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Monday, May 26, 2014

Jewelry and Watches Sparkle at Cannes

Cate Blanchett wears wears 18k white gold and sapphire drop earrings from Chopard's Red Carpet Collection.

Chopard’s longtime association with the Cannes Film Festival has been fruitful. The glamorous event provides the luxury jewelry and watch brand with high-level international stage for its jewelry and watches.

Julianne Moore in 18k white gold set with round shaped emeralds of 22.11 carats and 21.66 carats each, 2 pear shaped rubies of 2.05 carats and 2.11 carats each and multicolored sapphires, rubies, emeralds, amethysts and tsavorites from Chopard's Red Carpet Collection. Photo credit: David M. Benett/Getty Images for Lionsgate

Each year Chopard creates the Palme d’Or, the trophy given to the best film of the international festival, as well as other awards. The company also uses the world’s most glamorous film festival to unveil its “Red Carpet Collection” of high jewels, which are worn by actresses and models on the festival red carpet and events hosted by the luxury brand.

Karlie Kloss unveils a new addition to Chopard's Green Carpet high jewelry collection, earrings with a lacework of Fairmined white gold and 13.49 carats of pear-cut diamonds with brilliant-cut and marquise-cut diamonds.

Chopard also scored on another level by partnering with Oscar winning actress Cate Blanchett. Her beauty and rgace have proven to be perfect fir for the Swiss luxury jewelry and watch brand. At Cannes, she played a starring role for Chopard wearing white gold earrings with 62 amethysts on the Red Carpet, and presenting the Trophée Chopard, also created by the brand, for best young actors, to French actress Adèle Exarchopoulos and American actor Logan Lerman.

The Palme d'Or award given to the best film at Cannes was for the first time created with Fairmined gold, which guarantees strict respect for the rules of economic, social and environmental development in the mining process.

Chopard also did its part in turning the red carpet green. The brand partners with Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco-Age, created a program named “The Journey to Sustainable Luxury” using “Fairmined” gold—extracted by artisanal and small-scale miners certified under the standard created by the Alliance for Responsible Mining. This label guarantees strict respect for the rules of economic, social and environmental development in the mining process.

Rosario Dawson wears the Montblanc Princess Grace de Monaco Pétales de Rose earrings and bracelet on the Red Carpet at "The Captive" Film Premiere. 

This year’s Palme d’Or was made in Fairminded gold. In addition, the luxury brand used American fashion model, Karlie Kloss to unveil a new addition to its Green Carpet high jewelry collection, launched a year ago using Fairminded gold. Kloss wore earrings that feature a lacework of Fairmined white gold and 13.49 carats of pear-cut diamonds, with brilliant-cut and marquise-cut diamonds.

Zoe Saldana in de Grisogono rose gold Catene earrings set with white diamonds and a rose gold ring featuring white diamonds from the Onde Collection.

The company explained the program in great detail during the Baselworld watch and jewelry show in March where it unveiled the L.U.C Tourbillon QF Fairmined watch, the first watch in the world made of Fairmined gold.

Sonia Rolland in Montblanc Princess Grace de Monaco Collection Pétales de Rose motif earrings, bracelet and six petals ring.

While Chopard held center stage at the 11-day festival, it was not alone. German luxury brand Montblanc dressed several European and American actors and models in its new Meisterstück Heritage Collection timepieces and Montblanc Princesse Grace de Monaco fine jewelry collection.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in U-1942 watch by U-Boat by Italo Fontana.

Another company long associated with Cannes, de Grisogono, the Swiss luxury jewelry and watch brand, adorned actress Zoe Saldana with a pair of rose gold Catene earrings set with white diamonds and a rose gold ring featuring white diamonds from the Onde Collection.

Antonio Banderas with Schwarzenegger wearing the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph steel and red gold.

Other jewelry and watch brands making their mark at Cannes included Carla Amorim, Jack Vartanian and U-Boat by Italo Fontana.

Rosario Dawson is seen again at Cannes, this time in red sapphire and black gold earrings by the Brazilian jewelry designer, Carla Amorim.

One of the most visible actors at Cannes was Rosario Dawson who was seen throughout the event wearing Montblanc, Carla Amorim and Jack Vartanian.

