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Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Inaugural Mineral & Gem Asia Fair Opened Today


The first edition of the Mineral & Gem Asia opened Saturday and will run until Tuesday at the AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong. Organized by UBM Asia, the fair has 101 local and overseas exhibitors in about 12,000sqm of exhibition space. Participants include exhibitors from about 27 countries and regions around the world displaying a variety of rough and polished gemstones, fossils, art pieces and rough, loose, semi- and fully finished mineral products.

Exhibitors include Amberstream from Poland; Blue Gems, Chili Jewels, Iskcon Gems, KGE Rough & Gems and Rusgems from Hong Kong, Duarte & Bastos from Brazil; Ram Narayan from India; and Star Mountain Mining from the US.

Apart from the rare mineral specimens, three dinosaur fossils are on display. They include a pair of dinosaur fossils in fighting position, Allosaurus atrox and Suuwassea emiliea, which are being shown for the first time in Asia. Tyrannosaurus rex – King Kong, which was displayed at the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair 2014, will be at Mineral & Gem Asia as well. In addition, a three-dimensional model of the Thermopolis archaeopteryx specimen, the first of its kind, is on display.


“The launch of Mineral & Gem Asia is an important milestone in UBM Asia’s fair history. We are glad that the fair is receiving great support from the industry,” said UBM Asia Senior VP Wolfram Diener. 

This support includes The Stephen Hui Geological Museum of The University of Hong Kong and The Mineralogy Society of Hong Kong. The organizations are showing their latest mineral and fossil collections and are hosting onsite activities, such as a game and workshops, to give students the opportunity to explore, learn and appreciate mineral specimens, fossils and rare stones from around the world.


The Stephen Hui Geological Museum is displaying rare fossils including the skull of a Hipparion coelophyes, a well-preserved Jurassic plant fossil from Lantau Island and a two-cm large fossilized cone of pine from Tertiary rocks of Dong Ping Chau found in Hong Kong.

The Mineralogy Society of Hong Kong is showcasing valuable mineral specimens found from around the world including Calcite, Dioptase, Tourmaline, Tsavorite.

Mineral & Gem Asia at the AsiaWorld-Expo is running in parallel with the 2015 edition of the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, which at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, June 25-28. The June fair features 2,273 exhibitors from 45 countries and regions. 

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Christofle Creates Silver Crowns As Art Objects

Sterling silver crown with black onyx accents

For anyone obsessed with royalty or if you just want to add a bit of royal flair in your life, you can now own a hand-crafted crown with much of the ornamental details that adorn traditional crowns historically worn by kings and queens. 

Christofle, the French luxury silver company, has teamed with Los Angeles-based interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard to produce two silver crowns. These crowns lack the priceless gems that adorn royal crowns. In addition, they are not meant to be worn. Instead, they are art objects to be displayed. But one can still dream. 

The collection of two crowns is called Silver Kingdom. Christofle built the crowns at its Haute Orfèvrerie atelier based on Bullard’s design. It is their debut collection together. For Christofle, it is part of a larger project in which the silver company teams with designers to create new pieces. 

Silver plated crown with gold accents

“I have always been fascinated with silver and its sensuous qualities, from the time I began collecting silver spoons as a child,” said Bullard, known for his A-List clientele as well as having his work appear in more than 4,000 publications around the world. “Silver Kingdom reflects my love of the materials and craftsmanship for which Christofle is renowned.”

Christofle said that despite the traditional theme, the collection is a reflection of its “modern spirit.” It was inspired by Christofle’s legacy as silversmith to France’s King Louis-Philippe and the House of Orléans. Bullard’s designs for the collection were influenced by the shape and form of the original French crown jewels. 

The collection features a large sterling silver crown produced in a numbered, limited-edition run of 20, customizable with embellishments and stones including onyx. It retails for $10,000. The second piece is a smaller silver-plated crown with gold accents, which retails for $2,500. Both objects can be customized and crafted to a buyer’s specification. 

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Buccellati Opens Second Store In Paris


Buccellati’s expansion continues unabated as the company announced that it has opened a new retail space in Paris, the second store opening by the Italian luxury jeweler in June. 

The new boutique is on the corner of Galeries Lafayette, the upmarket French department store known for its neo-Byzantine cupola built in 1912. Buccellati has had a presence in Paris since 1979 and was the first Italian jeweler to open a boutique in Place Vendôme. This new boutique is the company’s second in the “City of Lights.” 

The new store will have all of the brand’s jewelry collections including Hawaii, Tulle, Macri, Ghirlanda, Rombi the new Opera line, and the Romanza bridal rings.

