The Ups and Downs of Diamond Prices

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Jul 302009
Fine Jewelry: The current economic downturn has proven to be extremely challenging to most industries, and the diamond industry is no exception. The demand for diamonds hit its highest levels in early 2008 and mining operations increased their productivity to keep up with this demand; the recent downturn hit the diamond community right in the face.The first six to seven months of the crisis were the most difficult for the wholesale industry. Diamond dealers delayed or stopped all orders from diamond manufactures (diamond cutting firms). Diamond manufactures stopped purchases of rough diamonds from mining corporations. Diamond miners stopped digging and the wholesale community sat in limbo and watched prices fall sharply. Without continuous cash flow the goods are too expensive to mine, too expensive to cut and too expensive to hold. Some of the weaker, or more highly leveraged, firms were forced to pay down loans and liquidate inventory. However, some firms found themselves in a great situation, those with strong cash positions, were able to exploit this opportunity and buy diamonds at greatly reduced prices.Although most wholesalers stopped purchasing goods, the retail public did not stop buying. Young men and women were, and still are, getting engaged. Men are still telling women they love them, and women still love diamonds. The continued retail support and the lack of new diamonds in the pipeline have led to a nice bounce in the wholesale price of diamonds. Prices are stabilizing and cash flow is improving; in turn diamond-cutting factories are back in operation, mines are coming back online and the diamond community is moving again. This past month, a magnificent 7cts blue diamond sold for almost $9.5 million at auction set a new price record. I am not suggesting that the industry is yet able to run, but it is back on its feet and moving at a reasonable pace.Though the bubble has broken and prices were effected sharply, demand and market realities have helped diamonds bounce back.



Dries Van Noten Fall-Winter Ready-to-Wear 2009

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Jul 282009
 Many designers seem to be running into difficulty over how to approach women this Fall, dividing their collections schizophrenically between sober-sided sellers and artistic gestures of the sort they hope magazine editors will put on their pages. Dries Van Noten has no such conflicts: He doesn’t have to cast about for a “realistic” attitude because that, and never made-for-editorial fireworks, is what his business is based on.

It’s given him the authority to respond to the times with a relaxed elegance that many women will identify with. It boils down to simple suggestions: an easy-fitting blazer to slip over a blouse and fluid pants; a draped day dress; a sweater to wear over a long skirt for evening. The show opened and closed with belted camel coats (an item that might turn out to be the sartorial symbol of this recession’s sudden shift in aesthetics), but the strange color combinations in between threw off any feeling of dullness. Van Noten had taken the shades of Francis Bacon’s paintings—shrimp pink, beige, ocher, orange, and mauve—and deployed them in a way that gave life to pieces that might have seemed boring in other hands.

While there was nothing overtly retro in it, the undercurrent was of the day-to-day glamour women in Europe and America mustered for themselves while facing the privations of World War II. It was there in the horn-rimmed sunglasses and the Eisenhower jackets, and the template of making the best of oneself in “good” simple clothes, with a slash of orange-red lipstick to keep up morale. All that was subtly reinforced by the long, streetlike runway, which was reflected in a two-story-high mirror that gave an angled overhead view, as if from an office-block window: an impression of a legion of city women pressing on with their lives, come what may.



Jean Paul Gaultier Couture Fall-Winter 2009 – Paris Fashion Week

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Jul 282009

There was no misunderstanding the opening, at least: the MGM signature tune and Lara Stone strutting petulantly in a leather trenchcoat, beehive, and giant pout—it was Bardot to a T! Jean Paul Gaultier always lets us know where we are at the outset, and for Fall, we were off on a movie buff’s coach tour of the gracious wardrobes of Hollywood heroines. Ostensibly. In fact, it proved a bit of an elastic theme that at times meandered off-script. It ranged so widely—from a Louise Brooks flapper dress and gilded fur coat to an ultrashort gold T-shirt under a black leather vest that looked like a possible choice for Lindsay Lohan—that it was sometimes hard to see where the designer was going. (Geometric-Deco meets sci-fi was a particularly odd patch.) Still, theme fashion shows are a dusty old concept in the first place. All that matters in haute couture is a strong voice, incredible workmanship, and whether a balance between timelessness and timeliness has been struck. Gaultier did all that by working in his stock characters and garments: the matelot, the androgynous lady in the pantsuit, the trenches, the smokings, the corsets. No one in Paris can top his tuxedo coat with velvet revers, the just-so cut of a pantsuit with a double collar, or the funny showgirl things he did here as an excuse to spotlight the kind of corseting he’s been doing since before Madonna was a star. As for the timeliness, he threw in a nod to sporty-casual chic (a notion that’s raising its head with persistence this week) via overalls in both amethyst velvet and gold paillettes. Goodness knows where they came from, but they seemed kind of right.



