Industry News

A collection of interesting news items, with a focus on the Canadian jewellery industry and coloured gemstones.  The list does not represent the most "important" stories, but rather the ones that we have found interesting and think that you might as well.

Oscar’s Green with Envy

posted Mar 5, 2012, 7:55 PM by Alex Barcados

White was dubbed the new black on the Academy Awards red carpet, February 26th, in gowns worn by stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, and Best Supporting Actress-winner Octavia Spencer (The Help). But it wasn't white accessories that made a lasting impression on fashion followers, as amazing jewels popped personality on Hollywood 's most celebrated catwalk, many from AGTA Members.

Regal, earthy, tribal: emeralds continue to be coveted on the red carpet. Among the favorites, Berenice Bejo (The Artist) radiated in Chopard emerald-drop diamond, platinum and white gold earrings—featuring two pear-shaped emerald drops totaling 20 carats suspended from two brilliant-cut emeralds totaling 3 carats—against her mint-beaded Elie Saab gown. In luscious Lorraine Schwartz jewels, Viola Davis (The Help) complemented her green Vera Wang strapless gown with 112-carat faceted Colombian emerald drop earrings with lace diamond design, and an emerald and diamond ring.

Also in emeralds: Actress Virginia Madsen popped green against her purple Kevan Hall single shoulder gown in drop earrings by AGTA Member Loree Rodkin."E!" Fashion Police correspondent, Kelly Osbourne complemented her green-beaded Badgley Mischka with emerald and diamond palladium earrings by AGTA Member Sutra. Glinting color against her white single shoulder thigh-high slit Versace, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Irina Shayk, seen at Elton John's AIDS Foundation's Oscar Viewing Party, rocked emerald and diamond palladium earrings and a ring by Dena Kemp, another acclaimed AGTA Member designer. Reporters, Ali Landry for the TV Guide Channel sported over 60 carats of Zambian emeralds in drop earrings by AGTA Member Takat Jewels, and Access Hollywood 's Shaun Robinson in emerald drop earrings by Dominic Jones for AGTA Member Gemfields.

Funny ladies Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig paired emerald with sapphire and ruby: Fey in Bulgari earrings set in platinum with diamonds, including 16 oval-cut blue sapphires totaling over 47 carats and 16 mixed-shaped emeralds totaling nearly 3 carats, and a ring set with a sapphire totaling more than 15 carats framed by nearly 4 carats of emeralds; and Wiig in a Neil Lane emerald, ruby and diamond platinum cocktail ring.

A total standout in gemstone jewelry, actress Busy Phillips, who accompanied Best Actress nominee Michelle Williams to the Oscars, flashed vibrant shades of green and blue in one-of-a-kind, shoulder-dusting boulder opal earrings and labradorite and diamond bracelet by Irene Neuwirth.

Jade was also popular at Oscar satellite parties. E! News reporter Catt Sadler wore jade and diamond earrings by Dena Kemp to the Governor's Ball; and actress Malin Akerman wore a Neil Lane jade and onyx link bracelet, as well as black diamond and platinum studs, black diamond bands, and a black onyx, diamond and platinum ring to Elton John's viewing party.

Other gemmy jewels worth mentioning include: Leslie Mann in Lorraine Schwartz blue sapphire earrings, bracelets and ring with diamonds in platinum; Abbie Cornish in a ruby and diamond platinum cocktail ring; Ashley Fink (Glee) in rubellite tourmaline, mandarin garnet and diamond earrings plated in black rhodium by Bhojwani for the AGTA Collection; Emma Stone (The Help) in amethyst drop earrings from the High Jewelry

Collection, Louis Vuitton; and Ellie Kemper (Bridesmaids) in Lorraine Schwartz brown diamond drop earrings, bangles and rings, among them a blooming flower ring set with a golden pearl.

Oscar takeaways:

• Emeralds remain a Hollywood accessory favorite among celebrities with fashion flare, alone and paired with other gems like blue sapphire and ruby.

• Gems in gold/bronze/copper tones including citrine, mandarin garnet, brown diamonds, and golden pearls are warming up the red carpet.

