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A Celebration of Jewelry and the Business Behind the Beauty
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    A fancy colored diamond and diamond ring is the top lot of Bonhams New York Fine Jewelry sale. The jewel is centered with a 6.32-carat European cut fancy vivid, yellow diamond set between two old mine cut diamonds. Its estimate is $400,000 - 600,000.

    Referring to the old European cut of the diamond, Susan Abeles, director of US Jewelry at Bonhams, said: “This old fashioned cutting style, rarely found in today’s market, epitomizes old world charm, brilliance and, above all, depth of color,”

    It one of two colored diamonds jewels that will lead the April 24 sale. The other is a fancy colored diamond and diamond necklace by William Goldberg.

    The modern-design necklace is set with 17 cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut fancy yellow diamonds, weighing a total of 47.34 carats. Each yellow diamond is set within a round brilliant-cut diamond surround and enhanced by baguette and round brilliant-cut diamonds. The central fancy yellow diamond weighs 5.02 carats and graded as internally flawless. Its estimate is $350,000 - $550,000.

    The sale includes a variety of gems and jewels including signed pieces from Cartier, Verdura and René Boivin; statement sapphires and emeralds; and collectable items from the Art Deco period, the 1960s and 1970s.

    While the colored diamond lots are expected to be the top earners, the most interesting pieces are the signed jewels, which showcase variety, colorful precious materials, fine design and craftsmanship. They cover a number of periods.

    Perhaps the most notable signed piece is a fine ruby and diamond clip brooch by Cartier, circa 1935. It reflects the evolution of style from Art Deco to Art Moderne, Abeles said. “Gone are the strong, flat, colorful, geometric lines as these were replaced by the more sculptural aesthetic found in jewelry of the mid-1930s.”

    The brooch is geometrically designed and centers on a 3.54-carat marquise mixed-cut Burmese unheated ruby. The central ruby has a pavé-set frame of baguette and round brilliant-cut diamonds, further enhanced by round cabochon and sugarloaf rubies and accented with square step-cut diamonds. Its estimate is $300,000 - $400,000.

    “From the mid-1930s Cartier created and sold predominantly sculptural, mono-chromatic and diamond jewelry. While gemstone preferences of sapphire, emerald, aquamarine, topaz and turquoise can be found, very few ruby examples exist,” Abeles said. “This particular clip brooch provides an elaborate, yet simple, showcase for an exquisite gemstone. The brooch is a real collector’s item given the Cartier name, the era and composition.”

    Other signed jewels of note include:

    An aquamarine and diamond “Feuille De Platane” brooch by René Boivin, circa 1950, featuring a 21.90-carat, heart-shaped aquamarine enhanced by textured gold leaves and adorned with old European-cut diamonds. Its estimate is $20,000 - $25,000.

    A citrine and 14k rose gold brooch by Verdura, 1941, with an estimate of $5,000 - $7,000.

    Original Blue Book Tiffany “Lily Of The Valley” designed by Donald Claflin for Tiffany & Co., 1969. It is the original prototype for the 1969 Tiffany & Co. Blue Book brooch. The inspiration for this jewel comes from the French custom of giving Lily of the Valleys on the first of May to celebrate spring and as a good luck charm. The brooch is composed of eleven en tremblant lilies, set with round brilliant-cut diamonds, to a gold stem with green enamel leaves. Its estimate is $5,000 - $7,000.

    The oldest piece of jewelry being offered is an antique pair of emerald and gold earrings dating back to circa 1800, estimated at $3,000 - 5,000. 

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

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    The year, 1957, was a very productive one for Omega. The Swiss watch brand released three watches—the Seamaster 300, Railmaster and Speedmaster—all became an instant hit and a classic within their product categories.

    This year, Omega is celebrating the 60th anniversary for each watch by presenting a limited edition of each model and a special “trilogy” edition.

    Omega employed digital scanning technology to create accurate representations of the original watches—including cross-sections and dimensions. This, along with drawings of the original models, served as design templates for the new watches, which were slightly revised but remain true to the 1957 models.

    All three watches are cased in brushed and polished stainless steel and feature black “tropical” dials. The stainless steel bracelets feature a retro-style Omega logo on the clasp. All of the logos on the watches are in a different style—a reference to how individual suppliers in the 1950s interpreted the Omega logo.

    Each watch is limited to 3,557 pieces and delivered inside a presentation box inspired by the original 1957 packaging, including the Seahorse on the lid, a retro logo and red corduroy lining—with two spare straps; leather and NATO; and a tool to change them.

    The Seamaster 300 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Master Chronometer 39mm
    The very first Seamaster 300 was sought after for its water-resistance, black dial, broad arrow hour hand, bi-directional diving bezel, and recessed triangular hour markers. The 2017 model, based on the CK2913, features a black aluminum bezel and retains the original Naïad sign on the crown, which back in 1957 was a mark of the watch’s water resistance. The Seahorse on the caseback also refers to the original in 1957. It is powered by the Omega Master Chronometer caliber 8806 and comes with a four-year warranty.

    The Railmaster 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Master Chronometer 38mm
    The double-case anti-magnetic watch was designed for scientists, technicians or anyone who worked close to electrical fields. The original’s unpretentious style has been carried over into the 2017 model, though the vintage indexes are slightly deepened to allow a stronger light from the Super-LumiNova filling. The watch is powered by the Omega Master Chronometer caliber 8806, which can resist magnetic fields of up to 15,000 gauss and comes with a four-year warranty.

    The Speedmaster 60th Anniversary Limited Edition 38.6mm
    The original Speedmaster, called the “Broad Arrow,” due to its distinctive hands, was not only the first Speedmaster, it was also the first chronograph wristwatch with a tachymeter scale on the bezel as opposed to printed on the dial—a feature designed for race car drivers. On the new model, the font was redrawn to match the scale of the original 1957 tachymeter. It is powered by the Omega 1861 caliber.

    The Trilogy presentation box
    Omega has created a 557-piece limited edition package and engravings for those who purchase all three 60th anniversary models. The outer-box, made of Swiss oak wood, is engraved with the 1957 Seahorse on the lid and a front-plate engraved with “Trilogy 60th Anniversary, 001/557.”

    Inside is a smaller box, inspired by the 1957 version, which contains all three watches. Each dial is printed with “TRILOGY” and the Limited Edition number; and each caseback is engraved with "LIMITED TO 557 TIMEPIECES.”

    The larger box also includes a leather watch roll with three spare leather and NATO straps; and a wooden spring bar changing tool.

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

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    Gold, diamond and fire opal brooch/pendant, 1970, by Andrew Grima.  All photos courtesy of Bonhams except where noted

    All of the big names, including Cartier, Bulgari and Van Cleef & Arpels, will be part of the Bonhams London Fine Jewelry sale on April 27. However, the auction house will also feature the works of several contemporary jewelry artists, led by Andrew Grima.

    Jean Ghika, head of Jewellery for Bonhams UK & Europe, was particularly excited about the five pieces by Grima that will be included in the sale. She says the Anglo-Italian jewelry designer, known for his modern works in the 1960s and ’70s, is a “pioneer of his day” who placed a strong emphasis on textures and conceptual designs.

    “It wasn’t about the stones but the concept,” she said during a recent meeting at Bonhams London headquarters. “He was very instep with the changing trends. He represented an interest in jewelry as an art form rather than a conglomerate of stones.”

    The Grima pieces she highlighted are:

    Jean Ghika, head of Jewellery for Bonhams UK & Europe
    displays the Andrew Grima pendant.
    Photo by Anthony DeMarco

    A gold, diamond and fire opal brooch/pendant, 1970, with the oval-cut opal set among an abstract arrangement of textured 18k gold cinnamon sticks, with a brilliant-cut diamond accent. Its estimate is £5,000 - £7,000 ($6,275 - $8,800).

    A rutilated quartz, cultured pearl and diamond torque necklace, 1990, with the textured torque suspended at the front by a carved rutilated quartz “apple” with brilliant-cut diamond highlights, surmounted by a grey cultured pearl and brushed leaves. Its estimate is £7,000 - £10,000 ($8,800 - $12,500).

    A color change sapphire and diamond ring, 1977, with a cushion-shaped, unheated Sri Lankan sapphire set within an abstract surround of brilliant-cut diamonds mounted on stalks. Its estimate is £5,000-7,000 ($6,275 - $8,800).

    The auction of 141 lots will offer a breadth of jewels including signed pieces, antique items and colorful gems. 

    The top lot is a Van Cleef & Arpels ring featuring a 10.28-carat E color marquise-cut diamond set between pear-shaped diamonds with an estimate of £150,000 - £200,000 ($188,200 - $251,000).

    Signed jewels
    The top three items in this group are:

    A diamond 'Fuchsia' brooch and earring suite by Van Cleef & Arpels is among the top items in this group. The brooch is designed as a fuchsia flower head, its petals pavé-set with brilliant-cut diamonds and its stamen reveals an articulated cascade of pear-shaped diamonds. Its estimate is £70,000 - £100,000 ($87,800 - $125,500).