About two weeks earlier Buccellati opened a new shop at Neiman Marcus in Palm Beach, Fla. The new shop marks a return to the shopping center of Worth Avenue in the luxury resort city. The jeweler opened its first store on the fashionable street in 1956.

Both stores reflect the architectural concept of Buccellati’s new global identity, first launched in the brand’s five-story flagship store on Madison Avenue, which officially opened in March. 

The new design was conceived and developed with the architectural firm, Vudafieri Saverino Partners. It is defined by wood floors, plush, white and cream-colored furnishings and neutral colors highlighted by modern artistic touches.

The new stores and design concept are part Buccellati’s rebranding effort, officially launched in February 2014 with the naming of Lucrezia Buccellati as the number two designer. At the age of 24 at the time of the announcement, she was the youngest person and the first woman to be given that responsibility. Her father, Andrea, is the head designer. Since the company was founded nearly 100 years ago, two generations of the family shared design duties. 

The move toward a young designer coincides with Buccellati’s plan to make it more appealing to a younger generation. Other changes included a redesigned logo and website, a first-ever line of engagement rings, one-of-a-kind bejeweled iPad and iPhone covers, and more affordable jewelry (at least by Buccellati’s standards). 

Other Buccellati boutiques are in Milan, Venice, Florence, Cala Di Volpe, Capri, Monte Carlo, Paris, London, , Mosca, Dubai, New York, Chicago, Aspen, Beverly Hills, Bal Harbour, San Francisco, Palm Beach, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul and Osaka e Nagoya. 

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Finalists Named For The 2015 JNA Awards

(From Left) Representatives from Guangdong Land, Shanghai Diamond Exchange, Rio Tinto Diamonds, UBM Asia, UBM Asia, Chow Tai Fook, Diarough Group, Gübelin Group, Israel Diamond Institute

Jewellery News Asia, organizer of the JNA Awards, has announced the finalists across 15 categories for 2015. A total of 49 honorees representing 31 companies from 10 countries/regions have been shortlisted.

The awards promote and encourage the sharing of best practices and innovative ideas for the international jewelry and gemstone industry, with a particular focus on Asia. In its fourth year, it continues to draw interest among companies across key markets in the trade, including enterprises from South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Vietnam and Taiwan that have been shortlisted for the first time. Other countries represented include Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines and Thailand.

The judging panel consists of five industry experts, namely James Courage, chairman of the Responsible Jewellery Council; Albert Cheng, managing director of the World Gold Council, Far East; Lin Qiang, president and managing director of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange; Nirupa Bhatt, managing director of GIA India and the Middle East; and Yasukazu Suwa, chairman of Suwa & Son, Inc.

“It is indeed very exciting for us to see such positive and enthusiastic response from the trade both in terms of entrants and quality of entries,” said Wolfram Diener, senior VP of UBM Asia.

“I continue to observe the high level of energy and zeal to excel and advance among the participating companies and individuals,” said Letitia Chow, chair of the JNA Awards 2015 judging panel, founder of JNA and director of Business Development – Jewellery Group at UBM Asia. “This year, we have added a couple of criteria in the entry rules, which made room for smaller-sized enterprises and newcomers to be qualified as honorees. It is also encouraging to see past recipients entering and being shortlisted for categories new to them.”

The JNA Awards is supported by “Headline Partners” Rio Tinto Diamonds and Chow Tai Fook, together with “Honoured Partners” Diarough Group, Gübelin Group, Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies, Shanghai Diamond Exchange and Guangdong Land Holdings Ltd.

This year’s JNA Awards ceremony and gala dinner will be held Sept. 20, at the Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong, during the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. It is a ticketed event by application only. Interested parties may submit their request by logging on to www.JNAawards.com

The following individuals and companies have been shortlisted as Honourees for the JNA Awards 2015:

Three Decades of Excellence  
Hong Kong Jewellery & Jade Manufacturers Association – Hong Kong
Jewelmer Joaillerie – Philippines
Paspaley – Australia
Shree Ramkrishna Exports Pvt Ltd – India

Brand of the Year – Retail  
Chii Lih Coral Co Ltd – Taiwan
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd – Hong Kong
The Genuine Gemstone Company – United Kingdom

Employer of the Year  
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd – Hong Kong
Hari Krishna Exports Pvt Ltd – India
Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company – Vietnam
Pranda Jewelry Plc – Thailand

Industry Innovation of the Year  
China Stone Ltd – Thailand
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd – Hong Kong
Shenzhen United BlueOcean Technology Development Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen XingGuangDa Jewelry Industrial Co Ltd – China
Shree Ramkrishna Exports Pvt Ltd – India

