Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Sotheby's NY to Deliver Pre-Holiday Treat to Fancy-Colored Diamond Lovers

Ultra-rare fancy-colored diamonds in vivid shades of pink, blue, orange and red will headline Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels auction in New York on December 9.

All eyes will be focused on Lot 75, a colorful ring set with a rectangular mixed-cut 5.03-carat fancy vivid pink diamond flanked by two cut-cornered triangular fancy intense blue diamonds weighing 0.88 carats and 0.77 carats.

The piece comes from a private collection and carries a pre-sale estimate of $9 million to $12 million.

Lot 31 features a heart-shaped fancy red diamond weighing 1.71 carats. The stone centers a heart-shaped pendant pavé-set with rows upon rows of round diamonds and dangles from a 20 1/2-inch chain accented with rose gold heart stations. Interestingly, the reverse is further enhanced by round diamonds.

The romantic pendant has a pre-sale estimate of $2.5 million to $3.5 million. With a little more than two weeks to go before the live auction, online bidders already have pushed the offering price to $2 million.

Orange diamonds rarely hit the auction block, but Sotheby's will have one to offer on December 9. This heart-shaped fancy vivid orange diamond weighs exactly 2.00 carats and is framed and accented by round colorless diamonds. Lot 29 is expected to sell in the range of $1 million to $1.5 million. The top pre-sale bid is currently $800,000.

Another heart-shaped stunner is this 2.29-carat fancy vivid blue diamond encircled by yellow diamonds and near-colorless diamonds. The Gemological Institute of America report accompanying the stone states that the blue diamond is potentially internally flawless. The current high bid is $1.8 million, but Sotheby's believes the hammer price will be in the range of $2.25 million to $3.25 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Couples Spending Less on Weddings and Honeymoons, More on Engagement Rings

While couples are spending less on elaborate weddings and honeymoons due to the pandemic, they are spending more than ever on the perfect diamond engagement ring — often upgrading in color, cut and clarity, rather than size. That was the key finding from the De Beers Group's latest Diamond Insight "Flash" Report, which has been looking carefully at the impact of COVID-19 on relationships and engagements.

Interviews with independent jewelers throughout the US also revealed that the rate of engagements has increased significantly, with bridal sales accounting for the primary source of diamond jewelry demand.

"For many couples, the pandemic has brought them even closer together, in some instances speeding up the path to engagement after forming a deeper connection while experiencing lockdown and its associated ups and downs as a partnership," commented Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group. "Engagement rings are taking on even greater symbolism in this environment, with retailers reporting couples are prepared to invest more than usual, particularly due to budget reductions in other areas."

De Beers' informal survey also revealed that consumers are often choosing more classic designs. Jewelers noted that round diamonds and round-edged fancy shapes of better qualities are dominating their bestsellers, and that designs have become simpler, with customers less interested in extra pavé and melee embellishments.

While halos are still selling well, jewelers are generally seeing engagement ring customers opt for more conservative looks. Round diamonds are the most popular shape, followed by ovals and cushions.

The "Flash" report also included findings from a national survey of 360 US women in serious relationships, undertaken in late October in collaboration with engagement and wedding website, The Knot. It found that the majority of respondents (54%) were thinking more about their engagement ring than the wedding itself (32%) or the honeymoon (15%), supporting jewelers' hypothesis that engagement ring sales were benefiting from reduced wedding and travel budgets in light of COVID-19 restrictions.

When it came to researching engagement rings, 86% of respondents said "online" was, by far, the most effective channel for gaining ideas/inspiration, with 85% saying they had saved examples of styles they liked.

"Part of the reason people are getting engaged during COVID is because there is so much distance between them and their community," noted Dr. Terry Real, a relationship therapist and author of the forthcoming book Us: The Power of Moving Beyond Me and You. "The couple is intimate, but thirsty for outside stimulation... For a young person to have a performance of your love that's witnessed is like water in the desert in this culture. The ring is that performance. Especially now."

Credit: Image by BigStockPhoto.com.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Music Friday: Nat King Cole's Love Is As ‘Warm As the Ruby’ and As ‘Pure As the Pearl’

Welcome to Music Friday when we often unearth wonderful, but sadly forgotten, songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we present the immortal Nat King Cole singing “The Ruby and the Pearl,” the theme song to the 1952 film, Thunder in the East.

In this ballad written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, Cole uses gemstones and precious metals to describe his love and devotion. He sings, “Can love be as warm as the ruby? / Can love be as pure as the pearl? / Just look in the heart of my love for you. / You’ll find the ruby and the pearl.”

In a later verse, he sings, “My love will endure as the diamond / And shine with the shimmer of gold. / It glows like a bright star above for you / A thing of beauty to behold.”

Released on Capitol Records only one year after his iconic hit, “Unforgettable,” “The Ruby and the Pearl” peaked at #23 on the U.S. Billboard chart. One online movie reviewer noted that Cole’s beautiful performance of “The Ruby and the Pearl” was the best thing to come out of Thunder in the East, which he called a routine action film.

In 1954, “The Ruby and the Pearl” was included in a 10-inch LP Nat King Cole compilation album called Eight Top Pops.

Born in Montgomery, AL, in 1919 to a Baptist minister and a church organist, Nathanian Adam Coles learned to play the piano at the age of four. He first came to prominence as a jazz pianist, but is most famous for his silky smooth baritone voice. In 1956, he hosted The Nat King Cole Show on NBC, the first variety program to be hosted by an African American.

Nat King Cole's adopted middle name was inspired by the nursery rhyme "Old King Cole." He dropped the "s" from his last name when he started performing in Chicago clubs.

During his abbreviated career (he died of lung cancer in 1965 at the age of 45), Cole released 29 albums and scored 79 Top-40 singles. His famous daughter, singer Natalie Cole, saw her career cut short by congestive heart failure at the age of 55, in 2015.