    In addition, the auction will offer an Art deco diamond bracelet by Cartier, circa 1925. Signed “Cartier Londres,” the finely pierced articulated geometric strap is decorated with cushion-shaped old brilliant and single-cut diamonds. Its estimate is £20,000 - £30,000 ($25,100 - $27,600).

    Another standout in this group is an enamel and diamond “Serpenti” bracelet-watch by Bulgari, circa 1965-1970. The articulated bracelet is composed of a series of overlapping scales applied with orangey-yellow and red enamel. The serpent’s head has a forked tongue and marquise-cut diamond eyes. Its mouth opens to reveal a circular watch dial. Its estimate is £50,000-60,000 ($62,700 - $75,300).

    Antique jewels
    Some of the standouts in this group are:

    A 19th century diamond rivière necklace composed of 45 collet-set cushion-shaped diamonds weighing 43 carats. Its estimate is £60,000 - £80,000 ($75,300 - $100,380).

    Photo by Anthony DeMarco

    A Georgian diamond panel bracelet, circa 1780, composed of a series of individually sprung plaques, each pavé-set with old brilliant-cut diamonds, within a border of similarly-cut diamonds, mounted in silver closed back settings. Its estimate is £8,000 - £10,000 ($10,000 - $12,500).

    An early 18th Century gold and diamond necklace of Portuguese origin in its original fitted case. It’s designed as a series of ribbon-bow motif links suspending a chandelier fringe. Its estimate is £10,000 - £15,000 ($12,500 - $18,800).

    A special spinel
    Bonhams is placing a special emphasis on spinels. These gems in red and blue (there are other colors) are sometimes mistaken for and are actually rarer than rubies and sapphires. However, their prices are lower. In September 2015, the 50.13-carat Hope Spinel fetched the world record price of $1.4 million at Bonhams London Fine Jewellery Sale, also setting a world record of $30,000 per carat, nearly double the previous record.

    For this sale Bonhams is offering an early 20th century spinel and diamond ring. The 5.3-carat Burmese, unheated, step-cut spinel, circa 1915, is set within an octagonal surround of old single-cut diamonds. Its estimate is £15,000 - £20,000 ($18,800 - $25,100).

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

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    Perhaps the most valuable private collection of emeralds is set to go on the auction block and it just got better with a rare pair of "cat's eye" emeralds. 

    The sale of the Marcial de Gomar Collection of rare emeralds will be held at the Americas Society at 680 Park Ave. with online bidding at Guernsey’s auction house of New York will host the sale, which will be held April 25 at 7 p.m.

    The Marcial de Gomar Collection includes more than 20 loose cut and rough emeralds, 13 pieces of emerald jewelry, and a selection of rare gold and silver coins. The collection belongs to Manuel Marcial de Gomar, who has more than 50 years in the emerald business, spanning from the legendary Muzo mines of Colombia to the U.S. retail market. His knowledge of rare emeralds has placed him in demand as an author, lecturer and consultant. While his family continues their involvement with these gems through the Marcial de Gomar Emeralds International retail and wholesale business in Key West, Fla., it is Mr. Marcial's lifelong personal collection that is being sold.

    Featured lots include the following: 

    The 887-carat “La Gloria,” the fourth largest known rough Colombian emerald from the Muzo mine. Its estimate is $3 million - $5 million. 

    The newest addition to the auction is a matched pair of emeralds featuring the extremely rare cat’s eye emeralds, with a total weight of 74.52 carats. They were cut from a single 370-carat trapiche emerald (an emerald with rare six point radial pattern) and are believed to be the largest matched pair of Colombian cat’s eye emeralds in the world. Their combined estimate is nearly $2 million. 

    Perhaps the most important piece in the collection is the Marcial de Gomar Star, the largest of only 11 star emeralds known to exist and perhaps the first of its kind as a double-sided star emerald, according to the auction house. Its estimate is $2 million - $3 million.

    With a combined weight of 95.51 carats, the Tears of Fura is an extremely large and well-matched pair of fine teardrop shaped Colombian emeralds from Muzo mines. They have a combined estimate of $3 million - $4 million.

    The Corona de Muzo necklace, centered with a 24.34-carat emerald from the famed shipwreck, the Nuestra Senora de Atocha. The gem is set in a 22k and 18k gold with crown details, featuring additional baguette and round cut diamonds and round cut emeralds. Its estimate is $5 million - $6 million.

    Treasure hunter Mel Fisher selected Mr. Marcial to be the independent appraiser of all emeralds recovered from the Atocha. As payment he received a selection of emeralds from the world-famous wreck. A number of gold coins from the 1715 Fleet shipwreck are also part of the sale.

    The entire collection will be presented to the public for the first time at the auction. 

    Viewings will be held April 23, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.; April 24, Noon – 7 p.m.; and April 25, Noon – 7 p.m. 

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

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    Versace V-Extreme Pro 

    When Versace expanded into watches in 2004 it brought on the Timex Group Swiss Luxury Division (a division of Timex Group) to design, manufacture and distribute its timepieces with the iconic luxury fashion brand’s codes, such as the Medusa head and the maze-like Greek keys. 

    Not surprisingly Versace watches are designed and treated more like accessories than timepieces. That will probably always be the case for a brand like Versace but this year’s new products show more dedication in looking and acting more like timepieces. 

    For example, the V-Extreme Pro (above and top photo) with its black dial and sunray guilloché finish has a second time subdial at 9 o’clock and a small seconds subdial at 3 o’clock. The Medusa is in relief at 12 o’clock. The 46mm case is available in bicolor black, ion-plated (IP) gold or ion-plated (IP) bronzed steel. An interchangeable top ring provides a choice of an engraved minute scale or the engraved Versace logo repeated three times. In addition, it’s available in five bicolored versions and comes with either a silicone strap with a hot-pressed logo or a metal bracelet.

    Versace is known for its bold color choices. The black and gold colored Daphnis watch is an example of this. Its black dial and black leather strap is enhanced with an IP yellow gold bezel. The main design feature of the 35mm watch is the Greek keys, which are engraved on the gold bezel and run in a north-south row across the dial and along the black leather strap of the black dial model. The yellow gold Medusa head is in relief at 12 o’clock and on the crown. 

    There’s also a version of the watch with a beige mother-of-pearl dial and an IP yellow gold bezel and bracelet.

    The 36mm Idyia watch is described by Versace as a “play of shapes within shapes.” Set into the round base is a faceted, 10-sided top ring with polished or diamond-studded edges that provide a contrast with the satin-finish surface. A supersized Greek keys stands out against the mother-of-pearl dial with an alternating polished and matte effect. The 3D Medusa is at 12 o’clock.

    A standard model is available with polished edges and a bi-colored (steel and IP plated gold) bracelet and a luxury version with diamond-studded edges and an IP gold bracelet. 

    Straight from the Versace woman’s Spring/Summer 2017 catwalk, the Palazzo Empire’s bold 3D Medusa Head in the center of the dial is positioned between two watch glasses, embellishing and enhancing the sunray guilloché dial. The bezel is adorned by an enameled Greek keys design in colors that match the calfskin strap. It is available in white, black or pink.

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

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    Comes d'Abondance earrings containing 62 pebble rubies from Mozambique, 398 diamonds and 304 round cut rubies set on white gold with some parts plated in black rhodium 

    TEFAF's venture into the U.S. continues with the inaugural TEFAF New York Spring Fair at the Park Avenue Armory May 4 - 8, with the opening VIP preview on May 3. The fair will feature 92 dealers from around the world who specialize in Modern and Contemporary Art and Design. In addition, there will be dealers exhibiting jewelry, African & Oceanic art, and antiquities. 

    This fair follows the first edition of TEFAF New York Fall, launched in October 2016 at the Park Avenue Armory, concentrating on fine and decorative art from antiquity to 1920. 

    TEFAF, The European Fine Art Fair, is best known for the TEFAF Maastricht art fair in The Netherlands. It is considered to be one of the world’s leading art fairs.

    In what will likely be a tradition of the TEFAF New York fairs in the spring and fall, The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering will host the inaugural “Opening Night” festival on Wednesday, May 3, providing an exclusive and private preview of the fair’s pieces before it opens to the public the following day. 

    A fibula brooch by Joel Arthur Rosenthal (JAR), made of tourmaline, garnet and diamond, Paris, circa 1993. Presented by Simon Teakle Fine Jewelry

    Proceeds from the opening event will benefit The Society’s patient care, research and education programs at MSK. More than 2,000 high profile guests from the fashion, art, philanthropic and design are expected to attend. 

    Exhibitors who deal in antique and period pieces will be exhibiting items from JAR, Bulgari and jewelry creations from leading artists, including Max Ernst, Gio Pomodoro and Louise Nevelson. 

    Place Vendôme jeweler, Reza, is the lone contemporary high jewelry artist exhibiting, bringing a number of pieces defined by exceptional gems and a sleek, understated approach to traditional jewelry design. 

    A necklace by Gio Pomodoro Made up from five irregular textured 24k gyellow gold placquettes, further decorated with 18k yellow gold kinetic armatures, kinetic ball, melted granules, and white gold highlights, and set with circular-cut emeralds. Presented by Didier Ltd. 

