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Friday, September 22, 2017

Alrosa Unearths 27-Carat Pink Diamond


Alrosa said Thursday that one of its subsidiaries unearthed a pink rough diamond weighing 27.85 carats. If the Russian mining giant decides to cut the stone, it has the potential to be the most expensive polished diamond in its history.

The rough diamond has dimensions of 22.47 mm x 15.69 mm x 10.9 mm, Alrosa said in statement Thursday. The pink stone is of gem-quality and almost free of inclusions.

The diamond was unearthed by Almazy Anabara, an Alrosa subsidiary with a diamond mining operation in Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in northeast Russia. It is by far the largest pink diamond Alrosa ever mined—with the previous largest pink rough being 3.86 carats, found in 2012. Apart from this stone, for the past eight years, Alrosa recovered only 3 pink diamonds weighing more than 2 carats. Alrosa said its mining operations discover colored diamonds weighing more than 10 carats about once a year. 

Alrosa, a rough diamond mining operation, has been increasing investment in its polishing division. The company said it is deciding whether to sell it as a rough or to cut it and polish it themselves. 

“If the company decided to cut it, it would become the most expensive diamond in the entire history of Alrosa,” said Evgeny Agureev, head of United Selling Organization of Alrosa. 

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Roger Farah Named New Tiffany Chairman


Tiffany & Co. said Thursday that its company's board of directors has elected Roger Farah as its chairman, effective October 2. Farah, 64, joined Tiffany's Board in March 2017. He has served in leadership roles at Ralph Lauren Corporation, Venator Group, Inc., R.H. Macy & Co., Inc. and Federated Merchandising Services.

He most recently served leadership roles with Tory Burch. First as co-CEO and director of Tory Burch from September 2014 till March 2017 and then as executive director in advisory role since March when he joined Tiffany’s board

He will replace Michael J. Kowalski who has held multiple leadership roles for a number of years at Tiffany. He has been the board chairman since 2002 and has served on Tiffany’s board since 1995. He will remain on the board after the change.

In addition, Kowalski, who was Tiffany’s CEO from 1999 until his retirement in March 2015, and served as interim CEO since February 2017, will relinquish that title when the company's newly appointed CEO, Alessandro Bogliolo, joins the company in October.

“Roger has significant experience as a leader in the luxury retail industry, and I and my fellow directors value tremendously his expertise and insight which have been apparent during his time on the board,” Kowalski said in a statement. “With the appointment of Alessandro as our new CEO, and under Roger’s leadership on the board, I believe we are well positioned to execute on strategies to drive comparable store sales growth and stronger earnings growth in the longer-term.” 

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tiffany’s New Metro Watch For Women


The Tiffany & Co. new Metro Watch combines the luxury retailer’s skill at using diamonds with traditional Swiss craftsmanship. Each piece features a round brilliant diamond crown that is assigned an individual serial number, making each watch personal to the wearer, the company says. In addition, for most models are topped with diamonds in various designs.

The company says the watch’s clean, fluid lines evoke the pace and energy of New York City, where Tiffany is headquartered. The 28mm curved stainless case comes in either stainless steel or 18k rose gold. The dials come in several styles, including an “ice blue,” a darker blue, burgundy, white or pink lacquer, all with flinqué finishes. Several models come with a 60 seconds subdial. The curved motif continues with the bracelets, which are available in alligator leather in a variety of colors and stainless steel. 


The watches are powered with either a Rhonda quartz movement or a Soprod automatic movement.

“Our horological history began in Geneva, Switzerland in 1847, and today we continue this tradition of craftsmanship by introducing the Tiffany Metro timepiece—its beauty lies in the superlative pedigree of Tiffany diamonds,” said Nicola Andreatta, vice president and general manager of Tiffany & Co. Swiss Watches. 

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Hermès Extends Apple Watch Partnership With New Leather Strap Collection


The same day Apple released its third version of the Apple Watch Hermès unveiled a collection of five leather straps for the newest smart watch.

The new Apple Watch Hermès collection for the Apple Watch Series 3 models expands upon the three leather straps that were first introduced in 2015. The new additions are the Single Tour Rallye and the Single Tour Éperon d’Or.


In addition, traditional French brand known for its old-world craftsmanship also released a new Hermès watch face, inspired by the Carrick Hermès watch, designed by Hermès legendary designer Henri d’Origny in 1993. This completes the selection of Hermès watch faces for Apple smart watches.

Apple Watch Hermès Series 3 consists of the following:


* The Single Tour Rallye – The perforated Gala calfskin is inspired by classic Hermès driving gloves. It’s designed to be paired with the 42mm stainless steel case.


