Tag Archives: diamonds

Chanel Expands Coco Crush Jewelry Collection

Chanel’s “Coco Crush” Jewelry collection is welcoming a few new pieces to the range. The designs – partially paved with diamond ‘constellations’ – will be made available at Chanel Jewelry boutiques later this month to help expand the range for Fall 2016.

The campaign for the expanding collection features Keira Knightley as the new face of “Coco Crush”. Shot by Mario Testino, the campaign adds to the actress’s portfolio with the brand, having fronted the “Coco Mademoiselle” fragrance and the “Rouge Coco” lipstick campaigns. “Thanks to her natural elegance and freedom, she perfectly embodies this resolutely modern fine jewelry collection,” said Chanel back in June.bague_coco_crush-chanel

Even further back, in April 2015, Chanel introduced the first creations that featured the iconic quilted motifs to honor Gabrielle Chanel’s love for all things equestrian. The new additions drew on the creativity, brand symbols and chic designs that helped propel the simple pattern into the brand’s signature symbol. First seen in Chanel’s couture collection in 1920, the Matelassé design can also be found in other iconic colelctions by the brand, such as the 2.55 bag.manchette_coco-crush-chanel

Joining the existing range are rings and cuffs that will not only feature the quilted pattern in finely engraved gold but also paved with diamond constellations. Another symbol featured in the update that was dear to its founder, is the lion. The majestic beast is seen on diamond cuffs in white and yellow gold.

harry-winston-new-york-companion

Harry Winston New York Companion: Big Apple Chic

Mr. Harry Winston worked in a rather peculiar way. Contrary to common practice, the New York jeweler never based his designs on metal settings, but instead, the lavish gems which he had acquired in his lifetime. Among them were the 45.52-carat Hope diamond (Marie Antoinette was a keeper of the rare, blue stone); the 69.42-carat, pear-shaped Taylor-Burton diamond (Elizabeth Taylor wore the gift from her lover Richard Burton as a necklace); and the 71.72-carat, emerald-cut diamond on the engagement ring which Aristotle Onassis presented to former First Lady and fashion icon Jackie O.

Gems like these were all that mattered to Winston, who was known as the “king of diamonds” not only for his breathtaking private collection, but for his unrivaled expertise in choosing and cutting the most beautiful stones. Even after his death in 1978, his legacy lives on and remains a signature of the New York label.

For the brand’s latest act, the stones take center stage once again. Created as a tribute to New York City – the home of Winston and his first salon on Fifth Avenue – the New York Companion is the label’s first high jewelry evening clutch: 486 diamonds, 21 emeralds and eight rubies capture the city’s dynamic energy and map out, on a glossy, black-lacquered surface, a bird’s eye view of Broadway by night (the cheeky emerald and ruby accents recall the green and red flashes of traffic lights). And, as a nod to its superb watchmaking know-how, an onyx crown at the top of the clutch swivels open to reveal a quartz timepiece, which is decorated with a diamond-set bezel that sparkles like freshly fallen snow.

The interior of the New York Companion is just as visually compelling as its exterior: On one side, a large vanity mirror spliced into an impressive mother-of-pearl marquetry. On the other, rows of smaller mirrors inlaid with contrasting white and brown Tahitian mother-of-pearl.

This article first appeared in L’Officiel Singapore August Issue.

Top Auction Sales 2015 vs 2016

Stellar auction results from last year and this year continue to inspire confidence in luxury goods as an investment class but a slowdown is definitely underway. The 2016 Knight Frank Report released earlier this year observes that its own Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII) rose by 7% in 2015 compared with a 5% drop in the FTSE 100 equities index (Brexit will make the FTSE a less-than-useful gauge next year). The report also notes that classic cars are the strongest performer (+17%) while furniture is in the red (-6%); these figures represent price changes over the course of 12 months to Q4 2015.

This year has been confusing for us to report on so we thought we would bring you the Knight Frank selection of top lots at auction in 2015 (scroll to the bottom), while noting some strangeness and a string of disappointments. The strangeness here is the record-breaking sale of the 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti, which auction house Artcurial moved for $35 million (pictured top). At the time, various sources (ourselves included) reported that it was the most expensive car ever sold at auction but, due to currency volatility, this has been thrown into doubt.

