Sunday, 28 March 2021

Bejeweled Birds

The Peacock Brooch by Graff boasts 1,305 diamonds weighing a total of 120.81 carats.

At the center is a 20.02-carat fancy deep blue pear-shape diamond, one of the rarest blue diamonds in the world. Adorning the tail feathers is an array of white, pink, yellow, orange, green and blue diamonds in various sizes and shapes. The tip of each feather is set with a cluster of white diamonds. The Peacock Brooch made its first public appearance in 2016 and reportedly can be yours for about $100m.

The “Walska Briolette Diamond” Brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels. The Fancy Vivid Yellow antique briolette diamond weighs 96.62 carats. $10.5 million




Cartier

Coral, emerald, diamond and onyx parrot brooch, Van Cleef & Arpels, circa 1990

'Bird of Paradise' brooch, Van Cleef & Arpels,

Lovebirds clip, 1946. Van Cleef & Arpels

Friday, 26 March 2021

Mandarin Spessartite Garnet

Mandarin Spessartite Garnet is a rare form of orange garnet colored by manganese.

The combination of vivid color and high refractive index make spessartite garnet one of the most brilliant stones in the world of colored gems. Its hardness is around 6.5 - 7.5 on the Mohs scale, making it ideal for jewelry.
The gems occur in a range of colors from yellowish orange to reddish orange and orange-red. The pure orange, known as mandarin or fanta orange, is very rare and has been found in only a few deposits in Africa, notably in Nigeria.

Top spessartites are highly sought after by gem collectors and are considered investment grade. Very little in the way of new material has been found recently.
The prices and value of spessartite garnet varies according to the size and quality of the gemstone. Color and clarity are the most important factors. Vivid orange is the most valuable. The reddish and orange-red are also valuable in fine quality. Gems with a distinct brownish hue, or heavily included stones, are less valuable.

Spessartites are not currently enhanced by any method.
Harry Winston

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Cartier leads at Sothebys

The Art Deco-inspired piece took almost 2,000 hours to create. A Cartier bracelet featuring a flawless D-color 63.66-carat pear-shaped white diamond will be auctioned at Sotheby's Hong Kong with an estimate of $5.1m to $8.4m. Also headlining is the Circle of Happiness jadeite bangle weighing 277.673 carats

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Gemstone faceting - Hearts and Arrows

The commercial realities of gem-cutting means there is little emphasis placed on high-quality gemstone faceting. To obtain as great a carat yield as possible from rough, various methods are used to squeeze cuts out of the gemstone while bypassing visible inclusions at the expense of symmetry. Since each carat is real money, gem-cutters and sellers shut their eyes to optical defects.
Gemstone laboratories have systems of grading cuts, but they prefer not to draw attention to it as they don’t want to reduce the appeal of the gemstone. High-quality gem cutting ensures the perfect flatness of facet surfaces that increase a gemstone’s ‘fire’. Fire produces sparkle – light patches of colour different from the main colour of a gemstone – and is one of the advantages of a faceted gemstone. The quality of faceting is not shown in gemstone certificates.
When it comes to diamonds, the hearts and arrows diamond is the masterpiece. What is 'hearts and arrows'? When viewed from the top (crown), an ideally cut diamond should reveal eight symmetrical arrows. When the diamond is viewed from the bottom (pavilion), it should reveal eight symmetrical hearts. Not all diamonds with an ideal cut rating (AGS) or excellent cut rating (GIA) will automatically qualify as a hearts and arrows diamond. The formation of a precise patterning is due to extreme care that is taken when polishing each facet to exact angles and proportions. This level of precision goes far beyond the criteria needed to achieve a “excellent” symmetry rating.
There is a premium placed on super ideal cut diamonds, and while vendors advertise their inventories with fanciful marketing, the details are essential.
The hearts patterning is particularly critical.

Properly formed hearts require super precise facet placements and proportioning. Any slight deviations in facet alignments will show up in the pavilion view.

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Winston Pink Legacy

To mark Harry Winston’s 125th birthday, the luxury jewelry house unveiled the “Winston Pink Legacy”. The ring features a 18.96-carat rectangular-cut fancy vivid pink diamond. The pink diamond is flanked by two shield-cut diamonds weighing 3.55 carats.

The stone was acquired im 2018 for $50.3m, setting a world record at the time of $2.65m per carat.

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Curse of the Hope Diamond

The legend begins with a theft. Several centuries ago a large blue diamond from the forehead (or eye) of a statue of the Hindu goddess Sita was stolen. For this transgression, according to the legend, the stone would carry a curse of death.

In 1642 Jean Baptiste Tavernier, a French jeweler, visited India and bought a 112 3/16 carat blue diamond. (the Hope has been cut down at least twice in the past three centuries.) The diamond is believed to have come from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India.
Tavernier continued to travel and arrived back in France in 1668, twenty-six years after he bought the large, blue diamond.

French King Louis XIV, the "Sun King," ordered Tavernier presented at court. From Tavernier, Louis XIV bought the blue diamond as well as forty-four large diamonds and 1,122 smaller diamonds. Tavernier was made a noble and died at the age 84 in Russia. (It is not known how he died. Myth says he was torn apart by dogs, thus becoming the first death attributed to the curse.)

When Louis XV died, his grandson, Louis XVI, became king with Marie Antoinette as his queen. According to legend, Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI were beheaded during the French Revolution because of the blue diamond's curse.
The legend says the curse bankrupted the Hope family.In September 1791, the blue diamond was stolen. It resurfaced in London by 1813 and was owned by jeweler Daniel Eliason by 1823. King George IV of England bought the blue diamond from Daniel Eliason and upon King George's death, the diamond was sold to pay off debts. By 1839 the blue diamond was in the possession of Henry Philip Hope.
By 1901 Hope descendants were no longer rich, but it was gambling and high spending by third generation Francis Hope that was responsible for the downfall, not any curse.
Simon Frankel, an American jeweler, bought the Hope diamond in 1901 and brought it to the United States. The diamond changed hands several times during the next several years, ending with Pierre Cartier.

Pierre Cartier believed he had found a buyer in the rich Evalyn Walsh McLean. McLean told Pierre Cartier that objects usually considered bad luck turned into good luck for her. Evalyn McLean wore the diamond constantly.
According to one story, it took persuading by Mrs. McLean's doctor to get her to take off the necklace even for a goiter operation.
McLean's first born son, Vinson, died in a car crash when he was nine. McLean suffered another major loss when her daughter committed suicide at age 25. In addition, Evalyn McLean's husband was declared insane and confined to a mental institution until his death in 1941.
Evalyn McLean's jewelry was put on sale in 1949, two years after her death, in order to settle debts from her estate. The Hope diamond was bought by Harry Winston and in 1958 he donated the Hope diamond to the Smithsonian Institution to be the focal point of a newly established gem collection.

The Hope diamond is currently on display as part of the National Gem and Mineral Collection in the National Museum of Natural History for all to see. The museum has never experienced any curse.