$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.
 

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".

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

Ron Arad Rocks!

Ron Arad, Hot Ingo, 2016, Earrings, silver & red laser sintered polyamide, edition of 100

24 February - 8 April 2016 Louisa Guinness Gallery will be hosting Ron Arad Rocks!; a solo exhibition of new jewellery by internationally renowned artist, architect and designer Ron Arad. The exhibition will offer unique and editioned works including necklaces, bracelets and earrings made from silicon, laser sintered polyamide, quartz, gold and silver.

 Ron Arad (1951) is among the most respected and influential designers working today, he is celebrated for his fluid, curvaceous style, crafting deceptively simple, highly skilled pieces from materials such as aluminium, bronze and steel. Arad's work cannot be easily categorized as he is constantly reinventing the everyday object, transforming it into something daring, witty and provocative. Bookshelves wind their way up walls, tables curve up corners, chairs unravel like ribbon, all retaining their essential function while questioning their perceived limitations. His penchant for playful but daring designs is also reflected in Ron's jewelry work. 
 
Far from the precious stones the title suggests, Arad's Rocks series are made from solid silicon. Though the silicon is soft and pliable to the touch, each piece appears heavy and dangerously jagged; the effect is of bare shards of glass hanging a breath from the wearer's skin.  Not until the viewer has the piece in their hands are they able to detect Arad's sophisticated manipulation of silicon. Far from smashing and threading glass, he chips away at a plain of prepared silicon, shaving each fragment off. 

NAJA, FREE HAND, 2015
vermeil with amethyst, smoky, rutilated or quartz lens

The impression of opaque or colored glass is created by dropping lengths of colored or graphically patterned silk into the silicon, adding an ingenious layer to the optical illusion. Sculpted by the hands of the maker each work is unique varying in shape, color and form.
 
The Hot Ingo earrings and Hot Ingo Necklace derive from Arad's early experimentation with laser sintered polyamide and rapid prototyping in Not made by hand not made in China launched in Milan over a decade ago. One step in the artist's long exploration of what computers and machines are able to achieve, the necklace and earrings take their name and inspiration from Arad's long standing friend and collaborator Ingo Maurer.
 
"I have always been inspired by Ron's work," says Guinness."I am astonished by his consistent ability to solve practical problems with simplicity, intelligence and aesthetic panache. Take Naja not only beautiful and wearable but an ingenious solution to the middle aged drama of short sightedness."
 
Naja, the final series, is a magnifying glass pendant made of a solid quartz lens, surrounded by a serpentine coil of silver or vermeil. The work is named after the distinctive "be-spectacled" markings on the hood of a Naja cobra. Not only a beautiful object, artwork and jewel, with a typically Aradian twist it can also be used to decipher a cocktail menu.

Ron Arad Rocks: A Selection of New Jewellery on view 24 February - 8 April 2016 at the Louisa Guinness Gallery
FIRST FLOOR, 45 CONDUIT STREET LONDON W1S 2YN


Images COPYRIGHT © 2016 LOUISA GUINNESS GALLERY

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

Excavation Reveals a 2,000-year-old Natural Pearl Found in Australia

Australian scientists said Wednesday that they have uncovered a "very rare" 2,000-year-old natural sea pearl while excavating a remote coastal Aboriginal site. The pearl is the first found on the continent. 

Australia's University of Wollongong on June 3, 2015: a "very rare" 2,000-year-old natural pearl (the first found on the vast island continent) uncovered while excavating a remote coastal Aboriginal site

Australia's University of Wollongong on June 3, 2015: a "very rare" 2,000-year-old natural pearl (the first found on the vast island continent) uncovered while excavating a remote coastal Aboriginal site

Kat Szabo, an associate professor at the University of Wollongong said that archaeologists came across the pearl while excavating the site on the north Kimberley coast of Western Australia.

"Natural pearls are very rare in nature and we certainly -- despite many, many (oyster) shell middens being found in Australia -- we've never found a natural pearl before," Szabo, who specialises in studying shells at archaeological sites, told AFP.

The discovery's location is particularily significant because "the Kimberley coast of Australia is synonymous with pearling, and has been for the better part of the last century, " says Szabo 

The pink-and-gold-coloured pearl is almost completely spherical, and measures five-millimeters in  diameter. Because the pearl was nearly perfect round researchers were able to use a micro CT scan to test its age as well as prove that is was naturally occurring rather than a modern cultured pearl.

Pearl producing oysters have been used in rainmaking ceremonies in indigenous cultures, and their shells have been found in the central desert more than 930 miles away. Archaeologists have known about the rainmaking rituals but were not aware of how far back in history they had been practiced until now.

"Studying the pearl has led us to the study of the layer in which it's found," Szabo said.

"In indigenous terms, that's telling a really interesting story about a cultural tradition to do with pearl shells which we knew historically but we've never been able to prove that it went back into the past." 

The pearl is set to go on display at the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Perth later this month, with details of the find published in the Australian Archaeology journal.

