Google+ The Daily Jewel: 3/24/13 - 3/31/13


Thursday, March 28, 2013

DEF Premieres NEW "DIAMONDS FOR GOOD" Membership Program


The Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) launched a global annual membership program today designed to highlight companies in the diamond and jewelry industry who support DEF’s mission of youth education empowerment and leadership development in diamond producing countries.

A full 80% of global consumers believe it is important for companies to make them aware of their corporate social responsibility efforts according to global PR giant Edelman’s latest research study.  Consumers connect with DEF’s positive message. During a recent survey of DEF’s followers on social media, one respondent affirmed “the fact that major retailers and the diamond industry are supporting DEF means they are creating social change and awareness – and that has a huge impact on how I view the diamond industry more positively.”

Phyllis Bergman, CEO of Mercury Ring and DEF Board President, believes that DEF’s Membership Program “will enable industry members to show their customers the importance they place on an initiative that gives back to the communities where their diamonds are sourced. Developing the next generation of leaders through education in diamond producing countries speaks to this commitment."
A key element to the Diamonds for Good Membership Program is a seal created for members to use across all lines of communication. The seal positions a green diamond in the center of a circle created with diamonds and the words ‘Diamond Empowerment Fund, Diamonds for Good Member’.  A higher level of support, the Empowerment Circle, includes this same seal, and an added ring of diamonds with the words Empowerment Circle in the center. Inaugural members of the Empowerment Circle include the Dalumi Group, Malca-Amit, Sterling Jewelers, and Leo Schachter Diamonds.  

Visit to download a membership form.

About the Diamond Empowerment Fund
The Diamond Empowerment Fund is a New York based global non-profit organization (EIN# 20-5967103) that raises money to fund education initiatives in African diamond-producing nations. Its beneficiaries include: CIDA City Campus, South Africa’s first non-profit university to offer a four-year business degree.  CIDA has an 80% employment rate among graduates; the African Leadership Academy, a university preparatory school in Johannesburg, South Africa, founded on the belief that ethical leadership is the key to sustainable development on the continent and drawing students from all 54 countries in Africa, and the Botswana Top Achievers program that provides the top high school students countrywide the opportunity to study at a university of their choice worldwide. Graduates then return to Botswana to contribute to its economic, social and political development.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mystery Box" Raffle Raises Over $1,700 for MJSA Education Foundation

"Mystery Box" Raffle Raises Over $1,700

for MJSA Education Foundation

In addition to an eclectic set of materials (including niobium discs, spiny oyster shells, and colored ribbons), the jewelry created for MJSA Journal's "Mystery Box Challenge" shared two traits. First, the pieces were all expertly made. Second, they all ultimately contributed to the mission of the MJSA Education Foundation, raising $1,745 in raffle sales during MJSA's Expo New York trade show (March 10-12 at the Hilton New York).

Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, Stow, Ohio
The Journal--MJSA's monthly magazine dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design--annually sponsors the "Mystery Box Challenge," which has become a reader favorite since its debut in 2012. Inspired by the "Chopped" cooking show, it presents jewelry designers with eclectic, unfamiliar materials (all donated by industry suppliers) and asks them to create original jewelry pieces in four weeks' time. The results, published in the magazine, have been case studies of the creative process in action.

This year, five of the "Mystery Box Masterpieces" were displayed at Expo New York, and tickets were sold for a raffle conducted after the show. The participating designers were:Gregoré Morin, Santa Barbara, California; Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, Stow, Ohio; Geoffrey Giles, Asheville, North Carolina; Erik Stewart, Tucson, Arizona; and Ryan Roberts/Robin Waynee, Santa Fe, New Mexico. (A sixth piece, made by Davina Romansky, had been previously sold and was unavailable.)

Erik Stewart, Tucson, Arizona
The raffle winners are:

Steven Adler, A3DM (Ryan Roberts/Robin Waynee ring)
Alan Bell, Rio Grande (Geoffrey Giles ring)
Andy Holwell, Johnson Matthey (Erik Stewart domed earrings)
Yvonne Padilla, Rio Grande (Michelle Pajak-Reynolds necklace)
Scott Raskin, Kemp Metals (Gregoré Morin drop earrings)

The suppliers that donated materials are:

Boston Gems, Boston, 
(moonstone cabochon)

Downeast Trading, Middlebury, Vermont,
(6-inch length of silver link chain)

Findings Inc./Leach Garner, Keene, New Hampshire,
(a pair of leverbacks, a lobster claw, and a toggle clasp, all sterling silver)

Hoover & Strong, Richmond, Virginia,
(18 gauge sheet of 4-inch-square TruSilver)

National Chain Group, Warwick, Rhode Island,
(18-inch sterling silver round box chain)

Reactive Metals Studio, Clarkdale, Arizona,
(purple and blue niobium discs, blue and purple niobium wire)

Rings & Things, Spokane, Washington,
(Heishi spiny oyster shell beads; 12 round amethyst beads; 12 faceted amethyst beads)

Rio Grande, Albuquerque, New Mexico,
(2 mm silk cords in different colors; 6 mm silver and black mesh ribbon; #3 Stringth bead cord in different colors)

United Precious Metal Refining, Alden, New York,
(1-mm-thick sheet of 4-inch square Sterlium Plus silver)

Proceeds will be used to fund student scholarships offered by the MJSA Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports programs developed to enhance the skills of current workers and develop the next generation of jewelry makers and designers.

