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Leibish & Co

Friday, February 12, 2016

Last Minute Valentine Gifts By Etienne Perret And Alex Soldier

Etienne Perret orange diamond, 18k gold and black ceramic ring.

You haven’t even looked for a Valentine’s Day gift, have you? Well you’re in luck as you still have time to buy something special and Jewelry News Network has two designers that produce jewels that any woman would love. 

The first is Etienne Perret, who specializes in modern designs made with unusual materials. He is well known for using colored enhanced natural diamonds, in bridal and fashion pieces matched with 18k gold or platinum. These are real diamonds in which their color was created in a lab. These are much more affordable than natural colored diamonds and any color can be created. 

Perret is equally well known for creating pieces using “Ceramique” gem ceramic, which is both ultra durable and stylish. Perret also does custom design pieces but it’s too late for that now isn’t it. You can learn how to purchase his products directly or with one through the many retailers that carry his jewels through his website.

Alex Soldier butterfly studs.

As I mentioned previously Alex Soldier is a favorite of Jewelry News Network. His work combines traditional and modern themes with imaginative artistry and numerous jewelry making techniques. His handmade jewels often possess multiple textures, such as combining encrusted gold surfaces gold with intricate gold lattice, and movement, whether it is actually physical or the way the jewels reflect the light. 

Without really any mentors, his works, even when based on traditional themes, turn out looking unique. What he considers his strongest influence is his native Russia, more specifically, the city of Perm in the remote Ural mountain region. Russian themes are certainly represented in his work.

Alex Soldier products are available at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue stores or you contact the company directly through its website

And please hurry. 

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

2015 A Down Year For Gold Jewelry Demand

Colorful gold chains by Pomellato. Photo by Anthony DeMarco

There were few bright spots in the global gold jewelry market for 2015 as regional tensions continue to slow jewelry sales.

Annual gold jewelry demand declined 3 percent in 2015, year-over-year, to 2,414.9 tons as many markets remain under the strain of geopolitical tensions and instability, according to the World Gold Council. Fourth quarter demand meanwhile was a bit more stable with a 1 percent drop in jewelry demand, year-over-year, to 671.4 tons. In value terms, the decline was 9 percent. 

India, the second largest gold jewelry market in the world, was the main driver behind the gold jewelry economy this year, although it was not enough to offset losses in China, Turkey Russia, and the Middle East. In the U.S., steady, slow growth continues while spending on gold jewelry remains flat in Europe. 

A surge in demand in India during the second-half of the year resulted in a 5 percent gain in demand in 2015 to 654.3 tons (its third highest level on record) and ended the year with a fourth quarter increase of 6 percent to 173.1 tons. 

The WGC said November and December were “particularly upbeat” led by the five-day Diwali festival, which was preceded by a drop in the price of gold, leading to greater demand. Severe rains and flooding in southern India followed by reduction in foreign investment led to the first-half decline in demand. 

Demand in the world’s largest jewelry market saw a 3 percent drop in gold jewelry demand, year-over-year to 783.5 tons. Meanwhile, fourth quarter demand fell by 1 percent to 202.6 tons. The WGC blames the “economic slowdown and the stock market turmoil of the first half of the year was the primary driver behind this weakness, through its damaging effect on wider consumer sentiment.”

The WGC adds the country faces difficult times for retailers as tightening credit lines and slowing economic growth has put pressure on margins. Small regional brands, especially those in tier 3 and 4 cities, have suffered most. Larger retailers have fared better, “supported by a better product range and deeper pockets.” About 85 percent of the market consists of 24k jewelry with higher-margin 18k product grabbing more market share. Inventories are being managed conservatively, the WGC adds.

Hong Kong
The small but important market saw its gold jewelry demand “practically collapse,” with a 23 percent drop in the fourth quarter alone to 13.6 tons. The island is heavily dependent on mainland China tourists, which saw a steep decline in 2015 and into 2016. 

Demand for gold jewelry increased 3 percent in the fourth quarter to 45.6 tons, matched by a “cautious” 3 percent increase in annual demand to 119.6 tons, the WGC said. The U.S. has now experienced eight consecutive quarters of growth. The main benefit was a drop in the gold price in the third quarter, which aided buying by retailers for the Christmas season. 

