NYC Wholesale Diamonds President Keith J. Saxe and his NYC Diamond Blog have featured many articles on the importance of having an accurate appraisal and insuring your engagement ring. This also holds true for all your valuable jewelry. Continue reading
Luxury hotels, department stores, and restaurants are always pushing the limits of grandeur to impress their customers. And what could make a hotel or restaurant look more lavish than a drink or suite package that comes with a real diamond? Even if the $10,000 martini with bling at the bottom doesn’t sell very well, it certainly generates press and adds splendor to a cocktail menu.
What is the marketing advantage of these extravagant package deals? “People of extraordinary wealth want a story you can tell, or an experience you can share on social media,” says Allen Adamson, branding expert and chairman of Landor Associates. “The world of luxury branding is quickly becoming a world of ‘can you top this?’” While a business traveler at a hotel or restaurant may feel comfortable just having a nice meal or night’s sleep, those traveling and dining for leisure often feel a desire to extend the moment through Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. Storytelling about experiences, for the past decade or so, has become as important as the experience itself.
“Buying a diamond is an extravagant purchase to begin with,” notes Adamson. “So receiving the diamond as part of a hotel or dining package makes for an impressive social media post and a unique story for cocktail parties.” Not to mention all the coverage a hotel or bar will get in the media when it announces such an absurd amenity. For example, the Algonquin Hotel’s Blue Bar began offering the Martini on the Rock—a decade ago. Few people have ever sipped one, but according to marketing manager Nicholas Sciammarella, it’s a “gift that keeps on giving.”
“We sold one a month ago, and gave the exclusive to the Daily News,” Sciammarella says in a phone interview. A gentleman from Texas allowed the paper to document his experience in the paper’s gossip column. The drink has also gotten the hotel onto national television and into international newspapers. “It’s always something that’s coming back in the media,” explains Sciammarella. “If you search ‘over-the-top expensive items, drinks, or meals’ we always show up.”
In a way, every time a customer buys a diamond-augmented experience, it’s almost like they’re buying a free ad for the hotel. So what kind of diamond amenities or experiences are on offer around the globe right now?
The Jewel Suite – New York Palace Hotel
The New York Palace Hotel has teamed with jewelry designer Martin Katz to create the Jewel Suite, a two-story, 5000 square-foot penthouse that costs $25,000 a night and houses up to six guests. Along with more standard luxury amenities (a private rooftop terrace, complimentary champagne, sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline), the Jewel Suite comes with a complimentary Diamond Microband Ring, valued at $2,500, that the guest can customize in a private meeting with Katz himself.
What sorts of customers does this jewel-studded hotel room attract? “The Jewel Suite by Martin Katz has played host to celebrity clientele, both for personal stays and when in New York City to promote professional projects,” said hotel managing director John Tolbert in an e-mail. “Both The New York Palace and Martin Katz cater to the same caliber of clientele.” Tolbert says the hotel also rents out the Jewel Suite to such publications as Vogue and celebrities like Oprah Winfrey for photo shoots and interviews.
The Diamond is Forever Martini – Ritz Carlton Japan
The Ritz Carlton Tokyo is the tallest building in Japan’s capital city, so it only makes sense that the hotel’s Lobby Lounge and Bar serves Japan’s most expensive martini. The “Diamond is Forever Martini” sells for ¥1.8 million (over $14,000) and includes a one-carat diamond valued at around $8,000. The additional $6,000 is the cost of having the diamond presented by a cocktail waiter in front of the spectacular view. The hotel has sold only two of these martinis so far—one for a proposal and one for an anniversary gift. But the bartenders keep a diamond on hand in preparation for a third buyer.
Diamond Dust Body Treatment – Trump Soho
Trump SoHo hotel-condominium may seem like just another $450 million dollar installment in the Trump real-estate empire, but it offers some amenities you just can’t get anywhere else. One of the hotel’s spa features is the “Diamond Dust Body Treatment” treatment, which features a rubdown with rare diamond-dust infused beauty oils. Even though the cosmetic value of diamond dust is disputed, spa Director Rachel Knapp claims that this lavish treatment attracts many of Trump Soho’s moneyed customers. The Spa’s Menu says the treatment offers a “balancing of the chakras by applying luminous mud combined with Diamond dust using magnetic tools to remove toxins in your body.” With rooms ranging from $375 to $2,070 per night, it may be no surprise that guests are willing to spend $295 on a treatment that leaves their skin (temporarily) glistening.