As the Knight Frank report notes, the 2014 Bonhams sale of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta sold for $38 million so retains the USD record; the 1957 Scag holds the Euro record at 32.075 million. At 2014 exchange rates, the Scag would have beaten the Berlinetta but not so today. We are now in the position of having two Ferrari claimants to the throne of most expensive car ever sold at auction! The failure of the Ferrari 275 NART Spider to sell in May brought some clarity to the current situation, with experts from every auction house anticipating and warning of a slowdown in Ferrari auction prices and, consequently, in the entire classic car segment.

Look no further than the top lots sold to date for some context. All-time highs were recorded in 2015 for Jaguar ($13.2 million), Porsche ($10.1 million) and McLaren ($13.75 million). The best result we have for this year to-date is the aforementioned Scag, with everything else failing to even register on the newsworthiness scale. This explains why you may not have read anything about impressive auction sales recently.

Picasso's $179 Million 'Les Femmes d'Algers'

Picasso’s $179 Million ‘Les Femmes d’Algers’

In the world of art, Picasso’s Women of Algiers remains the best performer at auction to date, selling for $179.3 million in May, 2015. Records thus far in this year include personal-bests for Jean Michel Basquiat (57.3 million) and Frida Kahlo ($17.2 million), far below last year’s stars Modigliani ($170 million) and Twombly ($70.5 million).

Diamonds also lost their sparkle in 2016, with the Lesedi la Rona failing to sell this year. Given that this is second largest diamond ever mined, its failure to find a buyer (Sotheby’s estimated $70 million but the final bid was $61 million) is lamentable. Nevertheless, the success of blue diamonds at auction last year continues to fuel hope for the colored diamonds subset. As long as Hong Kong tycoon Joseph Lau keeps buying these, prices look to stay rock-steady.

The Lesedi la Rona diamond from Botswana.

The Lesedi la Rona diamond from Botswana.

Knight Frank 2015 Auction Stand Out Sales

Picasso: Women of Algiers ($179,300,000 – sold by Christie’s, May 2015)

Marc Newson: Lockheed Lounge ($3,700,400 – sold by Phillips, April 2015)

Jaguar C-Type Works Lightweight ($13,200,000 – sold by Sotheby’s, August 2015)

Patek Philippe Doctor’s Chronograph ($4,987,383 – sold by Phillips, May 2015)

Blue Moon of Josephine 12 carat blue diamond ($48,400,000 – sold by Sotheby’s, November 2015)

Mobile Charm: Chopard Happy Diamonds Turns 40

Forty years ago, watchmaker and jeweler Chopard debuted its first Happy Diamonds timepiece, creating what would become an icon in the world of watch and jewelry. The word ‘icon’ is frequently abused but even rival jewelers will agree that the Happy Diamonds concept was a game-changer. The original design, created for men and later introduced for women, won the coveted Golden Rose of Baden-Baden back in 1976 and featured diamonds that moved freely. Today, the Happy Diamonds series is immediately recognizable as a Chopard innovation.

Inspired be the sparkle of water droplets as they burst from a waterfall in the famed German Black Forest, Chopard designer Ronald Kurowski came up with a design that allowed the diamonds to whirl above the dial and recreate that magical effect he saw. His realization that “Diamonds are happier when they’re free”, has allowed the brand to create a range of watches, necklaces, pendants, rings and earrings over the years.

The original Happy Diamonds timepieces by Chopard in 1976.

The original Happy Diamonds timepieces by Chopard in 1976.

Using the original cushion shape, the contemporary Happy Diamonds watch is a ladies’ timepiece that is sure to sparkle in any watch collection. Similar to the original timepiece, the updated design features 15 mobile prong-set diamonds, which in all honesty are the stars of the show here, that come in two different sizes.The diamonds are kept away from the hour and minute hands, thanks to two central rings that are (surprise, surprise) set with diamonds.

While the original design featured a black dial, the revisited Happy Diamonds watch boasts a white mother-of-pearl backdrop. Like the original, the timepiece uses a 18k white gold case but now adds a bezel that features prong-set diamonds accentuating the curves of the watch. More diamonds are featured on the crown, because, well, why not. The final element that allows the timepiece to sit comfortably on your wrist, is the black brushed canvas trap, ensuring that the Happy Diamonds can spread the joy, day or night.

