• Köchert Tiara Sold at Sotheby's for $251,000


    Diamond tiara, Köchert, circa 1901 Diamond tiara, Köchert, circa 1901. Photo courtesy Sotheby's.


    This gorgeous diamond tiara was designed by the House of Köchert in 1901. Made as a gift from the Emperor of Austria to his great-niece the Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, it recently sold for more than $251,000 at Sotheby's.

    The Köchert tiara featured prominently as part of Sotheby's Royal Jewels of the Bourbon Parma Family auction held on November 14th.  Sotheby's described it as a small tiara, or bandeau, made by the esteemed jewelers and accompanied by a beige leather case. They confirmed that it was given to the Archduchess by her great-uncle as a wedding gift.


    Archduchess Maria Anna

    Maria Anna was born in January 1882, in Austria-Hungary. She belonged to the Teschen branch of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, a royal family famous for their love of diamonds.

    By birth, she held the title of Archduchess of Austria, as well as the title of Princess of Bohemia, Hungary, and Tuscany. Upon her marriage to Prince Elias of Bourbon-Parma in 1902, Maria Anna added the title of Princess of Bourbon-Parma to her repertoire.

    Sadly, all of Prince Elias's siblings were declared mentally incompetent. In their stead, he served as regent for the ducal claims of Parma. He also held guardianship of his five disabled siblings.

    Held in esteem by Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, he entered the Order of the Golden Fleece as a knight in 1907. His marriage to Maria Anna resulted in eight children, only one of whom married.

    Their daughter Infanta Alicia of Spain, Duchess of Calabri had three children. She died in 2017, in Madrid. On her wedding day, Alicia's mother, the Archduchess of Austria, wore the Köchert tiara as a choker.


    An Exquisite Tiara

    This beautiful petite choker features a stunning array of pave-set, collet-set, and round-cut white diamonds. The central cluster, as well as the side motifs are detachable.

    The foliate design culminates with a central sweeping affair that resembles an Art Deco-style plume. Given that the tiara was made 20 years before this era begins, one wonders if its designers at Köchert could be called tastemakers.


    Pioté et Köchert

    Indeed, Köchert served as tastemakers for the European scene for decades. The history of this esteemed jeweler begins with a goldsmith's workshop in Vienna. Owned by a Frenchman, Emanuel Pioté, this shop gains renown for its techniques in gold and enamel.

    In time, a Baltic German applies to work with Pioté. Jakob Heinrich Köchert learned the skill of setting large pieces of jewelry during his apprenticeship in St. Petersburg.

    Over the next decade, Emanuel and Jakob fashion spectacular jewels which blend French, Russian, and Austrian styles. Their designs captivate the attention of the Austrian Emperor, Joseph Franz I.

    In 1831, the Emperor commissions the duo to create a gold box as a gift for the Turkish Ambassador. The following year, the Emperor of Austria bestows upon them the esteemed title of Imperial and Royal Court Jeweller.

    In the meantime, Jakob marries Emanuel's sister-in-law. Now connected in business and family, their partnership blossoms into Pioté et Köchert.

    In 1844, Jakob's son Alexander Emanuel joins the company. Experts credit Alexander with taking the atelier beyond its borders, establishing it as one of the leading jewelers in Europe.


    The House of Köchert

    Emanuel's involvement seems to slip into oblivion, and at some point unknown to me the House of Köchert stands alone. Upon his father's death, Alexander applies for and receives the title of Royal Jeweler, a title the family holds onto until the empire dissolves in 1918, at the end of World War I.

    Although this marked the end of Habsburg rule, Köchert continued supplying sophisticated jewels to the royals and nobles of Europe. In 1880, Alexander's sons Heinrich and Theodor take over the company. After that, in 1922, Theodor's sons Erich and Wilfried assume the reigns.

    At the present time, Christoph, Wolfgang, and Florian, representing the 7th generation of the Köchert family, continue producing distinctive pieces in their ancestral workshops in Vienna.

  • Michele della Valle at Sotheby's Noble Jewels Auction

    Ruby Rose by Michele Della Valle Ruby Rose by Michele Della Valle. Photo courtesy Sotheby's.


