$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.
 

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.

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! 

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.

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 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.

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

Van Cleef & Arpels: Midnight Nuit Lumineuse watch

Photo courtesy of Hodinkee

Van Cleef & Arpels' innovative Midnight Nuit Lumineuse was inspired by the glittering of of the stars. The scene depicted in the watch unfolds against a background of aventurine glass and diamond stars, and various constellations are traced out in the white miniature painting. Then, as if by magic, it lights up in a remarkable way.

While the scene is inspired by the wonders of nature, the watch itself is a marvel of human ingenuity. The illumination is thanks to the use of the piezoelectricity phenomenon. The phenomenon of piezoelectricity has been studied since the 18th century. The term refers to the ability of certain materials to accumulate an electric charge when they are subjected to mechanical stress. This is the first Poetic Complications™ watch that creates a luminous motif illuminating the dial. The Midnight Nuit Lumineuse watch contains a strip of ceramic which, when caused to vibrate by the movement, mechanically generates electrical energy. This is used to power six electroluminescent diodes which – on demand – back-light the six diamonds visible on the dial. I think we can all agree that the effect is magical!

The Victoria's Secret Fireworks Fantasy Bra

Yesterday, Lily Aldridge was revealed as the wearer of Victoria’s Secret 2015 Fantasy Bra. And that same day, the Angel was at a Victoria’s Secret store in Los Angeles to unveil the bra and belt designed by renowned jeweler Mouawad. Valued at over $2 million, the Fireworks Fantasy Bra is certainly a sight to see!

The bra and detachable belt are adorned with more than 6,500 gemstones, including diamonds, blue topaz, yellow sapphires and pink quartz, all set in 18-karat gold. Vogue reported the bra’s total weight is just under 1,364 carats, with diamonds comprising 375 of those carats.

 



Buyer's Beware: Fake Pink Sapphire Discovered after 16 Years

pinksapphirefake

Recently a truly buyer beware story has come out of Delaware where a woman has found out she’d been showing off a fake on her finger for the last 16 years. An expert deemed the pink sapphire in the ring her husband had bought for her birthday was worth only $30, instead of the $12,500 the couple thought.
They couple are now suing the jeweler who sold the diamond-and-sapphire ring to the husband in 1999. They are claiming the husband paid $9,000 just for the stone alone, yet it's value would have been allegedly only $10 according at that time, according to The News Journal.
“I was extremely proud of that ring,” the woman said. “I wore it a lot and got an awful lot of compliments. And all these years, I was wearing that fake. I feel like a fool showing off that ring. I can’t get that out of my head. Here all that excitement and Sam spent all that money, and it’s a fake.”
The husband has sued the business and its owners, seeking $37,000 to replace the ring, plus another $2,500 that he paid in insurance over 15 years. The jewelers had offered to replace the stone, but the woman said she didn’t want another sapphire from them.
The lawsuit in Delaware Court of Common Pleas alleges the business owners engaged in deceptive trade practices and breached their contract to sell a natural pink sapphire.
The jewelers responded to the lawsuit saying the couple’s claim is barred by the statute of limitations, and that the owners extended no warranties to the man when he bought the ring. They say the claim is because of wrongdoing by a Pennsylvania appraiser, and have filed a third-party lawsuit against that company.

This is yet another illustration of the importance of finding and consulting a qualified gemologist-jewelry appraiser at the time of purchase. If you have doubts or are considering a major gemstone purchase please consider a second opinion from a non-biased third party who is an expert in the field of gemstone identification! Take the "beware" out of buyer beware and purchase with confidence. 
You can find qualified gemologist-jewelry appraisers through national organizations such as NAJA.

 

Kathleen Marino MA, GG, AJP, NAJA

Doyle's New York to Hold Auction in LA

Continuing the westward move of auction houses Doyle will hold its Inaugural West Coast Auction in Beverly Hills on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 10am. These important sales address an entire demographic that has been ignored in the past by the established Eastern houses. 
The sale of Fine Jewelry will feature exquisite designs by such prestigious makers as Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Bulgari and Tiffany & Co. Comprising over 250 lots, the sale showcases jewelry set with diamonds, colored gemstones and pearls, as well as gold jewelry, fine watches and gentlemen's accessories.
One star of the show will be the dazzling collection of jewelry once owned by film star Mae West, comprising a circa 1950 platinum and diamond bracelet-watch by Fred and a platinum, moonstone and diamond ring.

AGTA Spectrum Awards 2015

The 2015 AGTA Spectrum award winners were announced. The categories cover everything from objects of art, faceted stones, carved stones, and jewelry for every occasion you can think of. 
Here is just a taste of the entries that I thought were truly spectacular. 

1st Place Cut Stones: Phenomenal category, Robert Shapiro Madison, WI
Natural split pair of boulder Opals (60.50 ctw.).

Editors' Choice: Evening Wear Gregore Joailliers Santa Barbara, CA
18K white gold "Sometime This Spring"
earrings featuring Mexican fire Opals (68.88 ctw.) accented with round Diamonds (2.19 ctw.).

Honorable Mention: Men's Wear William Travis Jewelry Chapel Hill, NC
18K yellow gold and sterling silver ring featuring a 13.17 ct. Citrine.

    
1st Place Carving Naomi Sarna Designs New York, NY
"Rose de France" Amethyst carving (1015 ctw.).

    
2nd Place Evening Wear Erica Courtney, Inc.  Los Angeles, CA
18K yellow gold "Milky Way" earrings featuring Opal drops
(46.06 ctw.) accented with Diamonds (1.98 ctw.) and Paraiba Tourmalines (2.03 ctw.).