• Drop earrings and bold cocktail rings still rock as go-to-adornment, perfect for popular strapless and single shoulder asymmetrical necklines.

• Complementary colors in gown and jewels are popular, such as the look Viola Davis rocked; as well as pops of vibrant color against neutrals like white.

  . . . 

By Deborah Yonick, jewelry style expert

Kat-aragama's out of the bag

posted Mar 5, 2012, 7:29 PM by Alex Barcados   [ updated Mar 13, 2012, 6:51 AM ]

On Valentine's Day, a woman discovered a sapphire crystal in a pile of earth brought for reconstruction of a road near Kataragama, Sri Lanka. Thus began an incredible gem rush. According to Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror, a crowd of more than 5,000 people flocked to Lunugamwehera Road near the Viharamahadevi Chaithya in Kataragama in search of gems. What transpired was sheer pandemonium. Thousands of miners flooded the area and clashed with soldiers resulting in broken bones, bloodied noses and heads cracked by rifle butts.

The following story and photo comes to us courtesy of Jeffery Bergman and Richard Diran, along with reporting from the local Sri Lankan press.
Government efforts to control the situation quickly fell apart as the army was overwhelmed by over 20,000 people. The sense of urgency, according to on-the-scene gemologist and dealer Richard Diran, was created by "Kashmir-like glassy clean crystals already fetching up to US$5,000 per gram."



The Sri Lankan National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) believes most of the blue sapphires will not require heat treatment. Further, some believe the deposit to be a primary pegmatite deposit. If true, this would be one of the only instances of gem-quality sapphire having ever been found in the mother rock in over 2500 years of mining on the Island of Gems.


Following a survey of the 3.5 acre property, the National Gem and Jewellery Authority held a mining rights auction on February 24, 2012. The result was the largest single day auction in the nation's history, with 49 of 52 blocks being sold for Rs271 million (US$2.23 million). The remaining three blocks were distributed to village groups in the area.


Meanwhile, a second sapphire deposit was discovered near the Thammennawa tank, also in the Kataragama area. The government quickly declared that area off-limits.


The NGJA has declared the stones will be marketed internationally as "Kataragama Nila." Nila is the Sinhalese word for sapphire, which itself is derived ultimately from the Sanskrit word of the same name (नील), which means dark blue.


 Map of Sri Lanka showing the Kataragama location

Breaking Sapphire News from Sapphminco

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Sapphminco (Hong Kong) Ltd.
Suite 1601, Tower 2, Nina Tower 
8 Yeung Uk Road
Tsuen Wan 
Hong Kong
tel: +852 3166 8288
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Video Sheds Light on Lead Glass-Filled Rubies

posted Feb 19, 2012, 10:55 AM by Alex Barcados

GIA calls lead-glass filled ruby a "manufactured product".

GIA recently released a video that provides an overview of lead glass-filled rubies and explains why it has begun to call them a “manufactured product” on reports.

 Lead glass-filled rubies are created by “taking very low quality ruby that couldn’t be used in jewelry and filling it with lead glass to make it transparent and cutable,” says Shane McClure, director of West Coast identification services.

 This material is being put in very expensive-looking jewelry. People think they are getting a bargain for a product that is not very durable, says Ken Scarratt, managing director for Southeast Asia and director of the lab in Thailand.

 The video, which was created to educate the trade and public, also covers how to identify lead glass-filled rubies with a microscope and how to care for them.      

 To gain a more in-depth understanding of this material, read  “A Discussion on Ruby-Glass Composites & Their Potential Impact on the Nomenclature in use for Fracture-Filled or Clarity Enhanced Stones in General" (February 2012).


posted Jan 12, 2012, 6:44 PM by Alex Barcados

NEW YORK:  3 January 2012 Recently American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) has identified Colombian emeralds that have undergone an irradiation treatment. This represents the first emeralds that have been submitted to the laboratory by the trade, which we have identified as being irradiated. Christopher P. Smith, President of AGL described (figure 1).


The laboratory had been hearing comments in the trade over the past several months, from wholesalers dealing in Colombian emeralds, that irradiation was reportedly being used as a method to improve the color of certain Colombian emeralds. However no stones had been detected by AGL and other labs until recently.


