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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kim Kardashian, Kanye West Tweet Matching Gold Jewelry

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West spent the weekend in New York sporting giant gold cuffs and bracelets.

Kardashian tweeted photos of the jewelry they wore at a restaurant. While they both share a taste for large yellow gold pieces West seems to lean toward more elaborate designs while Kardashian prefers a shiny, sleek look.

In the two tweeted photos by Kardashian, they are clinking champaign glasses at a restaurant table and posed with all of their bracelets with the caption, “His & Hers.”

The couple was reportedly spotted at The Book of Mormon play on Broadway.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Jewelers of America Names Dave Bonaparte for Top Spot

David Bonaparte
The national trade association for fine jewelry retailers in the U.S. has tapped a jewelry industry veteran and the former manager of a competing tradeshow for its top post.

Jewelers of America said Sunday that it has named David Bonaparte as its president and CEO. He will succeed Matthew A. Runci when he retires at year’s end, after leading the trade association for 17 years. Bonaparte will work with Runci starting October 1, officially taking the helm on January 1, 2013.

Bonaparte was senior vice president of JCK Brands for Reed Exhibitions, a promotion that was granted a year ago. He has spent at least 16 years managing the JCK Las Vegas show and all of its affiliate tradeshows (such as Luxury at JCK and Swiss Watch at JCK) that were added over the years. JCK Las Vegas is one of largest and most important jewelry tradeshows in the world. Other jewelry shows directly under his watch include JCK Toronto and Luxury Privé, held in New York and Panama City. He was also the global leader for the jewelry portfolio at Reed Exhibitions worldwide. His responsibilities in recent years also included leading jewelry trade publication, JCK magazine.

Bonaparte is also an advocate in connection with issues and events affecting the jewelry industry. He was instrumental in helping Reed Exhibitions develop The JCK Industry Fund, which provides $400,000 annually to individuals, groups and associations that develop programs to benefit and promote the industry.

JCK Las Vegas also happens to be the major competitor to Jewelers of America tradeshow held twice a year in New York.

“Through a lengthy and thorough process, the committee selected Dave based on his proven leadership skills, knowledge of the industry and his vision for the future of the organization,” said JA board chair Georgie Gleim of Gleim the Jeweler. “We believe he will be a passionate leader for Jewelers of America, providing guidance and inspiration for JA’s Board of Directors and staff, while serving as a strong advocate for the association and the interests of its members.”

Bonaparte has been a supporter of the American Gem Society, Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America, Jewelry Information Center, Jewelers Security Alliance, Jewelers Vigilance Committee and Women’s Jewelry Association. He has worked closely with JA and many state and regional jewelry associations as well as other retail organizations in a combined effort to develop programs designed to build membership.

JA said that Bonaparte will work to expand the association’s membership, strengthening the organization in terms of both influence and resources, while continuing its leadership role in public and industry affairs as an advocate for its members and the jewelry industry at large.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Jaeger-LeCoultre Creates Raffles Hotel Anniversary Reverso Watch

Swiss luxury watch brand, Jaeger-LeCoultre, has created two editions of its iconic Reverso timepiece for Raffles Hotel Singapore, to honor the establishment’s 125th anniversary.

The double-sided watch can be turned over and be worn like a jewel with a personalized engraving. To mark Raffle Singapore’s 125th anniversary, Jaeger-LeCoultre created an exclusive engraving for the hotel that reads: “Raffles Hotel 1887-2012 Singapore.” The engraving is available on the men’s Reverso Grande Taille and the ladies’ Reverso Lady Ultra Thin.

Pierre Jochem, general manager of Raffles International, noted that the watch brand, which is 180 years old, shares a commitment with the hotel to heritage and innovation. “Timelessness is about moving with the times and adapting to the world around us—but never forgetting out heritage—which is priceless.”

Named after Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore, Raffles started out as a 10-room bungalow and grew to become the landmark of the city-state, known throughout the world for attracting tycoons, rouges, adventurers and movie stars. Well known authors and journalists—including Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham and Noel Coward—wrote about the hotel’s Long Bar, Palm Court and Billiard Room, spreading its legend and acclaim throughout the world.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Which Brooch Did the Queen Wear at the London Olympics?