Christina Hendricks in Jack Vartanian Universe diamond ear climbers.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

AGA and NCDIA To Host Discussions on Lab-Grown Diamonds

A 2.02-carat round lab-grown diamond with J color and VS 1 clarity by Gemesis. It sells for $16,927.60.

Lab-grown diamonds are a hot topic right now. There are two issues dominating the industry.

The most important is what to call these diamonds. The industry has been pretty successful pushing the word “synthetic” as a way to identify them for consumers but it has always been controversial as these gems are real diamonds grown in a lab and the word “synthetic” means fake. “Lab-grown” is the term I use to identify these diamonds because I think it is more accurate. This goes against the every diamond and gem organization that has written rules for the industry to follow as they prefer using “synthetic.”

The other issue is that some diamond dealers are mixing less costly lab-grown diamonds with mined diamonds. Both the Gemological Institute of America and De Beers, and probably others, have built machines that they say are capable of detecting these diamonds.

Regardless of the controversies and the fact that many in the traditional diamond industry see them as a threat, lab-grown diamonds are here to stay and will continue to be a greater part of the diamond and gem mix, as laboratory techniques become more accessible and less expensive.

There will be at least two organizations that will address the issues of these diamonds for the trade during the Las Vegas jewelry shows, which begins Tuesday and runs through June 2.

The Accredited Gemologists Association will host a four-hour panel discussion beginning 1 p.m. on May 29 at Platinum Hotel. Speakers are James Shigley, research fellow of the Gemological Institute of America, Tom Chatham, president, Chatham Created Gems; Dusan Simic, president of Analytical Gemology and Jewelry Laboratory, and Ronnie VanderLinden, president of the Diamond Manufacturer's and Importers Association (DMIA) and Diamex, Inc. For more information got to

Shigley will provide information on identification techniques for lab-created diamonds, and Dusan Simic will present breaking news on affordable options now available for identifying mounted as well loose diamonds, including melee sizes. Tom Chatham, a respected grower, will give a producer's insights into current and projected production estimates, while diamond dealer Ronnie Vanderlinden will share his thoughts on why he, a well known natural diamond dealer, decided to sell lab-grown diamonds as well as natural. In addition, the Q&A session will be extended to allow attendees to play a more interactive role in creating an in-depth discussion and understanding of the market and where it is headed.

Meanwhile, the Natural Color Diamond Association will host its own panel discussion on lab-grown diamonds and discuss how they affect the trade as part of the education program at the JCK Las Vegas jewelry tradeshow at Mandalay Bay. The session will be held May 30 at 1 p.m. The panelists will discuss policies regarding synthetic diamonds, whether they are relative today and potential solutions to any outstanding issues.

The panel will include Cecilia Gardner, president, CEO and general counsel of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Charles Stanley, president of Forevermark US, Ronnie Vanderlinden, president of the Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association, James Shigley, Gemological Institute of America Research Fellow, and Thomas Gelb, NCDIA education director.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gumuchian’s Jewelry is for the Bees

B collection hoop earrings 

Luxury jewelry brand Gumuchian has created a set of 18k gold jewelry in support of the declining honeybee population. The “B” collection is a line of link and cuff bracelets, earrings, pendants, rings and five different bee-related charms. The shapes of the links are hexagonal, similar to the shape of a honeycomb. The gold is offset with diamond pavé accents. 

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the collection will be donated to the non-profit,, which supports urban beekeeping and home gardens. Citing recent studies, including those by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the family owned jewelry firm says that one in every three bites of food consumed in the United States is either directly or indirectly pollinated by bees.

The collection will be unveiled at the JCK Las Vegas jewelry tradeshow, which runs May 30 – June 2. 

“Many of our collections are inspired by nature” said Myriam Gumuchian, Gumuchian VP of sales. “But this aspect of nature didn’t just inspire the designs it also inspired us to be part of something bigger.”

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Tiffany Reports Q1 Sales Up 13%, Comps Up 11%

Tiffany Butterfly Tiara from the Blue Book Collection. Pink spinels and round brilliant diamonds adorn an exquisitely handcrafted platinum tiara in a butterfly motif. Carat total weight: round brilliant diamonds, 19.97; pink spinels, 10.98; marquise diamonds,  0.73. $150,000.