“Nearly 20 years ago, irradiation was shown to be able to modify the color of natural and synthetic emeralds, Smith added. “However we did not see this form of emerald treatment being used widely in the trade. See Schmetzer, 1993.


Although the color appearance is slightly unusual for a typical Colombian emerald, the color alone  is  not  a  good  means  to  distinguish  these  treated  gems.  In  addition,  the  various microscopic features of fluid inclusions, mineral inclusions, color zoning and internal growth structures were not helpful in identifying these irradiated emeralds.


Spectroscopy  in  the  ultraviolet  region  of  the  spectrum  has  been  shown  to  be  the  most effective  means of identifying  this treatment  (figure 2). Irradiation  may produce  different types of defect centers that absorb in the UV region of the spectrum that may be traced with an appropriate spectrometer.


Interestingly, we also noted that these emeralds had been clarity enhanced by introducing a polymer-type resin into fissures to reduce their visibility. Smith noted (figure 3). So these particular  gemstones  had  the  standard  emerald  enhancement  of  clarity,  as  well  as  an additional enhancement of irradiation.


Presently it is unknown how much irradiated emerald may be in the marketplace however it is important for suppliers to be aware and for gemologists and laboratories to be on the look- out for this treatment.



Schmetzer  K.  (1993)  Radiation  induced  colour  change  in  natural  and  synthetic  emerald.

Journal of Gemmology, Vol 23, No. 5, pp. 288-293.



Figure 1: Recently, AGL has detected Colombian emeralds that have undergone an irradiation treatment. Depending on the type of irradiation used and the particular defect centers created, the improved color may be stable to light and heat or unstable, which over time will fade. Photograph by Bilal Mahmood.






Figure 2: In absorbance, the ultraviolet (UV) region of the spectrum for emeralds typically possesses a trough of transmission however irradiation increases the UV absorption. Shown here for comparison is a natural-color (blue trace) and an irradiated (purple trace) Colombian emerald. The light gray area in the UV region of the spectrum highlights the spectral difference that distinguishes this treatment. For the unstable induced color centers heat and/or light will remove the UV absorption causing the emerald to revert back to its original color.



Figure 3: In addition to being irradiated, these emeralds had been clarity enhanced by filling open fissures with a polymer- type resin. Shown here is the characteristic orange flash effect seen along a filled fissure. 32x, photomicrograph by Christopher P. Smith.




#          #          #




About American Gemological  Laboratories

American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) is the United States most widely known and

respected colored stone gem identification and quality grading laboratory.  It was founded in

1977 and became the first gemological laboratory in the US to provide quality grading as

well as country-of-origin determinations for colored stones. AGL has become an iconic brand for uncompromised standards and excellence in gemstone reporting (





Christopher P. Smith, President

580 Fifth Avenue, Suite 706 New York, NY 10036 212.704.0727

Tourmaline dealers bank on China

posted May 29, 2011, 2:35 PM by Alex Barcados   [ updated May 29, 2011, 2:40 PM ]

Tight supply and growing demand from Asia – especially China – raised tourmaline prices to double-digit levels in 2010. Gem-quality tourmalines were particularly sought after during the said period, commanding prices that were double, or even triple, their original price tags. The steep rise in prices, however, has not deterred Chinese buyers from purchasing tourmalines, gemstone dealers interviewed by JNA said.

Red and green are among the most popular colours in tourmaline

Supply shortage

During the 2008-2009 period, some miners either cut back on their production or shut down their mining operations due to slowing demand for the gemstone, said Constantin Wild, owner of German-based W. Constantin Wild & Co.

“Tourmaline demand has picked up when signs of economic improvement started to emerge in 2010, triggering an increase in rough prices. From the spring of 2010 to the end of the said year, prices for top-quality tourmalines doubled or even tripled,” Wild said.

Mohamed Said, managing director of Farouk Bros Co of Hong Kong, noted too the surge in tourmaline prices. “Prices of rough tourmaline in general rose by 40 to 100 percent in 2010 compared with 2009,” Said said. His company has shifted its tourmaline sourcing base from Brazil to Mozambique, which supplies tourmalines of commercial and fine qualities, and in sizes ranging from 5 carats to 100 carats.


