Costume Jewelry Ring Turns Out to be a 26.27 Carat Diamond

"Even if it was just a small 1-carat diamond it would be amazing, but the fact that it's 26 carats, that's larger than most would see in their lifetime let alone own dream of owning. To have one this big and truly pure is astounding,"  -Jessica Wyndham, head of Sotheby's London jewelry department; photo courtesy of Sotheby's Auction House

"Even if it was just a small 1-carat diamond it would be amazing, but the fact that it's 26 carats, that's larger than most would see in their lifetime let alone own dream of owning. To have one this big and truly pure is astounding,"  -Jessica Wyndham, head of Sotheby's London jewelry department; photo courtesy of Sotheby's Auction House

One lucky lady bought more than a fun cocktail ring for about 10 pounds (about $15) 30 years ago. This piece of "costume jewelry" turned out to be a 26.27 carat white diamond. The owner has been wearing the ring since the '80s and only recently found out from a local jeweler it could be of significant value. On Monday she met with with Jessica Wyndham, head of Sotheby's London jewelry department. 

"She first bought it in the 1980s as a costume jewel, cocktail ring and she has been wearing it around ever since," Wyndham said. "It's impossible to really date it, but the style of the diamond has notable characteristics similar to what you would expect from the 19th century," she explained. 

"She randomly took it to a local jeweler who said, 'This could be a diamond,' and told her to 'seriously get it looked at,'" Wyndham added. The ring's owner was searching impressive diamonds on Google when she found Sotheby's and reached out to Wyndham to get the process started. Once Wyndham was able to see the stone in person she decided to contact the Gemological Institute of America to have the gem identified officially. "They check the diamond and give a certificate confirming the color, clarity, size and weight," Wyndham said of the New York City-based company. The stone came back as a cushion-shaped diamond weighing 26.27 carats with an attractive color grade of I and impressive clarity grade of VVS2.

Sotheby's will start the low auction price at about $325,000 but Wyndham said the diamond could reach $454,000. The unique 26.27-carat white diamond will be part of a sale on June 7, 2017, that includes a diamond broach worn by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and other priceless historic jewelry items.

See all of the items included in the Sotheby's Sale Here.

$1.31 million Ornate Tiara Stolen From German Museum

(Landeskriminalamt Baden-Württemberg

(Landeskriminalamt Baden-Württemberg

Originally reported By Brigit Katz smithsonian.com

German museums might want to start beefing up their security. In late April, a group of thieves stole the world’s largest gold coin from the Bode Museum in Berlin—somehow going undetected as they made off with the 221-pound chunk of change. Now, another German institution has been hit by thievery. As the Associated Press reports, a diamond-encrusted tiara was recently pilfered from the Badisches Landesmuesum in the city of Karlsruhe.

The gold and platinum tiara is adorned with 367 diamonds and has been valued at about $1.31 million. It was locked up in a cabinet in the museum’s throne room prior to the theft, which was discovered on April 29.

The tiara once belonged to Grand Duchess Hilda von Baden, according to The Columbus Dispatch. She was married to Grand Duke Friedrich II, who ascended to the throne in 1907 and ruled over the territory of Baden. A statement from the Badisches Landesmuesum says that the headpiece may have been crafted for the occasion of Friedrich II’s coronation. The couple’s reign, however, was short-lived: Friedrich II was forced to abdicate in 1918, after Germany’s defeat in WWI.

Baden-Wuerttemberg criminal police said they are now looking for witnesses who may have seen something fishy around the time of the theft.

Brigit Katz is a journalist based in New York City. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, Flavorwire, and Women in the World, a property of The New York Times.
 

Spring Into May Auctions

A peek into the treasures to be found in the May auctions.

CHRITIE'S AUCTION HOUSE

Magnificent Jewels May 17, 207 Geneva

Magnificent Jewels May 17, 207 Geneva


In the culmination of Geneva Luxury Week, the Magnificent Jewels auction features a fantastic 92 carat D Flawless heart-shaped diamond pendant, named ‘La Légende’, and a pair of chandelier earrings, named ‘La Vie Bohème’,  both by Boehmer et Bassenge. With a thematic section dedicated to the Dolce Vita era along with pieces formerly owned by Doris Duke and Elizabeth Taylor, the sale embraces distinguished provenance and jewellery with a storied past. Signed pieces from Bulgari and Cartier, Kashmir sapphires, Burmese rubies and Columbian emeralds round out an exceptional sale this season.

Magnificent Jewels May 30, 2017 Hong Kong

Magnificent Jewels May 30, 2017 Hong Kong

The Magnificent Jewels Hong Kong auction features an assortment of natural gemstones including pearls, jadeite, and diamonds of various colors. 


SOTHEBY'S AUCTION HOUSE

Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels, Sessions 1, 2, and 3MAY 16, 2017 GENEVA

Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels, Sessions 1, 2, and 3MAY 16, 2017 GENEVA

Sotheby’s spring sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels at Mandarin Oriental, Geneva will be led by the ‘Apollo and Artemis Diamonds’. Individually, these captivating diamonds – one Fancy Vivid Blue, one Fancy Intense Pink – are truly exceptional stones and when considered as a pair, they enter a class of their own: the most important earrings ever to appear at auction. Offered separately as individual lots, ‘The Apollo Blue’ will be presented with an estimate of CHF 38,125,000–50,160,000 ($38,000,000–50,000,000) and ‘The Artemis Pink’ is estimated between CHF 12,545,000–18,060,000 ($12,500,000–18,000,000). The sale features jewellery from different collections comprising signed jewels and superb gemstones. Gems from Kashmir, Burma, Colombia rub shoulders with signed jewels from the most iconic and well-known jewellery houses, such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Lacloche, Bulgari, Schlumberger and Tiffany.


