10 Things Rocking the Jewelry Industry: Summer 2021


If you didn’t get the memo, Las Vegas Jewelry Week is now taking place in late August. The Nevada desert will be extra-hot then, but we’re not complaining. The fact that JCK, Luxury, and Couture are all scheduled—in person!—the same week (starting Aug. 24) is a hopeful sign that the pandemic is receding in America, and jewelry retailers are raring to restock. “It feels great to be planning for the live event,” says Sarin Bachmann, group vice president of the RX USA Jewelry Group, organizers of JCK and Luxury. “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

Top: Earrings with 19.35 cts. t.w. aquamarines and 10.95 cts. t.w. tourmaline in platinum; $18,900; Cicada Jewelry; info@cicadajewelry.com; cicadajewelry.com


Elsa Peretti leaning over deskLEGACIES

Elsa Peretti, one of the most influential jewelry designers of the past century, died March 18 at age 80, leaving behind a legacy of maverick design through the hundreds of pieces she created for Tiffany & Co. Few designers enjoyed her longevity or success (her latest contract with Tiffany’s, in effect through 2032, is worth $47 million). More impressive is her work’s indelibility. “Style is to be simple” was her motto. But her sculptural jewels, inspired primarily by organic forms, were also simmering with bravado and sensuality. Which made “simple” feel extraordinarily special.



Tiffany charles tiffany mens engagment ringsThere have been many attempts to introduce “man-gagement rings,” but few have done it with as much fanfare as Tiffany & Co. (though, to be clear, the retailer hasn’t used that term). While it’s too soon to tell how many men will want their own blue-boxed ring, The Washington Post reported that “some guys are into” the concept. “I [want] to feel the excitement of getting engaged,” one man told the paper. Others were more cynical: “This is a huge moment for equality,” said Trevor Noah on The Daily Show. “Now men finally have something to bring to the pawnshop.”

The Charles Tiffany setting engagement rings in platinum and black and gray titanium are named for the retailer’s founder.


Daniel Kaluuya 2021 OscarsAWARDS

No sooner did E! talking head Giuliana Rancic declare her retirement than some self-proclaimed digital pop-culture prophet pronounced the red carpet dead. True, awards season fashion was a bit…untraditional. (Never forget Jason Sudeikis’ tie-dyed Golden Globes hoodie.) But just look at April’s Oscars, where the men dressed—and accessorized—to the nines. Exhibit A: Judas and the Black Messiah supporting-actor winner Daniel Kaluuya (pictured) in Coup d’Éclat de Cartier and Love rings, a Santos de Cartier skeleton watch, and, best of all, a Cartier diamond tennis necklace. Clearly, reports of the red carpet’s death have been greatly exaggerated.



Forevermark Aavanti pave hoops
Avaanti pavé hoops in 18k yellow gold with 0.74 ct. t.w. diamonds; $3,395; De Beers Forevermark; 203-388-3527; forevermark.com

For over a decade, De Beers Group has called its diamond jewelry brand Forevermark. Now it has rechristened the brand De Beers Forevermark, part of a concerted effort to promote the name De Beers. The brand will also be more fully integrated with De Beers Jewellers, its retail chain. Yet with only three stores in the United States, one wonders how much appeal the De Beers name actually has. Forevermark USA president Charles Stanley admits it’s mostly known by older buyers, but says, “We think there’s an opportunity to bring the De Beers name and its fame to a new generation of consumers.”



Cartier crocodile for Maria FelixThough they housed some glitzy items, the American Museum of Natural History’s halls of gems and minerals were famed for their dowdiness. They opened in 1976, and, as even curator George Harlow admitted, weren’t updated much in the four decades that followed. While the halls’ throwback 1970s vibe gained a cult following among New Yorkers—The Village Voice dubbed them the ­“weirdos’ lounge”—others considered them as outdated as the museum’s dinosaur fossils. In 2017, both halls closed for renovations. After a few COVID-19–related delays, the refurbished 11,000-square-foot space—now known as the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals—finally reopened in June. Harlow says visitors will be thrilled not just with the new look but also the long list of new attractions, including a 14-foot-high fluorescent rock and a 180-pound ­tourmaline. “People’s jaws are going to drop,” he promises.

This Cartier gold crocodile necklace, with 60.02 cts. t.w. fancy intense yellow diamonds and 66.86 cts. t.w. emeralds, will be on display in the AMNH’s special exhibition Beautiful Creatures.


Final Argyle pink diamond tenderDIAMONDS

After 38 sales featuring some of the world’s rarest—and priciest—diamonds, Rio Tinto is holding its last Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, some six months after the Argyle mine stopped production in November 2020. The final edition includes a generous assortment of the eye-popping colored diamonds that have made the event famous, including the 3.47 ct. Argyle Eclipse—the largest fancy intense pink diamond ever offered at a tender. As the event marks the end of a very colorful era, some dealers found its passing bittersweet. Says dealer Alan Bronstein, a regular attendee, “Being in the presence of so many beautiful stones is one of the honors of being in the diamond business.”


Record Patek Ref 2523 cloisonne dialWATCHES

The watch auction business has never been better. Just look to Phillips’ recent Geneva sale, which totaled $42,290,938, the highest-ever result for a nonthematic or charity watch auction. Even more dramatic: About one-sixth of that amount was generated by a single, spectacular lot: Patek Philippe reference 2523 (pictured), an elusive 1953 model with a cloisonné enamel Eurasia dial that sold for $7.8 million. “Simply put, [it’s] one of the most sought-after, ­unobtainable, attractive, and fabled timepieces in the world,” says Aurel Bacs, cofounder and senior consultant at Phillips’ watch partner, Bacs & Russo. Scarcity, it appears, is a good problem to have when it comes to secondhand watches.


Alex Woo credit Emma HopsonIN MEMORIAM

Every death is sad, but particularly painful when that person is as talented, well-liked, and young as Alex Woo, who died of cancer March 30 at age 47. The daughter of a jeweler, Woo crafted her first piece at age 8 and started her own business in her 20s. She quickly became known for her Little Numbers and Little Animals charms, which made regular appearances on trendsetting TV shows such as Gossip Girl and The Carrie Diaries. Said friend Jennifer Gandia, co-owner of Greenwich St. Jewelers in New York City, “In an industry where so much is derivative…Alex Woo jewels were the holy grail of design—they were original.”


Pandora lab grown banglesThe consumer press considered it momentous. ­“Pandora, the world’s largest jewelry maker, will no longer use mined diamonds,” read one headline, among dozens the brand scored after its May 5 announcement. But the news wasn’t so earthshaking: Of the 85 million pieces of jewelry Pandora sold in 2020, only 55,000—less than 1%—contained natural diamonds. Some diamond groups, meanwhile, were less than charmed by Pandora statements implying that mined gems were less ethical than those made by machines.

Pandora is debuting a lab-grown diamond line but in only one market: the United Kingdom.


(Peretti: Duane Michaels/Tiffany & Co.; Kaluuya: Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S.; engagement rings: Tiffany & Co.; crocodile necklace: Nils Herrmann/Cartier Collection © Cartier; Woo: Emma Hopson for JCK)

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