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A Celebration of Jewelry and the Business Behind the Beauty
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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

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

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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.

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

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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

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



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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.

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

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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.

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

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    A scene from the 2016 edition of Masterpiece London

    All of the top names from the past and present of the high jewelry world will be there, such as Fabergé, Van Cleef & Arpels, Verdura, Belperron, Wallace Chan and Hemmerle. Other familiar names for avid jewelry collectors will be present as well, including Gustave Baugrand, Andrew Grima and Raymond Yard. There will be jewels from all periods and names that will be new to some of us as well.

    The eighth edition of Masterpiece London opens to the public Thursday and will run till July 5. It’s an art fair first but the amount of quality jewels (old and new) on display is impressive. For the first time I will be attending the event although I will miss the today’s (Wednesday) preview, arguably the best time to go.

    What follows is a preview of some of the jewels that will on display:

    It appears that Van Cleef & Arpels will be bringing its Automate Fée Ondine to Masterpiece London, the bejeweled automaton that was the showstopper at the January SIHH 2017 luxury watch fair. The table-sized “jewel” consists of engraved and enameled silver strips, white, pink and yellow gold, diamonds, blue and colored sapphires, aquamarine, plique-à-jour enamel, silver, spessartite garnets, white opal, onyx, Mystery Set rubies and ebony veneer.

    A diamond and natural pearl bracelet by Boghossian.

    The "Bliss and Peace" necklace by Wallace Chan, which uses an imperial snuff bottle from the Daoguang period (1821-1850) of Qing dynasty.

    From London dealer, Hancocks, an Egyptian gold scarab and multi-gem bead necklace by Marcus & Co., circa 1905.

    Earrings crafted out of emeralds, silver and white gold, 2016, by Hemmerle.

    From Monaco jewelry dealer, Véronique Bamps, Van Cleef & Arpels “Ludo Hexagone” clip brooches and bracelet made of 18k gold and diamonds, circa 1935.

    From London dealer, Sandra Cronan, an emerald-shaped aquamarine gem on a clip by Raymond Yard with four tapered slivers of opal on two diagonally opposing corners with two rows of diamond running up each side, circa 1933.

    From the jointly owned jewelry brands, Verdura and Belperron, the Verdura Raja ring with a Ceylon sapphire center stone surrounded by turquoise and diamonds.

    From London dealer, S.J. Phillips, a 19th century pink topaz, diamond and emerald insect brooch, circa 1890.

    From London dealer, Wartski, an enamel and gem-set neo-Egyptian brooch by Gustave Baugrand.

    The Underwater Ring by London jeweler, Theo Fennell.

    From London jeweler, Chatila, an 8.18-carat pear shaped fancy purplish pink diamond on a ring flanked by two white diamonds.

    From London dealer, Didier, an 18k gold ring in the form of a self-portrait of the artist, Marisol Escobar, her hair tied in coils around her ears, and set with ruby eyes. Number 32 from an edition of 100, circa 1970.

    From London jewelry brand, Grima, yellow gold drop earrings set with golden diamonds and drop-shaped garnets by Jojo Grima, 2006.

    From London dealer, Symbolic & Chase, a cultured pearl and platinum ring by Jean Despres.

    From New York dealer, A La Vieille Russie, a miniature fish-form egg pendant by Fabergé, using wood and gem-set gold.

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

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    A petrified wood bracelet by designer Susan Oster of Feral Jewelry. Photo by Gretchen Friedrich

    By Gretchen Friedrich, JNN Social Media Manager

    My purpose for JCK and Couture 2017 was to seek out new designers and procure their stories. Breaking into the jewelry industry is challenging, as most established businesses consist of multiple generations and family members. New artisans often don’t have the family support and vendor relationships to aid in their success. They also tend to have a great deal of passion for their craft. 

    The two women featured in this post are both newcomers to the jewelry industry, but they also have a common thread, their design background. Marcia Budet and Susan Oster entered the world of jewelry through a creative transfer of sorts. Budet has a formal education in architecture and Oster was in interior design for 16 years prior to her shift to jewelry design. 

    A pair of earrings by Marcia Budet. Photo by Gretchen Friedrich

    Marcia Budet: Elegantly Bold

    Marcia Budet is a former JCK Rising Star award winner, and this year she debuted at Couture. Her “Elegantly Bold” style is evolving, with more challenging stone shapes and designs that reflect her architectural training. 

    In my interview with her, she explains the features of her new pieces, created specifically for Couture. 

    Susan Oster: Feral Jewelry

    Susan Oster revealed her Feral Jewelry collection in the design section of the JCK Luxury show. This was her first jewelry industry show. Oster said she was a successful interior designer but wanted to explore a different creative pursuit. 

    Aptly named, Feral Jewelry uses primal elements and recycled raw materials in each piece, including a 10,000 year-old piece of petrified wood as the centerpiece of a custom bracelet. 

    Oster discusses her transition into jewelry in my interview with her at the show.

    What’s Next?

    Both Budet and Oster answered the “what’s next?” question with a laugh. But, these designers are never lacking for inspiration, and a passion for the creation process. 

    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 entrance to the Grand Palais during the 2016 La Biennale Paris. Photo by Anthony DeMarco

    The big news for jewelry lovers wasn’t even announced at the Tuesday press breakfast hosted by a few of the new board members of the La Biennale Paris (formerly known as Biennale des Antiquaires), the annual event held at the Grand Palais in Paris in September. 

    In the world I cover the story is that the Place Vendôme jewelers—Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron and Chaumet—will return to La Biennale in 2018. These French brands and other jewelers (Wallace Chan and Bulgari among them) left the antiques fair last year when the new board reduced the size of the exhibition booths. The French brands were a centerpiece of the annual fair. Their popularity also led the antiques complain that they were getting too much of the spotlight. it is after all an antiques and art fair

    Mathias Ary Jan, president of the National des Antiquaires (SNA), which owns and operates the fair, said was important that the thoroughly French fair welcome these jewelry brands back into the fold. It seemed that the jewelers were also eager to return. 

    “They are a vital part of our French heritage,” he said following the event. “It was important to have them participate.” 

    Also representing the fair at the press breakfast were Eric Coatalem, SNA treasurer, and Christopher “Kip” Forbes, president of the Biennale Commission, which oversees the event. 

    The jewelry portion of La Biennale was reduced from 14 exhibitors in 2014 to four in 2016—Cindy Chao, de Grisogono, Boghossian and Nirav Modi. (There were 14 jewelers in 2014.) None were from France and only one, de Grisogono, showed previously at the fair a number of years ago. They will all return this year. 

    In addition, for the first time the fair will host Swiss watchmakers. The two chosen were F. P. Journe and DeWitt are known for producing a small number of high-end hand-crafted timepieces. This followed last year’s special presentation at the fair of an historical non-selling timepiece exhibit by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, an organization tasked with preserving the historical heritage of high watchmaking. 

    The 2017 La Biennale Paris will be open to the public September 11 – 17, with a private viewing September 10. To date, there are 92 confirmed exhibitors, a number they would like to see improve as there were 113 exhibitors last year. 

