Coloured Gemstones: Attributes and Popularity

Coloured Gemstone jewellery sales in ‘bricks and mortar’ retail outlets and e-commerce sites have increased significantly world-wide over the last three years and are showing no signs of relenting. Current consumer growth has seen a growing appetite for fine and extra fine quality gems in both precious and semi precious varieties with emphasis on colour.

Coloured Gemstone - Spessartine fire garnet           Coloured Gemstone - Tanzanite oval aym

Spessartine Garnet                                                                      Tanzanite

Colour in precious and semi precious gems is one of the main attributes in a gemstone’s beauty in addition to the cut of gemstone which can display the magnificent optical effects of certain varieties of gemstone. Another attribute is the durability of a gemstone which is really important as hardness and toughness of gemstone will dictate what piece of jewellery would be most suitable to resist daily wear and tear of gemstone. Other attributes also include the value of gemstone which can vary considerably whether gemstone is treated or untreated. Rarity of certain varieties and desirability are also important which embraces current fashion, culture and ethical considerations.

Cartier Tutti Frutti Ruby Sapphire and Emerald

Cartier Tutti Frutti bracelet – Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald
These last attributes are very relevant within the traditional domain of the big three precious stones, unheated ruby and sapphire and natural emeralds which are realising record prices at the auction houses worldwide especially in the Far East. Valuing jewellery, I am continually aware of the steep rise in pricing for gems of quality since 2012 which reflect the current level of demand and excitement surrounding these gemstones. But not all consumers have limitless budgets to buy into rarity.


Black opal with rough diamond ring - Coloured Gemstone

Black Opal with Rough Diamond

Gemstone jewellery with their broad array of colours and price points offers clients opportunity for repeat purchasing of a particular coloured gemstone for matching suites. For example, a client that purchases a gemstone cocktail ring may want a pair of earrings or pendant to match. This trend is attractive as repeat purchasing for diamond jewellery could be cost prohibitive.


fine aquamarine ring with coloured gemstone           fine rubylite ring

Fine Aquamarine                                                                       Fine Rubellite

Another point worth noting is that traditional sources of supply, for example sapphires from Thailand and precious opal and sapphires from Australia are either in decline or production depleted, supply has not grown. What we are we are witnessing is the importance of Africa as a primary source for coloured gemstones. New sources are emerging such as Tanzania for ruby, Ethiopia for opal and Madagascar as a significant supplier of various gemstone species. However, with the current and future demand from consuming markets including traditional and emerging markets with high net worth individuals can only squeeze supply and pricing can only go one way which is up!

Now really is the time to buy into a Coloured Gemstone!

A Classic Solitaire ring with a family story

My client’s brief from our initial telephone conversation was to source a 2.00 carat round brilliant cut somewhere between G-H colour/VS-SI1 clarity on a GIA certificate with a view to have a classic solitaire ring created for his wife. Both clients met with me shortly afterwards and I had prepared in advance four brilliant cuts all with different benefits ranging from higher colour/weaker clarity to an excellent make of diamond. Make of diamond refers to the harmony of the ideal proportions of a diamond which enables maximum light return called brilliance and also refers to the finish of diamond which reflects the skill of the diamond polisher who applied the facets and created perfect symmetry of the diamond from the original rough.

There was no competition in choice of diamond, after explaining the 4C’s the variables governing the value of diamond, both my clients chose a 2.04 carat E/SI1 which stood out amongst all other stones. The diamond had excellent cut, polish and symmetry and had strong blue fluorescence which if you managed to read my Fluorescence blog will note that the emission of medium or strong fluorescence in higher colours could impact on the brilliance of diamond. The fluorescence in this stone certainly did not impact on brilliance and only emphasises that you need to see actual diamond before making a judgement on fluorescence.

We then proceeded to the design brief for CAD which was a challenge. My client wanted the design of ring to accommodate her diamond from her original engagement ring which was 3.8mm in diameter and also to accommodate her existing half eternity ring. To conclude the brief, my client also wanted a pink and blue diamond set into the band to serve as a reminder of her two children, a boy and girl. (See the CAD design below)

A Classic Solitaire ring with a family story
The casting was swiftly assembled and I set the 2.04 carat with talon claws (see top photo above) and then I managed to have set the original brilliant cut set into the finger bezel so the pavilion was almost kissing the culet of the 2.04 carat diamond (see middle photo below) and gypsy set into band a 1.6mm fancy vivid blue diamond and fancy intense pink diamond at 3 and 6 o’ clock.


