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Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Speake-Marin Kennin-ji Temple Masters Project

Watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin and three specialist engravers have created a one-of-a-kind watch inspired by an iconic Japanese Temple. 

The Kennin-ji Temple Masters Project was commissioned by an experienced collector, described by the watchmaker as being “passionate about high-quality artisanal craft and believes that it is the people involved that impart a timepiece with its soul.”

The inspiration for this timepiece is the Kennin-ji Temple, a historic Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. Founded in 1202, it is considered to be the oldest Zen temple in Japan, and the temple's founding abbot, Eisai, is credited with introducing the Zen philosophy to Japan.

To commemorate the temple’s 800th anniversary in 2002, the Hatto building (Dharma Hall) was enhanced by a dramatic painting of two dragons on the ceiling by artist Koizumi Junsaku. The painting covers approximately 1,883 square feet. Speake-Marin says the style differs from the traditional circular layout as the commissioning Abbot requested that the dragons be “rampaging across the ceiling.”

To convey the power of this monumental painting down to the scale of a wristwatch, the Kennin-ji Temple Masters Project timepieces features ornately engraved twin dragons spilling out from the dial to the 42 mm white gold case and onto the surrounding presentation box.

The original stepped bezel was redeveloped to have a rounder profile so that the dragons flow seamlessly from the dial, over the bezel and down the sides of the case. And the engraving isn't restricted to the top and sides. The movement is also engraved and the leather lining of the presentation case is embossed with a similar dragon motif.

Speake-Marin, a British native who now lives and works in Switzerland, served as the project manager and was responsible for the in-house SM2 movement beating beneath the dragons on the dial. The engravers are specialists in their field, responsible for a specific portion on the watch and the packaging. They are:

* Kees Engelbarts, a Dutch native, was the engraver for the dial and case;

* Eddy Jaquet of Switzerland was the engraver for the SM2 movement;

* Christophe Seewer of Switsaerland was the engraver for embossing the leather of the presentation case.

“This is the most extraordinary engraving project I've ever been involved with," said Peter Speake-Marin. “Due to the complexity of the subject (two dragons instead of one), the incredible detail of the engravings and the fact that it isn't just one component that's engraved, but the designs cover practically the whole watch.”

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The Ulysse Nardin Limited Edition Artemis Racing Marine Diver

The Ulysse Nardin Artemis Racing Marine Diver was unveiled Friday during a preliminary America’s Cup World Series competition in Gothenburg, Sweden. The city is one of the hosts for the sailing competition. The culmination of the 35th America’s Cup will be held in Bermuda in June, 2017.

The luxury watch brand created the limited-edition timepiece to highlight its sponsorship of the Swedish sailing team.

The Artemis Racing Marine Diver has a mixture of textures, including stainless steel and rubber. It features a “deep-ocean blue” dial augmented with bursts of the signature yellow of the sailing team on the hands and hour markers. The dial also has a pattern of sailing vessels that seem to float on the sea.

The power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock features the Artemis Racing logo. The small seconds subdial window at 6 o’clock reads, “Challenger 35th America’s Cup Artemis Racing.” The nautical theme continues with a subtle wave pattern on the unidirectional rotating bezel. The logo and expression also appears on the stainless steel caseback.

The 44 mm watch is powered by the UN-26 automatic caliber and is water resistant to 300 meters.

The Artemis Racing logo and yellow stripes also appear on the blue rubber strap. The watch is limited to 250 pieces and is available through Ulysse Nardin’s worldwide retail network.

In the 19th Century, Ulysse Nardin manufactured highly accurate marine chronometers for ships throughout the world. Patrik Hoffmann, Ulysse Nardin CEO, says this nautical heritage makes the partnership with Artemis Racing “a perfect match.”

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Friday, August 28, 2015

11 Speakers Announced For 8th Annual Portland Jewelry Symposium

Jewelry industry professionals at the 2014 Portland Jewelry Symposium

The Portland Jewelry Symposium, a forum for the jewelry industry to discuss advancements and new artistic approaches to jewelry manufacturing and design, will be held October 4 and 5 at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland, Ore. 

In its eighth year, the Symposium is known for bringing together top industry talent to present on current trends in design, technology, bench work and business. It’s tailored to the needs of manufacturing professionals, retailers and designers.

“We like to think of it as the ‘Great Think Tank’ for jewelers that are passionate about their craft,” said Teresa Frye, who founded the Symposium. “I believe there is growing interest in the trade for events like ours where in-depth networking opportunities complement a full educational program.”

On October 4, the event will kick off at the Portland Art Museum with a dinner and keynote address from Benjamin Smithee, chief strategy officer of Relevents, an events company. Smithee is a highly acclaimed speaker and has consulted for some of the world’s biggest brands, including Coca-Cola, Del Monte, General Mills and Sterling Jewelers. 

