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A Really Expensive Stone

Earlier this week we described some of the rarest and priciest gemstones known to man. The most expensive one we found was a gem called painite, at a cost of $50-60,000 per karat. But there is one stone — the Pink Star Diamond — that we neglected to document in Tuesday’s list, and that stone actually wins the title of most expensive stone in history.

The Pink Star Diamond, also known as the Steinmetz Pink, was mined in South Africa in 1999. At a grand total of 59.6 karats, this giant stone sold in 2007 for a record-breaking $83 million, which — to put in terms of karats — comes out to the astonishing price of $1,395,761 per karat. Wow!  This diamond’s rough form weighed in at 132.5 karats, which made it the largest known diamond in the vivid pink class. Due to its record-wielding size, the Steinmetz Group took special care when cutting it. Overall, the procedure took a full 20 months to complete.

We did not include the Pink Star Diamond in our original list because its rarity is due more to its size than the gem’s material.  Vivid pink diamonds are actually fairly common in the precious stone world, especially in comparison to scarce materials like jadeite and painite.   So, although it is common as a gemstone, we felt that based on its size, it nonetheless deserved a place in the jewelry “hall of expensive fame”.

A Seller’s Market

Most of the news we post here is intended to keep potential jewelry buyers updated on available options for their accessorizing needs. We keep you abreast of latest collections, upcoming auctions, and on-the-rise jewelry designers just entering the field.

Today, however, we decided to take a look at the other side of the market: sellers. Finding an “in” to this wonderful world of jewelry-making can be a difficult feat. It often seems impossible to get your name out there, to showcase your pieces and collections. One great way to break through that barrier is at an exhibition. It’s a simple way for customers to take a look at everything you have to offer, and it helps build consumer loyalty when you can impress your customers in person. If that is something you can see yourself doing, then you’re in luck!  The Los Angeles Antique Jewelry and Watch Show, which also hosts current jewelry designers, is currently accepting exhibitor applications for this year’s show, which takes place at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on August 14-16.  Signing up may seem daunting, but it is much easier than you might think. All you have to do is fill out an application, either online or in print. (Check out the application requirements here: http://www.laantiquejewelry.com/exhibitors/application-to-exhibit  )

Like any other job interview, space is limited, which means not all shows can accept every exhibitor application. You will want to bulk up your resume with some solid jeweler references as well as a portfolio of photos of sell-able products. Don’t let rejection deter you; keep putting your work out there until you find your necklaces and bracelets organized in your very own booth. After all, the most important factor to any success is unrelenting determination!

Expensive Stones

Given the rare nature of some of the jewelry-making materials in the world, it’s unsurprising that certain ornaments can get a bit pricey. Here’s a short list of some of the rarest of those gems… and precisely how much you should expect to pay to have them adorn your neck.

One such stone is tanzanite, a blueish purple stone found exclusively in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. With such limited availability, tanzanite is valued between $600 and $1,000 per karat. But some other gemstones make tanzanite look like a bargain. Imperial jadeite, for example, is a rare green gem; the deeper the green hue, the more”imperial” — and by extension more expensive — the stone. The name jadeite may seem somewhat misleading since it sounds so similar to its semi-precious and relatively common cousin called “jade”.  But make no mistake; jadeite, which is found only in extremely limited quantities in Myanmar, has a market value of around $20,000 per karat. In 1997 one jadeite necklace sold for nearly $10 million.

The gemstone that far outstrips even jadeite’s per-karat cost is painite, named for mineralogist Arthur C.D. Pain, and it is one of the rarest gems on the planet. Until relatively recently, you could count the existing specimens on one hand (a feat that would actually require only two fingers). In the past decade a few more of these orange- and red-brown gems have been found in Myanmar, but they are still scarce enough that the gem will cost between $50,000 and $60,000 per karat to own.

There is one gemstone left that surpasses even Dr. Pain’s pricey discovery, but although it qualifies as the most expensive stone to date, it does not quite fit with the rest of this list.  Check back in a couple of days to find out just why that is!

No Hidden Mickeys

For all the classic Disney fans out there, PANDORA has a great new line for you. This recent collection offers a series of handcrafted charms inspired by the magical world of Mickey, Minnie and friends. The collection includes a rounded heart-shaped silver charm bearing the phrase “Be Magical” in Disney’s iconic script, complete with wishing-star-esque sparkling stones. Other charms include the red polka-dotted wheel, resembling Minnie’s signature dress and bow, as well as Cinderella’s single glass slipper with blue gems made of cubic zirconia. They also offer a sparkling silver snowflake, with a blue-jeweled Mickey head embedded at the center, a charm that is surely in honor of Disney’s most recent mega-hit, “Frozen”.  Our personal favorite is a simple silver sphere, the surface of which is shaped by rows of horizontal figure eights, a symbol for infinity. Attached to every figure eight are two beloved visages: one Mickey’s and one Minnie’s.  According to PANDORA, this piece represents the inspiration for the whole collection: the love between Disney’s most beloved sweethearts. To us, this charm stands for more than just the eternity of love between two iconic mice; it symbolizes the eternity of the magic that Disney inspires in children across the globe.  For more classic Disney charms, check out: http://www.pandora.net/en-us/explore/collections/disneycollection