The queen has to look majestic, whether she’s parachuting from a helicopter into London’s Olympic Stadium or serving as the person to officially open the 2012 London Olympics. Friday night Queen Elizabeth did both (sort of) while wearing a magnificent brooch.

The British Royal Monarchy isn’t talking about the queen’s jewelry selection but from an eyeball account and growing consensus, Queen Elizabeth II wore the King William IV Brooch Friday night. It was seen during her scripted film entrance with the world-famous British detective, James Bond (Daniel Craig), and while in the stands participating in the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

The large, sparkling piece of jewelry (pictured above) is also known as Queen Adelaide’s Brooch, named after the wife of William IV. Created in 1830 or 1831, it consists of six large brilliant cut diamonds a several smaller stones. The gems came from a diamond-studded Badge of the Order of the Bath that had belonged to his father King George III. Queen Victoria wore this brooch and left it to the Crown in 1901.

The Queen also wore a diamond necklace but I’m not venturing a guess as to what it is.

Of course stunt doubles portraying the 86-year-old monarch and Craig were used to do the actual parachute jump into Olympic Stadium.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

The Gold Medal Personifies the Spirit of the Olympics

The two sides of the 2012 London Gold Medal. Photo credit: The official London 2012 website

As the London 2012 Summer Olympics officially begins, this may be the appropriate time to view the symbolic, historical and monetary value of the ultimate prize in the greatest sporting endeavor on the planet.

More than 10,000 athletes will spend nearly three weeks (some games already began) competing for the chance to receive at least one of 302 Olympic Gold Medals. But what are they actually receiving and how did the gold medal become the top prize in the Olympics?

The “podium value” of the London gold medal is worth approximately $708, according to the World Gold Council. It is the highest value of any gold medal in the history of modern games, primarily because of the record high prices of gold and silver.

Each gold medal is made up of 92.5 percent silver and 1.34 percent gold, with the remainder copper. The International Olympic Committee stipulates that each gold medal must have six grams of gold (as well as 92.5 percent silver).

The silver medal (which represents second place) is made up of 92.5 percent silver, with the remainder copper; and the bronze medal (for third place) is made up of 97 percent copper, 2.5 percent zinc and 0.5 percent tin.

If the London 2012 Games medals were made of solid gold, it would cost nearly $40 million to make. This is why the last time pure gold medals were presented was in 1912.

The custom of awarding gold, silver and bronze medals began in the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Mo. These metals represent the first three Ages of Man in Greek mythology: the Golden Age, when men lived among the gods, the Silver Age, where youth lasted a hundred years, and the Bronze Age, the era of heroes.

Each medal is 85mm in diameter and between 8-10 mm thick. The gold and silver medals weigh 412 grams (0.9 pounds) and the bronze medal weighs 357 grams (0.78 pounds). They are the biggest and heaviest summer Olympic medals ever made, according to the WGC.

Eight tons of precious ore for all the medals were supplied by mining giant Rio Tinto and was mined at the Kennecott Utah Copper mine near Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as from the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia, according to the official London 2012 website. For the small amount of non-precious elements used in the bronze medals, the zinc was sourced from a mine in Australia as well as from recycled stock, while the tin originates from a mine in Cornwall, England.

The metal was sent to Spain where it was turned into discs and then were produced at the Royal Mint headquarters in Llantrisant, South Wales.

Each medal takes 10 hours to make, according to the WGC. A 35mm disc is placed in a furnace and heated to 750 degrees Celsius (1,382 degrees Fahrenheit) to soften the medal. The metal disc is then struck 15 times under 900 tons of pressure.

All of the medals were designed by British artist David Watkins.

The circular form of the Olympic medals is a metaphor for the world. The front of the medal always depicts the same imagery at the Summer Games—the Greek Goddess of Victory, Nike, stepping out of the depiction of the Parthenon to arrive in the host city.