On Monday, there will be a line-up of 10 industry presenters including David Geller, director of Shop’s Profits, sharing his decades of experience in consulting on profitability in the custom jewelry business; renowned designer, Paul Klecka, offering his unique insights on digital design; pulse-arc welding expert, Sessin Durgham of Rio Grande; and digital manufacturing guru Kevin Abernathy. 

Event sponsors include TechForm Advanced Casting Technology, MJSA, Stuller, Rio Grande, Gemological Institute of America, Platinum Guild International, Johnson Matthey, Solidscape, Chris Ploof Designs, Asiga, United Precious Metals Refining, The Richline Group and Jewelers of America.

For more details on how to register and a complete list of speakers, visit

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Inside Panerai’s Americas Flagship Boutique In Miami

 Photo by Doug Castanedo

Officine Panerai’s new Americas Flagship boutique in Miami serves as a symbol of the city’s vibrant luxury scene while it represents the watch brand’s heritage.

The two-story, 2,200-square-foot retail space opened officially in July in an area dedicated to luxury watch and jewelry brands in the burgeoning Miami Design District. Angelo Bonati, CEO of Panerai, insists that the boutique represents a long-term commitment to the American market, the city of Miami and the design district—which has grown to become an international center for modern art, architecture and design.

Panerai CEO, Angelo Bonati  Photo by Doug Castanedo

“Miami is the most important boutique in the United States. Not yet in terms of sales. (But) in terms of representing Panerai because Miami is a city of art,” says Bonati during an interview inside the new boutique. “Miami is the door of the United States. For me it is the correct mix to establish the image of the brand.”

The boutique represents a new design for the brand created by Patricia Urquiola, a Spanish-born Italian-educated architect and designer. Bonati says it was important to choose a designer who understood Italian culture. (On Urquiola’s Wikipedia page it notes that the she is “Spanish by birth and Italian by choice.”) In addition, Bonati says the two worked together on exhibitions in Milan and Beijing.

 Photo by Doug Castanedo

“She brought all the characteristics to express all the elements of Panerai, which is not easy to understand. Plus we had an experience with her because she was the director of an exhibition in Milan where the theme was time,” he says. “It was a very important exhibition and we were very impressed with her work.

He adds, “It was her first experience working on a boutique for us and this is important because she was not (influenced) by other brands. If you do shops for different brands you cannot avoid mixing the styles.”

 Photo by Doug Castanedo

The long, narrow retail space has a contemporary edge but still references the Florentine roots and seafaring nature of the watch brand, which at one time created timepieces for the Italian navy. For example, one wall is made of light-brown woods while the other is made of undulated and transparent glass designed to replicate light being refracted and reflected in ocean water. The water theme is further enhanced with wall displays fashioned like ship portals. Rows of down lights have the appearance of light fixtures from an old ship.

The center element for the boutique is a chandelier designed to replicate Panerai watch movements that runs the length of the high ceiling on each floor.

At the entrance of a stairway leading to the second floor there’s an antique scuba suit. Long copper bars frame the stairway. On the second floor there’s a large replica of a Panerai Luminor Marina watch face with hour markers and watch hands in a green luminescent finish. The upper space extends to outside walkway/patio. It will be used for private sales, parties and art exhibits.

 Photo by Doug Castanedo

The Panerai boutique is located at the end of Palm Court, a two-story blue-hued structure designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto (his first US project). It is an area of the Miami Design Center dedicated to luxury watch and jewelry brand boutiques. A. Lange & Sohne, Hublot, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, Parmigiani Fleurier, Piaget, TAG Heuer, Tourbillon, Vacheron Constantin, Vhernier, Yvel, Audemars Piguet and Van Cleef and Arpels, are among Panerai’s neighbors. Most of the boutiques are open with the remaining to open in 2016.

Outside Palm Court there’s a replica of Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome and a large fiberglass bust of Le Corbusier by French artist Xavier Veilhan. This is in character with the intention of the Miami Design District to house landmark buildings created by world-class architects and site-specific art works by internationally renowned modern artists.

On the right is Palm Court. In the foreground is a large fiberglass bust of Le Corbusier in the back is a replica of Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome. Photo by Robin Hill

Palm Court is the latest phase in the Miami Design District, a 20-year project to covert an abandoned furniture and interior design center into an international art and design district with luxury shopping, world-class restaurants, museums, hotels and housing. The 18-block area is expected to be fully completed by the end of 2016, says Craig Robins, CEO of Dacra Development, who has led the development of the district.

Bonati says the Design District and Miami’s importance as an international modern art and design destination is complimentary with Panerai’s Florentine pedigree. This is what he wants to convey with the new boutique.

