Robust Business for Vintage Jewels at Winter Show

Seven days into the Winter Show antiques, art and design fair, there was still a steady flow of well-heeled collectors moving about the Park Avenue Armory on New York’s Upper East side. In its 70th year, the show, which ran from January 19 to 28, featured 76 exhibitors from seven countries including about nine exhibitors who specialize in collectible jewels. Several of the jewelry galleries and dealers have been longtime participants in the annual show, and nearly all were happy with business this year.

Each of the jewelry exhibitors holds a unique niche in antique and period jewels, and most say collectors were looking at a broad range of pieces that these dealers offered. As always, signed jewels were popular, but so were unsigned pieces. People were also looking for easily wearable and versatile pieces. Jewels and sketches by René Lalique were seen throughout the fair.

One of the exhibitors that had good results from pieces by the French jewelry artist was London-based Wartski, which focuses on Fabergé objects and historic European jewels, many with royal pedigree. The person behind the stand said attendees were looking for a variety of pieces from the firm’s vast collection of European and Russian jewels. Lalique was popular.

An Italian Renaissance Revival Bracelet. (Winter Show)

Benjamin Macklowe of Macklowe Gallery in New York also featured Lalique jewelry, displaying about a dozen items by the Art Nouveau jeweler at its booth this year.

“We sold across our product line. Bulgari, Cartier, Lalique and more,” he said. “Every time we sold something, regardless of the price, it was a great example of what it was.”

Macklowe’s firm handles Tiffany & Co. lamps and objects, furniture, and antique and period jewels. Among the highlights of its sales was a pair of Bulgari ruby cabochon earrings for $175,000.

A Bulgari Toi & Moi ring in platinum and yellow gold set with diamonds and a Burma ruby from Véronique Bamps. (Winter Show)

Veteran exhibitors reported feeling pleased with the outcome of the show.

This year’s installment drew “one of the best crowds” they’d ever seen, said Carrie Imberman and her brother Matthew Imberman, owners of Kentshire in New York, who have been working the Winter Show for 33 years. Like others, they say sales from the show continue after it’s over, based on the relationships they form.

Signed jewels were also popular. Among the company’s sales during the show was an Art Deco Boucheron diamond bracelet, a Hermès gold panel necklace and bombé diamond ring, and an Art Deco diamond bracelet by Cartier.

An Art Moderne gold and diamond bracelet in 18k and platinum by René Boivin. (Winter Show)

“We’ve had a good fair,” Matthew said. “We have jewels from different periods, designers and a variety of gem-set pieces. People are buying items that have a specific meaning to them.”

A La Vieille Russie has exhibited at the Winter Show almost since its inception. The company has expertise in Fabergé and other art objects of Russian origin, as well as European antique and vintage jewels. Peter Schaffer, one of the family members who lead the company, and specialist Adam Patrick were satisfied with the fair, saying they made some sales but just as importantly, they had the opportunity to meet new potential clients. For many, buying historic jewels isn’t an impulse purchase.

It’s the third time exhibiting at the Winter Show for Monaco-based dealer Véronique Bamps, who sells signed pieces from historic jewelry houses and designers. She plans to return, saying it attracts both well-cultured locals and an international crowd.

“I’ve spoken to people from a lot of countries and states,” she said. “[This show] attracts a very large crowd. And a lot of younger people who are buying pieces that they feel they could wear every day.”

Victorian ruby and diamond butterfly brooch, circa 1890. (ALVR)

For New York ladies, she added, the period is less significant. “The key is elegance when they buy jewelry,” she observed. “They fall in love, and they buy.”

Perhaps no one at the show was more pleased than Didier and Martine Haspeslagh, owners of Didier, a London-based firm that specializes in artist-designed jewels acquired on the secondary market. The couple sold several important pieces, including creations in the “five-figure” range by artists comprising Arnaldo Pomodoro, Franco Cannilla, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Sonia Delaunay, among others.

