Tag Archives: Cartier

Recent (and Insane) Jewelry & Cash Heists

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-sexy-thief-cash-gems-lace-gun

This has been quite a year in the world of high stakes jewelry heists.  All over the globe, from right here in NYC’s Diamond District to the luxury boutiques of London to Thai airports to Mom ‘n Pop Shops in the Midwest, jewel thieves have been striking with reckless abandon.  The caliber of gem pilferers have ranged from highly successful and calculating posses, like the infamous Pink Panthers, to renegade solo stealers, like a particular femme fatale who has been on quite the tear as of late – and is currently wanted in several US states.

What has lead to this dramatic increase in dangerous, violent and unfortunately lucrative jewel crimes?  Are these new age criminals utilizing technology to figure out the security patterns of jewelry stores with deadly precision, and seeing this as a way to make ‘easy money?’  Have international economic woes contributed to people seeking innovative and coincidentally illegal methods for obtaining cash?  Is it somehow Trump’s fault??  Not ruling out any of these options, it really is hard to say with any certain degree of accuracy what is the true root cause.  One thing is for sure; many of these elite larcenies have been hair-raising, to say the least.  Here we take a look at some of the more jaw-dropping-ly fascinating tales of jewel and dough poaching that have occurred over the last few years.

Diamonds of Anarchy 

London’s Brent Cross Mall, 2012.  A fairly standard autumn morning in homogenized British shopping.  Then…half a dozen masked (helmeted) motorcycle men (presumably from Hades) rode INTO a jewelry store on the second floor of the shopping complex and proceeded to wreak havoc.  They smashed the jewelry containers with bats and axes and grabbed whatever they could carry in their avaricious mitts.  Riding two to a bike, the loot snatchers jumped back on their partners’ backs and blazed out of there to freedom.  After all was said and stolen, 3.1 million dollars in Rolex and Cartier watches, along with sundry loose diamonds and gems (and even a few sale items) were gone forever.  All the police were able to turn up in the ensuing investigation were the motorcycles themselves, which had been stolen and were left abandoned in a golf course not far from the mall.  The motorcycle gang, or “club” as Jax Teller would say, remain at large to this day.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-motorcycle-thieves-scary

Couldn’t Belieb their Own Eyes 

In May of 2013, a truly pop-tastic heist occurred.  Technically, no jewelry was stolen, but the amount of plundered cash (half a mil) is enough to raise an eyebrow or two.  More importantly, is the venue where this caper went down: FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Thousands of adoring fans were rocking out to arguably one of the greatest musical talents of our time – heck, of EVER.  That’s right; the Bieb.  While the concert raged on, and many a tween girl wept with hormonally confused ecstasy, a cadre of supplemental security guards (hired just for this epic event) were chainsawing or exploding or god-only-knows-what-ing a two foot concrete floor which gave way to where all the cash from the night’s revelry was stored.  The thieves then high tailed it out of there before the final, haunting refrain of “If I Was Your Boyfriend” was even sung.

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Cannes Not Believe this Happened 

When one thinks of the city of Cannes, nestled on the coast of the French Riviera, images of film festival opulence and extravagant vacations come to mind.  A lone dude in a “baseball cap and scarf” toting a handgun who is somehow able to steal 136 million dollars in gems, watches and baguettes from the extra fancy Carlton International Hotel is probably not what you would picture.  However, that is precisely what went down in 2013 at the famed location.  The reason all these valuables were just hanging around the hotel was because Lev Avnerovich Leviev, an Israelite with billions of shekels to his name, had them on display there, in a “private salon.”  Too bad the paltry guards assigned to watch said watches and jewels were not trained to deal with an actual robbery (also, they had no guns themselves).  So, the solitary fellow strolled over with his pistol, politely asked for the goods and said “au revoir.”  Ironic twist: this hotel is where Hitchcock’s 1955 hit “To Catch a Thief” was filmed.

…This thief has not been caught.

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Putting Seniors to Work 

This past May, London’s premier jewelry district, Hatton Garden (a name befitting a location out of “Great Expectations”) felt a little bit of a squeeze.  One of the area’s  “safest” safety deposit vaults was expertly invaded and drained of 300 million dollars worth of jewels and pounds.  Aside from the staggeringly high amount of quid that was snatched, what makes this case so intriguing is the age of the robbers.  The youngest man, out of the nine suspects, was 48, and the most senior was 76.  They tunneled their way into the vault, carving out a perfectly cylindrical hole just wide enough to fit presumably the thinnest member of the elder gang.  Ultimately, all nine of the thieves were apprehended, which confirms the theory that older people may have the wisdom to pull off a heist of this magnitude, but probably aren’t that particularly great at running away from the police.