Manufacturer of the Year – Coloured Gemstone Cutting & Polishing  
Lorenzo Jewelry Ltd – Hong Kong
RMC Gems India Ltd – India

Manufacturer of the Year – Diamond Cutting & Polishing  
Hari Krishna Exports Pvt Ltd – India
J. B. And Brothers Pvt Ltd – India

Manufacturer of the Year – Gem-Set Jewellery  
KGK Jewellery Mfg Ltd – Hong Kong
Lorenzo Jewelry Ltd – Hong Kong
MKS Jewelry International Co Ltd – Thailand
Shenzhen Ganlu Jewelry Co Ltd – China

Manufacturer of the Year – Precious Metals-Only Jewellery  
Guangzhou Cuilu Jewellery Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen Batar Investment Holding Group Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen Ganlu Jewelry Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen United BlueOcean Technology Development Co Ltd – China

Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – ASEAN Countries  
China Stone Ltd – Thailand
PANDORA Production Co Ltd – Thailand
Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company – Vietnam

Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – India  
J. B. And Brothers Pvt Ltd – India
Kashi Jewellers – India
Shree Ramkrishna Exports Pvt Ltd – India

Outstanding Enterprise of the Year – Mainland China  
KGK Diamonds (Shanghai) Ltd – China
Shenzhen Batar Investment Holding Group Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen Bofook Jewellery Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen XingGuangDa Jewelry Industrial Co Ltd – China

Retailer of the Year (450 outlets and below)  
Golden Dew Co Ltd – South Korea
Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company – Vietnam

E-tailer of the Year  
KELA – China
The Genuine Gemstone Company – United Kingdom
Vaibhav Global Ltd – India

Sustainability Initiative of the Year  
Kiran Gems Private Ltd – India
Shenzhen 3D-KET Jewellery Company Ltd – China
Shenzhen United BlueOcean Technology Development Co Ltd – China
Shenzhen XingGuangDa Jewelry Industrial Co Ltd – China

Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Age 40 and below)  
Kwan Sit, Shenzhen Bofook Jewellery Co Ltd – China
Lei Xu, Zbird China – China

The recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award will be nominated by the organizer, and the announcement will be made at a later date. 

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Magical, Mystical, Creative And Colorful Opal Jewelry

Lydia Courteille Seahorses Necklace has more than 20 grams of blue Australian opals with white diamonds, black diamonds, fancy sapphires, amethysts, sapphires all set in 18k gold

Opal, unlike most gemstones, doesn’t sparkle and glitter. What it does is display every color of the rainbow in a limitless palette of combinations. In some cases, it even has a phosphorescent quality. When jewelry designers are added, the possibilities expand even further. 

For example, there’s Lydia Courteille. I asked her at the recently concluded Couture Show in Las Vegas where she gets her design ideas. The Parisian jeweler gave me a look of confusion, almost pity, and said, “From my head.”

That’s some head that thought of then executed the Seahorses necklace at the top of this story. The elaborate jewelry piece that displays an active, underwater scene with gem encrusted seahorses and a crab, and gems shaped as a coral. There is a lot precious material that went into this necklace, including white and black diamonds, fancy colored sapphires and amethysts. 

However, taking center stage in this sculptural piece are two oval shaped blue Australian opals, each making up the body of the seahorses. This necklace embodies not only the design and craftsmanship skills of Courteille, but also the variety of designs and even mystical connections that people have with opal.  

Sutra Jewels bracelet with 28 carats of white Ethiopian opals with diamonds and pink spinels set in 18k rose gold

This year’s Couture Show provided strong evidence that there is resurgence in opal jewelry. Sweta Jain, founder and head designer of colored gemstone company Goshwara, noticed this, adding that opal jewelry seems to go through stages of being fashionable. 

“Although opals have always been around and somewhat popular, they are really trending past few years, especially in fine jewelry,” she says. “Their usage has been quite significant in statement jewelry as well.”

Goshwara opal bead 12 strand tassel earrings in 18k with diamonds and onyx 

Jewelry designer Erica Courtney, well-known for her colored-gemstone based jewelry, is equally intrigued by opal’s history, mystery and use in contemporary jewelry design. 

“I can imagine why it was the choice of kings and queens because of the magical powers opals seem to possess,” she says. “The play of color in opals is so gorgeous they sometimes don't even seem real and yet they are. Opals are hypnotizing, romantic, and I think, one of the greatest most beautiful phenomena in nature.”

