Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have designed an $11,000 pair of black diamond, emerald and white gold serpent cufflinks for famed London luxury goods house Asprey to benefit a children's charity. The luxe accessories are the first item for men in the Protector Collection, the line of limited edition fine jewels and silver objects created by the couple in collaboration with Asprey which my colleague Deirdre Woollard reported on last fall. The design of the Protector black diamond serpent links with 18k white gold bases and emerald eyes is based on Jolie's reflection on the serpent as an iconic guardian and cultural symbol of family protection, inspired by a ring she was given while pregnant with the couple's first child Shiloh in 2006. Each piece in Protector Collection is a limited edition, handcrafted at Asprey's London flagship store in New Bond Street. The black diamond serpent cufflinks match rings, earrings and a pendant in the women's collection. All proceeds from the Protector Collection pieces are being donated to the Education Partnership For Children of Conflict (EPCC). Co-founded by Jolie, the organization raises awareness and funds to educate child victims of war, conflict and natural disasters.
Hong Kong's fall sales have been great for records, for Christie's in particular. After several were broken at the art auction this week, the gem scene was ignited. A pink diamond no larger than a chickpea went for $10.8 million, according to Bloomberg News. The stone had the second-highest rating available (potentially flawless) and a weight of 5 carats. It shattered the per-carat record set back in May. Back then, Hong Kong property investor Joseph Lau picked up a 7.03-carat blue diamond at an auction in Geneva for $10.5 million.
The pink diamond was sent under the gavel by Graff Diamonds, a London-based jeweler. The stone was sold to a phone bidder who beat out Liu Yiqian and his wife, Wang Wei. But, those two have bought enough already, right?
Overall, the 255 lots sold (an 89 percent sell rate) brought in HK$372 million, with the action pushed forward by mainland Chinese, a growing trend in the auction world this year. Donald May, a ruby and sapphire dealer based in Hong Kong, attended the auction and told Bloomberg, "There's a lot of mainland Chinese buying; either they didn't know what the items are worth or they wanted them so badly that price didn't matter." He believes that prices were pushed way out of control.Christie's]
In the same sale a 65.20-carat fancy intense yellow, cushion-shaped diamond pendant sold for nearly $1.04 million and a 4.42-carat fancy intense, square-cut green diamond ring sold for $783,000. The largest recorded fancy grayish-yellowish-green "chameleon" diamond in the world, cut into a 19.13 carat briolette and mounted as a pendant, sold for $987,000, setting a new world record price for a chameleon diamond.
Filed under: Jewelry
Marcos spent her birthday last week giving rice to the poor in an area outside of Manila. She told the AFP that her "birthday wish is that I be given more health and a longer life so I can devote myself to helping the Filipino poor." She addressed the crowds while wearing a pink dress, jade earrings, jade ring and a huge diamond ring. She has said that she is nearly broke after 23 years of conflict with the government. Her husband and dictator Ferdinand Marcos was ousted from power in 1986 (he came to power in 1965 as president and later declared martial law to hold on to his power) and died in 1989. Imelda herself once made a failed attempt at running for president. Marcos has faced many criminal and civil cases but so far only 683 million dollars of the reported billions amassed by the Marcoses have been returned to the government.
Filed under: Jewelry
The rare stone in question was a .59 carat red diamond from Australia's famous Argyle mine and it will be auctioned on September 16, 2009, in New York. Colored Stone Magazine reports that a winning bid at a September 16th auction in the Penthouse of the International Diamond Tower includes four other treasures, rings holding a .54 carat oval blue diamond, another with a 1.01-carat yellow diamond, a pink diamond ring and an enameled ladybug ring. The collection was created for Donald Palmieri of the Gemological Appraisal Association in New York who chose and bought the stones for the author's collection.
As the story goes by the time Palmieri had bought the raw materials for the collection, he had spent close to $1 million but the five-ring collection only has a minimum reserve of $400,000. In May 2006 the collection was appraised at $1,195,500 with the red diamond ring estimated at being worth $1 million.