Growth markets
Demand for tourmaline remains strong in the developed markets, but its popularity is exploding in the fast-growing economies of Asia, Wild said. “In the last 25 years, the main markets for tourmaline were North America, Europe and Asia. However, tourmaline’s future rests largely on the Asian markets, which are becoming increasingly important to us,” he said.

Gold jewellery embellished with tourmaline is a design trend that is further gaining momentum, said Neeraj Lunawat, director of India-based Lunawat Gems Corporation.

Tourmaline started capturing the attention of Asian buyers, including those from China, Singapore and Vietnam, in 2009, Lunawat said. “China has since become our top buyer of tourmaline,” he said. In terms of volume, the gemstone currently accounts for 50 percent of Lunawat Gems’ product portfolio from only 25 percent in 2010.

Farouk Bros is another gemstone supplier that is tapping into the China market. “Today, 99 percent of our tourmaline is sold to Chinese buyers, offsetting softer demand in more mature markets like the US, Europe and Japan,” Said said. “Tourmaline is now one of the gemstones favoured by the Chinese, alongside jadeite, ruby, emerald and sapphire. Fine-quality collector tourmalines in big sizes, weighing from 50 to 100 carats, are particularly prized by China’s gemstone aficionados.”

Farouk Bros’ tourmaline sales grew nearly 50 percent in 2010 over the previous year, he continued.

Top sellers
Bi-colour and tri-colour tourmalines are among Farouk Bros’ most sought-after goods in China. “Chinese consumers have a strong preference for bi-colour tourmalines in beautiful shades of green and pink, and tri-colour tourmalines with the predominant colours of green, pink-brown and yellow,” Said said.
Demand for bi-colour tourmaline also remains strong, said Lunawat, although such stones are limited in availability.
Red and green tourmalines are just as popular. Wild of W. Constantin Wild & Co reported that green tourmalines, rubellites and bi-colour tourmalines were among the company’s fast-moving items in 2010.

Bright prospects
Robust tourmaline sales in China will continue well into 2011, gemstone suppliers said. “Chinese consumers may not know much about semi-precious gemstones but they know their tourmalines. They are becoming tourmaline specialists, and are knowledgeable about the stone’s most sought-after properties and price points,” Lunawat said.
Asia’s growing affluent class will also lead to higher tourmaline consumption in the coming years, Wild added. “Tourmaline will be the ‘Stone of the Year’ in 2011,” he said.

Jewellery News Asia

25 May 2011 

Color Rules The Red Carpet

posted Mar 12, 2011, 12:41 PM by Alex Barcados

Leading ladies graced the red carpet at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards® Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood with vivid gem-set jewels, especially emerald, a star favorite at recent awards shows and premieres. Many of the stars wore jewelry designed by members of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA).

Best Supporting Actress nominee, the ravishing redhead Amy Adams, wore a jaw-dropping $1.35 million worth of Cartier jewelry, including 30.75-carat carved emerald and diamond platinum haute joaillerie secret watch bracelet worth over $1 million, and a diamond platinum necklace with a 33.24-carat emerald pendant.

Also in emerald: Best Actress nominee Annette Bening in rare Colombian 66-carat gem emerald briolette platinum earrings by Hollywood designer darling Lorraine Schwartz, valued at $4 million; and Reese Witherspoon, Oscar presenter, with Neil Lane emerald earrings totaling 35 carats with diamonds in platinum and a 10-carat emerald ring ($60,000)—a part of her million dollar look.

Next to emeralds, sapphires and mixed gem designs popped on celebrities like Penelope Cruz in a10-carat pink sapphire and diamond platinum ring by Chopard; Gwyneth Paltrow in Louis Vuitton 18K gold multi-stone earrings and brooch from its L'Ame du Voyage collection; and Celine Dion with green spinel and diamond pendant necklace in 18K gold from the historical archives of AGTA Member Bulgari. Another great example was worn by Laura Unkrich, wife of Lee Unkrich, who won for Best Animated Feature for “Toy Story 3”—a blue sapphire necklace and earrings by Omi Gems and blue sapphire ring by Shaftel & Co. for the AGTA Collection.