Appraisal Event

If you have jewelry you are looking to sell and you can find your way to Massachusetts later this week, you should definitely check out Freeman’s “What’s it Worth?” Appraisal Event. This Thursday, January 22, Freeman’s specialists will be on the scene at Old City Hall in Boston, ready to meet with clients from 10 am to 3 pm. Experts will include recognized jewelry authority Virginia Salem, who has decades-long experience with precious stones, timepieces, and other fine jewelry. Before her position as vice president and international jewelry specialist at Freeman’s, she spent nine years as the director of fine jewelry for auction house Bonhams in New York.  She, along with director and regional representative Kelly Wright, are top experts in the field, so if you’re looking for the best appraisals, then Boston is where you’ll want to be. Just remember, evaluations are by appointment only, so be sure to reserve a spot. More information on Freeman’s website: http://www.freemansauction.com/event/whats-it-worth-boston-appraisal-event

Accessory Awards

Earlier this week you probably watched the Golden Globe Awards to honor some of the best actors, actresses, and filmmakers of the past year. The women who attended the awards certainly dressed to impress, with meticulously designed gowns… not to mention magnificent jewelry to match! Here are a few memorable pieces that we thought were worth mentioning.

The first person to catch our eye was actress and producer Salma Hayek, who arrived clad in multiple bold, yet elegant, accessories. The ring on her index finger was large, but its otherwise reserved pattern did not overwhelm the overall look. The bracelet that accompanied it was a wide diamond band with a thin outer border on either side and, between them, a row of hollowed squares (with a second square at the center of each one). The wrist-facing side of the bracelet ends off with glittering fringe that compliments the white of her brocade gown. What really completed the look were the exquisite Boucheron-designed earrings, intricate peacock feathers that were made of diamond.  See more at: http://news.instyle.com/category/awards-season/golden-globes-2015/

Another notable fashion belonged to actress Emily Blunt, who wowed us with her “bouquet” of earrings, a splendid combination of turquoise (from the mineral paraiba tourmaline), diamond, and platinum. She also wore a floral bracelet to match.  See more at: http://www.glamour.com/lipstick/blogs/girls-in-the-beauty-department/2015/01/golden-globes-best-beauty-2015

Let’s end off with someone who, without even winning an award, managed to garner quite a bit of the spotlight, not to mention plenty of stage time. To be fair, as one half of the ceremony’s hosting duo, Amy Poehler, probably knew to expect all the attention. Well, she certainly didn’t disappoint! One of her numerous outfit-changes included a stunning labradorite necklace designed by Irene Neuwirth. The large, tear-shaped stones had a “cadet gray” tint and were spaced out evenly across a diamond chain. The bold, somewhat edgy look worked well in contrast with her unadorned violet dress. The layering of bracelets on either hand gave the whole ensemble an especially modern feel.  See more at: http://www.ibtimes.com/golden-globes-2015-best-jokes-zingers-tina-fey-amy-poehlers-opening-monologue-1780056

World Traditions

We’ve mentioned wedding bands a few times recently, but the ring is not the only piece of jewelry to make a name for itself in wedding tradition. The idea of incorporating jewelry into marital ceremonies spans across almost every culture, and the variety is as diverse as the cultures themselves.

In South Africa, Zulu couples share the tradition of jewelry adornment. After a match has been determined, the groom- and bride-to-be wear matching necklaces and bracelets, the equivalent of engagement rings, until their marriage begins. During the wedding itself, the bride wears jewelry so foreign to Western tradition that English terms haven’t been invented for them, like the fringed bands tied to her elbows and knees. She also wears a beaded fig-leaf veil and a fringe of goat hair as a necklace.

Overall, the culture that utilizes the most jewelry in a single ceremony is Hinduism, where a bride is clad in the Solah Shringar, the Sixteen Adornments. While the Hindi bride lacks the elbow and knee accessories of Zulu tradition, she more than makes up for it with her own plethora of gems. Not all of these “adornments” can be called jewelry per se (another prominent type is ink, and in most cases the dress itself is considered an adornment), but most of them are. Among these gems are a nose ring (nath), armbands (baajuband), toe rings (bichuas), and a gold belt (kamarband). Interestingly, although they don’t exchange rings, they have a similar custom with the mangal sultra, a black-beaded necklace. During the ceremony itself, the groom places the necklace on his bride, who then wears it for the rest of her life, much like the wedding bands of Western culture.

Hindi brides do actually wear rings (called aarsi) during the ceremony, but their function is very different from those in a traditional Western wedding. In fact, for the most part they serve a rather pragmatic purpose. Through most of the ceremony the bride’s vision is blocked by thick veils. To compensate, many aarsi are set with tiny mirrors; this clever design allows the bride, however indirectly, to gaze into the eyes of her husband-to-be.