Sunday, 31 July 2016

Mong Hsu Rubies

In central Myanmar, the area of Mong Hsu began producing rubies on a large scale starting in 1991. Through the 1990s it rapidly became the world's main ruby mining area.

The most recently found ruby deposit in Myanmar is in Namya (Namyazeik) located in the northern state of Kachin.
The new deposit has affected the world capital of the ruby business: Thailand. Many of the ruby traders and cutters from Chanthaburi and Bo Rai have moved to Mae Sai in Thailand.

In Tachilek in Myanmar, across the border from Mae Sai, a flourishing trade in Mong Hsu ruby has transformed a village into a prosperous town. Most Mong Hsu ruby is cut and marketed in Thailand.
Thailand is the world's most important ruby trading center with about 80 percent of the world's ruby going through Thailand at some point in the trading cycle.

The largest ruby cutting factories are in the Chanthaburi area of Thailand. Bangkok is generally where the world's buyers come to purchase ruby.
Advances in treatment processes have flooded the gem markets with heat treated ruby. In 2002 labs discovered another Thai method, one that involved treating rubies with beryllium. Stones have been treated with chemicals and infused with lead glass.

US jewellery retailer Zales was exposed when an undercover investigation by Inside Edition caught it selling rubies filled with lead glass to unknowing customers, who were told the stones were genuine.

Chanthaburi Prison inmates cut and polish sapphires.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Van Cleef & Arpels - High Jewelry

Van Cleef & Arpels
is a French jewelry, watch, and perfume company.
It was founded in 1896 by Alfred Van Cleef and his brother-in-law Salomon Arpels. Van Cleef & Arpels are known for their expertise in precious stones and for a gem-setting procedure known as the Mystery Setting.

The Mystery Setting is a proprietary mounting technique for gems. There are no visible prongs; instead the individual stones are hand grooved to fit into a mesh of gold or platinum wire. This type of setting was perfected by Van Cleef & Arpels in the 1930s.
Since its inception, Van Cleef & Arpels has been synonymous with royalty, the famous and the affluent, providing the elite with exceptional and unique pieces of jewellery.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Faberge attic find brings $ 5.2m

In late 2013 the executor of a Rhinebeck, New York estate made a huge discovery in the attic of George and Betty Davis, finding a rare Fabergé figure that recently sold at auction for $5.2 million. An unassuming wooden box held a hardstone portrait figure of Nikolai Nikolaievich Pustynnikov, who was a loyal personal Cossack bodyguard to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.

With “little sapphires in the eyes, little gold trim and gold braid and all these elaborately inlayed and enameled double-headed imperial eagles." Tsar Nicholas II commissioned the famed artisans to produce the figure for his wife, Empress Alexandra in 1912, only a few years before the revolution that led to the fall of the Romanov family.

Just 50 figures were known to have been carved by Fabergé.

The rarity of such figures is close to that of the Imperial Easter Eggs though production of portrait figures of known historical persons is even more rare for the House of Fabergé. The bill of sale shows that the figure was acquired by Armand Hammer. Then in December 1934 the antique was sold at the Hammer Galleries in Manhattan to Mr. George Davis for $2250.

Russian Imperial family (between circa 1913 and 1914)
It remained in the Davis family until the Stair Galleries auction in Hudson, New York.

The pre-sale auction estimate was $500,000-$800,000 for the authenticated figure. Bidding began at $500,000 and when the gavel fell, famed London-based jeweler, Wartski, won the auction with a phone bid of $5.2 million.

Monday, 18 July 2016

California Gold Quartz Canes

The art of fashioning gold quartz into objects is unique to the western United States, primarily California. Gold quartz canes appeared at the time of the California Gold Rush.

Most gold quartz canes were presentation pieces. Never mass produced, gold quartz canes were created as an expression of pride by individuals of status.

This California Gold Quartz cane presented by Carleton E. Watkins to his father, J.M. Watkins, in 1869 sold for $6,545 in 2011.

One of the most famous coins to come out of this era is the Horseman (Vacquero) design by Baldwin and Company of San Francisco.

Genuine, original Baldwin Horsemen are valuable. A recent example in uncirculated condition realized $195,000 at a Goldberg Auction.