Martini on the Rock – Algonquin Hotel, New York
Once the favorite drinking spot of New York’s sharpest literary types, the bar at the historic Algonquin Hotel still serves upper-class nostalgia to locals and tourists alike. For those looking to pimp-out their nightcap, the hotel’s Blue Bar serves a diamond and drink package called “Martini on the Rock,” and the price can run anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000, depending on the size and cut of the diamond a customer requests. The Martini on the Rock is the worst-selling drink on the menu.
Diamond Martini – Vaucluse Lounge
In keeping with the martini theme, the Vaucluse Lounge in West Hollywood serves a shaken-or-stirred vodka cocktail with a one-carat diamond from Hollywood-based Raffi Jewelers resting at the bottom. Brad and Claire Cox, the Australian couple that owns the restaurant, claim to have sold just 12. But the diamond martini has generated a lot of buzz around Vaucluse Lounge, which was probably its main purpose as a menu item. Even 2Chainz has tried it.
This article appeared in yesterday’s online edition of Bloomberg, written by Jack Ellis.
A unique, personal jeweler who works nationwide, Keith Saxe is GIA and FIT trained and has been a trusted high end diamond jewelry specialist for 26 years. He is the founder and president of NYC Wholesale Diamonds located at 47 West 47th Street, Suite 3A in the New York City Diamond District. His website is www.NYCWD.com and he authors a blogwww.NYCDiamondBlog.com. Keith has a full service store located across the street from his private office, and a San Diego factory showroom. He offers GIA Certified Ideal Cut Diamonds, and state of the art fine jewelry designs at low wholesale prices. Keith has been named the N.Y. Diamond District’s Favorite Jeweler by the N.Y. Post’s Savvy Shopper column, had his diamond education articles published, been recommended in the New York Times, national gift reporter Robyn Spizman’s ‘Perfect Present Guide’ and ‘The GIFTionary’, as well as having his Diamond Halo Engagement Ring design featured on ‘The Knot.’
Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but how much do you actually know about them? Beyond their blinding dazzle and swoon-worthy appeal, diamonds are more than just bling deep.
For instance, did you know that a young diamond is about 900 million years old and an older diamond is around 3 billion years old? Or that there are more Picasso paintings in the world than there are colored diamonds?
We learned those pearls of wisdom and more from Tiffany & Co.’s chief gemologist, Melvyn Kirtly. For over 30 years, Kirtly has worked with the luxury jewelry company and helped curate its world-renowned collection of gems. When we were asked if we wanted to pick his brain about all things diamonds, we obviously said, “I do.”
Are there specific diamond cuts or shapes that make the stone look bigger than it really is?
Not really. But some cuts have a different look and effect on the finger depending on the setting. I think that can give the ring the appearance of looking bigger. Cuts like a pear shape, for instance, you get the lovely effect of elongating the finger with the point of the pear. And [when there are] small diamonds surrounding the center stone, it gives the ring more heft, more appeal, and a bigger sense of size. So, there are ways you can set a diamond that give it the appearance of being a little bigger. But it’s not an optical effect, it’s more about the overall setting.
Which one of the 5 Cs (carat weight, cut, color, clarity and certification) is the most important?
Cut is the one that’s really the most critical, with so many nuances that either make the diamond special or make it just sort of OK. Not only is the cut giving proportion to the stone, it’s the polishing, it’s the way the facets are aligned, it’s the sharpness of the facets, it’s all of those elements together that give that sparkle and scintillation — light bouncing off the top and light coming from the interior.
What is the most popular diamond cut/shape for engagement rings? Has it changed over the years?
Round brilliant is by far the most chosen and the most bought. I think people are open now to really think about other shapes, like emerald cut, for instance. And because we have some setting styles that add diamonds around emerald cuts we’re making them in a way that is more wearable. But the classic, classic round brilliant is one that is so beautiful in the Tiffany setting that it never looks aged — it always looks so fresh.
What are your feelings about vintage diamond rings?
I’m not against buying something that has been previously owned, if it’s of good quality. I think some people quite like the vintage look and there’s nothing wrong with that. New, of course, is very nice for an engagement ring because it’s a new life, a new beginning, a new start and it’s yours forever. That in a way is what it’s all about
What reservations, if any, do you have with vintage diamonds?