    Among the world-class art dealers exhibiting at the fair are Acquavella Galleries, Applicat-Prazan, Di Donna, Richard Green, Hauser & Wirth, Paul Kasmin, Sean Kelly, Eykyn Maclean, Helly Nahmad, Lisson Gallery, Galerie Perrotin, Christophe van de Weghe, White Cube and David Zwirner.

    For information and tickets to the “Opening Night of TEFAF New York Spring” event, contact Ali Warlich, The Society of MSK, at, 212.639.7972. Tickets can also be ordered online

    Single entry tickets to TEFAF New York Spring are $50 for adults and $25 for full-time students with a valid ID. Multiple Entry tickets are $75. They can be purchased online

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

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    Indian gold jewelry demand is making a comeback

    Growth in U.S. gold jewelry demand resumed, leading to the strongest first quarter since 2010, the World Gold reported Thursday, as demand rose 3% year-over-year to 22.9 tons. The U.S. is firmly the world’s third largest market for gold jewelry.

    The WGC Gold Demand Trends report for the first quarter of 2017 credited this growth to a post election lift in U.S. consumer sentiment. "Plain yellow gold was more popular in the U.S. than in European markets," WGC said in the report. "High end and online retailers performed strongly. The online segment is also gaining strength, particularly with continued growth in ‘clicks and mortar’ retailing—the overlap between the virtual and physical retail environments."

    The U.S. was one of the few bright spots in a world still challenged by regional geopolitical and economic issues causing uncertainty throughout the world. More importantly, demand was curtailed by a 9% rise in gold prices from the end of December till the end of March.

    A first-quarter surge in gold jewelry demand in Indian was enough to fuel a year-over-year 1% increase in global gold jewelry demand in the first quarter to 480.9 tons, according to the WGC. However, it is compared against an extremely poor first quarter of 2016. 

    “Gold jewelry demand was broadly steady, but remains weak in the longer term context,” the WGC said in its report. “Demand was 18% below the 587.7-ton five-year quarterly average.”

    In November 2016, the Indian government implemented a surprise demonetization policy that removed Rs15.44 trillion, or 86 percent, of the currency in circulation from India’s economy. This had an immediate devastating impact on the whole Indian economy, including the gold jewelry sector. It was the culmination of an extremely challenging year for India’s gold jewelry industry that included strikes, even more government regulations and high gold prices. All of this led to a seven-year low in gold jewelry demand in India in 2016. 

    Against this backdrop a 16% year-over-year increase in gold jewelry demand to 92.3 tons in India in the first quarter of 2017, as reported by the WGC, isn’t as strong as it first appears. India’s importance in the gold jewelry marketplace can’t be underestimated. China and India accounted for nearly 56% of global gold jewelry demand in the first quarter. 

    The WGC emphasized that despite the high quarterly gain gold jewelry demand remains weak, primarily due to the high cost of the precious metal. The good news is that “by the end of March, 85% of the value of currency removed from circulation under demonetization had been returned,” the WGC said in its report.

    The WGC said the outlook in gold jewelry demand in India is “robust” with one caveat. “The market is wary of the forthcoming decision on GST (Goods and Services Tax— a comprehensive indirect tax on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services throughout India, with the exception of Jammu and Kashmir) and this will likely weigh on demand until the government’s final decision, due for implementation in early July.”

    The massive, populous and increasingly upwardly mobile country is now easily the world’s largest market for gold jewelry. Demand for gold jewelry was down 2% year-over-year to 176.5 tons. 

    An early Lunar New Year pushed gold jewelry demand in January, the WGC said. This was followed by a strong wedding season. However, “once the festivities were over, demand dropped off as usual—an effect that was more pronounced due to the backdrop of rising gold prices.”

    The WGC described the gold jewelry industry as resourceful, but a slowing economic environment and changing consumer tastes are having a negative effect on gold jewelry demand. 

    China, known for 24k gold jewelry, has experienced an increase in 18k products. Manufacturers responded by offering more intricate and contemporary designs. A new 22k segment was introduced to cater demand for new, innovative and trendsetting pieces. In addition, some retailers are increasingly becoming specialized in bridal jewelry. 

    “So, although demand in China faces headwinds from the economy and the changing tastes of its consumers, the industry is keen and determined to adapt—an attitude that should help stem any weakness,” the WGC said.

    Other Asian Markets
    Jewelry demand within the smaller Asian markets was hit by a combination of rising gold price and rising political tensions in the region. In the face of rising gold prices, Japanese jewelry demand fell 9% year-over-year to 3.2 tons. A drop in Chinese tourists also was cited as a reason. 

    In Thailand, sluggish economic growth contributed to a 5% decline in first quarter jewelry demand to 3.1 tons. “The government responded with several measures designed to boost the domestic industry,” WGC said. “These included waiving tariffs on raw material imports used in jewelry production , and making low interest loans available for small and medium sized businesses to upgrade machinery.”

    Jewelry demand was again dragged down by weakness in France and the U.K., the WGC said. The rest of the region was stable. Demand fell 6% in France due to pre-election uncertainty and the rise in terrorist activity which has impacted tourism, the WGC said. In addition, branded silver is making continued inroads into market share.

    The U.K. saw a 7% year-over-year first quarter decline to 3.7 tons. 

    Middle East and Turkey
    Demand in Turkey sank to a four-year low of 7.7 tons, the WGC said. Continued currency weakness in Turkey meant that the price of gold in lira rose more than in any other currency during the first quarter (+12%), undermining jewelry demand, which fell by 11% to 7.7 tons.

    “The fragile economic and political conditions that have beset Turkey over recent years were again a key factor behind the weak Q1 number,” the WGC said. “The mid-April referendum on changing Turkey’s constitution from a parliamentary to a presidential republic weighed on demand for the sector. And the outlook for the market is weak as the local price remains prohibitively high for many at a time of deteriorating economic indicators.”

    Demand in the Middle East was unchanged at 54.6 tons and it followed a familiar pattern, the WGC said. Jewelry demand in Iran jumped 27% in the first quarter year-over-year to a four-year high of 12.9 tons, helped by an improving economy and investment-driven purchases.

    “Demand across the rest of the region remained weak in the face of low oil prices and subdued tourist numbers, the impact of which was exaggerated by rising gold prices,” the WGC said. “Although the UAE has imposed a 5% import duty, demand in that market was relatively robust as consumers rushed to buy before the full effect of the tax fed through to end user prices.”

    Overall Gold Demand
    The WGC Gold Demand Trends report—which tracks demand in gold for investments, jewelry and technology; and tracks gold supply as well—reported that overall global gold demand in the first quarter declined 18% to 1,034.5 tons. However, it is in comparison with the first quarter of 2016, which was the highest first quarter ever. 

    There was slower demand in Exchange Traded Funds and in central banks. Bar and coin investment, however, was described as “healthy” while demand “firmed slightly” in both the jewelry and technology sectors, the WGC said. 

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

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    The Jessica McCormack Townhouse Boutique

    In less than 10 years, Jessica McCormack has earned an international reputation for her antique-inspired contemporary jewels. Sharing this attention is the 19th Century townhouse in Mayfair that her company calls home. It operates as the headquarters, workshop, showroom and boutique. After my first visit in March to the five-story red-brick building on 7 Carlos Place, I must say it’s quite impressive. 

    The interior, designed by London architects, Powell Tuck Associated, contains high ceilings, plenty of light through bay-style windows, aged wooden floors, fireplaces, and a well-manicured and inviting backyard patio. Throughout the first two stories (the public area) are antique furnishings and chandeliers, contemporary sculptures and paintings. One room has a wall-length, floor-to-ceiling bookcase and a player piano filling the space with music. 

    The Library

    The “grand” townhouse is the only place in the world where one can purchase Jessica McCormack jewels. More importantly, it serves as the perfect showplace for McCormack’s aesthetic. The New Zealand native grew up around antiques at her father’s auction business in Christ Church. She served a one-year internship at Sotheby’s jewelry department in London where she grew an appreciation and love of baubles. Her style reflects both her foundation in antiques—particularly in Art Deco and Georgian and Victorian periods—and the edginess and casual nature of contemporary culture.

    The jewelry gallery

    The art and antiques are primarily from one of McCormack’s partners, Michael Rosenfeld, a diamantaire and art collector who sources diamonds and gems for her designs. Her other partner is Rachel Slack, a businesswoman and a member of the Oppenheimer family, which until recently was the owner of De Beers. So McCormack is well financed.

    What about the jewelry?

    McCormack’s collections (which includes Tattoo, Jewels of the Urban Night, Messenger of the Gods and Perfect Storm) are well defined with specific personal stories and signature motifs. For example, the Urban Night collection is inspired by the jagged edges and geometric features of the architecture of the New York skyline. The Art Deco motifs are created through channel-set diamonds in geometric lines and grids. 

    The Ruby New York Ring from the Urban Night collection

    Meanwhile, the Tattoo collection is inspired by The Maori people of McCormack’s New Zealand home country. The jewels are based on their facial tattoos that tell individual stories of family lineage and social status within their tribe. Books about the Maori culture and artifacts she has collected over the years are included among the eclectic collection of contemporary art and antiques in the house.

