Monthly Archives: March 2013

Napoleon’s Engagement Ring Sells for More Than 45 Times Estimate

The ring Napoleon gave to Josephine sold for 896,400 euros (including fees), or $1.15 million at French auction house Osenat

The ring had an estimate of $23,500 to $26,000.

“In my wildest dreams, I did not think we would outsell the estimate by more than 47 times,” Emily Villane, an auction house spokeswoman, told ABC News. “We based the estimates in our catalog on the actual market value of the ring, minus Napoleon and Josephine provenance. It is not our job to tell bidders how much they should pay for the historical premium.” The ring features a pear-shaped sapphire and a diamond. The combined weight of the two is the less than a carat.

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Christie’s to sell 101-carat flawless diamond

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Geneva–The largest D color flawless diamond ever offered at auction will go up on the block this spring at Christie’s Geneva sale of Magnificent Jewels, scheduled for May 15.

The 101.73-carat pear-shaped diamond is one of the largest pear-shaped stones discovered to date, and also is one of the most perfect, graded by the Gemological Institute of America as a D color, type IIA flawless stone.

Offered for sale for the first time, the diamond’s pre-sale estimate is “in the region of $20 million,” Christie’s said. {This blog’s author’s sale price estimate is significantly higher}.

“A perfect diamond is the result of the skill and vision of a master cutter who is able to uncover beauty from a rough gem. This diamond is in its scale, quality and rarity one of the most beautiful ‘white’ diamonds Christie’s has ever had the honor of offering for sale,” said Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry for Christie’s Switzerland and Americas.

The buyer of the diamond will have the privilege of establishing their legacy by naming the gem, after which the diamond will join the ranks of the world’s most illustrious and famous diamonds, “opening a new chapter in jewelry history,” Christie’s said.

The Cullinan I, a 530.20-carat colorless, type IIA gem that is part of the British Crown Jewels, currently is probably the most well-known pear-shaped diamond in the world. It also ranks as the largest known colorless diamond.

Fine gemstones have experienced a surge in demand at auction over the past few years, Christie’s said, with the auction house holding multiple world auction records for valuable colorless diamonds.

The 101.73-carat diamond will go on an international tour prior to the May 15 auction. It will be at Christie’s New York from April 13 to 16; Christie’s Hong Kong from April 26 to 27; and Christie’s Geneva from May 10 to 15.


Geneva–The 101.73-carat pear-shaped diamond sold for $26.7 million at Christie’s Geneva on Wednesday, May 15 setting a new world auction record for a colorless diamond.

Jewelry and watch company Harry Winston, which recently was acquired by Swatch Group, purchased the D color, flawless diamond and, as is the tradition with large, important stones, gave it a name: the “Winston Legacy.”


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Six Year Old Millionaire Jewelry Designer…Really!

Are you a little jealous that a new jewelry designer just made a cool million? In a recession? No? That’s really well adjusted of you. By the way, she’s six. Toddlers and Tiaras star Isabella Barrett is six years old and she just made a million dollars, and you are failing at life.

You know, I wondered for a second if I would think that anyone being a millionaire by the time they were first grade was just kind of absurd, but I really don’t think I’d think that about Shirley Temple. I’m pretty sure Shirley Temple would get a pass.

Only Shirley Temple, though. I doubt this kid can dance. Mostly she just seems to design jewelry. According to In Touch:

At 6, Bella is a mini mogul who’s raked in more than $1 million in the past year with Glitzy Girl, a line of kids’ jewelry and makeup she created with her mom, Susanna Barrett. “It’s a lot of fun,” the little entrepreneur tells the new issue of In Touch. “I’m the boss!”

I mean, it sounds like Isabella actually does go to the factory and pick out pieces, so she’s doing a lot more than many celebrity jewelry designers. And at least something good came out of Toddlers and Tiaras for someone. Even if this does seem to indicate that being a jewelry designer is something a six year old in a shiny suit can do.

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Could Your Jewelry Stop Hackers?

Could Your Jewelry Stop Hackers?

%Jeweler NYC %NYC Wholesale DiamondsGoogle has been talking about an innovative idea to replace passwords with jewelry — that’s right, jewelry. Actually, the enabling technology could be hidden in jewelry, such as a ring, which would perform secure cryptographic transactions that would obviate the need for the user to enter a password.

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Sounds very James Bond, but the technology operates similar to a Yubico key where the key is plugged into a USB port for authentication to other devices and applications. In this case, presumably the jewelry would communicate wirelessly with whatever was trying to authenticate the user. Great idea, until you lose your key (or ring).

