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5 posts from October 2017

The Famed Donnersmarck Diamonds Could Fetch $14 Million At Sotheby's Geneva

Donnersmarck DiamondsThe Donnersmarck Diamonds, a pair of fancy intense yellow diamonds with aristocratic provenance is being offered as part of Sotheby’s Geneva auction of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels November 15 at the Mandarin Oriental, Geneva.

The diamonds, formerly in the collection of the von Donnersmarck family, consist of a 102.54-carat cushion-shaped diamond and an 82.47-carat pear-shaped diamond. They are being offered as a single lot with a pre-sale estimate of $9 - $14 million.

Sotheby’s said these diamonds are attached to one of the great love stories of the 19th Century.

“These stunning diamonds carry with them a fascinating story, full of romance and determination over adversity, which could have inspired some of the greatest novels and operas, from Manon Lescaut to La Traviata,” said David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division.

Donnersmarck Diamonds-2The Donnersmarck Diamonds were part of the collection of La Païva, Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck (1819-1884), arguably the most famous of the 19th-century French courtesans, Sotheby’s said.

Born Esther Lachman, the Russian native of modest means arrived in Paris at the age of 18 and was introduced to the city’s cultural and artistic circles. She gained the friendship of many artists, including Richard Wagner, Hans von Bülow, Théophile Gautier and Emile de Girardin.

In the late 1840s, she met the Portuguese Marquis Albino Francisco de Araújo de Païva. They were married in 1851 but the marriage lasted only one day.

Now known as La Païva, It was around this time she met her future husband, German nobleman, Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck (1830-1916), one of Europe’s richest men. Their relationship was the talk of Paris high society and in 1871, the two were married.

Among the jewels von Donnersmarck gave to La Païva during the course of their marriage was the two yellow diamonds now known as the Donnersmarck Diamonds.

Following La Païva’s death in 1884, the count, who became prince in 1901, retained ownership of the diamonds. They remained in the Donnersmarck family for more than a century until they appeared at auction at Sotheby’s in 2007 where they sold for approximately $7.9 million. They will appear again in November after having been in a private collection for the past 10 years.

The Donnersmarck Diamonds come to the market at the same time that Sotheby’s is celebrating its 10th anniversary in sales dedicated to “noble jewels,” storied jewels of great provenance.

“Ten years ago, they were the star of the show when we launched our very first sale dedicated to Noble Jewels here in Geneva,” Bennett said. “I am delighted to mark a decade of success by presenting these exceptional diamonds once again. Jewels of royal and aristocratic provenance carry with them a special sense of history and these are no exception.”

In the same sale, Sotheby’s is offering “The Raj Pink,” the world’s largest known fancy intense pink diamond, weighing 37.30 carats with an estimate of $20 - $30 million.

Anthony DeMarco is a freelance writer and founder of Jewelry News Network. Please join me on Facebook, Twitter @JewelryNewsNet and Instagram @JewelryNewsNetwork.

via Forbes

ALROSA Reports Discovery of 34-Carat Yellow Diamond

  34.17 FVY rough diamondALROSA has found a 34.17-carat yellow diamond which is the largest fancy-colored rough diamond extracted by the company this year.

The rough diamond, extracted from the Ebelyakh alluvial deposit, measures 20.17 х 19.65 х 15.1 mm. It is a transparent intense yellow crystal with a small inclusion in the intermediate zone, the miner said.

Before the end of October, it will be delivered to the United Selling Organization ALROSA (USO ALROSA) in Moscow, where the company specialists will give it a more detailed and accurate assessment.

"This year for ALROSA has already hit the record in the number of large fancy-colored stones," said the director of the United Selling Organization ALROSA Evgeny Agureev. "We used to extract fancy-colored rough diamonds over 10 carats once a year on average. This year, we have already recovered several large fancy-colored diamonds, and this 34.17-carat yellow stone is the largest one so far.

"The company's specialists are still to study the stone more in detail, but we can say in advance that it is fancy vivid yellow, which is very rare and highly valued. The stone will become a worthy addition to our collection of large rare-colored diamonds that we are forming and will bring to the market."