Tiffany & Co. said Wednesday that worldwide net sales in the first quarter increased 13 percent, year-over-year, to $1 billion led by strong results in nearly all regions and product categories. On a constant-exchange-rate basis that excludes the effect of translating foreign-currency-denominated sales into U.S. dollars worldwide net sales rose 15 percent and comparable store sales rose 11 percent due to growth in most regions.

The luxury retailer known for its diamond, gemgold and silver jewelry said the spike in sales was combined with an improved operating margin, resulting in a growth in net earnings to $126 million, or $0.97 per diluted share, from $84 million, or $0.65 per diluted share.

The New York-based luxury jewelry retailer also increased its earnings forecast for the current fiscal year.

Sales by region are as follows:

In the Americas, total sales increased 8 percent to $439 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales rose 9 percent and comparable store sales rose 8 percent, primarily due to geographically broad-based growth across the U.S.

In Asia-Pacific, total sales rose 17 percent to $261 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales increased 19 percent and comparable store sales rose 10 percent with noteworthy growth throughout Greater China and in Australia.

In Japan, total sales surged 20 percent to $174 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis eliminating the negative effect of a weaker yen versus the U.S. dollar, total sales and comparable store sales rose 29 percent and 30 percent. 

In Europe, total sales rose 9 percent to $101 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, total sales rose 2 percent and comparable store sales declined 3 percent. Trends were similar in the U.K. and in continental Europe.

Other sales increased 39 percent to $37 million, primarily due to retail sales growth which included 18 percent comparable store sales growth in the United Arab Emirates and the opening of the first company-operated Tiffany & Co. store in Russia. Other sales also benefited from an increase in wholesale sales of diamonds; such diamonds are a result of the company's rough diamond sourcing operations.

“This is an excellent and encouraging start to the year,” said Michael J. Kowalski, Tiffany chairman and CEO. “We were pleased with the strong and broad-based sales growth across most regions and product categories and our ability to leverage those improved sales into very significant growth in operating and net earnings. Strength in fine and statement jewelry sales continued, while sales of our new or expanded jewelry collections accelerated, led by our ATLAS collection."

Based on the results, Tiffany increased its earnings forecast for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2015, to a range of $4.15-$4.25 per diluted share, versus its previously-published forecast of $4.05-$4.15 per diluted share.

Tiffany opened four stores in the first quarter (including a store on the Champs Elysees in Paris) and closed one in the US. The company now operates 292 stores (121 in the Americas, 72 in Asia-Pacific, 55 in Japan, 38 in Europe, five in the U.A.E. and one in Russia), versus 275 stores a year ago.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bespoke Titanium Patek Philippe’s Sky Moon Tourbillon Could Fetch $1.5 Million

Patek Philippe Ref 5001T Sky Moon Tourbillon

A unique collection of watches that includes five bespoke Patek Philippe references made in titanium will be part of Sotheby’s New York Important Watches auction on June 10. The collection of vintage and modern timepieces is led by the Patek Philippe Ref 5001T Sky Moon Tourbillon, a previously undocumented reference and the only known example of Patek Philippe’s Sky Moon Tourbillon in titanium. Its estimate is $1 - $1.5 million.

The double dialed wristwatch has 12 complications including tourbillon, perpetual calendar, retrograde date, sky chart, moon-phases, orbit display, sidereal time and minute repeating on cathedral gongs, made circa 2002. In addition to the lightweight metal, the watch is further distinguished by its basket weave motif, repeated on the bezel and the dial where the standard Sky Moon Tourbillon normally features the firm’s signature Calatrava crosses, as well as unabbreviated cardinal points on the star chart.

The Patek Philippe titanium timepieces are part of a private collection of 12 watches that includes additional references by Patek Philippe that have remained unknown to collectors, as well as unique pieces incorporating rare materials and designs beyond titanium. The timepieces have a total estimate of more than $3 million.

Patek Philippe Ref 5033T, titanium automatic annual calendar
minute repeating wristwatch.