    Michele Della Valle crafted this superb ruby rose brooch from hundreds of circular-cut, calibré-cut, and cabochon rubies. This gemstone masterpiece recently sold at Sotheby's Geneva for $51,000, during their Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels.

    The sale also included several other pieces by Michele Della Valle, including a magnificent sapphire necklace. All told, the works of the renowned jeweler realized over $128,000.


    Joie de Vivre

    Michele Della Valle embodies joy, whimsy, and creativity, both in his life and in his work. Inspired by the sea, the faceted beauty of gemstones, lines of great poetry, and wondrous adventure, he infuses every piece with energy and passion.

    "Jewelry must bring joy...I try to transform my emotions into jewelry," he told Sotheby's. {source}

    Every piece must convey an emotion and carry a message. Hence every jewel he creates sparks with energy, empowering its wearer to live the message. With this trademark approach, Michele Della Valle has carved an important niche for himself as a jeweler.


    Michele Della Valle, The Early Days

    Born in Rome, Michele Della Valle began designing costume jewelry at age 16. His passion for beautiful stones carried him to Burma in the mid-1970s. There, he purchased his first stone. Urged by an industry insider, he took the stone to Hans Nadelhoffer, head of Christie's jewelry department.

    That meeting launched his start in designing with precious stones. Two years later, he opened his own workshop in Rome. Frequent trips to Asia in search of magnificent stones led to a collaboration with Bulgari.


    Lyrical Masterpieces

    Over the years, he perfected his unique artistic style. Exquisite flowers rendered in shiny gemstones elicit rapturous memories of childhood days. A basket of blue forget-me-nots evokes memories of May Day knocks on the door. Circlets of violets conjure memories of kneeling in the grass with childhood friends, dreaming of Prince Charming. Sunflower earrings glow with the warmth of the summer sun.

    Every one a lyrical masterpiece, touched by the hand of the maestro and crafted with excellence to the meticulous standards of masters of the craft.

    His exquisite approach to design dazzled the tastemakers in Italy. A decade later, Michele moved to Geneva to establish himself as a jeweler among jewelers. His appointment-only atelier attracts the most elite of clientele. His name continues to be a whisper upon the wind, although his lyrical approach continues to gain momentum as more and more of his pieces sell for high prices at auction.

  • Auction Spotlight on Rolex Daytona Cosmograph

    Rolex 'Paul Newman' Daytona

    Rolex 'Paul Newman' Daytona Cosmograph, circa 1966. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's. 

    The watch featured above, the 'Paul Newman' Rolex Daytona Cosmograph (circa 1966), sold at Sotheby's for an astonishing price of $188,878. Not surprisingly, Rolex watches continue to perform well at auction. This past week, Sotheby's auctioned this and 77 more in their Important Watches sale. Of these 78 elite watches, 63 sold for a grand total of just over $4 million.


    The Rolex Daytona

    Launched in 1963, Rolex designed the Daytona Cosmograph as the ideal tool for endurance racing drivers. First of all, it was robust, designed in stainless steel with their Jubilee band with a folding clasp.

    Most important, it featured a tachymetric scale on the bezel which allowed a driver to calculate their average racing speed with the push of a button. With three counters, the Rolex Daytona enabled a driver to track elapsed time in hours and minutes, as well as average speed to within 1/8 of a second accuracy.


    An Elite Class

    This featured Rolex Daytona belongs to an elite class of Daytona watches. Released among the earliest batches of Daytonas, it features the rare Daytona Jumbo dial.

    The Jubilee Bracelet further enhances the vintage of this design. The newer Daytonas feature the Oyster Bracelet, made of Rolex's exclusive Oystersteel alloy.

    Time and oxygen have also weathered the subsidiary registers, rendering them a beautiful tobacco brown which contrasts nicely with the stark white background.

    Rolex debuted dial configuration reference 6240, featured in this Daytona watch, in 1966. They produced it for the Daytona watches for only three years. Subsequent batches featured reference 6263 and 6265.

    In addition to the vintage of this model, these unique features impart a rarity to what is already a collector's watch. Today, the Rolex Daytona continues to command respect, particularly at America's most prestigious speedways.


