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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Industry Experts Return to JNA Awards, Entry Deadline Extended To May 8

From left: Albert Cheng, advisor to the World Gold Council, Far East, James Courage, former chief executive of Platinum Guild International, Lin Qiang, president and managing director of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange, Nirupa Bhatt, managing director of Gemological Institute of America, India and the Middle East; and Yasukazu Suwa, chairman of Suwa & Son, Inc in Japan

Five respected names in the international jewelry industry will return as judges for the fifth annual JNA Awards.

Organized by JNA, the flagship jewelry publication of UBM Asia, the awards recognizes and celebrates excellence and achievement in the jewelry and gemstone industry, with a focus on the advancement of the trade in Asia. 

The JNA Awards 2016 is now accepting entries and interested parties can access the entry forms on the JNA Awards official website. Due to the high level of interest among first-time entrants, the organizer has extended the deadline to May 8, at 11:59 p.m., Hong Kong time. The judging process will commence immediately after the deadline until mid-June.

An independent panel of distinguished industry leaders and veterans from different countries representing key sectors of the industry is carefully selected to ensure that the judging process is fair, transparent and intellectually rigorous.

The judges for the fifth edition of the JNA Awards are: Albert Cheng, advisor to the World Gold Council, Far East, James Courage, former chief executive of Platinum Guild International, Lin Qiang, president and managing director of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange, Nirupa Bhatt, managing director of the Gemological Institute of America in India and the Middle East, and Yasukazu Suwa, chairman of Suwa & Son, Inc in Japan.

Three of the experts have committed to their judging role since the inauguration of the Awards in 2012.

The judging panel is chaired by Letitia Chow, founder of JNA and director of Business Development – Jewellery Group at UBM Asia Ltd. 

“The JNA Awards is celebrating a five-year milestone this year, and it is my greatest pleasure to invite back this group of distinguished experts to our judging panel,” Chow said. “This year stands to be more challenging than before since we are anticipating a record number of entries, requiring even more attention and expertise from our judges.”

The JNA Awards 2016 has Rio Tinto Diamonds and Chow Tai Fook as its Headline Partners, with Diarough Group, Israel Diamond Institute Group of Companies, Shanghai Diamond Exchange (SDE), and Guangdong Land Holdings Limited serving as Honoured Partners.

The shortlisted entrants will be announced on June 23 at a press conference held on the first day of the June Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, and will be feted on September 14 at the JNA Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner during the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. 

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4,000 Buyers Attend Jewellery & Gem Fair – Europe 2016

The third edition of Jewellery & Gem Fair – Europe brought 4,000 buyers from 77 countries and regions to Freiburg, Germany, according to UBM Asia, which owns and operates the four-day trade fair that ended March 22. 

“The sluggish world economy makes a significant impact on jewelry industry, thus buyers are prudent about choosing which fairs to visit,” said Wolfram Diener, senior VP, UBM Asia. “According to some exhibitors, the quality of buyers at JGF Europe is good; visitors came to the Fair determined to place some orders.” 

The Top 10 sources of visitors were: Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Austria, Brazil and India. About 86 percent of visitors were from Europe, primarily Germany, which accounted for almost half. The rest of the visitors came from other parts of the world.

The Packaging, Tools & Equipment pavilion was popular among the visitors, according to UBM Asia. Compared to last year, this pavilion was 80 percent bigger in terms of exhibition space. 

“We received numerous positive feedbacks about the Packaging, Tools & Equipment pavilion. We are now working on a plan to enhance this pavilion even more in order to answer market demand,” Diener said.

JGF Europe attracted around 280 exhibitors from 27 countries and regions in 15,000 sqm of exhibition space. Five group pavilions (Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Mauritius and Thailand) showcased their market specialties. 

Dates for the 2017 trade fair have been set for March 25 – 28. 

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Friday, April 22, 2016

World of Diamonds To Unveil ‘The Jane Seymour’ Blue Diamond Ring

“The Jane Seymour,” a platinum ring set with 2.08-carat cushion-cut fancy vivid blue diamond

The World of Diamonds Group, one of the world’s largest privately held diamond corporations, will unveil “The Jane Seymour,” a platinum ring plated with rose gold set with a rare 2.08-carat cushion-cut fancy vivid blue diamond. The jewel has been named after the internationally renowned British-American star and will be presented April 25 during a private dinner party honoring her at CÉ LA VI Singapore. 