    The Tattoo Ring

    While diamonds is McCormack’s preferred stone, she isn’t afraid to add color. This is most evident in the Party Jacket collection. In this versatile group, McCormack will often take a client’s existing ring—such as a solitaire, engagement or heirloom—and create a removable gem-specific “jacket” that surrounds the original gem. It provides another way to express oneself with the same jewel without altering it. 

    Oval diamond ring with ruby Party Jacket

    This clever nature and versatility is evident throughout her pieces. Another thing that makes her pieces special is that it is luxury jewelry that can be worn everyday and for all occasions. These are a couple of reasons why McCormack is in high demand for her bespoke work, collaborating with clients to create something special and unique. Clients include Rihanna and Madonna. As the story goes (as these stories often go) Rihanna was McCormack’s first customer when she operated a small, private appointment studio. The singer and fashion icon purchased a single “Wings of Desire” earring.

    Wing of Desire Earrings

    McCormack’s petite, edgy and versatile diamond-centric jewels have attracted a strong following throughout the world (particularly in the U.K. and U.S.), despite their limited availability. 

    It is a successful business that is at a crossroads. The challenge is fueling growth while maintaining its high quality standards and continuity with the Jessica McCormack brand. 

    The Romance Room

    There are at least three issues facing the company. First, there is demand far exceeding her ability to supply it. The craftsmen produce about 100 handmade pieces per year. Second, the big, beautiful art-filled space, which is as much of the Jessica McCormack brand as her jewels, comes with huge costs. Third, the boutique is away from the busier shopping areas of Mayfair, such as Bond Street. This makes it primarily a destination for clients already familiar with her work. The primary source of casual walk in traffic is from The Connaught luxury hotel directly across the street. 

    To diversify the product selection, the brand recently released a bridal jewelry collection with the same relationship to McCormack and her brand as her other jewels. 

    The Little Mermaid Ring

    For additional help in planning this next phase of the business they recruited New York resident, Colleen Caslin, who just finished a successful eight-year run as the chief operating officer of Verdura and Belperron. She is serving as the interim CEO till June. The veteran luxury executive’s resume includes leadership positions at Movado Group, Graff and Asprey. She is well respected in the industry. I’ve known her during her time at Verdura and Belperron and can’t imagine a better person to guide the business to its next level. 

    I met with Caslin during my visit in March and she discussed many ideas that are being considered. Nothing yet has been approved but those loyal clients should be prepared for some changes. 

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    December, 22, 1969: Jackie Onassis (1929 - 1994) pictured with her Cartier Tank watch. Photo by David Cairns/Express/Getty Images

    One of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s most cherished items during her years as first lady and long after will be placed on auction next month.

    Kennedy Onassis’s Cartier Tank watch is one of the high-profile items to appear at Christie’s New York Rare Watches and American Icons New York sale on June 21. Its estimate is $60,000 - $120,000.

    Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's Cartier Tank watch

    It was a watch worn by the former first lady for decades and can be seen on her wrist in many photos, Christie’s said. It was given to her as a gift from her brother-in-law Prince Stanislaw “Stas” Radziwill in 1963. On the caseback is the engraving: "Stas to Jackie 23 Feb. 63 2:05 AM to 9:35 PM.” The times refer to the start and stop times of the 50-Mile Hike in Palm Beach in 1963.

    The watch will be accompanied by an original painting that Kennedy Onassis made in 1963 as a gift for Stas Radziwill, celebrating the hike with the dedication “February 23, 1963, 2:05 am to 9:35 pm / Jackie to Stas with love and admiration.”

    The engraved caseback of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Cartier Tank

    The 50-mile hike became a short-lived fad in early 1963 after President Kennedy publicly asked the American people to accept the mentally and physically grueling challenge of walking this long distance, the auction house said. His inner circle of family and friends were some of the first to attempt the hike including his friends, Stas Radziwill and Chuck Spalding, featured in the painting.

    This watch and the accompanying painting, previously unknown to the public, are two important historic artifacts to surface in recent years from the golden era of the Kennedy Presidency, Christie’s said.

    The watch will be accompanied by an original painting that Kennedy Onassis made in 1963 as a gift for Stas Radziwill

    “These two objects capture the spirit of another era, a time where friendship and the ‘can-do’ optimism of the generation seemed to make anything possible,” said John Reardon, international head of Christie’s Watches.

    The owner of the watch and painting, who has requested anonymity, offered to donate a portion of the proceeds to the National Endowment for the Arts.

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    Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie

    There will only be five Greubel Forsey Grande Sonnerie watches made this year. Two will be shipped in the U.S. One was sold in advance. This leaves Bellusso Jewelers as the only store in the U.S. that will carry this watch, with its estimated price tag of approximately $1.2 million.

    Rick Moore, the manager of the luxury watch and jewelry boutique at The Palazzo Las Vegas resort, credits the strong relationship he has with the watch brand for beating out other high-end watch stores for the timepiece. 

    “It’s really all about relationships,” he said. “Stephen Forsey (co-founder of the watch brand with Robert Greubel) has made many visits to Bellusso Jewelers and has also attended client dinners.”

    Moore says he expects to receive the watch within the next two months. He’s contacted his VIP clients to let them know it’s available. If it isn’t sold prior to arrival he plans to show it in a dedicated display area for Greubel Forsey watches.

    Bellusso Jewelers

    Greubel Forsey says it is the most complex watch it has ever made—a big statement from a watch brand that specializes in highly complicated watches with multiple tourbillons and inclined balance wheels. Its creations have won some of the most prestigious awards in the watch world. 

    Many of the company's ideas are tested in the company’s laboratory based on a proprietary development methodology called “Experimental Watch Technology” (EWT), including the Grande Sonnerie, which is the result of 11 years of research and development. The filing of two patents and the development of an acoustic resonance cage for a pure sound went into the creation of this timepiece with 11 security functions and at least 935 parts. 

    It is equipped with a silent striking regulator and a 24-second tourbillon, all housed and well-balanced within a 43.5mm titanium case. It uses a manually wound movement but the striking mechanism has a self-winding system that provides about 20 hours of power reserve in Grande Sonnerie mode. It operates on three modes: Grande Sonnerie (which strikes at the hours and the quarters), Petite Sonnerie (which strikes at the full hours) and a silent mode. The sound is enhanced by an acoustic resonance cage made of titanium. 

    The watch was unveiled in January at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). At the time the company said it would produce five to eight pieces per year. A company spokesperson told me more recently that only five will be made this year because of time it takes to produce each piece. 

    “One watchmaker is responsible for assembling the piece and one watchmaker is responsible for polishing all of the parts,” the spokesperson said. “One piece takes about a year to produce.”

    So you can buy it now or wait till next year. 

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    Rolex Reference 6062 “Bao Đại” chronograph sold for $5.06 million, setting a world record for any watch sold at auction at the Philips and Bacs & Russo Geneva watch sale held Saturday. It shattered its presale estimate of $1.5 million.

    The auction house said the sale followed an “eight minute bidding war,” among 10 bidders in the packed room at the Hôtel La Réserve where the auction was held and three telephone bidders. It was sold to a phone bidder who was not identified. 

    Rolex Reference 6062 “Bao Đại”

    The Bao Đại chronograph is among the “most valuable and desirable Rolexes” and the “most complicated and iconic Oyster-cased model” ever made by the Swiss watch manufacturer, the auction house said. In addition to its rarity, this particular model also has imperial provenance. 

    This Rolex triple calendar with moonphase in yellow gold is one of three black dial models known to exist with diamond markers. Of the three, the Bao Dai, is the only one to feature diamond markers at the even hours. 

    The watch belonged to Bảo Đại, the last emperor of Vietnam. According to family legend, Đại (the 13th and last emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty) purchased the watch in Geneva in 1954, while he attended a conference seeking peace in Indochina.

    The “Bao Dai” first appeared on the market in 2002 and was sold by Phillips for what was at the time the most expensive Rolex ever, according to the auction house. A private collector was winning bidder and it had stayed in private hands since.

    Aurel Bacs, senior consultant at Phillips, sold the watch at that time. 

    It also happens to be the second time within 12 months that a Rolex watch sold at auction by Philips and Bacs & Russo in Geneva set a world record.

    “The combination of the iconic name Rolex, its extraordinary rarity and originality, crowned by the imperial first owner, this world auction record result is a testimony that Phillips’ stringent approach of bringing only the finest quality collectors watches to the market is the winning formula,” Aurel Bacs said.

    The two-day auction at the Hôtel La Réserve is continuing today (Sunday). 

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    It has size, provenance and "exceptional" quality. Now the 18.4-carat “Rockefeller Emerald” is poised to set new world auction records for an emerald jewel and an emerald per carat.

    The Colombian emerald set on a diamond and platinum ring by famed New York jeweler, Raymond C. Yard, will be the highlight of Christie’s New York Magnificent Jewels auction on June 20. The gem, which passed through several members of the Rockefeller family, has a presale estimate of $4 million - $6 million.

    It seems fitting that the sale will be held at Christie’s Rockefeller Center headquarters, named after the same family that owned the emerald ring.

    The current world record for an emerald jewel and an emerald per carat is believed to be held by a 23.46-carat emerald and diamond pendant brooch by Bulgari, formerly owned by Elizabeth Taylor. It sold for more than $6.5 million ($280,000 per carat) in December 2011 as part of the landmark auctions of “The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor” at Christie’s New York.