    Modern Daytona

    Today's Daytona wristwatches continue to provide important and accurate information to racecar drivers. Belonging to Rolex's class of Professional Watches, the company describes the Daytona as "A Watch Born to Race."

    Now made with 904L steel alloy, these watches can withstand all the pressures of the raceway without missing a tick. Rolex commandeered this special steel for watchmaking from the aerospace and chemical industries in 1985.

    In 2000, the engineers at Rolex designed a special chronograph, the Caliber 4130, comprised of only 290 components, which employs a vertical clutch activator. This offers absolute precision in stopping and starting when the pusher is pressed.

    Clearly, this attention to detail and precision opened the doors for a partnership between Rolex and the racing industry. Rolex is now the Official Timepiece of the Daytona Internati, as well as for Formula 1.


    Daytona Beach

    According to its designers, the Daytona Cosmograph, of course, conjures its namesake. Founded in 1870, Daytona Beach became famous for its smooth, wide beaches. These long stretches of hard-packed sands inspired motor car races in the early 1900s.

    In the 1930s, the racing industry devised road courses for stock cars. In 1959, just four years before Rolex designed a watch for race car drivers, US race car driver Bill France built the International Speedway.

    Since then, thousands of racing enthusiasts continue to flock to Daytona Beach annually for the Daytona 500.

  • A Noble Jewel by Sterle at Sotheby's Geneva Auction


    Diamond Bracelet by Sterle Diamond Bracelet by Sterle, a noble jewel available at Sotheby's Geneva Noble Jewels Auction in November. Photo courtesy Sotheby's.


    Sotheby's Geneva brings to auction an astonishing array of gorgeous jewels at their Magnificent & Noble Jewels auction. Scheduled for November 15th, the sale promises a carefully curated selection of jewels designed by the most prestigious names in jewelry. One such jewel, as shown above, is a gorgeous diamond and platinum bracelet by Sterle.


    Sterle Bracelet

    This scrumptious jewel consists of four strands of diamond-encrusted platinum scrunched in the center by a diamond and platinum X. Another platinum X, also inlaid with diamonds, serves as a decoration over the clasp.

    The four lines of diamonds run parallel to each other, crossing at the center X. Two of them are channel set with baguette diamonds. The other two feature round brilliant diamond in prong settings. In similar fashion, the two X decorations echo the design in smaller round diamonds and smaller baguettes.

    Sterle designed this stunning diamond in the 1960s. Listed as Lot 310, curators expect the bracelet to realize $70-90,000. Of course, I believe the inherent value of the name Sterle outweighs the material value of the diamonds.


    Sterle Style

    Perhaps the name Pierre Sterle sounds novel to you. In fact, I must confess this bracelet is the first creation by the designer that I've ever seen. For this reason, Fred Leighton calls him "one of the most important jewelry designers you've never heard of."

    Pierre opened an upper story atelier in 1943, just off the Place Vendome in Paris. He chose to serve only the elite of the elite, royals and jet-setting socialites who found their way to his shop by word of mouth.

    The elusive designer specialized in the manipulation of gold to the point that his jewels brimmed with life. Flower rings and brooches the neighbor could have picked from his garden. Birds that took flight. Golden shells enameled in white and inset with diamonds that might have washed up on shore, a home for barnacles.

    Sinuous braids of granulated gold, studded with leafy pendants studded in diamonds. Ribbons and tassels tied in gold, diamonds, and pearls. Gold, diamonds, and pearls fashioned into dragon talons, dragon eggs, and other fantastical creations.

    Of course, he also created a host of jewels set with baguette and brilliant cut white diamonds like this bracelet. Exquisite retro designs crafted in white diamonds. Turban rings, ribbon necklaces, diamond fringe rings, diamond leaf necklaces. The beauty emerges endlessly, yet his name is not on the tip of our tongues.


    Who is Pierre Sterle?

    Born at the turn of the 20th century, Pierre came from a family of bankers. The tragic loss of his father to war prompted a change of residence. Now in the charge of his uncle, Pierre learned his uncle's trade - jewelry, of course.

