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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

World’s Largest Flawless Vivid Blue Diamond May Fetch $25 Million

The Blue

A 13.22-carat blue diamond is the lead item at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale May 14. Known as “The Blue,” the auction house says it is the largest flawless vivid blue diamond in the world. It has a pre-auction estimate of $21 to $25 million.

The Ocean Dream

Another highlight of the 250-lot auction at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues is what the auction house is calling the largest fancy vivid blue-green diamond in the world to come to auction. Known as “The Ocean Dream,” the 5.50-carat gem has an estimate of $7.5 to $9.5 million. “The combination of its size, natural origin, hue, and saturated color makes it an extremely unusual occurrence,” Christie’s said in a statement.

Other diamonds expected to generate strong international interest include a 76.51-carat light pink cut-corned diamond set as necklace centerpiece by diamond dealer Lev Leviev with an estimate of $7 to $10 million (pictured above); and a 75.97-carat pear-shaped D-color flawless diamond with an estimate of $13.5 million to $15 million (pictured below).

The 250 lot sale is estimated to fetch a total of $80 million, Christie’s said. It includes the following:

* A collection of 14 jewels from a “European Gentleman” under the heading, “A Passion for Jewels.” It includes the Rajah diamond, a 26.14-carat, old-mine brilliant-cut diamond with an estimate of $3 to $5 million. 

* Another highlight of “A Passion for Jewels” collection is the Belle Époque Devant-de-Corsage brooch, crafted in 1912 by Cartier. It is estimated to fetch $7 million to $12 million. 

* 20 pieces from the Estate of Baroness Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kaszon will be another highpoint of the auction led by a natural pearl and diamond necklace estimated at $550,000 to $700,000.

* A five-strand necklace composed of 87, 81, 76, seventy-one and 65 natural pearls with an estimate of $2 to $3 million.

* A 21.41-carat cushion-shaped Alexandrite with no indications of treatment and a distinct color-change from green to purple with an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000. 

* A necklace made of seven Mughal engraved spinel beads that date back to the 17th century with an estimate of $1.5 to $2 million. 

* A three rectangular-cut diamond ring designed by JAR with an estimate of $330,000 to $460,000. Proceeds will benefit Ospendale Pediatrico Bambino Gesu in Rome and the Pediatric department of the Ospedale San Paolo in Milan.

* Mystery-set ruby and diamond ear pendants, entitled Entrée en scène, was part of the “Une journée à Paris collection Van Cleef & Arpels launched in 2006 as an homage to Paris. It has an estimate of $200,000 to $310,000.

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Graff Diamonds Receives Queen’s Award For Enterprise

The Graff Diamonds store inside the fine jewelry room at Harrods.

For the fifth time in its history, Graff Diamonds has received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise, considered by many to be the highest accolade for a British company.

Graff Diamonds is one of the world’s top luxury jewelry and diamond retailers founded in 1960 by Laurence Graff, who still owns the company. The global firm has been recognized by the queen for its sustained increase in international operations over the past three years. It was one of more than 100 British companies to receive the award this year.

“Currently our portfolio incorporates 45 flagship stores spread globally and we plan to continue to expand our network through 2014 and beyond,” said Francois Graff, Graff Diamonds CEO. “We are extremely proud of our British heritage and whilst our global headcount is in excess of 600, our international headquarters, design studios and workshops are proudly located in the heart of London.”

The Queen’s Award for International Trade is granted on the advice of the Prime Minister, following a thorough examination of each application by an Advisory Committee composed of leading representatives from industry,

The awards are conferred by Queen Elizabeth II each year on April 21, her birthday.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Golden Easter

Among the most famous eggs in the world are the “Imperial” Easter Eggs created by Carl Fabergé of the House of Faberger. These were made for the Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II to give as Easter gifts for their wives and mothers.

As you probably have heard the one pictured, made of gold and containing a Vacheron Constantin watch, was recently found and almost sold for scrap. You can read more about it by following this link

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Riki and Jerome Shaw Jewelry Collection Raises $8.6 Million For Animal Welfare

6-carat fancy intense pink diamond ring by Harry Winston from Riki and Jerome Shaw collection sold for more than $5.7 million.

