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Thursday, June 30, 2016

30 Spectacular Jewels From The 2016 Couture Show

The “Amal” necklace by Selim Mouzannar

The Couture Show at the Wynn Las Vegas & Encore Resort features jewelers (from international brands to individual jewelry artists) who specialize in high design, high fashion and high jewelry. 

Some of the trends of this year’s show included geometric shapes, the use of unusual materials, and more pearl jewels than in past years. Titanium seems to be growing in acceptance. Below are 30 special pieces that represent the breadth of design and materials exhibited at the show. 

The “Amal” necklace (pictured above) made of Columbia emeralds, including rare trapiche emeralds with their pinwheel of black lines, rest on a web of gold by Selim Mouzannar.

18k rose gold earrings with agate and diamonds by Lucifer Vir Honestus.

Colorful earrings from the “Rainbow Warrior Prophecy” collection by Lydia Courteille uses turquoise as the main gem enhanced with colored gems and enamel. The collection takes its inspiration from the legends and myths of Native American tribes. 

The 22k gold and lapis “Peace on Earth” ring by Arman Sarkisyan with diamonds and oxidized sterling silver. 

Diamonds look like shooting stars at the end of a rounded golden tube with this “Whirl” ring by Carelle

Photo by Anthony DeMarco

Chopard brought some of its high jewelry straight from the Cannes Film Festival and it included this large, classic emerald and diamond necklace.

Olympia Necklace in titanium and diamonds by Vhernier.

Hand crafted 18k gold pendant necklace with a large fresh water pearl and cognac diamonds with matching earrings from the Yvel Golden Sunset Collection.

Mike Joseph Waterfall chocker in yellow gold with diamonds.

Italian jewelry brand Qayten, which specializes in akoya pearls, added Tahitian varieties to its contemporary design jewels. The “Tahiti Bliss” necklace uses white gold and diamonds to Accenture the dark shades of the Tahitian pearls.  

18k rose gold ear cuffs set with champagne diamonds and Tahitian pearls from the “Burning Thistle” collection by Colette. 

The “Solena Maya” ring by Messika created with triangular, emerald and pear cut diamonds set in white gold. 

“Lily Jade Cuff” made of 18k gold with green jade, opal, pink sapphires, champagne diamonds, white diamonds and black diamonds by Wendy Yue.

Sterling silver earrings with abalone, crystal, diamond and 20k gold by Coomi.

White pearls, white diamonds and white metal for this large classic necklace by Yoko London.

Enamel red rose and green leaf cling to a yellow gold stem with thorny gems for this choker by Alison Lou.

18k rose gold and round diamond “V Ring” by Anita Ko.

Clean lines based on simple geometric forms are the foundation of the “Siracusa” earrings by Antonini.

Descending Pill” earrings made of polished 18k white gold with pavé white diamonds and blue sapphire baguettes by Deborah Pagani.

“Senso” 18k organic surface ring with pavé diamonds by Ippolita.

18k long drop earrings using colorful gems in an Art Deco motif by Jemma Wynne.

Drop earrings in 22k gold and tourmaline by Margery Hirschey.

Gold rings in gecko shapes covered in green sapphires from the African Queen collection by Mattioli. 

Large baroque pearl on a gold ring with diamond by Mizuki.

"Fly Me To The Moon" Lapis Lazuli Wing Earrings by Noor Fares.

Alexandrite and diamond ring by Omi Privé.

Gold and diamond ring by Sethi Couture.

“Aria” rings with colorful gems and diamonds by Stefan Hafner.

Classic emerald and diamond earrings by Sutra.

“Sonoma Mist Dew Drops” bracelet by Tacori. 

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Donald Trump’s Huge Harry Winston Engagement Ring To Marla Maples Sells For $300,000

The 7.45-carat Harry Winston diamond engagement ring that Donald Trump gave to his second wife, Marla Maples, sold at auction Wednesday for $300,000. 

The rectangular, steep-cut diamond on a platinum ring was sold to a private collector whose name was not immediately released during the “Fine Jewels & Timepieces” sale at the Joseph DuMouchelle auction house in Birmingham, Mich. The sides of the ring are channel set with 16 graduated, straight baguette cut diamonds.

The ring had an estimate of $300,000 to $350,000. DuMouchelle reportedly said prior to the sale that the estimate was based on the diamond ring’s intrinsic value. The celebrity significance did not enter into the price. 

However, in a statement following the sale, DuMouchelle said he was pleased with the price it fetched.