The cushion-shaped Happy Diamonds timepiece is limited to 150 pieces and is sold exclusively at Chopard boutiques.

Diamond-set Hermes Birkin Breaks Auction Record

A diamond-encrusted crocodile-skin Hermes handbag with white gold details has broken the record for the world’s most expensive ever sold at auction, fetching nearly $300,000 at a Hong Kong sale.

The rare Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin 30 went to an unknown phone bidder late Monday for HK$2.32 million ($298,655), beating a pre-sale estimate of HK$2 million, the auction house Christie’s said.

“It was the world record price for any handbag sold at auction,” Bingle Lee, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Christie’s, told AFP.

Designer handbags are increasingly seen as investment opportunities and are the latest craze for collectors, taking global auction houses by storm and scoring record prices.

The new record beat one set last year, also in Hong Kong, when a fuchsia-colored Hermes bag sold for $222,912.

The handmade bag — described by the London-based auctioneers as the “rarest, most sought-after” — is encrusted with diamonds, while the buckle and trademark mini Hermes padlock are made of 18k white gold.

“It is believed that only one or two of the Diamond Himalayas are produced each year, globally, making it one of the lowest production runs for handbags,” Christie’s said in a statement issued before the sale.

The bag was made in 2008 and is from Hermes’ iconic “Birkin” series named after actress and singer Jane Birkin, who was born in Britain and lives in France.

A smaller Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin 25 handbag will go under the hammer June 1 with an estimate price of HK$1.3 million to HK$1.5 million.

The auction was part of the firm’s 30th anniversary sales to mark its presence in Asia, with a range of luxury goods on offer, including Chinese paintings, watches and wine.

Oppenheimer Blue Sets Record Price at Christie’s

In what seems like a week of record-breaking auctions, the Oppenheimer Blue diamond has been sold for a historic $57.5 million. This final price at a Christie’s auction in Geneva easily overshadowed the $48.4 million price tag of the 12.03-carat “Blue Moon of Josephine” last year.

The Fancy Vivid Blue rectangular-cut gem, weighing an impressive 14.62 carats, was the lead item at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Geneva, May 18, 2016.

The stunner was named after its previous owner, Sir Philip Oppenheimer – a name synonymous with precious gems, largely because his family owned the legendary diamond company De Beers.

Set in a platinum ring, and flanked on either side by a trapeze-cut diamond, the Oppenheimer Blue’s VVS1 (Very Very Slightly Included) clarity grade is one step below Internally Flawless. This means that the gem only has minute inclusions that are difficult for a skilled grader to see, even under 10x magnification. Its very rare medium to dark tone has earned it the prestige of being labelled “the gem of gems”.

This result comes after the Unique Pink – a 15.38-carat vivid pink diamond –  was reported sold for $31.56 million at Sotheby’s.

Most Expensive: $31 million Unique Pink Diamond

Another diamond has hit the auction block, with a great deal of fanfare, but this particular rock has delivered on those promises with its unusual size and exceptional quality. The result was a record-breaking sale and a happy moment for the Asian collector who walked away with it.

The 15.38-carat vivid pink diamond, affectionately dubbed “Unique Pink” is not only the biggest of its kind to go on auction, it also sold for an eye-watering total of $31.56 million, making it the most expensive fancy vivid pink diamond ever to sell at auction. For some context, just look at the picture above and realize that the stone is about the size of the human eye.

Sotheby's Sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels 17.05.16

The prized jewel, set in a simple ring, was sold to an Asian private buyer who was bidding via phone. “Exactly one year after having set the world record for a jewelry sale, Sotheby’s Geneva has raised the bar once again with a great sale and a great result for the Unique Pink,” said David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division.

Sotheby’s, who valued the gem at $28 – $38 million, revealed that the Unique Pink was discovered less than five years ago in a South African mine. “It is difficult to imagine a diamond that better illustrates the term Vivid Pink than this outstanding stone. The color is simply astonishing and, for its size, it is in my experience truly unique,” Bennett added.