    If the emerald sells for its $6 million high estimate it will easily beat the current per-carat record. If it exceeds its high estimate it would likely surpass the overall record.

    The emerald of Colombian origin was purchased in 1930 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the only son among the five children of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller. It was part of a brooch believed to have been created by Van Cleef & Arpels for his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.

    When Aldrich Rockefeller passed away in 1948, the brooch was disassembled and the 18.4-carat emerald was given to his son, David Rockefeller. The son then asked Yard to mount the gem on a ring.

    Yard—the personal jeweler to several Rockefeller family members—created a classic and understated diamond and platinum setting for the gem. The ring is considered to be one of Yard’s most important private commissions, according to Christie’s.

    Christie’s says the Colombian emerald is described by the American Gemological Laboratories as “exceptional,” and possesses what AGL calls an “unusual combination of size, provenance, absence of treatment and quality factors [that contribute] favorably to its rarity and desirability.”

    “Due to its rarity, an emerald of this quality and significant weight is not readily found in the market, and it is ranked at the top of its class,” Christie’s added in a statement. “Though it has passed on to other hands, this superb Colombian emerald still embodies the grandeur of the Rockefeller family name.”

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    Graff Diamonds has acquired a 373.72-carat rough diamond that was once part of the Lesedi la Rona, the second largest gem quality diamond ever discovered. 

    The icy gem measures 48mm x 41mm x 22mm and is classified as D color—meaning that the diamond is colorless, the highest color grade—and Type IIa—considered the purest type of diamond. It is estimated to be approximately 3 billion years old and was likely formed when the earth was still being created.

    The luxury jeweler said Tuesday the rough gem has the potential to yield “a significant polished stone.”

    “Every diamond has an inner script that we must read and respect,” Laurence Graff, founder of the London-based high jewelry brand, said in a statement. “We will now spend time discovering the secrets of this magnificent stone. Knowing that nature has given us this extraordinary gift, we take on the great responsibility of releasing its inner beauty.”

    The diamond was unearthed at the Karowe mine in Botswana and was once attached to the Lesedi la Rona, the second largest gem quality diamond ever discovered and the largest in more than a century. Graff said it was separated from its famous sibling during the recovery process. 

    The 1,109-carat Lesedi la Rona was unearthed by Lucara Diamond Corp., a Canadian diamond mining company, in November 2015. 

    The auction house, Sotheby’s, placed the Lesedi la Rona in a stand-alone auction in London in June, 2016, with an estimate of more than $70 million. The diamond failed to sell. 

    The public sale, which the auction house described as “unprecedented” for a rough stone, turned out to be quite controversial among the few diamantaires with the means to purchase such large diamonds, according to this story in Vanity Fair. One of the persons quoted as being against the auction was none other than Laurence Graff. 

    “It’s not nice,” Graff reportedly said. “We don’t like it, what they’re doing. It’s just not how it’s done. We don’t want to have to expose ourselves in public [at an auction]. To contend in the open arena, we find it undesirable.” 

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    The Apollo and Artemis fancy colored diamond earrings sold for $57.4 million—a world record for earrings sold at auction.

    The mismatched earrings were sold separately and were the top two lots at Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale Tuesday.

    The 14.54-carat, pear-shaped Apollo Blue was the big prize of the pair. It sold for more than $42.08 million (including buyers premium), within its estimate of $38 – $50 million.

    Meanwhile, the 16-carat, pear-shaped Artemis Pink, sold for more than $15.3 million (including buyers premium), within its estimate of $12.5 – $18 million.

    The two diamonds are named after the twin brother and sister who are among the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities.

    Update: Sotheby’s said later in the evening that both diamonds were purchased by the same person, who was not identified. “I am delighted that the stones will remain together as earrings,” David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division and chairman of Switzerland, said following the sale.

    The Apollo Blue is the largest internally flawless fancy vivid blue diamond ever to be offered at auction, Sotheby’s said. It was graded as a Type IIb diamond, which amounts to less than 1% of all diamonds. In recent years, the only mine to produce blue diamonds with any regularity is the Cullinan mine in South Africa. When in full production, less than 0.1% of diamonds sourced showed any evidence of blue color, according to the Gemological Institute of America, which graded both diamonds and issued reports on them. An infinitesimally small percentage of those is graded Fancy Vivid Blue.

    The Artemis Pink is a fancy intense pink diamond graded by the GIA as a Type IIa diamond, describing this category as “the most chemically pure type” of diamonds. The occurrence of pink diamonds is exceedingly rare. According to the GIA, of all diamonds it grades each year, “no more than 3% are classified as colored diamonds; less than 5% of those colored diamonds are predominantly pink.”

    Other updated information:

    In other news from the Sotheby’s sale, a 7.04-carat diamond by Piaget sold for more than $13.2 million, setting auction records for a fancy intense purplish pink diamond and for the price per carat for such a diamond at more than $6 million per carat.

    The sale for the first time held at the Mandarin Oriental, Geneva, totaled more than $151.5 million, well above the presale estimate in the region of $100 million, with a sell-through rate of 90%. Three lots sold for more than $10 million and five sold for more than $5 million. Two-thirds of the lots sold above high estimate.

    Other notable results from the auction include:

    * Gem and jewels from a “Superb Private Collection” of diamonds and gemstones as well as signed jewels from iconic jewelry houses, doubled presale estimates to realize a combined total of $15.9 million and a sell-through rate of 96%. Items include the following:

    - A 32.42-carat pear-shaped diamond ring by Harry Winston doubled its low estimate to realize more than $3.3 million;
    - An emerald and diamond ring by Harry Winston achieved five times its estimate selling for $929,465; and
    - A ruby and diamond brooch and ear clips by Van Cleef & Arpels which sold for a combined total of $477,551.

    * A ruby, onyx and diamond bracelet by LaCloche, circa 1925, soared above estimate to achieve $748,498.

    * A jadeite onyx, ruby and diamond pendant brooch by Cartier, Circa 1925, formerly in the collection of Mona, Countess von Bismarck, sold for $374,500, more than double its high estimate.

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    A 92-carat D Flawless heart-shaped diamond sold for $14.9 million at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale Wednesday. It set a world record for the price of a heart-shaped diamond sold at auction. 

    It sold just above its $14 million low estimate. The jewel was given the name, La Légende. It was created by Boehmer et Bassenge, a high jewelry house that was launched a year ago. The company began working with the auction house last year.

    Another big sale for the evening was a 15.03-carat unheated Burmese ruby mounted on a diamond ring that sold for $12.9 million ($861,000 per carat), within its estimate of $10 - $15 million.

    In addition, a 7.97-carat fancy intense blue cushion-shaped diamond fetched more than $12.7 million, smashing its $3 million high estimate and setting an auction record per carat at $1.6 million, according to Christie’s. 

    These were the top three items of the sale held at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues that featured 267 lots, achieving $94.5 million, with 85% sold by lot and 90% sold by value.  

    Other highlights include:

    A 56.03-carat, pear-shaped D color, potentially IF diamond pendent on a diamond necklace by Chopard fetched $6.3 million ($113,000 per carat);

    A 4.05-carat square-cut, fancy deep blue VS1 diamond sold for $4.3 million ($1.05 million per carat);

    A 47.63-carat cushion-shaped Burmese sapphire sold for more than $2.4 million ($50,500 per carat), three times its high estimate. 

    A ruby and diamond four leaf clover brooch by Boucheron fetched $2.2 million, three times its high estimate. 

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    Cartier is bringing its prestigious brand downtown by offering a luxurious pop up experience at a popular New York restaurant. 

    The luxury brand will launch Panthère Studio—a public-facing, experiential pop up promising to bring a customized, interactive experience to millennial audiences of New York. It will be held at the downtown French-Vietnamese restaurant, Indochine, May 20 and May 21. 

    “We’re coming out of our boutiques and bringing the world of Cartier downtown, to engage with our clients—and future clients for that matter—where they live, work and play,” said Mercedes Abramo, president and CEO of Cartier North America. “We’re excited to introduce the iconic Panthère de Cartier watch to a fun, fearless new generation in such a unique, experiential way.”

    It’s the first time the luxury brand is focused on presenting an experience rather than a retail-first environment. 

    The theme will be the 1980s when the French luxury brand launched the Panthère de Cartier watch, featuring its iconic panther. The watch—with a square case, screwed-down bezel and linked brick-lay bracelet—was reintroduced this year. 

    The Panthère Studio takeover of Indochine will include innovative and inherently shareable elements throughout the space, with live DJs, social media components and interactive photo experiences, including a Panthère ‘stacking bar,’ where guests can style their own Cartier looks with the Panthère watch.

    Panthère de Cartier watch

    Special guests will be in attendance throughout the weekend, including model and actress, Olivia Culpo.

    Panthère Studio will be open to the public on Saturday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., with Olivia Culpo appearing from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.; and on Sunday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

    To sign up or for more information, follow this link.

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    Emerald and diamond necklace by Carolina Bucci using Gemfields Zambian emeralds 

    Private equity company, Pallinghurst Resources, has made an unsolicited offer for the 53% of shares in Gemfields it does not already own. 