“Art and design is linked to the brand. You can see the detail. You can easily understand something that is timeless because this design was made in 1936 but it’s still contemporary now,” he says. “Florence is an expression of art that is universal because Florence expresses something unique that nobody can be able to express in the future. But Miami through this modernity, through this design and contemporary art is another expression for the future that can be very important. I love Miami for that. Most European people love Miami for that.”  

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Tiffany & Co. Q2 Sales And Earnings Take A Hit

Tiffany & Co. said Thursday worldwide net sales in the second quarter fell 2 percent year-over-year to $991 million. On a constant-exchange-rate basis worldwide net sales and comparable store sales increased 7 percent due to growth in Japan, Europe and Asia-Pacific, as well as increased sales of fashion gold jewelry and statement jewelry.

The luxury retail jeweler reported that net earnings for the second quarter fell 16 percent to $105 million. It blames the drop in sales and earnings on unfavorable effects from a strong U.S. dollar, a large impairment charge and higher SG&A expenses. Excluding the impairment charge, which was a loan to a diamond mining company, earnings declined 10 percent.

The company downgraded its earnings for the year to 2 percent to 5 percent lower than the prior year.

Frederic Cumenal, Tiffany CEO, said the negative impact of a strong US dollar was greater than originally expected.

“We entered this year expecting translation and tourism-related pressures on sales and earnings from the exceptionally strong U.S. dollar, as well as challenging economic conditions in certain markets,” he said. “The adverse effects from the strong dollar have been even more significant than initially expected.”

By region, second quarter sales are as follows:

The Americas - Total sales of $475 million in the second quarter were 2 percent below the prior year, the company said. On a constant-exchange-rate basis both total sales and comparable store sales in the second quarter were equal to the prior year for the second quarter. Higher sales to U.S. customers contrasted with lower foreign tourist spending in the U.S. which management attributes to the strong U.S. dollar. The company added that there was healthy comparable store sales growth in Canada and Latin America. 

Asia-Pacific – Total sales rose 4 percent to $245 million in the second quarter. On a constant-exchange-rate basis total sales and comparable store sales in the second quarter rose 9 percent and 6 percent, respectively, while total sales and comparable store sales rose 6% and 4% in the first half. Double-digit sales growth in China and Australia was combined with mixed performance in other markets. 

Japan - Total sales in Japan rose 5 percent to $125 million in the second quarter. On a constant-exchange-rate basis total sales and comparable store sales in the second quarter increased 27 percent and 21 percent respectively, benefiting from higher sales to foreign tourists. 

Europe - Total sales in Europe rose 2 percent to $123 million in the second quarter. On a constant-exchange-rate basis both total sales and comparable store sales in the second quarter rose 19 percent, as growth in the UK and across the continent largely benefitted from higher spending by foreign tourists and, to a lesser extent, an increase in spending by local customers, the company said.

Other Sales – This category experienced a 33 percent decline to $23 million in the second quarter. On a constant-exchange-rate basis, the decline was 27 percent due to lower wholesale sales of diamonds but rose 8 percent on a comparable store sales basis.

Tiffany opened six company-operated stores in the second quarter: Geneva, Switzerland; two in China in Shanghai and Hangzhou; in Bangkok, Thailand; in Macau; and in Ottawa, Canada. The company operates 304 stores worldwide. 

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Signet Jewelers Q2 Sales Rise 15.1% With All National Store Brands Contributing

Signet Jewelers said Thursday second quarter sales in its US and UK stores increased 15.1 percent year-over-year to $1.41 billion. Same store sales increased 4.2 percent for the same period. 

The company’s eCommerce sales rose 30.5 percent to $65.9 million. Profit increased 7.2 percent to $62.2 million. 

The Bermuda-based company owns more than 3,600 retail locations, including Zale and Kay Jewelers brands in the U.S. as well as the Ernest Jones brand in the UK, said the sales increase “was driven by positive sales performance across all national store brands.” 

The company added that in the second quarter, an operational change related to the Sterling division’s extended service plans associated with ring sizing favorably impacted earnings. 

Second quarter sales by division are as follows:

* Sterling Jewelers division (which includes Kay Jewelers and Jared) reported that total sales increased 5.9 to $858.5 million. Same store sales increased 3.3 percent. Signet said sales increases “were broad-based across store banners, product brands and non-brands, as well as multi-channels. Bridal and diamond jewelry was particularly strong.” The average transaction price increased by 4.2 percent while the number of transactions decreased by 2.5 percent, due primarily to merchandise mix.

* Zale Division (a new Signet division that consists of former Zale Corp. brands, such as Zales, Piercing Pagoda stores in the US and Canada) saw its sales increase by 57.3 percent to 389.3 million. Same-store sales rose 5.8 percent for the period. 

* UK Jewelry division total sales declined by 2.3 percent to 159.1 million. The decreases were “driven entirely by foreign currency exchange rates,” Signet said. Same-store sales increased 5.1 percent. The average transaction price and number of transactions for the division increased by 4.3 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, due to the merchandise mix. 

