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

 

Smash and Grab Jewelry heist

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Recently, there has been a constant wave of jewelry heists. Most recently, police have been searching for a group of thieves who made off with more than $100,000 worth of jewelry in a brazen smash-and-grab robbery at a Kay Jewelers in Livermore, Calif. Despite the fact that much of the robbery has been caught on surveillance video, the police have not been able to identify the thieves, who got in and out of the store in only four minutes early Monday morning and are still on the loose.

Surveillance video released by the Livermore Police Department shows the three suspects crashing a vehicle through metal security doors at Kay Jewelers in the recently opened Livermore Premium Outlets. The footage also shows the masked and hooded thieves storming through the jewelry store, smashing open display cases with sledge hammers and taking as much merchandize as they could get their hands on in the short time.

“They tried to open several cases, and took whatever they could,” Livermore Police Department’s Lt. Mike Trudeau said. Within four minutes the robbers had looted the store and were well on their way.

Mall security, which is located on the opposite end of the building, arrived on the scene just as the thieves were making their getaway, and were only able to give a description of the vehicles, the police spokesman said.

“There is on-site security that is there 24 hours a day. They were on the other side of the mall when this occurred and did identify the two get-away vehicles as a white station wagon and a tan sedan,” Trudeau said. “We don’t have any suspects at this point in the investigation.”

Trudeau declined to comment on other specifics regarding the on-going investigation.

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

Two watch brands To watch

Today’s post concentrates on two watch brands which  are making great strides of…..

Recently, German watch manufacturer Glashütte Original has launched a new line of ladies watches inspired by the 1920s genre, the decade in which wearing wristwatches first became popular among women.

Launched on June 20th at a party at the Waterfall Mansion on New York’s Upper East Side, Pavonina feature’s a line of Art Deco-inspired timepieces with modernized versions of the cushion-shaped cases which were popular in the Jazz Age.

The 31 mm watches have a date window at 6 o’clock and are available in stainless steel, 18-karat red gold or a combination of the two, on a satin or leather strap or bracelet. Diamonds are available on some models or through special order.

A total of 20 variations comprise Pavonina’s line, a name derived from the Latin word for peacock, with retail prices ranging from $4,900 to $39,600.

 

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Yves “Jetman” Rossy, the Swiss gentleman who is well known for flying solo courtesy of jet engines attached to his body, will make his first public U.S. flights this summer, as sponsor Breitling recently announced.

The 53-year-old Rossy, who worked as a fighter pilot and airline captain before becoming the world renowned Jetman, will soar over the crowds at the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in, which takes place from July 29 to Aug. 4 in Wisconsin, and at the Reno Air Races in Nevada, scheduled for Sept. 11 to 15.

Exact dates of the Jetman’s performances are not yet determined.

Rossy’s secret is a carbon-Kevlar jet wing with four engines that enable him to propel himself through the air at speeds upward of 150 mph, controlled by a throttle in his hand. The Jetman uses his shoulders, body and legs to steer, pitch and descend at will.

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As always, Live, Life, Lamour,

R.Lamour

 

Tiffany & Co. Exec Steals over $1M in Jewelry

As recently as today, a former executive with Tiffany & Co. was arrested for stealing a number of little blue box bounties from the jeweler’s midtown Manhattan headquarters and resold them for more than $1.3 million over a period of time, federal authorities said Tuesday. Ingrid Lederhaas-Okun was arrested Tuesday at her home in Darien, Connecticut. She was to appear later in the day in federal court in Manhattan to face charges of wire fraud and interstate transportation of stolen property.

As vice president of product development, Lederhaas-Okun had authority to “check out” jewelry from Tiffany at anytime she saw fit in order to provide to potential manufacturers to determine production costs. Authorities allege that after she left Tiffany in February, the company discovered she had checked out 164 items that were never returned.

According to a criminal complaint, the missing jewelry included “numerous diamond bracelets in 18-carat gold; diamond drop and hoop earrings in platinum or 18-carat gold; diamond rings in platinum; rings with precious stones in 18-carat gold; and platinum and diamond pendants.”

When confronted about the missing jewelry, Lederhaas-Okun claims that she had left some of it behind at Tiffany and that some had been lost or damaged, the complaint said. But in reality, an investigation found that Lederhaas-Okun resold the goods to an unidentified international dealer for more than $1.3 million.

Bank records also showed that since January 2011, the dealer wrote 75 checks to her or her husband for amounts of up to $47,400, the complaint said. Investigators also recovered purchase forms signed by Lederhaas-Okun that said the items were her personal property.

Authorities allege Lederhaas-Okun purposely checked out items valued at under $10,000 apiece to avoid detection. The company takes a daily inventory of all checked-out items worth more than $25,000. If convicted, Lederhaas-Okun faces up to 20 years in prison. The name of her attorney wasn’t immediately available.

Cocktails at Tiffany to Celebrate the Success of The Society of MSKCC's Bunny Hop

 

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

 

Bright light on Silver Jewelry

As the price of gold remains volatile, there has been a surge in designers preferring the use of silver jewelry to gold and other precious metals. One designer in particular,  Jude Frances, has debuted a series of new silver offerings which truly peek everyone’s interests.

Besides the edgy, attention-grabbing cuffs with black rhodium and black spinel which is depicted below, the brand’s new line of jewelry also includes elegant bangles and hoops with white rhodium and white sapphires, and pendants with blue topaz and citrines.

Also pictured below is jewelry from Jude Frances’ SoHo and Laguna collections, from the company’s spring/summer 2013, fall 2013 and core silver lines.

 

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For fall from the Laguna collection, the sterling silver Lattice stone ring features a faceted oval-shaped champagne citrine with a yellow gold bonded lattice overlay ($690).

 

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The sterling silver Lattice eternity band features black rhodium, 18-karat yellow gold accents and faceted round black spinel ($890). The band is part of the Laguna collection.

 

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Also from the SoHo collection, this silver and black rhodium-plated, wide pavé Flower cuff is set with faceted round black spinel ($2,890).

 

As always, Live, Life, Lamour,

R.Lamour

 

Gemfields Emerald Trading Blocked

Recently its been reported that the government of Zambia has barred mining company Gemfields Plc from exporting emeralds for its upcoming sale to Singapore, which is scheduled for June 10 to 14. According to the report, the country’s Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Yamfwa Mukanga told Bloomberg by phone on June 1 that selling gemstones outside of Zambia is not permitted and that the government had blocked Gemfields from exporting emeralds last week.

As Per a previously reached agreement with the government, Gemfields already had agreed to hold its April auction in the Zambian capital of Lusaka but planned on holding the June sale in Singapore. As of now the fate of that auction remained unclear as of Wednesday afternoon.

Currently Gemfields owns a 75 percent stake in Zambia’s Kagem Emerald Mine, which accounts for a bulk of the company’s production, the government holds the remaining 25 percent. Gemfields also has a 50 percent interest in the Kariba amethyst mine in Zambia, with the other half belonging to the government, and mines rubies in Mozambique.

Since 2009, all 11 of Kagem’s auctions have taken place outside of Zambia, in India and Singapore, generating a total of $160 million. The Zambian government see’s this as revenue that is not being generated from within the country, thus eventually having a spill over affect which would also boost its economy through tourism and other means.

Gemfields has said that being forced to sell the emeralds in Zambia only would negatively impact revenues and the overall development of the country’s gemstone sector and place Zambian emeralds at a competitive disadvantage worldwide.

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As always Live, Life, Lamour,

R.Lamour