BONHAM'S AUCTION HOUSE

Bonham's Jewelry May 24, 2017 Edinburgh 

Bonham's Jewelry May 24, 2017 Edinburgh 

Bonham's Rare Jewels and Jadeite May 31, 2017 Hong Kong

Bonham's Rare Jewels and Jadeite May 31, 2017 Hong Kong


DOYLE'S FINE JEWELRY AUCTION

Doyle's Auction House May 22, 2017 Beverly Hills

Doyle's Auction House May 22, 2017 Beverly Hills

Doyle will hold the Spring 2017 sale of Fine Jewelry at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills on Monday, May 22, 2017 at 10am (Pacific). Our West Coast sales of Fine Jewelry attract hundreds of bidders vying for exquisite designs consigned from prominent private collections and estates. The range of offerings includes stylish jewelry for garden lunches to glittering statement pieces perfect for the red carpet!


The Pink Star Diamond Breaks Auction Records

The Pink Star: 59.6 carat pink diamond. Photo from Sotheby's auction house. 

The Pink Star: 59.6 carat pink diamond. Photo from Sotheby's auction house. 

The previous world record for a pink diamond was set in 2010 by the 24.79 carat Graff Pink which was sold for $46.2 million. The Pink Star diamond also broke the record for all diamonds, a title previously held by the Oppenheimer Blue diamond, sold at a Christie’s auction in May for $58 million.

The previous world record for a pink diamond was set in 2010 by the 24.79 carat Graff Pink which was sold for $46.2 million. The Pink Star diamond also broke the record for all diamonds, a title previously held by the Oppenheimer Blue diamond, sold at a Christie’s auction in May for $58 million.

Sotheby's broke records on Tuesday at their Hong Kong auction house with the sale of "The Pink Star" for an astounding $71.2 million. The 59.6 carat pink diamond, was won by Hong Kong-based jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook after a five-minute bidding war.  

The Pink Star diamond was the largest internally flawless, fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America, according to Sotheby’s

The Pink Star diamond was originally mined in Botswana, Africa, by De Beers in 1999. The stone came from a 132.5 carat rough diamond. The cutting and polishing took two years of work.

The gem was previously auctioned off in 2014. Isaac Wolf, a diamond cutter, purchased the stone for $93 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva. The diamond was then reclaimed by the auction house after Wolf failed to pay for it. Tuesday's winning bidder Chow Tai Fook has renamed it the CTF Pink Star after it purchased the diamond in honor of the late father of the jeweler retailer’s current chairman.

7.44-carat Diamond Found by Teen

Kalel Langford, 14, of Centerton, Arkansas, found the 7th-largest diamond ever discovered in Crater of Diamonds State Park

A teen named Kalel Langford just found a 7.44-carat diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Kalel, 14, named it “Superman’s Diamond” after the comic book hero Superman whose real name is also Kal-El. It’s the seventh-largest diamond ever found in the park. The brown diamond is coffee-colored and about the size of a pinto bean. Kalel found it within his first 20 minutes at the park without even looking that hard, his mother said. 
The overjoyed Kalel plans to keep the diamond as a special souvenir, but will possibly spend it wisely in the future. “For now he plans on keeping it until he has a chance to let it all sink in, and over time we’ll plan to make a decision,” said his mother. “He told us, ‘That’s what I’ll plan to use for college if I don’t get enough scholarships. And if I get enough scholarships then it can be a down payment for a house.’
“He’s a very good kid,” she added. “He is very much into science. He loves rocks and loves minerals.”

For more information on Crater of Diamonds State Park please visit http://www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com/

The Foxfire Diamond Bedazzles as Smithsonian's Newest Rock Star

187.63 carat Foxfire diamond is the largest gem quality diamond found in North America (PHOTO BY DONNY BAJOHR)

The largest gem-quality diamond ever found in North America is on display at the Smithsonian for three months in its rough, uncut state. 

It's a really unusual chance for people to see this rare diamond,” says Jeffrey Post, curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. “It isn't something that happens very often. This may be the only chance in your life to see such a thing.”

Diamonds tend to be highly concentrated in small areas underground where ancient volcanic eruptions pushed magma upward through tubes. The magma solidified into an igneous rock called kimberlite. Scattered through the kimberlite left within the tube are diamonds that were pushed upwards with the magma.

The 187.63 carat Foxfire diamond was almost discarded when it was unearthed in August 2015 at the Diavik diamond mine, above the Arctic Circle in Canada's Northwest Territories. The mine was not known for large diamonds like the Foxfire, but rather much smaller stones. The chances of a large diamond coming through the sorting system were believed to be so slim that all large stones were assumed to be kimberlite, thus filtered and crushed. The Foxfire diamond could have been crushed, but because of its somewhat elongated shape, it slipped through the sifting screen. 

The name Foxfire pays homage to the aboriginal name for the aurora borealis, which Post says looks like "foxtails swishing away in the sky.” 

In June 2016, Deepak Sheth of Amadena Investments, who trades in historic or unique stones, purchased the uncut diamond at auction (the exact price has not been publicly disclosed) and then did an unusual thing. He allowed the Smithsonian's scientists to borrow it. 

“In some way, it's like diamonds are like meteorites from deep in the earth,” Post says.

Most diamonds appear to have been created between one and three billion years ago roughly a hundred miles beneath the surface of the Earth. Diamonds can help geologists understand Earth's history, says Post.

During past volcanic eruptions, “diamonds were brought to the surface, giving us a glimpse into a part of the Earth we can't otherwise study,” Post says.

In order to find out more about the Foxfire diamond's composition, Post exposed the uncut gemstone to different types of light and used a spectrograph to see how the various elements in the diamond were reflecting the light. A funny thing was discovered along the way.

“One of the interesting properties of this diamond is that if you go in a dark room and turn on a black light, it glows bright blue. It lights up the room,” Post says. “There are a number of diamonds that do this, but this does so quite a lot. This happens through trace amounts of nitrogen. By doing spectral analysis of that light, we can tell how much nitrogen might be there.”

