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Monday, August 18, 2014

8.41-Carat Purple-Pink Diamond May Set Auction Record

An 8.41-carat pear-shaped internally flawless fancy vivid purple-pink diamond is being priced to set a world-auction record for price per carat. It will appear as the top lot at the Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Autumn Sale on October 7. 

The diamond is expected to fetch $12.8 to $15.4 million, or a high estimate of more than $1.8 million per carat, the highest per-carat pre-sale estimate for any pink diamond to date, according to the international auction house.

It is “arguably the most desirable pink diamond to appear at auction in recent years,” Sotheby’s said in a statement. Internally flawless vivid or fancy intense pink diamonds of more than 8 carats are “virtually unseen.” 

“This color is one of the most beautiful and concentrated shades of pink in diamonds that I have seen and, combined with the exceptional clarity, it is not surprising that it would command the highest per-carat pre-sale estimate for any pink diamond to date,” said Quek Chin Yeow, deputy chairman, Asia, and chairman international Jewellery, Asia.

The unmounted purple-pink diamond was cut from a 19.54-carat rough mined by De Beers, with the final cutting completed in New York. It will tour Singapore, Taipei, New York, London, Geneva and Hong Kong prior to the auction.

The current record price ever paid at auction for a diamond, or any gemstone, is the Graff Pink, a 24.76-carat, Fancy Intense pink diamond, purchased by Lawrence Graff in November 2010 for more than $46.1 million. The record price per carat for a fancy vivid pink diamond is more than $2.1 million per carat set by a 5-carat diamond, sold in Hong Kong in January 2009 for more than$10.7 million

Pink diamonds have been coveted by rulers and prized by connoisseurs since they were first discovered in the mines of India centuries ago. Many of the great gems of history are pink diamonds, including the Williamson presented to Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding, the Hortense from the Crown Jewels of France, the Darya-i-Nur from the Iranian Crown Jewels and the Agra documented as having belonged to Babur, founder of the Mogul Empire.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Global Gold Jewelry demand Fell 30% While Sales in the US and UK Improve

Yellow and white gold bracelets by Italian jewelry brand, Antonini. There was increase in Italian gold jewelry exports for the second quarter of 2014. 

Plummeting gold jewelry sales in India and China led to a 30 percent year-over-year drop in gold jewelry demand for the second quarter of 2014, the World Gold Council said Thursday. The loss was slightly offset by increases in consumer demand in the US and UK. 

Gold jewelry demand fell to 509.6 tons in the second quarter of 2014 compared with 726.7 tons in the same period of 2012, the WGC said in its quarterly report, “Gold Demand Trends.” Officials for the gold industry market development organization said the decline was expected due to the strength of 2013 demand and a natural annual weak period for such demand. In addition, the organization (which also tracks gold demand in investment, among central banks and for technology uses) notes that jewelry demand historically has accounted for more than half of global gold demand and the second quarter of 2014 was no different at 53 percent. 

“In what is traditionally a quiet quarter for gold jewelry demand, Q2 2014, was unsurprisingly lower,” said Marcus Grubb, WGC managing director of Investment Strategy, said in a video addressing the report. “However, jewelry has been extending its broad upward trend from the base established in the depths of the financial crisis in early 2009.”

Nearly all Asian and Middle-Eastern countries experienced double digit declines in demand, while western markets either remained flat or fared better, according to the report. The exception is Italy, where consumer demand was down 8 percent. However, the country, known as a gold jewelry manufacturing hub, saw gold jewelry exports improve due to increased demand in the US and other key markets.

This decline in gold jewelry demand helped to influence a 16 percent drop in overall gold demand (investment, central banks and technology) to 963.8 tons, which the WGC described as “not surprising … given the stark contrast in conditions in the global gold market between the two time periods.” 

Grubb added, “Global gold market continues to recalibrate in 2014 following an exceptional 2013 for gold buying.” 

By country, China was the market most affected by the comparison with the second quarter of 2013, WGC said. Gold jewelry demand fell 45 percent to 143.4 tons. Hong Kong also experienced a similar decline (52 percent to 9.1 tons) due to a drop in mainland China consumers.

“The second quarter began as the first had ended, with consumers adopting a more cautious, considered and ‘occasion driven’ approach to gold jewelry buying,” according to the report. 