“We’ve had a very good show,” said Didier Haspeslagh. “We’ve had a number of new clients. This fair attracts people with taste, money and a need for artistic content.” People were most attracted to “big, spectacular pieces,” he continued.

18k yellow gold necklace with three abstract repoussé pendants with kinetic elements, and set with diamonds. Designed by Italian artist, Afro Basaldella, and made in the gold workshop of Mario Masenza, Rome. On offer by Didier.
(Winter Show)

Like others, Simon Teakle, whose eponymous firm is located in Greenwich, Connecticut, said that jewels by the European heritage brands were popular at the show. “There’s always a demand for signed jewels,” he noted.

Simon Teakle pair of cameo and diamond earrings by Hemmerle.
(Winter Show)

Another gallery owner who cited Art Deco jewels was James Boening, director of New York-based James Robinson, a New York-based gallery that spotlights vintage jewels, art objects, silver and flatware. He also sold items that can be worn in formal and casual surroundings. “Women are looking for jewels that are versatile,” he said. “Pieces that can be worn with jeans. Pieces that are more approachable.”  

American black opal and diamond cluster ring mounted in platinum and 14k gold, circa 1910, from James Robinson. (Winter Show)

Still, not everyone experienced successful jewelry sales at the show. Tim Martin, owner of New York-based S.J. Shrubsole specializes in vintage jewels, silver and art objects. While the other two categories did well, jewelry sales were slow, he said.

Source: Rapaport

Tiffany’s tickled pink to be grabbing the world’s last Argyle diamonds

“This is truly once in a lifetime,” says the jeweller’s chief gemologist of the 35 sparklers acquired from the now-closed mine in the Kimberley.

Vicky Reynolds wants to take you on a date with a diamond.

Reynolds, Tiffany & Co’s chief gemologist, has had the enviable task of chaperoning the final 35 Argyle diamonds sold around the world, meeting with potential buyers and discussing exactly how these incredibly rare and exceptional gemstones will be used.

It is, she says, “the stuff my dreams are made of. This is truly once in a lifetime.”

Reynolds has worked with New York-based Tiffany & Co since 1987 – almost as long as the Argyle diamond mine, owned by Rio Tinto, operated in Western Australia’s East Kimberley region (it opened in 1983). When the mine closed in 2020 due to finite resources, the final annual tender – ordinarily a highly anticipated and prestigious event on the gemstone calendar – was considered the hottest ticket going.

The Argyle mine produced 90 per cent of the world’s pink diamonds, and each year, only 50 to 60 were ever offered in an invitation-only tender process. So when Rio Tinto rang Reynolds after the tender, to offer Tiffany and Co a further 35 diamonds noted for their vivid pink and purple colour, she jumped at the chance.


Tiffany Buys Some of a Legendary Diamond Mine’s Last Finds

Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia.

The new Tiffany Collection comprises 35 gems, including an unusual red stone, from the Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia.

About a year ago, a representative of the Argyle Diamond Mine — a site in Western Australia that was the pre-eminent source of pink diamonds until it closed in 2020 — approached Tiffany & Company’s chief gemologist with an unusual offer: the chance to purchase a collection of diamonds that were among the last stones taken from the mine.

The decision, Tiffany executives said, didn’t require much consideration.

“We had to do it,” Anthony Ledru, the brand’s president and chief executive, said in his bright office in New York’s Flatiron district. “It’s perfect with what we stand for.”

The purchase, which was finalized several months ago, involved 35 diamonds of various shades: pink, almost purple and even one red gem, an especially unusual color for a diamond. The gems, which had already been cut in various styles, “checked off all of those boxes: rarity, scarcity and beauty,” said Victoria Reynolds, Tiffany’s chief gemologist.

But the stones are small, ranging from 0.35 carats to 1.52 carats, considerably more petite than the statement-size gemstones frequently used in engagement rings and solitaire necklaces.