It gets weirder.

Trace amounts of nitrogen cause the DIAMOND to glow bright blue under a black light.  (Photo by Donny Bajohr)

“What is unusual, is that when you turn the light off [the diamond] continues to glow. First a deep orange color and then it fades to a creamy white glow. So that phosphorescence can tell us something about how that diamond was formed. . . . It gives us this interesting insight into its history that we wouldn't get just by looking at it.”

Larger diamonds have been found elsewhere in the world. South Africa's enormous Cullinan diamond weighed 3,106.75 carats before it was cut into numerous stones. But diamonds from North America are particularly valued because of their relatively clean provenance. Unlike many African diamonds, the stones that come from Canada's mines are not associated with conflicts or wars. Environmental protection standards are high. The microscopic maple leaves and polar bears etched into each diamond helps ensure that buyers know what they are getting.

This geology allows diamond mines to be relatively compact mining operations that can be restored to a healthy wild condition after mining operations are completed. The Canadian government requires that plans for restoration be made before mining even begins.

“With a diamond mine, it's not like oil where you have to pump it some place,” Post says. “You've got one hole in the ground that is a very well defined area, but the area around it can be pretty well returned [as habitat for wildlife]. This one mine, they are literally mining through a lake. In the end, this thing might very well fill up with water again and just be a deeper lake.”

With the passage of time, the Diavik mine will eventually become that deeper lake and for a brief period, the Foxfire diamond is available for anyone who wants to see it.

“It's a one time opportunity,” Post says.

The Foxfire diamond will be on view in the Harry Winston Gallery next to the Smithsonian's famous Hope Diamond at the National Museum of Natural History through February 16, 2017.

Source
: Foxfire Diamond

Tiffany's Fall Legendary Style Campaign

Tiffany & Co. unveiled its fall 2016 advertising campaign back in June. The campaign celebrates the company’s legendary designs through a series featuring celebrity talent known for their unique style and point of view. The tagline—Some Style is Legendary—captures the timeless appeal of Tiffany’s iconic jewelry worn by women for whom Tiffany is a powerful means of self-expression.

Grace Coddington

The Legendary Style campaign is a collaboration and creative partnership with fashion visionary Grace Coddington. This is her first-ever brand advertising campaign since becoming creative director-at-large for American Vogue. Coddington dedicated nearly 50 years — 28 years at American Vogue with 21 years as creative director — and 20 years at Vogue UK. “Tiffany—and its famed Blue Box—has always held special meaning for me,” said Coddington, who had a hand in selecting the talent. “To me this is not just an ad campaign, but an opportunity to portray a legendary house of luxury through modern portraits of uniquely talented subjects.”

The authentic, powerful portraits include Oscar®-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, actress Elle Fanning, as well as maternal health advocate and model Christy Turlington Burns, and model Natalie Westling wearing Tiffany jewelry and photographed by David Sims. Mirroring the print campaign is a cinematic black and white video series directed by Sims, where each woman shares her interpretation of legendary style. Chosen for being true originals, this talented cast wears iconic Tiffany designs that reflect both their style and identity.

Echoing her strength and vibrancy, Nyong’o wears the Tiffany T Square bracelet—an expression of confidence. Dazzling Tiffany Keys are a symbol of a brilliant future, while Tiffany Victoria® radiates glamour, which Fanning embodies as a young dreamer in the world of endless opportunity. Turlington Burns is a woman of elegance and purpose who finds beauty in simplicity, which she reflects by wearing Elsa Peretti® Diamonds by the Yard® and the new Tiffany T Square bracelets with diamonds, launching fall/winter 2016. The latest iteration of the Tiffany T collection, Tiffany T Two rings also debuts this fall/winter. Worn by Westling, a seeker of freedom in New York City, the bold diamond bands are an icon for a new era.

“For generations, Tiffany has defined the true meaning of legendary style. For our latest campaign, we set out to find the best creative talents both behind and in front of the camera, to present our iconic collections,” said Caroline Naggiar, chief brand officer, Tiffany & Co. “Who better than Grace Coddington, a style legend in her own right, to serve as our creative partner.”

Women of substance, sophistication and style have worn Tiffany jewelry throughout the company’s 180-year history. The campaign imagery captures the way in which Tiffany designs transcend time, transforming the wearer and irrevocably changing the way they move through the world. The images will appear in print and video, as well as across digital properties under the hashtag #LegendaryStyle.

Tiffany is the internationally renowned jeweler founded in New York in 1837. Through its subsidiaries, Tiffany & Co. manufactures products and operates TIFFANY & CO. retail stores worldwide, and also engages in direct selling through Internet, catalog and business gift operations. For additional information, please visit Tiffany.com.

TIFFANY & CO. and TIFFANY are trademarks of Tiffany and Company.

 ELLE FANNING WEARS A TIFFANY VICTORIA® DIAMOND CLUSTER NECKLACE

Elle Fanning in Tiffany Keys

Actress Lupita Nyong’o wears a Tiffany T square bracelet and Tiffany T Ring

Natalie Westling wears Tiffany solitaire diamond earrings and Tiffany T Rings

Christy Turlington in Tiffany T Bracelet and Soltiaire Earrings

Christy Turlington wears Elsa Peretti® Diamonds by the Yard® necklace

Visit the Tiffany & Co. website for more information.

CVD Synthetic Diamond Over 5 Carats Identified by GIA

This 5.19 ct CVD synthetic diamond (10.04 × 9.44 × 6.18 mm, with J-equivalent color and VS2-equivalent clarity) is the largest GIA has identified to date. Photo by Johnny Leung and Tony Leung.