A show-stopping vintage suite of Van Cleef & Arpel gem-set gold jewels adorned Oscar presenter, Marisa Tomei's dramatic 1950 couture gown by Charles James from Lily et Cie including 1960 estate earrings set with four yellow Ceylon sapphires totaling 54 carats, six blue sapphires totaling 5 carats, 20 emeralds totaling 3.5 carats, and 88 diamonds totaling 9 carats; and bracelet set with five yellow Ceylon sapphires totaling 88 carats, 95 blue sapphires totaling 18 carats, 29 emeralds totaling 4 carats, and 164 diamonds totaling 14 carats.

Another red carpet WOW was Natalie Portman in rich rubellite tourmaline bead tassel earrings by AGTA Member Tiffany & Co. atop her deep violet-hued Rodarte gown. In fact, shades of purple and lilac were popular color choices, next to tomato and chili reds at the Oscars, although neutrals like blush and champagne remain favorites. Worth a mention: Best Costume nominee Mary Zophres wearing orange sapphire mosaic filigree earrings by Dallas Prince for the AGTA Collection and Film Editing nominee Pamela Martin in yellow sapphire and diamond earrings by Shaftel & Co. for the AGTA Collection.

Pearls cultivated a few good fans on the red carpet as well as adorning such stars as “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” Lynn Collins with South Sea pearl and tanzanite earrings and bracelet by Paspaley for the AGTA Collection; and Jacki Weaver, nominee for Best Supporting Actress for “Animal Kingdom” in South Sea pearl and diamond earrings, also Paspaley. Brazilian model and arm candy for actor Matthew McConaughey, Camilla Alves, also was spotted in a pearl and diamond platinum ring and earrings designed by Lorraine Schwartz. Actress Deborra-Lee Furness wore a conch and natural pearl necklace, another LS design, worth over $1 million, and pearl and diamond platinum ring.

Among the prevailing red carpet jewelry trends are the careful placement of pieces and a less is more philosophy. Despite a continuation of the strapless silhouette, necks remained mostly bare, and even lobes went unadorned, with a few bracelets and rings generally the preferred accessories. But there were some very notable earrings (as mentioned), with gem drop, pendant and modified chandelier styles favored.

New Hollywood
While white diamond jewels recall the glamour of Old Hollywood, colored diamonds are becoming the benchmark for the allure of New Hollywood. Typically, yellow diamonds are choice, as worn at the Oscars by Cate Blanchett in vintage Van Cleef & Arpel fancy vivid yellow diamond earrings (totaling 6 carats); Penelope Cruz in fancy yellow diamond chandelier earrings (totaling 27 carats); Florence Welch in yellow and white diamond flower gold ring and earrings by Lorraine Schwartz; and Aishwarya Rai in Lorraine Schwartz brown diamond platinum brooch and canary yellow and brown diamond bracelet.

Covering all of the red carpet glamour, E! Entertainment host Giuliana Rancic sparkled herself in Chopard “Turtle” ring with 10-carat fancy deep brown yellow diamond accented by 4 carats of brown and 2 carats of white diamonds set in rose gold, and “Tiger” earrings featuring grey moonstones (totaling 77 carats) with orange, yellow, and black diamonds set in yellow and white gold, both designs from the jeweler's “Animal World Collection”.

Also notable: Jennifer Lawrence, Best Actress nominee for her leading role in “Winter's Bone,” shined in Chopard's fancy-yellow, radiant-cut diamond platinum stiletto earrings (totaling 16 carats); and Mira Jacob, wife of Jed Rothstein, nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject “Killing in the Name,” radiated in a 42-carat yellow diamond and gold bracelet, and 10-carat fancy yellow diamond ring by Shaftel & Co. for the AGTA Collection.

Next to colored diamonds, rough diamonds are also intriguing Hollywood's elite, like Entertainment Tonight correspondent Maria Menounos wore on the red carpet—rough diamond sliced earrings by Sutra.