Erica Courtney Cupcake Ring features a 7.41-carat Brazilian crystal opal with a diamond surround set in 18k gold

Gurhan Orhan, better known simply as Gurhan, is well-known throughout the world for his hand-crafted 24k gold jewelry. But he is also a collector and admirer of gemstones that he combines with his gold pieces. His latest collections presented at the Couture Show include a large bib-necklace that uses 62 mixed sized oval cabochon opals. 

“Opals have a shimmering luminescence. Whether it’s a soft silky glow or fiery highlights there is a mysterious quality about this stone that is extraordinarily intriguing,” he says. “I usually check opals under magnification before using them in my pieces, and get lost in the colorful world inside. I can easily say that it is one of my favorite stones to work with.”

Gurhan Paradiso Necklace with 62 mixed sized oval cabochon opals and 39 rose cut white diamonds set in 24k gold

Like Courtney, Gurhan is fascinated by its mystical qualities. Historically, it is believed to have healing powers and its color combinations are said to reflect the changing emotions and moods of individuals. 

“The jewelry I make with opals gives me some extra pleasure. I take them as magical and I believe the wearers are feeling the same,” Gurhan says. “As you look at an opal stone from different angles, you can see totally different sparkles in different colors. This makes me believe that opal is the stone for diversity, change, adventure, which fits my nature.”

Lisa Nik asymmetric opal and diamond earrings in 18k rose gold with diamonds

When combined with other materials the opportunity to showcase more colors expands, says jewelry designer Nikfarjam of the Lisa Nik jewelry brand. 

“They pick up the color of whatever metal and other stones they are placed next to,” she says. “I love the way that rose gold picks up the pinkish tones and white gold makes them look more white and dramatic. When I wear opal earrings with my signature green quartz necklace, the opals look more greenish in tone.”

Katherine Jetter Marquis ring with a 26.41ct boulder opal, orange and red sapphires set in 20k yellow gold

Most of the world’s opal comes from Australia, but there are other sources, including South America, Africa and the US.

Katherine Jetter—a native Australian who now lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico—works exclusively with Australian opals, creating contemporary jewelry with the historically significant gem.

“As an Australian and as a designer I wanted to pay tribute to my country’s national gemstone and bring opals into the 21st century—both in terms of recognition and design,” she says. “It’s been my life’s work to elevate these stones within the international jewelry community and help spark the resurgence they are seeing now.”

Le Vian 18k "Honey Gold" ring with a 42.19 "Spumoni" opal

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rivière ‘Triple X’ Necklace Tops $1.2 Million At Bonhams Auction

Photo by Anthony DeMarco

A diamond rivière necklace with 51 “Triple X-cut” rated diamonds sold for $1.2 million (including premium) at Bonham’s New York Fine Jewelry sale. It was the top item of the sale held Monday by the international auction house.

Triple X (also known as “Triple Ex”) is an informal designation, mostly within the trade, that means a diamond that has received excellent polish, symmetry and cut grades. Only round and round brilliant cut diamonds can receive this designation.


Each diamond in the necklace is accompanied by a Gemological Institute of America report that states it’s three excellence grades. The graduated line of 51 round brilliant-cut diamonds weighs more than 70 carats. They are joined together by a heart-shaped diamond clasp weighing 2.04 carats. The diamonds are mounted in platinum.

Even though the necklace commanded a seven-figure price, it sold below its $1.4 million - $1.8 million estimate.

There were a number of items that failed to sell along with some pieces that shattered estimates. In many ways it reflected the inconsistent spring auction season for jewelry, which quietly came to an end.

Colored gems, very popular in recent years, did well, as well as Art Deco and Belle Époque and Art Deco pieces. Signed pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Tiffany & Co. also saw mixed results. Several colorless diamonds rings sold well.

Susan Abeles, Bonhams director of US Jewellery, was pleased with a number of sales throughout the auction.

“Color I think was outstanding,” she said following the auction. “Emeralds and other fine colored stones did very well. We saw more interest in large round diamonds. Beautiful signed items retained their value and worldwide interest.”

Among the top sellers were:

Photo by Anthony DeMarco

* A 25-carat sapphire and diamond ring by the M. Gerard French jewelry house (pictured above) sold for $581,000, beating its high estimate. The richly colored crystal sapphire’s unusual octagonal cut makes this a very rare find. The sapphire is flanked by triangular-cut diamonds and is mounted in 18k gold.


* Emerald and diamond earrings, each suspended by an emerald bead (30 carats total) with a yellow gold cap and topped with two round brilliant-cut diamonds (3.80 carats total) that sold for $118,750. Nearly double its high estimate of $60,000.

