Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel

Embed this content in your HTML


Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels

Channel Catalog

Channel Description:

A Celebration of Jewelry and the Business Behind the Beauty
    0 0

    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.

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

    0 0

    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. 

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

    0 0

    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.

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

    0 0

    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.

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

    0 0

    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. 

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

    0 0

    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. 

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

    0 0

    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. 

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

    0 0

    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.

    0 0

    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. 

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

    0 0

    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. 

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

    0 0

    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

    0 0

    Pop superstar Lady Gaga has become the newest face for Tudor’s “Born to Dare” advertising campaign.

    She will join soccer star and fashion icon, David Beckham, and Beauden Barrett, star of the New Zealand All Blacks championship rugby team, in the advertising campaign, which states that those who wear Tudor watches “reinvent themselves every day.” 

    As part of the campaign, the Swiss luxury watch brand also is partnering with the All Blacks team and the DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017, an international rugby series. The campaign was unveiled earlier this year.

    “The infamously daring pop icon (is) notorious for being provocative both on- and off-stage and leading a foundation committed to empower youth, she personifies the very ‘BornToDare’ spirit Tudor lives by since its creation,” Tudor said in a statement.

    In the first photograph as Tudor brand ambassador, she appears in a hardened pose sitting, staring straight at the camera wearing a tight fitted all-black outfit with huge, round padded shoulders. Her black hair is straight up, defying gravity, and her cheeks are lined with black and white glitter. She’s sitting with her arms crossed. She does resemble an All-Black rugby player. 

    On her wrist is the 41mm Heritage Black Bay Red with a burgundy unidirectional rotatable bezel, black dial, rose-gold hands and markers, cream colored luminescent coating and a distressed red-leather strap. It is powered by the in-house MT5602 caliber with a 70-hour power reserve.

    Lady Gaga is a world class musician, songwriter, singer, dancer, actress and style icon who has earned six Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, numerous MTV Awards and has sold 150 million singles and more than 30 million albums.

    “When you try and think of a daring individual in today’s popular culture, it is hard to find anyone more fitting the description than Lady Gaga. Behind the glitter and glam, her provocative style and political statements, she is about total showmanship,” Tudor said in its statement.

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

    0 0

    Queen Victoria's sapphire and diamond coronet, designed by Prince Albert, made by Joseph Kitching, London, 1840- 1842.Photo credit: Victoria and Albert Museum, London

    The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) said Tuesday it has acquired Queen Victoria’s sapphire and diamond coronet. The historically significant small crown was designed by her husband, Prince Albert, in 1840, the royal couple’s wedding year. The jewel was gifted to the V&A by William Bollinger.

    The coronet is scheduled to go on display in 2019, the bicentenary year of the birth of both Victoria and Albert, and will serve as the centerpiece of the museum’s renovated William and Judith Bollinger Jewellery Gallery, which tells the story of jewelry in Europe from the ancient world to the present day.

    The design of the coronet was based on the Saxon Rautenkranz, or circlet of rue, which is set diagonally across the shield in Prince Albert’s coat of arms, museum officials said. It was made by Joseph Kitching, a partner at Kitching and Abud, who were appointed “Jewellers to the Queen” in 1837. In 1842, the coronet was featured in the first and most renowned portrait of the Queen painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter. 

    “The painting depicts Victoria as a figure of youth and beauty, regal, but free of the crown and scepter, the traditional emblems of monarchy,” the museum said. 

    The image was shared throughout Europe and the British Empire in a series of replicas, copies and engravings.

    The coronet also represents a symbol of enduring love. In 1866, on the first occasion when Victoria felt able to attend the state opening of Parliament following Albert’s death in 1861, she chose to wear the coronet instead of her crown, which was carried on a cushion.

    “Representing both the passion of the young royal couple, and a powerful symbol of the widowed queen, it will be of deep fascination to visitors and scholars alike,” said Tristram Hunt, V&A director. “It will instantly become part of the identity of the museum itself.”