    Pallinghurst, based in South Africa, specializes in investments in the mining sector. It is offering approximately $150 million in its shares for the remaining stake in Gemfields, a London-based colored gemstone mining and marketing company, making it a core component of Pallinghurst’s value. 

    Pallinghurst’s offer doesn’t provide any added value to Gemfields, which it values at approximately $295 million.

    Gemfields Board, in a statement to shareholders, “strongly advises … to take no action at this time.” However, Gemfields shareholders owning 28% of the company had already agreed to the offer, Pallinghurst says, giving it 75 percent backing and making the offer unconditional. 

    Gemfields in its current form was created in 2008 when Pallinghurst and its co-investors contributed the Kagem emerald mine to Gemfields, its core operating asset, for shares. This transaction made Pallinghurst and its co-investors the majority shareholders of Gemfields. In 2013, Pallinghurst added the luxury brand, Fabergé, to Gemfields holdings, increasing Pallinghurst group’s direct ownership in Gemfields to the current level of 47.09%.

    The strategy from the beginning was for Gemfields to become the “De Beers of the Colored Gemstone Industry” by creating a mine-to-market strategy for its responsibly sourced gems that could be traced throughout the supply chain and communicated to the industry and consumers. Part of this communication involves creating a grading system for determining emerald quality. There was no industry standard for evaluating rough colored gemstones, Gemfields established its own standard, assessing each gem according to its individual characteristics (size, color, shape and clarity). 

    Pallinghurst contends that Gemfields is “an attractive and unique business” but in its current structure is constrained by limited access to equity and debt capital, low share liquidity and high costs.

    “Pallinghurst believes that, since its investment, the performance of the Gemfields share price has been disappointing and despite the major positive developments, Gemfields’ shareholders, including Pallinghurst, have not benefited appropriately,” Pallinghurst said in a statement. “The share price of Gemfields has not increased over the last decade.” 

    Gemfields key holdings are: 

    * 75% of the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia; 
    * 75% of the Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique; 
    * 50% of the Kariba amethyst mine in Zambia; and 
    * 100% of Fabergé Limited. 

    Once gaining full control of Gemfields, Pallinghurst will delist Gemfields from the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange for smaller, less-viable companies, and take it private, at least for the time being. Pallinghurst is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX) and it said it would consider listing Gemfields on the LSE.

    Pallinghurst, in order to create profitability for Gemfields, said it would do the following: 

    * Focus on Gemfields’ core emerald and ruby operations in Zambia and Mozambique, respectively, and develop these to optimal scale;
    * Accelerate the development of its existing portfolio of projects to mitigate the dependency on its attractive, but cyclical assets;
    * Explore strategic alternatives for Fabergé, where significant growth capital is still required to reach its full potential; and
    * Pursue cost reductions across the enlarged group.

    Gemfields sells its rough gems through international auctions, which Pallinghurst says has “brought a level of professionalism and transparency previously not seen in the industry.” With its proprietary grading system for gems, Gemfields developed three auction classes, one offering higher quality gemstones, one for the larger volume of lower quality gemstones and the last offering mixed quality gemstones.

    Pallinghurst said acquiring all of Gemfields would allow it to collapse its investment structure and simplify its management arrangements.

    “The result will be a renewed Pallinghurst with a simplified operating model and an in-house management team,” Pallinghurst said in a statement. “The value of the underlying assets will be more clearly demonstrable with clearer earnings and operating metrics that can be benchmarked against industry peers. The revised structure model will allow Pallinghurst to rationalize costs across the group by simplifying the group's structures.”

    The statement continued, “Post completion … Pallinghurst expects to have an enlarged market capitalization, improved trading liquidity and equity broker coverage. The board of directors of Pallinghurst believes that the combination of these factors should be value accretive for all shareholders.” 

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    Colonial Order of the Star of Italy Plaque and Sign of Great Cross. Photo by Martina Pace

    The Museo del Gioiello in Vicenza, Italy, will hold a temporary exhibition focusing on jewels presented as honors in Italy, other European countries and even other world regions, a practice that stretched from the Middle Ages to modern times. Titled “Dames and Knights. Jewels of Honors,” it opens to the public Wednesday, March 24 and runs till September 17. An opening reception will be held March 23.

    The items are curated to celebrate this artistic genre as a subject worth noting due to its quality, origin and proof of the history of different countries and geographical areas.

    Order of the Crown Knight with spade. Photo by Martina Pace 

    The temporary exhibition on the ground floor of the jewelry museum is arranged in two sections. The first will display about 40 Knighthood honors and decorations selected from pre-eminent and rare collections around the world. 

    In addition, 10 items pay tribute to the collection of former Italian Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti, which were given to him by royal and government leaders.

    Included in the display are honorary decorations that serve as symbols of Italian history. including: the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus, the Insignia of the Grand Cross, the Collar of Our Lady of the Annunciation, the Grand Collar of St. George and the Colonial Order of the Star of Italy's Grand Cross.

    Constantinian Order of St. George. Photo by Martina Pace 

    A second section dedicated to Dames has about 10 items, including the Legion of Honor's Insignia of Knighthood and Insignia of the Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani.

    The itinerary takes a visitor on a journey through time and honorary decoration culture with provides explanations of their intrinsic and evocative meanings. It serves as a piece of Italian and European history that recalls a value that was handed down through the years with the aim of rewarding praiseworthy actions in the fields of literature, arts and economy and for commitment in carrying out public duties and activities for social, philanthropic and humanitarian purposes as well as for long-standing and remarkable services in civil and military careers.

    Order of the National Merit of Civil Division. Photo by Martina Pace

    Insignia, decorations and medals that date back to the 11th century with Knighthood honors bestowed purely on men who highly distinguished themselves, a usage that was extended to women in 1662.

    The exhibition will also be presenting about ten creations by G.B. Ballarino, a goldsmith from a company with a long tradition in the field of honorary decorations, authorized to raise the arms of the Royal House of Savoy and the Royal House of Bulgaria with the inscription “fornitore della Real Casa” (Royal House supplier) through gold, enamel and precious stone cross pendants.

    Order of Danilo I of Montenegro. Photo by
    Martina Pace

    The museum, the first in Italy and one of a few in the world dedicated to jewelry, is located inside the Basilica Palladiana and is managed by Italian Exhibition Group S.p.A. (IEG)—the trade show company generated by a merger between Rimini Fiera and Fiera di Vicenza—in partnership with Vicenza Municipal Council.

    The museum is the result of IEG’s commitment to promoting the universal culture of Italian gold and jewelry, a sector in which it is well known as a global Business Hub thanks to the VicenzaOro international jewelry trade show.

    Royal Order of Cambodia. Photo by Martina Pace

    For more information follow this link.

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    "The Fascination," a $40 million transformable watch with more than 152 carats of diamonds

    Sometimes I get to do some pretty cool things. For instance on a sunny, warm March afternoon in London I entered the Graff Diamonds workshop where I was able to see how some of the most desired jewels in the world are made.

    Below street level a well-lit room with white walls and a low ceiling was tightly packed with rows of bench jewelers working independently while machinery buzzed and hummed around them. About 70 craftsmen produce roughly 350 jewels per month, says Raymond Graff, director of the workshop and brother of the company’s founder, Laurence Graff. This includes the unique jewels made with some of the world’s most sought-after diamonds and colored gems.

    The making of a diamond necklace in the Graff workshop

    The jewels are based on designs created a floor above done with both hand drawings and via CAD, which Raymond Graff says provides better design details.

    One of the things that separates Graff’s workshop from other high jewelers is that it uses modern manufacturing principles to produce a high number of luxury jewels while adhering to traditional high jewelry hand craftsmanship. The operation produces so many jewels that it contains a branch of the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office for the hallmarking of precious metals (a requirement in the U.K.). Precious metals come in raw forms and in various shapes, which are then refined by metalsmiths into the framework for the jewels. The diamonds and other gems are set by craftsmen that specialize in this work.

    Diamond setting a flower brooch in the Graff workshop

    One of Graff’s latest pieces that highlight the workshop's craftsmanship is the limited edition “Princess Butterfly Secret Watch,” which features white gold shaped into sensual curves and butterfly wings paved with diamonds and colored gems. The stones are mounted with the invisible set technique, where small grooves are cut in the underside of each diamond or gemstone allowing them to slide onto a grid hidden beneath the stones. To achieve a finish of pure color the stones must be color-matched, before being cut to fit tightly against one another as if made exactly for the delicate curvature of the butterfly wings.

    The “secret” watch dial is revealed beneath the gem-paved wings by pressing on a round diamond, which allows the wings to slide apart.

    Setting a large diamond on a ring

    Graff is known for diamonds and all the diamonds used for Graff jewels (whether personally sourced by Laurence Graff or through the normal supply chain) go through the South African Diamond Corporation (SAFDICO), which is Graff’s diamond procurement and polishing division in Botswana. It is one of the largest such operations in Africa. This practice of vertical integration (sourcing the materials and making the jewels in-house) increases efficiency, enhances quality control and serves as another example of the luxury jewelry operation’s commitment to manufacturing principles.