    In 1934, he began designing jewelry for the big names of that time, such as Ostertag, Boucheron, and Chaumet. In 1939, he started crafting select pieces for individuals. His first personal client was the French writer, Colette, author of Gigi and Claudine.

    In 1943, he moved his operations to avenue de l'Opera, a stone's throw from Place Vendome. He remained exclusive in his approach, which only seemed to heighten his appeal. Of course, his exquisite works practically sold themselves.

    Eventually, he received commissions from kings, including King Farouk of Egypt who asked him to fashion a crown for his queen. He also received commissions from the maharani of Baroda.

    Though forced to sell his business in 1976, Pierre came full circle. Chaumet bought his company and hired him as a technical consultant. Evidently, he maintained this connection to nearly the end.


    I hope you have enjoyed learning about one of jewelry history's best kept secrets. I surely enjoyed writing about the life and style of Pierre Sterle.

    In addition to the prestigious jewels Pierre made, Sotheby's offers diamonds of impeccable quality and prestigious gems from important and royal provenance. For more information, please visit Sotheby's website.

  • History + Characteritics of Blue Diamonds


    Blue diamonds, the rarest of rare A stunning example of blue diamonds, this stunning blue and white diamond wring is set in 18k white gold. Click here for more details. Photo ©2018 EraGem Jewelry.


    This gorgeous wide band 18k white gold ring features a jaw-dropping 1.6 carat natural blue diamond. Surrounded by stunning emerald-cut and round brilliant white diamonds, the blue diamond just pops on this ring. Talk about the rarest of the rare, a blue diamond is perhaps one of the rarest precious gemstones on earth.

    I wanted to write about blue diamonds after browsing the lots of Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction. The top-grossing lot in this sale, a gorgeous blue diamond ring also mounted in 18k white gold, especially caught my attention.

    A Rare and Important Blue Diamond

    Realizing an astonishing $13.8 million, the Ai Diamond in Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale was a rare and important Vivid Blue and white diamond ring. Weighing an astonishing 5 carats, The Ai Diamond radiates with VS2 clarity. The GIA released a special monograph for this diamond, stating that the Ai Diamond is “saturated with the color of wisdom, harmony, and truth…”

    Natural blue diamonds are rarer than rare. Only one diamond in every 10,000 white diamonds found are colored. And only a very small portion of those colored diamonds are blue. In fact, Nature published a study reporting that only 1 in about every 200,000 diamonds have any blue tint. {source} The deeper the blue, the rarer the stone. Hence, the extraordinary price realized for this magnificent jewel.

    Mysterious Boron

    Blue diamonds derive their color from trapped particles of boron in their carbon structure. Boron absorbs yellow light from the spectrum, allowing the color blue to radiate out from the stone.

    The boron found in blue diamonds has baffled scientists until recently. Boron is decidedly a crustal element, found primarily in the earth’s crust and rarely in the mantle. However, diamonds form deep within the earth’s depths, around 100 miles below the mantle. Furthermore, blue diamonds form even deeper down, as deep as 410 miles below the mantle.

    How Does the Boron Get Down There?

    The study published in Nature reports that the Earth's recycling habits drive boron down deep enough for a blue diamond to form. When two tectonic plates grind together, one pushes the other beneath it. The force at which this occurs drives crustal elements down into the mantle, sometimes as deep as the 400 miles required for forming blue diamonds.

    Once these crustal elements find their way into the mantle, the earth recycles and reuses them to create new materials that later shoot back up to the surface by way of volcanic or tectonic ruptures. Perhaps it would be better to call this upcycling - most certainly a blue diamond proves an upgrade from a bit of carbon and boron!

    Let us help you upgrade your jewelry case! Give us a call to add this gorgeous blue diamond ring to your collection.

  • Sotheby's Presents Jewels from the Royal Bourbon Parma Family

    Queen Marie Antoinette's Pearl - Royal Jewels from the Bourbon Parma Family Queen Marie Antoinette's Pearl. An important offering in the Sotheby's auction of Royal Jewels from the Bourbon Parma Family. Photo courtesy Sotheby's.


    On November 12th, Sotheby’s Geneva proudly presents one of the most important royal jewelry collections ever to come to auction, the Royal Jewels from the Bourbon Parma Family.


