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Leibish & Co

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

27 Ways To Wear Wallace Chan's Masterpiece, 'A Heritage in Bloom'

1. Full Blossom

Hong Kong-based retail giant Chow Tai Fook gave Wallace Chan 24 D-colored internally flawless diamonds cut from a 507-carat rough then left him alone to create whatever he wanted. Their trust in the renowned jewelry artist resulted in a "A Heritage in Bloom," a remarkable necklace that combines the 24 diamonds (including a 104-carat brilliant round stone with a triple-x cut grade) with hundreds of other white and pink diamonds and hundreds of green and white jade, set in titanium.

The necklace goes on display as part of "Dream Light Water," a retrospective of Chan's work presented by Christie's Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre (November 26 - 30). As I previously written there are 27 ways to wear the bejeweled necklace. All of them are pictured with their individual titles.

2. Butterfly Love

3. Tranquility

4. Reminiscence

5. Dreamlike Moment

6. All in Bloom

7. Spring Sonata

8. Rendezvous

9. New Moon

10. The Smile of Love

11. Flower Gaze

12. Bright Day

13. As in Dreams

14. Infinite Love

15. Moonlit Flowers

16. Bloom Ethereal

17. For Generations

18. Sweetness of Spring

19. Wind Dancer

20. A Happy Encounter

21. Bloom Enchanted

22. In Harmony

23. Jade Butterfly

24. Everlasting Joy

25. Bloom Resonance 

26. Silky Fragrance

27. One in a Million

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Valuable Jewels And Watches At New York Art, Antique & Jewelry Show

Wanna Play The Maze Ring by Suzanne Syz Art Jewels

The annual New York Art, Antique & Jewelry Show will return to the Park Avenue Armory, November 20 - 24. The event boasts more than 80 international exhibitors showcasing more than 30,000 items, including more than a dozen exhibitors with millions of dollars worth of jewels and watches on display.

Cartier Double Tiger bracelet

Among the featured jewels are an 18.5-carat untreated Kashmir sapphire ring valued at $6.5 million and Pope Paul VI’s diamond cross and diamond ring. Véronique Bamps, a Monaco-based specialist in antique jewelry, will be showing a rare Cartier double tiger bangle bracelet in yellow gold set with white and fancy intense yellow diamonds, onyx and emeralds; and an Art Deco dome ring in platinum, sapphires and diamonds by Suzanne Belperron, circa 1940.

Art Deco dome ring in platinum, sapphires and diamonds by Suzanne Belperron

There will some modern jewels as well led by Suzanne Syz Art Jewels, who will be presenting her one-of-a-kind and limited edition pieces. Syz is renowned for her creative, contemporary designs and her combinations of precious materials, including titanium, rare gems and more recently, miniature pearls. It is one of the few events where her jewels can be viewed and purchased by the public as the Geneva-based jeweler sells most her pieces privately. 

Watches will also be part of the show. M.S. Rau Antiques of New Orleans will be bringing several timepieces, including a World Time Watch by Patek Philippe ($54,000) and Patek Philippe Pocket Watch ($19,500) and, for women, a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Wrist Watch ($98,500).

The annual show, owned and operated by the Palm Beach Show Group, will open with a preview party for VIP guests on Friday. The invitation-only event provides a first-look of the show’s offerings before they are available to the public. 

For more information follow this link

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Augmented Reality For Jewelers Enhances The Customer Experience

An augmented reality visual of a ring design from The Inspired Collection pops out of  a smartphone

By Chris Benham, co-founder and director of Inspired Jewellery Ltd.

Are we on the cusp of an explosion of augmented reality experiences for customers? A couple years ago we worked with 3D animator Chris Williamson to create an animation of one of our tension set diamond ring designs. 

We sent him a 3D CAD file of the ring we wanted him to animate and then he worked his magic. He came into the studio and what followed blew my mind. He had taken the 3D version of our ring and literally made it jump out from the screen. 