Seymour will wear the ring at the event and then the jewel will become part of the World Diamond Group's private collection.

From the mining of the diamond in Russia, to the crafting of the jewel in Geneva, all of the work was done by the international diamond company.

Blue diamonds of this size and saturation are among the rarest and most sought after gems in the world, commanding extremely high prices at auctions the past few years. However, World of Diamonds Group claims this ring is priceless due to its association with the multitalented actress, producer, philanthropist, painter and businesswoman. The jewel is accompanied by a handcrafted leather “treasure chest.”

“The invitation to behold this creation would rather you not compare The Jane Seymour to anything else in the high jewelry world,” said Karan Tilani, director of World Of Diamonds Group. “It is a celebratory treat, more comparable to a mega-yacht or a ticket to the moon.”

The handcrafted leather “treasure chest” that houses the ring

At the same event in the restaurant and nightclub Seymour will receive an amethyst (her birthstone) weighing more than 20 carats.

Seymour is in Singapore to star in the British Theatre Playhouse’s production of “The Vortex” by Noel Coward, at Jubilee Hall Theatre inside Raffles Hotel, Singapore. As a key supporter of the play, World of Diamonds Group will host a VIP showing on April 29, followed by the “Art For Charity” gala at Raffles. The event is titled “Great Gatsby, Red Carpet Glamour,” and guests include Singapore President Tony Tan and his wife, Mary Tan, the EU Ambassador to Singapore, Michael Pulch, and the British High Commissioner Scott Wightman.

The Ville de Genève diamond necklace

At the event Seymour will wear the Ville de Genève diamond necklace, boasting an18.18-carat Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond. The handcrafted 18k white gold jewel, modeled after coniferous trees in the Alps, is additionally adorned with 456 round brilliant diamonds, (D-F, VVS, 37.70 total carat weight); and 55 marquise brilliant diamonds, (D-F, IF-VVS, 1.65 total carat weight). The necklace is valued at approximately $24.3 million, according to the company, which again was involved in every stage of creating the jewel. The Jane Seymour blue diamond ring will also be on display.

Jane Seymour

Seymour has received an Emmy Award, two Golden Globe Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is distinguished as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Among her acting accomplishments, she was a “Bond Girl” in “Live and Let Die,” played Queen Marie-Antoinette in “La Révolution française,” appeared in “Young Winston” as Winston Churchill's lover, and starred on the American television series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”

The World Of Diamonds Group specializes in the mining, manufacturing, distribution and marketing of diamonds and diamond jewelry. It is based in Russia with offices for its various operations throughout the world.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Shenzhen Jewelry Fair Welcomes Buyers

The 14th China International Gold, Jewellery & Gem Fair – Shenzhen opened Wednesday at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center with more than over 300 exhibitors from 13 countries.

The trade fair, which runs till Friday, is scheduled to allow buyers to restock on inventory following a number of festivals, according to UBM Asia, which owns and operates the show. 

“The Fair offers jewelry trade buyers a timely opportunity to source from quality local and overseas exhibitors,” said Joe Ho, Fair manager, China – Jewellery Fairs of UBM Asia. 

For the first time the Antwerp World Diamond Centre has its own pavilion, which houses about 10 diamond suppliers from Belgium. Other specialty areas include the Korea Pavilion, Taiwan Pavilion, China Gold Association Pavilion, Baolin Pavilion and Liyang Pavilion.

Ho added that the fair includes the “China Jewellery Market Summit,” which will help the country’s jewelry market navigate through a tough economy.

“In addition, seminars covering hot topics will discuss how lab-grown diamonds impact the industry; the development of the colored gemstone market; and amber jewelry,” Ho said. 

For details of the special events, visit the fair website

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New Orleans Hotel Offers $90K Jeweled Cake For Queen’s Birthday

In true New Orleans fashion the Windsor Court Hotel is offering a $90,000 dessert fit for a queen. 

the confection is a gold-encrusted cake topped with a 3.95-carat ruby ring in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday, which is today. The oval ruby is surrounded by diamonds and set in 18k white gold.

The jewel is supplied by M.S Rau Antiques, a well-known New Orleans antiques dealer.

The ring will sit atop of a 24k gold encrusted dark chocolate cake with a Cristal champagne fruit sauce of raspberry and passion fruit. It’s further decorated with gold chocolate, gold covered strawberries and a gold dusted-chocolate crunch. The cake was created by hotel pastry chef Shun Li.

