India
Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company – Vietnam
Pranda Jewelry Plc – Thailand

Industry Innovation of the Year  
China Stone Ltd – Thailand
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd – Hong Kong
Shenzhen United BlueOcean Technology Development Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen XingGuangDa Jewelry Industrial Co Ltd – China
Shree Ramkrishna Exports Pvt Ltd – India

Manufacturer of the Year – Coloured Gemstone Cutting & Polishing  
Lorenzo Jewelry Ltd – Hong Kong
RMC Gems India Ltd – India

Manufacturer of the Year – Diamond Cutting & Polishing  
Hari Krishna Exports Pvt Ltd – India
J. B. And Brothers Pvt Ltd – India

Manufacturer of the Year – Gem-Set Jewellery  
KGK Jewellery Mfg Ltd – Hong Kong
Lorenzo Jewelry Ltd – Hong Kong
MKS Jewelry International Co Ltd – Thailand
Shenzhen Ganlu Jewelry Co Ltd – China

Manufacturer of the Year – Precious Metals-Only Jewellery  
Guangzhou Cuilu Jewellery Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen Batar Investment Holding Group Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen Ganlu Jewelry Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen United BlueOcean Technology Development Co Ltd – China

Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – ASEAN Countries  
China Stone Ltd – Thailand
PANDORA Production Co Ltd – Thailand
Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company – Vietnam

Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – India  
J. B. And Brothers Pvt Ltd – India
Kashi Jewellers – India
Shree Ramkrishna Exports Pvt Ltd – India

Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – Mainland China  
KGK Diamonds (Shanghai) Ltd – China
Shenzhen Batar Investment Holding Group Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen Bofook Jewellery Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen XingGuangDa Jewelry Industrial Co Ltd – China

Retailer of the Year (450 outlets and below)  
Golden Dew Co Ltd – South Korea
Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company – Vietnam

E-tailer of the Year  
KELA – China
The Genuine Gemstone Company – United Kingdom
Vaibhav Global Ltd – India

Sustainability Initiative of the Year  
Kiran Gems Private Ltd – India
Shenzhen 3D-KET Jewellery Company Ltd – China
Shenzhen United BlueOcean Technology Development Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen XingGuangDa Jewelry Industrial Co Ltd – China

Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Age 40 and below)  
Kwan Sit, Shenzhen Bofook Jewellery Co Ltd – China
Lei Xu, Zbird China – China

The recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award will be nominated by the organizer, and the announcement will be made at a later date. 

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Magical, Mystical, Creative And Colorful Opal Jewelry

Lydia Courteille Seahorses Necklace has more than 20 grams of blue Australian opals with white diamonds, black diamonds, fancy sapphires, amethysts, sapphires all set in 18k gold

Opal, unlike most gemstones, doesn’t sparkle and glitter. What it does is display every color of the rainbow in a limitless palette of combinations. In some cases, it even has a phosphorescent quality. When jewelry designers are added, the possibilities expand even further. 

For example, there’s Lydia Courteille. I asked her at the recently concluded Couture Show in Las Vegas where she gets her design ideas. The Parisian jeweler gave me a look of confusion, almost pity, and said, “From my head.”

That’s some head that thought of then executed the Seahorses necklace at the top of this story. The elaborate jewelry piece that displays an active, underwater scene with gem encrusted seahorses and a crab, and gems shaped as a coral. There is a lot precious material that went into this necklace, including white and black diamonds, fancy colored sapphires and amethysts. 

However, taking center stage in this sculptural piece are two oval shaped blue Australian opals, each making up the body of the seahorses. This necklace embodies not only the design and craftsmanship skills of Courteille, but also the variety of designs and even mystical connections that people have with opal.  

Sutra Jewels bracelet with 28 carats of white Ethiopian opals with diamonds and pink spinels set in 18k rose gold

This year’s Couture Show provided strong evidence that there is resurgence in opal jewelry. Sweta Jain, founder and head designer of colored gemstone company Goshwara, noticed this, adding that opal jewelry seems to go through stages of being fashionable. 

“Although opals have always been around and somewhat popular, they are really trending past few years, especially in fine jewelry,” she says. “Their usage has been quite significant in statement jewelry as well.”

Goshwara opal bead 12 strand tassel earrings in 18k with diamonds and onyx 

Jewelry designer Erica Courtney, well-known for her colored-gemstone based jewelry, is equally intrigued by opal’s history, mystery and use in contemporary jewelry design. 

“I can imagine why it was the choice of kings and queens because of the magical powers opals seem to possess,” she says. “The play of color in opals is so gorgeous they sometimes don't even seem real and yet they are. Opals are hypnotizing, romantic, and I think, one of the greatest most beautiful phenomena in nature.”

Erica Courtney Cupcake Ring features a 7.41-carat Brazilian crystal opal with a diamond surround set in 18k gold

Gurhan Orhan, better known simply as Gurhan, is well-known throughout the world for his hand-crafted 24k gold jewelry. But he is also a collector and admirer of gemstones that he combines with his gold pieces. His latest collections presented at the Couture Show include a large bib-necklace that uses 62 mixed sized oval cabochon opals. 

“Opals have a shimmering luminescence. Whether it’s a soft silky glow or fiery highlights there is a mysterious quality about this stone that is extraordinarily intriguing,” he says. “I usually check opals under magnification before using them in my pieces, and get lost in the colorful world inside. I can easily say that it is one of my favorite stones to work with.”