(See photos of the blue diamond on the left below and pink below centre).
blue diamond set3.8mm diamond setpink diamond set


Result: A classic solitaire with a difference which told a story of their marriage, children and success with the added value of all three stones nestling around her engagement finger.

Gifting a Diamond or Gemstone for Her – The Stepping Stone

I would like to recommend some further gift ideas for both Him And Her. Let’s start off with Her.

Gifting A Diamond for Her

Gifting a diamond or gemstone for your partner has never been so popular with recent clients, all of whom still want to add the element of surprise and pleasure to the gesture. However, sometimes Men are not confident enough to choose the design or prefer to involve their partner so they can have what they really want for this bespoke piece of jewellery.

The Stepping Stone is a perfect solution. A diamond or gemstone of choice can be bought and presented to Her this Christmas or any other occasion. There is the element of surprise and seeing her lovely face light up with the presentation of a beautifully boxed gem. Then there is the opportunity for her or you both to be fully involved in the design at a convenient time where I will be delighted to help facilitate that perfect piece of jewellery which will last a lifetime.

I really look forward to hearing from you.

 

Gifting a Watch for Him

watches

 

Who wouldn’t be surprised and delighted to receive a branded watch this Christmas? If you are thinking of gifting a watch for your husband, partner, relative, special friend or even treating yourself, I have the perfect solution for you.

Most of my clients are aware that I provide a very discreet watch sourcing service and am able to supply all luxury brands within a two week period at significant discounts with the standard guarantees applying. Please contact me here for further information and I will explain the process.

The record breaking diamonds of 2014

With auction fever slowing down, the auction houses  can stand back and recover  from the staggering realised prices for rare fancy coloured diamonds throughout the year. The message is loud and clear that demand for exceptional rarity exceeds supply of these truly magnificent Collectors Gems.

I have collated in date order the fancy coloured record breaking diamonds that have smashed all records from my last blog in 2013. For further information visit Collectors Gems.

 

Fancy Pink Diamond
Record $7.2 million

British jeweller David Morris purchased a marquise-shaped 12.07-carat IF fancy pink diamond ring at Sotherby’s Geneva on 13th May. Selling for $7,239,758, it established a new world auction record for its price per carat for a fancy pink at $599,814.25.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Graff Yellow diamond
Record $16.3 million

The Graff Vivid Yellow, a sensational and rare 100.09-carat VS2 cushion-shaped fancy vivid yellow diamond ring also set new records at the same auction. It sold to an anonymous private client who was present in the room for $16,309,420 , setting a world auction record for a yellow diamond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Diamond
Record $24.2 million

Harry Winston in Los Angeles bought the top lot of the evening at Christie’s in Geneva on 14th May, a pear-shaped blue diamond of 13.22 carats that, according to the GIA, is the largest flawless fancy vivid blue diamond in the World. It sold for a staggering $24,249,680, which, at $1834317.70 per carat, is a new world auction record price per carat for a blue diamond.

 

 

 

 

Vivid Pink Diamond
Record $17.,7 million

This breathtaking 8.41 ct, vivid purple-pink, pear diamond was estimated to fetch anywhere between $12,903,000 and $15,483,600 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on 7th October.  Sotheby’s stated that the previous world auction record for a fancy vivid pink diamond and record price per carat for a pink diamond were both achieved by a 5.00-carat fancy vivid pink diamond, which sold for $10.8 million, in Hong Kong in November 2009.

The Sotheby’s Geneva November 2014 auction saw strong prices for fancy coloured diamonds and rare coloured stones.

 

 

Bulgari diamond ear-pendants estimated $12 million, sold $18 million

Strong prices for fancy coloured diamonds.

The item headlining the auction was a sparkling pair of Bulgari pear-shaped coloured diamond ear-pendants with a pre-sale estimate of $12 million to $15 million which sold for $16 million. They have marquise and pear-shaped diamond cluster tops weighing approximately 19.28 carats. Suspended from the clusters are 6.95-carat, pear-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond and a 6.79-carat, pear-shaped fancy vivid pink diamond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Zoe fancy blue diamond
Record $32.6 million

November 20th saw records broken when a whopping, 9.75 ct. fancy vivid blue pear-shaped fetched $3.3 million a carat at the Sotheby’s New York auction, setting a new high-water per-carat price for any diamond. That price tops by a full $1 million the per-carat record set just over one year ago, when a 14.82 ct. fancy vivid orange scored $2.3 million a carat ($35.3 million total) at a Christies Geneva auction.