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One Bold Babe

The Eastern Seaboard has very recently fallen prey to one daring and dazzling dame.  The unidentified woman has hit three states thus far: South Carolina, Georgia and Florida (appears this larcenous lady has an affinity for beachy locales).  In all of the accounts, she has allegedly overpowered all the workers, zip-tied ‘em up and made off with thousands of dollars in jewels.  The FBI has stepped in and vows to take immediate action (but if anything can be learned from watching the ‘X-Files,’ it’s that the FBI is not always adept at getting to the truth…even if it really is out there).  Surveillance footage of the woman depicts a tough and attractive individual (possibly similar to Gina Gershon’s character in the film “Bound”), but the police sketch of her makes her look like Carmen San Diego.

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via CNN.com
via CNN.com

Each day it seems at least one jewelry store is hit, somewhere on this vast planet of ours.  No one can say what exactly motivates these enterprising thieves (aside from the obvious: money), or if they will slow down any time soon.  All we can do is hope that no one is injured in any way in these robberies, that the victims are fully insured…and that the stories continue to be this juicy.

-Joe Leone    

The World’s Best Jewelry Designers

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At times, jewelry can transcend mere fashion and reach the status of high art.  The following international designers consistently deliver their wares with such unpredictable ingenuity and stylistic acumen that they leave critics and consumers equally speechless.  Behold, the top ten highest rated jeweler designers currently dazzling the world stage.

Costis

credit: Costis.com
credit: Costis.com
credit: costis.com
Credit: costis.com

The Costis brand was officially established in 1994 in the land of piazzas and pizzas.  The key element that Costis employs in their designs is the concept of the ‘everyday turned fantastical.’  An ordinary pencil is transformed into a gem encrusted bracelet.  A fish monger’s barnacle laden net becomes a bizarrely fascinating and chic necklace.  Two kiwi slices are transmogrified into deliciously gilded earrings, while a skyscraper decadently descends to wrap around your index finger.  Whatever the commonplace inspiration, the pieces emerge as anything but ordinary.

Autore

credit: Pearlautore.com.au
Credit: Pearlautore.com.au

Autore has done a fabulous job of carving out a very specific and eye-catching niche for themselves.  They are the go-to designer for all pieces featuring the pulchritudinous pearl.  The signature element of their earrings, rings, necklaces and more, is this singular and most sought after treasure of the sea.  The pearls they showcase are not simply white, but come in a wide array of exotic and mixed colors.  Black pearls and south sea pearls are beautiful in their own right, but are brought to new levels of comely opulence when featured in Autore jewelry.

Efva Attling, Stockholm

credit: efvaattling.se
Credit: efvaattling.se

This Swedish designer brings an elegant and uniquely Nordic look to all her pieces.  There is something simultaneously warm (the bold colored gems) and icy (the sleek silver mountings) inherent to each of her stunning specimens.  Born Efva Katarina Attling, she spent a lot of time in the fashion world working as a model before crossing over to design.  She also,  un-ironically, was in a band called “X Models.”  The company motto governing their pieces is “beauty with a thought,” and you can really see how much thought goes into each alluring article.

via Wikipedia
via Wikipedia

Graff

credit: graffdiamonds.com
credit: graffdiamonds.com

Founded by the venerated Laurence Graff in 1960, this British jewelry behemoth has not shown any signs of slowing down.  Year after year the Graff conglomeration cranks out dynamic and dazzling numbers.  Graff is widely regarded as one of the premier designers in the elusive world of deluxe diamond jewelry.  Extremely rare and sought after diamonds, from pure whites to fancy vivids, are showcased in the Graff catalogue, a name synonymous with high end design and unlimited class.

Harry Winston

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Another monster name in the diamond jewelry world, Harry Winston is not afraid to push boundaries in his creations.  Having put a new spin on numerous classical looking pieces, from winter-themed, icicle reminiscent earrings to starkly striking, exquisitely contoured multi-colored diamond necklaces, Winston’s modern take on antique structures has been very well received.  This chap and his operation seems to be quite magnanimous as well; he coughed up the infamous Portuguese Diamond to the Smithsonian Institute in 1963.  Before that he relinquished the Hope Diamond to the very same museum.  You know you’re pretty financially sound when you can just give away the darn Hope Diamond.