In addition to the Ref 5001T, highlights of the previously unknown titanium wristwatches by Patek Philippe include: the Ref 5033T, a titanium automatic annual calendar minute repeating wristwatch made in 2003 (estimate est. $400,000 - $600,000); and the Ref 5102T Celestial, a titanium automatic astronomical wristwatch with sky chart, phases and position of the moon and time of Meridian passage of Sirius and the moon, made in 2003 (estimate. $200 $300,000).

Until this auction, there were only four known watches in titanium made by Patek Philippe.

“When first learning about this collection, it was almost impossible to conceive of so many important yet unknown pieces from Patek Philippe,” Daryn Schnipper, chairman of Sotheby’s Watch & Clock Department, said in a statement. “The five titanium watches are an absolute revelation. This group is a testament to the influence and ultimate connoisseurship of its collector, who had the foresight to customize these references in discreet yet significant ways.”

Patek Philippe 1923 Officier

Another star of the private collection is the Patek Philippe 1923 Officier, which Sotheby’s said is one of the most important wristwatches produced by the firm. The yellow gold single button split-seconds chronograph originally sold on October 13, 1923, making it the earliest known split-seconds chronograph produced by the firm. It is the only split-seconds chronograph by Patek Philippe to feature a white enamel dial. Its estimate is $800,000 - $1.2 million.

Patek Philippe Ref 5103P platinum automatic minute repeating semi-skeletonized perpetual calendar wristwatch with retrograde date, moon phases and leap year indication.

Another previously undocumented Patek Philippe is the Ref 5103P platinum automatic minute repeating semi-skeletonized perpetual calendar wristwatch with retrograde date, moon phases and leap year indication made in 2004. The watch has bespoke engraving on its movement plates as well as a unique teardrop pattern on its side. Its estimate is $500,000 - $700,000.

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China, US, UK Lead a 3% Increase in Gold Jewelry Demand

Photo source:

Lower prices, robust demand in China and economic recoveries in countries like the US and UK have all led to a 3 percent increase, year-over-year, of gold jewelry purchased worldwide to 570.7 tons, the largest first quarter volume since 2005.

Consumers across the globe (with notable exceptions) took advantage of a year-over-year 21 percent drop in the price of the precious metal, according to the World Gold Council’s Gold Demand Trends quarterly report. Meanwhile, demand in value terms for the first quarter fell 18 percent year-over-year to $23.7 billion, largely a function of the first quarter 2013 value of gold being the third highest on record.

The modest growth increase in gold jewelry demand made up for declines in all other gold sectors (technology and investment) tracked by the WGC report. Overall gold demand in the first quarter was flat year-over-year at 1,074.5 tons. The value of demand declined 21 percent year-over-year to $44.7 billion due to the impact of lower gold prices.

Geographically, increases in demand were “reasonably widespread,” the WGC said.

China continues to lead the rest of the world in gold jewelry demand with a 10 percent growth in volume to 203.2 tons, accounting for more than 35 percent of worldwide jewelry demand. The WGC credits the seasonal impact of Chinese New Year being closely followed by Valentine’s Day, and the strong gold buying and gifting traditions associated with those two occasions, along with the nation’s “pro-gold culture” and rising incomes. Demand tailed off once the festive occasions were over.

New Year seasonal affects and lower pricing were also present in a number of markets in the Southeast Asia, notably Indonesia and Vietnam where demand increased by 9 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Thailand was the exception with a year-on-year decline of 17 percent.

The most notable decline at the country level was in India, one of the world’s largest gold markets, with a 9 percent drop in jewelry demand to 145.6 tons due to ongoing restrictions to gold imports as well as cash and gold restrictions for India’s consumers as a result of anti-corruption measures during the country’s governmental elections. “These created an atmosphere of uncertainty, particularly with respect to the import curbs and whether these may be lifted for the second half of the year, which left many consumers reluctant to buy until a clear post-election picture emerges,” the WGC said in its report. “While these were intended to prevent electoral corruption, they also had the effect of dampening down genuine cash purchases of gold.… We continue to view India as a source of strong latent demand, which will be unleashed as and when the government restrictions on gold are eased.”

