Burma’s Blood Rubies

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Despite Myanmar’s (formerly Burma) democratic progress, there have been reports that perhaps the import sanctions on gemstones would be lifted. Recently, President Barack Obama has extended the ban on Burmese rubies and jade.

While the U.S. government lifted broader sanctions on imports from Myanmar, Obama signed an executive order Wednesday which prohibits the import of “any jadeite or rubies mined or extracted from Burma and any articles of jewelry containing jadeite or rubies mined or extracted from Burma.”

The order became effective on Wednesday, extending the ban that lapsed on July 28. The U.S. Department of the Treasury said it opted to extend the embargo on jewelry specifically “due to continuing concerns, including with respect to labor and human rights in specific sectors,” as the sale of gemstones benefits the country’s ruling military junta.

The United States first banned the import of rubies and jade from Myanmar in 2003, it was a ban that definitely caught the attention of the jewelry industry. Much like emeralds from Colombia, rubies from this country, known in the trade as “Burmese rubies,” are considered the world’s best rubies and are prized for their color, which is often described as “pigeon-blood red.” They comprise an estimated 90 percent of the world’s rubies.

The ruby and jade restrictions were tightened under President George W. Bush in 2008 when he signed the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008 into law. The JADE Act closed a federal loophole in the law by also banning gemstones mined in Myanmar but processed or treated in other countries, such as Thailand.

This is the second time Obama has opted to extend the ban; he first renewed the sanctions against Myanmar in 2009. The ban does not prevent U.S. sales of Burmese jadeite or rubies that were in the country prior to 2008 and it does not extend to exports of Burmese rubies or jadeite from the U.S.

It also does not apply to stones that were in the country and then exported, including for personal use, so long as they are re-imported by the same person who can prove they left with it and the stone hasn’t been improved in condition or value outside the U.S.

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As always, Live, Life, Lamour,

R.Lamour

Hearts of Fire for Morena Baccarin

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Recently, Hearts on Fire announced that Homeland’s brazilian actress Morena Baccarin will be its new brand ambassador. The actress will start appearing in magazine advertisements for the diamond brand beginning in September.

Morena will showcase Hearts on Fire’s new fashion collections in print ads in well-known fashion and lifestyle magazines such as, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and Town & Country. She also will appear on the brand’s digital and social media platforms wearing the latest pieces from their line.

Hearts on Fire first began to recruit brand ambassadors in the fall of 2011, initially hiring fashion bloggers before bringing on board television costume designer Janie Bryant and artist, actress and fashion designer Tara Subkoff. Now the brand is upping the ante with Baccarin, a 2013 Emmy nominee for her role as Jessica Brody in the Showtime series Homeland who also has appeared on popular CBS’ The Good Wife and The Mentalist.

“With the success of our bold, new fashion collections, it was the perfect time to showcase these designs on a recognizable face. Morena is the perfect representative for Hearts on Fire and we are thrilled with our partnership,” said Caryl Capeci, vice president of marketing at Hearts on Fire.

With such a healthy combination of Morena’s stunning good looks and charm, the Hearts on Fire brand is sure to attract new clientele.

 

As always, Live, Life, Lamour,
R.Lamour

 

French Jewelry Heist

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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,
R.Lamour

The launching of the Faith Ann Kiely Brand

Today’s post is about a former senior merchandising executive for fine jewelry corporations, Faith Ann Kiely and the launch of her own brand. Being that she no stranger to the jewelry world, the recent launch of her first collection accentuates her approach to the industry from a new angle.

In this article Kiely discusses how classical antiquity is incorporated into her work, while staying true to the identity of her brand and the reasons consumers will keep coming for silver as long as designs stay compelling.

The Faith Ann Kiely brand was started in 2011, and officially launched to the retail market in the spring of 2013. She told us that FAK uses top-quality materials, the highest quality standards and traditional manufacturing techniques of fine jewelry. What differentiates FAK from many other brands is that it offers an uncompromising commitment to design and quality and creating the product made in America.

In terms of design, FAK’s design aesthetic seems to be truly original. It is inspired through her artistic perspective on classical antiquity, Faith Ann Kiely’s jewelry motifs are derived from an eclectic appreciation of the manifestation of beauty, art and spirit in our world, which she expresses through the fine sculpted metal work of my designs. Working with 18-karat gold and sterling silver, her intricately carved pieces, resplendent with bold faceted gemstones, are reflective of ancient times and provide a distinctly modern look.

When asked what is the most difficult thing about being a jewelry designer? she told us ”I think the most challenging aspect of being a new jewelry designer is in staying true to the DNA of your brand and design vision, regardless of current trends and/or market pressures. I believe that a brand must be authentic to its identity to truly be accepted and understood by consumers.”

Here are a few of her very intricate designs below for your perusal.

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As always, Live, Life, Lamour,

R.Lamour

Suzanne Belperron’s Jewelry Legacy

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Today’s post highlights the life and some of the great works of Suzanne Belperron.

Suzanne is a Parisian jeweler, she began working in 1919 at age 19, and continued without stopping for the next 56 years. She died in 1983. Her life and career spanned the modern movement in the arts, feminism and the emergence of fashion as a big business.