Originally published by GIA on October 5th 2016

Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technology has accelerated over the last several years, and the rapidly improving techniques have produced large, high-quality near-colorless and colorless synthetic diamonds. Two samples over 3 carats were reported in early 2016 as the largest CVD synthetics. GIA recently tested a CVD-grown synthetic diamond that weighed over 5 carats, marking a significant milestone.

The 5.19 ct cushion modified brilliant measuring 10.04 × 9.44 × 6.18 mm was submitted to GIA’s Hong Kong laboratory for grading service. The stone was not disclosed as a synthetic diamond. Using the lab’s standard screening and testing processes, it was identified as CVD synthetic. Following examination, a GIA Identification Report was issued and the stone was inscribed on the girdle with the report number and the words “Laboratory Grown,” following GIA’s protocols for undisclosed synthetics.

This is the largest CVD synthetic diamond GIA has examined to date, and the largest reported in the jewelry industry. It had J-equivalent color grade and VS2-equivalent clarity, comparable to a high-quality natural counterpart. Natural-looking internal inclusions such as needles and clouds were the major features. Strong graining and a fracture in the table were also clearly observed under the microscope. The black inclusions that are often found in synthetic diamond, were not found in this CVD specimen. This stone could have easily been mistakenly identified as natural based on microscopic examination alone. This case highlights the importance of using advanced spectroscopic instruments as well as conventional gemological techniques to ensure an accurate identification. Link to Original Article

I will be writing more on the subject of lab grown diamonds in the coming days. If you are interested in the subject I would encourage you to join my mailing list! 

Giant Jade Stone Unearthed in Myanmar

The state of Kachin produces some of the best jade in the world

A giant jade stone weighing 175 tonnes has been uncovered by miners in Myanmar. The stone is 4.3m (14ft) high and 5.8m (19ft) long, and is reportedly worth an estimated $170m. It was found in a mine in the jade-producing Kachin state, in the north of the country.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, is the source of nearly all of the world's finest jadeite. The jade industry is responsible for nearly half of the country's GDP. 
One of the biggest markets for jade is in neighboring China, where it is known as the "stone of heaven".

Burmese Ruby, Jade Ban Officially Ended

The Jubilee Ruby: a 15.99-karat Burmese ruby and diamond ring by Verdura. Courtesy of Christie’s

Reported by JCK Magazine.


The 8-year-old sanctions on Burmese ruby and jade coming into the United States were officially lifted by an executive order dated Oct. 7.

President Obama signaled his intention to lift the ban last month.

The timing was auspicious—leaders of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) and Jewelers of America were on a trade mission to Myanmar (formerly Burma) when the sanctions were lifted.

“We have had an amazing reaction from the top down,” says Jeffrey Bilgore, AGTA president. “This is a country coming out of the darkness of 50 years of military rule and eager to participate in the new order. We have met everyone from the smallest artisanal miner to the members of parliament. And they are really excited to be part of the gem community. It’s a big relief and a long time coming.”

Jewelers and their customers will benefit from greater access to choice gems, he says.

“Customers are still asking for Burma rubies,” Bilgore says. “After eight years of no longer being able to import, it will have an impact.”

The leaders acknowledged that the Burmese jade sector remains problematic, and they were mostly focused on reestablishing ties with the gem business. (In addition to rubies, Myanmar produces sapphires, topaz, and other gems.)

“The gem sector has always operated in a very different way than the jade sector,” Bilgore says. “There is still an awful lot of work to do there. The gemstone sector can be a model to the jade sector in helping to modify their practices.”

Another mission participant, AGTA CEO Doug Hucker, says that local miners were eager to do business responsibly.

“We have made recommendations to them,” he says. “Across the board they have been receptive. Everyone wants to do business in the right way. It’s ingrained in their philosophy, their religion.”

Jewelers of America president and CEO David Bonaparte, also on the mission, says that his members were anxious to “get the ball rolling” and “reintroduce gems from Burma in their stores.”

Bilgore says that the local reaction to the sanctions’ lifting was ecstatic.

“This is the proudest gem valley in the world,” he says. “It goes back 1,000 years. America is the largest gem-consuming market in the world and [the country hasn’t] been able to sell us rubies for eight years. They are happy to come out from the darkness, come out from the cloud.”

Also on the trade mission: James Shigley from the Gemological Institute of America; Timothy Haake of Haake Fetzer, senior counsel to JA; and a representative of the Inle Advisory Group, a Myanmar-centric business consulting firm.

The ban on the importation of rubies and jade into the United States came into effect with the passage of the JADE Act in 2008. When that law expired in 2013, President Obama issued an executive order that year keeping the ruby and jade ban in place.

Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis Gold Cuff Bracelets Wedding Gift coming up at Heritage Auctions

BEVERLY HILLS — A pair of dazzling Gold Cuff Bracelets by Van Cleef & Arpels, gifted by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to Nina Straight, her step-sister and maid of honor when she married John F. Kennedy in 1953, are expected to sell for $40,000 in Heritage Auctions' Contemporary Designer Jewels Auction Sept. 26 in Beverly Hills. Kennedy Onassis surprised Straight with the bracelets when she served as Straight's maid of honor 21 years later. 

"They were a gift from Jackie for my wedding to Michael Straight in 1974," Straight said for an exclusive interview with Heritage Auctions' Intelligent Collector Magazine. "We were married at St. John's Cathedral in New York. Jackie gave them to me at the luncheon after the ceremony."

The cuffs matched a pair Kennedy Onassis often wore. "Jackie loved hers so much that she bought me a pair knowing I would enjoy them equally," Straight said. "I always viewed myself as Jackie's 'Sancho Panza' or sidekick. We had so much fun. Ours was a very close relationship."