    A total of 29 exhibitors are from outside France. There are no exhibitors from the U.S., something that the SNA would like to change. In this regard one of Forbes’ major tasks will be to attract U.S. exhibitors and collectors to what is considered one of the world’s most important antiques fairs. On Monday, Forbes, vice chairman of the Forbes Publishing and avid art collector, with the two SNA representatives, hosted a reception for about 50 collectors and gallery owners. 

    “For the Biennale not to have any American exhibitors, is something this dynamic new president (Jan) will address,” Forbes said. Both Forbes and Jan spoke about the landmark Grand Palais as an attraction and as a symbol of the fair’s importance.

    “One of the challenges of the Grand Palais is everybody has to almost have to compete with one of the most staggeringly breathtaking buildings in Paris,” Forbes said. “So you have to raise the bar pretty high.” 

    The main news has been known for some time. This year marks the first time the fair will be held annually since its founding in 1962. The organization, for now at least, will not change the “Biennale” name. 

    This new group of leaders are very aggressive in making changes to the event so there will be more news coming. 

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

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    Tiffany & Co. said Thursday that it has named Alessandro Bogliolo, the former head of global apparel and accessories company, Diesel, as its next chief executive officer and newest board member. He will join the company on October 2.

    Bogliolo, 52, is a veteran luxury industry executive who for the past four years led Diesel's efforts to revitalize its brand and enhance the customer experience, according to a statement by Tiffany. He also worked for 16 at Bulgari SpA, including in the roles of chief operating officer and executive VP of Jewelry, Watches & Accessories. During his career, Bogliolo has worked in a range of countries, including China, Singapore, Italy, France, Spain and the United States.

     “Today's announcement concludes the board's thorough process to identify and recruit an accomplished leader to position the Company for sustainable growth in the years ahead,” Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and interim CEO, said in a statement. “Alessandro has a well-deserved reputation for creativity and execution, having previously led a number of international brands to success and improved performance. I also believe that his vision and team-oriented approach make him an ideal fit with Tiffany’s long-standing values. Tiffany is an iconic brand and is at an important time in its history. We look forward to Alessandro and the Tiffany team delivering a distinctive vision of luxury and style to our customers around the world, while also focusing on driving attractive returns for our shareholders.”

    “I am honored and excited by the opportunity to lead this remarkable company,” Bogliolo said. “Tiffany, with its legendary history, has always represented luxury, style, and an extraordinary standard of quality and excellence, and I look forward to working with the board and the rest of the Tiffany team to build on this foundation. It is my goal to continue to delight our customers with compelling product offerings, supported by best-in-class operations. I am committed to strengthening the company's position as one of the world's most important luxury brands and delivering value for all of our stakeholders.”

    The new appointment is the latest development in leadership changes that began February 5, with the resignation of its former CEO, Frederic Cumenal, on Super Bowl Sunday, the same day it launched Lady Gaga as the face of its new fashion jewelry collection, Tiffany HardWear, with its first ever Super Bowl commercial prior to her halftime performance.

    He was replaced in the interim by Michael J. Kowalski, the former longtime CEO of Tiffany’s and its current board chairman.

    Later in the month the luxury jewelry retailer announced that it has increased its board of directors from 10 to 13 members. The most familiar name within the jewelry trade is Francesco Trapani, the former CEO of the Italian jewelry house, Bulgari. The other new members were also associated with high profile companies: Roger Farah, co-CEO of the fashion brand, Tory Burch, and James Lillie, the former CEO of the former consumer products conglomerate, Jarden Corp.

    In the same announcement Kowalski said he plans to step down as board chairman.

    Bogliolo started his career at the global consulting firm Bain & Co., after graduating from UniversitaÌ Bocconi with a degree in business administration and later completed the International Management Program at HEC Paris. According to his Linkedin profile, he also served as COO of North America for Sephora and as VP of sales and marketing in Greater China for the Piaggio Group, an Italian company that produces scooters, mopeds and motorcycles under several brand names.

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

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    Patek Philippe. 18k white gold ref.5270G 

    Christie’s will host what it calls a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to purchase Patek Philippe vintage watches from an expertly curated collection of approximately 300 Patek timepieces. The private selling exhibition opened moments ago and will run till July 23 at its Rockefeller Center headquarters in New York.

    The watches are from the mid-19th century to the 20th century ranging in price from $5,000 to $5 million. It will include several models new to the market. They are from various sources around the world, with some purchased from Christie’s decades ago and others from the original owners or families.

    Patek Philippe. 18k rose gold ref.533R, manufactured in 1942 and sold in 1943

    The Christie’s selling exhibition coincides with the much publicized Patek Philippe “Art of Watches Grand Exhibition” that will take place at Cipriani 42nd Street on the same days. John Reardon, Christie’s international head of watches, said the timing is no mere coincidence.

    “With thousands of Patek Philippe collectors and enthusiasts converging on New York in July, it is the perfect time to celebrate all things Patek Philippe and offer collectors the chance to see and purchase exceptional museum quality watches,” he said. “This exhibition offers buyers the opportunity to own a piece of Patek Philippe’s history at all price points.”

    Patek Philippe. 18k rose gold ref.5020R, manufactured in 1995

    Reardon said his favorite part of the exhibition is being able to present 20th Century Patek watches in a way that shows the development of key complications, beginning at the reference 130 moving onward to the 530, 533, 591, 1579, 1463 and the split seconds 1436.

    For perpetual chronographs the exhibit includes four 1518s and then a range of 2499s with examples in each series, Reardon said. With calendars, the exhibit shows the development starting with two examples of early triple calendar 96s and moving on to the presentation of superlative examples of the 1526, 2497, 2438, 3448, and 3450.

    Patek Philippe. 18k gold ref. 1463J, manufactured in 1946, sold in 1947

    “The icing on the cake is the total production run of the minute repeaters highlighted by seven early minute repeating wristwatches and nearly the entire run of modern discontinued minute repeaters, many with unique variants,” he said.

    There will also be educational components to the exhibition with guided tours, lectures and watchmaking seminars with the goal of helping watch connoisseurs to be better collectors.

    Patek Philippe, Perpetual Calendar, ref. 2438 being sold on Christie's watches online. Estimate: $150,000 - $250,000

    The watches will be on public view at Christie’s Rockefeller Plaza galleries, alongside a display of 85 Patek Philippe pieces to be sold in a dedicated online auction July 13 - 27.

    To complement the pieces on sale, there will be more than 20 historically important and rare Patek Philippe watches on display, loaned from global private collections, including many rare models that the watch world has never seen before in public or in horological literature, the auction house said. These includes what are described as “unicorn watches,” such as a Patek Philippe two tone “Reverso” cased wristwatch, a 3448 in white gold case “Senza Luna” with a confirmed extract from Patek Philippe, and an exceptional collection of early Patek Philippe minute repeaters.