    The number of iconic statement diamonds purchased by Laurence Graff is legendary. In some cases he made a bold decision to re-cut the diamond. Recently, Graff unveiled “The Graff Venus.” At 118.78 carats, it is the world’s largest D-color, flawless heart-shaped diamond. Contributing to its rarity is that there is likely no other diamond manufacturer willing to cut such a large D-color, flawless diamond into such a challenging shape.

    Enhancing the details of a sapphire bracelet

    This shows the trust Laurence Graff has in its diamond cutters and polishers and the risks he’s willing to take to create such a gem. It’s the same trust that Laurence Graff shows throughout the operation and just one of the reasons for the success of Graff Diamonds.

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    1735 Marguerite sapphire and diamond cluster engagement ring, modeled after the ring first presented to princess Diana and now worn by Kate Middleton

    The world’s oldest jeweler is working hard to appeal to younger consumers by using a formula that is fairly common among luxury brands. It is taking the essence of its heritage and applying it in the design of new, contemporary jewels at a more accessible price.

    The House of Garrard, under the leadership of creative director Sara Prentice, is producing petite, understated jewels designed to be worn daily with storylines and details that reference the brand’s history, which the company traces back to 1735.

    18k white gold stud earrings from the Enchanted Palace collection, the bejeweled bugs are set with a turquoise body, diamond pave wings and yellow gold legs. It sits on removable diamond-shape patterned bars, set with white round diamonds

    Among its new releases is the “Enchanted Palace” collection, which takes its inspiration from the Great Exhibition of 1851, celebrating the advancements of the Victorian age in manufacturing and design. Garrard displayed nearly 100 pieces of jewelry, silverware and trophies at the exhibition, inspired by their commissions for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The jewels included turquoise, blue sapphires and diamonds among other precious stones and featured quirky designs such as ‘fly’ brooches enormously popular with the Queen and the Victorian people as a symbol of humility.

    The jewels as well as the architectural design of the Palace itself (which included 300,000 glass windows) inspired The Enchanted Palace collection. The fly returns, reproduced in turquoise with delicate diamond encrusted wings. There are jewels designed to spin, revealing diamonds or sapphires with each twist. There are also rock crystal windows studded with diamonds and multi-wear pendants and earrings with removable tassels and drops.

    18k white gold tassel earrings from the Enchanted Palace collection, set with a detachable rock crystal motif and sapphire tassels

    The collection “celebrates the fun and quirky side of design, so embraced by the Victorians,” Prentice says. “Each piece has a beautiful simplicity to its design but is incredibly technical in its construction and in this way I think we have captured the spirit of the era perfectly.”

    Today the company is housed in a magnificent four-story corner building designed and built for Garrard on Albemarle Street, just off Bond Street. It contains a workshop, a showroom on the first floor for its newest creations, and the records and artifacts of the company’s unique history. On my visit in March, I was taken to the Queen Mary room on the second floor. Named with the consent of Queen Mary in 1911, among other artifacts, contains photographs of five of the nine royal crowns created by Garrard. They are as follows:

    * The Imperial State Crown of India;

    * The matching Queen Consort’s crown for King George V and Queen Mary, with Queen Mary’s crown set with the fabled Koh-i-Noor diamond;

    * Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s consort’s crown and Imperial State Crown remodeled for George VI in 1937, with high arches. The entire crown was then remade again by Garrard for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 with lowered arches for a Queen, and a smaller band to fit her head, but still using the same stones, which include the Black Prince’s Ruby and the Cullinan II diamond, sister of the enormous Cullinan I, which is set into the Sovereign’s Sceptre;

    In addition, Garrard created a petite crown for Queen Victoria, who couldn’t bear the weight of a normal-sized crown.

    While the jewelry house has made some of the most iconic crowns and tiaras in history, it’s most famous piece is the sapphire and diamond cluster engagement ring first owned by Princess Diana and now worn by Kate Middleton, upon her engagement to Diana’s son, Prince Harry. The luxury brand recreated many of the details of that ring with its 1735 Marguerite sapphire and diamond cluster engagement ring. The center stone also is available in ruby and emerald, to add variety and bring a personal take for the iconic ring. The 1735 Marguerite collection also includes matching earrings and pendants with an oval or cushion shaped center stone.

    So while the formula for using heritage to create contemporary products isn’t a new strategy for luxury brands, Garrard just has so much more history to work with that it stands a better chance of success. 

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    2016 Couture Show 

    The Couture Show being held at the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Luxury Resort June 2 – 6, specializes in luxury and fashion jewels from independent designers as well as national and international luxury brands. More than 200 exhibitors and 4,000 buyers from top luxury department stores and independent luxury retailers fill the main ballrooms and private spaces throughout the resort. Below is a short preview of some of the jewels that will be on display at the show. 

    Gold bamboo and diamond Arbor ring with a 7-carat blue-grey spinel center stone by Aaron Henry

    Three stacked rings by Yael Sonia: Solo Rotated 8mm ring in 18k yellow gold and amethyst, Sonia Duo Solo 6mm and 8mm ring in 18k yellow gold with green tourmaline and pink tourmaline, and the Solo Rotated 6mm ring in 18k rose gold with pink tourmaline

    David Webb Paisley bracelet with cabochon rubies, emeralds, sapphires, brilliant-cut diamonds set in green and light blue enamel with 18k gold and platinum 

    Macan Murni 18k gold ring by John Hardy featuring a Mabe Pearl framed by two jeweled tiger heads with pave-set black and white diamonds and black sapphires

    Loren Nicole Etruscan Collar in handcrafted filigree 20k gold with 8mm bezel set stones and satin finish

    22k gold and silver rectangle drop earrings with black diamonds by Arman Sarkisyan

    18k gold emerald cocktail ring with diamonds by Colette

    18k white gold and diamond signet ring by Jemma Wynne 

    18k black gold opal butterfly bangle by Wendy Yue with tsavorites, black diamonds, champagne diamonds, and white diamonds 

    Black rhodium gold and black diamond bracelet by Noudar

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    David Beckham wearing the Tudor Black Bay S & G 

    Tudor has been keeping busy lately. The Swiss watch brand on Tuesday announced the signing of two new brand ambassadors. The first is David Beckham, the international soccer star and fashion icon. The second is the biggest name in the world of Rugby, the New Zealand All Blacks.

    Beckham and the All Blacks will star in Tudor’s new campaign with the “Born To Dare” signature. The company says the campaign reflects “the history of the brand and what it stands for today. Daring individuals have long chosen Tudor while achieving the extraordinary on land, ice, in the air and underwater. It also refers to the vision of Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Tudor, who manufactured Tudor watches to withstand the most extreme conditions, watches made for the most daring lifestyle."

    The All Blacks wearing the Tudor Black Bay Dark

    The Tudor “Born To Dare” spirit is expressed in the following statement:

    “We are devoted to the classic. But reject the status quo. We keep the best of the past, the best watchmaking practices, the best designs. And push the boundaries of what’s new. Born for a purpose. Field-tested to the extreme. For those who are up for anything. For those who face their fears.”

    A closer look of David Beckham wearing the Tudor Black Bay S & G

    Beckham, in the same statement, said he became interested in the brand through its sibling brand Rolex, which he collects. “I was attracted to Tudor by the attention to detail I could see in their watches. I then learned about the history of the brand—one of adventure, pioneer diving and daring expeditions. I was instantly hooked.”

    Below is a video with Beckham in Tudor's Born To Dare campaign.

    Beckham in the campaign wears the Black Bay S&G, a vintage-inspired steel and gold diver’s watch as well as the Black Bay Chrono, a COSC-certified chronograph with column-wheel manufacture caliber, drawing upon Tudor's diving and motorsports heritage.

    The All Blacks star player, Beauden Barrett, wearing the Tudor Black Bay Dark

    The All Blacks is the most successful national team in the history of professional rugby, known for their winning ways and their “haka” pre-game ritual—based on the traditional war challenge from the Māori people of New Zealand.

    Tudor’s sponsorship of the All Blacks includes separate sponsorships for its star player, Beauden Barrett, and the upcoming 2017 DHL New Zealand Lions Series. Every four years, the best rugby players in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, combine to become the British and Irish Lions team and tour one of the Southern Hemisphere rugby nations. In 2017, the tour will be in New Zealand and include three matches with the All Blacks, beginning June 24.

    The All Blacks and Barrett are photographed in the campaign wearing the Black Bay Dark, a vintage-inspired all-black steel diver’s watch.

    Below is the haka being performed by the All Blacks prior to the final of the Rugby World Cup 2011 against the French team in New Zealand.

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    Jamie in front of the Taj Mahal with her round diamond solitaire engagement ring

    By Chris Benham, co-founder and director of Inspired Jewellery Ltd., and Angelka Vegar, marketing coordinator of Inspired Jewellery Ltd.

    After a couple of years talking about it, Jamie and Tom finally decided that 2017 was the year they would move their lives to London. Tom also decided that it was the year he was going to ask Jamie to marry him. 

    Before flying to London, the couple set their sights on India with a month long trip exploring the “famously chaotic” country. “Truth be told”, says Jamie, “India wasn't next on my must-see list. In fact, it wasn’t on there at all. But it was first on Tom's bucket list so we booked tickets." 