“We are thrilled that the ring sold for the estimated price,” he said. “We're happy that the Maples-Trump Diamond now has a new home. It's an extraordinary Harry Winston ring and we hope that the new owner will enjoy the rarity of its beauty.”

Marla Maples reportedly sold the ring to a collector in 1999 for $110,000, following their divorce in the same year. The couple married in 1991. 

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No Buyer For 1,100-Carat Rough Diamond At Sotheby's London Auction

The Lesedi la Rona

Could the Brexit have played a role in this? 

Whatever the reason, the “Lesedi la Rona,” a 1,109-carat uncut diamond, failed to sell during a stand-alone auction, held Wednesday at Sotheby’s London. It is the world’s largest gem-quality rough diamond to be discovered in more than a century and the largest rough diamond in existence today. However, it failed to meet its reserve price. The bidding stalled at $61 million. Its estimate was $70 million. 

“Sadly it was not sold but it is a magnificent stone, one of the greatest stones ever discovered,” said David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery Division.

Bidding opened at $50 million and moved up by $1 million increments at a steady pace until reaching $61 million, as seen through the auction house’s streaming video feed from its London facility. The total sale lasted fewer than 15 minutes. 

The auction was conducted in US dollars as opposed to British pounds sterling, even though the sale was held in London. Again, perhaps the instability of the British currency was the reason.

Prior to the auction Bennett described the reaction from some of the potential buyers who viewed the diamond. “I’ve seen grown men with tears in their eyes believe it or not.”

It’s rare for a rough diamond to be sold at auction, much less a standalone auction. The only other items at bid prior to the Lesedi la Rona, were three rough diamonds being sold for charity. 

Most rough diamonds are sold privately to those experienced with cutting gems. It appears this diamond will now go through these more traditional channels.

The gem is around the size of a tennis ball with “exceptional transparency and quality” and is around 2.5 to more than 3 billion years old, the auction house said. It was unearthed in November 2015 by Lucara Diamond Corp., a Canadian diamond mining company, at its Karowe mine in Botswana.

Its name means “Our Light” in the Tswana language spoken in Botswana.

It’s been more than 100 years since a diamond of this size and quality of the Lesedi La Rona has been found. Its size is exceeded only by the legendary Cullinan Diamond, mined in South Africa in 1905. The 3,016.75-carat diamond produced nine major diamonds that are part of the historic Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, including the Great Star of Africa—considered to be the largest top-quality polished diamond in existence, weighing 530.20 carats.

The Gemological Institute of America said the Lesedi La Rona’s “top color and transparency exemplify the ‘limpid’ appearance commonly associated with type IIa diamonds,” which accounts for fewer than 2 percent of all gem-quality diamonds. 

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Nanis: Jewels Engineered With Italian Style

Laura Bicego, founder of Nanis Italian Jewels with one of her creations 

By Gretchen Friedrich, Jewelry News Network’s social media manager

Laura Bicego, founder and “creative soul” of Nanis Italian Jewels in Verona, Italy, approaches her creations with a fused vision of structure and aesthetics. The progression flows from concept, to fabrication, to finishing touches like hand-engraved etchings and custom clasps for each themed collection. 

The artisan, whose accessory assemblage rivals Sir Elton John’s, prioritizes functionality along with style. An example is my introductory piece from her Lagoon line. 

Necklaces linked together from the Lagoon collection

What I thought was a well-crafted gold long chain necklace, turned out to be two 36-inch linked necklaces and a bracelet all held together by invisible clasps for an infinite effect. Bicego demonstrated how each section could disconnect and reconnect in a vast number of combinations to compliment any ensemble. 

The Transformista bracelet

The second demonstration of alluring illusion was the 2016 Centurion Award-winning Transformista bracelet. Individual links of diamonds and hand-etched gold connect in two ways: One configuration allows the bracelet to lie flush against the wrist, but when released, the connectors spin like an Olympic ice skater and the bracelet transforms into a double-helix of gold and diamonds. 

During our conversation in her exhibition space at JCK Las Vegas, she emphasized the importance of versatility and interaction with her jewelry. 

“It’s as much about style as it about being playful with the jewelry,” she says, as trays of hand-formed components make their way onto the desk. 

Earrings that covert to a pendant from the Cachemire collection

Further selections from the trays included earrings that could reverse for a day-to-evening transition. Also a paisley-shaped earring dangle, from the Cachemire collection, converts into a pendant with a delicate gold chain. Bicego advocates interchanging the components, as well as layering, and adding to existing jewelry box items for a renewed approach to accessorizing. 