    James Ward Packard Patek Philippe ring watch

    Other items on display include James Ward Packard’s Patek Philippe Walking Stick and Patek Philippe ring watch on view for the first time publicly. The walking stick features a Patek Philippe watch embedded onto the silver knob with a movement that is engraved with Packard’s name. The ring also has a movement and case bearing James Ward Packard's name.

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    Photo by Dennis Leupold for Opus reps

    Actress Margot Robbie will partner with luxury watch brand, Richard Mille to produce a collection of women watches of which the proceeds will be donated to charity. 

    “The watch we are working on embodies Richard Mille’s vision of horology; it’s beautiful, unique and modern. I can’t wait for everyone to see it,” Robbie said.

    They will donate proceeds from the new products to Youngcare, a foundation committed to helping young Australians with high-care needs the opportunity to live with choice, independence and dignity.

    Robbie, 27, is known for both her beauty and her ability to excel at high profile roles. She is perhaps best known for her breakout role in Martin Scorsese’s 2013 hit, The Wolf of Wall Street, in which she stars as the female lead opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. Her performance in the film garnered praise from critics and audiences—most notably for her authentic Brooklyn accent from the Aussie native.

    The Wolf of Wall Street paved the way for other opportunities for Robbie. Roles included starring opposite Will Smith in Focus, a lead role in sci-fi thriller Z for Zachariah, starring as “Jane” in David Yates’ The Legend of Tarzan, as well as the iconic “Harley Quinn” in David Ayer’s Suicide Squad.

    Photo by Dennis Leupold for Opus reps

    This new partnership between Margot Robbie and Richard Mille “complements the very contemporary spirit of the collection in which Margot will bring her creative energy and her own interpretation of femininity as she participates in the design of several models,” the watch brand said in a statement.

    Women the watch brand has partnered with in the past, include actresses Michelle Yeoh and Natalie Portman.

    Robbie grew up on the Gold Coast of Australia and eventually moved to Melbourne where she began acting professionally at the age of 17. She appeared on Neighbors, Australia’s longest-running television serial, from 2008-2010. In 2011, Robbie moved to the United States to pursue her career and was cast in the television series, Pan Am.

    Robbie can be seen next in Simon Curtis’ Goodbye Christopher Robin. She recently wrapped production on Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya, which she stars in as Tonya Harding, and served as a producer under her production company, LuckyChap Entertainment. Robbie will soon begin production on Josie Rourke’s Mary Queen of Scots in which she will star as “Queen Elizabeth.”

    Richard Mille is known for producing tonneau-shaped timepieces with high complications that use high-tech materials and modern crafting techniques. In addition to celebrity endorsements, the company partners with athletes ranging from Formula 1 racers to tennis stars, creating watches designed to be used in their athletic pursuits. 

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    Georges KernPhoto by StephZibi -

    Georges Kern, a 17-year veteran of Compagnie Financière Richemont, has resigned after nearly rising to the top position in the Swiss luxury goods company. 

    “Richemont regrets to announce the resignation with immediate effect of Mr. Georges Kern,” the company said in a brief statement. Kern was head of Watchmaking, Marketing and Digital for Richemont, a newly-created position he held for fewer than four months, after an extremely successful 15-year leadership role with Richemont owned watch brand, IWC Schaffhausen. 

    At the same time Jérôme Lambert, who had an equally successful runs as the head of Richemont owned luxury brands Montblanc and Jaeger-LeCoultre, took the newly-created position of head of Operations responsible for central and regional services and all its brands other than jewelry and watchmaking. 

    The two executives were basically co-CEOs of Richemont reporting to its board of directors and Johann Rupert, chairman and founder of Richemont. The talk in the industry was that one of them would be tapped to fill the top spot. Both were already responsible for activities within their category for the 16 watch, jewelry and fashion brands the Geneva-based company owns. They include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Baume & Mercier. 

    In addition, Richemont holds a 49% equity-accounted interest in the YOOX Net-A-Porter Group, a publicly traded eCommerce company.

    “Georges has been offered an interesting opportunity to become an entrepreneur,” Rupert said in the Richemont statement. “He has had a very successful career at IWC Schaffhausen and we wish him well.”

    According to reports, the entrepreneurial opportunity is a stake in rival watchmaker Breitling. The company was purchased by private equity firm, CVC Capital Partners, headquartered in Luxembourg. 

    The Richemont statement notes that Kern has stepped down from Richemont’s senior executive committee and group management committee and will no longer be standing for election to the company’s board of directors at the forthcoming annual general meeting of shareholders.

    Richemont’s watchmaking, marketing and digital activities will report to its senior executive committee. 

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    Signet Jewelers new CEO, Virginia “Gina” C. Drosos

    Signet Jewelers Ltd., the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry, has named Virginia “Gina” C. Drosos as its new CEO, effective August 1. She will replace Mark Light, who served as CEO since October 2014. 

    Light, who has been an executive at Signet for more than 35 years, is retiring due to “health reasons,” according to a company statement. 

    Light has been struggling with allegations that stem from a class-action arbitration case dating back to 2008, alleging years of systemic, mass sexual harassment; and gender discrimination in pay and promotion. The case, which has now grown to 69,000 employees with these allegations dating back to the 1990s, was made public in February in a long, detailed Washington Post story that included interviews with some of the victims. 

    Light was identified in the story, which reads in part: “Multiple witnesses told attorneys that they saw Light ‘being entertained’ as he watched and joined nude and partially undressed female employees in a swimming pool, according to the 2013 memorandum.”

    The company denied the allegations at the time calling the Post story and subsequent press stories that followed, “distorted and inaccurate.” It reads in part: “(The) arbitration claim was brought against Sterling in 2008 that alleged gender discrimination in pay and promotion. None of the 69,000 class members have brought legal claims in this arbitration for sexual harassment or sexual impropriety. Since its filing, it has never included legal claims of sexual harassment or hostile work environment discrimination.”

    At the time Light was head of Signet’s largest U.S. division, Sterling Jewelers, which includes the jewelry chain stores, Kay, Jared The Galleria of Jewelry and regional brands. This division currently makes up approximately 58 percent of Signet’s total sales.

    “Given the company’s positive direction and my need to address some health issues, the board and I agreed that it is a good time for a transition,” Light said in a statement.

    Drosos, a former beauty and consumer goods executive, has served as an independent director of the company’s board since 2012. She has nearly 30 years of executive leadership experience and previously served as president & CEO of Assurex Health and as a group president of Global Beauty Care at The Procter & Gamble Company. 

    “She is a visionary and transformational leader with a proven track record of growing and scaling global businesses through winning strategies and innovation,” Stitzer said. “Gina’s experience brings a unique combination of demonstrated brand building, given her strong background in beauty, along with the creativity, flexibility and boldness of an entrepreneurial mindset. She also possesses a strong financial background, having managed multibillion dollar P&Ls through phases of high growth, while delivering cost reductions and operational efficiencies. As a member of the board since 2012, she is deeply familiar with Signet’s strategic vision.”