How? We picked up a smartphone, opened an app and then scanned it over the image of the same ring on our website. The ring image was like a reference point, almost like a barcode (or QR code) and then the phone proceeded to make the ring pop out from the screen in 3D and allowed you to admire it from all angles and even virtually try it on.  

Watch this video on augmented reality to see how its application is used in day-to-day life:

It only took minutes to create and anyone with a smartphone could use it, meaning this experience is accessible to just about everyone. 

It then turned into one of those scenarios where you suddenly see augmented reality being used in small applications everywhere. However, it is still far from mainstream. If you ask someone on the street about augmented reality most will not know much about it. 

It’s now two years on and I am yet to see many jewelry companies take advantage of this technology. Compared to other businesses, jewelry companies are perfectly suited to this technology. The barriers to entry are low, as most jewelry companies now develop their new jewelry designs in 3D. In our business we’ve embraced 3D technology as a tool, although we start all of our designs from the heart with a pencil and paper. We then translate those designs in 3D to make the manufacturing process more efficient and also to enable our customers to better visualize what the finished piece will look like.  

CAD Operator Zach Hornblow creating a 3D CAD ring design

Other industries are perfectly suited to take advantage of augmented reality including architects and car manufacturers. For example, you’re just about to lock in the contract to purchase that yet unbuilt penthouse apartment. More than slightly nervous about committing your life savings, you can now take an augmented walk through the apartment, helping you to visualize it better and provide a little peace of mind. 

Maybe the reason that jewelers haven’t more readily adopted this technology is because copying in the industry is rife. Why hand on a platter a 3D view of your design to a competitor? At the end of the day they can still look at it and buy it in order to copy it. So that’s not really an excuse. Or as the saying goes ‘be prepared to disrupt or be disrupted.’ 

Loupe Platinum Diamond ring design from The Inspired Collection

Another challenge for jewelers is converting their files from 3D CAD technology into a more lifelike form. There are already challenges for the jeweler and 3D CAD operator when it comes to rendering metallic and gem-like surfaces. Jewelry rendering requires techniques like “environment mapping” to allow reflections to change as the angle of view changes, making surfaces appear lifelike. Current augmented reality platforms like Layar and AugmentedDev will rapidly evolve and these challenges will be overcome and integrations will be developed with 3D jewelry software like Gemvision’s Matrix

The simple fact is most people struggle to visualize designs, especially when they see them in 2D on a screen. How many times have you sat in front of your computer doing some online shopping and wished you could grab the product out of the screen and have a good look at it? Even try it on. The cool thing is with augmented reality you can do that. 

Although jewelry is a hugely tactile product and many would argue that you have to see it in store to experience it, the simple fact is that a growing percentage of people are doing their research and window shopping online. Augmented reality provides another tool for a jeweler to enhance the luxury experience. In our business alone we’ve seen massive growth in customers willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a ring without ever stepping foot into a store. 

Chris Williamson who has created animations and augmented reality scenes for our company, The Inspired Collection, and some of the world’s biggest brands, believes augmented reality is set to explode. Chris believes that “we are on the edge of a real revolution, it's going to have a massive impact on the way we do a lot of things, perhaps as much as the computer monitor has had.” 

He continues, “The people behind Oculus Rift have started a film company, filming in 360 degree vision so you can sit there with a headset on and look anywhere in the movie scene. The Microsoft HoloLens in particular I think will be a total game changer for manufacturing. Imagine sitting there with a headset on, and your manufacturer sitting overseas with his headset on, and you both see a representation of the same design in front of you with you both being able to manipulate it while the other looks on. Or even being able to point to sections of a real world physical object in another country, while the person in that room can see the areas you are indicating floating over the object and kind of attached to it.

“It seems every day now some new company has bought out some kind of VR or AR headset.” 