Van Cleef and Arpels

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VC & A have been designing stunning and bold pieces since 1896.  Blending a variety of metals and gems in their jewelry, they somehow consistently make wondrously ostentatious works (that would come off as gaudy in the hands of less skilled designers).  As their pieces have been flaunted around the world on the likes of the Duchess of Windsor and film darling Grace Kelly, Van Cleef and Arpels has received quite a bit of international publicity.  Having famed diamond-ophile Liz Taylor as an unofficial spokesperson didn’t hurt this company either.  One of the more mystical design teams on this list, their items often contain wild floral elements, real and imagined creatures and even mischievous and whimsical fairies.

credit: vancleefarpals.com
credit: vancleefarpals.com

Piaget

credit: piaget.com
credit: piaget.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This swank Swiss outfit is known primarily for their luxury watches which just drip diamonds, but are major players in all high end jewelry forms as well.  Taking a piaget out of the book of adorable, Georges Edouard Piaget initially crafted a tiny watch workshop in 1874 on the family farm in a little hamlet in the Jura mountains of Switzerland.  As the company exploded onto the jewelry scene, they never lost sight of George’s primary goal of supplying superb craftsmanship and highly original designs.  Piaget currently owns and operates Geneva’s most massive jewelry workshop (something ole Georgey probably never dreamed of).  Their timeless timepieces adorn the wrists of anyone who’s anyone, including Athlete-of-our-Generation, Serena Williams (a testament to how sturdy the watches are too, as Serena wears hers while actually competing).

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Bulgari

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credit: bulgari.com
Credit: bulgari.com

Leave it to the Romans (or Rome-based designer Bulgari) to concoct a jewelry line that has some pieces which offer unprecedented, sheer regal elegance and others that look almost like the sleek shackles of an ancient (and stylish) prisoner.  Their signature, trademarked logo, where their name is spelled out “Bvlgari” (as the Italians of yore did not have a “u” in their alphabet), is as iconic as the brand’s illustrious assortment of pieces.  Bulgari boasts one of the most impressive collections of jewelry works which contain (some of) the world’s most sublimely scarce gemstones.

Cartier

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Cartier-jewelry-Sarah-Jessica-Parker

Cartier - via pinterest.com
Cartier – via pinterest.com
credit: Cartier.de
credit: Cartier.de

Cartier has never shied away from creating potentially polarizing jewelry parcels.  Perhaps it is because they are so highly regarded in the jewelry milieu that they have no qualms about engaging in daring experiments in form.  Their famous leopard head ring echoes lustrous Egyptian jewelry of yesteryear, while their “nail” ring embodies quite a funky take on modern design aesthetics.  As one of the oldest functioning jewelry companies on the planet (founded in Paris by Louis-Francois Cartier in 1847), Cartier holds a rich tradition of designing jewelry for the world’s most elite clientele, from heads of state to heads of movie studios to celebrity head cases.

Chopard

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-Chopard-jewelry-necklace-Eva-Herzigova

The 1860, Swiss-born Chopard dynasty is unanimously held in the highest esteem in the realm of all things jewelry related.  Initially focused solely on watchmaking (the Swiss really have been adamant about perfecting watch designs), it wasn’t until over one hundred years after they were founded that they ventured into crafting other types of jewelry.  In recent years, Chopard has helped to pioneer the ‘green jewelry movement’ (which doesn’t mean it features just emeralds).  The official name given to their program is the somewhat ephemeral sounding “The Journey,” which was established to help create sustainable, fairly mined and assembled jewelry.  Hopefully all designers will follow suit in Chopard’s quest to design things that are as beautiful as they are ethically derived.

credit: us.chopard.com
Credit: us.chopard.com

 -Joe Leone 

Blast from the Past: The History of the Engagement Ring

You’ve been dating someone for a few years now, and the time is right. You’re going to pop the question. But first, you need to drop two months’ salary on a band of metal with a shiny hunk of superheated carbon in it. Why? Because everyone else does. It’s an ancient tradition that goes all the way back to the… late 1930s. Yeah, diamond engagement rings have really only been a thing for just under a century. Sure a few existed, but diamonds weren’t considered a necessary part of the engagement ring until relatively recently. So what were engagement rings like before then? And where did the whole tradition start?

Ancient Times

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10 Most Famous Celebrity Diamond Rings

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They’re unique, often ostentatious and always crazy expensive. Celebrity engagement and wedding rings sometimes seem to captivate people more than the celebrities themselves. That’s why we put together this list of the 10 most famous celebrity diamond rings in recent history. Whether they buy these jaunty jewels because they’re expected to or just because they can, nobody can resist gawking and gossiping about them. Diamond Lighthouse has heard of some pretty outrageous prices coming out of the diamond industry, but none of them top these rocks.

10. Kim Kardashian’s Engagement Ring from Kris Humphries

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The 10 Most Famous Diamonds in the World

At Diamond Lighthouse, we’re fascinated by diamonds and the role they play in history. As tokens of love or spoils of war, humans have fought, paid for and even died for these precious gems. At Diamond Lighthouse, we hear fascinating stories about diamonds every day. Whether your diamonds tell the story of a grand adventure or a touching romance, we’d love to hear it. Or, if you’re looking for your next adventure, Diamond Lighthouse can help you sell your old diamonds and embark on the next great chapter in your life story. Every diamond has a story and to prove it, we’ve collected the stories behind 10 of the most famous diamonds in the world.

10. The Millennium Star

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