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Asia’s Fashion Jewelry Fair Set To Make Its Mark Alongside September Hong Kong Fair

There is another annual tradeshow held alongside the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. Asia’s Fashion Jewellery & Accessories Fair – September will be held September 16 - 19 at AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong, the same place and time as the raw materials portion of the larger September Hong Kong fair. 

AFJ occupies Hall 2 and the Concourse of AWE, which totals around 11,360 square meters of exhibition space. More than 400 exhibitors, of which more than 80 percent are from outside Hong Kong, will be featured, including Mainland China, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, UK, USA, and Taiwan.

As with the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, the world’s largest fine jewelry fair, AFJ is owned and operated by UBM Asia. 

Now in its 13th year, the September AFJ serves as the launching pad for Spring/Summer collections. It gives buyers from around the world the opportunity to preview and source upcoming trends in fashion jewelry and accessories long before they hit stores. It also offers buyer favorites and timeless bestsellers. Meanwhile, market specialties will be offered by exhibitors in five group pavilions, including mainland China, India, Korea, the Philippines, and Taiwan region. In addition, the Stainless Steel Jewellery Pavilion is back by popular demand.

“Since its launch in 2003, 9FJ has been providing both buyers and suppliers a professional platform to connect with each other and explore business opportunities,” said Celine Lau, director of Jewellery Fairs of UBM Asia Ltd. “The steady growth in the number of visitors and exhibitors over the years confirms the fair is fulfilling its goal.” 

UBM Asia has arranged a free continuous bus service running directly from HKCEC and Tsim Sha Tsui to AsiaWorld-Expo. For details and pick-up points, follow this link

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hong Kong Jewelry Fair Continues to Receive Strong Industry Support

Record crowds at the 2014 September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair

Hong Kong has long been recognized as one of the world’s premier trading hubs and manufacturing centers for the jewelry industry. 

China and Hong Kong were the runaway leaders in composite luxury sales growth in 2013, with 33.4 percent growth, according to the 2015 Global Powers of Luxury Goods report by Deloitte Touche Totmatsu Ltd. Chinese and Hong Kong companies registered the fastest growth in luxury sales in 2013. In addition, China recorded a 10.7-percent hike in retail sales of gold, silver and jewelry in May 2015, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China. 

As a gateway to China’s jewelry market, Hong Kong is well positioned to host the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, organized by UBM Asia, the world’s largest B-to-B jewelry tradeshow. 

The September Fair is now in its 33rd edition and continues to be supported by industry players. Exhibitors and buyers acknowledge that the fair is an effective channel to tap into the Asian market, including the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong markets. Buyers could find just about anything at the September Fair in terms of design and material – from simple silver pieces to luxurious diamond and gemstone creations. 

This year’s fair will be held September 16 - 20 at AsiaWorld-Expo and from September 18 - 22 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. This year’s lineup features more than 3,700 exhibitors from 50 countries and regions in more than 135,000 square meters of exhibition space. AWE will display jewelry raw materials from around 1,700 local and overseas exhibitors, while HKCEC will showcase fine finished jewelry from about 2,000 international fine jewelry exhibitors. 

About 60,000 visitors are expected to attend from all over the world. 

For the first time there will be exhibitors from Latvia, Myanmar and Qatar, a “Bridal Jewellery Pavilion” and a South Africa Pavilion. This brings the total of group pavilions to 23 at both venues.

The Alrosa Group, Russia’s leading diamond company and the world’s biggest diamond miner by volume, will host its diamond auction at AWE. Meanwhile, the Paspaley Pearl Auction and Robert Wan Tahiti Perles Auction will be held in conjunction with the fair in HKCEC. The fair will again feature the world’s largest diamond pavilion, Asia’s biggest gemstone marketplace and the biggest display of Hong Kong jewelry in the world. 

Welcome receptions will be held at AWE on September 16 and at the HKCEC September 18. 

The fair is free and open to jewelry trade professionals and members of the press. Visitors under 18 will not be admitted.

Visitor pre-registration is available at this link. Registration/en until September 2. The Fair Mobile App is now available for download by following this link.

UBM Asia will organize free continuous shuttle bus service running directly between the HKCEC and AWE. For more information follow this link.  

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

LAGOS Adds Black Ceramic Beads To Caviar Collection

The iconic Caviar collection by the LAGOS jewelry brand has been given an update with new color and materials.

The Black Caviar collection of bracelets and chains features sculptural and smooth ceramic “Caviar” beads adorned with 18k gold and brilliant diamonds. The launch of this newest line signifies a reinterpretation of the Philadelphia-based brand’s Caviar design created nearly 40 years ago by Steven Lagos, founder and creative director of LAGOS. 