The stone’s final price – $32.6 million – also set a record for the most expensive blue diamond ever, topping the celebrated Wittelsbach-Graff, which fetched $24.3 million in 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

Red Diamond
Record $5 Million

A heart-shaped fancy red diamond ring by Moussaieff set a world auction record at Christie’s Hong Kong on Wednesday 26th November. The 2.09 ct. ring sold for $5,095,872 ($2.44 million per carat) to a private Asian investor.

“One of the finest red diamonds ever offered for sale achieved a world record price of well over $2 million per carat. It is also the most expensive red diamond ever sold at auction.”

Refresh and Redesign Vintage Jewellery and Heirlooms

Do you have diamonds, gemstones and old vintage jewellery  gathering dust in your jewellery box? If you do, why not sort them out and let me have a look at them and I can redesign vintage jewellery and will come up with some design ideas for you.

Damaged diamonds and gemstones can be unset, recut, re-polished and reset back into your mount and then worn again for daily or occasional wear. Alternatively, I can redesign another vintage jewellery style or contemporary mount and add further diamonds and gemstones to a new mount. Your metal from old mount can be melted down and reused for your new mount as well.

My CAD design service awaits you and I can repair and refresh all your damaged jewellery mounts including retipping claws, sizing ring shanks and repolishing tired mounts.

Go on,  treat yourself after all what is the point of staring at your jewellery box when you can have great joy wearing sentimental value. Absolutely priceless.

 

redesign vintage Jewellery

Repaired sapphire & new cluster mount

redesign vintage Jewellery

Repaired shank

 

 

Do you have an EGL Certified Diamond from a reputable laboratory?

EGL Certified Diamond

Over the last two weeks, there has been much noise within the industry over the credibility of honest grading from one of the franchises of the diamond grading laboratory EGL (European Gemmological Laboratory ) which has impacted on retail, the end of the Jewellery supply chain. This relates to EGL certified diamonds.

The CEO of Rapnet, a universal trading platform for diamonds which provides a valuable source for diamond brokers, has taken a stance and has refused to play host to all EGL certificated diamonds uploaded by diamond cutters and wholesalers. The reasoning is that one of the franchises, EGLI (European Gemmological Laboratory International)  has been subject to criticism over the last few years for over zealous diamond grading.

EGLI have been accused of using the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) terminology to describe diamonds as four or more colour/clarity combination grades higher than what the GIA would have given to the same diamonds. The impact of this practice has facilitated a profit motive for retailers to sell for example an EGL certificated E/VS1 diamond to consumers at a similar price or more economical price than a G/SI1 GIA certificated diamond.

The president of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has argued that this unethical standard of trading by retailers and the acceptance and support of a culture that promotes misrepresentation of diamond quality and the outright cheating of consumers destroys the diamond trade from within. The elimination of this practice should be addressed and any members of Bourses that participate in this fraud will be answerable and may be expelled.

As a member of the WFDB, I have always promoted the exacting standards of diamond certification by GIA and believe their grading standards has a set a benchmark for other laboratories to follow suit, although some may have differing nomenclature. The GIA created its gemmological standards and related terminology in 1953 and issued diamond grading reports in 1955. GIA has continuously and consistently supported its standards by issuing grading reports for millions of diamonds.

EGL Certified Diamond

Summary of diamond grading laboratories

I would comment  as a diamond broker based in the UK, 90% of all diamonds bought by my clients are supported by a GIA certificate but occasionally,  a particular specification of diamond is requested by a client at a given time and is not available on GIA.  I will often recommend other laboratories such as HRD (Hoge Raad voor Diamant” translated as “Diamond High Council”)

in Antwerp and IGI (International Gemmological Institute.) The latter is franchised around the world and in the USA,  the AGS (American Gemmological Society)  offers exacting standards for diamond grading reports and would not hesitate in recommending  all these laboratories .

So anyone embarking on a journey to find the ideal diamond for yourself or your partner please be aware of retailers selling diamonds at very attractive prices on lesser known laboratory certificates. Make sure your EGL  certified diamond is a credible one. Do spend the time, exercise due diligence and really consider the benefits of buying a diamond on a credible laboratory certificate. You will find the value will give you peace of mind and outweigh the difficulty of trying to resell or upgrade your lesser known laboratory certificated diamond at a later date.

Jewellery Valuations

When did you last value your jewellery? Is it properly insured?