Gurhan Paradiso Necklace with 62 mixed sized oval cabochon opals and 39 rose cut white diamonds set in 24k gold

Like Courtney, Gurhan is fascinated by its mystical qualities. Historically, it is believed to have healing powers and its color combinations are said to reflect the changing emotions and moods of individuals. 

“The jewelry I make with opals gives me some extra pleasure. I take them as magical and I believe the wearers are feeling the same,” Gurhan says. “As you look at an opal stone from different angles, you can see totally different sparkles in different colors. This makes me believe that opal is the stone for diversity, change, adventure, which fits my nature.”

Lisa Nik asymmetric opal and diamond earrings in 18k rose gold with diamonds

When combined with other materials the opportunity to showcase more colors expands, says jewelry designer Nikfarjam of the Lisa Nik jewelry brand. 

“They pick up the color of whatever metal and other stones they are placed next to,” she says. “I love the way that rose gold picks up the pinkish tones and white gold makes them look more white and dramatic. When I wear opal earrings with my signature green quartz necklace, the opals look more greenish in tone.”

Katherine Jetter Marquis ring with a 26.41ct boulder opal, orange and red sapphires set in 20k yellow gold

Most of the world’s opal comes from Australia, but there are other sources, including South America, Africa and the US.

Katherine Jetter—a native Australian who now lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico—works exclusively with Australian opals, creating contemporary jewelry with the historically significant gem.

“As an Australian and as a designer I wanted to pay tribute to my country’s national gemstone and bring opals into the 21st century—both in terms of recognition and design,” she says. “It’s been my life’s work to elevate these stones within the international jewelry community and help spark the resurgence they are seeing now.”

Le Vian 18k "Honey Gold" ring with a 42.19 "Spumoni" opal

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rivière ‘Triple X’ Necklace Tops $1.2 Million At Bonhams Auction

Photo by Anthony DeMarco

A diamond rivière necklace with 51 “Triple X-cut” rated diamonds sold for $1.2 million (including premium) at Bonham’s New York Fine Jewelry sale. It was the top item of the sale held Monday by the international auction house.

Triple X (also known as “Triple Ex”) is an informal designation, mostly within the trade, that means a diamond that has received excellent polish, symmetry and cut grades. Only round and round brilliant cut diamonds can receive this designation.


Each diamond in the necklace is accompanied by a Gemological Institute of America report that states it’s three excellence grades. The graduated line of 51 round brilliant-cut diamonds weighs more than 70 carats. They are joined together by a heart-shaped diamond clasp weighing 2.04 carats. The diamonds are mounted in platinum.

Even though the necklace commanded a seven-figure price, it sold below its $1.4 million - $1.8 million estimate.

There were a number of items that failed to sell along with some pieces that shattered estimates. In many ways it reflected the inconsistent spring auction season for jewelry, which quietly came to an end.

Colored gems, very popular in recent years, did well, as well as Art Deco and Belle Époque and Art Deco pieces. Signed pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Tiffany & Co. also saw mixed results. Several colorless diamonds rings sold well.

Susan Abeles, Bonhams director of US Jewellery, was pleased with a number of sales throughout the auction.

“Color I think was outstanding,” she said following the auction. “Emeralds and other fine colored stones did very well. We saw more interest in large round diamonds. Beautiful signed items retained their value and worldwide interest.”

Among the top sellers were:

Photo by Anthony DeMarco

* A 25-carat sapphire and diamond ring by the M. Gerard French jewelry house (pictured above) sold for $581,000, beating its high estimate. The richly colored crystal sapphire’s unusual octagonal cut makes this a very rare find. The sapphire is flanked by triangular-cut diamonds and is mounted in 18k gold.


* Emerald and diamond earrings, each suspended by an emerald bead (30 carats total) with a yellow gold cap and topped with two round brilliant-cut diamonds (3.80 carats total) that sold for $118,750. Nearly double its high estimate of $60,000.

* Two diamond rings sold for the identical price of $106,250. A 3.51-carat cut-cornered rectangular step-cut diamond on a ring flanked by tapered baguette-cut diamonds and mounted in platinum. The other was a ring centered by a 7.37-carat round diamond set in 18k gold and platinum.


* Early in the auction a turn of the century imperial topaz and diamond pendant brooch, circa 1900 (pictured above), centered by an oval cushion-cut imperial topaz and suspended by a detachable imperial topaz briolette sold for $87,500, totally smashing its high estimate of $9,000.

* A fancy colored diamond and sapphire ring designed as a pavé-set diamond with a geometric plaque that sold for $52,500, within its estimate. The plaque centers a lozenge brilliant-cut light gray-blue colored diamond weighing 0.92 carat with acalibré-cut sapphire surround;


* A colorful black opal ring (pictured above) flanked by diamonds and mounted in platinum sold for $16,250, smashing its $7,000 high estimate.

Among the items that were passed by bidders were:

* A 3.56-carat cut-cornered, rectangular-cut fancy intense pink diamond on a ring with an estimate of $600,000 - $800,000, enhanced by a pavé-set diamond surround and mounted in 18k white and yellow gold;

* A ring designed as a pavé-set diamond star with an oval modified brilliant-cut fancy deep blue diamond in the center, which weighs 0.71 carat (est. $250,000 - $350,000);

* A 5.02-carat cut-cornered, square modified brilliant-cut fancy yellow diamond on a ring flanked by fancy-cut diamonds within a pavé-set diamond surround (est. $50,000 - $60,000).

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.