* Two diamond rings sold for the identical price of $106,250. A 3.51-carat cut-cornered rectangular step-cut diamond on a ring flanked by tapered baguette-cut diamonds and mounted in platinum. The other was a ring centered by a 7.37-carat round diamond set in 18k gold and platinum.


* Early in the auction a turn of the century imperial topaz and diamond pendant brooch, circa 1900 (pictured above), centered by an oval cushion-cut imperial topaz and suspended by a detachable imperial topaz briolette sold for $87,500, totally smashing its high estimate of $9,000.

* A fancy colored diamond and sapphire ring designed as a pavé-set diamond with a geometric plaque that sold for $52,500, within its estimate. The plaque centers a lozenge brilliant-cut light gray-blue colored diamond weighing 0.92 carat with acalibré-cut sapphire surround;


* A colorful black opal ring (pictured above) flanked by diamonds and mounted in platinum sold for $16,250, smashing its $7,000 high estimate.

Among the items that were passed by bidders were:

* A 3.56-carat cut-cornered, rectangular-cut fancy intense pink diamond on a ring with an estimate of $600,000 - $800,000, enhanced by a pavé-set diamond surround and mounted in 18k white and yellow gold;

* A ring designed as a pavé-set diamond star with an oval modified brilliant-cut fancy deep blue diamond in the center, which weighs 0.71 carat (est. $250,000 - $350,000);

* A 5.02-carat cut-cornered, square modified brilliant-cut fancy yellow diamond on a ring flanked by fancy-cut diamonds within a pavé-set diamond surround (est. $50,000 - $60,000).

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hermès Modernizes The Pocket Watch By Using Its Heritage

The "In The Pocket" pocket watch

Every luxury brand goes through great pains to use its history to introduce new products. In both substance and style Hermès just seems to do it better while making it look easy and natural.

Its newest watch is a case in point. It’s a pocket watch, a product that at one time had a supreme utilitarian function while showcasing one’s taste and sophistication. However, it long ago lost its purpose and appeal when the wristwatch came into fashion.

The French luxury brand has reintroduced the pocket watch in a way that gives it modern appeal while connecting it to the personal creative history of the Hermès family. It’s a story that begins more than 100 years ago but is equally at home in modern times. Just like this new product.

The story begins
In 1912, Jacqueline Hermès, a child at the time, received as a gift from her father an unusual pocket watch with a leather holder to be worn on the wrist. It was designed so the young horsewoman could ride without having to attach her watch to her clothing or slip it into her pocket. In particular, the leather strap was designed to snugly wrap around the watch for complete protection while she rode.

In 2012, 100 years later, the watch was reinvented under the name “In The Pocket,” which was a palladium watch in a hand-crafted leather case that can be worn as a pocket watch or wristwatch. It again has practicality, a utilitarian value while being beautiful. It harkens back not only to a personal Hermès story but its heritage as a creator of hand-crafted leather goods—in particular its craftsmanship of saddles and other leather goods for equestrian pursuits, which is how the company began. In addition, it showcases its gradual development in watchmaking to the point of becoming a full-fledged manufacturer.

The product and process
Hermès just issued its second piece in the series with a rose gold watch clad in an alligator exterior. As with the original, the new watch is designed to be worn as a traditional pocket watch or a wristwatch. It is available in a 178-piece limited edition.

The watch itself is a study in simplicity and balance. The rose gold case contains a silver dial with baton-type hands that sweep over pared-down numerals. A small seconds subdial is located at 3 o’clock. The watch is powered by an in-house H1837 automatic movement with a 50-hour power reserve. Its oscillating weight is adorned with the brand’s signature “sprinkling of Hs” motif.


Meanwhile, it’s the strap that receives the lion’s share of attention from the company.

It is composed of two longer and shorter sections: the plain strap end and the buckle strap end, hand crafted in the leather-making workshops of La Montre Hermès in Switzerland. These two parts are composed of three layers of leather: alligator; cow leather for sturdiness; and a Zermatt calfskin lining.


The hides are soaked and pressed into a mould where they dry for 10 days. Then they are cut with a pointed tool, sanded down and glued. Each of the parts is then partially sewn; the buckle strap end is perforated to free up the spaces that will reveal the dial and through which the plain strap end and the crown will pass. The work continues with the buckle end and the plain strap end fitted together, marked with a compass, indented and sewn using the saddle stitching technique.


Finally there’s the hammering, stitching, dyeing and polishing.