    The day before their wedding on Feb. 10, 1840, Albert gifted Victoria a sapphire brooch. The couple then arranged Victoria’s collection of sapphires into a suite of jewels, of which the coronet became the centerpiece, according to the museum. The coronet was inherited by King Edward VII and then by King George V and Queen Mary, who gifted it to their daughter, Princess Mary, on her marriage to Viscount Lascelles in 1922. 

    It was then sold into private hands, and in 2015 became the subject of an application to export it from the UK. This was later withdrawn. 

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

    0 0

    The De Beers Group said Tuesday it will invest more than $140 million in marketing this year—its biggest ad spend since 2008.

    The increased investment will be focused on generating further consumer demand for diamond jewelry in the leading markets globally, with the greatest spend targeted in the world’s three largest markets for diamond jewels: the U.S., China and India.

    The majority of the advertising budget will support De Beers’ proprietary brands, Forevermark and De Beers Diamond Jewellers. However, the diamond mining and marketing giant said it also will increase its spend on partnership marketing, including with the Diamond Producers Association and India’s Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

    “Total consumer expenditure on diamond jewelry for the last five years collectively has been the highest on record—and the outlook is positive,” said Stephen Lussier, De Beers Group’s executive VP of Marketing and CEO of Forevermark. “However, we cannot take future growth for granted.”

    Lussier added, “Increasing our spend from a strong position will help support continued demand in both mature and developing markets, particularly among millennials, who are already the largest group of diamond consumers despite this generation not having yet reached its maximum earning potential.” 

    The De Beers statement was short on details, such as when the ad and marketing push will begin and what media is being targeted.

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

    0 0

    People in the watch and jewelry industry knew Bill Shuster as someone who never accepted a gift from a watch brand. People who were closer to him knew him for his overwhelming generosity. 

    What people are less likely to talk about was his passion, because it was such a part of his entire being. This makes his integrity as a professional journalist and his overall goodness sound less like a cliché and more like someone who is rare in this world. 

    Bill and I worked together for nine years at JCK magazine and then kept in touch as he was passionate at keeping all former and current JCK employees in the loop with emails and phone calls and in his prayers. He was deeply religious. 

    His integrity and dedication as a journalist could never be questioned. I worked with plenty of reporters who went to the proper schools and thought they were something special. They could never hold a candle to Bill. We worked in a cube farm so we could often hear one another and we always amazed at how many ways Bill would ask a question until he was able to pry the proper answer out of the person. And he could do it in English, German and French—although he's insist that he wasn’t fluent in French—which is another trademark of Bill: His overwhelming modesty. But he did like to publicly acknowledge others. 

    We occasionally shared the same flight to trade shows. Once leaving the airport together in Las Vegas I noticed he was carrying a small vintage American Airlines bag over his shoulder while pulling a large blue hard-shell suitcase. I was admiring his carry-on bag when he nonchalantly mentioned that it contained all his clothes (for a weeklong tradeshow) and the big blue suitcase was empty. It was dedicated for press kits. I have no doubt as he left Las Vegas that blue suitcase was bursting at the seams. I’m also sure he read all the materials and stored it somewhere in his house, which was overwhelmed with his research. I know this because his cubical in our King of Prussia office was packed to the brim with stuff. When our office moved to New York instead of tossing his books, magazines, files and whatever he collected, he took it all home. 

    Yes he gave gifts and cards on special occasions. My wife, Maria, and I always looked forward to the authentic German strudel he would send by mail on Christmas. But what he was most generous with was his knowledge; and it was encyclopedic on just about any subject imaginable. He loved movies and art and literature and history and travel, and could spend hours passionately discussing the most obscure references on these topics. If I was working on a story and asked Bill a quick question about it, his answer would take 15 minutes discussing every aspect of the problem. Once I wanted quick help on how to phrase a question, and he shot back 30 different ways to approach it in a minute. Then we had another conversation that lasted for 15 minutes. 

    We found ourselves seatmates on a flight to Frankfurt, Germany, a few years ago and we talked the entire time—no sleep and no regrets. 