Jill Burgum, Senior Director of Jewelry at Heritage said there is no telling how the collecting public will respond to a pair of cuffs gifted by the First Lady to someone so special to her life. The pair Kennedy Onassis gifted to Straight are marked 47 and 48. A bracelet from Kennedy Onassis' own pair sold previously is marked No. 50, so it is very likely that she purchased both limited edition sets at the same time and gave Straight the earlier pair, Burgum said.

"Nina was Jackie's step-sister so this was a very important and thoughtful gift by a former First Lady, who was known as an icon of American fashion," Burgum said. "Nina said she hopes they are purchased by someone equally as 'fun loving'."

The cuffs and the rest of the lots from Heritage Auction's upcoming September 26th sale can be viewed on their website.

Diamonds Unleashed For Serena Williams

Serena Williams

The DIAMONDS UNLEASHED FOR SERENA WILLIAMS jewelry collection debuted September 12, 2016 during New York Fashion Week. The collection accompanied Serena Williams’ new fall collection on the runway during her fashion show. The trend-forward jewelry collection is available in silver tone, gold tone or copper tone. Jewelry from the collection includes a diamond accented bangle, a diamond accented knuckle corset ring and a double band choker. Each piece from the DIAMONDS UNLEASHED FOR SERENA WILLIAMS collection features a responsibly mined and produced diamond from CanadaMark.

THE DIAMONDS UNLEASHED VISION

Williams has partnered with Kara Ross’ Diamonds Unleashed organization, to create a beautiful and unique display of the jeweler’s talent, re-defining the act of purchasing diamonds and supporting women’s empowerment. Through Kara Ross’s vision for DIAMONDS UNLEASHED, the symbol of a diamond is extended to stand for women’s strength, independence and solidarity. Each piece celebrates individuality and empowerment — both for the women who designed them and for the woman who wears them.

The result is a line of cuff bracelets, choker necklaces, hoop earrings and rings that are gold-plated, some displaying responsibly mined CanadaMark diamond accents. The collection will retail starting at $169.90 and capping at $419.90. 

The designs are bold and fashion-forward with a nod to athletic inspiration via a lace-up motif. Each piece subtly incorporates the Diamond Unleashed logo, which Ross designed as a symbol of women’s empowerment. 

To further support the independence of the next generation of women, DIAMONDS UNLEASHED donates its net profits to multiple nonprofit partners, including She’s the First and Girls Who Code. Both organizations support women’s education and help women fulfill their potential by unleashing their talents. 

The U.K. Bans Queen Victoria’s Coronet From Leaving British Soil

Queen Victoria's coronet (Courtesy of the U.K. Department for Culture, Media and Sport.)

Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, had a small crown (called a coronet) made for her as a wedding present. The silver coronet was studded with hundreds of small diamonds and topped off with 11 large, blue sapphires. The coronet’s current owner has now put the artifact up for auction. This has sparked a fear that a foreign buyer might try take it out of the U.K. British officials are now doing everything they can to try and ensure that one of her crowns does not leave British soil. “Queen Victoria’s coronet is stunning. It is one of the most iconic jewels from a pivotal period in our history and symbolizes one of our nation’s most famous love stories,” British Minister of State for digital and culture, Matt Hancock says in a statement. “I hope that we are able to keep the coronet in the U.K. and on display for the public to enjoy for years to come.”

The coronet is seen as both a symbol of her reign as well as of her relationship with Prince Albert. She wore it in official portraits, as well as in 1866, when she attended the State Opening of Parliament for the first time since her husband’s death five years before instead of the traditional coronation crown, the BBC reports.

Officials began to worry about what might happen to the iconic coronet when the current owner put it up for auction and applied for an export license. In an attempt to give some patriotic British buyer time to put in a competitive bid, Hancock has placed a temporary export ban on the coronet through December 27, 2016, though it has the option of being extended through June 2017 if a buyer demonstrates that they can raise money to cover the $6.5 million asking price, as well as $1.3 million in taxes on the sale. “Its departure would be a great loss, given its beauty, its associations and its history,” Philippa Glanville, a member of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, says in a statement. It is unclear what will happen if the deadline passes without someone stepping up and promising to keep the crown in the country.

Source

75 Pound "Good Luck Charm" May Be The World's Largest Pearl

The pearl is believed to be the biggest ever found. The authenticity of the pearl still must be verified by a gemologist for it to be named the world's largest.

Yesterday, mollusk mania took hold of the internet when reports surfaced of a massive pearl discovered in the Philippines. The 75-pound pearl was reportedly discovered by a fisherman about a decade ago when his anchor accidentally snagged a giant clam, G. Clay Whittaker reports for Popular Science. When he reeled it in, he was surprised to find a pearl nearly as big as the clam itself and kept it for years as a good luck charm.

While the pearl’s size may be stunning, the process that made it is more or less the same as the tiny ones worn on a string. When an object like a grain of sand gets stuck inside a mollusk’s shell, it can irritate the soft-bodied animal, which prompts it to start forming layers of calcium carbonate around the annoyance, according to Ellen Strong, a research zoologist at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

“It’s a natural process,” Strong tells Smithsonian.com. “The process of making a pearl is the outcome of making its shell.”

Though pearls are rarely found in clams, in theory it’s possible for nearly any shelled mollusk to make a pearl. All of these creatures harvest calcium carbonate from the water around them, which they use to form their hard, protective shells. Making a pearl is similar to creating the shell, but the layers of calcium carbonate encapsulate a foreign object instead of the mollusk’s own body.

“It’s like getting a splinter,” Strong says. “You don’t want to leave it in there. But unlike us, they don’t have opposable thumbs to help them pull it out.”

The pearl-making process isn’t just used to give the mollusk some relief from an abrasive object poking it in the soft parts—it can help fend off parasites as well. Mollusks are often the targets of parasites that bore into their shells in order to munch on the soft meat inside, but the same reaction that creates a pearl can also seal off these invaders and patch up the shell.

“It’s a defense mechanism like an immune response in humans,” Strong says. “It’s one of the options that it has to handle something that causes problems.”