The Unique Pink (iii)

Tuesday’s auction also saw a 7.32-carat blue diamond being sold for $17.1 million. The magnificent spring jewel auctions continue in Geneva at Christie’s, where the biggest ever vivid blue diamond – the 14.62-carat “Oppenheimer Blue” – will hit the auction block at an estimated $38 — $45 million. The massive gem belonged to Britain’s Sir Philip Oppenheimer, a kingpin in the world diamond market for nearly 50 years at famed jeweller De Beers.

Van Cleef & Arpels 
Midnight Nuit Lumineuse

Since its debut in 2006, Van Cleef & Arpels’s Poetic Complications collection has been defined by the creative display of time using purpose-built complications. The maison’s unique blend of artistic and technical savoir faire has created several icons over the years; who could forget the Lady Arpels Pont des Amoureux, which depicts a rendezvous between two lovers on a bridge using a bi-retrograde module? Or the Midnight Planetarium, whose dial reproduces the orbits of our solar system’s inner six planets, and their actual positions vis-à-vis each other? Indicating the time poetically continues this year with the Midnight Nuit Lumineuse, a time-only watch that, quite expectedly, does more than just that.

The Midnight Nuit Lumineuse indicates the time with a single retrograde hand that sweeps from six to 12 o’clock. Design wise, the watch clearly means to evoke a nocturnal view of the heavens, beginning with a dial of aventurine that mimics the night sky. Upon this canvas, the maison has drawn a star chart showing various constellations through miniature painting and diamond setting. The most eye-catching among them is obviously Monoceros the unicorn, which appears as an array of six diamonds set in a detailed drawing at four o’clock. Far from being just the biggest and most detailed constellation on the dial, Monoceros is also its highlight – literally. Actuating the pusher at eight o’clock brings the unicorn to life, as its six diamonds are each backlit by a single Light Emitting Diode (LED).

The electricity powering these LEDs isn’t from a battery. Rather, the lighting module within the watch relies on piezoelectricity, which is generated by some materials when they are mechanically stressed. In this case, a cantilevered ceramic blade functions as the ‘turbine’ – pressing on the pusher makes it vibrate, and the physical deformation from its flexing to and fro generates the current to power the LEDs for around four seconds.

According to Van Cleef & Arpels, the lighting system in the Midnight Nuit Lumineuse holds much potential for further development. The type and cut of the gemstone used, for example, will affect its color and brilliance. The specifics of the circuitry, on the other hand, will determine the brightness and number of LEDs used, and whether they can be flashed in any pattern or sequence. For now, the lighting module is the subject of a patent application for the maison.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 42mm
  • Functions: Retrograde hours, light on-demand
  • Power Reserve: 40 hours
  • Movement: Self-winding
  • Material: White gold
  • Water resistance: 30 meters
  • Strap: Black alligator with ardillon buckle in white gold

Story Credits

Text by Jamie Tan

This story was first published in World of Watches.

Art, Science, Gems and Lunch with Van Cleef & Arpels

Having just had lunch with Cate Blanchett and looked at more jewelry and raw gemstones than most humans ever have, I can say without reservation that Friday last was indeed well spent. For a watch and jewelry specialist like me, having a go at more than 400 pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels and looking at the raw materials, courtesy of the French National Museum of Natural History, is a real treat. In case you are a regular curious George about such matters, you can give yourself this very same treat (minus Ms. Blanchet) by heading over to The Art and Science of Gems exhibition at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands.

First of all, let us address the Cate Blanchett matter. Ms. Blanchett was a guest of Van Cleef & Arpels at the launch and she stayed on for lunch, where she entertained the press by posing for pictures with them. Pro tip: Ms. Blanchett prefers to have her picture taken as opposed to grabbing a selfie. Her dedication cannot be overstated: she arrived that day and left that night. Considering that the entire event, including lunch took upwards of five hours, I was impressed; if this wasn’t about jewelry, even I would have gotten fidgety.

Malachite from Tourtscheninowski, Ural mountains, Russia. MNHN Collection Paris

On that note, what is really impressive about The Art and Science of Gems exhibition are the natural pieces on display. Unless you have spent time in a mine somewhere, it is simply not possible to see the raw forms of the gemstones that a jeweler like Van Cleef & Arpels selects and carves into astounding forms. Take malachite for example, which is an important part of Van Cleef & Arpel’s offerings. This image of the exhibit (above) just goes to show that the raw form is every bit as impressive as the finished product. The image of opals below will also do the trick.

