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Yellow isn't Yellow

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An answer to the often-asked questions about colored diamonds versus other colored precious stones:

Yellow Sapphire Ring (13.96ct, estimate: $15,000-$20,000)
N09115-188_web.jpg (lot 188)

Yellow Diamond Ring (5ct, estimate: $60,000-$80,000)
N09115-153_web.jpg (lot 153)

Both are for sale at Sotheby's(see previous) Feb. 4 auction in New York.

Louis Moinet Stardance

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Another watch, another unique material!  This time it's a fragment of the Enstatite EH meteorite, which has tiny bits of diamond within its matrix, as the moon in the moonphase of this interesting, if overly decorated ladies watch from Louis Moinet (previously mentioned).  The case is 36mm of titanium with a white ceramic bezel, set with 54 diamonds and 6 cabochon sapphires.  The dial is mother of pearl, cut in a Côtes du Jura pattern and the movement is a custom Concepto model, based on an ETA caliber.



All the Diamonds

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In 1970 the founder of Graff Diamonds (previously mentioned), Laurence Graff assembled 1/2 million dollars of diamonds on and around the head of a model for a photoshoot. Now, 43 years later, Graff has decided that was far too tame and has recreated the image with 1/2 billion dollars worth of the carbons in celebration of his 40th boutique and 60 years in the industry.

They don't provide a price breakdown, but stand-out pieces include:

  • The Graff Sweethearts, a matched pair of heart-shaped 51.53ct and 50.76ct flawless diamond earrings.
  • Several white stones cut from the 550ct Letseng Star
  • A 10.5ct vivid-blue briolette cut pendent, possibly the nicest use of that cut I've ever seen.
  • 6.5 ct Intense pink flawless diamond. Bearing in mind that yellow diamonds, the most common of the fancy colors, are about 10x the price of white stones, and blue are 5-6x that, this stone is perhaps the most extreme value/weight object you can handle safely
The original 1970 image with $1/2 million worth of stonesToday's version, Dalia Gunther is wearing $1/2 billion
10.5Ct Intense blue, briolette cutGray-blue, orange-pink and yellow diamonds in a pendent


Pimping Diamonds

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In honor(?) of the release of Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp, the Diamond in the Rough company has released a line of Iceberg jewels.  All of their work, as their clever name implies, centers on uncut diamonds (see previous), mostly working with the classical octahedral crystal shape.  Assume, unless otherwise mentioned that the pieces are 18kt white gold and using briliant-cut white diamonds as accent.

Earrings, 17.79 ct of rough diamonds and 10ct of cut stones, pavee setBracelet, 15ct rough diamond and 16.81ct of cut stones, pavee set


Laurence Graff, eponomous founder of Graff Diamonds(previously mentioned) is not a man known for understatement.  At the recent TEFAF (The European Fine Arts Fair, I know you're not supposed to include articles in acronyms, but...), in Maastricht Graff unveiled this peacock-form broach, said to be the most expensive broach made in recent memory.


It consists of 1,305 diamonds, totalling 120.81 ct.   Moving out from the central 20ct blue stone (about 1/2 the size of the Hope diamond) is a fan of white and colored diamonds, including pink, yellow, orange and the rarely-seen green.  Since even prices need to make a statement, the asking price is $100,000,000 (but I'm sure there's room to haggle)



Graff Postpones IPO

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The Graff Diamond Company(previously mentioned), which sells some of the most impressive stones you're ever likely to see in a store you can go into, has postponed it's weird IPO indefinitely.  The idea of the IPO was to raise enough cash to open a few stores in Asia, and buy up the private collection of Lawrence Graff, the CEO/President, but that isn't what seems to have spiked the deal.  The weak market and the fact that 40% of their revenue comes from 20 customers, that seems to be the problem.  So with sales of $700 million last year, their top customers are spending $35,000,000...each.

And here's one of their divers watches for no reason, which seems to be the same reason they got into that market.  I don't actually dislike the watch, the subtle gradations of the dial, trying to simulate light falloff in the ocean, are quite nice, but it seems to be entirely disconnected from their market and strength.


