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Faberge, one of the world’s most recognized fine artist jewelers, have unveiled a new creation of their iconic Imperial Eggs. The lucky attendees of last week’s Doha Watch and Jewellery Exhibition in Qatar witnessed the first debut of the extraordinary masterpiece: the $2 million Pearl Egg.

Using a combination of white and yellow gold, the meticulously crafted egg features a total of 139 natural white pearls, gleams with a mother-of-pearl finish and adorned with over 3,300 diamonds and hand-carved rock quartz. The centerpiece is an incredibly rare, unique 12.17-carat natural grey pearl sourced from the Arabian Gulf. To reveal it, the outer egg shell is rotated on the base which allows the six sides to flower open simultaneously to reveal the treasure; reminiscent of how an oyster opens to reveal its’ cultured pearl.

The House of Faberge collaborated with the Al-Fardan family to create this egg in honor of the upcoming centenary marking the last Imperial Egg ever made. A renowned pearl collector and connouisseur, Hussain Ibrahim Al-Fardan personally hand-selected each pearl from his family’s collection to be used in making the Pearl Egg.

The Pearl Egg is the first imperial class egg made in almost a century – the last imperial class egg was created in 1917, under the supervision of Peter Carl Faberge himself. The Karelian Birch, also referred to as the “Birch Egg”, was commissioned by the last Tsar of Russia Nicholas II, intended as an Easter gift to his mother, the Empress Maria Feodorovna. The February Revolution began before the egg could be delivered, signalling the end of the imperial era of Russia and subsequently, Faberge’s eggs.

 

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diamondIt’s an exciting time for auction houses as many rare stones have been sold in recent months including a 9 carat purple pink diamond and a 3.21 carat blue diamond.  These diamonds are just a sample of some of the beautiful gems which have been sold in the past few years.  We will recount some of our favourites!

The historic Beau Sancy, one of the world’s most famous diamonds, is 35 carats and internally flawless. This double rose-cut  stone was literally owned by kings and pawned by queens.  For generations royal families traded the stone back and forth like a valuable baseball card.  Sotheby’s auctioned the diamond in May and it was sold for 5 million pounds.

The 33 carat flawless gem formerly known as the Krupp was one of the hottest pieces to sell at Christie’s this past year.  The diamond, which sold for over $8.8 million dollars was a featured item from Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection sold in December.  Christie’s VP described the piece as “one of the most beautiful gems I have ever seen.”

Last but not least on our list is the Wittlesbach, a legendary 35 carat blue diamond which was bought by Laurence Graff for a record $24.3 million in December 2008.  The purchase became very controversial however when the London collected recut the stone soon after acquiring it, losing approximately four carats.  The Financial Times wrote a story on the transformation and asked the question “Is this gem vandalism?”  Graff remained unfazed from the criticism, boasting that he had improved the stone’s color and clarity.  The diamond, now called the Wittelsbach-Graff was exhibited in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in 2010 and has continued to dazzle gem aficionados.

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For the past thousand years collectors of the most rare and expensive diamonds have become popular among the rich and royalty, now most diamonds and rare stones are set in museums for all to see and admire. Diamonds have become a mining project with a huge demand.  See a list below of some of the most expensive and famous diamonds in the world.

Koh-I-Noor

Koh-i-noor

                       

This diamond is so precious that its price can’t ever be estimated.  It is a 105 carat measuring at approximately 36 X 32 X 10 mm , once the largest diamond in the world. Came from Andhra Pradesh in India, and the name is Persian for Mountain of Light. It was carried by the hands of many Persian, Sikh and Mughul rulers who fought over it constantly. When India fell in the hands of the English it was taken by them.  Currently the gem is preserved in HM Tower of London and is a famous tourist attraction.

The Sancy Diamond

This diamond is also so precious that it is also priceless. It weighs approximately 11 grams and is pale yellow in colour. It was in the procession of the Mughuls and originated in India. It is the first diamond of its size to be cut with symmetrical facets and is unusual because it doesn’t have any pavilion. It has pairs of crowns one above the other. This diamond is stored in Louvre at the French Crown Jewel Collection.

The Cullinan

This diamond is 3,106.75 carats and 4 inches in diameter! It is known as the biggest rough quality diamond in the world.  It was found in South Africa and when polished goes by the name Great Star of Africa. It now rests in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

The Hope Diamond

hope diamond

This diamond costs $350 million and weighs 45.52 carats. By just looking at it the stone seems blue in color because of the crystal structure and many traces of boron, but when observed with ultraviolet light it is a red phosphor. The precious beauty is now kept in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

De Beers Centenary Diamond

This diamond goes at a pretty price of 100 million dollars and is classified by GIA at a D level. The diamond is colourless and flawless inside and out and weighs 273.85 carats. Found in the De Beer’s Premier Mine and is the 3rd largest diamond found there.