The bejeweled dessert is part of a three-day accommodation package, titled “Royal Stay at Windsor Court,” offered by the hotel that includes private tours of the Windsor Court art collection and M.S. Rau Antiques, private spa treatments and a “Collection Tasting” dinner for four with wine pairings, where the $90,000 dessert will be presented. 

The promotion started today (Thursday) and will run through July. Contact the hotel for more information and to make a reservation. 

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16-Carat Burmese Ruby Earns $14.1 Million, Most Expensive Colored Gem Sold At Auction In U.S.

The "Jubilee Ruby"

A 15.99-carat Burmese ruby, known as the “Jubilee Ruby,” fetched more than $14.1 million at Christie’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale Wednesday. 

The price for the gem—set in an 18k gold ring within a circular-cut diamond and polished gold surround designed by Verdura—includes auction commission and other fees. The hammer price was $12.5 million, on the low end of its $12 to $15 million estimate.

Bidding for the gem began at $10 million and those inside the mostly filled saleroom turned quiet while Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s International head of Jewelry, coaxed a few phone bidders past the low estimate.

Kadakia said recently that top quality Burmese rubies of more than 15 carats “are an absolute rarity in the world of colored gemstone.”

The statement ruby was the last of 255 lots that took in more than $57 million and was one of nine lots that fetched more than $1 million. 

Christie's saleroom during Wednesday's auction. Photo by Anthony DeMarco
The statement ruby was the last of 255 lots that took in more than $57 million and was one of nine lots that fetched more than $1 million. All of the lots were diamonds. Among the others big-ticket items were:

* A 10.07-carat cushion modified brilliant-cut fancy intense purple-pink diamond flanked on either side by a triangular-shaped diamond mounted in platinum and gold ring that sold for $8.8 million, within its estimate.

* A 40.43-carat round brilliant-cut D color Flawless diamond with “excellent cut, polish and symmetry” that sold for $7 million, just below its estimate. 

* A 54.62-carat round-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut fancy vivid yellow diamond mounted in 18k gold ring that sold for more than $2.4 million, just below the high estimate.

* 14.11-carat round brilliant-cut D color, Flawless clarity diamond mounted in a platinum ring, with “excellent cut, polish and symmetry” that sold for $1.9 million, just below its high estimate.

* 41.18-carat cushion brilliant-cut diamond mounted in platinum ring with J color, VS2 clarity and “excellent polish and symmetry” that sold for $1.45 million, just below its high estimate. 

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Shirley Temple Blue Diamond Doesn’t Sell

Sotheby’s saleroom during bidding on the Shirley Temple Blue Diamond

The much hyped and anticipated sale of the Shirley Temple Blue Diamond had an unsatisfactory ending Tuesday. 

It was the last item of Sotheby’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale. Bidding on the 9.54-carat gem stalled at $22 million when Lisa Hubbard, who led the auction, abruptly ended the sale. The result was a collective gasp and confusion among buyers and others in the Sotheby’s salesroom while Hubbard, co chairman, North and South America International Jewellery, and Sotheby’s staff quickly left the room. 

A little while later, the auction house issued a formal statement: 

“The Shirley Temple Blue Diamond is an exceptional stone in quality, rarity and provenance.  It has been an honor to share its story with collectors, connoisseurs and Temple’s loyal fans over the past few months.  Unfortunately, tonight wasn’t its night in the salesroom, but we remain fully confident that it will find a buyer.”

The Shirley Temple Blue Diamond

The Fancy Deep Blue, Potentially Internally Flawless, VVS2 clarity diamond set in a ring was owned by the child actress and American diplomat throughout her life. It has an estimate of $25 – $35 million. Her father purchased the ring in early 1940 around the time of her 12th birthday for $7,210.

The sale of more than 300 pieces saw took in more than $29.8 million with several items being pulled because of insufficient bids. Among the top lots are the following:

* A 12.45-carat brilliant-cut Fancy Purplish Pink diamond set on a platinum ring with diamonds fetched more than $4.5 million, within estimates.

* A 19.25 emerald-cut diamond on a platinum ring flanked by two modified calf's head-shaped diamonds sold for nearly $2.3 million, just over its estimate.