The “Pearl of Puerto,” as local officials refer to the massive Philippine pearl, is certainly notable for its unusual size. While it still has to be confirmed by a gemologist, if it is a true pearl it could be the largest ever found, the BBC reports. By using x-rays to peer inside to its center, experts can count the gem’s growth rings, which are similar to those in a tree and can be used to estimate how long the giant clam worked to make this gigantic gem.

Pearls that are farmed, or cultured, grow to around a centimeter wide within a year, says Strong. Considering the size of the Pearl of Puerto, the giant clam had been worrying at it for quite some time.

Originally Reported by Smithsonian Magazine

AGTA & JA Adds Spinel as an Official Birthstone for August

Red, pink, lilac, and blue are commercially important spinel colors.

Red, pink, lilac, and blue are commercially important spinel colors.

If you are an August baby that has bemoaned your peridot birthstone in the past you're in luck. this year the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), the authoritative source on natural colored gemstones, and Jewelers of America (JA), the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry marketplace, have announced that spinel will join the official list of birthstones as an additional gemstone for the month of August.

The new birthstone launched to consumers in July, through a public relations and marketing campaign led by JA, which established the modern birthstone list in 1912. 

"At certain moments in history, when there is a strong call from gem enthusiasts to expand the list of official birthstones, Jewelers of America believes in recognizing the importance of historically significant gemstones and giving gemstone lovers a choice that suits their preferences," says JA President & CEO David J. Bonaparte. "Spinel is a welcome addition to August's peridot birthstone, sure to be embraced by both jewelers and the jewelry consuming public."

"Ancient gemstone merchants revered spinel, and it was widely sought after by royalty. It was then known as 'Balas Ruby'," says AGTA CEO Douglas Hucker. "It wasn't until the late 18th century that we developed the technology acumen necessary to distinguish spinel as a separate mineral from ruby. We are very excited to announce it as the newest member of the official birthstone list."

Two notable examples of spinel's historical significance include a 170-carat red spinel, known as the famed "Black Prince Ruby," that graces the Imperial State Crown in the British Crown Jewels; and a 398-carat red spinel - considered the largest ever found -atop the Imperial Crown of Russia, commissioned by Catherine the Great in 1763.

"Spinel is an incredible gemstone that has garnered respect for centuries, and it is enjoying surging popularity because of its stunning range of colors," remarks AGTA President Jeffrey Bilgore. 

"Birthstones have their roots far back in recorded history, strongly influenced by biblical teaching and related to the 12 stones in the breast plate of Aaron as well as the lunar calendar," explains Hucker.

This is the third update to modern birthstone list since it was officially created in 1912 by the American National Retail Jewelers Association, now known as Jewelers of America. It was updated in 1952, adding alexandrite, citrine, tourmaline and zircon as birthstones, and again in 2002, when Tanzanite was made an additional December birthstone. 

Jewelers of America
AGTA

AGTA Spectrum Award Winners

This suite of round brilliant demantoid garnets weighing 24.67 total carats won Best of Show in this year’s AGTA Spectrum Awards.

This suite of round brilliant demantoid garnets weighing 24.67 total carats won Best of Show in this year’s AGTA Spectrum Awards.

Judging for this year’s Spectrum Awards took place Saturday and Sunday in New York. For the first time the competition was held in the summer rather than the fall. This was the second year in a row that an entry in the 'Cutting Edge' category took best in show. The design contests highest honor was given to a suite of round brilliant Russian demantoid garnets weighing a total of 24.67 carats cut by Ruben Bindra of B&B Fine Gems (see above photo).

This year’s judges were: Gail Brett-Levine of National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, Diane Garmendia of 33 Jewels at El Paseo, Jay Mednikow of J.H. Mednikow & Co., Inc. Victor Velyan of Victor-Christy Studios and Lew Wackler of Lew Wackler Gem Co.

The winners will be receiving their awards during the 2017 AGTA GemFair in Tucson (Jan. 31 to Feb. 5) at the Tucson Convention Center. Winning entries will be displayed during the show and the award winners will be recognized during the Spectrum Awards Gala on Feb 4.

Winners of the 2016 Summer AGTA Spectrum Awards:

“Best of” Category
Best of Show: Ruben Bindra, B & B Fine Gems
Best Use of Color: Derek Katzenbach, Katzenbach Designs
Best Use of Pearls: Judy Evans, Oliver & Espig Gallery of Fine Arts
Best Use of Platinum and Color: Kathy Kinev, Jewel Creations Inc.
Fashion Forward: Lorenzo Chavez, Geogem-USA 

Bridal Wear
First Place and Platinum Honors: Ricardo Basta, E. Eichberg Inc. 
Second Place: Alexia Connellan, Alexia Connellan Luxury Jewelry
Third Place: Caroline Chartouni, Caroline C
Honorable Mention: Jessica Neiwert, Jessica Nei
Honorable Mention: Samuel Sulimanov, Samuel Sylvio Designs
Manufacturing Honors: Dennis de Jonghe, deJonghe Original Jewelry
Gem Diva Award: Heena Chheda Shah, Real Gems Inc.