* Single Tour Éperon d’Or in printed calfskin, inspired by the equestrian scarf pattern created by d’Origny in 1974. It is available in Marine leather with 38mm and 42mm stainless steel cases.


* Double Tour  - The extra-long band wraps twice around the wrist. Available in Fauve (natural tan) Barenia leather (Hermès top quality leather) and Indigo Swift leather, each paired with a 38mm stainless steel case.


* Single Tour - The buckle is inspired by the straps of a horse’s girth, a nod to the equestrian heritage of Hermès. Available in Fauve Barenia leather paired with 38mm and 42mm stainless steel cases, and in Indigo Swift leather for the 42mm stainless steel case.


* Single Tour Deployment Buckle - Available in Fauve Barenia leather and ebony Barenia leather, each paired with a 42mm stainless steel case.

Apple Watch Hermès Series 3 will be available to order online in France beginning Friday, with availability beginning September 22 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, the UK and the US. Prices range from $1,149 to $1,399.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

William George Shuster, Aug. 23, 1946, - Aug. 30, 2017


People in the watch and jewelry industry knew Bill Shuster as someone who never accepted a gift from a watch brand. People who were closer to him knew him for his overwhelming generosity. 

What people are less likely to talk about was his passion, because it was such a part of his entire being. This makes his integrity as a professional journalist and his overall goodness sound less like a cliché and more like someone who is rare in this world. 

Bill and I worked together for nine years at JCK magazine and then kept in touch as he was passionate at keeping all former and current JCK employees in the loop with emails and phone calls and in his prayers. He was deeply religious. 

His integrity and dedication as a journalist could never be questioned. I worked with plenty of reporters who went to the proper schools and thought they were something special. They could never hold a candle to Bill. We worked in a cube farm so we could often hear one another and we were always amazed at how many ways Bill would ask a question until he was able to pry the proper answer out of the person. And he could do it in English, German and French—although he's insist that he wasn’t fluent in French—which is another trademark of Bill: His overwhelming modesty. But he did like to publicly acknowledge others. 

We occasionally shared the same flight to trade shows. Once leaving the airport together in Las Vegas I noticed he was carrying a small vintage American Airlines bag over his shoulder while pulling a large blue hard-shell suitcase. I was admiring his carry-on bag when he nonchalantly mentioned that it contained all his clothes (for a weeklong tradeshow) and the big blue suitcase was empty. It was dedicated for press kits. I have no doubt as he left Las Vegas that blue suitcase was bursting at the seams. I’m also sure he read all the materials and stored it somewhere in his house, which was overwhelmed with his research. I know this because his cubical in our King of Prussia office was packed to the brim with stuff. When our office moved to New York instead of tossing his books, magazines, files and whatever he collected, he took it all home. 

Yes he gave gifts and cards on special occasions. My wife, Maria, and I always looked forward to the authentic German strudel he would send by mail on Christmas. But what he was most generous with was his knowledge; and it was encyclopedic on just about any subject imaginable. He loved movies and art and literature and history and travel, and could spend hours passionately discussing the most obscure references on these topics. If I was working on a story and asked Bill a quick question about it, his answer would take 15 minutes discussing every aspect of the problem. Once I wanted quick help on how to phrase a question, and he shot back 30 different ways to approach it in a minute. Then we had another conversation that lasted for 15 minutes. 

We found ourselves seatmates on a flight to Frankfurt, Germany, a few years ago and we talked the entire time—no sleep and no regrets. 

He was proud of his German heritage and blamed his Scottish blood for being frugal and he was frugal. We would try to meet and have dinner each year at the Baselworld trade fair. We went through great pains to find a place that suited his budget in one of the most expensive countries in the world at one of the most expensive times. We finally found a cafeteria-type place about a mile from the fair. 

His frugality and his integrity as a journalist could be summed up in this story. He covered the luxury watch world and the only watch that he ever owned (to the best of my knowledge) was a Mickey Mouse watch. One time a CEO of a Swiss luxury brand offered to give him a proper timepiece, no strings attached. He refused. 

My favorite Bill Shuster story was the time he was attacked by a goose. It was almost tragic but it turned out to be costly, inconvenient and in the end, humorous. For reasons unknown a goose decided that the best place to have her nest was at the parking lot of our office building. To protect her eggs she would occasionally confront random cars in the parking lot as they were coming and going. Bill was well known as a speed demon. Leaving work he tore out of the parking space as he always did and before getting to the road the goose attacked his car. He was startled, veered off the road and rode up a curb and embankment. He damaged the front axle and underside of the car. He told the story while smiling the entire time.