The design for the reverse, according to the London 2012 website, features five symbolic elements:

* The curved background implies a bowl similar to the design of an amphitheatre.
* The core emblem is an architectural expression, a metaphor for the modern city.
* The grid suggests both a pulling together and a sense of outreach—an image of radiating energy that represents the athletes’ efforts. 
* The River Thames in the background is a symbol for London and also suggests a fluttering baroque ribbon, adding a sense of celebration. 
* The square is the final balancing motif of the design, opposing the overall circularity of the design, emphasizing its focus on the center and reinforcing the sense of “place” as in a map inset.

For those in London, the medals can be seen at the British Museum throughout the Games.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Teen Jewelry Fashion on the Red Carpet

Sasha Pieterse wears Tresor "Interchangeable" 18k gold earrings with citrine cushion top and aqua briolette; Retail: $1,700.

The was a variety of color and fashion among the young stars who attended the Teen Choice 2012 awards Sunday at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif.

Tamera Mowry wears Tresor 18k yellow gold pave top earrings with turquoise briolette earrings; Retail: $4,950.

Long earrings and big, bold rings boasting bright color were among the items worn by the celebrities. Fans cast more than 134 million votes for their favorite celebrity as the awards show was televised on the FOX network. Following are what some of the celebrities were wearing while entering the theater.

Kendall Jenner wears Hellmuth 18k rose gold drop earrings with diamonds; Retail: $4,979.

Janel Parrish wears Le Vian 14k yellow gold Chocolate Diamond
flower earrings; Price Upon Request.

Actress Shay Mitchell wears an Adeler 14k rose gold amethyst ring;
Retail: $8,988.

Portia De Rossi wears Le Vian 14k Strawberry Gold BlackBerry
Diamond Bracelet; Retail: $3,647.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Luxury Brands Still Bet on China

Hublot Shanghai boutique.

Despite the recent reports of an economic slowdown in China, luxury companies continue to build their extravagant retail spaces for the growing mass of wealthy and middle class shoppers.

The latest example of this is Swiss luxury watch brand, Hublot, which opened its second boutique in Shanghai Tuesday. Located on Nanjing West Road, an area renowned for its concentration of top luxury brands, the boutique features the black that defines the Hublot brand along with leather furnishings, glass and metal fixtures, and high-tech details that create a contemporary space.

The boutique is the fourth in China for Hublot along with four other points of sale in Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian, Shenyang and Wuhan. The brand said it plans to have 15 outlets in China “within a short time frame.”

A month earlier, the German luxury brand, Montblanc, opened a four-story flagship in Beijing to house its luxury writing instruments, timepieces, fine jewelry and leather goods with an extravagant party attended by 1,000 persons, including Jessica Alba, Naomi Watts, Nicolas Cage and Amber Heard.

It is the largest store by the brand and includes interactive displays throughout the store that focuses on the company’s heritage.

So while investors take a pause, luxury brands continue to bet that China will continue on its road to prosperity.

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Swatch Group Underscores Strength of the Swiss Watch Industry

Swatch Group, the world’s largest watch company, said Tuesday that its watch and jewelry sales for the first half of 2012 grew 16.7 percent to 3.4 billion Swiss francs ($3.42 billion), year-over-year. The company owns 19 watch and jewelry brands in all market segments, including Swatch, Breguet and Longines.

The results by Swiss company underscores the strength and resiliency of the Swiss watch industry despite the economic problems facing much of the world. Last week, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported that watch sales for the first half of the year increased by 16.9 percent to 9.5 billion francs ($9.55 billion).

Swatch Group—which also produces movements, hands, crowns, cases, screws, pallets, escapements, electronic circuits, batteries, ceramics and sapphire for its own products and its competitors—saw its gross sales increase 14.4 percent to 3.84 billion francs ($3.86 billion), surpassing the record 2011 half-year figure.

Operating profit for the first half of the year increased by 19.4 percent to 903 million Swiss francs ($908.6 million). Net income increased 25 percent to 724 million francs, year-over-year ($728.4 million).

The Biel/Bienne-based company, in its outlook, expects “dynamic growth in all segments and regions, notably also outside Asia,” for the second half of the year.