    Drosos joined Signet’s Board of Directors in 2012, serving on the Compensation and Nomination and Corporate Governance committees. She is a member of the Board’s Customer Experience sub-committee focused on “OmniChannel” strategy and winning in fashion jewelry, as well as the board’s “Respect in the Workforce” committee focused on programs and policies to support the advancement and development of employees. 

    Signet operates approximately 3,600 stores in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry, H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples and Piercing Pagoda. 

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    Platinum necklace set with a 19-carat cushion Sri Lanka sapphire, 17 South-sea pearls, 82 emerald beads, nine sapphires beads, 40 fancy diamonds and diamond pavé

    There are few countries in the world whose people know how to celebrate life like Italy.

    The Italian luxury brand, Bulgari, known nearly as much for presenting a lavish lifestyle as for its luxurious jewels, has put together a collection of more than 100 colorful jewels and watches that represents the diversity of Italian celebrations.

    Lucia Silvestri, Bulgari Jewelry Creation & Gem Buying director, said the new collection named “Festa” (Italian for party) is inspired by the celebrations held throughout the country. It includes historical and modern-day festivals as well as children and adult celebrations. Some of the jewels are linked to women of Italian royalty known for their outrageous lives, loves and festas.

    This horse head brooch is made with 18k white gold with 26 rubies, 24 trapezoidal step diamonds and diamond pavé

    “The main inspiration of the Festa collection is happiness. Joy, and sharing that joy with others in a public or private celebration is very much part of the Italian art de vivre,” Silvestri said. “This is something you can find in Rome, in Venice, in Tuscany, in Puglia, everywhere in Italy. The Festa runs deep in our way of life. The theme is closely linked to Bulgari, as one of the purposes of our jewels is to give joy and happiness to the women who wear them.”

    This gift wrapped necklace is made of 18k pink gold with yellow green chalcedony, 38 diamonds and diamond pavè

    Two pieces in the collection, the Palio necklace and bracelet, refer to the Tuscan city of Siena and its legendary horse race: the Palio, which dates back to the Middle Ages. The race normally takes place twice a year in July and August. The colors of Siena’s 17 contrade (districts), whose riders participate in the race, are included in the two jewels. Silvestri said Bulgari worked for months in close collaboration with city authorities to get the 17 colors of the contrade right. Two necklaces and two pairs of earrings are inspired by two of the 17 contrade: la Pantera and la Lupa. Horses used in the races are present in the form of in diamond, ruby and onyx brooches.

    This sweet ice cream treat is a brooch made with 18k pink gold with three buff-top rubies and diamond pavé

    The Tarantella—a rapid whirling dance celebration in southern Italian regions of Calabria, Puglia and Sicily—is often performed at weddings and private celebrations. However, there’s an annual festival where people can dance until dawn. A necklace in the form of spiders’ nests; and two sautoirs, a bracelet and a pair of earrings are inspired by the popular folk dance.

    Platinum necklace set with a 26-carat round cabochon Colombia emerald, 47 round brilliant cut diamonds, 90 buff top Emeralds, 36 baguette cut diamonds and diamond pavé

    Some of the jewels in the collection are designed to bring back childhood memories with the use of gold, enamel, diamonds, tourmalines, turquoises, coral and jade. Bulgari calls them “happy jewels,” which range from sweet desserts to party favors. They include rings that depict pistachio, lemon and raspberry, chocolate and cream cakes. Precious balloon necklaces and earrings made of gold, diamonds and colored gems are also part of the collection.

    This platinum necklace is mounted with a 53-carat round Colombia emerald, eight pear shaped diamonds, eight emeralds, 31 pear-shaped diamonds and round diamond pavè

    “We have explored new alliances of stones and colors,” Silvestri said. “In some jewels, the green of emeralds is mixed with the blue of sapphires and the pink of spinels.”

    Rome, the home of Bulgari, gets special recognition with a number of pieces, including the Monete Secret-Watch pendant is a statement piece. A silver tetradrachm (an Ancient Greek silver coin) depicting the profile of Alexander the Great, the King of Macedonia and Conqueror of the Persian Empire, decorates the front cover of the octagonal pendant—made of pink gold, diamonds and rubies— opens to reveal a skeletonized dial, exposing the in-house tourbillon caliber BVL 208.

    18k pink gold necklace set with five pink rubellite tourmalines, four purple double rose amethysts, 83 bead sapphires (31,84 ct) and diamond pavé

    Others pieces that reflect the “Eternal City” are a ruby ring that depicts the Piazza Navona; and a 12.10-carat ruby set in the pendant of a necklace surrounded by diamonds. The color represents the official coat of arms of the city.

    Platinum ring centered with a 15-carat emerald-cut diamond (D FL) and diamond pavé

    More than 30 jewels are dedicated to three Italian princesses: Maria Mancini, Principessa Colonna (1639-1715), Paolina Bonaparte, Principessa Borghese (1780-1825), and Margherita di Savoia, Regina d’Italia (1851-1926). Among the highlights are a sautoir set with a 26.10-carat cabochon emerald, a 41.98-carat bead emerald and 104 South Seas Akoya pearls; a ring and necklace set with a cabochon emerald; and a secret bangle-watch.

    Bulgari's new collection brings la dolce vita to high jewelry.

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    The "Music on my Mind" necklace by Wallace Chan. All photos by Anthony DeMarco

    My first trip to the Masterpiece London art fair, held June 28 – July 5, was short but nevertheless fruitful. There were 16 firms that presented jewelry at the annual art fair. They was a lot of diversity among contemporary and modern jewelry designers and branded firms that sell both period and modern pieces, and dealers of period and antique jewels. There were a number of exceptional pieces and quite a bit of variety.

    Wallace Chan’s new pieces were whimsical and wild and wonderful. His standout piece was the colorful “Music on my Mind,” necklace, a titanium and gemstone masterpiece that appears like an extended bejeweled collar that floats and bounces on the neck when worn. The focal point of the necklace are seven, six-sided pendants made of lapis lazuli, crystal and a Burma ruby center stone. The piece was commissioned by a client who owned the Burmese rubies (more than 56 carats). Chan said he held onto the gems for many years until he decided on an appropriate design. The necklace comes with matching earrings and ring.

    There were other exceptional pieces from Chan, including a colorful, gem-encrusted brooch (pictured above and below) that shimmered and an example of his famous “Wallace Cut,” an unconventional carving technique that creates a multi-layered, 3D relief illustration in transparent materials.

    Chan began his artistic career as a sculptor and in recent years has returned to this art form, which he says he will continue. In his exhibition space was a large piece titled “A Dream of a Generation.” The focal point is a face of a person with suspended arms folded, with the right arm gripping the top of the left arm. Above the head is a bejeweled butterfly and spotlight behind, captures the shadow of the insect on the wall. The eyes on the face are just slightly open. Chan explained that he is in a semi-state of consciousness, being both in a dreamlike world while alert enough to be in the moment. He said the man’s unconscious self is looking inward at his internal struggles, while managing that struggle with the challenges of the world around him.