You will doubtless have purchased jewellery for either bridal wear, a commitment piece to celebrate a milestone, a lifestyle purchase for occasional wear or may have some jewellery bequeathed by a close relative. I am sure you really love wearing your engagement and matching wedding rings and derive much pleasure from the occasional wear of your vintage pieces. What would happen if you mislaid your favourite piece of jewellery or had a treasured item of jewellery stolen?  In short, you would hope that your item of jewellery would be properly insured.

You would be shocked to learn that most insurance companies do not pay out some claims in full because their clients have not had their jewellery valued properly. This can be to your detriment, especially for a sentimental piece of jewellery or more important for a bespoke piece of jewellery beautifully created with fine gemstones which will not be easy to replace. When I say items should be valued properly, every item of jewellery should be:

  • Valued by a reputable valuer who is qualified and updated with valuation appraisal methodologies.
  • Have a description of article, factual details, a value and a supportive digital photograph.
  • Valued at least every three years because metal, gemstones and currency pricing fluctuate which can significantly impact on an updated value conclusion.

The benefits of an updated Valuation for Insurance by a qualified valuer are as follows:

  • Your item will be valued at a true market value.
  • Your valuation will establish proof of ownership in event of a claim.
  • Your claim will be processed quickly.
  • In event of theft of item, an opportunity exists to recover the piece.

What type of jewellery valuation would be appropriate for my piece of jewellery?

The type of valuation is dependent on its purpose. The majority of jewellery valuations are for insurance purposes but in addition to valuations for insurance there are other purposes which might also be appropriate, for:

a. what type of valuation..

  • Probate
  • Divorce
  • Private sale
  • Loan valuation

Valuations for insurance employ a methodology to arrive at a value conclusion which differs from the above four purposes which use methodologies based on a term called open market valuation. There are several categories of value for purpose of insurance and the category most often used is New Replacement Value (NRV) which is the most popular type of category for modern jewellery. This category represents a value conclusion based on replacing an item of jewellery based on a UK jewellery retailer supplying an item of equivalent quality.

In addition to NRV, there are several other categories for insurance which include Antique Value, Second Hand Value, New For Old Value and Facsimile Value which are employed dependent on the style, brand and age of items of jewellery to be valued.

How will a valuer raise a valuation for insurance and how much do I have to pay for this service?

If you required a valuation for Insurance, a competent valuer would engage in dialogue with you to establish the most suitable category of value to suit your piece of jewellery and would ask for any previous supportive documentation such as valuations and certification of diamonds or gemstones. This is important as the final value conclusion may differ from factual details on documentation supplied.

A valuer will then initially check your items of property to be valued and will draw your attention to any issues with mounts such as damage to stones or a claw missing and then will issue you a receipt with a brief description of all articles and all items weighed. If a mount is damaged the valuer may suggest the item is repaired before valuing item. A valuer may not require taking in your items of property and could make notes while you wait dependent on number of items to be valued.

A valuer will then use the notes from meeting to research items to be valued and arrive at a value conclusion and within the Valuation schedule will detail the following factual information.

  • Description of article.
  • Assessed colour, clarity, dimensions and weight of all diamonds and gemstones.
  • Assessed certificates correspond with diamonds and gemstones in mount.
  • Confirmed hallmarkings.
  • Confirmed mode of manufacture and style of mount.
  • Digital photograph of item.
  • How value conclusion was determined in a transmittal letter.

Cost

The cost of valuing any item of jewellery can vary considerably and in the past a valuer would charge an agreed percentage on total value conclusion. Today most valuers charge either on a hourly basis or raise a fee for a valuation report and charge per item of jewellery valued but this is all subject to the item of jewellery valued. For example, an item of property with significant provenance may take a longer time to reach a value conclusion based on extensive research of item.

b.how-much

As an indicative guide, you can expect to pay following subject to agreement with valuer, all subject to VAT

  • Report fee: £50 – £100
  • £50 – £75 per item of property including gem set jewellery and watches but expect to pay upwards of £100+ for premium items including larger diamonds and gemstones set in jewellery and items with provenance.
  • Discount for revaluation every three years.
  • Lower fee for lower value items.

To summarise jewellery valuations, please do yourselves a big favour and make updating your jewellery valuations a priority and do not let old valuations gather dust as this could cost you dearly. A small price to pay for peace of mind!

Cleaning and Care of Your Jewellery

Love your jewellery! How poor cleaning and a lack of care can lead to ruin!

I have seen rings deformed owing to dumbbell training in the gym and precious metals and gemstones damaged due to heavy housework and gardening in my time as a jewellery expert! A topical issue at the moment, especially with the increase of varying enhancements of coloured gemstones – how you can clean and care for your jewellery better. I list below the bare essentials to ensure you care for your sentimental pieces of jewellery that will offer you a lifetime of wear.