A new generation of digitally connected customers is rapidly becoming the biggest purchasers of engagement rings. Augmented reality provides yet another great tool for jewelers to provide a new way for customers to experience their creations. It will be an exciting time for consumers when 3D CAD software companies make it easy for the CAD operators to translate their creations, until then it will largely remain the domain of the big retail chains and tech savvy early adopters. 

Jewelry News Network guest columnist, Chris Benham, is co-founder and director of Inspired Jewellery Ltd., Wellington, New Zealand, a global creative studio for specialist jewelry design.  

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Leibish Wins 26 Argyle Pink Diamonds As Overall Results Appear Lackluster

The five "hero" diamonds from the 2015 Argyle Pink Tender, including the Argyle Prim,” a 1.20 carat Fancy Red pear shaped diamond

Rio Tinto owner of Australia’s Argyle Mine is always tight-lipped when it comes to the results of its annual tender of rare pink and red diamonds. But their public statements are always upbeat. Not so much this year. 

It’s always difficult to gauge the results of the private sale as the mining company refuses to release figures but the annual press release provided even fewer details of this year’s sale than in prior years.

The 2015 Pink Diamonds Tender collection of 65 rare pink and red diamonds weighing a total of 44.14 carats from its Argyle diamond mine “delivered an exceptional result, reflecting global demand and sustained price growth,” according to a press release from the Rio Tinto mining company. However, statement falls short of defining why it was “exceptional.”

About 90 percent of the entire world supply of rare pink and red diamonds comes from the Argyle diamond mine in the remote east Kimberley region of Western Australia. The Argyle pink diamond is one of the few gemstones identified by its unique origins with a color range. In recent years, the annual sale of these gems included blue diamonds from the Argyle mine in a separate tender.

In addition to their beauty, rarity and provenance, the mine’s output of these diamonds is near its capacity and the mine is scheduled to close in 2020. So the diamonds being sold now will likely become even more valuable.

A “tender” in this instance is basically a blind bid. Invited buyers come in and view the diamonds in undisclosed locations in Sydney, Hong Kong and New York. Each diamond is unadorned in identical boxes with basic details listed, including carat weight, shape and color. Each person places a bid on the diamonds they are interested in buying without knowing their estimate or what others bid. It can be quite a stressful situation for buyers. 

Five of the 30 diamonds purchased by Leibish & Co. at the Argyle Pink Tender (26 pink and red, and four blue)

“You need to fully understand the market prices and the value these stones possess. You have only a short time to assess each of the stones and all the pressure of competing against all the top diamond buyers that exist,” said Leibish Polnauer, founder of Leibish & Co., which sells fancy colored diamonds and jewelry to consumers and the trade through its eCommerce website

The Israeli company takes part in the bidding annually and this year it appears they are the big winner as it managed to place a successful bid on 26 pink and red diamonds, ranging from approximately 0.15-carat to 0.75-carat, about 40 percent of the total available. It also successfully bid for four blue diamonds. 

When asked how he managed to win such a large percentage of the tender diamonds, Polnauer said it’s important to understand the gem, the market and the growth of its value so his customers can profit from the gem. 

“I have to bid very high prices. The tricky part is understanding the stone’s potential. The highest bid wins, so I need to adequately assess the market and not bid too high.”

Rio Tinto did disclose who won the most valuable diamond in the 2015 collection, although it did not disclose the price. The “Argyle Prim,” a 1.20 carat Fancy Red pear shaped diamond, was won by Sciens Coloured Diamond Fund II BV, for an undisclosed value. It was one of the five most valuable diamonds offered in the sale, which Rio Tinto referred to as “Hero” diamonds.

The others who placed winning bids remain unknown.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Initiatives in Arts and Culture New York Fashion Conference

This is short notice but if you’re in New York Friday and Saturday Initiatives in Arts and Culture is hosting its 17th annual New York Fashion Conference at CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave. (between 34th and 35th streets)

The event features two full days of seminars in a variety of fashion disciplines and topics, all under the banner of “Trailblazers.”  