Friday, July 20, 2012

De Beers Diamond Sales Decline 14%

De Beers Group, the world’s largest producer of diamonds, reported a 14 percent drop in overall diamond sales and a similar fall in rough diamond sales for the first six months of the year. The company’s profits fell about 50 percent and it announced that it will reduce diamond output from its mines in response to the “challenging” conditions.

The diamond mining and sales company said total sales decreased 14 percent to $3.3 billion for the first six months of 2012, compared with $3.9 billion in the first half of 2011. Sales of rough diamonds by the Diamond Trading Company, the rough diamond distribution arm of De Beers, in H1 2012 were $3.1 billion (including those through joint ventures).

Profit before finance charges and taxation for the first half of 2011 was $502 million, down from $1 billion a year earlier.

The company blamed “lower demand and changing product requirements from sightholders (75 approved buyers of De Beers rough diamonds under long-term contracts),” the company said in a statement. “While overall consumer demand for polished diamonds remained relatively healthy, sightholder demand was impacted by increased stock in the cutting centers, tightening liquidity and challenging conditions in India. However, early indications are that the US market continued to perform well, and the Chinese market, while slowing considerably, still showed positive growth.”

In the first six months of 2012, De Beers’ production totaled 13.4 million carats, compared with 15.5 million carats in the first half of 2011.

Philippe Mellier, chief executive of De Beers, reportedly said the company will continue to reduce its output through the end of the year and allow its sightholders to hold onto their inventories for up to six months, far longer than normal.

In its outlook, De Beers says it “expects trading conditions in the mid-stream to remain challenging during the second half of 2012 … (and) expects to see moderately positive growth in global diamond jewelry sales for the full year 2012, albeit at relatively modest levels, especially when compared to the exceptional growth levels seen in 2011. In the short term, the USA, China, the Gulf and Japan are expected to contribute the bulk of the growth, while India and Europe are expected to remain weak.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Royal Asscher Releases Diamond Jubilee Edition of Stars of Africa Jewelry

The Royal Asscher Diamond Company released a limited edition version of its Stars of Africa jewelry line in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s yearlong Diamond Jubilee celebration. 

The “Diamond Jubilee Stars” is based on the same design introduced in 2009 that incorporates a clear half-sphere or full-sphere made of sapphire crystal filled with tiny diamonds. The crystal shells are filled with a clear silicone, which allow the diamonds to float inside the sphere jewelry in the same manner that paper confetti floats inside a snow globe.

The newest collection consists of a ring and pendant made of 18k rose gold. The half-sphere of the ring contains a total of 2.12 carats of white, blue and fancy pink floating diamonds. The full sphere of the pendant contains 4.91 carats of white, blue and fancy pink diamonds. The colors of the diamonds resemble the three colors of The Union Jack, the British National Flag.

The Diamond Jubilee Stars are available in a very exclusive edition of six pieces, each with its own serial number and certificate and are only available at Harrods, London.

There are few in the jewelry and diamond industry that has had as long or as close of a relationship with with the British Monarchy as Royal Asscher. It began in 1908 when the Asscher brothers of Amsterdam cut the biggest diamond in the world: the Cullinan. The Cullinan I (530 carats) was mounted in the head of the Scepter with the Cross. the Cullinan II (317 carats) was mounted in St. Edward's Crown. Both are part of the Royal Crown Jewels and on permanent display in the Tower of London. 

On the fourth day of the National Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Queen Elizabeth wore the brooch set with the Cullinan III and IV in front of a worldwide audience on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

ICA Signs Agreement to Set Up Colored Gemstone and Jewelry Center in China

Letter of Intention signed by (From left) Derik Wang, general manager of China Mineral & Gem Exhibition Co., Ltd., Wilson Yuen, ICA president, and Li Keming, director of the Administrative Committee of Changsha National Economic & Technical Development Zone. Photo credit: ICA

The International Colored Gemstone Association signed an agreement with the government of the Chinese province of Hunan to establish a national manufacturing and training center for colored gemstones and jewelry in the province's capital, Changsha. The agreement will also provide for the promotion of colored gemstones, jewelry and minerals throughout China and allow the annual ICA Congress to be held in Hunan in 2013.