Earlier this year, ALROSA also extracted a 27.85-carat pure pink diamond - the largest pink stone in its history.


Travel Carefully with Jewelry | Diamond Source of Virginia

Take camera photos of your jewelry so you can prove it is yours if lost and found. That photo might also be handy if you are questioned by customs when traveling internationally.

USA-StatesCheck with your insurance company to ensure you are covered where you are traveling out of the country. The chance of theft is greater outside the country and you do not want to find out the hard way you were not covered by your insurance company.

MuggingWhen traveling out of the country, keep in mind you are a visible target for snatch and grab. Some expensive rings are years of income in some countries and are just too tempting of targets.

When traveling, do not leave your ring by a sink when you wash your hands as you might forget, walk away, and lose it. Bring a polishing cloth or eye glass cleaning cloth to clean before and after you wear your jewelry.

Luggage-checkedWear or carry your jewelry with you, never put them in luggage to be transported by airlines, cruise lines, or other public transportation. Now that luggage must be left unlocked to allow security inspection, the risk of theft or loss when the bag falls open is greater than ever.

Hotel-safeWhen traveling, store unworn jewelry in the hotel’s safe-deposit box. Items left in hotel rooms are an open invitation for theft. Cleaning personnel are in your room when you are not. Doors can be rigged to not close completely. Master keys can be duplicated and professional thieve target jewelry which is easy to carry and turn into cash.


What Is Wrong with This Diamond? | Diamond Source of Virginia

I was recently contacted by a client who was wanting to sell a diamond he had purchased from some retailer. The diamond presents a good example of why we only recommend GIA graded diamonds and diamond buyers need to be knowledgeable about the diamond they buy. The images at the bottom show the IGL (International Gemological Laboratories) Report for the that diamond.

GIA Diamond Grading Report

We only recommend GIA graded diamonds to ensure accurate color and clarity grading. The diamonds with EGL, IGI, IGL, HRD, and other grading tend to be off 1 to 4 color grades and often a clarity grade compared to GIA grading. Of course, the retailers selling those types of diamonds fail to mention that when they promote their diamonds. The lower prices you often see with those grading reports are really a reflection of lower quality rather than a better value.

Cut Grade

There are several diamond industry accepted cut grade systems (GIA, AGS, HCA for example). These systems have years of exposure and acceptance in the industry. I know of no documentation of the IGL cut grade system so what does Excellent really mean? I tend to be wary of retailers and laboratories that make up their own cut grade systems without explaining the research and methodology behind the system. The bottom line is that not all “Excellent” ratings are equal.

For this particular diamond, I find it hard to believe that a round diamond with a 63.8% depth percentage can have an “Excellent” cut. Even if it was, we typically only recommend round diamonds with 62% or less depth percentage because over that number means the millimeter size of the diamond (what you see with your eye) is small for the carat weight (what you measure on a scales).

Medium Fluorescence

Typically, we only recommend Faint or No fluorescence for white diamonds because of the following two reasons:

1) Diamonds that glow, tend not to be as clear looking as those that do not glow. There is ultra-violet light in sunlight and in “black” lights you might see in a nightclub or in nail salons used for drying. Some diamonds with Strong or Very Strong fluorescence actually turn opaque when exposed to ultra-violet light, which is the extreme for the impact on “clearness” of the diamond’s appearance.

2) When buying expensive items like a house, you want to avoid buying a house that nobody wants because someday you might want to sell and would have a difficult time selling and would get a lower price than something in high demand. The same is true for diamonds. Since 95% or more of knowledgeable diamond shoppers are avoiding Medium or stronger fluorescence, if you ever want to sell your diamond it is much harder to find a buyer and you will get a lower price than with Faint or No fluorescence.

It is certainly the client’s choice on whether to buy a diamond with Medium or stronger fluorescence. We just want to be sure we have informed our clients of the potential impacts of that choice so they can make the best decision for them.