Business/Day Wear
First Place: Ricardo Basta, E. Eichberg Inc. 
Second Place: T. Foster & Co. Fine Jewelers
Third Place: Zoltan David, Zoltan David LLC
Honorable Mention: Shuang Feng, Fon Shon Jewellery Art & Design
Honorable Mention: Patrick King, Jewelsmith
Manufacturing Honors: Llyn Strong, Llyn Strong Fine Art Jewelry
Platinum Honors: John Ford, Lightning Ridge Collection by John Ford
Entry Platinum Innovation: Jill Maurer, Jill Maurer
Gem Diva Award: Naomi Sarna, Naomi Sarna Designs

Classical
First Place: Niveet Nagpal, Omi Gems Inc.
Second Place: Niveet Nagpal, Omi Gems Inc.
Third Place: Alexia Connellan, Alexia Connellan Luxury Jewelry
Honorable Mention and Entry Platinum Innovation: Lindsay Jane, Lindsay Jane Designs
Honorable Mention and Gem Diva Award: Heena Chheda Shah, Real Gems Inc.
Manufacturing Honors: Dominique Israileff, ASBA USA Inc.
Platinum Honors: Zoltan David, Zoltan David LLC

Evening Wear
First Place: David Gross, David Gross Groups
Second Place: Phillip Dismuke, Jewelsmith
Third Place: Robert Pelliccia, J.R. Dunn Jewelers
Honorable Mention: Erica Courtney, Erica Courtney Inc.
Honorable Mention: Sinork Agdere, Lord Jewelry
Manufacturing Honors: Llyn Strong, Llyn Strong Fine Art Jewelry
Platinum Honors: John Ford, Lightning Ridge Collection by John Ford
Gem Diva Award: Alexia Connellan, Alexia Connellan

Men’s Wear
First Place and Platinum Honors: Mark Schneider, Mark Schneider Design
Second Place: William Travis, William Travis Jewelry
Third Place: Craig Slavens, Studio 247 Fine Jewelry
Honorable Mention and Entry Platinum Innovation: William Travis, William Travis Jewelry 

The winners for the Cutting Edge Awards are as follows.

Carving
First Place: Naomi Sarna, Naomi Sarna Designs
Second Place: John Dyer, John Dyer & Co.
Third Place: Meg Berry, Mega Gem
Honorable Mention: Naomi Sarna, Naomi Sarna Designs

Classic Gemstone
First Place: Ruben Bindra, B & B Fine Gems
Second Place: Allen Kleiman, A. Kleiman & Co.
Third Place: Allen Kleiman, A. Kleiman & Co.
Honorable Mention: Ruben Bindra, B & B Fine Gems

Innovative Faceting
First Place: John Dyer, John Dyer & Co.
Second Place: John Dyer, John Dyer & Co.
Third Place: Ryan Joseph Anderson, Ryan Joseph Gems
Honorable Mention: Glenn Wm. Lehrer, Lehrer Designs Inc.

Objects of Art
Honorable Mention: Brenda Smith, Brenda Smith Jewelry
Honorable Mention: Neda Behnam, Samuel B. Collection

Pairs & Suites
First Place and Best of Show: Ruben Bindra, B & B Fine Gems
Second Place: Allen Kleiman, A. Kleiman & Co.
Third Place: Ben Kho, Kho International Ltd.
Honorable Mention: Allen Kleiman, A. Kleiman & Co.

Phenomenal
First Place: Gil International
Second Place: Robert Shapiro, Robert Shapiro
Third Place: Manu Nichani, Blue Moon Ent.
Honorable Mention: Robyn Dufty, DuftyWeis Opals Inc. 

All Other Faceted
First Place: Jeffrey R. Hapeman, Earth’s Treasury LLC
Second Place: Mikola Kukharuk, Nomad’s
Third Place: Ambassador Gems
Honorable Mention: Hemant Phophaliya, AG Color Inc.

The Palme d'Or is set to Shine at Cannes

The Palme d'Or is awarded each year to the best film at the Cannes International Film Festival. Since 1998, the award has been handcrafted by Chopard in their Geneva workshops. 
In 1997 Pierre Viot, President of the Festival at the time, asked Caroline Scheufele, the Co-President and Artistic Director, of Chopard if she would like to give the reward a kind of “makeover” and redesign the Palme d’Or. Chopard became an Official Partner of the Festival.
Scheufele decided to make the Palme d’Or “lighter while giving it greater volume and depth. She emphasized the veins in the stalk and the regulation 19 leaves, appearing to have been caught in mid-motion. She also designed the stalk so that it ended in the shape of a heart, one of Chopard’s jewellery emblems. Last but not least, the golden palm rests on a crystal cushion shaped like an emerald-cut diamond. This precious detail makes each Palme d’Or unique, for Mother Nature never creates two identical crystals…”
Chopard has been part of the “green carpet” movement aimed at promoting sustainable development in the luxury sector as a result the Palme d'Or has been crafted in certified “Fairmined” gold since 2014.

Britain Did Not Steal the Kohinoor Diamond says Indian Government

Day before yesterday, for the first time the Indian government said that Britain did not steal the famous Kohinoor diamond. 
The 105-carat Kohinoor diamond, which is part of the British crown jewels, sits in the Tower of London. The stone has been a point of controversy and disagreement between India and Britain ever since it was taken from the Punjab and presented to Queen Victoria in 1849. India’s top court held the hearing as a response to a public petition calling on New Delhi to spell out its policy on the gem.

This long standing dispute appears to be at an end as of April 17th when India’s solicitor-general told a judge that, in the opinion of the culture ministry, the diamond had not been “forcibly taken” but was a gift."Kohinoor cannot be said to be forcibly taken or stolen as it was given by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to East India Company in 1849 as compensation for helping them in the Sikh wars," said Ranjit Kumar.

The massive Kohinoor diamond is thought to have been mined in southern India in the 1300s. Over the centuries it changed hands many times passing from Mughal emperors, Afghan warlords and Indian Maharajas. Because of the tragic and bloody fates of previous owners the Kohinoor, which means Mountain of Light, came to be feared as “cursed”. The 105 carat jewel was in the possession of the rulers of Punjab's Sikh Empire when the Anglo-Sikh wars broke out in the late 1840s.

The jewel was in the possession of the rulers of Punjab's Sikh Empire when the Anglo-Sikh wars broke out in the late 1840s. The East India Company, acting for the British Crown, aided the Maharaja in securing victory and the Maharaja subsequently presented the diamond as compensation under the Treaty of Lahore. The diamond now adorns the queen consort’s crown. 