Party Like
Oscar style coverage extends beyond the illustrious red carpet at the Kodak, to include photo opps around town from viewing to post parties with Hollywood's elite on parade in their paparazzi best. Perhaps the top after-party, The Governor's Ball, saw its producer Cheryl Ceccheto setting the stage in a green tourmaline suite, with the necklace, a 2011 AGTA Spectrum Award™ winner, by Cynthia Renee and the earrings by fellow AGTA Spectrum Award™ -winning designer Jeffrey Bilgore, both for the AGTA Collection.

Vanity Fair's shindig was awash in color, including actresses Juliette Lewis in a lapis and diamond platinum cocktail ring and sapphire and diamond platinum wide cuff, and Jennifer Westfeldt in aquamarine and diamond platinum drop earrings and large aquamarine and diamond platinum cocktail ring; entertainment reporter Lauren Sanchez in big kunzite and diamond chandelier earrings and a moonstone and diamond platinum wide cuff; and Madonna in black and white diamond jewelry and large black onyx and diamond platinum ring—all Neil Lane.

Moreover, viral video sensation Shira Lazar reported on the red carpet in jewelry from AGTA Member Erica Courtney's Zultantite Collection, including the Turkish color-change gem set in an 18K gold lotus cuff bracelet with pink sapphires, and ring and flower burst earrings with diamond accents.

Oscar's Jewelry Pointers

  • Color is transforming, whether you're adding a hue pop, complementing a shade, or keeping it simple in monotones.
  • Earrings continue to be a favorite accessory, especially in gemmy drop, pendant and chandelier styles.
  • Emerald is a style diva's top gem choice.
  • New Hollywood embraces color in diamonds.
  • Multi-stone designs are back in style.
  • Statement gemstone rings and stacked gem-encrusted bangles and cuffs are hot.
  • Selective jewelry placement makes just the right statement.
  • Sometimes, less is more!

  . . .  


By Deborah Yonick, jewelry style expert

Kate Middleton Engagement Ring Is Princess Diana's

posted Nov 17, 2010, 3:43 PM by Alex Barcados

When Prince William proposed to longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton on holiday in Kenya last month, his late mother, the beloved Princess Diana played a role -- she provided the ring.

Prince William proposed to Middleton using the18-carat sapphire and diamond engagement ring that belonged to his mother.

PICTURES: Kate Middleton

PICTURES: Prince William and Kate Middleton

So what does the famous ring look like?

It's a dazzling oval, 18-carat blue sapphire and white diamond ring. Diana, who died in 1997, chose the elegant cluster ring after becoming engaged to Charles in 1981.

"This was my way of making sure that my mother didn't miss out on today," William said as the couple posed for photographers in the state apartments at St. James' Palace.

According to royal watcher and CBS News contributor Neil Sean, William holds his mother up like an icon but admits that "I just want to make sure I keep her memory alive and all the good things and good work that she did."

Prince William did his proposing the right way- he asked Kate's father for his daughter's hand before proposing to her. And he admitted to being nervous about popping the question. "I was not sure she would say yes, " he said. "How could I be ? " 


Pink Diamond Sets Record at Sotheby’s

posted Nov 17, 2010, 3:37 PM by Alex Barcados

Sotheby’s set a new record for a jewel sale when an exceptionally rare 24.78-ct. pink diamond sold for $46.1 million at a Geneva auction on Nov. 16.

Photo Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The number was well above the stone’s pre-sale estimate of $27 million to $38 million.  

Four bidders competed for the gem, which last appeared on the market 60 years ago. The diamond was finally won by Patti Wong, Sotheby’s chairman for Asia, bidding on behalf of British diamond magnate Laurence Graff.

The emerald-cut stone, mounted as a ring, was part of Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale, which raised $105,047,918—the highest total ever for a jewelry auction.

By JCK Staff

Allie MacDonald, star of SCORE: A Hockey Musical debuts dazzling million dollar 70-carat rough Ontario diamond necklace on the red carpet

posted Sep 20, 2010, 6:31 PM by Alex Barcados   [ updated Sep 20, 2010, 6:40 PM ]

TORONTO, Sept. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - Allie MacDonald, star of SCORE: A Hockey Musical dazzled the world on Opening Night at the Toronto International Film Festival when she walked the red carpet wearing a million dollar rough Ontario diamond necklace. The event marked a celebration for BIRKS, Crossworks Manufacturing and De Beers Canada whose partnership has brought Ontario diamonds to the centre stage.