    He was proud of his German heritage and blamed his Scottish blood for being frugal and he was frugal. We would try to meet and have dinner each year at the Baselworld trade fair. We went through great pains to find a place that suited his budget in one of the most expensive countries in the world at one of the most expensive times. We finally found a cafeteria-type place about a mile from the fair. 

    His frugality and his integrity as a journalist could be summed up in this story. He covered the luxury watch world and the only watch that he ever owned (to the best of my knowledge) was a Mickey Mouse watch. One time a CEO of a Swiss luxury brand offered to give him a proper timepiece, no strings attached. He refused. 

    My favorite Bill Shuster story was the time he was attacked by a goose. It was almost tragic but it turned out to be costly, inconvenient and in the end, humorous. For reasons unknown a goose decided that the best place to have her nest was at the parking lot of our office building. To protect her eggs she would occasionally confront random cars in the parking lot as they were coming and going. Bill was well known as a speed demon. Leaving work he tore out of the parking space as he always did and before getting to the road the goose attacked his car. He was startled, veered off the road and rode up a curb and embankment. He damaged the front axle and underside of the car. He told the story while smiling the entire time.

    Bill struggled with diabetes for as long as I’ve known him but he never complained. His illness in recent years was affecting his eyesight but still I don’t think anyone knew how sick he was and he was the kind of person who wouldn’t want anyone to worry about him. He lived with and was devoted to his mother who died just few years earlier in her nineties. 

    Recently he critiqued a story I wrote suggesting that I may overstated a position. He then started transcribing Swiss newspapers, sending them to me, providing more information on the story as it was still unfolding. It was a lot of work on his part and he continued doing it even though I told him I couldn’t follow up on this. He said he liked doing it and wanted me to have it. 

    Bill was a lot of things. He was a first-rate journalist. He was deeply religious. He was erudite. He was modest. He was persistent and insistent at times. He was eccentric. He loved to travel. He had great warmth and a sense of humor. He was a fast driver. He had health issues. He was much more complex than I could ever express. All of this was enhanced by his great passion for life. 

    Most of all, he was generous. He gave more of himself to us than any of us ever gave to him. 

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

    0 0

    The same day Apple released its third version of the Apple Watch Hermès unveiled a collection of five leather straps for the newest smart watch.

    The new Apple Watch Hermès collection for the Apple Watch Series 3 models expands upon the three leather straps that were first introduced in 2015. The new additions are the Single Tour Rallye and the Single Tour Éperon d’Or.

    In addition, traditional French brand known for its old-world craftsmanship also released a new Hermès watch face, inspired by the Carrick Hermès watch, designed by Hermès legendary designer Henri d’Origny in 1993. This completes the selection of Hermès watch faces for Apple smart watches.

    Apple Watch Hermès Series 3 consists of the following:

    * The Single Tour Rallye – The perforated Gala calfskin is inspired by classic Hermès driving gloves. It’s designed to be paired with the 42mm stainless steel case.

    * Single Tour Éperon d’Or in printed calfskin, inspired by the equestrian scarf pattern created by d’Origny in 1974. It is available in Marine leather with 38mm and 42mm stainless steel cases.

    * Double Tour  - The extra-long band wraps twice around the wrist. Available in Fauve (natural tan) Barenia leather (Hermès top quality leather) and Indigo Swift leather, each paired with a 38mm stainless steel case.

    * Single Tour - The buckle is inspired by the straps of a horse’s girth, a nod to the equestrian heritage of Hermès. Available in Fauve Barenia leather paired with 38mm and 42mm stainless steel cases, and in Indigo Swift leather for the 42mm stainless steel case.

    * Single Tour Deployment Buckle - Available in Fauve Barenia leather and ebony Barenia leather, each paired with a 42mm stainless steel case.

    Apple Watch Hermès Series 3 will be available to order online in France beginning Friday, with availability beginning September 22 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, the UK and the US. Prices range from $1,149 to $1,399.