The basics

  • Examine your jewellery. If you can see any damage, either cracks in the gems or damage to the mount do not clean it as you might make things worse. Seek expert advice.
  • Ensure certain stones are secure before cleaning as a lost diamond can be expensive to replace.
  • If in doubt do nowt! Seek expert advice.
  • Remember if you have your items of jewellery polished by a jeweller, it should be seldom as a small micron of metal is removed in process and can weaken old mounts.

What you need

  • A small old head of an electric toothbrush for cleaning inside rings and removing dirt as the splayed out bristles can be worked into small gaps on mounts.
  • Washing up liquid, to remove grease and general dirt.  Do not use soap, as it is made from vegetable oil and congeals on diamonds, and is hard to remove.
  • Silver Dip.  Various brands are available, and are about the same in quality.
  • Silver or Jewellery Polishing Cloth.  Polishes silver and gold, and leaves a protective film on silver which delays tarnishing.  Warning:  do not attempt to polish matt or satin finish, you will spoil it.

d.Jewellery polish cloth    e.Silver dip

What you must avoid

  • Abrasive cleaners for cleaning jewellery.
  • Chlorine or bleach
  • Ultrasonic kits

Diamonds

Cleaning: Apply a drop of washing up liquid to toothbrush, scrub stones and remove congealed soap to facets including tables ,pavilions and underneath collets securing diamonds. Then rinse under lukewarm water and review. You may need to repeat process.

Care: Do not swim with diamond jewellery as salt and chlorine can discolour mount. Do not wear for heavy household chores, gym or gardening. If diamond jewellery is not worn, store in presentation box or pouch and store away from young children! You will be surprised to hear that I have two clients who have had their engagements rings flushed down the loo by their children!

Coloured Gemstones

Cleaning: Apply a drop of washing up liquid to toothbrush, scrub stones and remove congealed soap to facets including tables , pavilions and underneath collets securing gemstone. Then rinse under lukewarm water and review.

IMPORTANT:

Safe in lukewarm water and silver dip. Diamonds,Rubies (unless lead-glass filled), Sapphires, Spinel, Topaz, Aquamarine, Tourmaline, Amethyst, Citrine, Smoky Quartz, Rock Crystal, Zircon, Cubic Zirconia, and Black Onyx.

Safe in lukewarm water, do not soak in Silver Dip:Garnet, Jade, Peridot, Moonstone, Haematite, and Tanzanite.

Do not soak in anything: Emerald, Opal, Lapis Lazuli, Cameos (shell and Wedgwood), Coral, Pearls (includes cultured, simulated and Mother of Pearl), Ivory, Amber, and Malachite.

Do not get wet: Opal doublets and triplets, Turquoise, Charms or lockets with paper inserts or foiled gemstone jewellery.

Care: Do not swim with gemstone jewellery as salt and chlorine can discolour mounts. Do not wear for heavy household chores, gym or gardening. If gemset jewellery is not worn, store in presentation box or pouch and store away from young children! Avoid heat and keep away from direct sunlight.

Gold

Cleaning: Use Jewellery polishing cloth to bring up metallic lustre.

Care: Remove jewellery before showering as soap can make metal dull and discolour. Do not wear swim with diamond jewellery as salt and chlorine can discolour mount.

Platinum

Cleaning: A durable, strong metal and great for setting gemstones. Use a Jewellery polishing cloth to bring up lustre.

Care: Resistant to tarnishing and discolouration but susceptible to scratches so avoid storing close to other jewellery.

Silver

Cleaning: Silver tarnishes so clean with washing up liquid and dry then place in Silver dip to remove tarnish and polish with Silver cloth. Warning:  do not use silver dip to clean matt , antiqued or satin finished silver.

Care: Be careful of antiqued look as dip will remove this look and ruin item. Keep away from dalylight to avoid tarnishing.

Pearls

Cleaning: Pearls are very delicate and susceptible to damage. After every wear wipe down with soft cloth and every 5th wear clean with dampened cloth with soapy water not washing up liquid and wipe dry.

Care: Before every wear apply perfume beforehand as pearls are porous. Every two years have pearls restrung knotted and ensure stored in a chamois bag.

If you stick to the above basics and adhere to cleaning and care for your individual items of jewellery, your jewellery should give you much pleasure and longevity and avoid considerable costs for a remount or supply of a new diamond or gemstone. Please adhere to if in doubt do nowt and seek the advice of a reputable jeweller.