Elegant and audacious, she pioneered a new aesthetic style in jewelry, yet never sought recognition. Despite her discovery by the cognoscenti of style, her celebration by the fashion press, and her profound influence over the rest of the 20th Century’s jewelry design, her name is still not as known today. When the Duchess of Windsor’s jewelry was auctioned in 1987, only 5 of 16 Belperron pieces were tentatively identified. She was once asked why she never signed her work, Madame Belperron replied: “My style is my signature.”

What set her apart from her peers was the fact that she drew on motifs from a range of cultures—African, Cambodian, Celtic, Egyptian, Indian, Mayan—and created a daring new look which was hailed as both “brilliant” and “raw.”

 

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Belperron’s designs are so unique containing elements that are bold, playful, and anti-ornamental that they tend to strip away one’s average assumptions about jewelry. Her sculptural shapes anticipated modern design, like Chanel, she showed that high style could come from unfancy elements.

 

As always, Live, Life, Lamour,

R.Lamour

Hera Arkarakas Silver Jewelry!

As the price of gold maintains remains unstable, many jewelry designers are continuously looking for new more cost effective ways of expressing their designs. One designer in particular is Hera Arkarakas of the brand Hera who absolutely loves to combine the two metals.

In her most recent sterling silver collection she features 18-karat yellow or pink gold accents, which she says allows consumers to incorporate their existing gold jewelry with new pieces to give them a fresh, modern look.

“I wanted the collection to be very versatile to give women the ability to accessorize and capture all their unique fashion looks. As women, we live busy lives–juggling our careers, family life as well as fitting in a glamorous night or two out on the town. Jewelry is an accessory that can easily take an outfit from casual day to formal evenings,” Arkarakas said.

Arkarakas also feels that her gemstone statement rings are some of her most popular pieces, because they add color and a unique flair to outfits. The hematite mist- and champagne mist-colored stones are neutral and easy to wear, Arkarakas said, while aqua mist and violet mist add a punch of vibrant color. Below are some of the best pieces from her collection for your perusal…enjoy!

From the Paradise collection, Hera’s sterling silver rings are made with 18-karat yellow gold accents, diamonds and a violet “mystic” finish (left, $1,595) and a champagne “mystic” finish ($1,595).

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This Aqua Mist design set includes pieces from both the Paradise and Lido collections. The Lido sterling silver cushion ring features a “mystic” finish ($495), and the silver Lido mini cushion ring with a “midnight” and “mystic” finish ($295). From the Paradise line is a sterling silver pear-shaped pendant ($595) and pear drop earrings ($495), both with a midnight finish.

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Hera’s silver and hematite cushion drop earrings with a midnight finish ($395), from the Lido collection.

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From the Cocktail Stax collection, Hera’s sterling silver bangles feature 18-karat yellow gold accents with a mystic and midnight finish, with assorted gemstones and diamonds or black spinels (from $355).

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As always, Live, Life, Lamour,

R.Lamour

Hot Summer Designs

Summer is officially upon us and fortunately for us so are the hottest summer designs. Today’s post is centered around the top 10 emerging designers who will showcase their collections in the New Designer Gallery at the JA New York Summer Show this year, scheduled for this weekend at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The JA show is the first time these designers are participating in a trade show, which marks their official introduction into the industry.

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gmfldsTwin sisters Kimberly and Lucy launched Dao Fournier designed the two beauties above. The sisters have a passion for rare gemstones and grew up in the jewelry industry. The two stand by the motto that their designs are art meant to be worn by women everywhere.

gmfldsHolly Dyment is a Canadian fine jewelry designer with a background as a window display artist and graphic designer. She has a “more-is-more” approach to her jewelry, offering one-of-a-kind pieces with a bold use of color.

 

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David Alverado of Irthly Jewelled Adornments is the son of a master jeweler who puts his education in Chinese and European philosophy into his work, resulting in jewelry representative of his world view. Alverado’s view on sustainability becoming a global value and interdependence becoming a global creed also influence his pieces.

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Kendra Lawrence works primarily in sterling silver with freshwater pearls and, occasionally, gold vermeil. She strives for a minimalist aesthetic, and each piece is crafted in San Francisco using traditional fabrication and metalsmithing techniques.

 

gmfldsMaressa Tosto Merwarth was the winner of the American Jewelry Design Council’s 2013 New Talent Contest. Her jewelry is not about what she makes, but more the materials, processes and interaction between the artist and the wearer.

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Ana Marie Radosta studied industrial design in Philadelphia, where she learned jewelry making, moving on to Pasadena, Calif. where she discovered metalsmithing. Her jewelry has been sold through museums, galleries and jewelry stores.

 

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Rebekah Schwartz launched her brand in June 2012, and creates her pieces by hand, specializing in precious metals paired with precious and semi-precious stones. The collections reflect each environment Schwartz has lived in, from New York to Santa Fe, N.M. and Nantucket.

 

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Robin Koffler began her career as a graphic designer and illustrator, and now creates jewelry inspired by art, nature and contemporary design. Her one-of-a-kind, 18-karat gold pieces feature hand-picked gemstones.

 

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Orit Harel has a background in interior design and art, and now creates wearable art through jewelry. She aims to make a big, dramatic statement with her pieces, creating flamboyant one-of-a-kind pieces with gold and gemstones.

 

 

As alwaays, Live, Life, Lamour,

R.Lamour