Jeweller embraces piracy for new cufflink range
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
In celebration of its 230th anniversary, British family jeweller and cufflink maker Deakin & Francis has created a new cufflink capsule collection. Its coin motif comes from family folklore: in the 16th century the Deakin crest was awarded to distant ancestor Dakyn, a naval officer who saved his ship from attack by pirates. The sterling silver, gold-plated cufflinks display one of six designs that pay homage to the brand’s heritage — including the family crest, a workman at an anvil and a skull and crossbones. The Birmingham-based company, which specialises in pieces made from precious metals, is now run by seventh-generation owners Henry and James Deakin.
À la Modi
This week jewellery house Nirav Modi opened its first European boutique, on Old Bond Street, joining six shops across New York, Hong Kong and India. The new shop has been designed by Atelier Marika Chaumet, a French interior design company that has worked with Jaeger-LeCoultre, Boucheron and De Beers, and will showcase the jeweller’s fine, high and bridal jewellery collections. Founder Nirav Modi was raised in Antwerp and launched diamond trading company Firestar Diamonds in 1999, before creating his jewellery brand in 2010 and opening his first retail space four years later in Delhi.
Blue but not unhappy
On September 20 Bonhams will offer two deep blue gems at its fine jewellery sale in London. An oval-cut 3.81-carat fancy intense blue diamond, from a private British collection, is estimated between £1.3m and £1.8m, while a pair of late 19th-century Kashmir sapphires (both nearly nine carats) are estimated at £400,000-£600,000. Blue diamonds are having a moment: in May, the 14.6-carat Oppenheimer Blue was sold to an anonymous bidder at Christie’s in Geneva for $57.5m — a new world record for any jewel sold at auction. Christie’s New York also sold the Cullinan Dream, a fancy intense blue diamond of 24 carats set in a ring with two baguette-cut diamonds, in June for $25.4m.
The restoration of a mosaic floor at the ancient Terme di Caracalla baths in Rome has been completed thanks to a donation from Bulgari. Just beyond the southern end of the Circus Maximus, the mosaic was previously covered with a protective layer of fabric and soil, and its restoration took around six months. The Rome-based jeweller will also fund continued work on an adjacent area. The Terme di Caracalla were built under the rule of Septimius Severus and his son Caracalla during AD211-217, and were once the second largest Roman public bath complex — big enough for more than 1,500 bathers.
Inspired by the “Age of Discovery” — encompassing the 15th to 18th centuries of European history, and the voyages of Christopher Columbus and his contemporaries — Tessa Packard London will unveil its For King and Country collection on September 7. Avoiding larger jewellery houses’ taste for chunky statement necklaces, an intricate made-to-order pendant features a silver or 18-carat yellow gold cage in the shape of the continents, surrounding a miniature rhyolite or lapis lazuli globe that spins on its axis. The globe may have a diamond placed on a location of the customer’s choice, marking a memorable voyage of discovery of their own.
Let’s get physical
In April 2015, Chanel launched its Coco Crush fine jewellery collection exclusively through a three-week pop-up on online shopping site Net-a-Porter, a first for the Parisian jeweller. The set of plain yellow or white gold pieces is now to expand — in physical stores too — with beige-gold rings and six diamond-embellished reworkings: four pavé rings and two cuffs encrusted with a lion motif. The collection’s geometric design draws on the matelassé stitching used on the fashion house’s popular quilted handbags.
This month Tiffany will introduce the T Two collection, an extension of its Tiffany T range created by design director Francesca Amfitheatrof in 2014. Joining the existing array of hinged cuffs, pendants and bracelets are two wide-band rings available for men and women in plain 18-carat white, rose and yellow gold or sterling silver, with a diamond-lined “T” or diamond-set circumference, if desired. The house says the design’s sculptural, linear form is inspired by the spirit of New York, where the jeweller opened its doors in September 1837 at 259 Broadway and made $4.98 on its first day’s sales.
Twins that twinkle
Graff has cut and polished a pair of identical 50.23-carat diamonds from the same 269-carat rough stone.
Having digitally mapped its natural internal flaws, a computerised replica was created to determine how cutters could transform it.
The “Eternal Twins” are grade-D flawless emerald-cut stones and have been set in earrings which feature more than 132 carats of exceptional diamonds.
The stone was found at the Lucara Karowe mine in Botswana, where a number of large rough diamonds have been uncovered, including the Lesedi la Rona, a 1,109-carat gem-quality stone that was put under the hammer at Sotheby’s in June with an estimate of $70m, but failed to sell (see related article).