Etching The Niche
Details are magnified in the Nanis workshop, where skilled craftspeople create components by hand, and Bicego is involved with every undertaking. When she couldn't embrace a link pattern for a necklace, she manufactured a tool that would stretch the gold into the shape she wanted. Bicego also created an earring back that is shaped to counterbalance the weight of a substantial gold and diamond teardrop earring component. 

The colorful Ipanema ring

New Colors In the Ipanema Family
New to the Nanis portfolio is the expanded Ipanema color wheel. The signature hand-formed gold foundations cradle rutilated quartz, aquamarine, several shades of topaz, along with moonstone, labradorite, and amethyst. Inspiration for this distinctive newcomer was the atmosphere of the sea, displayed in hues of blue and contrasting yellows. 

Clouds, summer storms and beached treasures found their way into the Ipanema collection of necklaces, earrings bracelets and rings. Bicego is fond of stacking, and with the tailoring of the Ipanema line, multiple pieces fit nicely together without an overwhelming appearance. 

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Video: L’Dezen Celebrates Five Years

Payal Shah, founder of L'Dezen jewelry

Five years ago armed with a degree in architecture, a family business in the diamond industry, an obsession with entrepreneurship and a passion for design and fashion, 21-year-old Payal Shah created the L’Dezen fine jewelry brand.

The Hong Kong-resident became the ambassador of the brand, exhibiting at tradeshows around the world, becoming involved with the jewelry industry and consumers, and designing and producing diamond-centric jewels at a rapid pace. She has also amassed a huge social media following, showing the way for young and old to become enamored with fine jewelry. She also somehow found the time to get married.

I met Payal about five years ago, first at a trade show associated with Las Vegas jewelry week and then later in the year at the annual September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair. I see her annually at these two events now. This blog at the time we first met was only a year old, so in a sense we were both just starting out. She explained to me her business and brand concepts and her designs based on sliced and rose-cut diamonds seemingly weaved into colorful 18k gold. Her pieces are often big and bold with unusual shapes that vary greatly. 

She impressed me enough that I first wrote about her on this blog and then later after I became the jewelry and watch correspondent for the Forbes website, where she has appeared since.   

Five years later the brand with the faux French name is worn by international celebrities and sold through retailers and online throughout the world. She also produced this video below.

There are still markets to capture and no doubt this smart, savvy and fashionable entrepreneur behind this strong and growing brand has a plan to do this. There’s little doubt her winning formula will continue to be successful.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

JCK Las Vegas A Showcase For Independent Jewelry Designers

The “Breeze Brooch” by Baiyang Jewelry

There were plenty of high quality designers at the JCK Las Vegas trade show, held earlier this month. JCK is the biggest show in North America and some of these designers can get lost among the masses that attend the event. But if you look carefully and invest the time you can find something worthwhile. I chose a dozen designs that exhibited superior artistry or craftsmanship but it could have easily been 30 or 40. 

They are listed as follows:

Graceful curves, light and airy 18k yellow gold, red gold and platinum for this “Breeze Brooch” (top picture) by Baiyang Jewelry

The sliced and hollowed freshwater soufflé pearls serve as baskets for seed pearls and reclaimed rubies for these earrings by Little h.

A 2.1-carat oval-shaped black opal serves as a center stone of this 18k yellow gold ring in a sunburst design by Audrius Krulis, finished with seven white diamond.

Etienne Perret is well-known for his ceramic jewels with diamond embellishments. The Daisy Rings pictured are an example of this work. A white ceramic band centered with a blue colored enhanced natural diamonds surrounded by white diamonds; and a black ceramic band centered with a natural color cognac diamond surrounded by a white diamonds. 

A simple tube shape turns elegant in 18k yellow gold with round openings and a sprinkling of diamonds. The “Holly Pendant” by Dana Bronfman can be worn horizontally or vertically. 

Well-crafted 14k yellow gold ring by Dilamani with three rows of round diamonds.

The “Sleeping Vishnu Mala” necklace by Asbury Adams uses labradorite, turquoise and ebony wood on violet silk cord with labradorite and amethyst beads. 

Scroll cuff (22mm) in 14k yellow gold with diamond by H Weiss.

A bangle with sweeping curves made of brushed 18k yellow gold set with round diamonds by Jyes International.

A golden snake with emerald cabochon eyes slithers around this oxidized silver cuff by Lika Behar.

A textured sterling silver multi-stone cuff by Michou.

18k Royal Couture Collar Peacock Necklace with emeralds and diamonds by Tanya Farah

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