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23Oct 2014

lady-mary-headband-downton-abbeyFans of Downton Abbey absolutely must visit the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, in Wilmington, Del., where three pieces of jewelry from the British period drama will be on display in November.

The three pieces are a hair slide of Swarovski crystals, worn by Lady Mary in season three; a wave of scroll tiara of Swarovski crystals, also worn by Lady Mary in season three, and a double-drop necklace of Swarovski pearls and crystals, worn by an extra in the season four finale.

The pieces were created by London-based designer Andrew Prince, who on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23 will give a lecture at the museum, titled “From Downton to Gatsby: Jewellery and Fashion from 1890-1929.” He will also display additional pieces from the show, created by Julian Fellowes and based on the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era.

Museum director David Roselle earlier this year secured costumes from the show for exhibition, which opened in March.

21Oct 2014

gemstonesGemstone prices are rising rapidly due to scarce supply, slowly chipping away at the highly-sought-after diamonds, and the time may be ripe for selling any rubies, emeralds or sapphires you may be holding onto.

Wealthy investors have been shifting to colored gems, which have a character of their own. The GemVal Aggregate Index, which represents the prices of 26 gemstones, has risen by about 47 percent in the last five years.

Gemstones, however, have some unique idiosyncrasies. The biggest is probably quirky pricing. The problem is that diamonds have a clear grading system, while colored gemstones do not. Another major issue is that it’s nearly impossible to get an absolutely flawless colored stone. That may impact price. Color is yet another issue. Not all red stones are rubies and not all green ones are emeralds. A stone with a deeper, richer or more brilliant color is pricier. The mine from which stone originated in an additional factor, and can sometimes influence price.

Andrew & Peter Fabrikant, buyers of diamonds and estate jewelry in Manhattan for over a century, are experts at evaluating this market and can advise on the steps that need to be taken to secure the best price possible for your colored gems.

Sellers should know that supply is currently scarce, and that drives prices north. Emeralds are at the top of buyers’ lists, followed by sapphires and then rubies.

19Oct 2014

the-three-argyle-red-diamonds-from-the-argyle-pink-diamond-tender-2013_2649.298f9Red diamonds, one of the rarest minerals in the world, have more than tripled in value in the last decade, according to DeVanx Assets, a Swiss rare minerals investment advisory.

“While certainly beautiful and precious, not all red diamonds are of investment quality,” DeVanx Assets said in an announcement from its offices in Basel, Switzerland. “The best red diamonds have become a new asset class offering stable value appreciation and low volatility, and are an excellent inflation hedge and substitute for gold and other precious metals.”

Experts say the highest quality investment-worthy red diamonds can command up to $2.5 million a carat.

Paula Vance, chief executive officer of DeVanx Assets, said her company has standardized the red diamond industry by tracking data including sales and pricing over the past 50-plus years from the entire supply chain, mining to investors.

“The careful review and selection of an investment grade red diamond is critical to enjoy the highest ROI (Return on Investment) for these stones,” Vance said.

17Oct 2014

family-jewelryHaving to part with jewelry, whether it’s a ring from a broken engagement, a family heirloom or simply a gem you loved but have not worn, is understandably a hard transaction to make.

Although selling diamonds and jewelry can be emotional, it is important to remember that a gift or inheritance was given to you so that you might appreciate life a little better and your decision should not be encumbered by guilt.

Your life’s circumstances may have changed and you need to change with them. That goes for your valuables as well. There are needs for college, new autos, home purchases, medical procedures, debt reduction and retirement. These are all necessary to be a functioning part of society and should not be bypassed.

It’s important that you focus on what your current needs are, financial or otherwise, or what you anticipate they might be in the future. You are, after all, living in the present. Selling jewelry that you no longer wear, can’t afford to keep or that you believe is out of style is the smart thing to do.

We’ve had clients tell us that they don’t want their jewelry sitting around waiting to get stolen or misplaced and that money received for the gems, no matter how you may decide to spend or invest it, is better than if the items sit in a drawer or a bank safety deposit box gathering dust.