“These are small, there’s no doubt,” Ms. Reynolds said, “but for connoisseurs, collectors who understand how rare these are, it’s incredibly appealing.”

How much did the jeweler pay for what it now calls the Tiffany Collection? Mr. Ledru wouldn’t disclose the sum, but said it was “probably not enough compared to what it’s going to become in the next five, 10 years.” (He did note that it was Tiffany’s largest single purchase of 2022.)

Exactly how the diamonds will be used in jewelry hasn’t been decided, although Mr. Ledru said it was likely that they all would be used in one-of-a-kind designs. In the meantime, the diamonds are being shown to select clients in New York City and, next month, in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

The eventual prices are sure to be high. “You pay a premium for anything that says ‘Argyle pink diamond,’” said Renée Newman, an independent gemologist and author based in Los Angeles.

Source: NYT

Tiffany Necklace Breaks Records at Sotheby’s

The Medusa necklace designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany

The Medusa necklace, one of the earliest pieces designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, sold for more than 18 times its high estimate at a recent Sotheby’s auction.

The piece, designed in 1904, was last seen at auction 78 years ago. It fetched $3.7 million against an upper estimate of $200,000 following 10 minutes of heated bidding, Sotheby’s said Wednesday. The pendant set a world auction record for a piece by the designer. In total, the December 7 Magnificent Jewels sale achieved $57.1 million, the second-highest figure for a jewelry auction at Sotheby’s New York.

Blue diamonds also performed well, with a cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut, 6.11-carat, fancy-intense-blue diamond ring garnering $8 million, or $1.3 million per carat, well above its high estimate. A ring bearing a cushion-cut, 3.01-carat, fancy-vivid-blue diamond flanked by two heart-shaped diamonds sold for $3.9 million, or $1.3 million per carat, within expectations.

Other notable items include a group of jewels from an American private collector, which features one of the largest private collections of Bulgari pieces ever to come to market, Sotheby’s noted. Some 93% of those items found buyers, realizing $9 million, above their combined $8.2 million high estimate.

Meanwhile, a ring set with a pear-shaped, 62.65-carat, D-color, VVS2-clarity diamond bracketed by two pear-shaped diamonds weighing 2.04 carats and 2.01 carats fetched $2.9 million, in the middle of its presale valuation. A ring containing a cut-cornered rectangular step-cut, 1.03-carat, fancy-red diamond framed by shield-shaped diamonds hammered for $2 million, the upper end of its estimate.

Sotheby’s sold 84% of goods on offer, with 68% of those achieving prices above their high estimates and 13 pieces going for more than $1 million. Participants came from more than 45 countries.


Tiffany Launches Diamond Engagement Rings for Men

Tiffany for men

For the first time in its history, iconic New York jeweler Tiffany & Co. has launched engagement rings for men.

This May, Tiffany unveils the Charles Tiffany Setting, a collection of solitaire men’s rings with sizable round-brilliant and emerald-cut diamonds measuring up to 4.3 carats.

Tiffany, which did more than $4 billion in jewelry sales last year, is on the cusp of a new era. In January, the company was acquired by the luxury-goods behemoth LVMH for $15.8 billion, and now the iconic Blue Box brand belongs to the French. And, after nearly 180 years in business, the jeweler is finally embracing the idea of diamonds for all.

“Why not diamonds for men?” asks Frank Everett, senior vice president, sales director for Sotheby’s luxury division in New York and a man known for his own collection of jeweled and diamond brooches. “Most men love diamonds but haven’t necessarily thought about applying them in their own jewelry.” While there’s always been a segment of men who favored a diamond pinkie ring, Everett says that men’s diamond rings were especially popular in the late ’70s and ’80s, but then they faded out.

He predicts Tiffany’s new engagement rings will help create a greater market for men’s diamond rings. “Once men break the ice and wear a diamond, it becomes comfortable and natural,” explains Everett.