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

    0 0

    The Tiffany & Co. new Metro Watch combines the luxury retailer’s skill at using diamonds with traditional Swiss craftsmanship. Each piece features a round brilliant diamond crown that is assigned an individual serial number, making each watch personal to the wearer, the company says. In addition, for most models are topped with diamonds in various designs.

    The company says the watch’s clean, fluid lines evoke the pace and energy of New York City, where Tiffany is headquartered. The 28mm curved stainless case comes in either stainless steel or 18k rose gold. The dials come in several styles, including an “ice blue,” a darker blue, burgundy, white or pink lacquer, all with flinqué finishes. Several models come with a 60 seconds subdial. The curved motif continues with the bracelets, which are available in alligator leather in a variety of colors and stainless steel. 

    The watches are powered with either a Rhonda quartz movement or a Soprod automatic movement.

    “Our horological history began in Geneva, Switzerland in 1847, and today we continue this tradition of craftsmanship by introducing the Tiffany Metro timepiece—its beauty lies in the superlative pedigree of Tiffany diamonds,” said Nicola Andreatta, vice president and general manager of Tiffany& Co. Swiss Watches. 

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

    0 0

    Tiffany & Co. said Thursday that its company's board of directors has elected Roger Farah as its chairman, effective October 2. Farah, 64, joined Tiffany's Board in March 2017. He has served in leadership roles at Ralph Lauren Corporation, Venator Group, Inc., R.H. Macy & Co., Inc. and Federated Merchandising Services.

    He most recently served leadership roles with Tory Burch. First as co-CEO and director of Tory Burch from September 2014 till March 2017 and then as executive director in advisory role since March when he joined Tiffany’s board

    He will replace Michael J. Kowalski who has held multiple leadership roles for a number of years at Tiffany. He has been the board chairman since 2002 and has served on Tiffany’s board since 1995. He will remain on the board after the change.

    In addition, Kowalski, who was Tiffany’s CEO from 1999 until his retirement in March 2015, and served as interim CEO since February 2017, will relinquish that title when the company's newly appointed CEO, Alessandro Bogliolo, joins the company in October.

    “Roger has significant experience as a leader in the luxury retail industry, and I and my fellow directors value tremendously his expertise and insight which have been apparent during his time on the board,” Kowalski said in a statement. “With the appointment of Alessandro as our new CEO, and under Roger’s leadership on the board, I believe we are well positioned to execute on strategies to drive comparable store sales growth and stronger earnings growth in the longer-term.” 

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

    0 0

    Alrosa said Thursday that one of its subsidiaries unearthed a pink rough diamond weighing 27.85 carats. If the Russian mining giant decides to cut the stone, it has the potential to be the most expensive polished diamond in its history.

    The rough diamond has dimensions of 22.47 mm x 15.69 mm x 10.9 mm, Alrosa said in statement Thursday. The pink stone is of gem-quality and almost free of inclusions.

    The diamond was unearthed by Almazy Anabara, an Alrosa subsidiary with a diamond mining operation in Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in northeast Russia. It is by far the largest pink diamond Alrosa ever mined—with the previous largest pink rough being 3.86 carats, found in 2012. Apart from this stone, for the past eight years, Alrosa recovered only 3 pink diamonds weighing more than 2 carats. Alrosa said its mining operations discover colored diamonds weighing more than 10 carats about once a year. 

    Alrosa, a rough diamond mining operation, has been increasing investment in its polishing division. The company said it is deciding whether to sell it as a rough or to cut it and polish it themselves. 

    “If the company decided to cut it, it would become the most expensive diamond in the entire history of Alrosa,” said Evgeny Agureev, head of United Selling Organization of Alrosa. 

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

    0 0

    Graff Diamonds has acquired the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona rough diamond in a deal valued at $53 million. It is the world’s largest gem-quality rough diamond to be discovered in more than a century and the largest rough diamond in existence today.

    It also may be one of Laurence Graff’s greatest deals in a long career of exceptional negotiations for some of the world’s most valuable and important diamonds. He may have shaved $17 million from its original asking price.