It could be that the stone has been worn in a way where over its lifetime it could have been scratched, it could be abraded, there could be issues with the setting. I think there are a lot of things to check. But again, I’m certainly not against it. One has to be more cautious and more careful.
Why are colored diamonds so darn expensive?
They are so incredibly rare. Colored diamonds are even rarer than colorless diamonds. And when you get into colors like pink or very intense shades of pink or green or blue or even red, which is very very rare — the amount that is available in the world is next to nothing. There are more Picassos in the world then there are colored diamonds. The rarity is enormous, so the value is incredible.
What is the most sought after color?
Pink. Vivid pink. Colored diamonds are a very interesting world, because there are nuances of color — you’ve got the body color and then you’ve also got secondary colors that work together. So you can have a blueish-green diamond or a greenish-blue. There’s a whole color wheel and they can come in all the colors of the rainbow.
Are there faux colored diamonds? In other words, white diamonds that have been manipulated to make them colored?
Yes there are, but there are way for testing them. We don’t accept any of those diamonds. Tiffany’s will have our diamonds tested by outside and then we also have our own laboratory team test them too. But diamonds can be bombarded with radiation which with cause similar effects of what Mother Nature does to create various colors. But you can test for that and know if it’s artificial radiation that’s creating that hue.
You’ve seen plenty of diamonds in your lifetime — what is the most beautiful diamond you’ve ever seen?
A diamond the color of Tiffany blue. We called it the Tiffany anniversary blue. It was a 2.5 carat oval cut. You could see that diamond from a mile away. It’s the most special and rare diamond we’ve ever had. It was the color of the bluest, bluest sea you will ever look at in your life.
Is it in the Tiffany & Co. archives?
We sold it. And the people that have it are the most lovely people in the world — the wife wears it every day. It was an engagement ring.
The color green – in all its shades of glory – is the perfect complement to the many colors of flowers that dot our landscapes and the natural settings where we build our homes. It grounds us in nature and reminds us of the cycle of life, symbolizing fertility and growth, as well as freshness and harmony. Green makes us feel safe and rested in a way that few other colors do.
It follows then that green gemstones can uplift and heal our spirits − and have been popular gem choices ever since we began to adorn ourselves with jewelry.
Emerald and jadeite, not surprisingly, come to mind first when thinking of green gemstones. They have held a place of prominence in civilizations since ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Greek and Roman times. In the Chinese culture, jade is considered to be the gemstone of purity and nobility, with the ability to increase vigor and lifespan.
Other green gems include: malachite, maw-sit-sit and peridot.
Gems that come in shades of green include: amber, apatite, Brazilianite, chalcedony (bloodstone and chrysoprase), chrysoberyl (alexandrite), diamond, feldspar, fluorite, andradite garnet (demantoid), grossularite garnet (tsavorite), quartz (aventurine and “greened amethyst”, sapphire, scapolite, serpentine, sphene, spodumene (hiddenite), tourmaline (verdelite, watermelon, cat’s-eye and chrome), turquoise and zircon (beccarite).
Whether you enjoy the many colors of green from the plant world or these exceptional examples of minerals from deep within the earth, these greens are sure to make you feel invigorated!
This wonderful article appeared on the GIA website. Here is some background on the authors..Sharon Bohannon, a media editor who researches, catalogs and documents photos, is a GIA GG and GIA AJP. Peggy Tsiamis, a visual resources librarian who matches images to content, has a degree in gemology from Santiago Canyon College in Orange County, California and GIA AJP. Both work in the Richard T. Liddicoat Library and Information Center.
The above photo is of a magnificent 325 carat Tsavorite Garnet
A unique, personal jeweler who works nationwide, Keith Saxe is GIA and FIT trained and has been a trusted high end diamond jewelry specialist for 26 years. He is the founder and president of NYC Wholesale Diamonds located at 47 West 47th Street Suite 3A in the New York City Diamond District. His website is www.NYCWD.com and he authors a blog www.NYCDiamondBlog.com. Keith has a full service store located across the street from his private office, and . He offers GIA Certified Ideal Cut Diamonds, at low wholesale prices. Keith has been named the N.Y. Diamond District’s Favorite Jeweler by the N.Y. Post’s Savvy Shopper column, had his diamond education articles published, been recommended in the New York Times, national gift reporter Robyn Spizman’s ‘Perfect Present Guide’ and ‘The GIFTionary’, as well as having his Diamond Halo Engagement Ring design featured on ‘The Knot’