“The tentative uptrend that began in 2013 continues to hold for now, but feels fragile,” the WGC said. “On the one hand, consumers have seen their disposable incomes benefit from lower oil and heating prices. But on the other hand, a shift has been seen towards spending on travel and leisure rather than on retail goods. While creeping improvement in economic indicators provides some support, there is little call for enthusiastic optimism in the outlook for 2016.”

Other Asian Markets
Overall, the smaller Asian markets were a “mixed bag,” the WGC said, with growth in Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and South Korea offset by losses in Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, the WGC said.

Vietnam was the high point as demand for gold jewelry expanded by 31 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter to 3.9 tons, yielding a 25 percent increase in annual demand to 15.6 tons. This is due to a steep drop in the local price of the precious metal in 2015, combined with lower inflation and stronger economic growth, the WGC said.

The important gold jewelry manufacturing hub wrestled with economic, political and regional disruption over the past year and is seen by the WGC as one of the major causes of the global decline in gold jewelry demand in 2015. Fourth quarter results were very much along the lines of the year-over-year weakness seen over the preceding three quarters as demand fell 26 percent to 15 tons. The lira is weak, which kept local gold prices elevated. “The fragile domestic economic and political backdrop—and proximity to conflict in Middle Eastern countries—badly affected consumer sentiment in the market,” the WGC said. “As did the terrorist incidents that spilled onto domestic soil.”

Middle East
Iran is the only bright spot as demand in the region declined 5 percent to 51.4 tons in the fourth quarter, giving an annual total of 224.1 tons, the lowest since 2012. “Unsurprisingly, further falls in the price of oil and continued conflict across the region have fed through to declines in gold jewelry consumption,” WGC said. “Declining tourist revenues were an added factor in the UAE.”

Annual Russian jewelry demand slumped to a 14-year low of 41.1 tons—39 percent below the 2014 total. Demand in the market has “collapsed” since the middle of 2014, with six consecutive quarters of double-digit losses. “Already crippled by the after-effects of military intervention in the Ukraine (namely, a freefalling currency and international sanctions), the market has been further clobbered by plummeting oil revenues,” WGC said. “There is little room for improvement in demand over the coming year.”

Demand for gold jewelry in demand declined by 1 percent in both the fourth quarter and full-year of 2015 (to 35.7 tons and 75.8 tons respectively). Slight improvement in the UK (+1%) and Spain (+6%) were offset by declines in France (-5%), Germany (-2%) and Italy (-3%) continued to shrink. 

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Daniel Craig’s James Bond Omega Seamaster Up For Auction

The Omega Seamaster 300 Bond Edition. The same watch worn by Daniel Craig in the Bond movie, Spectre will be sold at Christie's

By Gretchen Friedrich, Jewelry News Network’s social media manager 

Christie’s London is celebrating the release of the movie, Spectre, the latest installment in the James Bond series, on DVD and Blu-Ray by doing what it does best, holding an auction. Proceeds from the February 18 sale will benefit several charitable organizations. 

Items from the Spectre auction at Christie's London King Street location include an Omega Seamaster 300 Bond Edition, one of eight watches worn by James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, throughout the film. 

The Omega Seamaster 300 Bond Edition in case, photographed at Shreve, Crump & Low

Owning this Seamaster 300 is extraordinary for several reasons. In addition to gracing the wrist of an international movie star, the Seamaster 300 is an exceptional timepiece, even without the Hollywood provenance. 

Omega produced only 7,007 Seamaster 300s, the first Bond watch with a limited production. “This piece is completely sold out worldwide, making it more difficult to obtain,” said Brian Walker, marketing VP for Shreve, Crump & Low

The Boston jeweler is one of a select group of exclusive boutiques to carry the Omega watch line. 

Walker adds that the second hand on the dial is a retrospective of the 1950s Seamaster design, one that resembles a lollipop. Other retro features are the NATO strap and the casing, which are similar to the watch worn by the original James Bond, Sean Connery. The strap holder on the bracelet reinforces the spy theme with a "007" engraving. 