White noble opal massive and two cabochons. Queensland, Australia. MNHN Collection, Paris

On other hand, there are also exhibits of ancient rock (4 billion years old!) and a giant quartz crystal to illustrate the depth (literally) of the mineral wealth of our planet. Of particular importance is an exhibit of a meteorite studded with peridots. Yes, some of our mineral wealth comes from outer space, including – as it happens – all the gold that we use. The gold that formed with our planet sank to the core, being so dense. That bit of trivia will make you a hit at all the jewelry-themed galas you might attend.

Now some will find all this a chore but it is one thing to read a screed like this one and quite another to immerse yourself in the beautiful environs of the exhibition. It will allow you to feel the value of the gemstones and materials on display, and even the ones that might be decorating your person right now. On that note, here is an image of Ms. Blanchett posing among the exhibits to inspire you.

Cate viewing 'The Art & Science of Gems' exhibition at the ArtScience Museum © Allen Tan

As for the jewelry itself, be warned that you may be stunned into disbelief. Take the image most associated with this exhibition, the Bird and Pendant clip once owned by Polish opera singer Ganna Walska. The briolette-cut yellow diamond – a mind-numbing 96.62 carats – is the star attraction of course but the piece in itself, transformable into a pendant and earrings, just takes your breath away.

Believe it or not, that is not most amazing crafted object on display. We recommend taking some time to discover the minaudieres and the mystery setting pioneered by Van Cleef & Arpels. Of course, it goes without saying that you should look out for the zip creations, which the maison developed for the Duchess of Windsor, the infamous Wallis Simpson. The zip necklace is today inextricably linked to the heritage of Van Cleef & Arpels.

Something we do not have an image of but you need to see to believe, is a shaped ruby sphere that is roughly 10,000 carats. Yes, that is not a typo, we did not add a zero. It is about the size of a croquet ball or about half the size of a bowling ball. Find out more about the exhibition here.

Van-Cleef-Arpels-Zip-Necklace-LOfficiel

Diamond, Scroll Set Auction Records in Asia

Despite the China market blues, a rare blue diamond and a painting by Chinese master Zhang Daqian broke auction records at Sotheby’s April 5. The De Beers Millennium Jewel 4 raked in HK$248.29 million ($31.8 million) at the Hong Kong auction, just hours after a scroll painting by Zhang Daqian sold for a record-breaking HK$270.68 million ($35.93 million).

The 10.10 carat vivid blue diamond broke the record for the most expensive piece of jewelry sold at auction in Asia, but at the lower end of estimates which predicted it would fetch between $30 and $35 million.

Slightly larger than an almond, it is described by Sotheby’s as the largest oval blue diamond ever to appear at auction and “internally flawless”. It was sold to an anonymous phone bidder.

“It was a very successful sale,” Sotheby’s international jewelry division worldwide chairman David Bennett said.

“The fact that it’s a record price for jewelry in Asia I think speaks well about the Asian market… I think it’s alive and well and very healthy,” Bennett said.

The sale came hours after a scroll painting by Chinese master Zhang Daqian sold for a record-breaking HK$270.68 million ($35.93 million), also at Sotheby’s.

It was snapped up by Chinese collector Liu Yiqian’s Shanghai museum — the latest in a string of massive buys associated with the former taxi driver turned tycoon.

Zhang’s splashed ink and color scroll outstripped the top-end pre-sale estimate of HK$65 million, breaking the record for the artist’s work at auction.

A buyer from Liu’s Long Museum ended hour-long bidding for the work, entitled “Peach Blossom Spring”, with more than 100 bids cast.

The sales comes despite a slowdown in the Chinese economy which expanded 6.9 percent in 2015, the worst performance in a quarter of a century and a far cry from years of double-digit increases.

There are fears that the combination of the Chinese economic slowdown and an anti-corruption drive by President Xi Jinping could hit the Asia market — both Sotheby’s and Christie’s posted lower totals at their autumn sales last year in Hong Kong compared with the two preceding years.

