French Jewelry Heist


Today’s post is about the biggest jewelry heist to happen in France, which took place ironically in Cannes as did the previous two heist to happen this year.

Recently, french authorities increased border security as part of the manhunt for the robber who made off with an estimated $136M worth of diamonds and jewels in possibly the world’s biggest heist. Investigators said checkpoints have been stepped up on the country’s borders with Spain, Italy and the principality of Monaco after Sunday’s heist at the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes on the French Riviera.

On Monday, authorities raised the estimated value of the minute-long heist, taking it past the $100M raid on a Paris store in 2008 and making it likely among the biggest in the world. The lead investigator Philippe Vique, a prosecutor in the nearby town of Grasse, said police had interviewed staff at the glamorous hotel which featured in the famous Alfred Hitchcock movie “To Catch a Thief” starring Cary Grant.

Officers were also reviewing  all security camera footage for clues, although sources say that the man covered his face with a scarf, cap and wore gloves. Vique added that the robber who they believe acted alone,  entered through a French door at the side of the hotel on the famed La Croisette seafront. It was not broken, so investigators are unsure if it was left open or whether the thief had cracked it open.

He then made his way to the temporary jewelry exhibit held over the summer by the prestigious Leviev diamond house, owned by Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev. Armed with only a hand gun he threatened three private security guards, two vendors and a manager of the sale, before shoveling the jewels into a briefcase. He then fled with 72 pieces including rings, pendants and diamond-encrusted earings, although he dropped some of the jewelry as he made his escape.

Fortunately, no customers were present during the crime and no one was hurt.

Leaving through a different French door he jumped about one meter onto the terrace next to the hotel before darting into a side street. The whole thing was said to be over in a minute.

The owner of the jewels, Lev Leviev said in a statement that company officials were cooperating with authorities investigating the loss. We are relieved that no one was injured in the robbery,” he said.

Vique said police were not currently making any link with the infamous Pink Panther gang, who in a daring raid broke one of their members out of a Swiss jail, last Thursday. Gang member Milan Poparic escaped after accomplices rammed a gate and overpowered guards with bursts from their AK-47s.

Ironically, sunday’s heist came two months after two smaller jewelry robberies hit the annual Cannes film festival, where many of the world’s top movie stars are lent gowns and gems to parade on the red carpets and at glamorous parties.

The Carlton Cannes Hotel itself has proved to be a particularly irresistible target for thieves since it was built in 1911.

In August 1994, three machine gun-toting crooks stormed into the hotel’s jewelry shop and cleared its shelves of $60 million worth of gems. They have never been caught.


As always, Live, Life, Lamour,

Oscar Heyman’s Wow!

Every now and again, I like to feature well known industry jewelers that never loose a love for the art of jewelry. Today’s featured jeweler is Oscar Heyman, for those who don’t know who they are  Ive taken the liberty of writing a brief history of the group of brothers and how they came about from their humble beginnings. Followed by images of some of their most magnificent pieces which I personally find appealing.

Oscar Heyman’s humble beginnings started with their founding brothers who were trained in the  rigorous workshops of one of the industry leaders at the time of Fabergé. Prior to leaving Eastern Europe for New York in 1906 they dreamt of a life of great insurmountable success. Just a few years later three brothers, Nathan, Oscar and Harry got together and started in 1912, what is known a great jewelry company Oscar Heyman. Equipped with their ratified skills, abiding passion for gemstones and an old world approach to gracious customer service, their course was set for them to succeed as a team.

As it has always been, the Heyman Family has run their company flawlessly for three generations, with each generation imparting centuries old skills and technical know-how to the next. Today, members of the second and third generation work side by side with dedicated and skilled employees who continue to create jewelry of the highest standards for connoisseurs, celebrities, and dignitaries around the globe. With such a high standard for their craft, its not wonder that they will continue to provide breath taking jewelry for the twenty-first century and beyond.