IAC’s mission is to educate diverse audiences in the fine, decorative, and visual arts through conferences, publications, and exhibitions. 

Two seminars of note are:

* “Trailblazers in Platinum: Spanning the Decades, on Friday at 11 am; moderated by Teresa Frye, president and CEO of TechForm Advance Casting Technology, and founder of the Portland Symposium. Panelists are Susan Chandler, Jose Hess and Matt Isaacson; 

* “Trailblazers: Pearl Design, Sustainability and Availability “on Friday at 1:40 pm; Kathy Grenier is moderator and panelists are Chi Huynh, Hisano Shepherd and Jeremy Shepherd.

There will be a reception and viewing at Featherstone Fine Jewelry Atelier Friday at 6:30 pm.

For more information or to order tickets follow this link.

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Montblanc Presents Peter Brant With the Culture Arts Patronage Award

Art collector and philanthropist Peter Brant with the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award and Luciano Pavarotti Limited Edition writing instrument Photo: credit:Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Montblanc 

An intimate gathering of actors, artists and tastemakers gathered at New York’s Kappo Masa restaurant Tuesday to support Peter Brant as he received the 24th Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award. Guests included actress Sienna Miller, artists Urs Fischer and Todd DiCurcio, and fashion director Cameron Silver.

The award is given each year to individuals in 11 countries who have a history of giving their time and talents to support the arts and art projects. The luxury brand based in Hamburg, Germany, has a long history of supporting arts and culture throughout the world. 

Montblanc North American CEO Mike Giannattasio, Sienna Miller and Peter Brant Photo:credit:Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Montblanc 

In addition to being an avid collector of modern art, Brant founded The Brant Foundation, Inc., which makes artwork available to institutions and individuals for scholarly study, examination and loan; and The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, a space in Greenwich, Conn., that serves as a gallery and learning center that showcases exhibitions and promotes the appreciation of contemporary art and design. These two organizations are the central elements that represent Brant’s three decades of support to the arts community.

A key element of the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award is a €15,000 ($16,164) cash gift, which Brant donated to the two organizations. He also received a Montblanc Patron of Art Luciano Pavarotti Limited Edition writing instrument specially handcrafted at Montblanc’s Artisan Atelier in honor of the opera icon. The writing instrument is specifically made for the 11 recipients of the arts patronage award around the world.

Sienna Miller Photo: credit:Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Montblanc 

On the podium Brant thanked those who helped him to appreciate and to pursue his passion for arts at a young age. His first purchases included works by Andy Warhol and Franz Kline. “The fondest moments of my life are the artists I collected and the dealers who taught me,” he said.

Brant told me afterward that he was surprised when he learned he received the award. 

“It’s a great honor to receive the award from a company that supports the arts,” he said. “I love doing what I do and I don’t need an award but it’s nice.”

Sculptor Urs Fischer Photo: credit:Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Montblanc 

Sienna Miller was one of the two presenters of the award to Brant. “Art is in the heart of everything Peter Brant does,” she said.

Urs Fischer, a Swiss-born sculptor who was the other presenter, added, “The biggest artwork in the Brant Foundation is Peter M. Brant.”

Mike Giannattasio, CEO of Montblanc North America, expressed the importance of artists in the world.

Mike Giannattasio Photo: credit:Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Montblanc 

“Arts and culture plays an important part of who we are as an organization,” he said. “Artists are the journalists and diaries of our time. If we lose our culture we lose our memory.”

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Gold Jewelry Demand Up 6% in Q3 As Gold Prices Fall

Consumers in much of the world increased spending on gold jewelry, making pieces by designers such as Alex Soldier more in demand

Global demand for gold jewelry grew 6 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2015 to reach 631.9 tons, marking the strongest third quarter for jewelry demand since 2008, according to the World Gold Council. 

