Archive | Jewellery and Coins

You Know Your Diamond’s Cut and Carat. But Does It Have Ethical Origins? – by Tiffany Hsu (New York Time – January 8, 2019)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Consumers want to know the origin of the things they buy, like the name of the farm that supplied their milk or the source of the feathers in a down jacket. But when it comes to a diamond — quite likely one of the most expensive and emotional purchases a jewelry buyer will ever make — most know next to nothing about the source of the stone.

Tiffany & Company, which sold more than $500 million worth of diamond engagement rings in 2017, is hoping to change that. Beginning Wednesday, it will start a program that will identify for customers the country where their diamond was mined, and, eventually, information on where it was cut, polished and set.

The move is part of an effort among jewelers to attract younger shoppers, who may look upon established, venerable stores as stuffy and uncool. They also tend to eschew the hefty baubles their parents preferred for a much more spare style. Continue Reading →

552-Carat Yellow Diamond Discovered In Canada, Largest In North America – by Anthony DeMarco (Forbes Magazine – December 14, 2018)

https://www.forbes.com/

It gets quite chilly in the northwest region of Canada but the diamond industry in the area is starting to burn red hot as a 552-carat yellow diamond was discovered in October.

The rough diamond was unearthed at the Diavik Diamond Mine, approximately 135 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Northwest Territories, jointly owned by mining companies Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamond Mines, which made the announcement Friday. It is the largest diamond discovery in North America, far surpassing the previous record held by the 187.7-carat “Diavik Foxfire,” which was recovered at the same mine in 2015.

The gemstone, which measures 33.74mm x 54.56mm, was discovered while passing through the initial screening process at Diavik’s recovery plant. “Abrasion markings on the stone’s surface attest to the difficult journey it underwent during recovery, and the fact that it remains intact is remarkable,” the company said in a statement. “A diamond of this size is completely unexpected for this part of the world and marks a true milestone for diamond mining in North America.” Continue Reading →

Diamonds are forever – whether made in a lab or mined from the earth – by Joshua Wilhide and William LaCourse (The Conservation – December 12, 2018)

https://theconversation.com/

It’s diamond season. Almost 40 percent of American engagements happen between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, with Christmas the most popular day to pop the question – and hand over a sparkly piece of ice. Jewelry stores do at least double their usual monthly sales in December.

Since at least the late 1800s, with the discovery of huge diamond mines in South Africa, people have treasured these dazzling gems. The beauty and splendor of diamonds goes well beyond the surface. Like a diamond hunter digging in an underground mine, one must look deeper to their atomic characteristics to understand what sets these stones apart – and what makes them valuable not just for romantics but also for scientists.

When mined from the earth, diamonds look like cloudy rocks before they’re cut and polished. Their chemical nature and structure were unknown for centuries. It was Isaac Newton’s experiments in the 1600s that first suggested diamonds are made up of the fourth-most abundant element, carbon. Continue Reading →

DE BEERS “FIRE IN THE HOLE” – by Chaim Even-Zohar and Pranay Narvekar (Jeweller Magazine – December 6, 2018)

https://www.jewellermagazine.com/

What is really behind the jewellery industry’s greatest U-turn? CHAIM EVEN-ZOHAR with PRANAY NARVEKAR analyse De Beers’ real motives.

In the mining business, shouts of “fire in the hole” are warnings that an explosive detonation in a confined space is imminent. They warn of a dynamite charge that has been set. Depending on where you are positioned, ignoring it can be hazardous or even lethal.

The Lightbox Jewelry announcement of De Beers, signaling its policy U-turn of moving into the gem-quality synthetic diamond business, is a comparable ‘fire’ warning to the industry. This explosion may be foreshadowing the eventual end of natural diamond mining.

This U-turn by De Beers has always been a question of ‘when’ and not ‘whether’. The introduction of the Lightbox lab-grown diamond jewellery lines, coming on top of several other lab-grown diamond collections, symbolises another light pole on the edge of the road towards a rapidly growing global diamond jewellery market in which, eventually, any dissimilarity (differentiation) between lab-grown and naturally mined diamonds will evaporate. Continue Reading →

Pearl’s provenance smashes auction records as Marie Antoinette’s bling goes up for bids – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – November 15, 2018)

http://resourceclips.com/

Revolutionaries might fume about the fuss made over royalty but it was revolutionary fervour that gave Marie Antoinette her place in history. So the tremendous prices struck by the auctioneer’s hammer resulted from the executioner’s guillotine.