* A 15.37 carat emerald cut diamond on a platinum ring sold for more than $1.5 million, within estimates.

* A 5.06-carat  pear-shaped Fancy Light Blue diamond on a platinum ring flanked by flanked by bullet-cut diamonds saw spirited bidding, eventually selling for $1.45 million, nearly three times its high estimate. 

* Also seeing aggressive bidding was a 9.57-carat cushion-cut sapphire on a platinum ring flanked by two kite-shaped diamonds by J.E. Caldwell sold for nearly $1.1 million.  

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Statement Colored Gems Up For Auction This Week In New York

The 9.54-carat Shirley Temple Blue Diamond

Following the $32 million sale of the De Beers Millennium Blue at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in April, blue diamonds continue to be in high demand at international auction houses around the world. However, blue isn’t alone as statement pink and yellow diamonds as well as sapphires and rubies are commanding lofty prices. 

The upcoming auctions in New York this week by Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams will be presenting plenty of colorful stones to meet this demand. 

The most anticipated lot is the 9.54-carat Shirley Temple Blue Diamond that will be placed on the block Tuesday at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale. The Fancy Deep Blue, Potentially Internally Flawless, VVS2 clarity diamond ring was owned by the child actress and American diplomat throughout her life. It has an estimate of $25 - $35 million. Her father purchased the ring in early 1940 around the time of her 12th birthday for $7,210.

The auction of more than 300 pieces also has other colorful delights, including a platinum ring set with a 12.45-carat cushion modified brilliant-cut Fancy Purplish Pink diamond with Natural Color, VS2 clarity, with an estimate of $3 - $5 million; and a 30.81-carat pear-shaped Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond with Natural Color and VS2 clarity with an of $1 - $1.5 million.

The 15.99-carat Jubilee Ruby

Meanwhile, Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale Wednesday will feature the Jubilee Ruby, a 15.99-carat oval-shaped Burmese ruby set on a platinum and 18k gold ring designed by Verdura. The gem is surrounded by circular-cut diamonds. Its estimate is $12 - $15 million.

“Top quality Burmese rubies of over 15 carats are an absolute rarity in the world of colored gemstones,” said Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s International head of Jewelry. 

Other statement colored gems among the more than 250 lots on sale include a 10.07-carat Fancy Intense Purple-Pink diamond ring with an estimate of $8 - $12 million; and a 54.62-carat rectangular modified cut Fancy Vivid yellow diamond with an estimate of $1.5 - $2.5 million. 

The three days of auctions begins Monday (today) at Bonhams New York with a sale of more than 100 lots of jewels including three Kashmir sapphires and other examples of Burmese and Ceylon sapphires.

8.07-carat Kashmir sapphire and diamond ring 

The top lot is an 8.07-carat Kashmir sapphire and diamond ring with an estimate of $400,000 – 600,000. It is believed that Bernard Golson (1879-1983), who often worked for foreign governments on special projects, bought the sapphire ring for his wife in the early 1920’s. Golson is known to have worked with the Guggenheims and aided U.S. authorities in the pursuit of Pancho Villa. This lead to his family being chased out of Mexico by Villa, losing their belongings and having to sew family heirlooms into their clothes during their escape to the United States. 

I plan to be covering the late sessions of the Sotheby's and Christie's auctions on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Best Of The Best Jewels At Baselworld 2016

Alessio Boschi Piazza Navona necklace made primarily of paraiba

It was a particularly strong year for creative and innovative jewelry design at Baselworld. The Italians, as is often the case, put on a particularly good showing but there were many others producing exceptional products from all corners of the globe.

Below are 17 of the jewels that stood out just a bit more than the rest during the eight-day trade fair, which ended March 24. Most of the jewels will be available in the fall, but some are available now.

Alessio Boschi
The Italian jewelry designer now based in Bangkok uses combinations of old world and new craft techniques to produce true representations of historical and natural themes with exceptional precious materials. This year he introduced a collection of one-of-a-kind jewels based on the fountains of Rome. Among them is an elaborate paraiba necklace (top photo) and ring (above) fashioned after the fountains in Piazza Navona.

Lydia Courteille
For her latest collection, the French jewellery artist took her inspiration from a recent visit to Ethiopia and the story of the Queen of Sheba. Green is the main color for this new line. She combines tsavorites, peridots and green tourmalines; in some instances matches them with yellow and brown and blue colored gems and completes the pieces with the craftsmanship that make her designs come to life. Any piece from this collection is worthy of a spotlight but I decided to go with the tiara in 18k black rhodium gold with brown diamonds, yellow sapphires tsavorites and a large peridot.