Why did the jewelry never end up in the hunt? It's a curious tale. Software genius Michael Stadther had self-published the best-selling fantasy novel, "A Treasure Trove: A Fairy Tale About Real Treasure for Parents and Children of All Ages." Clues in the book led to a 18K gold tokens buried at various U.S. national parks which were then redeemed for fine jewelry pieces related to the book. The sequel called for clues hidden all over the world and Stadher wanted even more extravagantly enticing prices, hence the gathering of rare colored diamonds. Palmieri bought the diamonds and designer Aaron Basha began to create the pieces. But something happened on the way to the treasure hunt, Stadther and his publisher fell out and the treasure hunt was canceled.
A recent bankruptcy document on the Tweleve forum shines further light on the situation including the fact that the sequel was a failure, $200,000 was owed to Simon and Schuster and a movie deal with Paramount fell through. Now the rings are up for sale so that some money can be recouped. The rings were available at the JCK Show in Las Vegas earlier this month but did not sell there and so the auction has been scheduled for this fall.
Filed under: Jewelry
Jewel thieves have struck in Paris once again. BBC News reports that a man in a suit and a fedora went into the Chopard store on Place Vendome and forced the staff to give him 15 pieces of jewelry at gunpoint. His haul is worth mroe than $8 million. The hold-up took place in the mid-afternoon and lasted just a couple minutes. The dapper thief, estimated to be in his 50s, then simply walked out of the store. What a way to spend a weekend.
Gallery: Jewels Gone Missing
Bulgari is celebrating 125 years of legendary jewels with the first retrospective in the brand's history. "Between History and Eternity" 1884-2009 will open on May 20 at Il Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome and will be open to the public from May 22 to September 13, 2009. This comprehensive display will feature over 500 pieces of jewelry, watches and objets d'art. The pieces have come from Bulgari's Historical Archives as well as private collectors from all around the world. The retrospective will also feature a collection of never-before seen sketches, drawings and photographs of artists, aristocrats and celebrities who have worn Bulgari over the years.
The exhibition tells the story of the brand chronologically through eight galleries starting with a collection of silver works from the late 19th century crafted by Sotirio Bulgari, the Greek silversmith who founded the company. The original Bulgari moved to Rome in search of fortune, and these pieces represent the beginning of Bulgari. Other galleries will focus on Art Deco, jewels of the 1940s and 1950s, Bulgari's stylized pieces from the 1960s, the Pop Art pieces of the 1970s, the bold designs of the 1980s, pieces from the 1990s and finally a gallery that showcases the most magnificent creations of the new millennium, including a diamond necklace valued at over 20 million euros. An entire room will be reserved for Elizabeth Taylor's personal Bulgari collection: sixteen one-of-a-kind pieces including the diamond and 18 carat emerald brooch that Richard Burton gave Taylor as an engagement present in 1962. It was the only piece of jewelry that she wore for her first wedding with Burton on March 15, 1964 (and for the always-ornamented Taylor that's really saying something).
Francesco Trapani, CEO of the Bulgari Group says that "to visit the exhibition will be to embrace the entire history of a style that has endured for generations and transcended boundaries of every kind, passing down to our own time that unique taste for innovation and detail inspired by the heritage of ancient Greece and Rome, as well as the inexhaustible quest for new creative solutions that has made Bulgari one of the world's preeminent luxury brands."
Economic conditions aren't so dismal that records can't be set. Sotheby's just moved a flawless, rare blue diamond for nearly $9.5 million – proving that taste can prevail even when wallets are generally gripped shut.
The rectangular blue diamond weighs 7.03 carats and sold at the highest price per carat ever fetched at auction – a whopping $1,349,752 (including the commission to Sotheby's). It's also the most paid for a "fancy vivid blue diamond" ... I didn't realize that such records were tracked. The winner chose to remain anonymous (can you blame him or her?) who was bidding by phone. The auctioned ended with a veritable telephonic battle that lasted 15 minutes.