Chanel Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2009

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Jul 262009

Before rating Chanel’s Fall couture, let’s consider what Karl Lagerfeld has already done for the house in the last six months. There was the indelible, incredible high of his all-white couture show in January. Then, a matter of weeks ago, the staging of an unforgettably glamorous Resort collection on the beach at the Venice Lido. All this supremely heart-lifting fashion, delivered in a year that is technically the most depressing in living memory.

Back in Paris again, was it going to be humanly possible to top that for a third time? As it turned out, not quite. The Chanel couture for Fall, shown in the Grand Palais on a stage set with giant white N° 5 bottles, had a comparatively toned-down atmosphere. Lagerfeld’s single conceit was a play on graphic proportion—suits and dresses with a longer flyaway panel in the back, all shown with lace tights and stiletto-heeled booties. As the show progressed, he offered up some remarkable looks: a “smoking” redingote with a ruffle-necked blouse; a crinolined dance dress; pretty, light chiffon dresses in nude or midnight blue with ruffled trains. The outstanding look, though, was the one where the panel device was the least evident: a superchic spiral-cut dark blue dress with an asymmetric “tail” lined in red. All the Chanel craftsmanship was there, of course, and impeccably achieved. For all that, Lagerfeld didn’t manage to outstrip the genius of those previous two shows. That’s the annoying thing when you’re competing against yourself.



Kings and Queens Collection by Victoire de Castellane for Dior Jewelry

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Jul 232009

Dior sure knows how to keep the elite on the pulse of fashion. Dior Joaillerie released their royal ‘Kings & Queens’ collection by Victoire de Castellane, which features bejeweled skulls meant to be owned as a pair. The stunning collection is made out of diamonds, opal, jade, quartz and obsidian, which along with the skulls symbolizes “eternity.” Jewels are forever, unlike those who wear them: “We are moving, but they remain,” said Victoire de Castellane. The Kings and Queen pieces even have evocative names: Queen of Jadélénie and King Opal to dazzle the jewelry-lovers.

Below : Pendant King of Osumilie, in platine, white gold, diamonds and sugilite.

Ring Queen of Jadélénie, in platine, diamonds and jadeite. 


Pendent King of Crocidolior, platine, white gold, diamonds and quartz “Tiger Eye”.

Ring Queen of Crocidoline, in platine, diamonds and red crocidolite.


Pendent King of Sugilie, in platine, white gold, diamonds and sugilite.

Ring Queen of Labradorie, in platine, diamonds and labradorite.


Pendant King of Crocidolite, in platine, white gold, diamonds and blue crocidolite.

Ring Queen of Calcedonia, in platine, white gold, diamonds and blue chalcedony.


Pendant King of Quartznoir, in platine, white gold, diamonds and black rutile quartz

Ring Queen of Jasper, in platine, diamonds and “blood” jasper


Pendant King of Charoïte, in platine, white gold, diamonds and charoite

Ring Queen of Sugilite, in platine, diamonds and sugilite


Pendant King of Opalie, in platine, white gold, diamonds, rose opal and cultured pearls

Ring Queen of Quartzie, platine, diamonds, rose quartz and pearls


Pendant King of Crocidolia, in platine, white gold, diamonds and green crocidolite

Ring Queen of Chrysophrasie, in platine, diamonds and chrysophase


Pendant King of Rutilie, in platine, white gold, diamonds and copper rutile quartz

Ring Queen of Quartzor, in platine, white gold, diamonds and white rutile quartz


Pendant King of Obsidan, in platine, white gold, diamonds and « rainbow » obsidian

Ring Queen of Grenatie, in platine, white gold, diamonds and garnet