Among the November 14 sales was $36.16 million for a pearl and diamond pendant that once adorned the queen. Having asked for an opening bid of 900,000 Swiss francs, about US$895,000, Sotheby’s caller barely contained his delight as the price escalated within minutes to an auction record for a natural pearl. Sotheby’s had previously hoped for a maximum $2 million.

Other items also surpassed pre-sale estimates as infamy at the Paris chopping block fueled excitement at the Geneva auction block. Ten pieces from the doomed queen brought a total of $42.7 million, compared with a pre-sale high estimate of $2.9 million. They formed part of a 100-piece collection from the Bourbon Parma family that reached $53.1 million, far above the $7-million estimate and a record for any sale of royal jewels, Sotheby’s reported. A 1987 sale of Duchess of Windsor glitter set a previous record of $50.3 million. Continue Reading →

‘Incomparable’ pink diamond smashes record at Geneva auction (Channel News Asia – November 14, 2018)

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/

GENEVA: An exceptionally rare 19-carat pink diamond fetched US$50 million (€44 million) at auction in Geneva on Tuesday (Nov 13), Christie’s said, setting a new per carat record for a stone of its kind.

The Pink Legacy, which once belonged to the Oppenheimer family which for decades ran the De Beers diamond mining company, was snapped up by American luxury brand Harry Wilson, part of the Swiss Swatch group.

“US$2.6 million per carat. That is a world record per carat for a pink diamond,” said Francois Curiel, head of Christie’s in Europe. “This stone is for me the Leonardo da Vinci of diamonds,” he added. Continue Reading →

De Beers Is Offering Big Discounts on Low-Quality Diamonds – by Thomas Biesheuval (Bloomberg News – November 12, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

(Bloomberg) — De Beers made steep cuts in the prices of low-quality stones at its sale this week, according to people familiar with the situation.

The world’s biggest producer reduced prices as much as 10 percent for low-quality stones, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the sales are private. It’s the latest sign that the bottom end of the market is in turmoil.

De Beers sells rough diamonds to trade buyers who cut, polish and manufacture them into the polished stones sold in jewelry stores. While there is some correlation between rough and polished prices, lower prices at a De Beers sale is unlikely to make a difference at the consumer level. Continue Reading →

Colombia moves to put emeralds on a par with Roquefort – by Gideon Long (Financial Times – November 9, 2018)

https://www.ft.com/

Coscuez, Colombia –  Roquefort cheese, Scotch whisky, Cornish pasties and Spanish serrano ham are foods with one thing in common: they are all protected by appellation of origin.

Until now, this protection has been granted mostly to food and drink. The French have their appellation d’origine contrôlée to stop imposters passing off cheap plonk as Bordeaux; Italy’s denominazione di origine protetta safeguards everything from Parmesan to balsamic vinegar from Modena.

Now, Colombia wants to do something similar with its emeralds. The country’s miners are seeking appellation of origin (AO) status for their green gemstones. If they succeed, not only would Colombian emeralds become the first precious gemstones in the world to be protected on the basis of origin, but the move could also transform an industry that was once a vipers’ nest of lawlessness. Only Mexican amber from Chiapas, considered a semi-precious stone, has similar status. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: The Royal Canadian Mint celebrates decades of innovation with anniversary tributes to its Gold and Silver Maple Leaf bullion coins

https://www.mint.ca/

OTTAWA, Nov. 6, 2018 /CNW/ – Long known for defining the “gold standard” of refining and bullion coin manufacturing, the Royal Canadian Mint is proud to celebrate its Gold and Silver Maple Leaf bullion coins (GML and SML), with a pair of innovative collector coins.

Marking its 40th anniversary in 2019, the GML is being honoured with an extra-low mintage 99.99% pure gold kilo coin incorporating finely machined background radial lines, a security feature that is standard to modern GMLs, but which appears for the first time on a Mint kilo coin.

The 30 year-old SML is getting its own special anniversary tribute in the form of a 2 oz. pure silver coin, with black rhodium plating surrounding the iconic maple leaf reverse design and the obverse effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. These elements dramatically shine out from the coin in their natural silver brilliance. Continue Reading →

Lab-Grown Diamonds: They’re Real, and They’re Spectacular – by Stephanie Talmadge (GQ Magazine – October 16, 2018)

https://www.gq.com/

Getting engaged just got 30% cheaper.