“I like to experiment with texture, scale and colors beyond silver and gold. I love the smooth finish of ceramic and the color choices it offers,” Lagos said. “Ceramic widened the design scope for us in many ways.

Lagos went on to say that it took three years to actually bring the design to a finished product because it required a new fabrication process. While this new process may have been time consuming, it provided opportunities to improve upon other aspects of the product, such as the LAGOS bracelet clasp. 

“It is now more curvy and feminine, and an overall better fit for the wrist,” he said.

It’s being sold as a collector’s piece, Lagos said, meant to be paired with 18k gold, diamond and sterling silver Caviar pieces.

“I want her to see the Black Caviar bracelet as the missing statement from her wrist—a ‘uniform’ piece, not a ‘trend’ piece,” he said. 

Black Caviar will launch September 1 on, Neiman Marcus and all retailers that carry LAGOS jewelry. Pieces run from $450 to $6,000.

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Phillips Appoints Sam Hines International Head of Watches

Prominent watch specialist and authority, Sam Hines, has been named International Head of Watches for Phillips auction house. 

The international auction house recently established its watch department with Aurel Bacs and Livia Russo as its senior consultants. Phillips held its first watch auction since the early 2000s in May and reportedly doubled the total amount taken in by its closest rival during the week of horological auctions in Geneva.

While the watch department is based in Geneva, Hines will be heading Phillips’ global watch team from its recently opened Asian Headquarters in the Landmark Building in Hong Kong. The auction house also has watch specialists in London and New York.

Hines will work with Phillips’ watch team on the contents of the auctions in the fall season, including the November 8 sale in Geneva and the auction house’s inaugural Hong Kong sale on December 1. 

With 20 years experience in the auction world, Hines has held executive positions in New York and in Asia since 2008, spearheading many ground-breaking sales of important watches. In 2013 he was appointed International co-head of Christie’s watches department. Hines worked under Bacs at Christie’s. 

Highlights from Hines’ career include the discovery and sale of two previously unknown pocket watches from the third generation of James Ward Packard, achieving $2.7 million at auction in 2011, as well as curating the sale of Asia’s most expensive horological object; a pair of Singing Bird Pistols that sold for $5.8 million. He is also responsible for numerous auction records, including the sale of the only known Patek Philippe Star Caliber 2000 for $3.5 million, a Rolex cloisonné enamel wristwatch for $1 million and two sets of the Patek Philippe reference 5004 for $3.75 million.

“Sam has pushed the boundaries of watch collecting, expanding the awareness of the watch market to a vast network of established and emerging collectors. He has built his career on forming long term relationships with many of the world's watch collecting elite,” said Edward Dolman, chairman and CEO, Phillips.

“I proudly welcome my dear friend, Sam Hines. Sam has, without a doubt, the trust of the world’s key collectors and trade thanks to his unrivalled expertise, honesty, transparency and integrity. He is an important advisor to elite collectors, especially in Asia,” added Aurel Bacs, senior consultant, Bacs & Russo.

Hines was born in London and lives in Hong Kong with his wife and two daughters. He studied political science at New York University.

With Hines’ appointment, Phillip’s International Team of Watch Specialists now consists of:

Aurel Bacs and Livia Russo, senior consultants, Geneva

Nathalie Monbaron, business development Director, Geneva

Virginie Liatard-Roessli, department manager,Geneva

Paul Maudsley, international specialist, director of the London Watches Department, London

Kate Lacey, specialist, London
Paul Boutros, consultant and international strategy adviser, New York
Leigh Zagoory, cataloguer and junior specialist, New York
Jill Chen, business development director, Hong Kong 

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bulgari’s High Jewelry Collection Interprets Italian Gardens

The “Blue Iridescence” necklace is made of eight rare blue sapphires (187.48 total carats), acquired by Bulgari in various parts of the world and kept by the luxury jeweler for years.

Lots of color and sparkle combined with detailed geometric shapes, romantic themes and blooming flowers are among the hallmarks of Bulgari’s new high jewelry collection. 

The Italian luxury house took to interpreting the structured serenity of Italian gardens of the Renaissance period with its Italian Gardens collection of 100 one-of-a-kind pieces. 

Bulgari has a long history of interpreting the dialogue between art and nature in its jewels. But usually the theme is based on nature in its wildest form, most notably displayed in its iconic serpenti design. This is a bit different but the trademark Bulgari craftsmanship, design and use of colorful gems remain the same. 

For example, the “Hidden Treasures” earrings (pictured above), inspired by the geometric designs of sculpted evergreens, consist of two fancy cut Zambian emeralds for each jewel. The four stones together weigh 143.1 carats. They were extracted from a single 400-carat rough stone. The company says the cut enhances the brightness of the gems. Each stone is gently embraced with platinum claws set with 8.40 carats of diamonds. Between each pair of emeralds is a brilliant cut diamond. 