125 ROUND DIAMONDS 3.9 cts.


Beautiful Brooch which can be acquired here.


88 ROUND DIAMONDS 1.82 cts.

Delicious gold and platinum pansy earrings which can be acquired here.


357 ROUND DIAMONDS 10.13 cts.

Last but certainly not least, a Yummy gold and platinum fancy diamond necklace which can be purchased here.



Although this is just the tip, actually a snow flake of their vast selection of unique pieces, I certainly hope all these have peaked your interest to at least visit their site and look into them.



As always, Live, Life, Lamour,



More Jewelry Tips

Happy Friday everyone!!!  Today’s jewelry tips  are some what of a piggy back off last weeks with a few more interesting tips when deciding on pieces to buy. As always, when you find something you like, I suggest TRYING it on!
With that being said, try on every piece of jewelry before purchasing. Be sure it’s comfortable, make sure it is the right length, Can you work the clasp easily? Does it stay on? This test run is important because if a piece doesn’t fit or meet the previous requirements, you just won’t wear it.

1. Stack your bracelets.
Stacked bracelets are definitely declared the THE piece for this upcoming spring/summer season. You can wear any style you like: thin, thick, cuffed, beaded, silver, gold, bronze, NO plastic. Many trendsetters are stacking bracelets. Often it’s the same style stacked together otherwise it’s the same color in a few different styles or in a group of complimentary colors. Either way you want to wear a bracelets, that said, you’ll be a fashionista.


2. But I have a watch On!
If you don’t wear bracelets, your excuse shouldn’t be “but I wear a watch so I can’t wear a bracelet!” If that happens to be your case then wear bracelets on your other wrist or buy bracelets that are thin and will coordinate with your watch (same metal, same color).

3. Buy jewelry with neutral colors.
They’ll go well with most of your wardrobe providing you with versatility. White, greys, camels, frosts, blacks are all good neutral color choices, they are pretty good with everything. Sometimes things with 10 hues in autumnal colors will look good with a lot or look for a multi-colored piece.


4. Revisit your favorite pieces.
If there’s an expensive piece you like that’s just sitting there, take it back to the store you purchased it from and see if there’s a local designer that can redesign it for you. Most local artists will do this for small fee, they want you to be able to wear their creations. If it’s a costume piece, you can visit a craft store or a bead store which might offer such a service. Otherwise,  you can buy supplies to re-string a necklace or replace a clasp.


5. Ask Grandma for her old pieces.
Now a days, many retro and vintage styles are coming back into fashion. Take a peek at your mom’s, aunt’s or grandmother’s jewelry box. Look for enamel bracelets, Swarovski crystal necklaces, oversized earrings which are all over vogue now. You can also find great vintage jewelry at estate sales, antique fairs and thrift stores.

Bonus! Store your jewelry in an air tight container.
Oxygen is what makes sterling silver tarnish. So when you’re not wearing your jewelry, I would suggest putting  it in your jewelry box. Otherwise, a good alternative is to use a small ziplock bag.  Any brand from a grocery store is fine or even the container store has small bags in heavy plastic that are the perfect size for jewelry. To avoid the hassle of  tangling, store one necklace in one ziplock bag. Leave the clasp sticking out a bit from the zipper. This way the chain won’t tangle.

As always, Live, Life, Lamour,


Diamond color scale/engagement advice!

Ever wonder about diamonds and their color scales?? well a friend of mine a few weeks ago asked me for some advice regarding diamond engagement rings. I asked him what type of cut and clarity he was intereted in and he indicated his interest in a VVS1, cushion cut, canary yellow diamond for his wife to be.  It look as if everyone was coveting and talking about fancy yellow and pink diamonds. Interestingly enough, these days many people want these diamonds but I am always astonished at how few people know about the color scale of white diamonds.  Which is basic building block of jewelry connoisseurs my that cannot be overlooked.