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA

 

'Sunrise Ruby' Steals the Show at Sotheby's Auction

sunrise

The “Sunrise Ruby,” a 25.59-carat untreated pigeon’s blood red-colored stone set a new world auction record for price paid for a ruby on Tuesday at the Sotheby's Geneva sale. The ruby was initially estimated to sell at between $12-$18 million but bidding soared to $30.3 million, demolishing the existing ruby auction record that was held by the $8.6 million sale of the “Graff Ruby.” The ring also set a record for the price paid for a jewel by Cartier. It was sold to an million to an anonymous buyer.
The high price of the ruby heavily contributed to the Sotheby’s Magnificent and Noble Jewels auction which the highest-ever total for any jewelry auction at $160.9 million, deposing the Christie’s November 2014 sale of Magnificent Jewels in Geneva, which totaled $150.2 million.

Also performing well but not meeting pre-sale expectations was the “Historic Pink." The 8.72-carat fancy vivid pink diamond sold for $15.9 million, below its pre-sale high estimate of $18 million.
David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s international jewelry division had this to say about the sale: 
“(The) record result is the reflection of outstanding quality of the pieces in the sale across the board,...The galleries have been brimming with collectors during our worldwide exhibitions, and this translated into lively bidding throughout the sale … with truly global demand for the finest diamonds, gemstones and signed pieces of the very highest order.”

The entirety of the auction results can be viewed at Sotheby's 

Exceptional 63.05-carat Diamond Found

Lucapa Diamond Company recovered an “exceptional” 63.05-carat, Type IIa diamond from its alluvial mining operations at the Lulo Diamond Concession in Angola. It is the biggest diamond recovered since Lucapa started commercial mining operations at the site in January and the company’s third-largest stone unearthed at Lulo, behind 131.40-carat and 95.45-carat stones (both of which also were Type IIa).

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA

Angola diamond

GIA to Host "Dreams of Diamonds" Exhibit

dreamsofdiamonds

The “Dreams of Diamonds” exhibit will be on view at the Gemological Institute of America from April 29 to May 11. It will feature 25 diamond pieces, including a pair of boots set with 1,527 carats of diamonds and a 50.05-carat flawless D-color diamond. More than 4,000 carats of diamonds will be on display. The exhibit coincides with a debut of a book on these stunning and unique pieces.
The book was put together by British photography and design team Alastair Laidlaw and Christine Marsden. It is a massive oversized ‘Super Book’ that features full print size images and weighs more than 30 pounds. The book took six years to complete, featuring the diamonds and jewelry in unusual, “dream-like” settings. 
The items featured in the book were provided by 12 of the world’s best-known diamantaires and designers. Seven of them: Adler Joailliers, Chatila, Chow Tai Fook, Diacore, Mouawad, and Munnu The Gem Palace, are loaning pieces for the exhibit at GIA. 
Appointments are necessary to see this exhibit. Head to GIA’s website for details.

The Graff Ruby Lead the Sotheby's Geneva Sale

The cushion-shaped ruby weighing 8.62 carats, set between triangular diamond shoulders within a mount decorated throughout with brilliant-cut diamonds,   size 59, signed Graff, together with an alternative ring mount, Graff. Photo Courtesy of Sothebys

The cushion-shaped ruby weighing 8.62 carats, set between triangular diamond shoulders within a mount decorated throughout with brilliant-cut diamonds, size 59, signed Graff, together with an alternative ring mount, Graff. Photo Courtesy of Sothebys

The November 12th, 2014 Sotheby's Geneva auction was lead by a truly magnificent pigeon-blood colored ruby known as the "Graff Ruby".  The ring was originally sold at auction nine years ago and was purchased by noted jeweller Laurence Graff for a record breaking price. He later named the ruby "The Graff Ruby". 
In Geneva the ring again fetched a record breaking amount (selling for $8,600,410). The ring was part of the Collection of Dimitri Mavrommatis (16 pieces) which also included a rare 27.54 carat step-cut Kashmir sapphire, as well as several pieces by contemporary jewelers, Graff and JAR (who was represented by a pair of superb sapphire, ruby and diamond earrings).

The step-cut sapphire weighing 27.54 carats, set between pear-shaped diamond shoulders  , size 53, together with an alternative ring mount, Graff. Photo Courtesy of Sothebys

The step-cut sapphire weighing 27.54 carats, set between pear-shaped diamond shoulders, size 53, together with an alternative ring mount, Graff. Photo Courtesy of Sothebys

The "Graff" Ruby information:
The piece was accompanied by Gübelin report stating that the ruby is of Burmese origin, with no indications of heating. The SSEF report together with a letter stating:
"The Graff Ruby...The described gemstones exhibits an impressive weight and purity, combined with a very pleasant shape and cutting style. The faint inclusions found by microscopic inspection represent the hallmarks of the reputed deposit of Mogok in Burma (Myanmar). The stone has been spared to exposure of thermal treatment and its clarity and colour are natural. Its vivid red, poetically referred to as 'pigeon blood' is due to a combination of well balanced trace elements in the stone, typical and characteristic for rubies of the Mogok gemstone tract. Natural Mogok rubies from this size, colour and clarity represent a great rarity and the Graff ruby with its combination of outstanding characteristics is a very exceptional gemstone."