Rare blue sapphires, acquired by Bulgari in various parts of the world and kept by the luxury jeweler for years, make up the “Blue Iridescence” necklace (top photo). The eight sapphires, which total 187.48 carats, maintain their shimmering blue hue even in the dark, according to the jewelry house. Seven of the sapphires are offset with seven pink spinels totaling 81.13 carats. The eighth sapphire is used for the clasp. Completing the necklace is a tight, geometric pattern made of 18k gold and paved with diamonds. 

Diamonds also play an important role in this collection. “Spring Encounter” (pictured above), inspired by the “Allegory of Spring” by Sandro Botticelli, describes the eternal rebirth of nature. Bulgari says it also refers to its past, recalling a necklace from 1969 in yellow gold with pearls, coral and diamonds. While romantic and beautiful, this necklace also showcases the skill of Bulgari’s craftsmen. Brilliant-cut diamonds are placed in the centre of 16 flowers. Each flower vibrates as the necklace moves. The delicate 18k gold petals of each flower are paved with diamonds. 

One of the most colorful pieces in the collection is the “Secret Garden” necklace (pictured above), designed to replicate the intimate, hidden areas in Italian Renaissance gardens. The luxury jeweler said the necklace is crafted to give volume and movement to the gems, again, showcasing Bulgari’s craftsmanship and originality. Rubellite, tanzanite, citrine, amethyst and aquamarine receive a special fancy cut to appear like petals. They are set in delicate claws and combined so each flower is made up of four multi-colored petals. The flowers and other gems hang from a rounded, serpenti-like neck chain made of 18k yellow gold. 

Bulgari’s “Water Symphony” necklace (pictured above) uses sapphires, white gold and diamonds. The necklace, which converts into a bracelet, features two cushion-shaped blue sapphires. One is 45.57 carats offset by a 3.65-carat sapphire. The large sapphire is mounted in ribbon-shaped 18k white gold set with baguette diamonds. The large gem also is framed with pear-shaped diamonds. The same theme is repeated in the chain with the addition of round brilliant diamonds. 

Two “Sparkling Hearts” necklaces (pictured above with emeralds) are paved in diamonds set in white gold. These necklaces, which convert into brooches, also are among the pieces that most reflect the geometric designs of flowerbeds and hedges in Renaissance era Italian gardens. For the central pendant, hearts of brilliant white diamonds are formed within curved geometric lines. Meanwhile, interpretations of blooming flowers and drops of water are recreated with pavé diamond and brilliant cut diamonds are on white gold chains that dangle from the central pendant. The theme is repeated on the neck chain. Versions of this necklace are sprinkled with either emeralds or rubies.

The collection also includes four high jewelry watches called “Geometry of Time.” Mother-of-pearl and coral are blended with a variety of gems, including sapphires and emeralds, amethysts and rubellites, again forming colorful geometric patterns.

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‘Jade Lady’ Mimi Ou Yang To Receive JNA Lifetime Achievement Award

Mimi Ou Yang

Jewellery News Asia has announced that Professor Mimi Ou Yang—affectionately known as “The Jade Lady”—will be honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the fourth annual JNA Awards. Ou Yang is an internationally renowned gemologist, mineralogist and jade expert who founded the Hong Kong Gems Laboratory and H.K. Institute of Gemmology.

“With her inquisitive mind, dedication and hard work, she has made the jadeite trade more transparent, promoted high ethical standards among industry practitioners, inspired consumer confidence, and contributed to cementing the jadeite sector’s status in the international market,” said Letitia Chow, chair of the JNA Awards Judging Panel. “Professor Ou Yang exemplifies the true values of what JNA Awards promotes.”

Since 1978, Ou Yang has devoted herself to the academic research of Fei Cui Jade. For years, she travelled to Myanmar’s mining areas, collecting and studying jade samples. In 1983, she was the first to discover a terrestrial source of Ureyite while doing her research on Burmese jadeite jade. This stood out as her proudest accomplishment. Her unprecedented discovery sent shockwaves through the field of mineralogy and firmly established her academic standing as a mineralogist.

In addition to her contributions to academic research, Ou Yang played a significant role in the development of the jadeite jade market. In the early 1980s, the emergence of artificially treated and dyed jadeite jade led Ou Yang to pioneer the classification system of Fei Cui Jade treatment (“A type,” “B type,” “C type” and “B+C type”) and introduce the earliest use of Infrared Spectroscopy for B Type jadeite jade identification. In addition, she proposed a systematic approach—4C2T1V principle—for quality evaluation of Fei Cui Jade, which is now commonly used by jewelry companies and auction houses.