    "A Dream of a Generation" sculpture by Wallace Chan

    Tsavorite earrings and a tsavorite and copper ring by Hemmerle

    Hemmerle presented its share of impressive artistic creations with new unique pieces that focus on combining precious gems with materials normally not associated with jewelry making. Its work with fashioning aluminum in ways never thought possible is well known. This year the Munich-based firm presented a few pieces that use copper and bronze. Among them is a ring with the metal darkened in grayish tones with a faceted tsavorite center stone. It could easily be paired with tsavorite and silver earrings that featured a rough textured cut that enhanced the sparkle. It’s a technique that is often used by the firm.

    Various Grima rings cleverly displayed

    The London firm Grima—founded by Andrew Grima, known for his modernist designs of the 1960s, and since his death in 2007, continued by his wife, Jojo and daughter, Francesca—presented a full complement of creative works, all cleverly displayed. Among the pieces that stood out was a large green tourmaline crystal pendant necklace set in white gold and diamonds, originally designed by Andrew, and a multicolored necklace made with amethysts, diamonds, tourmalines, citrines and aquamarines set in yellow gold, by Jojo.

    Well crafted bejeweled crustaceans by Theo Fennell

    One of the most outrageous and popular London jewelry designers, Theo Fennell, presented his whimsical pieces. The luxury jeweler was recently pulled out of bankruptcy protection by a “turnaround firm.” There are a lot of people in London’s jewelry industry breathing a sigh of relief that his jewels and personality will continue to be a fixture in the city. The pieces on view ranged from his iconic skulls to highly detailed sea crustaceans to more traditional opal jewels.

    An aquamarine heart brooch wrapped with braided strands of gold by Verdura

    The brands, Verdura and Belperron, were also on hand presenting collectable pieces and recently created jewels based on the drawings of the two iconic designers. Verdura was the most prevalent with highlights that included a large chunky peridot necklace and an aquamarine heart brooch, wrapped with braided strands of gold.

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    Gangsu Gangtai Holding has completed its acquisition of Italian high jewelry house Buccellati. 

    The Chinese conglomerate has acquired an 85% stake in the luxury jeweler, internationally known for its time-honored hand-crafted techniques developed in Italy. The transaction price was based on an equity value of €230 million ($271 million) for 100% of the company.

    Gangtai says it plans to both sustain its presence in existing markets—namely Italy, Europe and North America—and to develop in the new markets—such as China, Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe—with a five-year investment of €200 million ($236 million) that will fund 88 new Buccellati boutiques.

    The deal was first announced in December 2016 and the closing was completed Tuesday at a press conference in Milan. In attendance was Xu Jiangang, founder and chairman of Gangatai Group, Andrea Buccellati, who will maintain his position as creative director, and Gianluca Brozzetti, who will continue as honorary chairman and CEO.

    Buccellati, founded in Milan in 1919, is one of the most prestigious jewelers in Italy. It was family owned until 2013 when Clessidra, an Italian investment holding company, acquired a 67 percent stake of the company, with the remaining 33 percent retained by the founding family. 

    With the new agreement Clessidra and the Buccellati family will retain the remaining 15 percent stake in the company. In addition, all jewelry making will remain at Buccellati’s headquarters. 

    “Our will is to maintain Buccellati’s identity while enhancing all of the elements which make it one of the best known brands worldwide in the fine jewelry sector, including its craftsmanship, design and originality, which are the heritage of Italian jewelry,” Xu Jiangang said. 

    “It is the will of the new shareholder,” Andrea Buccellati added, “to preserve the company’s uniqueness, especially its excellence, craftsmanship and quality. In this respect, Gangtai Group’s recommendation to keep the production in Italy represents a solid commitment.”

    Gangtai Group is a privately held conglomerate in the consumer, culture, finance and health industries with a capitalization of approximately $3.5 billion and revenues of more than 1.4 billion. Its subsidiary, Gangsu Gangtai Holding (Group) Co. Ltd, is one of largest gold jewelry distributers and a leading internet jewelry retailer in China with more than 1.200 employees, and is focused on growing its presence in international luxury. 

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    Russian diamond mining company, Alrosa, said Wednesday that it wants to revive Russia's history as a skilled center for crafting diamond, gems and jewels.

    To back those words the state-owned company unveiled “Dynasty”—a 51.38-carat traditional round brilliant-cut diamond, which it says is “the purest of all large diamonds manufactured throughout the Russian jewelry history.”

    The Dynasty is part of a collection of five diamonds with the same name produced at Alrosa's cutting and polishing facilities. The company plans to sell the collection at an online auction scheduled for November 2017. The collection was unveiled at a press conference held Wednesday in Moscow.

    All of the diamonds came from the same source—a 179-carat rough diamond named “Romanovs,” recovered in 2015 from Nyurbinskaya kimberlite pipe in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in northeast Russia.

    The 179-carat Romanovs rough diamond that produced the Dynasty collection

    The names Dynasty for the collection and Romanovs for the rough that created the collection were chosen because they are connected with the company’s intention to “revive the traditions and memory of renowned Russian jewelers famous for their craftsmanship and filigree.”

    Specifically it honors Peter I, the Russian Tsar of the House of Romanov, who is credited with founding the country’s first cutting and polishing factory early in the 18th Century and the Romanov dynasty known for its appreciation of diamonds and jewels.

    In addition to its size, the 57-facet Dynasty has been graded Triple Excellent (excellent in polish, symmetry and cut), D color (colorless) and VVS1(very, very slightly included), a clarity grading just below “flawless” and “internally flawless” meaning a tiny speck is visible at 10x magnification through the pavilion of the diamond.

    Sergey Ivanov, Alrosa president, said a diamond of this size and with these characteristics has never been produced in Russia and it has the potential to be most expensive diamond ever sold in the country’s history. Less than 1% of diamonds have these characteristics.

    The complete collection of five diamonds totaling 76.22 carats is also called Dynasty. They were created from a

    Ivanov, said it took Alrosa technicians and craftsmen a year-and-a-half to create the collection.

    “Such characteristics of polished diamonds obtained from one rough diamond are exceptional. To be sure, it is a masterpiece of Russian polishers,” Ivanov said.

    The other diamonds in the Dynasty collection are as follows:

    * The “Sheremetevs,” a 16.67-carat round brilliant-cut diamond, the second largest diamond in the collection;

    * The “Orlovs,” a 5.05-carat oval diamond;

    * The “Vorontsovs,” a 1.73-carat pear-cut diamond; and

    * The “Yusupovs,” a 1.39-carat diamond.

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    Russian fashion designer, Ulyana Sergeenko, wearing The Imperial Necklace

    Faidee, the world’s largest Burmese ruby company, unveiled its latest statement creation, “The Imperial Necklace,” made with 50 “pigeon blood” natural Burmese rubies at a fashion show held in Monaco. Eight of the gems weigh more than 5 carats each. Situated within the rubies are 100 carats of D-color (colorless) diamonds with flawless and internally flawless clarity grades.

    Pigeon blood is the most valuable shade of red for a ruby. The rubies used for the necklace are part of the family owned jeweler’s personal collection spanning four generations.