US and UK
Consumers in the US and the UK responded positively to lower gold prices and continued economic recovery. US jewelry demand increased 5 percent to 19.1 tons. Severe weather conditions in January affected demand but the slack was made up in February and March as “consumers shifted from plated jewelry towards higher carat items, encouraged by retailers dedicating more shelf space to gold jewelry.” The increase also reflected stock replenishment after stronger than expected Christmas sales.

In the UK, the lower gold price, the strength of the British pound and signs of economic recovery led to a 29 percent gain in gold jewelry demand to 3.5 tons.

Middle East
Gold jewelry demand in the United Arab Emirates increased 18 percent to 22.1 tons, making it the highest quarterly total since the record third quarter of 2008, the WGC said. Jewelry demand strengthened across the Middle Eastern region as a whole.

Egypt saw growth of 6 percent to 12.8 tons, “predominantly in the high-carat investment-proxy segment.” Even with the strong showing, demand in Egypt “continues to suffer as a result of the ongoing political tensions,” the WGC said.

In Turkey gold jewelry demand declined 12 percent to 14.5 tons. Currency depreciation resulted in a sharp rise in local gold prices during the quarter, which deterred jewelry buyers. The decline was further exacerbated by political controversy, with the ruling party facing corruption allegations.

In Russia, continued economic slowdown, combined with further depreciation of the rouble and an outbreak of geopolitical tensions, led to a 2 percent year-over-year decline in Russian jewelry demand to 17 tons. This ended 12 quarters of expansion in this market “as consumers were more focused on accumulating savings to combat the environment of uncertainty and instability,” the WGC said.

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Necklace With Two Golconda Diamonds Could Fetch $10 Million

The Eye of Golconda

“The Eye of Golconda,” A necklace featuring two statement Golconda diamonds will be the top lot at Christie’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels auction on May 27.

The diamond pendant and emerald necklace has a 40.05-carat pear-shaped diamond and a 6.76-carat cushion-shaped diamond, both graded by the Gemological Institute of America as D color with internally flawless clarity. The former, the necklace’s pendant centerpiece, is the largest Golconda diamond ever available for auction in Asia. The necklace has a pre-auction estimate of $8.5 - $10 million.

Both diamonds are graded as Type IIa, which are a trait of diamonds from mines in the historic Golconda area of India. Type IIa diamonds represent less than 2 percent of the world’s production of gem-quality diamonds and are considered the purest form of diamonds and show exceptional optical transparency.

Golconda diamonds are often described as “Diamonds of First Water,” according to the auction house, because they are characterized by “an almost indefinable water-clear appearance that attest to their diaphanous quality and a degree of transparency rarely seen in stones from other localities.” Some of the most famous diamonds in the world are believed to have come from mines in the Golconda region including the Koh-i-noor, Darya-e Nur, the Nur-Ul-Ain, and The Hope Diamond.

The auction will have more than 300 lots with a combined estimate of more than $100 million. It includes several rare colored diamonds, colorless diamonds, rare Jadeite jewels, Burmese rubies and sapphires, and Colombian emeralds. Exclusive vintage jewelry pieces from Bulgari, Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels complete the sale.

Other highlights of the auction include:

* A 9.38-carat pear-shaped fancy intense pink diamond on a ring with an estimate of $5.8 - $8.3 million.

* Two unmounted 26.08 and 26.20 carats D color flawless, Type IIa brilliant-cut diamonds. Each diamond has an estimate of $4 - $6.5 million. They have been awarded "Excellent" for polish, symmetry and cut grade, meaning that they exhibit perfectly aligned facets with an accuracy of up to 1/200th of an inch, while each of the facets is worked to the greatest possible smoothness.

* It wouldn’t be a Hong Kong jewelry auction without statement jadeite pieces. The top lot in this category is a jadeite bangle with an estimate of $3.8 - $6.5 million. Christie’s says it has the “perfect balance of the ideal color, texture and translucency” displaying a “vivid emerald green color with a saturation and tone that are neither too dark nor too light.”

* A Burmese “pigeon’s blood red” ruby and diamond jewelry suite by James W. Currens for Faidee has an estimate of $4 - $6.25 million.

The auction will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre with public viewings beginning May 22.