In 1990, Nat King Cole was posthumously awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and, in 2000, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 1994, his likeness adorned an official U.S. postage stamp. More than 35 million 29-cent Nat "King" Cole stamps were released on September 1, 1994.

We invite you to enjoy the audio track of Cole’s hypnotizing performance of “The Ruby and the Pearl.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“The Ruby and the Pearl”
Music by Jay Livingston. Lyrics by Ray Evans. Performed by Nat King Cole.

Can love be as warm as the ruby?
Can love be as pure as the pearl?
Just look in the heart of my love for you.
You’ll find the ruby and the pearl.

My love will endure as the diamond
And shine with the shimmer of gold.
It glows as a bright star above for you,
A thing of beauty to behold.

Come close and cling to my kiss.
Stay close and share the passion of this.

Yes, love is as warm as the ruby
And love is as pure as the pearl.
Just look in the heart of my love for you.
You’ll find the ruby and the pearl.

Come close and cling to my kiss.
Come close and share the passion of this.

Yes, love is as warm as the ruby
And love is as pure as the pearl.
Just look in the heart of my love for you.
You’ll find the ruby and the pearl.

Credits: Cleary, Strauss, Irwin & Goodman-publicity, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Stamp image by the United States Postal Service, Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Anthony Anderson Shows Off His Hollywood Walk of Fame Ring on 'Ellen Show'

An ecstatic Anthony Anderson showed off his Hollywood Walk of Fame diamond ring during an interview with guest host Sarah Silverman on Monday's installment of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

The Black-ish actor told Silverman that George Lopez and Cedric the Entertainer surprised him with the supersized, championship-style ring after his Walk of Fame Star was unveiled in mid-August.

After explaining how the celebration had to be pared down due to COVID-19 social gathering restrictions, he aimed the ring directly at the camera operator so the home audience could get a perfect view of the jewelry. The design features a miniature Walk of Fame star set in white precious metal and embellished by diamonds.

"It was kind of weird," the actor explained to Silverman. "They held the ceremony in a backroom at Ripley's Believe It or Not because of COVID. Only 11 people were allowed to be in the room, eight were family members. My mom was one. She gave a great speech for me. George Lopez was there, he gave a speech. And he also gave me this ring right here."

In a Tinseltown twist of fate, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce placed Anderson's star on the corner of Hollywood and Hyland.

"What's crazy [is] I went to Hollywood High School. So for years I would walk up and down Hollywood Boulevard, never in a million years thinking I would be immortalized on the Walk of Fame," Anderson said. "My star is literally across the street from my old high school."

In September, Anderson shared a closeup of the ring on his Instagram page and included this caption: "A gift from my brothers @cedtheentertainer and @georgelopez welcoming me to The Hollywood Walk of Fame. I have a Star amongst the Stars with my brothers!"

The 50-year-old told Silverman how bizarre it is to shoot a television series during a pandemic.

"It's been crazy," he said. "We have everything on our stage now except stop lights. We have crossing guards. We have grids on the floor. One way in, one way out. When the actors are moving, everything shuts down and everyone splits like the Red Sea."

There are more than 2,690 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, CA. The Hollywood Walk of Fame, which was conceived in the mid-1950s, honors all the major branches of the entertainment industry: motions pictures, broadcast television, audio recording or music, radio broadcast and theater/live performance.

Check out this clip of Anderson chatting with Silverman on Monday's show. The ring conversation starts at the 3:28 mark.

Credits. Screen captures via Youtube/TheEllenShow. Closeup ring image and Hollywood Walk of Fame image via instagram/anthonyanderson.

Monday, November 09, 2020

VIPs Get an Opportunity to Customize a Piece of 549-Carat Rough Diamond

Luxury brand Louis Vuitton is taking the concept of bespoke opulence to a whole new level. By securing the rights to represent Lucara's 549-carat "Sethunya" diamond, the retailer can offer its discriminating clients a unique opportunity to design the gem of their dreams, down to the exact shape and carat weight.

"In this way, the client will be involved in the creative process of plotting, cutting, polishing and becoming part of the story that the stone will carry with it into history," noted a Lucara press release.

Back in February of 2020, Lucara Diamond Corp. announced that it had recovered a massive white diamond of “exceptional purity” from its Karowe mine in Botswana — a mine that has earned worldwide recognition for producing the 1,758-carat Sewelô, the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona and the 813-carat Constellation diamond.

The 549-carat diamond was given the name Sethunya, which means "flower" in Setswana, the primary language spoken where the diamond was recovered.

In the three-way collaboration among Lucara, Louis Vuitton, and HB Antwerp, the latter will provide state-of-the-art scanning and planning technology to determine the number and size of diamonds that can be derived from the stone.

This is the second time Louis Vuitton has entered an agreement with Lucara to secure a huge rough stone. In January of 2020, the Paris-based retailer purchased the 1,758-carat Sewelô diamond, also from the Karowe mine.

Town and Country reported that the retailer will be taking both stones on a worldwide promotional tour, during which VIP clients will get a closeup look at the Sethunya and Sewelô diamonds and consult with cutting experts.

Sethunya is the fourth-largest diamond ever recovered from the prolific Karowe mine. It was cherry-picked from Lucara’s MDR (Mega Diamond Recovery) XRT circuit, a system that uses advanced technology to identify 100-carat-plus diamonds by monitoring the rocky material for X-ray luminescence, atomic density and transparency. Previously, large diamonds might have been mistaken as worthless ore and pulverized during the primary crushing process.

Credit: Photo by Philippe Lacombe, courtesy of Louis Vuitton (CNW Group/Lucara Diamond Corp.).