The New York-based family owned firm specializes in creating jewels with exceptional gems. The top of the line in their broad pallet of colorful gem-centric pieces is the The Imperial Collection, jewels designed around gemstones of exceptional pedigree. “The Conquistador Emerald,” is one of those jewels. It is a platinum and 18k yellow gold ring centred upon a 23 carat unenhanced emerald-cut old-mine Colombian emerald, flanked by 4 carats of half-moon diamonds.

This relatively new jewelry company based in Bologna uses traditional materials and techniques to produce modern jewels that are also elegant and comfortable to wear. They added to their Japanese Akoya pearls jewels with modern designs made with Tahitian black pearls. But the best piece of the year is the Museo ring, with sapphire surrounded by at approximately seven curved tiers of gold with diamond pave.

The Lebanon-based company has created a whole new way to look at white diamonds. Its designs are beautiful, elegant and versatile. The diamonds are cut in a way that truly exposes their sparkling white light. All of these characteristics are best featured in their hand jewelry, which turns the trend of multiple-finger jewels upside down.

The U.S.-based company that specializes in colored-gemstone jewels introduced its first piece of jewelry that crossed the $1 million threshold: a necklace made of 19 carats of Colombian emeralds and 51 carats of white diamonds set in 18k white gold.

Carrera y Carrera
The Spanish brand known for its finely crafted petite elegant gold jewels added new pieces to its “Circulos de Fuego” (Circle of Fire) collection, including an assortment of fire dragon jewels. The ring pictured is made of finely carved gold with garnets and diamonds.

The Milan-based company introduced a number of new pieces this year but among the highlights are some unique pieces including cocktails rings, “Fez,” made of brushed yellow gold, natural sapphires and a foundation of 84 champagne and cognac diamonds in different sizes. The typical concave ellipse of the mosaic opens up along the stem of the ring, enclosing it in a sparkling band. The central stone is an oval-shaped natural light-yellow 4.3-carat sapphire, contrasted with the six bright blue lateral sapphires.

Maria Kovadi
The Switzerland-based designer is heavily influenced by Italian design and craftsmanship it specializes in limited edition and bespoke pieces. Baselworld presented the first time the high jewelry house chose to showcase its work to a wider audience. One of the pieces that caught my eye was the Vintage Lace Bracelet made of 18k gold with milky diamonds, brown diamonds and silk thread.

The venerable Parisian jeweler produces an assortment of bejeweled animals each year and this year they produced six creatures, including “Nuri, Cockatoo Pendant Earrings. Each clip on earring depicts two birds with a colorful plumage made of pavé tsavorites and orange, pink, yellow round sapphires, and diamonds nestled romantically while balancing on a pink gold oval band. The name Nuri means parrot in Indonesian, and the parrots’ plumage symbolizes the elements of life such as the sun, water or fire.

De Grisogono
Fawaz Gruosi, founder of this jewelry and watch brand, is known for his over-the-top one-of-a-kind creations that appear on some of the world’s most beautiful women on red carpets around the world. The firm also produces more accessible collections. Both the high jewelry and limited edition collections were on view at Baselworld under the heading, “Walk of Icons.” It included the popular Allegra Collection, which consists of round gold brands of differing materials. It includes the “Lucky 7” bracelet made up of seven pink gold bands and diamonds.

The Swiss jewelry and watch brand presented a well-rounded group of products at Baselworld, including a colorful selection of high jewels and watches in a petal motif made with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds.

Yoko London
The company specializes in pearl jewelry that ranges from fashion to high jewelry. Lately it’s been working with high-quality natural-colored fresh water pearls and mixing them with precious gems. This necklace is a case in point as it is made of natural colored South Sea, Freshwater and Tahitian pearls set with 18k white gold enhanced with 17.61 carats of diamonds.

As one of the most iconic jewelry brands in history, it often turns to its heritage and its most famous creation, the Imperial Egg, for its modern day pieces. The company, now owned by colored gemstone mining and marketing company, Gemfields, uses the resources available for its jewels. This includes the collection of small egg pendants made of Mozambican rubies, sapphires, tzavorites and diamonds, including the tutti-frutti colored one pictured. The colored gemstones are invisibly-set with a technique that uses single-faceted gemstones, calibrated in ribbon-like narrow rows, allowing the gold setting to remain invisible for the mosaic pattern finish.