Inspired by Canada's raw, natural beauty, the 75-carat rough diamond necklace, valued at $1M was designed by Canadian artist Reena Ahluwalia and produced by Vancouver-based Crossworks Manufacturing using 27 un-cut, un-polished Ontario diamonds. Crossworks, who has an exclusive agreement to polish an allocation from the Victor Mine in Ontario, Canada, is the only company in the world to provide diamonds that are mined, cut and polished in Ontario. In addition to being the most sought after, Ontario diamonds are stunningly clear and considered to be the most valuable in the world. In April 2010, BIRKS unveiled the first 131 diamonds certified by the Government of Ontario and has been offering a selection of Canadian diamonds in BIRKS stores since.

 "A Canadian star wearing Ontario diamonds on the red carpet at the gala opening of the TIFF made all of us at Crossworks very proud", said Dylan Dix, Marketing Director of Crossworks Canada. "Crossworks made this diamond necklace to show the world the natural and exceptional beauty of Ontario diamonds from the Victor Mine, which are of the finest quality and are the most sought after in the world. These diamonds, like Allie MacDonald, are a Canadian treasure."

Following the celebrations at the Toronto International Film Festival, the necklace will reside at BIRKS on Bloor in Toronto, Canada where it will be available for purchase.

"Canadian diamonds exemplify BIRKS' dedication to sustainability and highlight our diamond and precious stone authority. They have been a success with our clients since they were introduced in our stores last April because of their captivating beauty and extreme quality," stated Tom Andruskevich, President and CEO, BIRKS & MAYORS Inc. "BIRKS is extremely proud to be celebrating TIFF's elegance and glamour with new additions to our assortment of Ontario diamonds, including the 75-carat rough diamond necklace worn by the beautiful Canadian actress Allie MacDonald at tonight's Opening Gala," he concluded.

SCORE: A Hockey Musical star Allie MacDonald and director Michael McGowan were special guests at a BIRKS and Crossworks exclusive cocktail reception the evening before Opening Night, where Ms. MacDonald was presented with the diamond stunner. At the event, two other new additions to BIRKS' assortment of Canadian diamonds were unveiled: the largest diamond mined in Ontario thus far, a 6.29-carat Amorique diamond®, BIRKS' proprietary cushion-shaped, fancy cut diamond as well as the first pink Ontario diamond, in a unique ring setting by BIRKS.

"Pink-colour diamonds are rare, and especially in Canada," said Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. "I am thrilled, on behalf of the Ontario Government, to present this 2.75-carat pink diamond as the first pink diamond from the De Beers Victor Mine, cut and polished in Ontario."

About the Ontario diamond necklace:

The diamond necklace worn by Allie MacDonald was designed by award-winning Toronto designer Reena Ahluwalia and Canadian goldsmith Jeff Miller. The piece is a collaboration between Canadian diamantaire Crossworks Manufacturing and jeweler BIRKS. It was commissioned to celebrate diamonds that originated from the De Beers Canada Victor Mine and the development of a secondary diamond industry in Ontario.

·         It is valued at $1M.

·         It is made of 75 carats of 100% Ontario rough diamonds (from the De Beers Victor Mine, on the James Bay coast) and 18-carat gold.

·         Ontario diamonds from the De Beers Canada Victor Mine are the most sought after rough diamonds in the world.

·         The necklace is truly Canadian: it was mined (Ontario), designed (Ontario) and manufactured (British Columbia) in Canada.