    According to a statement from Graff Diamonds, this deal ended in a handshake with William Lamb, CEO, president and director of Canadian mining company Lucara Diamond Corp., which discovered the gem at its Karowe mine in Botswana in November 2015.

    Lamb originally tried to sell the diamond in a standalone public auction at Sotheby’s London on June 2016, a very unusual way to sell a rough diamond, which is normally sold privately to dealers who then cut and polished the rough into a finished gem. It had an estimate of more than $70 million. However, it failed to meet its reserve price. The bidding stalled at $61 million.

    In the end there are very few people in the world able to buy such a gem and even fewer with the ability to cut it. The top name on both lists is Graff.

    “We are thrilled and honored to become the new custodians of this incredible diamond,” Laurence Graff said in a statement. “The stone will tell us its story, it will dictate how it wants to be cut, and we will take the utmost care to respect its exceptional properties. This is a momentous day in my career, and I am privileged to be given the opportunity to honor the magnificent natural beauty of the Lesedi La Rona.”

    The Lesedi La Rona was discovered at the Lucara Karowe mine in north-central Botswana. Its size is exceeded only by the legendary Cullinan Diamond, mined in South Africa in 1905. The 3,016.75-carat diamond produced nine major diamonds that are part of the historic Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, including the Great Star of Africa—considered to be the largest top-quality polished diamond in existence, weighing 530.20 carats.

    In addition to its size, the Gemological Institute of America reports that the Lesedi La Rona , which means “our light” in Botswana's Tswana language, possesses exceptional quality and transparency, according to Graff Diamonds statement.

    The acquisition follows Graff’s purchase earlier this year of a 373-carat rough diamond that was originally part of the Lesedi La Rona rough, marking a reunion of the two stones.

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

    0 0

    The 2016 Portland Jewelry Symposium, networking prior to the keynote presentation

    The Portland Jewelry Symposium is celebrating its 10th Anniversary and it isn’t looking back on its success. Instead, the forum’s theme this year is “Future Think: Innovate, Create, Thrive.” 

    Teresa Frye, founder of the Portland Jewelry Symposium and owner and president of TechForm Advanced Casting Technology, has created the theme and planned the two-day program to discuss new technologies and artistic trends, and how to stay current in a rapidly changing industry. 

    The symposium will be held October 1 and 2 at the Sentinel Hotel in downtown Portland, Ore. It is designed to benefit custom jewelers, designers and retailers. The registration deadline is here so please follow this link to register

    Presentations will include the following: 

    Peggy Jo Donahue, who assembled a panel discussion on “Promoting Custom Design on Social Networks,” which includes award winning designers Calla Gold and Lisa Krikawa.

    Jennifer Caban from Olympus IMS will discuss using “XRF Technology to Identify Precious Metals” at the bench and in the retail environment.

    Kevin Abernathy will speak about evolving “Trends in Digital Manufacturing.”

    The symposium continues to take on social and environmental responsibility. This year, Monica Stephenson of ANZA Gems will speak on “Taking the First Step to a Responsible Future.”

    This year symposium also includes a session on “Succession Planning and Exit Strategies” by Becka Johnson Kibby from The Edge Retail Academy.

    Symposium registration includes the Keynote address and networking dinners. Lunch and refreshments during the full-day session on October 2. Additional tickets for dinner guests are also available for purchase.

    To register, please visit the Portland Jewelry Symposium website.

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

    0 0

    The De Grisogono diamond suspended from an asymmetric necklace with a trailing on the left side of 18 emerald-cut diamonds and to the right two rows of pear-shaped emeralds

    Christie’s is selling the largest D-color flawless diamond to ever appear at auction, a 163.41-carat emerald-cut stone owned by the Geneva-based luxury jeweler, De Grisogono.

    It will be a highlight of Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva to be held November 14 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. The diamond is currently on a world tour.