Nikos Koulis
Greek designer specializes in colorful geometric shapes, particularly those that are Art Deco inspired. Among his pieces is this bracelet from his Spectrum collection made of 18k black rhodium gold with brown, black and blue diamonds along with orange sapphires and opals.

Pasquale Bruni
The Italian jeweler focuses on traditional themes. In this case his elegant gold pieces continue the motif of secret gardens, with the “Petit Garden” collection. The company looked toward exotic locations such as Bali, Hawaii and the Caribbean for its inspiration. Necklace, rings, bracelets and earrings in the line represent blades of grass of rose and white gold and paved with diamonds.

Photo by Anthony DeMarco

Roberto Coin
The iconic jeweler presented his usual seemingly endless assortment of fine gold jewels made with a variety of colored gems. There were several highlights but among them was the “Cheeky Monkey” collection, with monkey figurines in playful positions made with textured 18k gold. In some cases diamond pave is added for extra sparkle. 

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Vikings Star Katheryn Winnick Talks Raymond Weil Watches

Katheryn Winnick and Elle Bernheim, Raymond Weil CEO

It’s been just over a year that Katheryn Winnick became the brand ambassador of Raymond Weil. Since that time the watch brand has been busy producing timepieces for the star of History Channel television series Vikings to promote, including one watch with a blue-gray dial that matches the color of her eyes. 

Most recently at Baselworld 2016, the company introduced, “Shine,” designed for the actress. Both Winnick and Elle Bernheim, Raymond Weil CEO, were in New York a week ago to talk about the new collection and Winnick’s relationship with the brand. 

The Shine watch

Bernheim said he is a fan of the show in which Winnick plays Lagertha, a legendary figure in Viking history. When he met the Toronto resident, the decision to sign her came quickly. 

“Women can relate to her personality and elegance,” he said. 

The actress in a promotional photograph for Raymond Weil

For Winnick, she said she is attracted to the comfortable, casual nature of the family owned company and the personality of its watches, particularly the Shine collection, which she says has a casual elegance.

“It’s a timepiece with meaning,” she said. “I can wear it from day into the night. It has a casual elegance.”

The new Shine timepiece is a traditional jewelry watch in a 32mm round case available in steel or PVD coated steel with the option of a diamond-covered bezel. The dial is available in sunburst guilloche or mother-of-pearl (a total of three dial finishes) and with a patented interchangeable system that allows the user to easily and discreetly change the watch from steel bracelet to a satin strap. As Winnick says it’s designed to be worn day and night and in casual and formal situations. 

The actress wearing the Shine watch. Photo by Anthony DeMarco

The dial is further enhanced with number indexes alternating between eight diamonds and four Roman numerals. 

The cost ranges from $1,750 to $3,000, Bernheim said. It's planned to be released in time for Mother's Day gift giving. 

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Hugh Jackman Finalizes Deal To Be Montblanc’s Global Ambassador

International film star Hugh Jackman recently signed a deal to be the ambassador for Montblanc in North America, which completes the two-year journey of becoming the worldwide spokesman for the luxury brand. 

For the past two years, Jackman was the international ambassador for Montblanc, with the exception of North America. 

There are few celebrities who are both as well known and as free of controversy as Jackman. He and his wife, Deborra-Lee, recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. The couple has two children. His accomplished career, from playing a comic book super hero to being a leading man in musicals for theater productions around the world, shows range and diversity. Certainly his rugged good looks is an ideal fit for the masculine brand.

The actor, singer and producer was introduced to a North American audience for the first time as a representative of Montblanc April 5 at the Rainbow Room in New York, where he helped celebrate the brand’s 110th anniversary with other celebrities and VIP guests, including actress and model Kate Bosworth, Montblanc brand ambassador Charlotte Casiraghi, actor Matthew Morrison, socialite Olivia Palermo and model Johannes Huebl. 

Hugh Jackman attends the Montblanc 110 Year Anniversary Gala Dinner on April 5 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Montblanc)”

Jackman, before introducing a short film about the brand in which he starred, described the Hamburg-based company as having a “family atmosphere.” 