    The Bourbon Parma Family

    Descendants of King Louis XIV of France, the Holy Roman Emperors, as well as Pope Paul III, the Bourbon Parma family extends back to nearly every important ruling family in Europe.

    The illustrious lineage includes Kings and Queens of France and Spain, Emperors of Austria, and of course the Dukes of Parma (Italy). In particular, this collection hails from notables such as Queen Marie Antoinette and King Charles X of France.

    Queen Marie Antoinette’s Pendant

    Pictured above is Lot 100 from the Royal Jewels from the Bourbon Parma Family. The exquisite royal pendant features a slightly baroque natural pearl which measures an astonishing 15.90 x 18.35 x 25.85mm. To put this into perspective, the pearl is nearly the size of the tip of an adult’s thumb.

    The pearl hangs suspended from a single oval diamond by a diamond-studded bow motif. At one time, Marie Antoinette wore this pendant suspended from her three-string pearl necklace. At that time, the pearl and bow formed the pendant, while the single oval diamond served as the clasp for that same necklace.


    A Royal Provenance

    According to Sotheby’s, an account written by Marie Antoinette’s lady-in-waiting describes a night at Tuileries Castle in March 1791. Preparing to flee the country, Marie Antoinette packed her collection of jewels, including all her pearls, in cotton and tucked them safely in a wooden chest.

    She arranged for the chest to depart for Brussels. A trusted advisor, Count Mercy Argentou, received the chest and sent it on to Vienna to Marie Antoinette’s nephew, the Austrian emperor.

    As we already know, Marie Antoinette did not make it safely out of France. She, her husband, and her children were taken prisoner instead.

    The following year, in 1793, Marie Antoinette and her husband, King Louis XVI, were executed by guillotine. Their son died while imprisoned. Their daughter, Marie-Therese remained in captivity in the Temple Tower.

    The Tower, once a medieval fortress built by the Knights Templar in the 12th century, held Marie-Therese captive for three years.

    During her captivity, the princess knew about her father's execution, but remained unaware of the fate of the rest of her family. She lived alone in the tower, asking over and over to see her mother. On the wall of her room, she supposedly wrote:

    “Marie-Thérèse Charlotte is the most unhappy person in the world. She can obtain no news of her mother; nor be reunited to her, though she has asked it a thousand times. Live, my good mother! whom I love well, but of whom I can hear no tidings. O my father! watch over me from Heaven above. O my God! forgive those who have made my parents suffer.”


    Marie-Therese's Liberation

    On the eve of her 17th birthday, Marie-Therese was finally liberated, exchanged for six French prisoners. She traveled t to the home of her cousin, the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, in Vienna. After many years of moving from country to country, and after marrying her cousin Louis-Antoine, and after becoming a widow, she finally settled in Vienna.

    At some point, she was given the chest of jewels her mother secreted out of France. Upon her death, Marie-Therese bequeathed the jewels to her daughter, Marie Louise.

    Marie Louise, second wife to Napoleon Bonaparte, kept the jewels safely in her family’s treasury throughout the tumultuous reign of her husband. Finally, after 200 years, the jewels reach the public eye once again, by way of her direct ancestors, the Bourbon Parma family of Italy.

    The auction begins on November 12, 2018. For more information, visit Sotheby's website.

  • Sotheby's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels Results


    Magnificent Jewels EraGem Jewelry Magnificent Jewels at EraGem Jewelry. Photo ©2018 EraGem Jewelry.


    Earlier this month, Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite auction reached record heights, realizing an astonishing $40 million and change. With jewels ranging from antique, to vintage, to contemporary, nearly all the big names in luxury jewels were represented.


    Magnificent Jewels

    Chiefly, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, and Buccallati. Harry Winston, Graff, Carvin, and Sterle. Rene Boivin, Boucheron, and Mauboussin. Not to mention, Wallace Chan, David Morris, and David Webb.

    Late 1800s, Art Deco, and Victorian jewels. Vintage and contemporary sculpted art jewelry. Fine jewelry, high jewelry, and luxurious jewels.