Why you’re easy prey to hackers

So why does Google care so much about solving cybersecurity issues? It’s not like Google will see a direct benefit from solving these problems. Google realizes security attacks on businesses and individuals threaten the internet ecosystem that has unfathomably fueled the growth of economies, enhanced the lives of billions and established it as one of the great technology companies in modern history.

And the fact that Google has focused its research on password management suggests that the preeminent Internet company believes that to solve the current security crisis, we need better password management solutions; the corollary is that bad password management is at the heart of many of the high profile security breaches we read about every day.

We’re not just talking about Apple, Facebook and Twitter — all who had very public breaches last year. According to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, the number of cyber-attack incidents reported by federal agencies has skyrocketed nearly 800 percent in the past couple years. And by the way, experts believe that only one percent of attacks are ever disclosed — that’s right, one percent.

Perhaps the scariest thing for consumers and business owners alike is that it’s “the little guys” who are increasingly being picked off by hackers as easy prey.

Beyond the “1234” password

Passwords in concept are a great way to secure sensitive technology assets. But that also assumes passwords are used effectively. The fact that “password” and “1234” are still among the most used passwords indicates that people are not using passwords effectively.

It’s not that businesses and individuals don’t take passwords seriously; it is more likely we all suffer from password fatigue — having to remember too many passwords. Think about how many computing devices and applications you access that require passwords. Unfortunately, the antidote for password fatigue is the use of weak passwords, or worse, using the same weak password for all your password-protected technologies. The result, of course, is the epidemic of security breaches we are experiencing.

Even if Google is on the right track with Yubico-type keys, it will take many years to replace the current system. More importantly, many feel that a key or token strategy will only be one part of the access security equation. Keys should be used as part of a multi-factor authentication strategy, which should also include password management software.

Which password manager software is for you?

Password management software comes in many flavors, including password applications for IT teams to secure privileged assets such as critical servers, databases, routers, switches and applications. Vendors providing privileged password management solutions include Cyber-Ark, ManageEngine and Quest Software.

There are also highly-effective password management packages to help the rank-and-file manage their many passwords including LastPass, 1Password and RoboForm. Some password management applications also support shared passwords for groups such as finance that have many of their team members accessing a common resource like a reporting application or credit reporting service.

Good password management software not only enforces best practices for password management, but it removes the burden off the user’s shoulders of remembering long, cryptic passwords or having to change passwords regularly. Most of these applications store the passwords in a secure vault and then give users access to them when needed — in most cases, automatically logging the user into the desired application after being authenticated.

Sophisticated password managers use two-factor authentication (2FA) — by far the strongest password scheme — requiring a password and a passphrase in order to be authenticated. The actual password to the device or application does not have to be remembered by the user; in fact, it is always changing. Twitter and Evernote recently added it following their own public breaches.

You’re not James Bond…use a (strong) password

Passwords aren’t going away anytime soon, and businesses and individuals alike should not wait for replacement technology to start good password management strategies. The fact is, when properly implemented, passwords can dramatically reduce security breaches and loss of sensitive data.

Now, passwords might not be as sexy as 007-inspired jewelry, but I guarantee there are some diamonds in that advice.

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Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

The Ethisphere Institute (EI) has named the Gemological Institute of America one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 2013, recognizing the GIA’s efforts to build and maintain a superior ethics and compliance program.

“As a public benefit organization, we strive to apply the strictest ethical standards each day and to adhere our core principles in serving the public interest in every country and city where we operate. We’re honored that EI has recognized GIA, the only organization of its kind to receive this designation, as one of the most ethical companies in the world,” GIA President and CEO Donna Baker said.

Founded in 2007, the research-based EI is an international think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability. The organization is headquartered in New York.

To be included in the annual list of the World’s Most Ethical companies, organizations must demonstrate an active role in promoting ethical business practices internally and exceeding legal compliance standards.

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JA Jewelry Show Final Day

My final observation on the JA Jewelry Show and most surprising takeaway was the continuation of the rise of Silver Jewelry firms replacing many of the better Diamond Jewelry Manufacturers. Certainly more an economic driven trend than anything else. Classic diamond pieces, elegant drop earrings and sparkling bracelets were among the most popular looks spotted on the red carpet Sunday at the 85th Academy Awards.A few celebrities, including past Oscar winner Halle Berry and Naomi Watts, a nominee this year, also donned blackened metal pieces and edgier designs, a trend predicted prior to the show.For men, watches reigned supreme, ranging from sportier multiple-time zone timepieces to watches with diamond-set dials.

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