    The diamond was cut from a 404-carat rough discovered in February 2016 in the Lulo mine in Angola. Given the name, “4 de Fevereiro,” it is the 27th biggest rough white diamond ever discovered and the largest in Angola. Fawaz Gruosi, founder of De Grisogono, purchased the rough diamond. He had it analyzed in Antwerp and cut in New York, where a team of 10 diamond-cutting specialists spent 11 months mapping, plotting, cleaving, laser-cutting and polishing the rough into the gem.

    The De Grisogono 163.41-carat diamond, the largest D-color flawless diamond ever come at auction

    The diamond is the centerpiece of an asymmetric necklace with a trailing on the left side of 18 emerald-cut diamonds and to the right two rows of pear-shaped emeralds, offering a contrasting appearance. No gold is visible between the emeralds as the gems are perfectly matched and the metal is darkened to create the chiaroscuro effect that is characteristic of De Grisogono jewels. The prongs holding in place the 163.41-carat diamond disappear under four baguette-cut diamonds creating an effect of dazzling brilliance. The reverse side of the gold basket is engraved with the diamond’s weight and set with more diamonds.

    It took 14 craftsmen more than 1,700 hours to create the necklace.

    Rahul Kadakia, international head of Christie’s Jewels said the “emerald and diamond necklace propels De Grisogono into a class of their own.”

    The 404-carat rough diamond, "4 de Fevereiro," that created the 163.41-carat D-color flawless diamond that will be sold at Christie's

    This diamond necklace marks the first jewel in a partnership between the auction house and the high jeweler in which they “will bring to auction the most exquisite diamonds ever offered to the market.”

    The schedule for the worldwide tour is as follows:

    Christie’s Hong Kong
    September 28 – October 1
    22nd Floor, Alexandra House, 18 Chater Road Central

    Christie’s London
    October 4 -7.
    8, King Street, SW1Y 6QT London

    Christie’s and De Grisogono in Dubai
    October 17 - 19

    Christie’s New York
    November 3 - 6
    Rockefeller Centre, 20 Rockefeller Plaza

    Christie’s Geneva
    November 9 - 14
    Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Quai des Bergues 33 

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

    0 0

    Robert Procop—gem expert, private jeweler and jewelry designer—will unveil an 888.88-carat black star sapphire at Saks Fifth Avenue at South Coast Plaza Thursday (today). It will appear at the store until the end of October before going on the road.

    The gem is named the “Star of Jolie,” after the Angelina Jolie, the internationally known actress, filmmaker and humanitarian. It is the featured pendant on a necklace comprised of 70 black star sapphires, totaling an additional 104.42 carats. The entire piece is set in 18k rose gold and has a retail price of $5 million.

    Procop says the pear-shaped, double-cabochon cut star sapphire is the world’s largest certified by the Gemological Institute of America.

    The sapphire has not been treated by heat or other methods, according to the GIA report. Its transparency is semi-translucent to opaque. There is no indication on the report about it being the largest star sapphire graded by the organization. Its geographic origins are unknown.

    Jolie and Procop have been long-time collaborators in a collection of jewels called “The Style of Jolie” in which proceeds are used to promote education and establish schools in conflict-affected countries through the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, which builds schools for children around the world. The first of the schools opened for girls in April 2013 in Afghanistan outside Kabul. It educates from 200 to 300 girls.

    In addition to the unveiling of the Star of Jolie, Procop will also debut new pieces from his collection with Jolie, as well as pieces from his Exceptional Jewels collection. A portion of the sales from this event will be donated to charity.

    After Southern California, the piece will travel to Saks Fifth Avenue stores in both Bal Harbour, Fla., and Palm Desert, Calif., in November. The tour will conclude at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., in December.

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

    0 0

    The 37.30-carat "Raj Pink" diamond will be the top lot at Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale on November 15 with a hefty estimate of $20 million - $30 million.

    “The discovery of any pink diamond is exceptional, but The Raj Pink’s remarkable size and intensity of color places it in the rarefied company of the most important pink diamonds known,” said David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division. 

    According to Sotheby’s, the rough diamond that yielded The Raj Pink was studied for over a year after its discovery in 2015. It was then entrusted to a master cutter, who crafted it into a cushion-modified brilliant cut.