    Without a doubt, emeralds, blue sapphires, red rubies, and cultured pearls. Fancy diamonds in yellows, blues, and pinks. Tanzanite, alexandrite, malachite, black onyx, turquoise, and coral. Of course, imperial jade, two-tone jade, lavender jade, and tri-colored jade.

    Jeweled parrots, Cartier panthere, and even a baby chick. Gem-set flowers, gem-set insects, penguins and garnet strawberries. A brilliant peacock, jade monkeys, gemstone butterflies, and enameled serpenti.

    Pendants, necklaces, bracelets, brooches, and rings. Jeweled earrings, ear posts, and ear clip. Parures and gem-encrusted evening bags.

    So many magnificent jewels found new home and new lives to grace with their presence. Perhaps the most elegant and beautiful was Lot 1755, An Important Diamond Necklace.

    An Important Diamond Necklace

    Made by David Morris, this exquisite necklace features an exquisite pattern of lacework paved in brilliant- and marquise-cut diamonds. Furthermore, suspended from the necklace are six pear-shaped diamonds, which together weigh a total of 13.99 carats.

    Accompanying the necklace is a report from the GIA, stating that each of the diamonds weigh between 1.49 and 3.05 carats. Each one ranges between D and F color, with clarity ranging between Flawless and VS2. Not surprisingly, the necklace realized over $700,000 in the Hong Kong auction.

    As mentioned before, the necklace was created by contemporary jewelry designer, David Morris, also known as The Bond Jeweler.


    The Bond Jeweler

    David Morris made his debut in the 1960s, establishing an artisan jewelry atelier on Bond Street in London. Of course, this is the first reason he's called The Bond Jeweler.

    In just a few short years, he made a name for himself by transforming his fascination with flawless diamonds into flawlessly executed diamond masterpieces, like this necklace. Early in his career, he won back-to-back awards from the De Beers company.

    These accolades, as well as his flawless approach to jewelry, launched him in the world of jewelry and fashion. The committee for the Miss World Pageant approached him to make the Miss World Crown, which remains the same crown used to this day.

    Moreover, his jewels were sought by the minds behind the James Bond movies. From the 1970s to the 1990s, David Morris jewels appeared in 14 Bond movies. For instance, in Diamonds Are ForeverThe Man with the Golden Gun, Tomorrow Never Dies, and The World is Not Enough.

    Catching the eye of Hollywood's elite, David Morris jewels have since graced the red carpet on numerous occasions. Among his most devoted followers are Elizabeth Taylor and Lady Diana, the People's Princess.

  • Robin Williams Watches Fetch $440K for Charities


    Robin Williams watch by Franck Muller Watch by Franck Muller. Previously in the collection of Robin Williams. Photo courtesy Sotheby's.


    Earlier this month, Sotheby's offered The Collection of Marsha and Robin Williams for sale. The actor's family wanted to raise funds for some of his favorite charities.


    Robin Williams Sale Exceeds Expectations

    Not surprisingly, the sale exceeded expectations. In total, more than 300 items sold for a grand total of over $6 million. Part of the collection sold included 44 wristwatches which Robin Williams collected and wore.

    The Franck Muller watch pictured above was the top selling watch in the auction. Estimated to fetch between $25 and $35K, the exquisite designer watch sold for $52,500. Another astonishing return was the Dead Poet's Society watch, worn in the movie by the beloved actor.

    Estimated to bring in between $1,000 and $2,000 dollar, the watch sold for $32,500, bringing in the second-highest bid for the collection of watches. In total, the 44 watches, all of which sold for far above their estimated prices, sold for just over $440,000.

    Marsha Williams earmarked a portion of the proceeds from the entire sale to benefit several charities dear to Robin Williams. These include Human Rights Watch, Wounded Warrior Project, and the Robin Williams Scholarship at Juilliard.


    Human Rights Watch

    Human Rights Watch looks for violations of human dignity around the globe. Shining light into dark places, they expose brutality at all levels, including torture, violence against women, child exploitation, and more.

    In the late 1990s, the organization shared in the acceptance of a Nobel Peace Prize for their part in establishing the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. The Mine Ban Treaty internationally bans the use, manufacture, and storing of antipersonnel mines. It also charges individual countries with the responsibility to destroy stockpiles of mines, clear affected areas, and assist victims of mines.