The “Letter of Intention” was signed Friday in Changsha by officials representing ICA, Gemfields plc., a mining company that specializes in emeralds, and the Changsha National Economic and technical Development Zone.

“This is an extremely significant breakthrough for the ICA and the colored gemstone and jewelry industry,” said Wilson Yuen, ICA president who was part of the signing ceremony. “The Chinese authorities are very keen to see the establishment of a colored gemstone and jewelry center in the country, and the government of Hunan province has agreed to put in place ambitious plans that will see this happen in the near future.”

The signing follows ICA’s recent move of its international headquarters to Hong Kong from New York, to take better advantage of the growing Asian jewelry and gemstone marketplace.

“Chinese jewelry buyers are showing a strong preference for items set with colored gemstones, recognizing the versatility they provide from a fashion viewpoint, and this joint venture will create a large manufacturing base,” Yuen said. “Taken together with the ICA setting up its international headquarters in Hong Kong earlier this month, these are exciting times for members of the ICA. They will benefit from a very strong base in the region and the supply of real-time information from our locally based staff. And now the gemstone center in Changsha will give them a direct connection with local manufacturers looking for a supply of a wide range of gemstones.”

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Style of Jolie Jewelry Goes Public in the South of France

The "Angelina Jolie Exceptional Emerald Necklace" features 44 cushion cut emeralds with a total weight of 103.48 carats, many of which have attained the exclusive gemstone classification of vivid green. The necklace is sculpted in 18K yellow gold. Photo credit: Robert Procop Exceptional Jewels

The South of France, the renowned playground for the wealthy and well-connected, is going to have a little more sparkle and glitter than usual with the public showing of the Style of Jolie jewelry collection.

The faceted emeralds of the "Jolie Pear Shape Emerald Earrings" are mounted on rolled tubular 18k red gold. It is a piece unique and part of the House of Jolie Exceptional Jewels collection. Photo credit: Robert Procop Exceptional Jewels

The complete collection of jewelry created with emeralds, spinels, citrines, rubellites and quartz by actress and director Angelina Jolie and private jeweler Robert Procop goes on display Sunday at the Grand Hotel in Cap Ferret in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France. The viewing will run till August 15.

The "Premiere Black Faceted Necklace" was the first jeweled necklace created by Angelina Jolie and Robert Procop and was unveiled by Jolie to the premiere of her movie "Salt." The necklace is sculpted in 18k rose gold and has 47 black spinels with a total weight of 74.35 carats. Photo credit: Robert Procop Exceptional Jewels

The collection is usually only available by appointment. The only other time the pieces appeared in public was during its unveiling in Los Angeles in April 2011. Proceeds from any sales made during the current showing of the collection will go toward Jolie’s foundation, “Education Partnership for Children of Conflict,” as always.

The 27 carat emerald used for this ring was discovered in the Kunas mines of Colombia. Faceted in the signature Jolie-Procop tablet shape, the gem is mounted in a floating edge bezel of rose gold. From Style of Jolie Exceptional Jewels collection, this is a piece unique. Photo credit: Robert Procop Exceptional Jewels

In an exclusive interview with Procop, the designer says that location in the world class hotel near Nice during the summer is an appropriate venue to showcase the jewelry.

A 186.42-carat pear shaped citrine is highlighted by the graduated rounded bezel set of cushion cut gemstones in this Riviera opera length necklace. The natural golden hues of citrine radiate warmth and vitality within a setting of luminous yellow gold. The necklace is sculpted in 18K yellow gold and has a total weight of 186.42 carat of golden citrine. Photo credit: Robert Procop Exceptional Jewels

“In presenting the collection in its entirety outside of our design studio, it allows for the inspiration, the charitable aspect and style to truly come to life and be more easily visually communicated,” he says. “We are still, essentially, working with private clients, in a more public forum.”

Each rubellite stone in these earring is cut in the form of a tablet and is surrounded by angled bezels of 18K rose gold. Photo credit: Robert Procop Exceptional Jewels

He continues, “I rarely do public displays, so when we decided to host the viewing, we knew it had to be in a location that would rival the exceptional jewels that will be on display. The Grand Hotel at Cap Ferret is an historical location and one of the most beautiful locations in the world. To visit the collection here, it becomes an even greater destination, one which is familiar to the true connoisseur, who would appreciate the purity and quality of both the locale and these artistic jewels.”