White diamonds fall in a D to Z color range with D being the most colorless and Z having the most color. Z colored diamonds are obviously more yellowish or greyish to the naked eye such as the image below, but keep in mind that such diamonds are not considered fancy colors.  Fancy colored diamonds are those that have a more vivid color than Z and have their own color scale.



D color is the most coveted on the color scale because it is considered the purest and most crisp diamond color for a white diamond.  Diamonds in the D-J color range look white from their face-up position.  One can detect yellow in the G-J color range only face down (with the pointed end, called the culet, facing up) looking through the pavilion (looking at a perpendicularly through the longest edge of the diamond).  K, L and M diamonds are yellow or grey face up and face down; any diamond color below M is unmistakably not white.

With this in mind, I advised my friend the engagement ring buyer that it is always wise to go for the highest color that your budget allows for without sacrificing the size you have your heart set on.  Its often that I see so many of the celebrity engagement rings, the 20 carat + whoppers, which are H-J colored and it always boggles my mind and makes me wonder why they didn’t just go for a stunning 5 carat D flawless?  There is nothing wrong with H-J colored diamonds mind you, but if it’s within your budget, who  in their right mind would want 20 mediocre carats when you can have 5 pristine carats of diamond for the same price?  Warped priorities make for bad investments.

Since my friend was looking to simulate the look of a yellow diamond on a restricted budget, I advised him to look for an X, Y or Z color but make sure the clarity is VS1 or better.  SSHHH!! It’s a sneaky little loop-hole, I know ;-).

Essentially, you are buying a diamond that looks yellow to the naked eye and if you have an excellent jeweler (which you should), he or she can make it look more vivid yellow with a clever setting thus giving you the look of a fancy colored diamond for considerably less.  Keep in mind though that an X, Y or Z color is not a fancy colored diamond so while it may look marvelous after it’s set, it is not going to retain value as well as an actual fancy colored diamond.  Why VS1 clarity or better?  Because a diamond in the lower color ranges that also has poor clarity is just a shoddy diamond.  If you are going to sacrifice color for an intended effect, you have to make up the difference in clarity and symmetry in order to retain some aspects of the diamond’s fire and brilliance, otherwise you’re just buying an unattractive diamond.

Hope this was helpful to all of my engagement ring buyers out there.

Live, Life, Lamour,


Qualifying a diamond: The first of 4C’s (Cut)

As the old saying goes, education is key to being a good buyer. Understanding the infamous 4 C’s-cut, clarity, color, and carat of a diamond’s appearance are essential to getting the best quality diamond for the best possible price. The first C that I will begin with is:

This “C” refers to the angles and proportion of a diamond
A well cut diamond has the ability to reflect light like a mirror from one facet to another and disperse and reflect this light through the top of the stone.  A well cut diamond will be symmetrically round, proper depth and width, and have uniformity of the facets.  These features will result in a brilliant and fiery radiance!  Diamonds that are cut either too deep or too shallow can lose or leak light through the sides and bottom and will be less brilliant-and ultimately of less value.
Characteristics of a diamond cut that are important to consider when purchasing a diamond are described in the following table.  Frequently, however, some diamond cutters will compromise on the cut of the diamond in an attempt to optimize a diamond’s weight (carat).  This may result is a larger diamond with a duller appearance.  If all other things are equals (carat, color, clarity), there can be as much as a 50% in the difference on the final price of a diamond if the cut is of poor quality.

Cut also refers to the shape of the diamond which varies from round, heart, square, pear, etc..  The most brilliant diamonds are going to be round in shape and this relates to the symmetry and capability of the diamond to reflect nearly all the light that enters.  Non-round diamonds “fancy shapes” have their own individual guidelines to consider for being considered well cut.
How a Diamond Handles Light
A diamond’s cut helps determine its brilliance.
Table 1.
Table Size % Table length relative to diameter of diamond
Crown Angle Angle between bezel facets and girdle
Girdle Thickness Ranges from extremely thin to extremely thick (assessed visually)
Depth % Depth of diamond relative to diameter of diamond
Cutlet Size Ranges from pointed to extremely large (assessed visually)
Symmetry Refers to alignment of the facets, graded poor to excellent
Polish Smoothness of facets, graded poor to excellent

Tomorrow we will cover the second of the 4C’s of our diamond education series. Its always a good thing to know a little something especially about jewelry.


