Sunday, November 29, 2009
On the high end:
I really don't know how to describe the high end other than tremendous.
Take this month's Sotheby's Geneva Magnificent Jewelry Auction for example
Magnificent Jewels of Important Historical Provenance
& Rare Coloured Diamonds Soar at Sotheby’s Geneva,
Bringing CHF 37,011,375 ($36,682,714, €24,553,028)
--The Roxburghe Rubies Bring the Unprecedented Sum of CHF 5,821,000, ($5,769,309, €3,861,602),
A World Record Price for a Ruby Suite—
Diamonds do not have the "safe haven" status of gold, and their prices are more volatile than the precious metal. While spot gold has gained around 25% in value this year, diamond prices have fallen by at least 10%, in line with the poor performance of the luxury industry, according to U.S.-based IDEX Online Diamond Prices, which tracks global asking prices for polished diamonds.
David Bennett, Geneva-based chairman of jewelry for Europe and the Middle East at Sotheby's, says: "Like art, we would not advise someone to buy diamonds for investment purposes. People should buy diamonds for the joy of wearing them."
we've still got
the growing demand for tangible assets and portfolio diversification has led to the launch of a number of diamond investment funds this year, which believe they can achieve double-digit returns for investors.
Have a few extra dollars in your bank account?
Here are some investment options:
KPR Capital launched a Cayman Islands-domiciled open-ended investment diamond fund with a minimum buy in of $250,000.
Alfa Capital, the Russian investment group, launched a diamond investment fund with a minimum investment of €1m and an estimated yield of 15% to 17%.
Emotional Assets Fund was launched, investing in a number of assets from fine art and rare stamps to diamonds and diamond jewelry. The fund is targeting a growth rate of 15% per annum with a minimum investment of £100,000.
Dazzling Capital, a London-based company investing directly in period jewelry, also opened its doors this month, co-founded by former Christie's auctioneer Humphrey Butler.
The company, which accepts a minimum investment of £10,000 with an estimated return on investment of 11%
Names like Emotional Assets Fund and Dazzling Capital certainly sound contrived
especially when we know that white diamonds are not rare, they are scarce due to controlled distribution, yet returns have gone up because sales at the high end are off the charts.
But given that diamonds will bring an 11-15% return, why would you buy into a fund when you can just buy actual diamonds and get the pleasure of wearing your investment?
I'm dubious about buying diamonds, individually or in funds, unless they are rare and colored (fancy) "If you want to buy diamonds for investment purposes, they should be big and fancy (colorful)," says Holly Midwinter-Porter, a gemologist at U.K. jeweler Boodles. "Red and green are the rarest, and unlike white, man-made diamonds, are finite as they are only found in one or two areas in the world." She says returns on rare diamonds can enjoy double digit growth a year, and their portability makes them more appealing than gold or art to some investors. And if you are looking for a big red diamond I have one for sale.
After last year's horrendous holiday season, and the subsequent some 1,500 retail jewelry stores that went out of business, the big corporate chains such as Kay Jewelers and Zales are hoping for an increase in same store sales due to less overall competition.
Akron Ohio based Signet, which owns Kay and Jared, sees the demise in the industry as an opportunity. "Our balance sheet puts us in a stronger position competitively," Terry Burman, chief executive of Signet Jewelers Ltd., said in an interview.
In the current quarter, which includes the holidays, Wall Street analysts estimates Signet will post a 2% increase in sales at stores open at least a year. Last year, Signet's fourth quarter sales slumped 16% in the U.S. and 9% in the U.K.
I certainly hope that the analysts are correct given
The holiday season is crucial for jewelry chains, many of which record the majority of their sales and up to 100 percent of their profit in the period. Signet, for instance, books 40% of its sales and 70% of its profit in November, December and January, with the bulk of its sales coming in the last two weeks of December.
For the fiscal third-quarter ended Oct. 31, Signet, the largest chain jeweler in North America, posted a loss of $7 million, or eight cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of loss of $15.1 million, or 18 cents a share. Results for the company's latest quarter included a $5 million benefit from a change in U.S. vacation policy.
I'd still rather not invest in any retail jewelry business that caters to the low end.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Here are my vintage picks for staying chic and warm
and I would wear any one of these suits
1960's Saks Adolphe black wool suit with beaver collar and cuffs
$425 at Vintage Swank
(Wouldn't you offer no more than $275 given other vintage suits online?)
1950's Hart Schaffner Marx nutmeg wool suit with mink collar
$300 at Tresor de Vintage
(Don't you love this Mad Men color and 3/4 sleeves which are perfect for kidd gloves?)
1960's Dan Millstein black wool dress with jacket and white mink collar and hem
$295 at Couture Allure Vintage
(Is it just me or is there something Mrs Santa about this suit?)
Friday, November 27, 2009
While I love baroque music and appreciate vocal acrobatics, I've never been a fan of baroque opera and this season's Tamerlano, composed by Handel in 1734, performed by the LA Opera didn't make me a fan.