“I’m the baby of the family but even after (two) years it is a place that I’m proud to be associated with, to call our friends,” he said. “What it represents are qualities if I could half emulate I would be very happy. It is attention to detail, craftsmanship on the highest order, a real commitment to design. But more than anything what I love is they have one eye permanently on the past and their heritage; but one eye permanently on the future. 

He said that as an artist he has an appreciation for this approach. “You can’t rest, you have to keep creating you have to be innovative, you have to keep moving forward (and) you have to take risks.”

The promotional film celebrates the founders of Montblanc (stationer Claus-Johannes Voss, banker Alfred Nehemias and engineer August Eberstein), their entrepreneurship and their pioneering spirit that took them on a ship to America to return with the idea for its first watch, the 4810. Later they would create the Meisterstück, arguably the world’s most iconic luxury writing instrument. 

Prior to Jackman’s presentation, Jerome Lambert, Montblanc CEO, explained the depth and breadth of the Hamburg, Germany-based company and its diverse product portfolio. Its headquarters is where its writing instruments are manufactured, including its high artisan products. In Switzerland, the company has two facilities for watchmaking: Its main manufacturing operation in Le Locle; and the artisan watchmaking facility, Villeret, in the town by the same name. Formerly known as Minerva, it specializes in producing handcrafted movements. Finally, its leather goods operation is based in Florence, Italy. 

For its anniversary the company went to its heritage to create new products. In this case it went back to its very first writing instrument: the Rouge et Noir (“Red and Black”), introduced in 1909, when the company was named the Simplo Filler pen company. It was crafted in black ebonite and fitted with a red-crowned cap. A year later the company took on the Montblanc name and in 1913 crowned each pen with its iconic 6-pointed star emblem, representing the peak of Mont Blanc. During the 1920s the company designed a serpent clip for some of its writing instruments as an expression of the Art Deco period. 

Montblanc recreated this history with a new collection of writing instruments, timepieces, leather goods and cufflinks called “Montblanc Heritage Collection, Rouge & Noir.” The products were led by a one-of-a-kind bejeweled writing instrument with a $1.3 million price tag, the Ultimate Serpent Limited Edition 1, and the Villeret Tourbillon Bi-Cylindrique 110 Years Anniversary timepiece, limited to three pieces.

However, there are many other Heritage Collection, Rouge & Noir products in varying price ranges and different levels of availability. For example, there’s a pair of one-of-kind red gold cufflinks (pictured above) in a skeletonized frame designed to be worn with the Ultimate Serpent Limited Edition 1 writing instrument. Each cufflink is topped with a 1.9-carat diamond in the shape of the Montblanc Star.

Three other Heritage Collection limited edition fountain pens feature similar motif and artisan attributes of the one-of-a-kind writing instrument. 

The Imperial Serpent Limited Edition 3 features the snake creature engraved in solid white ruthenium-coated gold filigree, set with 55 diamonds and 106 sapphires. Limited to just three pieces, the cap and barrel of the writing instrument are hand engraved with a snakeskin design finished in grey ruthenium, while the crown is topped with a 2.25-carat internally flawless Montblanc star-shaped diamond. Finally, the serpent’s green eyes (made of tsavorites) stand out on the clip and the engraved 18k gold nib. 

The Royal Serpent Limited Edition 10 combines grey PVD-coated snakeskin motif with a cone, crown and fittings crafted from white gold. The serpent, which swirls around the fountain pen, is set with diamonds and rubies, while the Montblanc emblem is set with a pavé of 72 diamonds. The pen is limited to 10 pieces.

The Serpent Limited Edition 110 is made of PVD coated titanium in a graphite color, with the winding hand-engraved serpent crafted of 18k white gold. Red rubies are used for the eyes of the snake on the clip and the 18k white gold nib. The clip features a flexible tongue like a real hissing serpent. The Montblanc emblem is crafted from mother-of-pearl embedded in bright coral and ivory colored resin.

Among its leather goods offerings is the Montblanc 110th Anniversary Steamer Bag, Montblanc’s first interpretation of early 20th century luggage. Originally designed to accompany larger trunks for sea voyages, the colors are inspired by Rouge & Noir fountain pen with contemporary design references. A red serpent wraps around the bag to the “M.B.” personalization mark reminiscent of Montblanc’s early visual identity. The motif is repeated on the suede lining inside the bag. 

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