Grubb added, “Price sensitive consumers … held back from purchasing more due to uncertainty around the future direction of the gold price and the fact that purchases have been made in 2013 instead.” 

In India, jewelry demand fell by 18 percent to 154.5 tons. The WGC said holiday and wedding purchases remained steady but the drop was primarily because of the recent general election that culminated in the victory of Narendra Damodardas Modi who took office as India’s 15th prime minister in May. High value purchases were restricted by the previous government in the run up to the election, the WGC explained. Now consumers are waiting to see whether Modi will remove those restrictions.

“Consumers held back from buying on the expectation that restrictions on gold would be relaxed by the new government,” Grubb said. “No substantial changes have been made by the Indian government to date.”

In the Middle East gold demand saw a 25 percent decline to 47 tons. The WGC says the escalation of violence in Iraq had a “deleterious impact” on demand across the region. In addition, demand slowed ahead of Ramadan. “Nevertheless, the region as a whole remains relatively healthy, particularly as non-resident Indians provide a steady source of demand for the 22k segment.” 

While the east and Middle East markets are in decline, western markets are continuing to rebound from the 2008-09 recession, with the most notable increases in the US and UK. 

Gold jewelry demand in the US for the second quarter increased 15 percent to 26.1 tons as the country is taking in more imports from India, China and Italy. It was the country’s fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth. In the UK, demand increased 21 percent to 3.6 tons. 

Gold jewelry demand in other key markets is as follows:

* In Turkey, demand fell 20 percent year-over-year due to a clampdown on credit card purchases and ongoing political turmoil, WGC said. The lower end market took the brunt of the decline while larger, more established brands were “relatively resilient.” 

* Thailand experienced a 60 percent decline in demand due to recent political instability and high comparisons to the second quarter of 2013, the WGC said.

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

'Keep Memory Alive' Foundation Honors Founder of Lagos Jewelry

Steven Lagos, founder of the Lagos jewelry brand, was honored for his 18-year commitment to the “Keep Memory Alive” foundation. He and his staff were feted at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, a building in downtown Las Vegas dedicated to finding a cure for degenerative brain diseases and helping families to cope with caring for those suffering from debilitating neurological disorders. Photo credit: Cashman Photos Enterprises, Inc.

Downtown Las Vegas is still a work in progress. On one stretch of near barren land there have been plans to open several landmark facilities as a way to revitalize the area and create a more diverse economic base for the city. Several projects have been completed but one stands out for its architecture of bent, twisted and curved metal that seems to grow out of the desert. It’s the iconic work of architect Frank Gehry and the building in question is the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, designed by Frank Gehry. Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco

The center provides out-patient care for those suffering from a number of brain ailments, including experimental treatments, and research into various brain diseases. Equally important for the principals involved is that it provides help for the family of those suffering from debilitating neurological disorders. 

The $80 million structure is the crowning achievement of “Keep Memory Alive,” a Las Vegas-based foundation dedicated to finding a cure for degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington 's, Multiple Sclerosis and ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). One person who has been there from the beginning, 18 years now, is Steven Lagos, founder of the Lagos jewelry brand. 

Lagos has been quiet about his longtime commitment to Keep Memory Alive. But his contribution came to light in late May when the foundation decided to place his name on the Ruvo Center’s “Honor Wall” by the entrance of the facility, which recognizes those most responsible for its success. The annual jewelry tradeshows in Las Vegas provided a chance for Lagos to share the honor with his staff who were in Vegas supporting the brand. 

Steve Lagos on the ladder with his staff, family and friends. Photo credit: Cashman Photos Enterprises, Inc.

So on May 30 there was Lagos standing on a ladder outside the Lou Ruvo Center removing the gift wrapping (bow and all) of a plaque revealing his name while his staff looked on. He received a bottle of Beluga vodka from Jeffrey Cummings, director of the Lou Ruvo Center. Guests received a tour of the spotless, family-friendly facility; pictures were taken with staff, family members and friends; followed by a caviar and champagne reception in the facility’s “Event Center,” with an interior view of Gehry’s iconic twisted and curved walls. The reception was a gift from the foundation to Lagos but he insisted on paying for it.

Steve Lagos after unwrapping his plaque on the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health "Honor Wall." Photo credit: Cashman Photos Enterprises, Inc.

“Let’s make an event out of it and we’ll pay for the evening,” Lagos said. He also added a donation to the foundation.