    Wounded Warriors

    Wounded Warriors Project works with wounded veterans of the U.S. Military. They provide support for rehabilitation, retraining, and emotional recovery. Their aim is to return our wounded soldiers to their communities as whole, healed, and contributing members.

    In recent years, Wounded Warriors has focused much of their efforts on preventing suicide among veterans. Because our soldiers who have served face unique mental health issues, Mike Richardson advocates for an innovative approach to wellness for our veterans.

    As the Independence Services and Mental Health Vice President for Wounded Warriors Project, Richardson is uniquely qualified to promote a new approach. His desire is to see suicide prevention strategies abandon the crisis management model in favor of a comprehensive and integrated approach that focuses on building resilience and preventing suicidal ideation in the first place.


    Robin Williams Scholarship

    Juilliard School teaches drama to blossoming young actors. Robin Williams attended the school in 1973, as part of what the school calls Group 6. Though he dropped out of the program before graduation, the actor maintained his ties with the school throughout his lifetime.

    Upon his tragic death, Juilliard's president, Joseph W. Polisi, wrote, "The Juilliard community is deeply saddened by the death of our distinguished alumnus Robin Williams."

    Polisi went on to describe how the actor's contribution on stage and screen was matched, in particular, by his commitment to support emerging actors in their craft.

    Years prior to his death, Williams founded the Robin Williams Scholarship. More than 13 drama students at Juilliard have finished their degree with tuition paid by the fund.

    In fact, Jessica Chastain, received the scholarship for graduation in 2003. Her gratitude for her benefactor has inspired her to pay it forward. "His generous spirit will forever inspire me to support others as he supported me," the actress wrote on Facebook.

    The sale of Robin's watches and other collected works of art will benefit these and many other charities. Of course, credit belongs to the foresight of his former wife and her relationship with the auction house Sotheby's.

  • Qilin Brooch by JAR - Juan de Beistegui Sale at Christie's


    Citrine Qilin Brooch by JAR. Citrine Qilin Brooch by JAR. Photo courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd. 2018.


    This citrine brooch shaped like the legendary Qilin, made by famed jeweler JAR, sold last month at Christie's auction for 150,000 Euros ($173,818 US). JAR made it for his friend, Juan de Beistegui, heir to the multi-million dollar fortune of Carlos de Beistegui.

    Qilin Brooch by JAR

    JAR designed the brooch to resemble the Chinese rendition of the Qilin. It's gaping mouth, paved in rubies, yawns from within a bearded shaggy mane. This mane sweeps upward toward the sky, as its flowing beard trails down the front of its chest.

    Its piercing eye flashes as a yellow diamond. Its body shimmers with flaming citrine, representing fire in the belly. In one cloven hoof and leg it carries a ball of fiery citrine. Scaly metallic circles cover its skin like fish scales.


    The Chinese Qilin Legends

    In China, Qilin (also called Chinese unicorns) are gentle, mythical creatures with the sensibilities of a tender maiden. Yet, they also possess the power of a mighty lion or dragon. Though hesitate to tread on grass, fearful they might injure even a single blade, they vanquish the wicked without apology.

    Considered one of the four sacred animals, the chimeric creature enjoys the praise given the dragon, phoenix, and tortoise. According to legend, a dragon gave birth to nine sons. It was one of them. Along with its brothers, the qilin possesses the gift of discernment, recognizing good and evil.

    Similar to the stork, the Chinese unicorn brings extraordinary children from the heavens. Though a solitary creature by nature, the mythical creature appears and lingers just before the birth of a great sage or distinguished ruler and returns upon their death.

    A qilin eats magical grass, floats or flies, and escorts the dead to heaven. Even its image, carved on tombstones, wards off evil spirits. It represents peace and harmony, though it also possesses the power to vanquish evil.

    A qilin talisman is believed to bring protection, prosperity, longevity, and success to its owner. It also serves to promote fertility. In Feng Shui, qilin attract wealth and repel negativity. They represent celebration, longevity, greatness, joy, and wisdom. They are also a harbinger of wise and noble children.