Two 67.74-ct. pale-green beryls in these earrings are complimented by the bold tapered angles of 18k yellow gold. These earrings were first worn by Jolie to the premiere of her movie, "The Tourist." Part of the Style of Jolie Tablet Collection, the cut of the stone was inspired by ancient carved tablet engravings. The tablet design style began when Jolie and Procop created a special Christmas gift for Brad Pitt. Photo credit: Robert Procop Exceptional Jewels

In addition, Procop says the setting still provides the type of exclusivity that is appropriate for the collection. He stresses that this is not a jewelry exhibit nor is it a retail setting.

This bracelet is constructed from five rows of white quartz tablet cut stones that stack upon the wrist. Photo credit: Robert Procop Exceptional Jewels

“We are presenting the collection in an exclusive setting for those who would like to admire without a sense of salesmanship,” he says. “For those who would like to acquire part of this once in a lifetime collection and be part of the mission with Angelina help to educate children in need, and pieces will be available for sale.”

The 28.96-carat pear shape emerald for this ring is from the mines of Colombia and is set on soft round 18k yellow gold bezel. It is a piece unique and part of the House of Jolie Exceptional Jewels collection. Photo credit: Robert Procop Exceptional Jewels

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Girard-Perregaux and Carl F. Bucherer Redux

Luxury Swiss watch brands, Girard-Perregaux and Carl F.Bucherer are on the move. Almost immediately after I posted a story that included timepieces released for the U.S. market from the two companies, they showcase new watches.

Carl F. Bucherer, has released the Patravi TravelTec FourX (top picture). 18k rose gold is paired with ceramic to form the bezel. High-quality titanium and resistant rubber also play a role in the overall structure.

The case of the timepiece contains part of the time-zone selection mechanism, which is controlled in two directions by means of a single monopusher. The process can be observed through a window that has been let into the side. The design is aimed at ease of operation. For example, the direction of travel (east or west) can be pre-selected on the multifunctional monopusher at 10 o’clock and each push causes a jump to the next time zone, the flange with its imprinted 24-hour scale turning in either direction to guarantee that the red hours hand always shows the correct local time. It is suitable both for frequent flyers and for those who communicate with people all over the world.

A skeletonized dial permits a free view of the gearing. The elegant date indication can be seen under an effective loupe: the figures are milled out of the date ring and remain invisible until they appear over a red background in the date window. 

Meanwhile, Girard-Perregau’s newest version of its 152-year-old Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges timepiece has a round 41 mm case is carved out of pink gold. Inside it contains the Girard-Perregaux GP9600-0018 automatic mechanical movement. It’s attached to an alligator strap with a gold folding clasp.

It is available with or without diamonds. The diamond model is $406,500 (pictured) and the price without diamonds is $211,500. It is being sold as a limited edition of 50 pieces.

Timepieces From Swiss Watch at JCK

The Girard-Perregaux Dark Night

At the recently held Swiss Watch at JCK tradeshow in Las Vegas, luxury watch brands and North American buyers were out in force. It is one of several jewelry industry tradeshows being held at the time so I only caught a glimpse of what was happening but it was quite an impressive look. What follows is a short list of luxury timepieces that got my attention at the show.

The Dark Night, a new “dark” version of the Girard-Perregaux world-timer, released at JCK (top picture), features a 43 mm black ceramic case with a tinted sapphire case back that discloses the movement. The strength and lightweight of the ceramic structure is enhanced by an internal titanium container. Rubber coated crowns, push buttons and a black rubber strap supplement its sporty characteristics. The timepiece uses a Girard-Perregaux GP03387 self-winding movement, designed specifically for this model. It displays the time in 24 time zones with day and night indicator, date and fly-back chronograph. Exclusive to the U.S. market, this watch is limited to 25 units.