Steven Lagos receives a bottle of Beluga vodka from Jeffrey Cummings, director of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. The vodka was a gift from Larry Ruvo, co-founder and chairman of the Keep Memory Alive foundation. Photo credit: Cashman Photos Enterprises, Inc.

The foundation and building is dedicated to Lou Ruvo, the well-known owner of The Venetian restaurant in Las Vegas, which opened in 1955 and closed after 43 years. A well-known person in “Sin City,” in 1992 he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and died two years later. 

Larry Ruvo, co-founder and chairman of the Keep Memory Alive foundation.

A year after his death his only son, Larry Ruvo, the successful and well connected senior managing director of Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada, the largest spirits distributor in Nevada (the gift of Beluga vodka was from Larry Ruvo who was unable to attend the event), held a dinner that served as a memorial service with about 30 close friends and family. 

The Ruvos friends include billionaire casino owners, successful entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry, and world class entertainers. For example, the dinner was held at Spago restaurant in Caesars Palace, owned and operated by lengendary chef, Wolfgang Puck, a friend of Ruvo. At some point during the evening Ruvo said that John Paul DeJoria, a founder of Paul Mitchell hair products, announced he will donate $5,000 to Alzheimer’s research. By the end of the night about $35,000 was raised. 

Steve Lagos and guests received a tour of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Photo credit: Cashman Photos Enterprises, Inc.

The impromptu fundraiser for Alzheimer’s research became a more formal annual dinner at Spago that eventually grew to a star-studded gala with the specific purpose of raising funds for a center for brain health and continuing its ground-breaking mission. Guests and performers for the April 2014 edition of the gala included Gloria Estefan, Jon Secada, Michael Caine, Quincy Jones, Carole King, Andy Garcia, Sharon Stone, Christopher Meloni and Steve Schirripa. The more than 800 auctions items ranged from a cruise on the Mediterranean to a private dinner inside Siegfried & Roy’s Jungle Palace with the meal cooked by Japanese Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto, to a songwriting and recording session with Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. 

Lagos and Ruvo stress that 100 percent of the money raised goes to the foundation. 

Lagos was first introduced to Ruvo prior to the first formal dinner in 1995 through Bobby Baldwin, a casino executive, and a professional poker player. The two hit it off immediately. 

“He (Baldwin) said Larry was starting this charity and asked if I would get involved,” Lagos said. “I got involved and just really believed in it and stayed involved.”

At one of the early dinners, Lagos was thrown into action.

“In the world of jewelry he’s a celebrity. They know who Steven Lagos is,” Ruvo said. “I came up to him and said, ‘Steven I hate to put you on the spot but do you mind coming up here in front of 1,400 people and donate one of your great pieces?’”

Steve Lagos and Gloria Estefan, at the 2014 "Power of Love" gala, the annual Las Vegas fundraiser for the Keep Memory Alive foundation.

Lagos auctioned off a personal consultation at anyone’s home to design and make a bespoke piece of diamond jewelry with his own materials that he donated. The bidding was fierce and finally fell to two people and the price reached upwards of $250,000. Lagos agreed to make a piece for each bidder. 

“He was gracious and generous and sincere,” Ruvo said. “Every year he’s there financially and with jewelry. This year he created an iconic set of necklaces for ladies and cufflinks for the gentlemen resembling Frank Gehry’s structure (for large donors who purchased entire tables for the evening). He puts a lot of time in it and makes things that are very unique.”

Lagos said over the years he has raised and contributed about $1 million for the charity. He’s seen the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s in his family, not only with the person inflicted with the disease, but with the family members who provided care. He says with the aging of the Baby Boomer generation and people living longer, it’s going to get worse unless something is done. 

Lagos and invited guests were treated to a caviar and champagne reception at the "Event Center" of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Photo credit: Cashman Photos Enterprises, Inc.

“The whole family gets involved and it’s kind of debilitating for everybody,” Lagos said. “It’s really become an epidemic.”

Lagos is hesitant to discuss why he hasn’t better promoted his involvement with the charity. His reasons sway from not wanting to draw attention to himself to not finding the time to create a marketing program that truly reflects his belief in the charity. 

“This has been a personal thing and a company thing. We probably haven’t touted it as much as we should,” he said. “I try to participate fully with this particular charity. I try to be there and support what they’re doing. We’re believers in it. When you have a lucky life like I have and good fortune it’s important to give back.” 