Bespoke Jewellery, Accessible by All

The definition of bespoke according to Wikipedia is an adjective for anything commissioned to a particular specification. “Custom-made”, “made to order”, “made to measure” and sometimes “hand-made” are near-synonyms.. The word bespoke is derived from the verb to bespeak, to “speak for something”, in the specialised meaning “to give order for it to be made” or commission. Specific uses we are familiar with include:

Bespoke tailoring, men’s clothing made to the individual measurements of the customer.

Bespoke software, software written to the specific requirement of a customer. The term bespoke in the jewellery industry today has taken on several guises. To explain in more detail, we are looking at different methods now employed in the manufacture of jewellery today. True bespoke jewellery is defined as “hand made” where the entire mount has been created by hand. The mounter will have bought the sheet metal and wire and will have fashioned the mount using traditional mounting techniques at the bench all by hand.

All the jewellery I created prior to 2006 would have been made by hand and it would have been at a price that was affordable by professionals working in the City.

Bespoke Jewellery process

With the advent of CAD/CAM, this process has revolutionised the industry and made bespoke jewellery accessible to everyone. Manufacturing costs have been slashed by 40% as there is little wastage on metal and a saving on labour time to complete mount. I will add that this has in no way compromised the setting of a mount, as this stage of the process can make or break a beautiful ring dependent on the ability and experience of the setter.

‘The old school’ in our trade argue that this method of manufacture has compromised on the finish of a ring as it can look too engineered. I do not agree, although pieces are now cast and assembled it still takes a good mounter with traditional mounting techniques to finish off a ring that actually does look handmade.

If you have a look at my gallery on website can you differentiate between hand made and CAD/CAM jewellery. Do let me know! But I would like to add Bespoke jewellery and define the term as jewellery individually commissioned to suit the individual requirement of a client. However, it implies a perception of a luxury service reserved for the wealthy who can choose a diamond or gemstone of choice and have it set into a customised mount that will offer pleasure to the recipient. I think everyone should be able to consider ‘bespoke’ and I would encourage you to have a vision of what you would like to achieve and write down what you clearly want and don’t want.

f.Bespoke Jewellery

The benefits of working with a Bespoke Jeweller are:

  • Education of the 4C’s, the variables governing value of diamond.
  • Peace of mind with ethically sourced certificated diamond and gemstones.
  • Unique design to suit your requirement.
  • High quality product.
  • Excellence of service.
  • Emotional and aesthetic value at an affordable price.

An expert bespoke jeweller facilitating the process will really understands your expectations, diamond , gemstone sourcing and bespoke jewellery design so they can help you achieve a precious item to last a lifetime.

 

Valentine’s Day: Facts & Folklore

Every February 14th in many places around the world, gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. Mystery and confusion surrounds who actually is St Valentine. Three different saints named Valentine are recognised by the Catholic Church and all these saints are martyred on this particular day.

One of the legends inferred that Valentine was a priest. This priest served Rome during the third century and at this time, Emperor Claudius II decided that unmarried soldiers were preferable than married ones. He outlawed marriage for young soldiers and Valentine realised this injustice and performed marriages in secret for the young lovers. When Claudius discovered these secret marriages, Valentine was put to death.

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The record breaking diamonds of 2013

It has been a truly remarkable year for diamond auctions and we look at the record breaking diamonds of 2013. Looking back to the beginning of 2013, could we have predicted that, in just 12 months, so many record-breaking diamonds would go under the hammer?

It was clear from the sale of the Beau Sancy diamond in spring 2012 and the legendary Archduke Joseph diamond in October 2012 that the market was buoyant. But to end 2013 already littered with record-breaking diamond auctions with the sale of the ‘Pink Star’ for a historic US$83,187,381 – the world record for highest price ever paid for a diamond at auction – is unprecedented. Buyers’ appetites for extraordinary diamonds has reached fever pitch.

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Victoria & Albert Museum

You may have missed the Pearls exhibition but The V&A (Victoria & Albert) has one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of jewellery in the World.

Over 3,000 jewels tell the story of jewellery in Europe from ancient times to the present day; from a great gold Celtic breastplate to medieval love rings and pendants; from jewels by Cartier to animals by Fabergé; and jewellery by an international selection of contemporary makers. It is where jewellers and goldsmiths today often go for inspiration.

Open 10am to 5.45pm (or 10pm. Fridays) www.vam.ac.uk it is well worth a visit.