Jewelry from the collection of Riki and Jerome Shaw raised more than $8.6 million with all proceeds going toward cage-free animal shelters as part of the couple’s ongoing fight against animal cruelty. It was part of Christie’s New York Magnificent Jewels Sale.

The private collection was led by a 6-carat fancy intense pink diamond ring by Harry Winston, which sold for more than $5.7 million. It was one of two items from the collection that were among the top 10 lots sold during the auction held Wednesday at Christie’s Rockefeller Center headquarters. The other piece was a 6.25-carat Burmese ruby and diamond ring that sold for more than $1.3 million. 

The top lot of the evening was a pair of circular-cut, D-color, internally flawless diamonds of 22.60 and 22.31 carats (pictured above) that sold for more than $8.5 million; followed by a 40.43-carat oval-cut D-color potentially flawless diamond of 40.43 carats (pictured below) that sold for more than $7.6 million. 

Another private collection, this one belonging to Kathleen and Martin Field, sold for more than $6 million with two items among the top ten lots sold: They were a 20.10-carat rectangular-cut, D-color, VVS1 diamond by Harry Winston that sold for more than $2.4 million; and a 42.88-carat rectangular-cut Colombian emerald and diamond brooch by Harry Winston that sold for more than $1.3 million.

A 2.49- carat, old mine cut fancy yellowish green diamond ring by JAR (pictured above) shattered its pre-auction estimate of $500,000 to sell for more than $1.8 million.

One high-ticket item that did not sell was a 50-carat briolette-cut D-color, flawless diamond that had an estimate of $5.5 - $7.5 million. 

The overall auction at took in more than $60.5 million, with 82 percent sold by lot and 80 percent sold by value. 

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Harry Winston Gives $1 Million to UCLA Children’s Hospital To Establish Fellowship Fund

Honorees Maureen Stockton and Bryan Stockton attend the second annual Kaleidescope Ball.

Harry Winston, Inc. presented a $1 million gift to the UCLA Children’s Discovery and Innovation Institute, part of the Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, to establish the Harry Winston Fellowship Fund.

The gift was presented April 10 at the second annual Kaleidoscope Ball – Designing the Sweet Side of L.A. at the Beverly Hills Hotel, which benefits the children’s hospital. Hosted by Maria Menounos, the star-studded event honored Emmy Award-nominated Julianne Hough and Emmy Award-Winning Derek Hough with the Kaleidoscope Award - given to members of the entertainment industry who bring light and laughter into the lives of children through their professional achievements and personal humanitarianism. 

Additional honorees at this year’s event included Maureen & Bryan Stockton who received the Humanitarian Award for their commitment to civic philanthropy, and 9-year-old Grace Suomi - a former patient of Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA – who received the Innovator Award.

As the first corporate sponsor of Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA’s innovative pediatric fellowship program, Harry Winston will support the work of young pediatric physician-scientists who are conducting research to prevent, treat, and cure disease and illness in children.

“The Los Angeles community holds a very special meaning for Harry Winston.  It is where Mr. Winston spent his own childhood, and first began to realize his passion and future would be in precious jewels.” said Nayla Hayek, CEO of Harry Winston, Inc. “Through the Harry Winston Fellowship Fund, we are so proud to support the vital work of these talented young physician-scientists.  It is our hope that through their innovative research and groundbreaking ideas, all children will have the opportunity for a more brilliant and healthy future, to realize their own dreams.”

Harry Winston Fellows and fund recipients will be chosen annually by an internal selection committee led by Dr. Sherin Devaskar, physician-in-chief of Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA and executive director of the UCLA Children’s Discovery and Innovation Institute. The Harry Winston Fellows will represent physician-scientists in their second and third year of fellowship who have demonstrated a commitment to a career in academic medicine. 