    Qilin in Japan

    In Japan, qilin are called kirin. The legends surrounding them overlap nearly identically with those of China, promising prosperity and peace. However, in Japan, kirin are notoriously shy, avoiding conflict at every turn.

    The Japanese believe kirin possess the power to punish the wicked. Legends abound in which the kirin preside over court hearings and divine the guilt or innocence of the accused.

    Kirin live in solitude, born in the center of the earth. They are considered the first and purest among the land animals. Their ability to navigate flawlessly, always reaching their destination, render them a favorite choice for spiritual life guides.


    It doesn't seem too far-fetched to imagine that JAR had all of this symbolism and legend in mind when he fashioned this qilin brooch for his dear friend. Now, its new owner can draw from the power of JAR's intentions, as well as from the talismanic power this jewel holds.


  • Zolotas Gold Necklace at Sotheby's 'The Midas Touch'

    Zolotas articulated gold bay leaves necklace Articulate Gold Bay Leaves Necklace by Zolotas. Photo courtesy Sotheby's.


    A wreath of articulated bay laurel leaves made entirely of gold by Zolotas. This masterpiece in metal goes on sale on October 9 through October 19, during Sotheby's The Midas Touch auction.


    Lustrous Gold

    The Midas Touch sale centers around the world's most esteemed metal. This lustrous medium has captivated humans for millennia. The foundation of fortunes rest upon golden ingots. Kings have battled over it. Empires and dynasties rise and fall at the mercy of it.

    Gold mesmerizes, captivates, enchants, and dazzles. Used for things holy and things base, for luxury and for everlasting promise, gold stands the test of time. This month, Sotheby's offers a handful of items made from glistening gold.

    One important item is Lot 102, the Zolotas necklace featured in the picture above.



    Zolotas steeps itself in the ancient tradition of Greek goldsmiths, as well as in the extraordinary Greek aesthetic and cultural spirit. Established in 1895, at the foot of the Acropolis, by Efthimios Zolotas, the House of Zolotas quickly emerged as the jewelry firm for the Athenian elite.

    Efthimios prided himself on his approach to customer service, hosting his clients with care and dignity. He also ensured that all of his goldsmiths and artisans received extensive training in the Greek jewelry and goldsmithing traditions.

    In fact, beyond its reputation as a jewelry atelier, Zolotas grew into an apprenticeship school for those learning the trade. Together with his wife, Konstantin, Efthimios groomed his son to eventually take over the business.


    Xenofon Zolotas

    Xenofon Zolotas carried the legacy of his family solidly upon his shoulders. His dedication to his family's traditions and the craftmanship of their jewelry allowed him to build partnerships with contemporary designers. These partnerships transcended the unique Zolotas style into something even greater, carrying the brand into the 20th century with ease.

    Under his influence, Zolotas developed some of their most iconic styles, including the Byzantine mosaics of Ravenna, the Lions of Mycenae, and the Star of Vergina. In effect, his leadership carried the brand across the seas, drawing the likes of the Kennedys, Elizabeth Taylor, and Maria Callas.

    Xenofon's depth of knowledge and understanding, as well as his commitment to the economic growth of Greece, established him as a true ambassador for his people. Moreover, he developed a singular passion for beautiful jewelry made in the time-honored traditions of his people and his family.

    In addition to leading the atelier into the modern age during the 1950s and 1960s, Xenofon established himself in the worlds of economics and politics. He served as professor of Financial Law at the University of Thessaloniki in his early 20s. In addition, he held a management position at the Bank of Greece for over 25 years. Finally, he served as Prime Minister of Greece in 1990.


    Zolotas Today

    Today, George Papalexis sits at the helm of Zolotas Jewelry. He took the wheel in 2009, as artistic director. Under his guidance, the brand continues to hold fast to the traditions of the past.

    Zolotas remains a luxury jewelry brand which delivers high-style jewels in the Greek goldsmithing and jewelry traditions. These jewels remain singular in their bold designs, inspired by the iconic symbolism of ancient Hellenism, the architectural mastery of the Doric, Ionian, and Corinthian orders, as well as the extensive mythological stories seated in the psyche of the Greek people.

    We invite you to take a closer look at this gorgeous necklace on Sotheby's website.

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