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Of all the captivating diamonds fashioned by the legendary New York diamantaire, William Goldberg, the Ashoka is the stone that became his enduring legacy. With a deep affinity to diamonds and his love of diamond legends, Bill Goldberg was particularly inspired by the tale of the ancient Ashoka diamond: a 41.37 carat Golconda stone, a treasured talisman, named for Ashoka Maurya, the 3rd century Buddhist warrior-emperor. The Ashoka was passed down through the centuries, like so many historic Indian diamonds, and in 1947 fell into the hands of Harry Winston. Later it was bought by the fiery, jewel-adoring Mexican actress, Maria Felix. She sold it to the art dealer Roberto Polo, who presented it as a gift to his wife, Rosa.

Fast forward, and in 1988, the Ashoka was the highlight of Sotheby’s glamorous jewellery auction, in St Moritz. William Goldberg’s son, Saul and his wife Dale were there, hoping to bring home the treasured stone, but it sold to an anonymous buyer for a record price of $3,850,000. And disappeared from sight.

William Goldberg couldn’t forget the beauty and allure of this stone, and he created an entirely new cut, the Ashoka, in homage to the historic Indian diamond of the same name.  Staying true to his own maxim, “You shouldn’t cheat a diamond of its right to be beautiful.” Today, the modern Ashoka, a contemporary classic, is weaving its own legend.

 

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One of the highlights on show during the Hong Kong press event, on February 28th was the mesmerizing Pink Paradise pendant and necklace, loaned for the evening by Dehres, a new exhibitor at this year’s GemGenève.  The centerpiece drop-shaped pendant set with an exceptionally rare 15 carat fancy pink pear-shaped diamond, framed in white diamonds was suspended from a necklace composed of 40 pear-shaped diamonds, all D-F colour, totaling over 50 carats.  Dehres’ CEO, Ephraim Zion, explained that the design of the necklace was carefully and strategically planned to draw the eye, through light and line, directly to the beauty of the extraordinary pink diamond at the heart of the pendant. The Pink Paradise was paired with a ring set with 7 carat pear-shaped fancy intense pink diamond, in a pavé diamond setting.

Ephraim Zion, internationally acclaimed as a leading diamond expert, heads the third generation of the Hong Kong based company, Dehres, specialising in superlative diamonds and rare coloured stones, and backed by a long and rich family legacy of trading and cutting the finest gemstones.

 

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It has been a busy year for Kazumi Arikawa, Chairman of the Albion Art Company, Tokyo, one of the most important collectors of historic jewellery in the world and an enthusiastic visitor to last year’s inaugural GemGenève. Since his visit, the Albion Art Company has sponsored the blockbuster Jewellery exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, while L’Ecole, the Paris-based, Van Cleef & Arpels-supported school of Jewelry Arts organised an exhibition, in Tokyo, in late February and early March, of Art Nouveau jewels from Mr Arikawa’s collection. The Art Nouveau Jewellery exhibition, showcasing masterpieces by Lalique, Fouquet, Vever and Boucheron, curated by jewellery historian and GemGenève team-member, Vivienne Becker, was one of a series called Through The Eyes of a Connoisseur, opening up private collections around the world. Meanwhile, the huge success of the jewellery show at the Metropolitan Museum, Jewelry – The Body Transformed, which closed last month, is good news for us all, opening up the whole subject of Jewellery to new audiences, bringing more depth, showing the full richness and complexity of the art of the jewel. Just as we do at GemGenève.

 

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The GemGenève team got their show on the road once again, and organised a lively, interactive press conference and cocktail party in the Grand Hyatt hotel, Hong Kong during the Hong Kong Jewellery show in late February. In a room themed with this year’s campaign, “Find and Feel”, referring to the sense of discovery at GemGenève and the importance of learning, feeling and discovering gemstones and jewels, the founders, Thomas Faerber and Ronny Totah, held a press conference, explaining their mission in establishing GemGenève and their expectations for this year’s show, which has grown in size to some 200 exhibitors. Vivienne Becker talked briefly about this year’s Designer Vivarium, the showcase of work by contemporary designers, one of whom, new this year, Hong Kong born and based Nicholas Lieou, was on hand to talk about his design philosophy. On show during the evening was a selection of superb antique, vintage and contemporary Jewellery, as well as rare coloured stones and diamonds, loaned by exhibitors to give members of the press a taste of the range and quality of gems and jewels on offer at GemGenève.

 

In true GemGenève spirit, several of the exhibitors in the audience took the microphone to speak for a few minutes each; amongst them, Marianne Fisher, daughter of exhibitor Paul Fisher, Ephraim Zion CEO of Dehres, a newcomer to this year’s show and Russian designer-jeweller, Alexander Laut, also a new exhibitor.

 

After the press conference, the evening continued with a cocktail, for press, exhibitors and invited guests, who were invited to connect to an engagement platform via a QR code and take a quiz about the show. The prize was an amethyst crystal, February birthstone and bringer of good fortune. Everyone was a winner!

 

 

 

 

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