    Ravi Lunia, director of Faidee, with Russian fashion designer, Ulyana Sergeenko, wearing The Imperial Necklace

    “It is a piece of jewelry that no one could have created before, due to the scarcity of Burmese rubies with this highly desired natural ‘pigeon blood’ color,” said Ravi Lunia, director of Faidee. “Even those of us within Faidee never imagined that something like this would one day come to life.”

    A few of the more than 100 natural Burmese ruby jewels on display until August 21 at Faidee's exhibition in the Hermitage Hotel

    The necklace is the signature piece of the inaugural Burmese Ruby Exhibition in Monaco being held now till August 21 at the Hermitage Hotel in Monaco (where else). It boasts more than 100 jewels by Faidee made with natural Burmese rubies. Lunia says it is the largest gathering of jewels made with Burmese rubies in one place. It’s a claim that’s difficult to argue with. The exhibition is being presented by the Stardust Monte Carlo, a long-time Monaco-based luxury jeweler.

    A model adorned in Faidee natural Burmese ruby jewels

    A special event as part of the exhibition was held August 3 that combined high jewelry with high couture. A fashion runway show on the terrace of the Hermitage Hotel for 250 invited guests featured Russian fashion designer, Ulyana Sergeenko’s Couture and Demi Couture line, accessorized and completed by Faidee Burmese jewels.

    The high jewelry, high couture fashion show by Faidee and Russian fashion designer, Ulyana Sergeenko

    Faidee revealed The Imperial Necklace as the grand finale of the event with Sergeenko being the first to try it on. Jewelry News Network was the first to receive the top photo of Sergeenko wearing the necklace.

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    Antonio Seward 

    Luxury watch brand, Audemars Piguet, has named Antonio Seward as its new North America CEO, which became effective August 1. He replaced Xavier Nolot who held the position for four years. 

    Seward joined Audemars Piguet in 2008 as managing director for Latin America and in 2010, moved to Madrid as CEO of Audemars Piguet, Spain and Portugal. From 2011 to 2013, he also oversaw the French market.  Most recently, Seward served as general manager, Audemars Piguet Southeast Asia. 

    He began his career in the watch industry as a brand manager for a regional distributor for several luxury watch brands, including Audemars Piguet, in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

    Born in London to Argentinean parents, a diplomat father and an artist mother, Seward holds a degree in History from Kings College, London, and a Masters in Political Science from the Institute of Political Studies Paris (Sciences Po).  His diverse multicultural background was further developed from living in international cities including Buenos Aires, Paris, Miami and Singapore. 

    “My focus for the Americas will be to connect directly with our clients and implement innovative ideas in both our retail experience and distribution,” Seward said in a statement. 

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    The entrance of the new Garrard boutique in Shanghai

    The House of Garrard has set up a shop in Shanghai to introduced Chinese citizens and tourists to the heritage of the world’s longest serving fine jeweler, while browsing the collections that include bridal jewelry, tiaras and rare gems. 

    The boutique is located in the Bund district in the longest baroque style building in China built in 1911, which also happens to be the same year that Garrard opened its flagship store in London. 

    To celebrate the launch of the boutique, the British jeweler has drawn inspiration from its heritage and created a selection of one-of-a-kind pieces exclusive to Shanghai. The Emerald Ivy suite is a combination of emeralds and brilliant diamonds consisting of earrings, bracelet and a transformable necklace that can be worn in three different ways. In addition, there’s the Eternal Fringe suite, a necklace and earring combination containing more than 40 carats of diamonds, and the Azalea Tiara, an all-diamond headpiece that reflects the romantic royal heritage of Garrard.

    The Emerald Ivy transformable necklace

    Other lines housed in the new boutique include Garrard’s iconic Wings collection and the new Enchanted Palace collection, a whimsical and modern take on the Great Exhibition of 1851, held in London. Garrard has a strong reputation for designing bespoke pieces and this will continue in Shanghai with clients being able to work with the London design team to create one-offs.

    “We are incredibly proud and excited to be bringing The House of Garrard directly to the Chinese market with the opening of our Shanghai boutique,” said Joanne Milner, CEO of The House of Garrard. “We are confident that our iconic collections and bespoke designs, coupled with our long standing British heritage will find a happy home in one of the most dynamic and exciting cities in the world.”

    A rendering of the Azalea Tiara 

    The House of Garrard is known for working closely with the British Royal Family throughout the jeweler’s storied history. First commissioned in 1736 by Fredrick, Prince of Wales, and appointed crown jewelers by Queen Victoria in 1943, Garrard has served each subsequent monarch since. The House has created iconic tiaras which are still worn at state occasions as well as the sapphire cluster engagement ring worn by Princess Diana and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. 

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    Mikola Kukharuk of Nomad’s with a pair of neon blue tourmalines (53.56 ctw.)

    The AGTA Spectrum and Cutting Edge Awards is already the most important and prestigious colored gemstone competition in the world. According to Douglas K. Hucker, CEO of the American Gem Trade Association, which sponsors the annual event, this year’s group of approximately 500 entries shows that the competition just gets better.

    “It is evident that the entrants take this competition very seriously,” Hucker said.

    The Spectrum Awards, which honors the best in jewelry design using colored gemstones, usually gets the lion’s share of the publicity. However, this year it is the Cutting Edge Awards that stood out with it’s the rare gemstones, and the craft and artistry of the lapidaries. For example, the Best of Show was a pair of neon blue tourmalines and two pieces by gem artist, Naomi Sarna, which won overall awards. In the Objects of Art category there were three exceptional finalists with the winner creating a working kaleidoscope using gems to create the patterns inside.

    Below are the best gems and jewels from a very competitive field.

    Overall winners of Spectrum and Cutting Edge Awards

    Best of Show (top photo)
    Mikola Kukharuk of Nomad’s with a pair of neon blue tourmalines (53.56 ctw.).

    Best Use of Color

    Naomi Sarna of Naomi Sarna Designs with 18k and 24k yellow and 18k white gold maple leaf earrings featuring multicolored diamonds, sapphires and garnets.

    Best Use of Pearls

    Naomi Sarna of Naomi Sarna Designs with freshwater cultured pearls strung with sunstone beads with an 18k yellow gold and black rhodium clasp set with white, pink and green diamonds.

    Best Use of Platinum and Color

    Eddie Sakamoto of Somewhere in the Rainbow with platinum “Dancing Waves” neck collar featuring a 57-carat aquamarine accented with diamonds (8.0 ctw.).

    Fashion Forward

    Ardeshir Dabestani of Asha Gallery, Ltd. with 18k white and yellow gold “Solar Flare” back-drop necklace featuring a 436-carat citrine accented with aquamarines (44.50 ctw.), yellow beryls (87.30 ctw.) and diamonds (23.54ctw.).

    AGTA Cutting Edge Award Winners

    All Other Faceted

    First Place: Brett Kosnar of Beija Flor Wholesale with a 24.26-carat round, Portuguese-cut rhodochrosite.

    Second Place: Ruben Bindra of B & B Fine Gems with a 6.49-carat square East African natural tsavorite garnet.