Bill struggled with diabetes for as long as I’ve known him but he never complained. His illness in recent years was affecting his eyesight but still I don’t think anyone knew how sick he was and he was the kind of person who wouldn’t want anyone to worry about him. He lived with and was devoted to his mother who died just few years earlier in her nineties. 

Recently he critiqued a story I wrote suggesting that I may overstated a position. He then started translating Swiss newspapers, sending them to me, providing more information on the story as it was still unfolding. It was a lot of work on his part and he continued doing it even though I told him I couldn’t follow up on this. He said he liked doing it and wanted me to have it. 

Bill was a lot of things. He was a first-rate journalist. He was deeply religious. He was erudite. He was modest. He was persistent and insistent at times. He was eccentric. He loved to travel. He had great warmth and a sense of humor. He was a fast driver. He had health issues. He was much more complex than I could ever express. All of this was enhanced by his great passion for life. 

Most of all, he was generous. He gave more of himself to us than any of us ever gave to him. 

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

De Beers Plans Biggest Global Ad Spend Since 2008


The De Beers Group said Tuesday it will invest more than $140 million in marketing this year—its biggest ad spend since 2008.

The increased investment will be focused on generating further consumer demand for diamond jewelry in the leading markets globally, with the greatest spend targeted in the world’s three largest markets for diamond jewels: the U.S., China and India.

The majority of the advertising budget will support De Beers’ proprietary brands, Forevermark and De Beers Diamond Jewellers. However, the diamond mining and marketing giant said it also will increase its spend on partnership marketing, including with the Diamond Producers Association and India’s Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

“Total consumer expenditure on diamond jewelry for the last five years collectively has been the highest on record—and the outlook is positive,” said Stephen Lussier, De Beers Group’s executive VP of Marketing and CEO of Forevermark. “However, we cannot take future growth for granted.”

Lussier added, “Increasing our spend from a strong position will help support continued demand in both mature and developing markets, particularly among millennials, who are already the largest group of diamond consumers despite this generation not having yet reached its maximum earning potential.” 

The De Beers statement was short on details, such as when the ad and marketing push will begin and what media is being targeted.

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Queen Victoria’s Historically Significant Coronet Is Acquired By Victoria And Albert Museum

Queen Victoria's sapphire and diamond coronet, designed by Prince Albert, made by Joseph Kitching, London, 1840- 1842. Photo credit: Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) said Tuesday it has acquired Queen Victoria’s sapphire and diamond coronet. The historically significant small crown was designed by her husband, Prince Albert, in 1840, the royal couple’s wedding year. The jewel was gifted to the V&A by William Bollinger.

The coronet is scheduled to go on display in 2019, the bicentenary year of the birth of both Victoria and Albert, and will serve as the centerpiece of the museum’s renovated William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery, which tells the story of jewelry in Europe from the ancient world to the present day.

The design of the coronet was based on the Saxon Rautenkranz, or circlet of rue, which is set diagonally across the shield in Prince Albert’s coat of arms, museum officials said. It was made by Joseph Kitching, a partner at Kitching and Abud, who were appointed “Jewellers to the Queen” in 1837. In 1842, the coronet was featured in the first and most renowned portrait of the Queen painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter. 

“The painting depicts Victoria as a figure of youth and beauty, regal, but free of the crown and scepter, the traditional emblems of monarchy,” the museum said. 

The image was shared throughout Europe and the British Empire in a series of replicas, copies and engravings.

The coronet also represents a symbol of enduring love. In 1866, on the first occasion when Victoria felt able to attend the state opening of Parliament following Albert’s death in 1861, she chose to wear the coronet instead of her crown, which was carried on a cushion.

“Representing both the passion of the young royal couple, and a powerful symbol of the widowed queen, it will be of deep fascination to visitors and scholars alike,” said Tristram Hunt, V&A director. “It will instantly become part of the identity of the museum itself.”

The day before their wedding on Feb. 10, 1840, Albert gifted Victoria a sapphire brooch. The couple then arranged Victoria’s collection of sapphires into a suite of jewels, of which the coronet became the centerpiece, according to the museum. The coronet was inherited by King Edward VII and then by King George V and Queen Mary, who gifted it to their daughter, Princess Mary, on her marriage to Viscount Lascelles in 1922. 

It was then sold into private hands, and in 2015 became the subject of an application to export it from the UK. This was later withdrawn. 

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