But that is changing. Next year he will offer jewelry on his website dedicated to the Keep Memory Alive foundation with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the cause.

Over the years the relationship between Lagos and Ruvo also evolved. 

“At this point we’re personal friends,” Lagos said. “We see each other a couple of times a year. It’s his enthusiasm, it’s the power of love and I kid it’s the power of Larry. He is such an engaging person.”

For Ruvo the feeling is mutual and that is why he wanted to place Lagos on the Honor Wall. 

“We wanted to do something for Steven Lagos with his friends and some of our donors there,” Ruvo said. “Steven was just somebody I had to pay respect to and thank. No matter when I called him or what I asked him it’s always yes.”

For Lagos’ part, he says he is more interested in the cause rather the recognition. 

“He called me and said they wanted to do this. It’s really never been about that for me,” he said. “It’s about raising awareness and getting involved. They are doing wonderful work out there at the Cleveland Clinic. They’re going to find a cure and remedies. They already are.”

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kering Acquires Ulysse Nardin, Pays 13 Times Earnings For High Watch Brand

Ulysse Nardin Marine Diver

Kering makes another jewelry and watch acquisition. This time the French multinational company said Wednesday it will acquire a 100 percent stake in the Swiss luxury watch brand Ulysse Nardin. The watchmaker will join Kering’s recently formed “Luxury – Watches and Jewellery” division headed by Albert Bensoussan. Kering added that the Ulysse Nardin management team, led by Chai Schnyder, president of the Board of Directors, and CEO Patrik P. Hoffmann, will remain in place.

Kering (formerly known as PPR) hasn’t been shy about upping its stakes in the “hard luxuries” category (jewelry and watches). François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chairman and CEO, said that in a statement that Ulysse Nardin, as one of the last remaining independent haute horlogerie brands, will reinforce its growing jewelry watch division, which consists of Boucheron, Dodo, Girard-Perregaux, JeanRichard, Pomellato and Qeelin. Three brands (Italian jewelers Pomellato and Dodo; and Hong Kong jeweler Qeelinwere acquired by Kering within the past two years. Those acquisitions along with Ulysse Nardin are evidence of the company’s pursuit of luxury jewelry and watch companies. Kering also owns brands in the high fashion, lifestyle and sports merchandising categories.

In addition, both companies say the acquisition will allow Ulysse Nardin to expand more rapidly in Asia. Expansion in Asia is something else Kering has been open about in recent years. 

“Ulysse Nardin benefits from a rich heritage, high profitability and solid growth prospects,” Pinault said. “Independent high-end watchmaking manufactures are rare. This is an opportunity that we had to seize, particularly because this structural acquisition will enable us to take advantage of numerous synergies with our existing brands. We have great ambitions for this company and we will help it continue its international expansion whilst staying faithful to its roots and its identity.” 

The company declined to give an acquisition price but during a conference call Wednesday, Jean-Marc Duplaix, Kering CFO and Jean-Francois Palus, Kering managing director, said the company paid 13 times Ulysse Nardin’s 2013 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Palus said it is a “fair (price) for a brand with such a rich heritage high visibility and growth prospects.”

As a private company, Ulysse Nardin doesn’t disclose much of its finances or manufacturing volume and Kering wouldn’t release those details. An analyst at the conference call asked if media estimates of annual sales of 250 million Swiss francs and annual turnover of 27,000 pieces per year were accurate. Duplaix responded by saying the “assumption you mentioned is quite sensible and so is the volume of watches the brand is selling per year.” He added that Ulysse Nardin “will become the backbone of our watch business.”

Ulysse Nardin, based in Le Locle, Switzerland, specializes in creating ultra-complicated timepieces, many of them considered groundbreaking achievements, using cutting-edge technologies and state-of-the-art materials. For example, it was one of the first companies to use silicon in its timepiece movements and is one of the few Swiss watchmakers to have its own production capacity for critical watch components, particularly regulating systems.

The independent company was founded in 1846 by Ulysse Nardin with its roots in the nautical world for navigational purposes. It was taken over and re-launched in 1983 by Rolf W. Schnyder who transformed it into a highly profitable business. After his unexpected and sudden death in 2011, Chai Schnyder, Rolf Schnyder's wife, and Hoffmann took over the lead of the company. 