To learn more about MJSA Journal and "The Mystery Box Challenge," including articles about the creation of the pieces, go to
Ryan Roberts and Robin Waynee, Santa Fe, New Mexico

About MJSA
MJSA is the U.S. trade association for jewelry makers, designers, and related suppliers. It provides the resources to achieve professional excellence and maintain a competitive edge. For more information, call MJSA at 1-800-444-6572 or visit

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

White Diamond to Lead Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels April Auction

Sotheby’s to Offer Most Valuable White Diamond Ever to Appear In a New York Auction

Sotheby’s annual spring auction of Magnificent Jewels on 17 April 2013 will offer 400 lots, together estimated in excess of $35 million. The centerpiece of the sale is an exceptional pear-shaped diamond of nearly 75 carats, estimated at $9/12 million*, which marks the most important white diamond ever to appear at auction in the Americas. The stone is one of very few pear-shaped diamonds of D color over 50 carats to be offered in recent decades – its remarkable size and pure color position it in the company of named diamonds such as the Star of the Season, 100.10 carats, sold by Sotheby’s in 1995 for a then-record-breaking $16.5 million.

Lisa Hubbard, Chairman, North & South America, Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, commented:
“This truly exceptional stone exemplifies the strength of the white diamond market over the last decade. It was acquired by the present owner in 2001 for $4.3 million, and today we have estimated it conservatively at $120,000 per carat. The stone has universal appeal, and we anticipate that it will draw attention from both the diamond industry and discerning private collectors alike.”

Lisa Hubbard continued: “Recognizing that the strength of the jewelry market at this moment lies in pieces that have emerged from private collections – most recently evidenced by the success of jewels owned by Mrs. Charles Wrightsman and Estée and Evelyn H. Lauder – we have curated the April auction to include a wealth of wonderful, fresh-to-the-market pieces, such as rare colored stones from the Gould family and iconic styles including Cartier’s ‘Tutti Frutti’ bracelet and panther brooch.”

Highlights from the sale will be on view in the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center from 3–7 April before returning to New York for exhibition on 13 April, alongside a selection of pieces from the upcoming Geneva auction of Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels.


Six jewels from the family of financier and railroad magnate Jay Gould offer a glimpse into the past – a time when diamonds and fine colored stones were integral to fashion, society and one’s family legacy. Acquired in the first half of the 20th century, today it is a rare occasion to find a selection of important jewels at auction that have remained in the same distinguished family for decades.


Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’s presents auctions in 10 different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris, and Sotheby’s BidNow program allows visitors to view all auctions live online and place bids in real-time from anywhere in the world. Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, the world’s only full-service art financing company, as well as private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including S|2, the gallery arm of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art department, as well as Sotheby’s Diamonds and Sotheby’s Wine. Sotheby’s has a global network of 90 offices in 40 countries and is the oldest company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (BID).

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium and prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Results - Napoleon and Josephine Engagement Ring

The results are in...$949,000, almost 50 times the $20,000 Osenat had expected to bring in. 

“In my wildest dreams, I did not think we would outsell the estimate by more than 47 times,” said Osenat’s Emily Villane, who led today’s auction. “We based the estimates in our catalog on the actual market value of the ring, minus Napoleon and Josephine provenance. It is not our job to tell bidders how much they should pay for the historical premium.”

So why would someone pay 50 x what an item is worth?  ...the notoriety of a previous owner of the object is one reason that we have witnessed in auctions like the fairly recent Elizabeth Taylor Auctions.

The everything Dolce & Gabbana site Swide describes the auction as...

"The catalogue is full of incredible mementos like first editions of the Napoleonic Code, canes used by the Emperor himself, portraits of him and his family including a very special one depicting Napoléon François Joseph Charles, Napoleon’s only son and heir. "

I think all of this would however be great news to Napoleon Bonaparte. 

Born an aristocrat...Died defeated, exiled to St Helena. Yet, there is a definite romance to his story.  Interesting because before Napoleon you probably don't have descriptions of daily life and items that can be purchased with the monarch's image.  Considered to be the  first of the nobility to promote his image, Napoleon had china, pots, hammers, spades, fire pokers and candle holders produced with his likeness on them. 

BUT...Napoleon knew the importance of lineage and the Emperor (he promoted his title to Emperor of France in 1804 and King of Italy the following year) needed an heir.  So, a true marketer, his childless marriage to Josephine was dissolved in 1809 and one year later he married Marie Louise, daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, in April 1810. She bore him a son, Napoleon II, March 1811.

Following the divorce they remained friendly, Josephine was allowed to retain her title as Empress, and was moved to the elaborate La Malmaison, near Paris, where she had a dignified retirement and maintained a friendly relationship with Napoleon. So we know that this ring was a true declaration of love from the 27 year old Brigadier General, to a woman he pursued for two years, the widow of Viscount Alexandre Beauharnais who was 7 years his senior!

Just an aside - it is truly telling just how much the concept of attractiveness has changed when you hear the descriptions of the Josephine that Napoleon fell head over heels with following a brief meeting in 1788.  

"She accepted the seven-year-younger groom as a convenience as she was a well-used lady with sexual experience that belied her unattractive appearance; teeth that were black stumps and heavy makeup, appearing shopworn. "

Or, more politely...

"Joséphine was described as being of average height, svelte, shapely, with silky, chestnut-brown hair, hazel eyes, and a rather sallow complexion. Her nose was small and straight, and her mouth was well-formed; however she kept it closed most of the time so as not to reveal her bad teeth. She was praised for her elegance, style, and low, "silvery", beautifully modulated voice"

both quotes are from Wikipedia.

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