Ou Yang has dedicated her life to spreading jade knowledge and promoting the status and recognition of Fei Cui Jade as a precious gemstone in the international market. Her accomplishments included creating the term “Fei Cui Jade,” which significantly improved the understanding of Fei Cui Jade and the trade’s reputation among consumers.

Ou Yang also is an educator who trained and nurtured countless numbers of jewelry talents through the development of a Fei Cui Jade program and her publications.

“It is my deepest honour to be the recipient of JNA’s Lifetime Achievement Award,” Ou Yang said. “The path to becoming a Fei Cui Jade scholar was not an easy one. I am thrilled to finally receive recognition from the industry following years of hard work and perseverance. This award, while giving me tremendous pleasure, also serves as an inspiration to all the other scholars to continually serve the industry with their professional knowledge and expertise.”

Ou Yang will receive the award during the the JNA Awards 2015 Ceremony and Gala Dinner, which will be held September 20, at the Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong.

JNA Awards 2015 is led by Rio Tinto Diamonds and Chow Tai Fook as Headline Partners, with Diarough Group, Gübelin Group, Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies, Shanghai Diamond Exchange, and Guangdong Land Holdings Limited as Honoured Partners. 

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Friday, August 14, 2015

James Bond 007 Star Daniel Craig And The Omega Seamaster 300 ‘Spectre’ Watch

Daniel Craig wearing the Omega Seamaster 300 ”Spectre” limited edition at the Omega factory in Villeret, Switzerland

Daniel Craig, the current star of the 007 James Bond film franchise recently visited the Omega factory in Villeret, Switzerland, to witness production of the limited edition Omega Seamaster 300 “Spectre” watch. It’s the same model worn by Craig during the filming of the 24th and latest film, Spectre, scheduled for a November 6 release in the US.

The timepiece will be available in select Omega boutiques in September and will be limited to 7,007 pieces. The Seamaster has been James Bond’s watch for 20 years, since the 1995 release of GoldenEye. This will be the first time a watch from the movie will be released to the general public. Prior to this, only commemorative editions have been released in partnership with the movie franchise.

The Omega Seamaster 300 ”Spectre” limited edition

The Omega Seamaster 300 “Spectre” features a bi-directional, rotating 12-hour diving bezel, made from black, polished ceramic, combined with a “LiquidMetal” (a proprietary zirconium-based alloy). It also has the "lollipop" central seconds hands, as well as the five-stripe black and grey NATO strap. The gun logo is engraved on the strap holder.

Each watch is engraved with the serial number on the back along with the Spectre film logo. The watch is powered by the Omega Master Co-Axial caliber 8400.

Joining Craig during his manufacturing tour was Nick Hayek, Swatch Group CEO, and Stephen Urquhart, president of Omega. The actor was shown the production process that goes into making the new watch.

“I think what was so impressive was the fact that these watches are made from the ground up,” Craig said. “You start with nothing, and then there’s suddenly a working watch. That’s the beauty of it.” 

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

India Fuels A 14% Plunge In Global Gold Jewelry Demand

24k gold necklace by Gurhan
Widespread declines in Asian and Middle Eastern countries led by India fueled a year-over-year 14 percent reduction in gold jewelry demand to 513.5 tons for the second quarter of 2015, according to the World Gold Council. Modest growth in North American and some European markets was not enough to offset the decline.

India, the second largest market for gold jewelry, experienced a 23 percent year-over-year reduction to 118 tons, according to the WGC’s “Gold Demand Trends” quarterly report. This was largely due to extreme weather patterns (heat waves and unseasonal storms) in rural parts of the country, damaging crops, affecting the economic cycle in the regions. This was combined with the government’s decision to trim the selling prices for those crops, including rice and wheat. The rural areas account for about half of all Indian gold jewelry demand, the WGC said. Demand among urban consumers was more resilient.

In China, the world’s largest gold jewelry market, gold jewelry demand fell 5 percent in the second quarter due to the surging than plunging stock markets during the period. Both occurrences caused declines in gold jewelry demand, the WGC said. The rise in the stock market took people’s attention away from gold and the drastic stock market decline led to a detrimental impact on consumer sentiment.

“The Chinese jewelry industry faced a challenging time as manufacturers and retailers chased a smaller pool of consumers, leading to excess capacity,” the WGC said. “This partly helps to explain the increased market share of 18k jewelry as manufacturers reallocated resources towards promoting this higher-margin product.”

One of the few bright spots for the second quarter of 2015 was in North America, led by the US, in what the WGC describes as a “gentle upward course.” Year-over-year growth for the second quarter was 2 percent to 25.5 tons. This was highlighted by a year-over-year 11 percent rise in gold jewelry imports for April and May.

“The slightly erratic nature of US economic recovery has proved a headwind to more convincing growth, but we expect the recovery in demand to gain momentum as yet lower prices feed through to consumers,” the WGC said in its report.