    Third Place: Hemant Phophaliya of A G Color, Inc. with a 22.15-carat fancy-shaped tanzanite, “Superman.”


    First Place: Meg Berry of Pala International with a 625-carat chyrsocolla with druzy quartz carving, titled “Metamorphosis.”

    Second Place: Dalan Hargrave of GemStarz Jewelry with a freestyle carved sunstone chameleon named “Henry.”

    Third Place: John Dyer of John Dyer & Co. with a 115.71-carat morganite carving, titled “Joyful Morganite.”

    Classic Gemstone

    First Place: David Nassi of 100% Natural, Ltd. with a 15.30-carat unheated Ceylon pink sapphire.

    Second Place: Allen Kleiman of A. Kleiman & Co. with a 38.48-carat unheated oval Madagascan blue sapphire.

    Third Place: Joseph Ambalu of Amba Gem Corp. with a 5.80-carat untreated Colombian step-cut emerald.

    Innovative Faceting

    First Place: Christopher Wolfsbergwith a 32.75-carat specialty-cut quartz with chrysoprase and opal.

    Second Place: John Dyer of John Dyer & Co. with a 21.58-carat red spinel hexagon.

    Third Place: John Dyer of John Dyer & Co. with a 63.86-carat specialty-cut tourmaline.

    Objects of Art

    A view inside the “Colors of Maine” kaleidoscope by Derek Katzenbach of Katzenbach Designs with the images made of multicolored Maine tourmalines and Maine quartz lenses

    First Place: Derek Katzenbach of Katzenbach Designs with “Colors of Maine” kaleidoscope featuring multicolored Maine tourmalines (71.74 ctw.) and Maine quartz lenses (24.92 ctw.) set in 18k yellow and white gold.

    Second Place: Susan Helmich of “Somewhere in the Rainbow” with a “Straight on to Neverland” pendulum and brooch featuring a 14.01-carat rubellite tourmaline, an 8.94-carat rubellite tourmaline, a 4.08-carat indicolite tourmaline, a 13.8mm golden cultured pearl and diamonds (5.24 ctw.) on a carved frosted quartz base.

    Third Place: Liam Powers of Liam Powers Jewelry, LLC with a sterling silver and multi-karat gold chalice featuring diamonds, alexandrites, sapphires, moldavites and phenakites.

    Pairs & Suites

    First Place and Best of Show (top photo): Mikola Kukharuk of Nomad’s with a pair of neon blue tourmalines (53.56 ctw.).

    Second Place: Hemant Phophaliya, A G Color, Inc. with a pair of fancy pear-shaped tanzanites (49.38 ctw.).

    Third Place:  Robyn Dufty, DuftyWeis Opals, Inc. with a pair of black opals (17.61 ctw.), titled “Tears of the Gods.”

    Phenomenal (gemstones with special optical properties)

    First Place: Joel Price with a 100.66-carat harlequin pattern black opal.

    Second Place: Joseph Ambalu of Amba Gem Corp. with a 7.31-carat emerald-cut Brazilian alexandrite.

    Third Place: Robert Shapiro with a 7.60-carat boulder opal.

    AGTA Spectrum Award Winners

    Bridal Wear

    First Place: Ricardo Basta of E. Eichberg, Inc. with an 18k white gold and rhodium “Double the Love” ring featuring a 12.62-carat heart-shaped blue zircon accented with a 0.75-carat heart-shaped diamond and diamond pave.

    Second Place: Lindsay Jane of Lindsay Jane Designs with platinum “Butterfly” earrings featuring detachable drops of boulder oopal (39.92 ctw.) accented with zoisites (2.10 ctw.), diamonds (1.02 ctw.) and Paraiba tourmalines (0.10 ctw.).

    Third Place: Judy Evans of Oliver & Espig Gallery of Fine Arts with a platinum and 18k yellow gold ring featuring a 15.3mm South Sea golden cultured pearl accented with white diamonds (1.17 ctw.) and yellow diamonds (1.12 ctw.).

    Business/Day Wear

    First Place: Adam Neeley of Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry with an 18k rose and 14k rose and white gold “Cosmos” pendant featuring a 24.06-carat specialty-cut morganite accented with diamonds (3.14 ctw.).

    Second Place: Llyn Strong, llyn strong fine art jewelry  with a lapis lazuli necklace (155.0 ctw.) featuring an 18k yellow gold clasp and a 30.90 ct. boulder opal accented with black diamonds, tsavorite garnets, rubies and sapphires.

    Third Place: Mimi Favre of Mimi Favre Studio with platinum “Waterdrop” earrings featuring detachable Tanzanite drops (25.50ctw.) on Sapphire studs (1.75 ctw.) with white Sapphires (0.58 ctw.).


    First Place: Allen Kleiman of A. Kleiman & Co. with platinum and 18k pink gold earrings featuring unheated oval pink sapphires (36.65 ctw.) accented with diamonds (5.09 ctw.).

    Second Place: Niveet Nagpal of Omi Prive  with a platinum and black rhodium ring featuring a 20.03-carat cushion-cut blue sapphire accented with blue sapphires, baguette diamonds and round diamonds.

    Third Place: Oscar Heyman platinum ring featuring a 32.30-carat Cat’s-Eye Chrysoberyl.

    Evening Wear

    First Place and Best Use of Platinum and Color (pictured above): Eddie Sakamoto of Somewhere in the Rainbow with the platinum “Dancing Waves” neck collar featuring a 57-carat aquamarine accented with diamonds (8.0 ctw.).

    Second Place and Best Use of Color (pictured above): Naomi Sarna of Naomi Sarna Designs with 18k and 24k yellow and 18k white gold maple leaf earrings featuring multicolored diamonds, sapphires and garnets.

    Third Place: Caroline Chartouni of Caroline C with a platinum ring featuring an 8.09-carat oval pink sapphire accented with round and pear pink sapphires (9.84 ctw.) and diamonds (8.67 ctw.).

    Men's Wear

    First Place: Ricardo Basta, E. Eichberg, Inc. an 18k yellow gold with black rhodium “Estrella” ring featuring a 7.50-carat starburst trapiche sapphire accented with black diamonds and yellow Sapphire melee.

    Second Place: Peter Schmid, French Designer Jeweler with an 18k rose gold and platinum ring featuring a 15.74-carat garnet accented with a pink diamonds, green diamonds and white diamonds.

    Third Place: Dawn Muscio of D. Muscio Designs with an 18k yellow gold and stainless steel ring featuring a 4.39-carat  emerald-cut green tourmaline accented with amethysts and diamonds. 

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    Birks Yorkdale store in North York, Ontario, Canada

    In a multi-tiered deal Canadian jeweler, Birks Group, has agreed to sell its U.S.-based subsidiary, Mayors Jewelers, to British holding company, Aurum, in a transaction valued at $104.6 million.

    As part of the transaction Birks entered into a five-year distribution agreement with Aurum to sell Birks fine jewelry in the U.K. through Aurum-owned retailers, Mappin & Webb, Goldsmiths, and on its e-commerce sites. In addition, the Birks collections will continue to be sold in the United States through Mayors’ stores.