The company still benefits from a very strong brand identity based on its historical expertise in marine chronometers.

“Joining Kering is an opportunity for Ulysse Nardin,” Chai Schnyder said. “It will allow the brand to carry on with its international expansion and continue to innovate, while assuring the long-term future of its knowledge and expertise and communiqué.”

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Swatch Group Brands Prepare to Bring their 2014 Watches to Market

Breguet Celebrated "Tourbillon Day" at its Fifth Avenue boutique with a cake decorated as a tourbillon. 

In June Manhattan served as a final staging area as several Swatch Group brands held previews of their Baselworld 2014 releases. Most of the watches will appear on store shelves beginning September. However, some are already on sale.

Breguet Classique Tourbillon Quantième Perpétuel 3797

Breguet had been the most creative in using this time by hosting Tourbillon Day on June 26 at its Fifth Avenue boutique. Press members and VIP clientele were treated to a cake decorated as a tourbillon movement; champagne toasts; and a display of the brand’s most important tourbillon watches, including its 2014 Baselworld releases. The company even brought in Nakis Karapatis, Breguet’s head of Research & Development, to present a lecture on the history and function of the tourbillon.

Blancpain One Minute Flying Carrousel and Moon Phase

The celebration was created just last year by the luxury watch brand to commemorate the day that the brand’s founder and namesake, Abraham-Louis Breguet, patented the tourbillon on June 26, 1801. The invention (whose name translates as “whirlwind or “whirlpool”) was intended to compensate for the errors and fluctuations in functioning due to gravity and the natural changes in a watch’s position. It is prized by watch collectors not only for its functionality but for its beauty, particularly when exposed on a dial.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Paillonné Enamel

I’ll leave the argument of whether a tourbillon is a complication for another day.

Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date 

If all this tourbillon talk has your head spinning, wait till you read about the carrousel movement. It may look like a tourbillon and act like a tourbillon but it’s different, according to Adam Bossi, Blancpain US brand manager. He spoke at a press lunch a week before the Swatch event at the outdoor rooftop lounge of the Nomad hotel in Manhattan, where its new Baselworld novelties were presented. Like the tourbillon, the carrousel counteracts and neutralizes the effects of deceleration and acceleration of the balance wheel caused by the gravitational pull of the Earth. However, while a tourbillon consists of a rotating carriage; a carrousel consists of a platform on which the balance wheel and its bridge go round like a wooden horse on a merry-go-round, the reason for its name. Bossi said.

Longines Equestrian Lépine

Bossi also provided some details of the new Blancpain New York boutique, set to open at anytime now. Be prepared for some high-tech imagery and interactive displays.

Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar

In the morning of the same day that Breguet had its celebration, luxury watch brands Jaquet Droz and Glashütte Original held a joint press breakfast at Lincoln Center for the reason of presenting its Baselworld 2014 collection.

Breguet Reine De Naples Princesse 8968 Ladies

Tissot was also quite busy in June, opening a new dedicated display (also known as a “shop-in-shop”) at the Toureanu TimeMachine store at 57th and Madison Avenue. It highlights Tissot’s new advertising campaign and its Baselworld 2014 introductions, getting a head start on many other brands.

Blancpain Off-Centered Hour Ladies

However, few watch brands were busier during the month of June (and May for that matter) than Longines, which was a presence at each leg of horseracing’s “Triple Crown,” as the official timekeeper and official watch for the world’s most celebrated horseracing series. The watch brand released a number of models at Baselworld, including one commemorating other equestrian events it supports.

Longines Elegant Collection Ladies

So here’s a final look before you’ll be able to see these releases in stores around the world.

Tissot T-Touch Lady Solar

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Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Circled Ladies 

Glashütte Original Pavonina White Gold Ladies 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tiffany & Co. CEO Michael Kowalski to Retire; Frederic Cumenal Named as Successor

Michael J. Kowalski

Longtime Tiffany & Co. CEO, Michael J. Kowalski, will retire effective March 31, 2015, the luxury jewelry retailer announced Monday.Frederic Cumenal, Tiffany president, has been tapped to succeed him.

Kowalski, 62, joined Tiffany in 1983, became its in 1999 and assumed the role of chairman of the board in 2003. He will continue to serve on the board in the role of non-executive chairman following his retirement. 