One of the pieces being showcased in North America by Carl F. Bucherer was the Manero ChronoPerpetual (above), which features a perpetual calendar with correction-free indication of the date, day of the week, month and moon phase. The mechanism recognizes the different lengths of the months and knows when the next leap year is imminent, and is thus able to counter the arbitrary features of the Gregorian calendar. The watch has a limited run of 100 units.

Frederique Constant introduced the new Classics Manufacture (above), based on the second generation of the Maxime movement, caliber FC-710, and features an added center seconds hand. The silver dial has a central “guilloché” decoration. The brand, which prides itself on its “accessible luxury” philosophy, is offering this product with a starting price of 1,750 euros (USD $2,144) in stainless steel. The watch is also available with a rose gold plated case for 1,950 (USD $2,390).

For the ladies, Girard-Perregaux introduced the latest model from its Cat’s Eye collection (above). This jewelry watch is draped in 150 emerald-cut precious stones The dial, adorned with a delicate “Clous de Paris” hobnail motif, includes 102 emerald-cut diamonds. The “Clou de Paris” hobnail motif consists of holding several stones with a single “clou” or pin, meaning that the diamond cutter must cut and calibrate the stones one by one. A taupe-colored satin strap enhances the sparkle of the stones. An ardillon buckle set with 13 baguette-cut diamonds encircles the wrist. The hand-engraved case back opens onto the caliber GP033R0 self-winding movement.

Jacob & Co. Hosts Celebrity-Filled Gala in Monaco

Adrien Brody (left), Diane Kruger (center) and Joshua Jackson (second from right) were among the guests with Jacob Arabo (far right).

Jacob Arabo of Jacob & Co. hosted an intimate and exclusive charity gala on July 6th in Monaco at the Salle Empire, Hotel de Paris. Guests included Coco Rocha, Diane Kruger, Joshua Jackson and Adrien Brody, who were all adorned with Jacob & Co pieces. 

Diane Kruger wears Jacob & Co, diamond drop earrings with Alternate 34.21-carat round brilliant cut diamonds and 11.80-carat emerald cut diamond 46.01 tcw. set in platinum; cushion cut diamond ring, 16.50 ctw.; cushion cut diamond cuff bracelet, set in platinum, 97.37 ctw. Adrien Brody is wearing a G5 Series Five Time Zone Grand Collection timepiece and Jacob and Co. cufflinks with the Jacob and Co. logo in white gold.

The cocktail party and dinner were in support of the Princess Charlene Foundation (founded by Princess Charlene of Monaco) and the Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophy (founded by Prince Albert II of Monaco). The gala included entertainment, a live presentation of selected jewelry and a charity auction. 

Among the Jacob & Co. pieces unveiled at the gala was the necklace, Splendors of Nature (pictured above), consisting of the following: 44.09-carat D flawless emerald cut diamond, 10.09-carat fancy vivid purple pink cushion cut diamond, 5-carat fancy vivid blue emerald cut diamond, 3.94-carat fancy vivid yellow emerald cut diamond and 18.07ct D internally flawless cushion cut diamond. Supporting the diamond is a neck-piece made of 74.77-carat TCTW D-F color alternating round brilliant and emerald cut diamonds.

Coco Rocha adorned in Jacob & Co. jewels.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ICA Moves Headquarters to Hong Kong

Members of the board of directors of the ICA and staff of the new Hong Kong office. Photo credit: ICA

In another example of Asia’s newfound dominance in the jewelry industry, the International Colored Gemstone Association has moved its international headquarters to Hong Kong from New York. The new offices are located in Hong Kong's gems and jewelry manufacturing district and are run by a team of English and Chinese speaking staff, led by Daniel Leung, executive assistant to the president.

The ICA, which will maintain a presence at a new location in New York, says the decision to move its head office is aimed at bringing the organization into closer touch with the rapidly expanding Asian markets, and to actively participate in the further development of the colored gemstones and jewelry industry in the region. In addition, ICA is seeing an expansion in its membership in Asia, and the Hong Kong offices will enable it to better serve them, says ICA President Wilson Yuen.

"This was not a decision that we made easily, and it followed a great deal of debate," Yuen says. "Our international offices have been based in New York for many years. But we felt that we could not ignore the trends that are sweeping our industry and the global economy in general.