    “The agreement is an important achievement in the company’s strategy to develop the Birks brand into a global luxury brand,” Birks said in a statement.

    The transaction, subject to specified closing conditions and purchase price adjustments, is expected to close in the fall of 2017.

    Birks is a Montreal-based designer and manufacturer of jewelry that it retails (along with timepieces and gifts) through approximately 30 luxury jewelry stores in Canada under the Birks and Brinkhaus brands, and through a wholesale network. It also owns the U.S. luxury jewelry retail chain, Mayors Jewelers, which has approximately 17 stores in Florida and Georgia.

    Aurum Holdings is the largest prestige luxury jewelers and timepieces retailer in the U.K. with approximately 140 stores and online retail sites. Its portfolio includes Watches of Switzerland, Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb, Watchshop, The Watch Hut and The Watch Lab.

    Birks in a statement said proceeds from the transaction will be used by to continue its “strategic growth initiatives,” specifically to invest in its Canadian stores and new store concepts, as well as in its whole activities and e-commerce, as part of the “company’s omni-channel plan.” Transaction proceeds will also be used to pay down outstanding debt under the company’s senior secured credit facilities that include term debt and working capital debt associated with Mayors.

    “This transaction is a significant step in our efforts to strengthen our balance sheet to better position the company for growth as well as long-term shareholder value,” Jean-Christophe Bédos, president and CEO of Birks Group, said in a statement. “We believe that monetizing the value of Mayors gives us the ability to execute our strategic vision of investing in the Birks brand together with the retailing of internationally renowned jewelry and timepiece brands in Canada, thus transforming Birks into a global, omni-channel business.”

    He added, “This transaction with Aurum also opens the doors to the U.K. market for our jewelry collections and we are extremely proud to join such a prestigious network as Aurum’s under the Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths banners.”

    Brian Duffy, president of Aurum, said in a statement the purchase of Mayors works within the British company’s plan “to be an important part of the Swiss watch market in the USA.” The company recently announced that it will open a flagship Watches of Switzerland store in the new Hudson Yards development in New York.

    “We have admired Mayors for some time and see a great deal of similarities with how we operate our business in the U.K. Mayors,” he said.

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    A 3.23-carat natural fancy blue diamond is one of the top attractions of Heritage Auctions Beverly Hills Fine Jewelry sale on September 25. 

    The gem with an SI2 clarity grade is set on a platinum ring flanked by two round white diamonds and has a pre-sale estimate of $900,000 to $1.2 million. 

    The fancy blue diamond is one of a trio of gems being featured at the September 25 auction. The others are: 

    * A 5.04-carat cushion-shaped fancy intense purplish-pink diamond mounted on a platinum ring and flanked by bullet-shaped diamonds. Its estimate is $100 - $150,000.

    * A 10.45-carat oval modified brilliant-cut fancy yellow diamond measuring mounted on 18k gold, flanked by triangle-shaped diamonds weighing a total of approximately 1.00 carat. Its estimate is $40,000 to $70,000. 

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    Peter Smith, CEO of Vibhor, will give the keynote address

    The Portland Jewelry Symposium will celebrate its 10th Anniversary with the theme “Future Think: Innovate, Create, & Thrive.” 

    The annual event, being held on October 1st and 2nd in Portland, Ore., will kick off with a Sunday night keynote dinner and address by jewelry industry veteran, Peter Smith, CEO of Vibhor and a columnist for National Jeweler, The Jewelry Book, and the World Diamond Magazine. He will share thoughts from his acclaimed 2016 article in National Jeweler, “What Will Become of Retail Jewelry Stores?”

    “Given the rapid evolution we are experiencing in both retail business models and manufacturing technologies, it is very timely for the Symposium to take a deep dive into the innovative business models of tomorrow” says PJS Founder, Teresa Frye, owner of TechForm, which specializes in high-temperature platinum casting. “Beginning with our keynote Aadress and continuing across all presentations and bench demonstrations, we endeavor to create a sense of the visionary at this year’s event.”

    Rounding out the "Future Think" program will be talks by digital manufacturing expert, Kevin Abernathy of BisVentures; Peggy Jo Donahue will moderate a tech-savvy panel featuring custom jewelers Calla Gold, Wendy Brandes, and Lisa Krikawa; retail business specialist, Becka Johnson Kibby of Edge Retail; responsible sourcing authority, Monica Stephenson of idazzle and Anza Gems; and specialist in XRF analytics technology, Jennifer Caban of Olympus.

    Other presentations feature goldsmith and inventor Phil Poirier of Bonny Doon Engineering, designer Annie Koenig of Annie K & Motorhead Jewelry, gemstone carver Sherris Cottier Shank of Gemscapes, and bench expert Kristi Broussard of Stuller. A full line-up of the sessions and schedule can be found on the PJS website

    Sponsors for the event include TechForm Advanced Casting Technology, Stuller, Platinum Guild International, Solidscape, Rio Grande, MJSA, Johnson Matthey, Otto Frei, Instore Magazine, Metalsmith Magazine, United Precious Metals Refining, Envisiontec, Hoover and Strong, Cad Blu, Red Sky Plating, A3DM Technologies, and the Santa Fe Symposium. 

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    A pendant necklace by award-winning jewelry artist, Sir Zoltan David, will be added to the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in early 2018. 

    The “Iris” pendant necklace, which will be placed in the Moonstone Collection in the Feldspar Exhibit, is centered by a rare 35.63-carat cat’s eye marquise cut moonstone from India. The chain for the pendant is mounted with 35 matching moonstones with an iridescent blue hue and a total weight of 18.20 carats. All of the stones are set in a blue patinated bronze with pure platinum shaped inlay and ideal cut diamonds, created by the jewelry artist. The reverse of the pendant is engraved with the expression, “By the light of a silvery moon, an ocean of life awaits your magical touch.”

    The Texas jeweler is the only person from his home state to have a jewelry creation placed in the Smithsonian. 

    “I am delighted to have my work become a part of American culture,” David said. “As a young man at the early stages of my training in fine jewelry, I remember standing in the Smithsonian in awe of the craftsmanship surrounding me and hoping that someday my work could be on display there. What an honor to have my Iris necklace showcased with the some of the finest jewelry houses in the world. I am a proud small business owner who is truly living the American dream, and I am grateful now to be sharing my work with people from around the country and across the globe.”

    The Iris necklace received the 2016 American Gem Trade Association’s Spectrum Award and was on display at the AGTA show in Tucson last year where curators from the Smithsonian first saw it and eventually chose it to become part of the museum’s collection. 

    David established his artisan brand, Zoltan David Precious Metal Art, in 1980 and developed a reputation for combining gemstones and metals in innovative ways to create functional and wearable works of art. He received more than two dozen national and international awards as well as two patents. In 1988, David was bestowed Hungarian knighthood in honor of Sir Zoltan David I, his father who is considered a hero of the nation. 

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