“The UCLA Children’s Discovery and Innovation Institute promotes scholarship and lifelong learning at all levels of career development. The Harry Winston Fellowship Fund will support the best and brightest subspecialty fellows toward becoming exceptional academic physician-scientists who will go on to collaborate and establish networks locally, nationally and globally. The ultimate goal is to promote health and improve the quality of life for all children now and in the future,” said Dr. Devaskar.

The three Harry Winston Fellows, whose appointments are pending, are researching diseases that affect children and families worldwide.

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The Montblanc Meisterstück Turns 90

Meisterstück 90 Years Collection 149 fountain pen with guilloche engravings coated with black lacquer, mother-of-pearl Montblanc emblem, red gold-plated fittings and gold nib engraved with a “90.”

The Meisterstück is almost certainly the best known and most sought after writing instrument in the world. It is used by statesmen and dignitaries; writers and artists. It is the pen used to mark historical moments as it serves as a symbol of personal success and aspiration. 

It is also the identity of Montblanc. The company sells luxury timepieces, leather goods and men’s and women’s jewelry. However, even in this day and age of digitalized communications, writing instruments make up 40 percent of global sales, with the most significant chunk of those sales attributed to the Meisterstück, says Jerome Lambert, CEO of the German luxury brand.

It is the signature of the maison in terms of style, in terms of reputation, in terms of positioning in the market,” he says. “It plays an iconic role. It is a product that is the statement for the whole company.”

Actor Edward Norton and Montblanc CEO Jerome Lambert in attendenace at the 90th year anniversary celebration of the Meisterstück.  Photo credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Montblanc

This year the Meisterstück (which translates as “masterstroke”) turns 90 and the Hamburg-based luxury brand is celebrating this milestone. It began this January by introducing the Meisterstück Heritage Collection of timepieces. It continued in early April with the release of the Meisterstück Collection of leather goods, men’s jewelry and, of course, writing instruments, designed for the 90th anniversary. 

The company also held a star-studded international gathering in New York that included actors Edward Norton, Rosario Dawson and Penn Badgely. The April 3 event at Guastavino’s featured an exhibition of writing instruments for the past 90 years, the chance to have a personal message written by world-renowned calligrapher, Nicolas Ouchenir, and duplicates of documents written by famous authors, artists and scholars using the Meisterstück.

Model Chanel Iman at Montblanc's Meisterstuck celebration. Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Gala Magazine.

Earlier in the day, Lambert used a little self-effacing humor to explain why he chose New York as the place to hold the event.

“New York has a great ability to reinvent itself,” he said. "The city is the place to be for old guys like us and for the generation to come.” 

Writing Instruments
The 90th anniversary Meisterstück Collection of writing instruments will only be available this year. It includes fountain, rollerball and ballpoint pens in classic sizes with guilloche engravings coated with black lacquer, mother-of-pearl Montblanc emblem, red gold-plated fittings and gold nibs engraved with a “90.”

Meisterstück 90 Years Collection Skeleton Fountain Pen with ruthenium-plated cap and barrel topped by a quartz Montblanc emblem. The red gold nib has ruthenium-plated fittings and a “90” engraving.

In addition, there’s a skeleton fountain pen that pays tribute to Montblanc’s first skeleton pen created in 1999 for the Meisterstück 75th anniversary. The skeletonized, ruthenium-plated cap and barrel are topped by a quartz Montblanc emblem. The red gold nib has ruthenium-plated fittings and a “90” engraving.

Meisterstück 90 Years Collection Limited Edition 90 Fountain Pen. The cap ring is set with 90 diamonds, solid red gold attributes with guilloche engraving, a mother-of-pearl Montblanc emblem, and a gold nib with rhodium-plated inlay with the “90” years engraving. Limited to 90 pieces.

Finally, there’s the Limited Edition 90, a large fountain pen and a rollerball (each limited to 90 pieces), featuring a cap ring set with 90 diamonds, solid red gold attributes with guilloche engraving, a mother-of-pearl Montblanc emblem, and a gold nib with rhodium-plated inlay with the “90” years engraving.