Another one of our clientele felt it was difficult to sell her mother’s jewelry, but then contemplated what she was considering. Once the transaction was completed, she told us that a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders, that she had done the right thing and that her mother would fully have appreciated her decision. She gave the proceeds of the sale to her mother’s favorite charity and we made a donation as well to help support the cause.

As you can see, these types of transactions can provide some emotional relief in the end. It’s important to understand that jewelry received as a gift or inherited is always tied to emotion. As people with a long history in the jewelry business, we understand that the ability to listen and understand clients’ feelings makes us better at what we do.

When we purchase jewelry we are not just buying jewelry and writing them a check. We are making a human connection with them.

Here is some advice to consider when selling a piece of jewelry or an entire collection:

  • You may want to discuss it with close family or friends but it is something you may want to keep private.
  • Carefully inventory and then decide what you may want to keep, and what should be sold. If you have not worn it in years your jewelry becomes an asset that is underutilized.
  • Have your jewelry appraised by a certified appraiser and ask for an estate appraisal, or contact a reputable jewelry buyer or auction house. These steps will give you an estimated value before your decision to sell.
  • Deal only with a jeweler with a great reputation that you can rely upon
  • Once your decision is made, look forward, not back.
  • Stay away from pawn shops. You will receive the least value for your jewelry from these type of operations. Pawn shops view all customers as desperate for cash, and pay accordingly.
  • A true jeweler and not just a sales person in a chain store is your best bet for a profitable sale. You will be able to speak to a reputable and knowledgeable professional that knows the industry and has a reputation to uphold.
15Oct 2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 10.47.21 AMOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the jewelry line Survivor Collection has come out with an array of rings and pendants to be worn by survivors and supporters.

Two friends, one battling cancer and the other in a support role, inspired the Survivor Collection. Sue Paist of Chicago came up with the concept of a three-stone anniversary ring, signifying life before the diagnosis, the journey through the treatment and the moment when the doctor says you are clear of the disease. Paist’s friend, Pam Donnelly, had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Paist reached out to Charles & Colvard jewelers to create the collection. The line features two Forever Brilliant and one pink Moissanite gem.

The Survivor Collection is conducted in partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Women Survivors Alliance, and is designed to promote awareness, celebrate survival and help find a cure for breast cancer. Five percent of all sales are donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The collection will be available at retailers around the USA this Fall, which will be listed at www.survivor-collection.com. Please visit the website for more information on the collection, in addition to the National Women’s Survivor Convention.

13Oct 2014

Gemological_Institute_of_America_(emblem)Costs rarely go down, but the Gemological Institute of America, an independent non-profit considered the world’s foremost authority on gems, announced that it has reduced prices for its Quality Assurance services. Such services screen parcels of colored and colorless diamonds to detect if they are lab grown or treated.

The Carlsbad, California-based lab will now charge $10, down from $12, to screen diamonds from 0.06 and 0.20 carats. The GIA said the reduced costs are a result of its efforts to address concerns in the industry over undisclosed synthetics.

At the beginning of the year, the GIA announced that it had developed a machine to detect lab-grown and treated diamonds. Reports had surfaced of such diamonds being mixed with mined diamonds to pass them off as natural. GIA’s device is able to test diamonds from one point to 10 carats in size, one diamond at a time.

GIA invented the famous 4Cs of Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight in the early 1950s. In 1953, the organization created the International Diamond Grading System, which today is recognized by virtually every professional jeweler in the world.

11Oct 2014

Jewelers and other major retailers will be stepping up hiring this holiday shopping season, the result of government reports of gains in hiring and increased consumer spending.

The outplacement firm Challenger, Grey & Christmas has reported retailers will be hiring either the same number, or more, seasonal employees this year. This week, Macy’s said it will be hiring about 86,000 seasonal positions at its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores. That is a 4 percent increase from the 83,000 it hired in 2013.

Macy’s said that its seasonal workforce has seen growth in the company’s online fulfillment centers to support the increase in sales. This year, nearly 10,000 of the 86,000 total seasonal positions will be based in the direct-to-consumer fulfillment “megacenters” and product-specific fulfillment centers.

Holiday hiring has been improving every year since 2008, when the Great Recession led to an astonishing 55 percent drop in seasonal employees at major retail outlets.