The box for the Omega Seamaster 300 Bond Edition, photographed at Shreve, Crump & Low

The classic features house modern technological mechanisms, with a Co-Axial escapement that increases precision and durability. Plus, it's resistant to magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss, as well as water depths up to 1,000 feet. 

The presentation box is very Bond-esque as well with a combination lock securing the precious timepiece. Even Q would be proud to wear one with this kind of hardware. 

Christie's estimates the watch will sell for £15,000-20,000 ($21,000-$28,000). The Seamaster 300 Bond edition originally sold, directly from Omega, for $7,500. 

The live auction at the London showroom is limited to invitation-only guests. Interested parties can bid on the Seamaster 300, and the other Bond-related items (such as the Aston Martin DB10, designed specifically for the movie) online on Christie's website, and by phone. 

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Harry Winston Launches Timepiece To Support amfAR

Harry Winston's "Countdown to a Cure" men's timepiece

Harry Winston on Tuesday launched a limited-edition timepiece designed to bring attention to and help fund the mission of amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.

The "Countdown to a Cure Timepiece" for men and women also marks Harry Winston’s second year of partnership with amfAR. As the name suggests, the watch is designed exclusively for amfAR’s “Countdown to a Cure” campaign. It’s the first official product to benefit amfAR’s efforts to develop the scientific basis of a cure for HIV by 2020. 

A total of 20 percent of the retail sale price will go toward amfAR and its Countdown to a Cure initiative.

Harry Winston's "Countdown to a Cure" ladies' timepiece

As part of Harry Winston’s timeless Midnight Collection, the men’s version of the watch features a 42mm white gold case with a navy blue dial accented with a multicolor gradient, representing amfAR’s Countdown to a Cure campaign colors that symbolizes the fade of the disease from crisis to cure. The 32mm women’s model is set with 12 brilliant-cut diamonds and 19 vivid gemstones, from rubies and sapphires to spessartite garnets.

The men’s model retails for $21,200 and the women’s for $16,200. Each timepiece is limited to 20 pieces and they are available at Harry Winston salons worldwide. 

Harry Winston is in its second year of a three-year partnership with amfAR, in support of the organization’s mission to end the global AIDS epidemic through innovative research, and its “Countdown to a Cure” initiative, which is aimed at developing the scientific basis for a cure by 2020. Launched in February 2014, it’s designed to intensify amfAR’s cure-focused HIV research program through strategic investments of $100 million over the next five years. 

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Valentine’s Day Gifts: Jewels, Watches And A Pen

The Noor Ring by Vara of London

It’s difficult for me to figure out the taste of my sweet, lovely wife, Maria—particularly with jewelry. But it turns out Mayuri Vara, founder of Vara of London, had just the thing: The Noor ring. 

Vara never met my wife but she knew this ring made with amethysts and smoky quartz set on gold plated silver would do the trick and she was right. My wife loved it and my life is better for it.  

I’m not going to make promises that these suggestions of jewels, watches and even a pen for Valentine’s Day gifts in all price ranges will make your life easier. But imagine how difficult your life will be if you forget Valentine’s Day, or you buy a gift without putting much thought into it. 

Below are some of my other favorites for this year:

John Hardy Dot Toi Moi Ring made of 18k gold with a freshwater pearls and diamond. 

Harry Winston Midnight Diamond Stalactites Automatic 36mm timepiece combines diamonds, pink sapphires and rubies set against a mother-of-pearl dial. Driven by the HW2008 automatic movement, it is available in 18k white gold, with the case accented with 84 brilliant-cut diamonds and a white satin strap.

Lagos Love Knot ring is available in sterling silver and in 18k gold with diamonds. 

The Montblanc Meisterstuck White Solitaire Rollerball is made with precious white lacquer and red gold-plated details. 

Lydia Courteille Scarlet Empress Collection Red Sapphire Earrings

Hidden Heart Georg Jensen sterling silver pendant features a modern design motif that subtly incorporates the shape of a heart. 

If vintage jewels are more your style you might go for this Art Deco Diamond Rose Bracelet by Boucheron, Paris, circa 1925. It is available at Siegelson in New York. 