At the court hearing Mr. Kumar cited a 43-year-old law that does not allow the government to bring back antiquities taken out of the country before independence unless they were illegally exported. The reason for the apparent reversal in position was not immediately clear, although Mr Kumar told the court that if India claimed treasures like Kohinoor from other countries, “every other nation will start claiming their items from us”.  Pakistan has also argued ownership of the diamond, saying that the area of the Punjab where the jewel was taken from is actually in present-day Pakistan.

Mr. Kumar's statement is quite similar to comments made by David Cameron during a visit to India in 2010, when he was asked if Britain would ever return the gem. Britain has always maintained that the diamond was "legitimately acquired”, and its ownership "non-negotiable." "If you say yes to one you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty,” said the Prime Minister. "I think I'm afraid to say, to disappoint all your viewers, it's going to have to say put."

The solicitor-general's comments were criticized by many Indians. “The Kohinoor is the essence of the country. They should bring back to India, it is the responsibly of the central government” said Anthony Raju of the All India Human Rights & Social Justice Front, an NGO. “This jewel has been taken by the British people. It was looted, not gifted. Maybe it’s just too difficult for the government to get it back.”  

The Kohinoor diamond, set in the Maltese Cross at the front of the Queen Mother's crown CREDIT: ROYAL COLLECTION TRUST

Shirley Temple's Blue Diamond

ShirleyTemple1

The blue diamond ring that belonged to child-star-turned-diplomat Shirley Temple is going up for auction at Sotheby’s next month.
The 9.54 carat stone was bought by the former Hollywood actress’s father around her 12th birthday for $7,210 in 1940 and it became a favored piece of jewelry. 
Shirley Temple Temple began her film career in 1932 at the age of three and in 1934 she found international fame in Bright Eyes. She was well known for her bouncy curls and outgoing personality (she was cute as a button!). From 1935 through 1938 she was Hollywood’s biggest box office star. 
As Shirley Temple Black, she had a long career in public service and was the US ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She was also appointed as Chief of Protocol by President Gerald Ford in 1976 and was involved in preparations for President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration. 
She died in February 2014 at the age of 85 at home in Woodside, California.

Blue Diamond Ring being Auctioned by Sotheby's in April

Blue Diamond Ring being Auctioned by Sotheby's in April

BLUE DIAMOND RING On a Model's hand

BLUE DIAMOND RING On a Model's hand

Shirley Temple Black as US Ambassador 

Shirley Temple Black as US Ambassador 

The stone has a pre-sale estimate of between $25 million and $35 million and is scheduled to go under the hammer on April 19. 
According to Frank Everett, sales director for Sotheby’s jewelry department in New York the ring had been sold by her estate to a private buyer and that buyer was now putting it up for auction. The stone is in its original platinum and diamond setting. A gold setting that Temple had made for it will also be included.

Largest Blue HPHT Synthetic Diamond in GIA Lab

A 5.03 ct Fancy Deep blue HPHT synthetic diamond was examined by GIA (left). Faint but sharp color zoning was observed (middle, field of view 4.77 mm) along with small metallic inclusions and a cavity at the girdle (right, field of view 2.19 mm). Photos by Sood (Oil) Judy Chia (left) and Kyaw Soe Moe (center and right)

A 5.03 ct Fancy Deep blue HPHT synthetic diamond was examined by GIA (left). Faint but sharp color zoning was observed (middle, field of view 4.77 mm) along with small metallic inclusions and a cavity at the girdle (right, field of view 2.19 mm). Photos by Sood (Oil) Judy Chia (left) and Kyaw Soe Moe (center and right)

The largest faceted colorless HPHT-grown synthetic diamond reported to date is a 10.02 ct E-color, VS1-clarity specimen, cut from a 32.26-carat piece of rough, was reported by IGI Hong Kong in 2015. The diamond was grown by NDT, or New Diamond Technology, is one of the founding members of the new International Grown Diamond Association. Recently, large colorless and near-colorless HPHT-grown diamonds by the Russian company have been investigated by GIA laboratories. The sizes ranged up to up to 5.11 ct. In January 2016, GIA’s New York laboratory examined a 5.03 ct fancy-color HPHT-grown type IIb synthetic diamond produced by NDT. this is the largest faceted blue laboratory-grown diamond studied so far. 

The notes from GIA's lab report stated that the 5.03-carat diamond exhibited a number of traits characteristic of diamonds grown using the high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) process, including color zoning and a cuboctahedral growth pattern. The stone was graded a VS1, fancy deep blue. 

"This emerald-cut synthetic diamond was color graded as Fancy Deep blue. This is a very attractive color with no other color component, a prized rarity among natural type IIb diamonds (the Blue Moon, for instance, was graded as Fancy Vivid blue). When viewed under a microscope, faint but sharp color zoning could be seen, indicative of the uneven impurity incorporation of HPHT synthetic diamonds. No strain was observed under crossed polarizers, indicating a very low dislocation density, which is also characteristic of HPHT-grown diamonds. It had VS1 clarity, with only very small metallic inclusions and a cavity observed at the girdle. Fluorescence and phosphorescence images collected using a DiamondView instrument revealed the sample’s cuboctahedral growth pattern, another feature of HPHT synthetics. The long-lasting chalky blue phosphorescence was further analyzed using spectroscopy, and the emission was found to originate from two broad bands centered at approximately 500 and 575 nm (figure 2, right). These bands have previously been reported in NDT’s type IIa and IIb HPHT synthetic diamonds (D’Haenens-Johansson et al., 2015). "

The evaluation of a lab-grown blue diamond of this size is considered by the researchers to be so significant that they opted to publish Lab Notes online ahead of the next quarterly edition of Gems & Gemology.  

To read Lab Notes GIA.edu