Tiffany to Sell Its Most Expensive Diamond

Tiffany 80carat necklace

Tiffany & Co. will offer a necklace featuring an 80-carat diamond, expected to be its most expensive piece ever, at the reopening of its New York Fifth Avenue flagship store next year.

The oval-cut, D-color, internally flawless stone, which the jeweler sourced from Botswana and will set in-house in New York, is at the center of the piece, Tiffany said Tuesday. It is also the largest diamond the company has ever offered. Only the 128.54-carat, yellow Tiffany Diamond worn by both Audrey Hepburn and Lady Gaga is larger, and that piece is not for sale.

The original 1939 version of the necklace 

The jewel is a reimagined version of a Tiffany necklace created in 1939 for the World’s Fair, which features an aquamarine in place of the diamond. The unveiling of that piece set the stage for the original opening of the flagship store on the corner of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue in 1940.

“What better way to mark the opening of our transformed Tiffany flagship store in 2022 than to reimagine this incredible necklace from the 1939 World’s Fair, one of our most celebrated pieces when we opened our doors…for the first time,” said Victoria Reynolds, chief gemologist at Tiffany.


LVMH’s $16b Tiffany takeover is back on

Tiffany LVMH Acquisition

The largest deal in luxury is back on after New York’s famed jeweller Tiffany agreed to a slightly reduced offering price from LVMH in Paris.

LVMH will now pay $US131.50 for each Tiffany share, putting the total price tag at $US15.8 billion ($22.5 billion), down from the $16.2 billion that was first offered earlier this year.

Having gotten the discount, LVMH's plans to buy Tiffany's are back on the cards.

The owner of Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi along with a basket of wine and champagne brands, appeared to walk away from the acquisition last month after it said the French government had pushed for a delay because of the threat of proposed US tariffs. But the reasons for its cold feet seemed to shift, and there was pressure from investors on both sides to make a deal happen.

Rumours that the two luxury companies had rekindled talks began to surface in recent days.

“We are as convinced as ever of the formidable potential of the Tiffany brand and believe that LVMH is the right home for Tiffany,” LVMH’s billionaire CEO Bernard Arnault said in a prepared statement on Thursday.

Tiffany & Co’s flagship store in Sydney. The company has hired advisers to review LVMH’s offer but has not yet responded to it

Tiffany sues LVMH for reneging on $22b deal as France steps in
Tiffany, with its famed blue boxes, has in recent years attempted to regain the luster of the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” era as its customer base ages.

It’s shifted its focus to younger shoppers and made a significant push online. The deep pockets of LVMH could go a long way in helping that transformation along.

LVMH, led by billionaire Arnault, a consumate dealmaker, believes Tiffany will strengthen its position in high-end jewellery and in the US market.

LVMH is also making a bet on China’s economy, where Tiffany has been expanding.

The buyout has been approved by the boards of both companies, and it’s expected to close early next year.

Source: SMH

Tiffany Promises More Transparency For Diamonds Amid Greater Concern Over Social Responsibility

Tiffany & Co

Tiffany & Co. announced Tuesday it will share the full background of its newly sourced diamond rings, an industry first as it looks to attract customers who care about quality as well as social and environmental responsibility.

ffany & Co. will share more background on its engagement rings. AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES


As demand for lab-grown diamonds is on the rise, it is likely Tiffany and other jewelers want to assuage conflict diamond and sustainability concerns which have long plagued the diamond industry. 

The 183 year old jeweler will provide a Tiffany Diamond Certificate with the diamond’s region or countries of origin as well as where it was cut and polished, graded and quality assured and set in jewelry starting this October.

Tiffany says disclosing the country where each stone is crafted and set marks a first for global luxury jewelers and follows last year’s announcement that Tiffany would become the first to provide the country or region of origin for its diamond rings.  

Twenty years ago, diamond industry leaders including Tiffany’s adopted the Kimberley Process aimed at stopping the worldwide trade of conflict diamonds, which it defines as “rough diamonds used to finance wars against governments,” but critics have said the definition is too narrow and does not factor human rights and sustainability concerns. 