    The diamond was named by its current owner, who requested anonymity. Its meaning is based on the Sanskrit word for king. 

    The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), in its report characterized the diamond as an “astonishing stone,” describing its hue as “a very bright and ravishing fancy intense pink color,” adding, “For a diamond to display strong, unmodified pink color like that observed in The Raj Pink is rare, particularly at so considerable a weight.”

    The discovery of a gem-quality pink diamond of any size is an extremely rare occurrence. Of all diamonds submitted to the GIA each year, fewer than 0.02% are predominantly pink, Sotheby’s said.

    The current record holder for a fancy intense pink diamond is the 24.78-carat “Graff Pink,” which sold for more than $46.1 million at Sotheby’s Geneva, 2010.

    “Only on the rarest occasions do diamonds with vibrant, shocking color like the Raj Pink’s emerge,” GIA said. “Only the most privileged and knowledgeable in the industry know of their existence. With an unmodified Fancy Intense Pink hue, substantial size and desirable clarity, the Raj Pink is certainly one of those gems that only few may have the honor of experiencing.” 

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

    0 0

    Peter Smith delivering the keynote at the Portland Jewelry Symposium. Photo by Lena Knofler

    The Portland Jewelry Symposium celebrated its 10th anniversary but there was no time to wax nostalgic at the most recent gathering. Instead it was time to focus on the future of the industry. This future consists of the use of technology in general and more specifically the continued growth of 3D printing technology.

    “It just seemed like so much evolution was going on with technology we should focus on the future so everybody can sit here for a day-and-a-half and think about the next 10, 15 years for their businesses,” said Teresa Frye, who founded the symposium.

    Teresa Frye, founder of the Portland Jewelry SymposiumPhoto by Lena Knofler 

    Frye, owner and president of TechForm Advanced Casting Technology, a platinum manufacturer, said her business is 95% digital. She is dependent on designers who create the pieces that she manufactures. Because of this she said she is most interested in how designers will adapt to new ways of creating jewelry without losing the human aspect of the artistry and design.

    “It’s so easy to look at the robots and say that has nothing to do with my craft, it’s so cold and sterile. Yet we can’t avoid it,” she said. “It’s crucial to our survival that we pick the elements of technology that are going to help us to not just survive but to stay at the top of our game and I think that’s the challenge for the industry because we really are so traditional.”

    One of several 3D printers on displayPhoto by Lena Knofler

    She says there is no one answer, designers, manufacturers and retailers will have to adapt various elements of technology in ways that will enhance their businesses.

    “Our customers value the handcrafted nature of what we do, yet we’re going to have to give up some of that. All the top brands know that they have to select the elements of technology that are going to help them to remain competitive yet they can’t lose their soul in the process. And I still don’t know the answer because it really lies with the designers as far as the aesthetics of what we’re creating and how to not lose that in the process.”

    This year’s symposium, with the theme “Future Think: Innovate, Create, Thrive,” was held October 1 and 2 at the Sentinel Hotel in downtown Portland, Ore. Approximately 150 independent retailers, manufacturers, designers and others in the jewelry trade attended this year. The attendance was a new record for the symposium. In addition, it has grown from a regional gathering in the northwest United States to a national event. Frye said one of her challenges is to manage this growth while maintaining its intimate, informal and friendly atmosphere.

    3D Printer modelsPhoto by Lena Knofler

    3D printing was the hot topic this year and they were the top item on display among the vendors at the event. The technology is being used regularly to produce jewelry molds that are used for casting. Costs of the machines have dropped significantly over the years and they are smaller and easier to use. Their easy entry point has opened up jewelry design to a broader group of people. For example, retailers can now create custom designs for their customers with greater efficiency and speed.

    The vast majority of 3D printing is being used to create resin models for casting. However, the newest generation of 3D printers can now print jewelry using precious metals. As one vendor told me the process hasn’t been perfected yet and isn’t a viable replacement for current uses.