Liu, who has been making record-setting purchases at auctions in the past few years, stunned the art world when he bought a famed nude by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani costing more than $170 million in November.

He set a record for Chinese porcelain in 2014 by paying over $36 million for a tiny Ming Dynasty cup depicting a rooster and hen tending to their chicks, know as the “chicken cup”.

Liu made world headlines by drinking from the cup after he bought it.

Auctioneers say despite China’s economic downturn, there is still demand for top quality collectibles, and demand stretches across Asia.

The “Seal of the Mandate of Heaven” which belonged to the Kangxi Emperor, the longest reigning Chinese monarch, is to be auctioned on Wednesday at Sotheby’s as part of its spring sales season, with a starting at a price of HK$50 million.

Pink Diamond Sells for $15 Million

A 32-carat pink diamond was sold for $15 million by Petra Diamonds to Golden Yellow Diamonds, who purchased it on behalf of the M.A. Anavi Diamond Group. Found in the long-running Williamson mine in Tanzania, this pink diamond holds a rank of ‘exceptional’ although there is no information yet on clarity. Williamson’s diamonds are known to be high quality and the mine was found to produce an average value of $298 per carat in FY 2015. The highest per carat price remains $2.4 million, a record set in 2013.

The rarity of the pink diamonds, combined with the fact that it has yet to be fully ascertained exactly how these colored gems are formed, gives it a mysterious property that leads to its high value. One of the most notable is a flawless pink diamond of around 54 carats also mined from the Williamson mine. The largest and most famous source of pink diamonds is the Argyle mine in Australia, which is also the largest producer of diamonds by volume in the world.

Petra Diamonds remains one of the leading independent diamond mining groups in the international market. Their core objective is to increase the annual production to ca. 5 million carats by FY 2019 – which can only mean that we can expect more of these highly vaunted stones to come out in the future.

Blue Diamond to Earn $35 million at Auction

Coming five months after the sale of the 12.03 carat Blue Moon of Josephine (bought by businessman Joseph Lau for his daughter at a record $48 million), the 10.10 carat De Beers Millennium Jewel 4 is set to go on sale at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. This oval vivid blue diamond was rated with a clarity of “internally flawless” or IF as it is known in the trade and is expected to fetch between $30 million and $35 million.

“There are no more than a dozen or so blue diamonds of fancy vivid color and over 10 carats in the world, so they are very, very rare,” Sotheby’s Deputy Chairman for Asia Quek Chin Yeow told AFP.

The blue diamond was mined from the Cullinan Mine in South Africa – one that is famous for being a significant source of blue diamonds in the world. Blue diamonds are especially rare and have a high price due to a diminishing supply mixed with an increasing demand.

One of the most famous Blue Diamonds is the Hope Diamond, currently located in the Smithsonian Museum. The Hope Diamond was suspected of being cursed due to the deaths of many owners over the years.

Despite the slowdown of the Chinese economy (having a weak 6.9% expansion in 2015), the jewelry auction market remains strong. The previous record for a diamond sold in Hong Kong was set in 2013, with the sale of a 118-carat white diamond for $30.6 million.

“It’s the rarity and collectability of these wonderful objects. When they come to the market, they will have strong interest from all over the world,” Quek said as an explanation, adding that the location of the upcoming sale was a sign of confidence in the Asian market.

Tresor Paris lights up Christmas crackers with diamonds

Jeweler Tresor Paris has launched a set of dazzling hand-crafted Christmas crackers featuring diamonds, possibly the world’s first such holiday novelty. This is perfect if you happen to want to spend more than US$1 million on crackers. To be clear, these are not the sort of crackers you want to engage in the usual tug-of-war shenanigans with.

Almost £1 million worth of gems have been incorporated into the six different designs, with Tresor offering the recipients the chance to have the diamonds set into a piece of jewelry of their choice.

The most valuable gem in the set is a 3-carat pear cut diamond valued at £247,000 (approximately US$372,700), and the least valuable is a 3-carat oval worth £113,000 (US$170,507).

The crackers are designed and hand-made by the long established House of Crackers who especially selected exotic paper sourced from India, super sheer ribbon from Cheshire, poinsettia flowers, and goose feathers for these extremely elegant creations.