The brand took great pains to ensure that its traditional handcrafted techniques were used, down to the “saddle stitching.” Yet it created a product designed to look as equally eloquent in an urban environment as it does in the stable.

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bell & Ross Creates Watch For The Rafale Fighter Jet

 

Bell & Ross, the French watch brand with Swiss manufacturing facilities, has designed a new watch to resemble the design and complexity of the Dassault Rafale, a French fighter jet built by Dassault Aviation.

The Rafale is known for its speed, maneuverability and light weight. The “multirole” aircraft can combine air strikes and air-to-air combat, long-range air-to-air missiles, and low altitude attacks. It is designed to avoid radar detection while having its own advanced radar system.

A pilot wearing the Rafale BR 03-94 watch by Bell & Ross with the Dassault Rafale fighter jet behind him

The Rafale BR 03-94 watch by Bell & Ross adopts the distinct design features of the fighter aircraft. The stealth-like matte-black ceramic case is a reference to the anti-reflective tints of instrument panels in airplane cockpits. Rafale’s monochrome camouflage grey adorns the dial. The typography of the numerals mirrors the registration numbers on the plane’s fuselage.

The hands used for the chronograph functions are distinguished by orange tips. On the flange, the tachymeter scale enables speeds to be calculated, while the word “tachymeter” is written in bright orange. The auxiliary counter of the small seconds displays the distinctive silhouette of the fighter aircraft, and the Rafale signature appears at 6 o’clock. Finally, the watch is equipped with a black natural rubber strap.


The watch is available in a limited edition of 500 pieces. It was first presented at the International Paris Air Show, which will run till June 21.

It is powered by the BR-CAL.301 automatic chronograph movement.

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Shenzhen Jewelry Fair Attracts Over 10,000 Buyers


The 13th edition of the China International Gold, Jewellery & Gem Fair – Shenzhen attracted more than 10,458 local and overseas buyers, according to UBM Asia, which owns and operates the trade fair.

The fair, which took place April 20 to 22 at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center, had buyers from 66 countries and regions and recorded 11,844 total number of visits (including revisits). They were there to view the products and services of 409 exhibitors from 12 countries and regions, including Mainland China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Russian Federation, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan region, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Mainland Chinese visitors totaled 9,422 from 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities of mainland China. The top 5 sources of local visitors were Guangdong, Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, and Hubei.

“We are very happy that the Shenzhen Fair once again successfully played its role as a key professional event for mainland China’s fine jewelry trade and an effective platform for developing new business relationships," said Celine Lau, Director of Jewellery Fairs, UBM Asia.

More than 130 local and overseas media representatives also attended the fair. 

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Graff 132-Carat ‘Golden Empress’ Fancy Yellow Diamond


You might say Laurence Graff has a thing for yellow diamonds. While the renowned jeweler certainly handled his share of historic and statement diamonds in all colors, it’s the yellows that seem to keep appearing with Graff’s name on it.

Graff’s latest catch is being called “The Golden Empress,” a 132.55-carat Fancy Intense cushion-cut yellow diamond. The diamond is set on a necklace with approximately 30 other yellow diamonds. Fancy colored diamonds are very popular these days as adornment and investment, because of their beauty and rarity. Only one in 10,000 diamonds are classified as fancy colored. So it’s even rarer to find one a particular color, such as yellow.


Graff, the founder of the international luxury diamond and jewelry firm that bears his name, purchased the 299-carat rough diamond that created The Golden Empress. It was unearthed from the Letšeng mine in the tiny southern African kingdom of Lesotho.

“The potential to craft a diamond that could join its hall of noble, historic and world famous stones was a thrilling prospect,” Graff said in a statement.

The company then set out to study the rough to determine the best way to cut it and then set out to do the work. In addition to The Golden Empress, the rough yielded eight satellite diamonds, comprising six pear shape Fancy Yellow stones—the largest being 21.34 carats—and two brilliant round stones.

Graff’s history of handling statement yellow diamonds includes the following: “The Delaire Sunrise,” the largest square emerald cut, Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond in the world at 118.08 carats; The Gemini Yellows at 51.29 carats and 55.74 carats; and the 100.09-carat Graff Vivid Yellow, which sold for more than $16.3 million in May 2014 at the Sotheby’s Geneva auction.

On Tuesday, a 14.49-carat yellow diamond on a ring by Graff sold for $293,000, at Christie’s New York Important Jewels auction.

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

21-Carat Kashmir Sapphire Fetches $4.2 Million, Shatters Estimates


Rare colored gems continue to show their strength in the auction market as a 21.71-carat Kashmir sapphire easily topped the results at Christie’s New York Important Jewels sale, Tuesday.

