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

David Yurman, Beauty in contrast

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Have any of you seen the new  David Yurman add campaigns?? Well, recently Model Kate Upton who just graced back-to-back covers of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, is now swapping out her string bikinis for David Yurman’s classic cable designs.

Upton is one of four women tapped by the designer for its fall 2013 advertising campaign, with the theme  “Beauty in Contrast.” The idea behind the campaign came as an effort to highlight how “diverse elements can coexist in a delicate balance,” a theme which is chosen because of the diversity in Yurman’s designs, both his classic pieces and those from the fall 2013 collection.

The campaign features elegant and refined pieces along with more earthy and artisanal designs. The new collections coupled with iconic favorite designs are heavier alongside more minimal pieces. Overall, the brand said it selected four very different women to make up their models for Beauty in Contrast.

Upton, who is blonde and blue-eyed and was raised in Florida, represents the all-American girl while Anais Mali, a French model whose mother is from Chad and whose father is Polish, has a global/European sophistication. Dree Hemingway, a member of the famous Hemingway family, bears a patrician refinement, while Catrinel Marlon, a Romanian model who also has been in SI’s Swimsuit Issue, has a mysterious sensuality, the brand said.

“Through design, styling and imagery, we tell a story of contrast in all its mesmerizing beauty,” Yurman said. “Beauty is always more intriguing in contrast.”

Photographer Peter Lindbergh shot the campaign, which features the women wearing a combination of classic Yurman designs and selections from the fall 2013 collection, including the new miniature version of Yurman’s signature pinky ring. Beauty in Contrast debuts this month worldwide in print and online outlets as well as on DavidYurman.com.

Yurman founded his eponymous jewelry company in New York in 1980. The brand has 25 stores throughout the United States, France and China, and the jewelry is sold at retail outlets, including many independent jewelers, across the U.S.

 

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

New Star of China

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As some of us have heard, Kim and Kanye aren’t the only ones attracting attention for their little one’s choice of name this week. Recently, the executive of a Chinese jewelry company announced a similar act of baby naming as she’s attached to her baby, a 75-carat briolette diamond now known as “The Star of China.” As seemingly ridiculous as this may sound, this naming bug has been something that has been a form of inspiration from many varying sources.

Tiffany Chen, vice chairwoman of China Star Entertainment Ltd., is the wonderful woman who purchased the 75.36-carat, D color, Type IIA diamond at Christie’s May 28 Magnificent Jewels sale in Hong Kong. As is the tradition with exceptional diamonds, Chen named her stone, selecting “The Star of China” as a nod to her jewelry company.

Chen who paid a whopping $148,000 per carat for her Star, set a new sale world record for a briolette diamond at auction and was just one of the latest in a line of record-setting sales. The $39.3 million sale of the Princie diamond at Christie’s New York set a new record for a Golconda diamond at auction while the 101.73-carat pear-shaped Winston Legacy raised the bar for colorless diamonds at auction when it sold for $26.7 million.

 

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As always, Live, Life, Lamour,

R.lamour

 

Asia’s New taste

In a recent Hong Kong jewelry auction, there has been a noticeable shift in the tastes of jewelry collectors. Although there were a variety of pieces offered ranging from celebrity inspired pieces to actual jewelry worn in actual films,  the star power had almost no effect on the price of these sometimes interesting collectables.

At the top lot of the auction was a wonderful pair of jadeite bangles, which sold for $6.9 million to an Asian private buyer. Overall, when the dust cleared, the auction totaled $36.9 million and 79 percent was sold by value.

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This ruby and diamond necklace (above) sold for $3.2 million, while a jadeite and diamond suite, consisting of a necklace, earrings and a ring (below), realized $2.4 million.

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All top 10 lots of the auction, which were largely jadeite and diamond pieces, were sold to Asian private buyers.

“Nowadays, jewelry collectors have much wider interests,” said Ellen Sin, director of Tiancheng’s jewelry department. “Besides the conventional top jadeites and diamonds, colored gemstones like natural rubies and emeralds have been sought after and drawn increasing attention … We will continue our perseverance in bringing more unique jewelry in line with market tastes from all over the world to collectors.”

 

As always, Live, Life, Lamour,

R.Lamour