The crackers are available from VeryFirstTo.com, priced at £995,000 (US$1,514,000).

World’s second largest diamond found in Africa

A 1,111 carat “high quality diamond” has been discovered at a mine in Botswana, said to be the biggest find in more than a century, according to the mine company. Larger diamonds have been found but those were not gemstone quality.

The Botswana gem, only second in size to the famous Cullinan diamond which was unearthered in South Africa in 1905, was mined by Lucara Diamond Corp.

“The magnificent stone, which originated from the south lobe of Lucara’s Karowe Mine, is the world’s second largest gem quality diamond ever recovered and largest ever to be recovered through a modern processing facility,” the Stockholm listed company said a statement.

Shares in Lucara shot up 34 percent to 14.2 kronor in morning Thursday trading in Stockholm.

Botswana is the world’s second biggest diamond producer, and Lucara said the gem was the largest ever to be recovered in the country.

“The significance of the recovery of a gem quality stone larger than 1,000 carats, the largest for more than a century….cannot be overstated,” said William Lamb, the President and chief executive of Lucara.

The stone is yet to be evaluated, but commodities and mining analyst Kieron Hodgson, said it has “the potential to be one very expensive diamond.”

“Valuation will depend on potential inclusions, how it would behave in cutting, optimal shape as well as final color,” he told AFP.

“All these things will need to be evaluated prior to bidding.”

The biggest diamond discovered is the 3,106-carat Cullinan, found near Pretoria in South Africa in 1905.

It was cut to form the Great Star of Africa and the Lesser Star of Africa, which are set in the Crown Jewels of Britain.

Lucara indicated on its website that the Karowe Mine had also this week turned up further finds — an 813 carat stone and a 374 carat stone, prompting Lamb to laud “an amazing week” for the company.

Blue Moon diamond fetches record $43 m at auction

A new per-carat record price (US$3.6 million) for a diamond was established when Sotheby’s sold a vivid 12.03-carat diamond dubbed “Blue Moon” in Geneva. According to the auction house, the diamond sold for US$43.2 million Swiss francs (US$43 million, 40 million euros) November 11.

The BBC reports that the buyer is Hong Kong property tycoon Joseph Lau. Lau bought it for his seven-year-old daughter Josephine. Accordingly, he has renamed the stone “Blue Moon of Josephine,” marking only the latest diamond acquisition by Lau for his child. Lau is infamous for his 2014 bribery and money laundering conviction in Macau; he has avoided his five-year prison sentence by staying clear of Macau, which has no extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

Returning to the blue diamond, the price Lau paid was “the highest per carat” ever for this type of precious stone, said David Bennett, head of Sotheby’s international jewelry division. The diamond, described as flawless by experts, had an estimated sale price between US$35-55 million.

Goldgenie iPhone 6s

Preorder your diamond-encrusted Apple iPhone 6S now

Goldgenie iPhone 6s

Along with gold, rose gold and platinum, a luxury customization service will encrust the latest iPhone 6s with 800 diamonds.

It hasn’t even hit the market yet, but  is opening pre-orders for its 24K gold, rose gold and platinum iPhone 6s collection August 31.

The iPhone 6s, which is expected to be lighter and thicker than its predecessor and incorporate the Force Touch feature, launches at the end of September.

Prices for the plated phones start at £2,300 (about $3,635 USD) and rise to £10,000 (about $15,807) for the Diamond RockStar model, made with 800 VS1 diamonds.

AF Vandevorst diamond boots

AF Vandevorst Unveils $3 million Diamond Boots

AF Vandevorst diamond boots

A.F. Vandevorst, an Antwerp-based luxury designer fashion label, presented a pair of diamond ankle boots valued at $3.2 million during the Business of Design Week in Hong Kong today.

The diamond boots project is a result of collaboration between A.F.Vandevorst, Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC), Flanders Fashion Institute and Diarough/UNI-Design

Created in a heavy shiny calfskin, they come in a size 39 and feature 38,883 individual diamonds, 4,783 grams of gold. Worth $3,188,000, the shoes have taken 30,000 man hours to complete.

most expensive Christmas wreath

‘World’s most expensive’ Christmas wreath unveiled

A Christmas wreath featuring over 40 glittering diamonds and rubies was launched this week. Costing a cool $4,645,800, the 138.83 carat wreath is made to order and takes just under a week to create.