Jewelers can look forward to a bright green holiday season, as consumer spending has been on the rise and diamonds and other gems are big sellers during Christmas-New Year’s period.

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer, said it plans to hire 60,000 seasonal workers, 10 percent more than it did in 2013.  Kohl’s expects to hire more than 67,000 people nationwide for the holidays, a 15 percent increase over last year.

09Oct 2014
Photo: Vincent Wulveryck, Cartier Collection © Cartier.

Photo: Vincent Wulveryck, Cartier Collection © Cartier.

If you’re planning on being in Denver later this fall or winter, you’ll want to drop in on the Denver Art Museum, which will be the sole venue for a new exhibition of more than 250 pieces of jewelry, watches and other gems created by Cartier between 1900 and 1975.

The exhibit, entitled “Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century,” will open Nov. 16, 2014 and run through March 15, 2015.

The exhibit traces the French company’s history from the turn of the century. That is when the well-to-do in New York City prompted the famous jeweler to open a store in Manhattan. Patrons included J.P. Morgan and the Vanderbilts, Russian aristocrats and Indian nobility, plus the English upper-class. Margaret Young-Sanchez was the curator and Nathalie Criniere the designer.

More information can be found at www.denverartmuseum.org.

08Oct 2014

PurpleOrchidDiamondBy Rachel Borok

Who can resist the captivating charm and elegance of a fancy colored diamond? Without a doubt these rare and beautiful stones are appearing in the media more commonly these days, as they continue to rise in popularity and bring world record prices.

Right in line with this year’s trends comes the ‘Purple Orchid,’ a 3.37 carat cushion cut diamond revealed for the first time to the public at the Hong Kong Jewelry & Gem Fair this September. Named for ‘radiant orchid,’ Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year, this breathtaking gem required several months of careful cutting and polishing to create the final product, valued at $4 million. “There are very, very few diamonds on the market above 3 carats with purple as the main color,” explains Leibish Polnauer, president of the firm that is selling the stone, “and this incredible purple diamond is more than a cut above the rest.”

With the market being so inflated, it is no wonder why professionals in the diamond industry are able to sell these special diamonds at a premium. In the last year we have seen record prices for fancy colored diamonds shattered, which may be an indication that the pinnacle of the market has been reached. If you own one of these gems, now may be a fantastic time to consider its sale.

The “Purple Orchid” may be a once in a lifetime find, but there are other colors of fancy diamonds that happen to be more common, and also highly sought after. For example, pink and blue diamonds are extremely desirable colors in today’s market. They are often purchased by the extraordinarily wealthy and given as baby and anniversary gifts.

Yellow diamonds are the most commonly used fancy diamonds  in jewelry. As modern cutting technology has improved, fancy yellow stone have shown to be the easiest to create. Their popularity seems to have peaked, and may soon fade.

As much as we love them, it is important to keep in mind that as with all trends fancy colored diamonds will not always demand such a premium. Experts at Andrew & Peter Fabrikant in New York, NY can attest to this through 100+ combined years of first hand experience in the industry. “Eventually the price increase will diminish the market for these stones,” explains Andrew Fabrikant, “But right now our clients are clamoring for fancy colored diamonds. The best time to sell is now.”

07Oct 2014

Alexandrite_26.75ctsIf you are a jeweler and are in possession of a piece of alexandrite, you are a rarity indeed. Not only that, but the rare stone is becoming even more rare, and of course, prices for it are soaring.

According to experts, the price of the stone has risen by the thousands of dollars per carat. One jeweler says that he has seen the price rise between 5 and 15 percent every year for the past few years.

Alexandrite is a rare mineral in the chrysoberyle family, and it can appear either green or purplish-red, depending on what light it is under. The higher quality of the stone, the greater the color change. The stone was named for Russian royalty.

The stone was first discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains, in the 1830s, and it displayed a high quality of color change. It immediately grabbed the interest of Russia’s leaders, and was named for Alexander II. This royal history gives the stone a cache others do not enjoy.

Some of the original alexandrite stones from the Ural Mountains still can be found in vintage and estate jewelry, while a great number of the stones being mined these days are now coming from Sri Lanka, Brazil, and parts of Southeast Asia and east Africa.