Clarity Enhanced

Technology today has enabled some in the diamond industry to improve the visual appearance of lower grade diamonds by laser drilling and fracture filling. This practice is referred to as “clarity enhanced.” These diamonds have been altered and are no longer considered “natural” diamonds. The treatments are somewhat permanent until they are heated by a jeweler’s torch (common in resizing or prong repair), exposure to acid or caustic substances, or re-cutting which can change the appearance of the diamond or even cracking or breaking. The cost of clarity enhanced diamonds should be at least 50% less than a natural, untreated diamond. Unfortunately, some jewelers fail to disclose when a diamond is clarity enhanced or do not mention that a treated diamond does not and will not appreciate in value or hold value like a natural diamond.

Laser drilled diamonds have a small tunnel laser drilled from the surface into the diamond to reach a large inclusion. This opening allows for further treatments including boiling out included crystals with acid. The passageway can also be used to pump a glass-like substance to minimize their appearance. Feathers and other eye-visible fractures can also be filled with the glass-like substance and are called fracture filled diamonds.

IGL cert

IGL cert-2


Insure Your Jewelry | Diamond Source of Virginia

Jewelry insurance covers loss, theft and damage.

  • Dish-washingAccidental loss happens when you least expect it. A single prong weakened by wear can suddenly release its hold on your beautiful diamond and you’ll not likely notice the loss of weight from your finger. You wouldn’t believe all the diamonds that fall out of mountings while working in the yard or doing dishes in the sink.
  • Theft is more prevalent than most people expect. A diamond ring left in a suitcase while enjoying the beach or pool can suddenly disappear. A diamond ring left for just an instant in a public wash room will probably never be seen again. Uninvited “guests” in your home seek out your jewelry drawer in your bedroom dresser for a quick touch of larceny.
  • Grocery-cartDamage can occur for even the hardest of gems. While a diamond is hard, it is also a crystal that will fracture if struck a hard blow. The wrong bump with a grocery cart or a door handle can cause thousands of dollars in damage in an instant.

You can insure your jewelry through your homeowners or renter’s insurance or through a separate insurance company specializing in jewelry insurance such as Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company or Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.

For a free, no-obligation quote go to where you can enter our Jeweler Code A00108 and get estimated annual premiums based on the retail replacement value of your items, the deductible for each item, and the location of the person who will wear the jewelry.

Understand what your jewelry covers.

  • Is there a deductible? Deductibles can reduce your annual premium but do reduce the amount insurance will reimburse you for a claim.
  • Is an appraisal required? Receipts for a purchase typically do not have the level of detail and description to substantiate a claim. If your insurer does not know exactly what you had before, how can they replace it with the same kind or quality? Insurance appraisal protect you and the insurer.
  • USA-StatesAre there geographic limitations? Some insure policies do not provide coverage for loss, theft or damage that occurs outside the United States. If you might travel with jewelry outside the country, look for an insurance company or policy that covers international travel.
  • Is coverage for full replacement value? You want your coverage based on replacement value since it pays the dollar amount needed to replace damaged personal property without deducting for depreciation but limited by the maximum dollar amount shown on the declarations page of the policy.
  • Can you get reimbursement versus replacement? Sometimes you might want to upgrade or change styles as the result of a claim so you do not want to be limited by only getting an identical replacement.
  • Jewelry-repairDoes the policy cover damage repair? Read the fine print because what repair coverage varies between policies. Routine maintenance (resizing, cleanings, polishing, inspections, appraisals) are typically not covered. However, good polices cover preventive repairs (prong re-tipping, broken, worn or bent prongs, broken earring posts, clasp replacement, restringing of broken or stretched pearl strands, and stone tightening) so read the fine print.

Beware of jewelry stores pitching Life Time Warranty.

  • Warranty-fine-printIf you read the guarantee, it likely does not provide value to you. Generally, their liability is only for loss or damage through their negligence.
  • You are responsible for loss, theft or damage you cause so get jewelry insurance. Do not make the mistake of thinking the jeweler is going to pay to replace or repair an item in the future, even if they are still in business.
  • The “Life Time Warranty” most likely requires you have your jewelry item checked every six months. This benefits the jeweler by getting more store traffic for them and maybe getting you to pay for unnecessary repairs.

Pay your premiums to keep your insurance coverage current. We have had more than one client go to file an insurance claim only to find out they stopped paying premiums years ago and were no longer covered.