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Chaka Khan To Perform at Diamond Industry Charity Event in Las Vegas

Ten-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan will be the headline performer at the sold out Diamond Empowerment Fund’s Diamonds in the Sky Las Vegas Gala to take place at the Four Seasons Ballroom on May 29. 

The sold-out event starts at 6:30 p.m. and will honor Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama and the Government of Botswana with the Global Diamond Industry Achievement Award and celebrate the good diamonds do for communities around the world.

In 1999 Khan established the Chaka Khan Foundation, which focuses on programs and initiatives that assist women and children at risk. A music superstar, Khan has succeeded in captivating fans in eight music genres, including R&B, jazz, pop, rock, gospel, country, classical and dance music. She has released 22 albums with ten #1 Billboard magazine charted songs. 

Event sponsors include Rio Tinto, Signet Jewelers Ltd., The De Beers Group of Companies, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Limited, KGK Group, Le Vian Corporation, and Tiffany & Co.

The Diamond Empowerment Fund was co-founded by hip-hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons and leaders in the diamond industry in 2007 to empower diamond communities around the world. 

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Bhatt and Boyajian Named as Judges for JNA Awards

Nirupa Bhatt

Nirupa Bhatt, managing director of Gemological Institute of America in India and the Middle East, and Bill Boyajian, founder and president of Bill Boyajian & Associates, round out the panel of judges for the JNA Awards

Bill Boyajian

The annual awards program, now in its third year, pays tribute and recognizes companies and individuals that have demonstrated excellence, strong corporate and social responsibility, and set high standards in the Asian jewelry and gemstone trade. The awards program is organized by Jewellery News Asia, the largest and most important jewelry trade publication in Asia.

They will join James Courage, CEO of Platinum Guild International; Albert Cheng, managing director of the World Gold Council, Far East; and Lin Qiang, president and managing director of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange as judges.

Bhatt has received several global honors for her contributions to the gemstone and jewelry industry. Her role with GIA has taken her to over 60 locations across India, Turkey and the Middle East. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the All India Gem and Jewellery Trade Federation, and Gem and Jewellery Skill Council of India, as well as an invitee to the marketing committee of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council. It is the second consecutive year she served as a judge for the JNA Awards.

Boyajian was president of the GIA from 1986 to 2006 and is one of the global gem and jewelry industry's most well-known experts. With Bill Boyajian & Associates, Inc., he consults for a variety of companies both in and out of the jewelry trade. He is author of the book “Developing the Mind of a Leader - Your Path to Lead and Inspire People,” and is a sought-after speaker and coach.

The JNA Awards 2014 will culminate with a ceremony and gala dinner on September 16, at the InterContinental Hong Kong, during the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. The Awards has Rio Tinto Diamonds and Chow Tai Fook as “Headline Partners,” with Diarough Group, Gubelin Group, Israel Diamond Institute, KARP Group, Paspaley Pearling Company and SDE as “Honoured Partners.”

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Harry Winston Buys World’s Largest Flawless Vivid Blue Diamond For $23.8M and Names it ‘The Winston Blue’

Meet “The Winston Blue,” considered the world’s largest known flawless vivid blue diamond. Harry Winston purchased the sparkling gem for nearly $23.8 million at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale. At nearly $1,800 per carat, the price per carat paid for the 13.22-carat stone represents a world record for a blue diamond.

It is the second major diamond purchase by Harry Winston since it was acquired by the Swatch Group, one of the world’s largest watch and jewelry conglomerates. Last year, Harry Winston purchased a 101.73-carat colorless diamond for a world record $26.7 million ($254,400 per carat), at Christie’s Geneva jewelry auction.

The Winston Blue was easily the top lot of Wednesday’s auction, which realized more than $154.1 million, with 85 percent sold by lot and 94 percent by value. It achieved the highest total ever for a Jewelry sale in auction history, beating the Christie’s New York December 2013 Elizabeth Taylor jewelry sale, which totaled $137.2 million over a two-day period. The other top lots included:

* Belle Epoque diamond Devant-de-Corsage brooch, by Cartier that sold for more than $17.5 million. 

* A 75.97-carat pear-shaped D color, flawless diamond that sold for more than $14.4 million.