“I am immensely satisfied by what we have accomplished at Tiffany over the past 30 years, and I am confident that the company is superbly positioned for the future,” Kowalski said in a statement. “Frederic Cumenal is ideally suited to succeed me as chief executive officer, and we will continue to work closely together to ensure a seamless transition.”

Cumenal, 54, was named Tiffany’s president in September 2013, with responsibilities for worldwide sales and distribution as well as design, merchandising and marketing functions. At that time he was also appointed to a newly created seat on the Tiffany’s board. Cumenal initially joined Tiffany in March 2011 as an executive vice president with responsibilities for sales and distribution. He will succeed Kowalski on April 1, 2015.

Frederic Cumenal

“This is an extraordinary company with a fantastic heritage and an exciting future,” Cumenal said. “I am deeply honored to be selected as its leader and look forward enthusiastically to capitalizing on the many opportunities ahead.”

Prior to joining Tiffany, Cumenal held senior leadership positions for 15 years in LVMH Group’s wine and spirits businesses, most recently as president and chief executive officer of Moët & Chandon, S.A. He previously served as CEO of Domaine Chandon, and was managing director of Moët Hennessy Europe.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Jewelry Creations of Zorab Atelier

18k pink gold and palladium Bull Ring with White diamonds, yellow diamonds, black diamonds, blue diamonds, green diamonds, two bezel-set orange sapphires, pink diamonds, six black spinels. It took six weeks to complete this piece.

True Brazilian Paraiba tourmaline has become one of the rarest gems in the world. Named after the region of Brazil where they exist, the mines in this area are near depleted and according to several sources only bits and pieces remain of the turquoise to green gems.

62-carat Brazilian Paraiba  ring in 18k yellow gold studded with diamonds. It retails for approximately $420,000.

(This is not to be confused with similar looking gems from Nigeria and Mozambique that is also being called “paraiba.”)

So imagine my surprise when an exhibitor at the recently held JCK Luxury tradeshow in Las Vegas showed me not one but two 18k yellow gold rings studded with diamonds and centered with true Brazilian Paraiba stones weighing 62 carats and 47 carats. The rings are from Zorab Atelier de Creation and is an example of its mastery in obtaining rare gemstones.

Bloom Tiger Striped Flower Ring in black diamonds, blue sapphire, pink sapphire, 18k gold, silver, tsavorite garnet and white diamonds.

The Lebanese-based family jeweler’s other mastery is creating bespoke and limited edition pieces from all types of rare and unusual gems that range from classic jewelry to masculine-themed art objects loaded with a variety of stones employing refined artistry and craftsmanship. Items range from a tiger striped flower ring featuring black diamonds, white diamonds, blue diamonds, yellow diamonds, and spinel; to a bracelet made of multi-colored diamonds, orange sapphires, red sapphires, spesertite garnets, yellow sapphires and white diamonds, palladium, gold, and spinel. There was even gem-encrusted ring in the shape of a bull.

Diamond Scales Serpent bracelet with black and white diamonds, gold, palladium and spinels.

Henri and Liza Istamboulian, the second generation family members who now run the 40-year-old business, say the company produces about 500 pieces a year of limited edition and bespoke jewelry and each item can take from six months to a year to complete. They are fully invested in the process from the mine to market. They source their gems from Africa and South America, including Tanzania, Mozambique and Madagascar and have their gem cutting operation in Bangkok.

Blue Cascade Drop Earrings in white sapphire, gold, and palladium.

To find their pieces you have to do a little work as they appear in fewer than 30 luxury retail stores throughout the world, including the firm’s flagship location in Beirut. Its largest market is the US, particularly Texas and California. It accounts for nearly half of their doors and is so large that the company opened an office in San Diego.

Tiger Lily Flower Brooch in black diamonds, white diamonds, blue diamonds, yellow diamonds, and spinel.

Their highly elaborate pieces are popular among those with specific tastes and deep pockets. Clients include oil tycoons from Russia to Texas as well as international celebrities, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. They are also popular in Asia, from China to Indonesia.

Delicate Brilliance Jeweled Earrings in amethyst, quartz, blue and white diamonds, blue topaz, and blue zircon.

Expansion isn’t necessary in their plans, they said, but the possibility of a second branded boutique is possible.

Fire-Bred Horse bracelet in multi-colored diamonds, orange sapphires, red sapphires, spesertite garnets, yellow sapphires and white diamonds.

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