Called “The Kelly Sapphire” prior to the auction, the dark-blue natural gem sold for $4.2 million, more than double its high estimate ($193,000 per carat). The stone is mounted on ring by Cartier flanked by two trapeze-shaped diamonds.

The sapphire was from the private collection of Margaret Adderley Kelly, who, along with her husband and son, help shape the national employment agency and recruitment firm, Kelly Services, Inc., into a Fortune 500 company.


The collection of 28 lots from the original “Kelly Girl” all sold, fetching $9.8 million, nearly double its pre-sale estimate of $5 million. Two other items were among the 10 best selling lots at the auction. They are: an Art Deco necklace featuring a 16.24-carat D-color, internally flawless, VS2, pear-shaped diamond pendant, that sold for more than $2.2 million (pictured above), just above its high estimate of $2 million; and a Burmese ruby and diamond cluster necklace (pictured below) that sold for $845,000, well above its $600,000 high estimate.


Christie’s auction of 230 lots totaled nearly $27.6 million, with 79 percent sold by lot and 94 percent sold by value. It marked the last jewelry auction of the spring season for the international auction house. The top lots were largely dominated by colored gems and diamonds, and statement white diamonds. 


The second highest sale of the event was an 80.73-carat cushion-cut, K-color diamond that sold for $3.8 million, within its estimate. The purchaser was listed as SIBA Corp.

Other top lots in the sale include: 


* A 9.97-carat, cushion-cut, Kashmir sapphire that sold for more than $1.1 million


* A 28-carat cushion-cut Intense Fancy Yellow, VS2 diamond that sold for $857,000

* A 27.83-carat rectangular-cut Ceylon sapphire that sold for $845,000, well above its $500,000 high estimate

* A 25.82-carat cushion-cut, K-color, VS2 diamond, that sold for $725,000, just above its high estimate

With the latest auction results, sales at Christie’s jewelry department totaled $69.5 million for the first half of 2015. 

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Father’s Day: Six Watches For Passionate, Active Men

Baume & Mercier Hampton

What to give a father that’s new, different and exciting. To help you out here are a listing of six watches for father’s (or husbands) who are active, whether that activity is done in an urban setting or whether it takes places on land, sea and air. All the watches listed are the latest models of classic pieces made by the watch brands. If by chance the most recent model hasn’t made it to retailers yet, the 2014 model should be in stock and would be welcomed as a gift for any man. 


Baume & Mercier Hampton
There are few contemporary watch collections that have become as ionic as the square- or rectangular-shaped case of the Hampton, which is celebrating 20th anniversary this year. Baume & Mercier introduced two new models this year, including the Hampton 10155 (top photo). Simple and sophisticated, the 31 mm x 47 mm rectangular case in satin-finished polished steel contains a Swiss manufacture mechanical automatic caliber visible through the transparent caseback. The curved case measures only 10 mm thick. It’s a timepiece for city dwellers with an off-white dial that displays the hour, minutes and seconds, blued steel tip of the hands, which reinforce the traditional character of the timepiece. The date is shown through a simple window at 6 o'clock, finished off with a black alligator strap and a steel folding security buckle.


Bremont U-22
The new military watch from U.K.-based company is an extension of the U-2 collection, which was originally designed for and inspired by the elite U-2 spy plane squadron flown by the U.S. Air Force. The updated date display reflects the view on an altimeter. There is also a difference with the bi-directional rotating inner bezel, originally designed to measure 60 minutes, and altered in the U-22 to a compass quadrant of a pilot which is often useful in navigation weather mapping. The bronze barrel color was inspired by a number of military watches Bremont has produced in the past based on the anti-reflective coating used on their cockpit canopies. The chronometer uses Bremont’s anti-shock rubberized movement mount. Unlike the original U-2 the U-22 has an exhibition case back showing the automatic movement.


Carl F. Bucherer The Patravi TravelTec II
For the tenth anniversary of the Patravi TravelTec collction, Carl F. Bucherer unveiled a new version of the watch that combines a three-time zone display and chronograph. Chronometer-certified and water resistant to 100 meters, the 47.4 mm case has a side-mounted sapphire glass window (a standard feature of the Patravi TravelTec timepieces) that reveals the built-in complication. The in-house automatic caliber CFB 1901.1 simultaneously displays three time zones in combination with a chronograph. The nine applied hour indices on the dial identify the first time zone. An outer ring on the dial provides the second time zone. The hour digits for the third time zone appear on the bezel. The monopusher enables rapid, user-friendly switching between East and West travel directions. The date display can move forward and also backward when changing the hour setting.