* A 76.51-carat cut-cornered square-cut light pink, VVS1 diamond necklace for $10 million, a world auction record for a light pink diamond. by Leviev $130,712 per carat. 

* The “Ocean Dream,” A 5.50-carat triangular-cut fancy vivid blue-green, SI1 diamond that sold for more than $8.6 million, a world auction record for a blue-green diamond.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Graff Vivid Yellow Diamond Made Two Appearances Before Selling for a Record $16.3 Million

It was a long journey for the "Graff Vivid Yellow" diamond but it did eventually find an owner during Sotheby's Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction Tuesday.

It was the top lot of an auction packed with exceptional jewels that had to make two appearances before being sold for more than $16.3 million (hammer price, commission and fees), a world auction record for a yellow diamond and for a Graff diamond, according to the auction house.

David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's Jewellery Division in Europe and the Middle East, stunned the standing room crowd during the evening session of the auction at the Hôtel Beau-Rivage when he pulled the 100-carat diamond with an 11.8 million Swiss franc bid on the block. However, about 15 minutes later the stone suddenly reappeared and bidding reopened. The bidding began at 12.6 million Swiss francs, which was quickly raised to 12.8 million. Bennett then struck the gavel saying it was a good bid. The estimate for the diamond was $15 - $25 million.

After the auction, Bennett explained that the buyer, a women in the front of the room who did not want her identity revealed, asked to have the item returned. He added that something like this does happen occasionally but almost never with such a high-profile piece.

"The eventual buyer of the yellow diamond who was in the room got confused, I think, with her calculations of francs and dollars and came back a few minutes later and said could you re-offer it because we still wanted to buy. It was quite a nice thing to happen," a "happy and relieved," Bennett said.

He further explained that he knew who would be bidding on the piece as there are only a few people in the world capable of paying $15 million for a diamond. He added that the buyer appeared even happier than he was.

Sotheby's Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction at the Hôtel Beau-Rivage. Photo credit: Anthony DeMarco

The drama overshadowed a three-session auction where at least seven records were set, according to the auction house. Highlights included:

* The highest total ever achieved for an auction of  jewelry from various owners at more than $141.4 million.

* A 70.33-carat D-color, flawless cushion brilliant-cut, type IIa diamond sold for more than $14.2 million, followed by a round of applause.

A 12.07-carat marquise-shaped fancy pink diamond ring sold for more than $7.2 million, setting a world auction record for a price per carat for a pink diamond at $601,228 US per carat.

* One of the largest round diamonds in the world at 103.46 carats set on a ring by Graff sold for more than $4.8 million.

* A 25.32-carat brilliant-cut, D color, IF diamond sold for more than $6.2 million and $246,710 per carat, setting a world auction record price per carat for a round colorless diamond.

* The last lot of the evening, a ring set with two fancy blue pear-shaped diamonds, one fancy vivid weighing 3.08 carats the a fancy intense blue of 2.83 carats, sold for nearly
$6.5 million.

* Jewels from the collection of Flora Sassoon totaled more than $3.3 million, led by a diamond necklace that sold for more than $1.2 million, well above its $700,000 high estimate.

* All 19 pieces from the collection of Madame Picha-Eisenstein sold for more than $1 million, more than double its estimate.

* A Van Cleef & Arpels gold and diamond necklace owned by Jaqueline Auriol sold for $276,203, 12 times is estimate.

There was competitive bidding throughout the evening between those in the room, phone bidders and a few Internet bidders.

One disappointment was that the 31.34-carat "Victory Diamond," named in honor of the Allied victory in World War II, did not sell. It had an estimate of $5 – $8 million.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

100-Carat ‘Graff Vivid Yellow’ Could Fetch $25 Million

The 100.09-carat “Graff Vivid Yellow,” one of the largest fancy vivid yellow diamonds in the world, is expected to fetch $15 to $25 million at Sotheby’s Geneva auction of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels to be held Tuesday at the Hôtel Beau-Rivage.

The following day Christie’s will be auctioning “The Blue,” at 13.22 carats it is the largest flawless vivid blue diamond in the world. It is estimated to fetch $21 to $25 million, leading to a return of statement colored diamonds on the international auction market. 