In 2018, the advocacy organization Human Rights Watch evaluated whether 13 of the world’s major jewelry brands responsibly source their gems and minerals and Tiffany’s topped the list, still, the report found “none of the companies can identify all of their diamonds’ individual mines of origin.” 

Despite recent “quarantine proposals,” Tiffany’s engagement jewelry sales dropped nearly 97% year-over-year from $280.4 million to $142.5 million in the first quarter of 2020 and total net sales dropped by nearly 45% from more than $1 billion to $555.5 million.


Nearly 70% of millennials would consider buying an engagement ring with a lab-grown diamond, according to a 2018 report from MVI Industries, a marketing research and analytics firm for the gem, jewelry and watch industries. Lab-grown diamonds have the same chemical composition as a traditional diamond but they are usually less expensive.

Source: Forbes

Tiffany Reports Recovery in China Sales

Tiffany & Co

Tiffany & Co said its jewelry business is rebounding in China after the coronavirus pandemic and its merger with French luxury retailer LVMH is clearing regulatory hurdles.

The U.S. jewelry maker said Tuesday in an earnings release that its same-store sales were down about 44% in the fiscal first quarter as the pandemic shuttered shopping malls and stores across the globe. Yet CEO Alessandro Bogliolo pointed to China as “indicative that a robust recovery is underway.”

TIF swung to a net loss of $64.6 million, or 53 cents a share, from earnings of $125 million, or $1.03 a share, a year ago. Revenue fell 45% to $555.5 million.

Analysts were expecting Tiffany to earn three cents a share on sales of $701 million, but the coronavirus pandemic has made comparisons with estimates difficult to make.

The company has 324 stores worldwide. About 70% of the stores were closed as of April 30, when the fiscal first quarter ended.

Tiffany said its jewelry sales dropped off significantly in the three-month period. Engagement jewelry declined by nearly 50%, more than any other category.

The company said its focus on expanding business in China, investing in its websites and adding new jewelry products prior to the pandemic have made the company more resilient.

In China, same-store sales were down about 85% and 15% during the first and second months of the quarter, but have picked up again in April and May.

Shares galloped $2.53, or 2.1%, to $124.71 early Tuesday.

Source: marketwatch

Tiffany, Macy’s Among Retailers Closing US Stores

Tiffany US Retail

 A growing number of US retailers, including Tiffany & Co., are temporarily shuttering all locations across North America in an effort to stem the coronavirus spread.

“Effective immediately, we’re temporarily closing all Tiffany stores in the US and Canada, as well as many other locations globally, to protect our teams, clients and communities,” the jeweler said in an Instagram post Tuesday. “Now more than ever it is time for us to take care of the ones we love.”

Macy’s closed all its stores nationwide as of close of business Tuesday, including its Bloomingdale’s department-store chain. However, all its brands will continue to operate via online sites and mobile apps, it noted. 

“The health and safety of our customers, colleagues and communities is our utmost priority,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said Tuesday. “We will work with government and health officials to assess when we will reopen.”

J.C. Penney followed suit Wednesday, shutting all stores and business offices in the country, noting operations were currently slated to resume April 2.

Nordstrom has also announced it will suspend operations at all its North American stores, yet the company has limited the closure to a two-week period, it said. During that time it will offer curbside pickup for online orders. Meanwhile, Saks department store has shut its New York and Philadelphia locations, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Meanwhile, Pandora will not only close its US-based stores, but will shut locations in Italy, Spain, Germany and France, among others. It has also encouraged its franchisees and multi-branded partners in affected markets to cease operations voluntarily.

Signet Jewelers has not declared official plans to close any stores, but said it would follow the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our employees and customers,” David Bouffard, Signet’s vice president of corporate affairs, told Rapaport News Wednesday.

Signet shares were down 35% since start of trading on Wednesday, March 11, while Macy’s dropped 29% and Tiffany slipped 11%.