Live, Life, Lamour


Rare Rock!


Although not an actual image size wise at least, this rock is one of the rarest and largest red diamonds put up for auction. This blockbuster rock boasts rare symmetry and polish. With a a whopping 3.15 cts, this circular-cut reddish orange diamond is the largest of its kind to be graded by the GIA. From their estimates, this bad boy can go for anywhere between $700k to 1.2mil. As of the time that this diamond was graded, it actually went for about twice the estimated amount ($2.1 mil), which is over $600k per carat. This price highlight expresses the true rarity of a stone of this size.

This rarity of this diamond is achieved through its intense color and large size. Its high saturation and blend of shades of red and orange is considered by many jewelry experts as one of the rarest of all fancy colored diamonds.  This reddish color combination is so rare that very few larger than one carat are known to exist and the largest that is know 5.03ct is owned  and on display at the Smithsonian in D.C.  Their natural occurring color phenomenon is one that is not too clear, but its thought that this occurs when an extremely small quantity of nitrogen or hydrogen are present when the diamond’s crystal lattice (structure) is forming deep within the earth’s crust.

The de Young 5.03ct red diamond currently on display at the Smithsonian.

The de Young 5.03ct red diamond currently on display at the Smithsonian.









Live, Life, Lamour


Shine Bright like a diamond!

DIAMONDS1As far as we’ve known and has been marketed to us, we see that diamonds has always been the rock of choice. To many its a symbol of purity, class, and love. Revered as it is, the diamonds history is something that few know or understand.

Diamonds are as some of us already know are the hardest known substance to man. In fact, Most of the diamonds mined today are used for industrial purposes and are not dedicated for jewelry making. Diamonds are actually an abundant mineral, not as rare as we are actually led to believe by traditional marketing.

Although Natural diamonds are popular, as of late, there has been a growing wave towards synthetic diamonds in the jewelry market. Interestingly enough, it has been the Queen of diamonds herself (De Beers) whom has been making more of a push into this direction. Although this move is being received with mixed feelings by the industry, it may make getting your hands on a natural diamond even less accessible.


Live, Life, Lamour



Special K the Gold Standard

Ever wonder what that K next to the number on your gold jewelry is symbolic of?

Well your not alone because I used to wonder what the heck it was as well. After doing some digging around, actually not that much since we have this wonderful thing called the internet, I found my answer. This special K is the universal acronym in jewelry  lingo for Karat (K) or otherwise know as carat(ct.) for our friends in the UK and Persian Gulf Region. This Karat system is used to inform the jeweler and any would be purchasers of how many parts of gold there is in that particular item.

The origin of the term comes from the Roman Emperor Constantine who during his time decided to mint some 24K gold coins during 309 CE. Im sure during that period the Emperor did this not just because he didn’t want to walk around with gold bars in his pockets, he was the ruler of the land after all.

Below are some ratios of Karat to gold percentages for some clarification:

  • 24 karat (24K) gold is pure gold making it 100%.
  • 18 karat (18K) gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts another metal or metals, making it 75% gold.
  • 14 karat (14K) gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts another metal or metals, making it 58.3% gold.
  • 10 karat (10K) gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts another metal or metals, making it 41.7% gold. 10k gold is the minimum karat designation that can still be called gold in the US.

With this knowledge of Karat, hopefully you’ll be more informed in what your buying or investing in, after all jewelry is an investment. No matter how small of a purchase.

Live, Life, Lamour