    Tom readies to propose to Jamie at sunrise on a hot air balloon

    The date was set, the bags were packed and Jamie was unsure what to expect but if one thing was for certain it was that an adventure awaited. Little did she know, Tom had been working with the team at The Village Goldsmith to design and craft the perfect engagement ring to come along for the ride. 

    In fact, Jamie had no idea that Tom was planning to propose until the very moment he dropped down on one knee.

    “He did an incredible job at keeping it hidden from me. He had already asked my Dad for his blessing before we left New Zealand and the ring box was couriered to him when he knew I would be at work.

    “The ring itself was sent to Auckland Airport in a peppermints container so when he wandered off and came back with a book and mints for the plane, I didn’t think anything of it.

    “He also managed to stay cool, calm and collected for a whole two weeks every time I kept going near and getting things out of his suitcase (and probably being a few millimeters away from finding the box.)”

    Tom had his work cut out for him to try and make sure everything went to plan. He, and Jamie, quickly learned that, “you may have planned the trip but India is the one in control”.

    “I had always joked to Tom that he was never allowed to propose unless my nails had been manicured so while we were in Pushkar, Tom and I both went to have a pedicure and he incredibly subtly enticed me into getting my hands done too. They did a terrible job though so I went back to the room incredibly grumpy that my “nails had been ruined” (drama queen). That wasn’t exactly part of Tom’s plan but, as he said, at least he tried and it wasn’t his fault.”

    Tom proposed to Jamie two weeks into the trip in Jaipur, the Capital of Rajasthan, also known as 'The Pink City'.

    “When we were researching India before our trip, we had read that doing a hot air balloon ride in Jaipur was meant to be spectacular so we arranged to have a private balloon ride over the Jaipur countryside to watch the sunrise”. 

    Tom and Jamie were picked up by a driver at 5am for the hour-long ride to the hot air balloon launch site but, after all the preparation and inflation of the balloon, the ride was called off at the last minute because the wind conditions had changed.
    The hot air balloon launch site in Jaipur

    “Poor Tom had already had a sleepless night (all the anxiety and excitement of the proposal) and now he had to wait another long 24 hours before we could give it another attempt."

    Luckily, the next morning was the most perfect morning; the couple successfully took off and watched the sun rise over the mountains from their hot air balloon. 

    “Floating in a balloon surrounded by pink skies and mountain tops was already the most surreal experience and then Tom asked the pilot to take some photos of us. He quickly leant down to ‘have a drink of water’ while I was staring out at the view, and then when I turned around, at 3150 ft in the air, Tom got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. 

    Tom on one knee with the diamond solitaire ring asking Jamie to marry him high above the city of Jaipur

    "Apparently, I said “of course I will” before I even looked at the ring - and while I absolutely adore the ring, Tom joked that my answer meant even more because it wasn’t dependent on whether I liked what was in the box.

    “What I hadn’t realized until afterwards was Tom had put together a playlist of all our favorite songs which was playing for the duration of our balloon ride. 

    “The proposal was a truly magical moment - one that still feels very surreal and out of a fairytale."

    “Tom took particular amusement in the fact that I stubbed my toe the other day because I was too busy staring at the ring instead of looking where I was going.”

    The happy couple celebrating 4,000 feet in the air

    Both Tom and Jamie agree without a doubt that India was the most incredible country that they have been lucky enough to explore. With a marriage proposal thrown in the mix, it’s a trip, and a place, they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. 

    Read Jamie’s latest post on her blog, The Blondini Chronicles - India as Female, Foreign and Fair-headed - plus travel tips and amazing photos from each Indian destination

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    If I could I would spend four days of my time in Las Vegas during jewelry week at The Couture Show. It’s become the best show in terms of the quality of pieces and the most enjoyable in terms of the overall comfortable, informal yet luxurious environment. This year I had two days and it just wasn’t enough time to see all of the quality designers. So this list of 26 jewels is among the best I saw at the show but there were certainly much more to see.

    New York-based designer, Coomi, presented an exceptional offering of jewels ranging from traditional high jewelry pieces to a special collection based on an historic piece of architecture to items made with objects from antiquity. In many ways it was typical of what Coomi produces each year at Couture but this year the artistry and creativity was prolific. The items on display included a collection of beautiful, sea-blue paraiba tourmalines set in 20k white gold and paired with diamonds.

    An extremely rare and very large natural saltwater pearl from the Melo Melo sea snail. The 23.8 x 23.3 x 23.1 mm, “non-nacreous pearl” is set in an 18k rose gold and diamond pavé bezel enclosure. It is valued at well over $700,000, says the pearl house, Assael, which presented this and other sea treasures at its booth.

    The David Webb brand made its first appearance at Couture, featuring new and period pieces that combine materials, colors and themes.

    The Atoli (atolls) pendant necklace Antonini. An 18k yellow gold oval with delicate curves surrounds a circle of diamond pavé over rough textured white gold that enhances the sparkle of the diamonds.

    Spectacular blue opals and azurite (rarely used in jewelry) mounted on gold and surrounded by assorted gems is the latest collection from the dreamlike world of Lydia Courteille.

    To celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2017, Picchiotti created “L’Anfiteatro,” an 8.05-carat ruby ring inspired by a classic amphitheater.

    French designer, Elie Top, unveiled a new collection of elaborate two-sided pieces based on astrology and other celestial imagery called, “Cosmogonie secrete” (Secret Cosmogony).

    The House of Garrard brought some of its high jewelry to Couture including this statement diamond and ruby necklace.

    Mother of pearl earrings by Goshwara.

    The unusual ametrine stone, a mix of amethyst and citrine, used for a pair of earrings by John Hardy.

    Designer Lisa Nik introduced her own “kite”-shaped gemstones at Couture.

    Paraiba tourmaline and opal cuff by Saboo Fine Jewels.

    A 22k gold locket with oxidized silver and diamonds by Arman Sarkisyan.

    A bracelet featuring an opal owl surrounded with multi-colored gems by Wendy Yue.

    Round precious materials inside golden cages is the premise behind Yael Sonia’s geometric inspired perpetual motion collection.

    The Plumage three-finger ring by Stephen Webster in 18k white gold, white rhodium plating, marquise shape emeralds 4.58ct and white diamond pavé.

    Three fluid 18k yellow gold bands connect and topped with six brilliant round diamonds in the Whirl Ring by Carelle.

    White gold star clusters set with white diamonds by Colette.

    Fabergé Emotion ring made with multi-colored sapphires, white diamonds, rubies, tsavorites and emeralds, set in 18k yellow gold.

    Sterling silver with the look and feel of swirling twigs enhanced with golden leaves and white diamond tips make up this organic and artistic cuff by Michael Arman.

    Pearl-centric designer, Mizuki, presented creative ways to match her multi-colored and –shaped pearls with gems and diamonds.

    The jewelry brand, Noudar, uses Arabian themes and influences in its jewels, including its popular lace-like gold chokers in several colors.

    A three-layer cluster diamond necklace with matching ring by Qayten.

    18k gold with white and black diamond pavé with three center diamonds are used for Sara Weinstock’s Veena Shield pendant.

    A bracelet in topaz and white gold in a signature design by Selim Mouzannar.

    Anita Ko necklace using two rows of diamonds, each row with a different shape.

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    Natural fancy colored diamonds are among the most sought after gems in the world, with the very best and rarest regularly breaking worldwide auction records. Israeli-based Asteria Diamonds is one of a few companies that provide high-quality colored diamonds online to consumers. The brand is currently targeting the U.S. market with new offices in New York and Chicago.

    Asteria was founded by Bashari Diamonds (Israel) Ltd., a wholesale diamond manufacturing business founded in 1973.

    0.40-carat fancy intense orange yellow diamond, $1,890

    As technology in how diamonds are manufactured and distributed advanced in recent years, Bashari saw it was time to create a diamond brand for consumers using its wholesale inventory. Asteria Diamonds was born in 2008. The brand first specialized in white diamonds for the burgeoning luxury market in China, which it had already entered with its wholesale business.

    As online retail, marketing and social media continued changing and becoming more global, in 2012 Asteria launched its global eCommerce website (

    1.84-carat fancy yellow-green diamond surrounded by white and colored diamonds, $28,661

    Today Asteria specializes in fancy colored diamonds, but also sells white diamonds, colored gemstones and diamond jewelry. The company says it offers its entire inventory directly to consumers at wholesale prices. Even though it is an online retailer, the company says it can provide personalized service throughout the world.

    The website offers a full breadth of fancy colored diamonds, spanning all different sizes, cuts, qualities and colors. Prices reflect this diversity, ranging from as low as $400 to more than $150,000. The brand also offers statement diamonds not listed on the website.

    3.3-carat fancy light yellow diamond engagement ring

    Prices for a full collection of diamond jewels also vary widely based on the quality of the diamond and the design and can run more than $600,000. There were several pieces in which the price was only given upon request.

    The brand is certainly keen on pushing fancy colored diamonds for engagement rings, something that has had limited success in the past with U.S. consumers. The trend in colored gems for engagement has a long history among the rich and famous and Asteria is working hard to increase the popularity of this trend.

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