    But it doesn’t take an expert to know that the technology will get better. Frye, who is well adept with technology and how it is used in manufacturing environments, sees this as well. She says it brings questions on how it may change jewelry design.

    “I’m thinking about this next evolution of 3D printing,” Frye said. “Is jewelry going to start looking all the same because we’re letting the technology dictate the designs? That’s the challenge for the industry and I fully expect there will be many designers who are going to overcome that challenge but there may be inherent limitations with the technology. There is probably going to be a multitude of solutions and what we’re trying to do here is to get that conversation going. We have the technology experts here talking about what’s out there and then we have the networking with real world jewelers who will challenge them. That’s when you have the really interesting conversations.”

    Kevin Abernathy discussing manufacturing technologyPhoto by Lena Knofler

    Kevin Abernathy of BIS Ventures, in his presentation on trends in digital manufacturing, said that 3D metal printing is the next big thing and that artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud computing and other technologies are becoming commonplace in the world’s largest companies and will soon be commonplace in the jewelry industry.

    Abernathy, whose company consults with jewelry manufacturers on their automated and digital technology, said he was an early adapter of 3D printing and computer numerical control (computer automation of machine tools). Because of these technologies, he said “vendors can help you navigate the minutiae of the design in your mind.”

    Bench demonstrationsPhoto by Lena Knofler

    Abernathy assured those in the audience that although these technologies will continue to grow, there is no need to be fearful of losing your job.

    “At the end of the day it takes a human, an artist putting that love into a piece of jewelry,” he said. “No machine will ever replace that and no robot will ever do it.”

    The keynote address for the symposium was delivered by Peter Smith, jewelry industry consultant and author, who discussed the future of traditional jewelry retail, which he says, is actually brighter than it is being portrayed.

    “This fear that somehow we’re losing business to online is just not based in reality,” he told the audience.

    Kristi Broussard of Stuller demonstrates a detector for lab-grown diamonds. Photo by Lena Knofler

    Instead, he argues what is happening is a transformation of the retail business combining the bricks-and-mortar experience with the convenience of eCommerce. He stresses that it’s retail stores that will continue to drive the business.

    In most cases, he says, retailers who are losing customers are doing so because they are not providing a high-quality store experience. He said the landscape of the retail industry can be broken down to convenience and price sensitive stores, such as Costco and Wal-Mart; and stores that focus on experience, such as Apple, Starbucks and Tiffany & Co.

    Jewelry retailers cannot compete with price so they have to create stores that provide a better experience for their customers. It includes reevaluating everything about the store, from the lighting to the music to the scent (which can be purchased) in a way that creates a story about the retail experience they want to deliver.

    Chris Ploof of Laminated Metals describing his productsPhoto by Lena Knofler

    Smith also encouraged retailers to streamline their product offerings and focus on what sells and to build eCommerce websites in order to create a well-rounded retail experience.

    Sherris Cottier Shank, an award-winning gem artist and master gem carver, had a bit of warning for those jumping into technology head first. She challenged retailers and others in the jewelry industry to think “beyond mainstream” when specifying jewelry.

    “All of this automation is really great but remember there are other people out there beyond mainstream,” she said. “Take the time to talk to them and find out what they like.”

    Shank, calls herself an “odd duck” in the jewelry industry because what she likes in gemstone jewelry is rarely displayed in stores.

    “If I were to walk in most jewelry stores today I would turn around and leave. Most jewelry stores would have nothing that interests me,” she said. “There are others like me and I know this because they contact me out of the blue.”

    She began her career as a bench jeweler but discovered that she loved the art of gemstone carving. A self-described “girl who plays around in the dirt,” she sometimes goes to the mines to select her gems. She said dealers have mixed reactions when selling to her.

    “I’m very careful when I select rough and the sellers either love me or hate me. They usually give me a pad and let me select my own (stones),” she said.

    Shank, known for her signature carvings, has received numerous awards. Several of her pieces are on display in museums, including National Gem & Mineral Collections of the Smithsonian and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. She also works with exceptional jewelry artists who mount her gems into jewels.

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