Montblanc Timewalker Urban Speed
The Montblanc Timewalker Urban Speed Date, Montblanc Timewalker Urban Speed UTC, and Montblanc Timewalker Urban Speed chronograph (pictured above), are all designed for the new digitally-enhanced e-strap cerated by the luxury brand. All of the watches are equipped with automatic movements. The 42 or 43-millimetre case include skeletonized horns, a narrow bezel, a large dial with Arabic numerals lancet-shaped hands. The come in “cold grey” micro-blasted steel case or the black DLC (Diamond like carbon) coating. 


Nomos Metro 38 Datum
This timepiece from the Glashütte, Germany-based watchmaker, has received several awards for its sleek, urbane design and functionality. It is one of the most affordable watches on the market with an in-house mechanical movement (DUW 4101). As of 2014, this movement also includes an in-house made escapement. The newest version, released this month, comes without the power reserve, making the dial of the watch even more well-proportioned and clean. It’s also slightly larger than the model introduced in 2014. The new dial of Metro 38 Datum was created by Mark Braun, the Berlin-based designer behind Metro, which has now won five major design awards, including the Red Dot award, the German Design Award, the Good Design Award and iF Product Design Award. 


Zenith El Primero Sport Chronograph
The 45 mm-diameter steel case houses the 400 B automatic chronograph caliber beating at a rate of 36,000 vibrations per hour.  The movement and its Côtes de Genève motif is visible through the sapphire caseback. The dial is available in silver or slate grey (pictured) with a lamé hand finish. The broad faceted hour-markers, rhodium-finished and coated with Super-LumiNova, enable easy readings of the central hours and minutes, swept over by sword-shaped hands. This aesthetic is picked up on the small counter hands. The chronograph sweep-seconds hand, bearing the star emblem, is clad in a deep red echoed by the inscription “36,000 VpH” painted in crimson red in the upper part of the dial. The tachometric scale now appears on the inner bezel ring. 

Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and on the Forbes website.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

‘Kelly Sapphire’ And 16-Ct. Diamond Necklace Each May Fetch $2 Million

Art Deco necklace with 16.24-carat D-color, internally flawless, VS2, pear-shaped diamond

The jewels of business woman and philanthropist, Margaret Adderley Kelly, will lead Christie’s final jewelry auction of the spring season in New York on Tuesday. The 28 lots in the private collection include a Cartier Kashmir sapphire ring and an Art Deco diamond pendant necklace along with large diamond and gold suites, a variety of pearls and several ruby and sapphire pieces.

Ms. Kelly along with her husband, the late William R. Kelly, and their son, Mr. Terence E. Adderley, shaped the national employment agency and recruitment firm, Kelly Services, Inc., into a Fortune 500 company that now employs more than 550,000 people globally. 


One of the top lots is called “The Kelly Sapphire,” (pictured above) a Cartier signed ring centered with a 21.71-carat Kashmir sapphire with no traces of heat enhancement. The stone is flanked by two trapeze-shaped diamonds. Its estimate is $1.5 million - $2 million. 

The other item of note in the Kelly collection is an Art Deco necklace that features a 16.24-carat D-color, internally flawless, VS2, pear-shaped diamond pendant (top photo). Its estimate is $1.6 million to $2 million.

The diverse offering of more than 200 lots at Christie’s New York Important Jewels sale on Tuesday includes a group of colored and colorless diamonds, rare gemstones, and signed designer jewels.

Other auction highlights include:


* An 80.73-carat cushion-cut, K-color diamond with an estimate of $3 million - $5 million

* A 9.97-carat, cushion-cut, Kashmir sapphire with an estimate of $950,000 - $1.25 million


* A 28-carat cushion-cut Intense Fancy Yellow, VS2 diamond with an estimate of $700,000 - $900,000

* A 25.82-carat cushion-cut, K-color, VS2 diamond with an estimate of $600,000 - $700,000

* A 15.54-carat cut-cornered step-cut diamond by Cartier with an estimate of $330,000 - $450,000


* An Art-Deco diamond bracelet by Cartier with an estimate of $380,000 - $450,000


* A necklace with a 5.06-carat, pear-shaped D-color diamond and a 1.68-carat, pear-shaped fancy purplish-pink diamond, with an estimate of $280,000 - $350,000

* A 14.5-carat cut-corned fancy yellow diamond by Graff with an estimate of $250,000 - $350,000


* A 7.27 oval cut Colombian emerald with an estimate of $260,000 – $300,000