The record until the blue diamond went under the gavel was $7.9 million for 6.04 carats. It was set in October 2007 in Hong Kong. Sotheby's sold the last record-breaker, as well.
In all, the auction house moved $35.7 million in gems and jewelry from 266 lots – not counting another 80 that didn't sell.
David Bennett, the chairman of Sotheby's jewelry department covering Europe and the Middle East, remarked, "It is fantastic in this market and shows that these rare things are very much in demand."
No, David. What's fantastic is that such items are in demand and that people are still willing to pay for them!
Filed under: Jewelry
While debuting her new bridal gown collection at The Plaza on April 5, during Bridal Fashion Week, designer Anne Bowen (of evening wear fame), revealed a non-traditional, glamorous bridal jewelry collection to complement the elegantly simple aesthetic of her structured gowns.
I was there for the gowns' and jewels' debut, and I agree with Bowen's feeling that it's a nice change to see some drama and color in bridal jewelry. Not all brides wish to wear diamonds or pearls, and with a simple dress, as many of Bowen's are, a pop of color in a dramatic piece of jewelry can be all a bride needs to complete her look and make it her own.
The handmade, 18-karat collection of gemstone and diamond necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and commitment rings are made from bold cuts of rich colored semiprecious and precious stones including peridot, amethyst, blue topaz, citrine, and lemon topaz.
"I think it's time to add a bit of drama to bridal jewelry. The dresses in my collection are structured and modern, and the jewelry is meant to add a special flash of sparkle and color," Bowen says. "My jewelry collection offers brides the opportunity to personalize their look on their wedding day and add a bit of personal style. Because the pieces are so non-traditional, there is no need to put them in storage after the day is done. My hope is for brides to wear the jewelry on their honeymoon, anniversaries and other occasions while reminiscing about that special day."
See the gallery for several pieces from the collection.
Gallery: Anne Bowen Bridal Jewelry
--A rug made entirely of jewels is the star of Sotheby's first-ever auctions in Doha, Qatar. Bidding will start at $5 million.
--Some stores are still pulling in customers and they range from Urban Outfitters and American Apparel to Hermes. The ten stores we can't stop shopping in.
--Brooke Astor's co-op isn't the only deal to be found in the world of Manhattan luxury real estate. Some prices are down 20%.
Filed under: Jewelry
David Marshall jewelry designs are colorful and full of both soft curves and hard angular edges. Marshall works out of London and specializes in diamond and colored gem-set platinum pieces, gearing his jewels towards those that have contemporary taste but still appreciate classic and traditional influences.
I've always preferred colorful gemstones to diamonds, and platinum to gold, so much of this collection is right up my alley. Certainly a beautiful way to show someone special in your life how much you care this Christmas.
Gallery: David Marshall Jewelry
Some of world-famous Parisian jeweler Cartier's most beautiful creations are portrayed in a sumptuous new book due out in a couple of weeks. Cartier: Innovation Through the 20th Century (Flammarion, $65), features 165 rare gems reproduced at their actual size, "selected to highlight the milestones of 20th century design." Each amazing piece "serves as a benchmark in the world of high-end jewelry," much of it made for Europe's nobility and bon ton.
Drawing on Cartier's vast archives, many of the pictures are being published here for the first time. Cartier "consistently set new aesthetic, ornamental, technical and stylistic trends" in jewelry design, the book notes, and it continues to do so today. Even their famous red leather boxes have become something of a status symbol in and of themselves. The cover image above shows a platinum, diamond and ruby bracelet made in 1926.
Filed under: Jewelry
Definitely worth looking into as an alternative to more controversially obtained gems (plus I love their ad campaign!).
Gallery: Polar Bear Diamonds Ad Campaign