It’s rare that an imitation, Frankensteined into existence, is anything more than a watered-down, flimsy version of the original. Real Rolexes and Folexes. Charcuterie and “ham”-and-“cheese” Lunchables. Coke and Diet Coke. (Fight me, Diet Coke fans.) But when it comes to diamonds—items we’ve historically been conditioned to think of as exceptionally precious—that might not be the case.

Lab-grown diamonds are exactly what they sound like: diamonds that were manufactured in a lab, rather than mined from the earth. These aren’t knockoffs; they’re not cubic zirconia; they’re not Swarovski crystals.

They’re bona fide diamonds—chemically identical to their earthen counterparts, so declared by the FTC this summer, except they cost about 30% less than mined diamonds. Excellent news if you’re shopping for a diamond…and less excellent if you’re selling them. Continue Reading →

Canadian and Australian mints resolve legal battle over ‘Possum Magic,’ Remembrance Day coins – by Marie-Danielle Smith (National Post – September 11, 2018)

https://nationalpost.com/

OTTAWA — The royal mints of Canada and Australia resolved a row over colourful coins on Monday, agreeing to end an escalating court battle.

After years of arguing about intellectual property concerns to do with colour printing methods, and months of back-and-forth in the Federal Court of Australia, the two mints have come to a cross-licensing agreement.

Trouble had been brewing since almost three years ago, when the Canadian mint, a Crown corporation, first accused its Australian counterpart of using a special, patent-protected method to print red poppies onto $2 million worth of commemorative Remembrance Day coins. Last December, after about two years of talks did not result in any agreement, the Royal Canadian Mint filed a lawsuit. Continue Reading →

The Royal Canadian Mint makes history to commemorate history – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – September 4, 2018)

http://resourceclips.com/

Impractical but legal tender just the same, the Royal Canadian Mint’s latest batch of coins features, not for the first time, a world first. This one’s an oval- and concave-shaped one-kilo 99.99% silver coin. Using innovative techniques to portray a traditional theme, it shows a boatload of voyageurs having “just cleared a treacherous cascade, their canoe almost launching itself from this incredibly sculpted and immersive design.”

The oval shape “beautifully frames the design while its concave shape heightens the sense of perspective,” the Mint enthused. “The ultra-high relief delivers incredible depth and dimension which are further enhanced by the coin’s antique finish.” The result “showcases incredible artistry and the Mint’s technical prowess that has made it a global leader for over a century.”

Although hardly the Mint’s largest coin, this one sells for 10 times its face value of $250. Just 400 copies have been struck. Continue Reading →

Ashes to ashes, carbon to…: Could synthetics bring death to diamond mining? Or a kind of reincarnation? – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – August 20, 2018)

http://resourceclips.com/

Somehow a real diamond got mixed up with the fakes. This summer the Gemological Institute of America reported its highest-ever single swoop of synthetic diamonds masquerading as naturals—1,101 artificial stones out of a parcel of 1,102. Efforts to pass off synthetic melee (variously given as under 0.15 or 0.2 carats) have increased exponentially since the GIA offered its detection service in 2016, the organization stated.

But while synthetics have improved substantially in quality, their chief risk to the diamond trade appears to be not false pretenses but positive consumer response. Customers willingly buy the man-made versions, attracted by lower prices as well as claims of ethical superiority that challenge the allure of a naturally created wonder.

And in a high-tech society, the lab-created substitutes can inspire a sense of wonder too. They’re created by one of two methods. Expressed simply, the high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) process dissolves graphite or another form of carbon through a metal alloy to bond with tiny seed diamonds and grow atomically into gem-sized diamonds. Continue Reading →

Hailey Baldwin shows off Justin Bieber’s massive engagement ring – by Cydney Henderson (Toronto Star/USA Today – August 24, 2018)

https://www.thestar.com/

Hailey Baldwin’s beautiful diamond sparkler is making its debut.

The model’s engagement ring from her Canadian pop-superstar fiancé Justin Bieber is front and centre on the cover of Vogue Mexico. In the black-and-white image, a fresh-faced Baldwin relaxes her head on her arm, leaving her massive rock for all to see.

Baldwin, rocking her signature blond locks and a tweed jacket, accessorized her look with a 6-to-10-carat oval-stoned stunner from New York jeweller Solow & Co., according to People. Continue Reading →