"Asia in general, and China in particular, is claiming a larger role in international business, and it is imperative that we are based in the heart of the region to enable us to provide a comprehensive service to our membership and to the industry,” he adds. “This is what it is expected of the ICA.”

The transition being overseen by former ICA executive director, Barbara Wheat.

The new Hong Kong offices were opened July 9 at a special in-house inauguration ceremony attended by ICA board of directors. 

ICA is a non-profit worldwide organization that represents the global colored gemstone industry. Founded in 1984, it’s now comprised of almost 700 gemstone dealers, cutters and miners from 47 countries.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Anglo American Receives Regulatory Approval for De Beers Acquisition

London-based mining giant Anglo American said Friday that it has received final regulatory approval to acquire the Oppenheimer family’s 40 percent stake in the De Beers Group.

“Now that all the conditions to the transaction have been satisfied, a formal pre-emption offer will be served by CHL Holdings Limited (representing the Oppenheimer family interests) on Anglo American and the Government of the Republic of Botswana under the terms of the De Beers Shareholders' Agreement,” Anglo-American said in a statement Friday.

The Oppenheimer family, which has owned the De Beers Group for more than 80 years, announced in November that it will sell its remaining 40 percent stake in the diversified diamond company to Anglo American plc for $5.1 billion in cash. Consent under Section 11 of the South African Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 2002 was the final approval required for this transaction to proceed.

The pending acquisition means that Anglo American will increase its current 45 percent shareholding in the world's largest diamond company to up to 85 percent, subject to adjustment as provided for in the agreement. In January 2012, the transaction was approved by Anglo American shareholders, with 99.94 percent voting in favor.

The Government of the Republic of Botswana, which currently owns a 15 percent stake in De Beers has the opportunity to participate in the transaction and increase its interest in De Beers, on a pro rata basis, to up to 25 percent.

In the event that the GRB exercises its pre-emption rights in full, Anglo American will acquire an incremental 30 percent interest in De Beers, taking its total interest to 75 percent, and the consideration payable by Anglo American would be reduced proportionately.

Anglo American expects the transaction to close in the second half of 2012, in line with its previously stated timeline.

De Beers is a family of companies that dominate the diamond, diamond mining, diamond trading and industrial diamond manufacturing sectors. De Beers is active in every category of industrial diamond mining: open-pit, underground, large-scale alluvial, coastal and deep sea. Mining takes place in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada. The company’s subsidiaries also include the Diamond Trading Company, the rough diamond sales and distribution arm of the company, the Forevermark diamond brand and De Beers Diamond Jewellers, a luxury joint-retail operation with LVMH-Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

Anglo-American is one of the world’s largest mining companies with a portfolio that includes iron ore and manganese, metallurgical coal and thermal coal; base metals – copper and nickel; and precious metals and minerals – in which it is a global leader in both platinum and diamonds. The company operates in Africa, Europe, South and North America, Australia and Asia.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hublot Celebrates America's Independence with US Liberty Bang

Hublot US Liberty Bang

Swiss luxury watch brand Hublot has teamed up with the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia for the second consecutive year to serve as the “Official Watch and Timepiece” of the Liberty Medal award.

To celebrate this partnership, Hublot created a limited edition US Liberty Bang 44mm timepiece to honor the recipients of the Liberty Medal. Set with a black ceramic case, the black dial features an American flag inscribed with text and citations from the American Constitution on a black rubber and gummy alligator strap.

Established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, the Liberty Medal is awarded annually to men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe. The medal was first administered by the National Constitution Center in 2006 to presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Other past Liberty Medal recipients include Nelson Mandela, Shimon Peres, Kofi Annan, Sandra Day O’Connor, Bono and Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates was the recipient of 2011 award.

This year’s award will be presented in September. The recipient has yet to be named.

The National Constitution Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution devoted to the U.S. Constitution and its legacy of freedom. It is located two blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia

The Hublot US Liberty Bang limited edition costs $11,900 and is available at the Hublot Boutique, 692 Madison Avenue, New York.