The Steinmetz Pink

This diamond is rated a Vivid Pink by the GIA and weighs approximately 12 grams. It is called the largest diamond with the fancy colour pink. This gem was displayed in the exhibition of Smithsonian’s Museum at the Splendor of Diamonds show.

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footballsizegem2This football sized gem has come out of hiding and is looking for a new home but one that will make sure the unique marvel can get viewed on a regular basis. The giant sapphire gem was carved and designed by an Italian artist Alessio Boschi. It took two years to complete and was finished by the year 2000. The 28cm Millennium Sapphire was found in Madagascar in 1995. It weighed 90,000 carats while in its rough state but lost about a third of its mass because of the carving process. The carvers practiced each 134 design on pieces of lapis lazuli.

The sapphire is a tribute of human genius and each 134 design is a different subject including faces. Some of the human genius that is carved onto this stone are faces of Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Martin Luther King, Beethoven, and Albert Einstein. It also has representations of the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Giza, and Gutenberg’s printing press.

Currently a union of investors with Daniel McKinney as the leader owns the Millennium Sapphire. In the past 15 years the magnificent carving has only been on public display twice. In the times its not on display it is tucked away in a safe of an undisclosed U.S location. The union agreed that this amazing work needs to be enjoyed by the public. The owners didn’t want to put it up for auction because they wouldn’t be able to control the buyer and someone might have it just for their private display.

“We’ve got offers in the past from various millionaires and billionaires from China and other places to buy it for themselves,” McKinney told The National, “but they would probably put it in their mausoleum and it would be lost to the world.”

“It would be great if it could be displayed in a museum as that’s why it was created,” said Scott Chapman, an associate of McKinney. “The consortium wants to be able to display it and show it.”

For now it is on sale if the right buyer can come up with $180 million and promise to have the 61,500 carat gem to be housed where the public can view it regularly.

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DiamondsBuying a diamond for the first time is a scary thought to most. A venture into a world that you are aware of, but been happily oblivious to – until of course, you decided you want to propose. Naturally, many turn to the internet for research on the 4 C’s, until your head is exploding with all the information on clarity, color, proportions and carat weight.

Here’s the thing though – none of that matters until you set a budget. Just like a wedding, there should be a planning process that goes into buying a diamond and steps taken before you set foot into a jewelry store.

How do you set a budget? The old adage claims that it should be 2 months salary, but in reality whatever you are comfortable spending is the right amount. Then, you can focus your time to finding the nicest diamond possible for your money. If you do not set a budget before going into a jewelry store, you are likely to end up frustrated or disappointed. The sales associate may show you a beautiful ring you love, but find out that it is much more than you want to spend – then you will be disappointed. If you tell them your budget right off the bat, then they will show the ones that you can afford and be able to compare rings within that range, instead of with the unattainable.

One situation that is common: you know that your girlfriend wants a certain shape that is at least X amount of carats. You set out to find such a stone for the least amount of money possible. The truth is, many people have no real concept of diamond size. Try managing your girlfriend’s expectations by browsing a jewelry store to see diamonds in person, of different carat weights to compare. Say for instance, she has expressed that she wants a 2 carat round diamond, and your budget is around $10,000. You have a choice to buy a low quality, dull diamond that is 2 carats or a very nice quality, white sparkling diamond of around 1 carat. The choice is ultimately up to you. Be realistic with what you can buy with your budget, bigger is not necessarily better.

A trusted jeweler with solid credentials is your best ally in finding the perfect engagement ring. Try to find a jeweler who has formal gemology training, the best would be a Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) or Certified Gemologist from the GIA or AGS. They will have the knowledge base and tools to source suitable diamonds. The best ones will be able to work with your budget to find you the best stones.

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Pink DiamondOne of the rarest pink diamonds to be made available for auction has sold earlier this month for a staggering $39.3 million at Christie’s in New York City to an anonymous telephone buyer. Pink diamonds are exceedingly rare and prized in the realm of colored diamonds, with only a handful that exist over 10 carats. This makes them very attractive as collectibles for the extremely wealthy, as well as for investment.

The Princie features an impressive weight of 34.65 carats, and also boasts great provenance and origin. Mined around 300 years ago in the Golconda region of South India, an area well known for producing some of the world’s largest and best quality diamonds, it has changed hands with some powerful people.

Most notably, the gem originally belonged to the royal family of Hyderabad, the Indian province which held the Golconda mines. The diamond was passed down the line of Indian rulers until the 1930’s until it reached the last nizam of Hyderabad, Osman Ali Khan, who was deemed the richest man in the world at the time. Around the time of India’s independence in the 1940’s, the nizam had ceded power and had to sell off all his assets including the Princie Diamond. It went on the auction block at Sotheby’s, where it was bought by an anonymous buyer. The diamond surfaced again in the early 1960’s, where it was bought by the London branch of jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels.

Its’ name was bestowed at its’ Paris unveiling party, in honour of the 14-year-old Prince of Baroda, who attended the party with his mother Maharani Sita Devi.

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