Meisterstück Soft Grain Collection
Lambert says the company is taking what is seen as a traditional product line and modernizing it by using the techniques at the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence to make the leather softer and by redefining its uses. The pattern, however, is based on the historical jacquard pattern of Montblanc’s original 1924 logo.

Meisterstück Soft Grain Collection Document Case

The range of products include a single gusset briefcase, document case, messenger bag, wallets and passport holders; and leather goods crafted for technical devices such as cases for smartphones and tablets that marry extra-slim design and refined details with protective synthetic moldings. 

Meisterstück Soft Grain Collection SmartPhone Case Samsung Galaxy S4

Men’s Jewelry and Accessories
A key holder with a black PVD finish and platinum accents is engraved with the Meisterstück on the rim, and an abstract interpretation of a nib. The same “Meisterstück” font and distinctive touch of color (red gold-coloured PVD finish) were added to the cufflink collection, complete with bar cufflinks in black onyx, a reference to the Meisterstück’s precious black resin. A matching leather bracelet is from Montblanc’s Pelletteria in Florence.

MB Meisterstück 90 Years Collection cufflinks bar

Lambert says the new products capture the “spirit” of the Meisterstück. 

In addition to the celebrations and new product there was some personnel news at Montblanc. Lambert confirmed my suspicions that Susie Otero is no longer managing director of jewelry for the brand. Lambert says living in Paris and working at the company’s headquarters in Hamburg was a strain for her. She now does public relations for Montblanc in France. She was in attendance in New York. 

Otero is best known for creating the Collection Princesse Grace de Monaco for Montblanc, which featured delicate, feminine pieces in the shape of flower petals using rose and white gold with touches of diamonds. 

Lambert says the position will not be filled. Instead, the creative responsibility for all Montblanc products is under a single person who has yet-to-be-named.

Montblanc representatives told me that a new collection of women’s jewelry and watches will be released in June. 

In addition, in February Mike Giannattasio, was named the new president and chief executive officer of Montblanc North America. He is credited with steering the luxury brand’s growth in the United States and Canada, first as the company’s vice president of wholesale then most recently as the vice president of retail. He joined Montblanc in 2004. He replaces former CEO Jan-Patrick Schmitz, who held the position since 2003.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

UBM Asia’s Shenzhen Fair Sets Attendance Record

The 12th edition of the China International Gold, Jewellery & Gem Fair – Shenzhen (held February 26 – March 1) welcomed 12,828 unique visitors from 76 countries and regions, up 103.5 percent from last year, according to UBM Asia, which organizes the annual jewelry trade fair at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center. The total number of visits (including revisits) rose by 90.2 percent to 14,620. 

Celine Lau, UBM Asia director of Jewellery Fairs, attributed the dramatic increase in visitor traffic to the repositioning of the fair as a multi-faceted platform. 

“In this edition, we strategically re-positioned the Fair as a multi-facetted platform to launch new products, get the latest market intelligence, build brands and source new products," she said.

UBM Asia added that it enhanced visitor promotion, helping boost the number of quality buyers. It invited large-scale local retailers in mainland China to source in the fair as well as trade buyer delegations. The trade buyer delegations included members of Chinese jewelry associations, provinces and cities from Guangdong, Tianjing, Sichuan, Dalian, Jiangxi and Taizhou.

Media coverage of the fair by the 140-plus local and overseas media representatives also played a role in boosting visitor numbers, the organizers said. 

Nearly 400 exhibitors from 13 countries and regions, including Belgium, mainland China, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong region, India, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan region, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and USA, attended the fair this year.

Mainland Chinese visitors totaled 11,269 from 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities of mainland China. The top 5 sources of local visitors were Guangdong, followed by Zhejiang, Shanghai, Beijing and Shandong.

Visitors from overseas and Hong Kong region reached 1,559, up around 40 percent year-over-year. Sources of the top 10 buyers (excluding mainland China and Hong Kong region) were India, followed by Taiwan, USA, Russian Federation, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Korea, Australia, Canada and Italy.

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