The start of the piece is a 17.49 carat ruby, which is offset by a 3.03 carat yellow diamond.

most expensive Christmas wreath

Designed by top Finnish florist Pasi Jokinen-Carter, the wreath is made from some of the most luxurious flowers in the world, including Hedera berries, Nobilis, lingonberry and blueberry stems and hand-curled eucalyptus leaves.

The wreath also features Helleborus flower heads, one of which holds no fewer than 22 loose diamonds totaling 2.64 carats. The gems are all removable and can be added to next year’s wreath.

Christmas wreath

Alternatively, London jeweler and provider of the stones, 77 Diamonds, can turn the rocks into a bespoke piece of jewelry for no extra cost once the festive period is over.

Tobias Kormind, Co-owner of 77 Diamonds, said: “It is exhilarating to participate in curating a selection of gems that would create the most sparkling Christmas anyone could wish for.”

The wreath is available to buy from luxury website VeryFirstTo.com.

Saint Laurent diamond bracelet

Saint Laurent unveils diamond jewelry line

Saint Laurent diamond bracelet

Hedi Slimane is launching a new line of stunning diamond jewelry for the Parisian luxury house.

Titled ‘Saint Laurent Diamond,’ Slimane’s latest jewelry collection features stunning modernist designs in gold, set with brilliant-cut diamond paving.

The hand-crafted jewelry line, which features rings and bracelets for men and women, follows “the tradition and savoir-faire spirit of Parisian joaillerie,” says the brand.

Customers have the choice of 18K gold or 18K white gold set with diamonds and according to Saint Laurent the collection will be “permanent and evolving.”

tribal necklace

Cartier’s luxury Odyssey

Cartier Zebra bracelet

French jeweler Cartier has created a new high jewellery collection called L’Odyssée de Cartier Parcours d’un Style, inspired by a magical and imaginary journey through the Old World.

‘L’Odyssée de Cartier’ riffs on Odysseus’s famous journey in Homer’s epic poem, with a modern twist. The collection represents “an inspired route winding its way to Africa via India, China and the Orient.”

In 1931 the brand first dabbled with African imagery creating their ‘Art Moderne’ bracelets for the Paris ‘Exposition Coloniale.’

Now they’ve revisited the African wilds with a new ‘Zebra’ bracelet, a traditional African bangle featuring bands of different-sized diamonds and onyx set in art-deco stripes, with a vivid garnet edge. Other pieces inspired by the continent include art brut and naïve tribal style necklaces.

There are also ‘Tutti Frutti’ styles inspired by traditional multicolored Indian ceremonial jewelry and voluminous pieces pairing intense fuchsia with diamonds and featuring serpentine elements.

Chinese-inspired pieces work diamonds and onyx into dragons and Zen garden shapes, with modern and minimalist bracelets using an abstract skyscraper motif to evoke the idea of the modern city.

Cartier brown tourmaline and obsidian bracelet

A diamond, brown tourmaline and obsidian bracelet from the L’Odyssée de Cartier collection

Cartier Chinese-style dragon bracelet

L’Odyssée de Cartier Chinese-style dragon bracelet with a Zen garden engraved rubellite stone

Cartier African-inspired ring

L’Odyssée de Cartier African ring with a brown tourmaline stone

Cartier diamond and platinum bracelet

A diamond and platinum bracelet from the L’Odyssée de Cartier collection

Cartier drop earrings in obsidian

L’Odyssée de Cartier drop earrings in obsidian

Cartier tribal necklace

A ‘tribal’ necklace from the L’Odyssée de Cartier collection

Cartier Tutti Frutti sapphire necklace

A ‘Tutti Frutti’ sapphire necklace from the L’Odyssée de Cartier collection

Cartier Zebra bracelet

A Zebra bracelet from the L’Odyssée de Cartier collection featuring stripes of onyx, diamonds and a garnet edge

Cartier African ring brown tourmaline stone

A ring in white gold, set with a 33.42ct brown tourmaline, obsidian and diamonds from the L’Odyssée de Cartier collection