Antonini 18k yellow gold ring with diamonds and sapphires that appear like pebbles on sand

The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Ladies watch features a mother-of-pearl dial with 11 diamond indexes in 18k gold holders. This 38.5 mm 18k red gold ladies’ wristwatch, with its diamond-set bezel comes with a white leather strap with a mother-of-pearl effect. It is powered by the Omega Master Co-Axial caliber 8501, a movement that can resist strong magnetic fields.

Carrera y Carrera Love earrings in white and yellow gold with diamonds

French jewelry brand, Djula, with a white gold and diamond necklace that says “I Heart You”

Pasquale Bruni white gold earrings with diamonds.

Le Vian Chocolatier 14k Strawberry Gold ring with 2.91 carats of Chocolate Diamonds and Vanilla Diamonds

Sutra 18k rose gold earrings with opals and diamonds.

You have about 10 days left to shop so go to it. 

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Valentine’s Day: Unique Diamond Bracelet By David Morris

Rare 60-carat center stone unearthed at legendary Cullinan Mine

It might be the ultimate Valentine’s Day jewelry gift this year. London jeweler David Morris is offering a diamond bracelet with a rare 59.89-carat cushion-cut diamond. The D-colored diamond was created from a 120-carat Type 2a rough diamond unearthed at the legendary Cullinan mine in South Africa, where some of the largest and most important diamonds in the world were found. 

The center diamond was paired with 10.62 carats of pink and white fancy-cut diamonds in an en tremblant (to tremble) petal design set in 18k rose and white gold. The design was created by Jeremy Morris, the managing director and principal designer of the brand. 

The 120-carat rough diamond took eight months to cut and the design of the bangle took another 100 hours of work to make the design come to life. The creation combines old-world hand-crafted techniques with Computer-Aided Design (CAD) technology.

Jeremy Morris said he was inspired by the main diamond’s attributes, which he described as the “cool, limpid waters of a pond.” The trembling movement of the pink diamond petals reflects the “swaying of the lilies floating upon it.” 

The piece is available at the David Morris, The London Jeweller, at its Bond Street flagship. Or it will be transported by guard to any location in the world. As an added bonus, Jeremy Morris said he will grant naming rights for the diamond.

Price upon request. 

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

JNA Awards Reveals 2016 Judging Criteria, Opens Online Registration

The judging criteria for the fifth edition of the annual JNA Awards is finalized and online registration is open to give companies and individuals from the jewelry and gemstone industry more time to review the entry rules and criteria before the submission period begins in early March.

The JNA Awards, organized by the publication Jewellery News Asia, is regarded as one of the jewelry and gemstone industry’s highest honors, recognizing enterprises and individuals that have demonstrated excellence, leadership, innovation and have made positive contributions to their businesses and communities, with a focus on achievements in Asia.

“As organizer of the JNA Awards, we find it very promising to see steady growth in quality entries over the past four years,” said Letitia Chow, founder of JNA, director of Business Development - Jewellery Group at UBM Asia, and chair of the JNA Awards judging panel. “We are also opening registration early to enable interested parties to study the categories and determine which are most appropriate to them prior to the submission period.”

Chow added that the geographical region of the awards has been expanded to include Greater China and Korea and the manufacturing categories have been consolidated. 

“It is very encouraging to see the JNA Awards continuously making improvements on the criteria and entry procedure to make the judging process more efficient and more reflective of current industry aspirations,” said Albert Cheng, World Gold Council advisor and JNA Awards judge.

“A constant refinement of the judging criteria is crucial in maintaining the relevancy and rigor of the awards; helping the judges to better assess, compare and select the best entries,” added James Courage, JNA Awards judging panel member since its inception in 2012.

The JNA Awards 2016 is supported by Headline Partners Rio Tinto Diamonds and Chow Tai Fook, together with Diarough Group, the Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies, Shanghai Diamond Exchange, and Guangdong Land Holdings Limited serving as Honoured Partners.

The period for the submission of entries will run from March to April 2016. Click here to register online and review all the category criteria and rules of entry

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