In Canada demand rose by 5 percent and in Mexico by 7 percent. In South America, Brazil experienced an 8 percent decline.

In Europe, growth was marginal with a 1 percent increase in demand driven by modest gains in the UK (6%), Spain (6%) and Germany (7%). This offset declines in France (-8) and Italy (-5).

“While Italy’s export sector benefitted again from the upturn in the US, domestic demand continues to stagnate – hit by the weaker euro,” the WGC said. “UK jewelry demand continued to build on the solid base established in 2012. Total first half demand of 8.2 tons was the highest since 2010 and the recent gold price declines point towards further improvement over the remainder of the year.”

In the Middle East, gold jewelry demand dropped by 20 percent with all countries in the region reporting a decline.

* Turkey - Currency depreciation caused a 30 percent drop in demand.

* Russia – Demand fell by 45 percent. The WGC did not elaborate.

* Iran – The country experienced a number of negative forces driving down second quarter demand by 31 percent, including an increase in VAT, lower oil prices, currency weakness and international economic sanctions.

* UAE – Jewelry demand fell 22 percent due to lower spending by European tourists and regional geo-political tensions.

Among the smaller Asian markets, gold jewelry demand was mixed:

* Thailand – demand fell 5 percent due to continued economic contraction following last year’s military coup.

* Malaysia – Demand fell 5 percent to its lowest quarterly total since 2011due to the introduction of a 6 percent Goods and Services Tax in April.

* Japan – Demand increased 5 percent, aided by higher numbers of Chinese tourists.

* Vietnam – The country outperformed the rest of the region with a 22 percent jump in demand fueled by lower prices.

* Singapore – Demand fell 18 percent.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Graff Diamonds Sparkling Rosette Collection

Taking the traditional design of the Rosette, known for its simple materials, and giving it a sparkling upgrade is what Graff Diamonds has done with the release of its new jewelry collection.

The pieces in the Rosette collection features a central round diamond, surrounded by eight diamonds or gemstones, followed by further loops of pavé diamonds. The design uses round gemstones and pear-shaped diamonds that flow from the central motif. 

Anne-Eva Geffroy, Graff design director, noted that the design takes its inspiration by the ways women historically used the rose for simple adornment.

“Throughout history, women have decorated and adorned their bodies with elements of flora and fauna such as flowers,” she said. “These exquisite elements from the natural world continue to provide a strong source of inspiration for our jewelry collections.”

The Rosette collection features pendants, suspended from delicate chains with diamond and gemstone accents, earrings and sautoirs made of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. 

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Cecil The Lion: Cara Delevingne Auctions TAG Heuer Raise $28,900

Cara Delevingne with Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of TAG Heuer

Cara Delevingne’s passion for lions is evident through her lion tattoo on her index finger. As an ambassador Tag Heuer, the tattoo shows prominently in an advertisement for the Swiss watch brand.

The 22-year-old fashion model and actress’ love of lions was evident again following the killing of Cecil the Lion, as she auctioned her personal TAG Heuer Signature Edition Carrera watch on eBay. The sale raised $14,430, which was donated to the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), one of the largest conservation research institutes in the world. Tag Heuer matched the winning bid to raise a combined $28,900 for the organization, the company said in a statement.

Delevingne’s TAG Heuer Signature Edition Carrera watch

WildCRU had been tracking Cecil since 2008 in the Hwange National Park in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe, as part of a wildlife conservation project. Cecil was killed by Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist and a recreational big game hunter. The lion was allegedly lured outside the confines of the sanctuary, where wildlife is protected, and then killed. The killing drew international outrage. Delevingne on her Twitter feed called Palmer “a poor excuse of a human being.”

Delevingne’s personal watch was worn by her on many occasions, including the Monaco F1 Grand Prix. She auctioned it ahead of its release on the market in September. The 41 mm steel watch case has a titanium-carbide coating and an anthracite dial. The bezel is set with 72 round white diamonds. It is engraved with “Cara Delevingne Edition” and stamped on the back with a lion’s head. The strap is aged black calfskin. The signature of Cara Delevingne is stamped in rose gold inside the strap.

The lion's head on the caseback of Delevingne’s TAG Heuer Signature Edition Carrera watch

The donation will contribute to the organization’s in-depth study of lion movements through satellite trackers, support of field equipment and staff, and training future conservationists.

“Little did we think that this morning we would be opening our emails to discover that Cara was auctioning her watch (with a lion inscribed on its face) to raise money for WildCRU’s research,” David Macdonald, WildCRU’s director, wrote on the WildCRU website, after first learning about the auction on August 6. “It is also a wonderful educational opportunity to think that Cara’s gift will introduce our work to the millions of people who follow her globally, and who we hope will come to appreciate the importance of wildlife and the environment to their futures.”

Delevingne and her lion tattoo featured on a Tag Heuer advertisement

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