Lower prices for gold in July and August attracted consumer to buy gold jewelry, according to “Gold Demand Trends” report for the third quarter of 2015. This is in strong contrast with a 14 percent decline in gold jewelry demand in the second quarter.

On a year-to-date basis, jewelry demand amounted to 1,750.2 tons, 3 percent behind the same period of last year.

In India, the drop in price of gold led to a dramatic turnaround in consumer demand for the world’s second-largest consumer of gold jewelry. Year-over-year demand for the third quarter increased 15 percent to 211.1 tons. This compares with a 23 percent decline in the second quarter of 2015.

“Between mid-July and mid-August, retailers saw unusually brisk trade for the time of year,” according to the report. “Traditionally, this period experiences a lull in demand in the pause between the end of the April-May wedding season and the onset of autumn festivities, particularly by Diwali. The surge in demand ended after mid-August with a sharp recovery in the price of gold, exacerbated by a weakening of the rupee.”

Rural and semi-urban consumers were the main engine of growth in the Indian jewelry sector, according to the report.

However, the report warns that the “fourth quarter outlook is more muted.”

In China, the world’s largest gold jewelry market, lower prices and strong Valentine’s Day sales lifted consumer consumption in the third quarter as gold jewelry demand grew a modest 4 percent, year-over-year, to 187.6 tons. In line with global patterns, consumers responded favorably to the sharp drop in the price in July. The drop in price coincided with China’s Valentine’s Day on August 20.

Again, the WGC warns that there may be trouble ahead for the gold jewelry demand in the fourth quarter.

“The jewelry sector in China faces headwinds from a number of quarters. Credit conditions remain tight and competition fierce. 18k jewelry continues gradually to encroach on the market for 24k, in part due to manufacturers pushing more contemporary, highly designed product in order to gain market share.

“Expectations for the fourth quarter are somewhat more conservative, bearing in mind the weakening macro picture.”

Meanwhile, jewelry demand in Hong Kong grew by 22 percent to 13.7 tons, primarily due to higher-design, unique pieces, popular with mainland Chinese tourists.

In the US, jewelry demand continues to make “creeping gains,” the WGC says in its report. Demand grew by 2 percent to 26.2 tons.

“Growth in the sector reflected a continued desire for gold in the 10k and 14k sectors, against a hesitant economic recovery,” according to the report. “However, imports again outpaced demand, as the retail sector shored up inventories in anticipation of further strength in demand as the holiday season approaches.”

Other markets are as follows:

* East Asia - Jewelry demand made double-digit gains in Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam, assisted by the falling price, WGC said. Indonesian demand was further boosted by an economic stimulus package unveiled by the government in early September. In Vietnam, economic growth and a relatively benign inflation environment also contributed to the upturn. Meanwhile, jewelry demand in Singapore and Malaysia declined by 24 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Year-on-year comparisons in Malaysia were negatively affected by the Goods and Services Tax, introduced in April.

* Turkey - Demand fell 29 percent year-over-year to 12.1 tons, the lowest third quarter ever, according to WGC records. “Political instability and the rising threat of terrorist attacks have had a devastating impact on consumer sentiment. Those wishing to seek respite from the turmoil in gold did so through investment products: bar and coin demand was contrastingly positive, up 97 percent year-on-year.”

* Middle East - Demand for gold jewelry varied as minor gains in Saudi Arabia and Egypt cancelled out slight declines in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and the other Gulf countries, WGC said. “Lower oil prices and regional political tension tussled with the fall in gold prices to keep demand broadly stable.” The exception was Iran, where jewelry demand rallied by 40 percent to almost two-year highs. “Consumer sentiment was boosted by the signing of the nuclear deal, an affect which was further magnified by the tumbling gold price, although the 9 percent VAT rate introduced in Q2 was something of a headwind.”

Gold jewelry demand in Europe fell 1 percent as demand was stagnant across most markets, according to the report. Exceptions were France where gold jewelry demand declined 6 percent and Spain where demand grew 5 percent.

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