Colorless diamonds will also hold the attention of buyers at Sotheby’s auction. The highlights include: 

* A 70.33-carat D-color, flawless cushion brilliant-cut, type IIa diamond that is estimated to fetch $12 - $16 million.

* The Victory Diamond, named in honor of the Allied victory in World War II is a step-cut type IIa diamond weighing 31.34 carats, graded as potentially flawless. It formerly belonged to Florence Gould, known as one of the great collectors of jewelry in the 20th century. Its estimate is $5 - $8 million.

* A 103.46-carat round brilliant-cut diamond by Graff diamond is considered to be one of the largest known round diamonds in the world. Its estimate is $1.5 - $2.5 million.

The Sotheby’s sale also has a rich assortment of gemstones that includes the following:

* A ruby and diamond ring set with a 12.46-carat, cushion-shaped, Burmese ruby between triangular diamond shoulders. Its estimate is $2.8 - $4.8 million.

* A sapphire and diamond ring set with a 10.96-carat cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphire. The Swiss Gemmological Institute describes the stone as “velvety blue … due to very fine and subtle inclusions and a combination of well-balanced trace elements in the gemstone.” Its estimate is $1.2 - $1.6 million.

The auction will also include a selection of jewels from the collection of Flora Sassoon (1859 – 1936). She is known for successfully running her husband’s Bombay business after he died and for her social and philanthropic activates in turn-of-the-century London. Her collection included a diamond necklace, with an estimate of $400,000 - $700,000.

I will be attending the evening portion of Sotheby’s Geneva auction of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels and if possible will be tweeting live from the event @JewelryNewsNet

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Reena Ahluwalia Launches 'Nurture By Reena,' A Lab-Grown Diamond Designer Jewelry Brand

Celestial Star pendant and Passion Double Halo ring in 18k gold features colorless lab-grown diamonds. 

Reena Ahluwalia, known for her award-winning diamond jewelry designs, has launched a new jewelry brand that combines lab-grown diamonds with wearable technology.

Known as “Nurture By Reena,” the Toronto-based designer says it is the first lab-grown diamond designer jewelry brand. A longtime proponent of origin-guaranteed, ethically sourced diamonds, she says she chose to work with lab-grown diamonds because they are “origin-guaranteed, conflict-free and environmentally sustainable.”

The Celestial Star pendant "glows with flash and fire of a million suns, recalling moments so powerful in memory that fill your soul," says the artist. Set in 18K gold, featuring colorless and pink lab-grown diamonds. 

“The Moments Collection” is the first offering from the brand. Ahluwalia says it “merges style and fashion with deep personal meaning.” In addition to using lab-grown diamonds, the company employs QR Code technology that allows people to attach their “most precious moments to your jewel,” she says. “The lab-grown diamond pieces flip to discreetly reveal a QR code that is otherwise hidden from view while the jewelry is worn.”

The Galium rings in 18k gold with princess cut colorless and yellow lab-grown diamonds. 

Each design unites “the beauty of natural shapes with the precision of modern technology.” In addition to embodying the vision of the artist, individuals can give each piece personal meaning through the stories they attach to it. The personal content can be accessed anytime and anywhere.

The Starlight Halo ring evokes the power of love and exudes positive energy. Rings in 18k gold with colorless and pink lab-grown diamonds.

“Like the eternal nature of a diamond, your jewel becomes a modern day digital talisman, a time capsule that captures and preserves your moment for eternity,” Ahluwalia says.

Reena Ahluwalia

The collection is offered in colorless, pink and yellow lab-grown diamonds, with a starting weight of 0.40 carats. It includes rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets. To date, there are 36 pieces available in 18k gold, including white, yellow and rose gold. Ahluwalia says her inspirations were blooming flowers. “For me, flowers are like moments – ephemeral, yet deeply memorable.”

The Wildflower ring in 18K gold with colorless and pink lab-grown diamonds and princess cut colorless and yellow lab-grown diamonds. 

The new collection will be unveiled at the upcoming JCK Las Vegas Show 2014, in the Design Center, booth no. S10519.

The Passion Double Halo ring in 18k gold with princess cut colorless and yellow lab-grown diamonds.

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