There was nothing at all wrong with the performance, and I liked the stark set and modern costumes. But listening to countertenor Bejun Mehta just made me squirm a little. Not that his performance wasn't technically brilliant, it was. It's just that opera is pretty much all about the same thing....some guy wants to nail some girl...who is in love with some other guy, drama ensues, somebody dies and the girl gets the guy she wants. So like with all dramatic stories, there's a hero, a heroine and a heavy.
Well having a countertenor sing the part of the heavy, Tarter emperor Tamerlano, and then having a mezzo-soprano Patricia Bardon sing the trouser role part of hero Andronico, was just out of my comfort zone. Just listen to Mehta in the clip that I posted. How can you take a heavy seriously when he sings with a soprano voice that is almost higher than the mezzo-soprano. People, that's just weird.
And then we had Placido Domingo singing the part of Bajazet, the Turkish Sultan who has been conquered by Tamerlano. For me Domingo is a romantic hero in the Verdi or Pucchini mold, with deep emotional range of a brooding latin lover, not a trilling baroque Sultan.
But soprano Sarah Coburn as Asteria sang beautifully and looked like a dream in her confection of wedding gown.Tamerlano in his chic double vented suit looked hot...I just couldn't find him menacing with his high voice.
Domingo, dressed in rich traditional garb looked appealingly royal. And I loved the maidservants in their little modern black suits, glasses and hair pulled back in tight buns...they could have been out of a Robert Palmer music video.
And so what was my costume?
And I wore my Autumn favorite, a chocolate cashmere sweater with a heavy silk peau de soie skirt, also in matching chocolate brown
Here is the detail of the set
Mexican Fire Opal and Diamond Necklace and Earrings Set from Beladora.com
My one last complaint about the Opera
Don't you agree?
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Orange County style at my sister in law's home
when it is 90 degrees in the shade
The de Ville kids will be watching some football
I have much to be thankful for
but I am particularly appreciative of the fact that you, my savvy and chic readers,
take time out of your busy lives to visit my blog.
I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
and the pièce de résistance
Fancy Yellow and White Diamond Earrings $35,550
Metal: 18K Yellow and White Gold
I don't know. It certainly looks possible from the photographic evidence
On the other hand, Demi Moore has a rocking hot body in her own right
What do you think?
And, does it even matter if fashion magazines use body doubles?
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Here's Samantha in some big bling from a couple of weeks ago looking every bit the goddess.
(damn, I want that silver sliver of a dress!)
And here is the detail photo with the serious emeralds and diamond earrings and ring and with Art Deco bracelets.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Which includes this diamond swan necklace interestingly worn as a hair ornament
and these charming carved gemstone turtle rings
I do like animal motif jewelry
when it is cleverly conceived and constructed
and I'm rather fond of Beladora's newest acquisition
Friday, November 20, 2009
Yesterday I was at Milk Studio in Hollywood for a cover and fashion shoot with a young movie star for the March issue of a major national magazine.
The studio was impressive with one huge room for the photography
Of course there was an additional two tables of jewelry and maybe 50 pairs of shoes and 20 linear feet of outfits hanging on rolling racks.
The talent (who shall remain nameless because we don't want to jinx our chance of getting the cover photo) starred in a major sci fi movie last spring and is coming out in a mega movie next spring, was so very pretty.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Yesterday I told you about the jewelry case at Privilege
and, silly me, my post reminded me that this week, there is a givaway at Radar Online too.
You may be asking why these two multi-gemstone necklaces from Beladora2.com are being given away on Radar, instead of on BHB.
Well, Radar is a leading celebrity gossip and style website
with 4 million hits a month, can I repeat that, 4 million hits a month!
and BHB is only my personal blog with my silly little musings
and as much as I would like my traffic to be in the millions per month...sadly it isn't.
But above all the shopping was for business, due diligence if you will, like visiting my estate jewelry dealer friends on 47th Street.
And no NY shopping is complete without a walk through of Bergdorfs, at least through the jewelry section on the 1st floor
Bergdorf's jewelry department didn't disappoint.
(yes, I was that odd woman taking photos of the jewelry cases with my iphone!)
I couldn't decide if I loved or hated the Lorraine Schwartz stuff
They sell for $48,000 at Bergdorfs.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The Rowallan Jewelry "Keep" travel box.
Our favorite lady of Privilege is having a give away
manner to which it has become accustomed.
Kwiat, the diamond and jewelry company, recently purchased and plans to manage and operate Fred Leighton, the estate and antique jewelry retailer that was recently in Chapter 11.
In the near term, Kwiat will concentrate on its existing stores. But in the long run Kwiat says he plans to expand Leighton's wholesale business and well as its "retail footprint."
As Evelyne Pisier, a law professor whose book Le Droit des Femmes (The Rights of Women) unearthed the curious decree points out, given that trousers are compulsory for Parisian policewoman, they are all breaking the law.