·         The necklace's spiral cage design is inspired by the historic Mace of Ontario (Ontario Legislature) also designed by Reena Ahluwalia.


posted Sep 18, 2010, 3:24 PM by Alex Barcados

Exotic Hues Spice Up the Spring Palette, Transporting Consumers to Foreign Locales

CARLSTADT, N.J., Sept. 7, 2010 – Pantone LLC, an X-Rite company (NASDAQ: XRIT), and the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, today unveils the PANTONE® Fashion Color Report Spring 2011. The report features the top 10 colors for women's fashion for spring 2011, along with designer sketches, quotes and headshots, and is available for free download at or from our website downloads. The release of the PANTONE Fashion Color Report coincides with New York Fashion Week which begins Thursday.

The top colors for women's fashion for spring 2011 are:

PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle
PANTONE 16-1349 Coral Rose
PANTONE 14-0941 Beeswax
PANTONE 18-4039 Regatta
PANTONE 15-3817 Lavender
PANTONE 15-4825 Blue Curacao
PANTONE 14-6324 Peapod
PANTONE 12-1206 Silver Peony
PANTONE 18-1235 Russet
PANTONE 15-4502 Silver Cloud

“The colors designers have chosen for the spring season present an interesting marriage of unexpected warm and cool tones,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “By cleverly combining complementary colors, those that are opposites on the color wheel, they have created a striking intensity in the palette. These unique color combinations make it possible for consumers to pair existing pieces in colors traditionally associated with fall, with new favorites to punch up springtime wardrobes.”

In addition to designer contributions, the report features commentary from fashion insiders and leading retailers discussing the geographic locations currently influencing fashion and design. Industry gurus highlighted in the report include: Cate Adair, costume designer for “Desperate Housewives”; India Hicks, creative partner at Crabtree & Evelyn; Simone Legno, chief creative officer at Tokidoki; Lanie List, chief merchandising officer at Iconix Brand Group, Inc.; Collier Strong, celebrity make-up artist; and Essie Weingarten, founder of Essie Cosmetics, Ltd. Contributors from Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Macy's also weigh in.

Citing exotic destinations like Africa, India, Peru and Turkey as inspiration for spring 2011, designers continue to satisfy consumers' need to escape everyday challenges with intriguing color combinations that transport them to foreign lands.

Flirtatious Honeysuckle is a feel-good hue that brings a festive sense of playfulness to this season's palette. This vibrant pinkish-red for both apparel and cosmetics makes consumers feel alive, and is a perfect post-winter pick-me-up.

Spicy, gregarious and persuasive describe Coral Rose, a sophisticated orange that, much like Beeswax, a warm, honeyed yellow, conjures up feelings of faraway lands and locales. Pair either of these piquant hues with a cool, refreshing color-wheel opposite like Regatta for a vibrant color combination that will add zest to any wardrobe. Romantic, fanciful Lavender implies sensuality with its subtle hint of red undertone. Combine it with Beeswax or Coral Rose for a unique counterpoint.

Alluring Blue Curacao evokes thoughts of tropical destinations and pays homage to the 2010 Color of the Year, Turquoise. Practical consumers can continue to incorporate enticing Caribbean blues into spring by pairing Blue Curacao with warm, complementary colors like Honeysuckle or Coral Rose. Peapod, a fresh yellow-green, brings an organic element to the palette and is reminiscent of the green shoots that signify change and new beginnings traditionally found in spring.

Trans-seasonal neutrals ground this season's palette and provide a stable backdrop for all of the other colors. The so-called “nude hues” are represented in the range of ethereal Silver Peony to dramatically deep Russet. Another dependable background color, Silver Cloud, is the quintessential neutral that consumers can rely on to coordinate with everything in their closet.

To help put PANTONE Colors into as many hands as possible, literally, Pantone is also announcing the PANTONE Visa® Platinum Rewards Card. Available in select colors from the PANTONE Fashion Color Report Spring 2011, the card lets users make purchases in color-coordinated style and express their inner fashionista with every purchase. For more information or to apply for a card, visit

The colors featured in the PANTONE Fashion Color Report are culled from the PANTONE FASHION + HOME Color System, the most widely used and recognized color standards system in the world. Each season, Pantone surveys the designers of New York Fashion Week and beyond to collect feedback on prominent collection colors, color inspiration and color philosophy. This information is used to create the PANTONE Fashion Color Report, which serves as a reference tool throughout the year for fashion enthusiasts, reporters and retailers.

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