(image source)

Continuing from last time we now have various rings from the auction preview. The first three pictures are from the Moscow preview.

Van Cleef and Arpels ring from 1974 set with a 32.14 ct. cognac-colored diamond
Marina Zakharova
Lorraine Schwartz diamond ring. The main stone is 27.42 ct.
Marina Zakharova
Van Cleef & Arpels ring, a 1968 Christmas gift from husband Richard Burton. The center stone is a 8.24ct ruby. ($1,000,000-1,500,000)
Marina Zakharova


From Christies press photos, these Bulgari emerald pieces match the emerald necklace in the previous posting, along with a set of earrings (photoless).

Bulgari emerald ring, estimate $600,000-$800,000Bulgari emerald pendent, estimate $500,000-$700,000

(from Christie's, Copyright 2011, Christie's Images, LTD)

And from one of the other press(In LA at the MOCA) events a shot of the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, a 33ct VS1 D-color stone. Formerly known as the Krupp diamond, after the German industrialists(once armorers, now they make elevators) who owned it, it was sold to Ms Taylor in 1968 for about $305,000. It was so much a part of her usual attire that it made an animated appearance when she did a guest spot on The Simpsons.

20e2c471200c1214f80e6a706700679c.jpg AP Photo/Richard Drew



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I don't like the briolette cut in general, and I REALLY don't like large stones when they're cut that way.  Even considering that, these new pieces, the baisers précieux (precious kiss) collection, by the Parisian jeweler Amal are pretty unattractive. This is a sample, set with a cut phrenite, in yellow gold.



Keeping with the theme, however, leads to a stone that must be acknowledged as impressive, if nothing else. It's an 85ct pure white diamond, from the same mine as the Koh-I-Noor(106 Ct) in the British Crown Jewels. Chopard hasn't told us what they'll use it for, simply provided this...suggestive press photo




Another of the strange jewelers of Paris, this time working in a very Post-Modernist style, is Baptiste Monvoisin (who's name translates roughly to "My Neighbor").  He is primarily a metalworker, with stones being a rare addition, usually highlighting the gold or silver design.  Some of his works clearly take aim at the common tropes of jewelry, like the brilliant-cut diamond, such as the Pop-Art or Diamond rings below

Pop-Art ring in yellow and white gold and black diamondsDiamond ring in silver

Others show a strange dental interest, such as the Molar ring, or the broach in the form of chewed chewing-gum.

Molar ring in yellow goldChewing-Gum broach in pink gold

Using Hipster "Irony" as source he has taken the inexplicably popular trend of intentionally-pixelated art to its logical conclusion is the "Pixel" ring in sand-blasted gold, quite an interesting surface treatment. Along with that is the Mustache cufflink in white gold.


He has some other interesting pieces, including a hand-grenade based on a large Tahitian pearl and a hospital-bracelet rendered in pale yellow gold, but one of the more amusing pieces, conceptually, is this ring, the Bijoux de Famille in yellow gold


All pictures are from his website.


The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum (that's the full name, don't wear it out) is hosting an exhibition of Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry, watches and other objects d'art from February 18 through June 5, 2011. 

Amoung the pieces on display are displays of dazzling technique, such as this gold box in semi-precious and precious stones from 1926(Left) and a Camargo broach, in platinum set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds from 1942 (Right).  For the simply dazzling, it's hard to beat a platinum and gold diadem, set with diamonds for Princess Grace, from 1976 (Below)



My favorite piece from the promotional pictures is this bell-push, set with an enameled gold and silver boat(1908). The body is ebony while the massive wave is carved from a single piece of jasper.

An interesting pair of broaches are also on display. One is recent, from 2004, a Japanese-inspired butterfly (Right). The wings are wood with Maki-e laquer, a Japanese technique for layering lacquer with gold dust, and the body is gold set with diamonds. The other is from 1971, a bird-shaped broach in gold carrying a 95ct briolette-cut fancy yellow diamond and set with sapphires and more diamonds. It was once owned by Ganna Walska


There are plenty more pieces in the exhibit that I may post later on
(Pictures from Paris Joaillerie, except the bird broach from the CH website)

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