10 Things Rocking the Industry, February 2016



Watches

Visitors to Geneva’s 26th annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie had more to see than usual last month. The exclusive venue—home, traditionally, to 15 primarily Richemont-owned brands such as Cartier and Panerai—welcomed for the first time nine independent watchmakers, including Christophe Claret and MB&F. Organizers had long sought to promote the artisans pioneering “the nouvelle horology,” says Fabienne Lupo, managing director of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, but didn’t have the space. Then, Ralph Lauren Watches announced it was leaving the fair. With the global economy on delicate footing, however, growth for any of SIHH’s watchmakers is far from certain.

(Top) Soprano in 45 mm red gold and chocolate brown PVD-treated titanium case; CHF 468,000 ($466,265); Christophe Claret, Le Locle, Switzerland; 41-22-706-1960; christopheclaret.com

 

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Wearables

All the cool kids are wearing smartwatches, and the president of the free world is among them. Barack Obama was spotted wearing a Fitbit Surge during his appearance on Jerry Seinfeld’s Web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Perhaps why the commander in chief went with this model, which includes a step tracker, sleep tracker, heart rate monitor, and calorie counter: It’s one of the few that doesn’t require syncing with a smartphone, which Obama has said he cannot have due to security concerns.

Get smart like Obama with the $250 Fitbit Surge.

 

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Awards

Rose Quartz may be Pantone’s color of 2016—as pretty-in-pink singer Katy Perry reminded us on the red carpet—but emerald was the color of the 2016 Golden Globes. Though stars certainly donned their fair share of diamonds—J. Lo in 240+ carats of Harry Winston, J. Law in 158+ carats of Chopard—the Jan. 10 awards were positively awash in green gems: Empire winner Taraji P. Henson in Kimberly McDonald earrings with Gemfields Zambian emeralds; Orange Is the New Black’s Laverne Cox in major Lorraine Schwartz emerald chandelier earrings and diamond and emerald bracelets; Blindspot star Jaimie Alexander in Schwartz Colombian emerald earrings and rings; Bernadette Peters, star of Amazon’s winning TV series Mozart in the Jungle, in David Webb emerald and ruby danglers.… The list goes on and on. Meanwhile, has anyone seen poor Amy Schumer’s jewelry? We suspect the Trainwreck nominee was mugged on her way to the Beverly Hilton.

Henson’s Kimberly McDonald earrings in 18k white gold with 4 cts. t.w. diamonds and 107 cts. t.w. cushion-cut Gemfields Zambian emeralds

 

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Diamonds

When a principal from Savio Jewellery was paging through a magazine and saw a Russian company had set a Guinness World Record for having 2,525 diamonds in a ring, the Surat, India–based brand sprung into action. “We didn’t just want to break it by a little, but by a lot,” says Savio partner Abhishek Sand. After three years of work—half of which was spent waiting for the final verdict from Guinness—Savio finally claimed the record for its 18k gold Peacock ring, which proudly sports 3,827 diamonds, which all weigh less than 0.1 ct. each. The company hopes to debut the ring at JCK Las Vegas in June.

This ring’s 3,827 diamonds add up to 16.05 cts. t.w.

 

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Movies

Star Wars: The Force Awakens became the highest-grossing film ever in North America less than three weeks into its release, but the fervor didn’t stop at the box office. Kay Jewelers and SalesOne International both created lines of licensed Star Wars jewelry. SalesOne’s stainless steel designs are all priced under $100, and Kay’s pieces in sterling silver, crystal, and gold range from $34.99 for a sterling silver and glass bead to $1,149 for a gold and diamond BB-8 droid necklace. For the truly extravagant fan, Kay created a 4.25-inch gold and diamond BB-8 figurine (above), which will be auctioned off to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
 

 

Brands

Alex and Ani is coming to Australia—and rival charm brand Pandora isn’t exactly rolling out the welcome mat. The Danish company sent a letter to its Down Under retailers warning that “Pandora would not consider allowing you to distribute Alex and Ani products from your store whilst you are an authorized Pandora retailer,” according to a report and email reprinted in the Australian trade publication Jeweller. Some retailers are considering appealing to local trade authorities, but Pandora’s motivations may be partly personal: Karin Adcock, who is distributing Alex and Ani in Australia, used to head Pandora Australia.
 

 

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Gold

You can trade in your gold at all sorts of places—so why not via kiosk? That’s the thinking behind Goldstür—note the umlaut—a Newport Beach, Calif.–based company that, in December, began deploying its shiny red trade-in kiosks at Cub Foods supermarkets in Minneapolis. The device uses proprietary technology to analyze the weight and metal content of gold, silver, and platinum jewels; after two minutes, it spits out an offer based on current metal prices. If consumers accept, they receive store credit or cash for their item. Even though the gold trade-in market is a far cry from what it was five years ago when it neared $2,000 an ounce, Goldstür chief operating officer Kevin Miller isn’t worried: “There is more gold held in households than there is in any government institution and Fort Knox combined.”

For now, Goldstür payouts are capped at $350.
 

 

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Celebrities

Graceland, the Memphis, Tenn., estate of Elvis Presley, held a live auction of Elvis memorabilia and personal effects, including jewelry, on Jan. 7. Among the jewelry lots in the auction: a 10k gold men’s ring set with 56 diamonds; a vintage Baume & Mercier yellow gold wristwatch; an unusual sapphire, gold, and diamond ring that appears to form the number 10 when worn; an Indian Head gold coin and diamond ring; and an Aztec-patterned 14k gold ring set with a chrysoberyl cabochon and green tourmalines. Most of the jewels were once worn by Elvis and gifted to friends and coworkers; he was famous for returning compliments on his pieces by giving them away. 

The King’s bling!

 

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Colors

Pantone’s gift to fashion this year is a twofer—2016 claims not one but two Colors of the Year! After 2015’s muddy Marsala, the color authority opted for a decidedly more uplifting color scheme with Rose Quartz and Serenity. Pantone intends for the two shades—which are as light and lovely to look at as they sound—to be coupled, tangoing through their 12-month shelf life in a pretty pastel dance. Clothing designers are already getting on board: Carolina Herrera showed the duo in her spring 2016 runway show. Wonder Twin powers, activate!

Aquarelle earrings in 18k yellow gold with 31.18 cts. t.w. rose quartz, amethyst, pink tourmaline, and blue topaz; $7,110; Vianna, Miami; 888-679-3088; viannabrasil.com

 

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Stats

After dipping in November, consumer confidence rebounded in December, according to the latest numbers from The Conference Board. “As 2015 draws to a close, consumers’ assessment of the current state of the economy remains positive, particularly their assessment of the job market,” says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the New York City–based polling organization. The good vibes weren’t felt across the board, Franco admits, but for now “the optimists continue to outweigh the pessimists.”