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Safe Deposit Heist London

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Hatton Garden
Hatton Garden
Hatton Garden

It’s the stuff of countless crime caper movies: while the rest of the city sleeps, a crack team of thieves break into a high-security building and make off with untold millions in jewels.

But this Easter in the U.K., fiction became fact as one of the London jewellery district’s biggest safety deposit stores became the subject of an audacious raid.

Anxious jewellery traders returned to the safety deposit store in London’s Hatton Garden on Wednesday morning, desperately seeking information after thieves broke into the building and stole valuables during the long Easter weekend.

London’s Metropolitan Police were first notified on Tuesday morning by staff at the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Ltd, who had returned to work after the four-day break. Heavy cutting equipment had appeared to have been used to get into the building’s vaults, according to a police statement, and a number of safety deposit boxes had been broken into. 

“This is a slow and painstaking process involving forensic examination, photographing the scene and recovering exhibits in meticulous detail in order to preserve the evidence,” a press release from the police on Tuesday morning said. 

102568795-HattonGarden2.530x298 The U.K.’s Sun newspaper estimated that the haul could be as much as £200 million ($300 million) in what could potentially be London’s biggest jewellery heist. The police said that it believed approximately 60 to 70 safety deposit boxes had been looted.

The criminal gang had effectively four days to complete the operation and had managed to evade state-of-the-art detection devices at a firm, which has been operating in Hatton Garden since 1954. 

Criminals cut through the roof of the building and abseiled down a lift shaft, according to local media reports, before using heavy cutting equipment to breach a door and enter the underground vault. Police are still on the hunt for the criminals.

A specialist, organized and economic crime command unit of the Metropolitan Police – colloquially called the Flying Squad – were still at the property on Wednesday morning and forensic investigations were expected to last for the rest of the day. Police told CNBC that enquiries are still ongoing and had little information for the steady stream of merchants who had travelled to the store to check on their own deposits.

A jewellery merchant from Knightsbridge in London called Michael, who preferred not to give his last name, told reporters outside the scene of the crime that he had potentially lost around £50,000. He said that the deposit store had not offered insurance but added that some of his belongings would be covered. 

“There’s going to be some big tears because there’s a lot of money in there” he said. “I’m very shocked that it took all weekend (to discover the burglary).” He added that he felt “dismay” when he first heard the news and was particularly concerned about a watch which he had given to his son for his 18th birthday. He wasn’t critical about the security at the store, however, which he described as being quite thorough.

Another merchant at the Andrew R Ullmann Ltd outlet, just yards for the deposit store, told CNBC that he had potentially lost £1,500 of valuables. He said that considered himself to be lucky compared to others and said that he wouldn’t use the store again except to deposit documents.

Hatton Garden is famous in the U.K. for being the heart of the country’s diamond trade and a popular jewellery area. Merchants spoke of a tight-knit community in the district and of the microcosm that it has become. A jewellery trader in the area for 50 years, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told CNBC that a private security firm had been in existence for 12 years around the area which had helped to cap the amount of crime, although the firm were not employed to look after that particular building. 

He also said that the full extent of stolen valuables may not fully come to light as many merchants might not be willing to confirm what they had deposited in the boxes.

“(This organized gang) may have been stealing stuff that had already been stolen,” he said.

http://www.cnbc.com/ Post by Matt Clinch

The Faberge Pearl Egg

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The Faberge Pearl Egg: An Objet D’Art Masterpiece
The Faberge Pearl Egg: An Objet D’Art Masterpiece
The Faberge Pearl Egg: An Objet D’Art Masterpiece

The Faberge Pearl Egg: An Objet D’Art Masterpiece

Fabergé, in partnership with Alfardan Jewellery, has unveiled a one-of-a-kind “egg objet” yesterday at the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE), reviving the tradition of creating the most precious and coveted of objets d’ art.

Alfardan Group chairman Hussain Ibrahim Alfardan and Fabergé president Robert Benvenuto presented the rare gray-colored pearl dubbed as “Fabergé Pearl Egg” at a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Centre.

“This egg in particular is almost two years in the making and it is we call it internally a ‘celebratory egg’ to celebrate the beauty of the natural pearls in the Gulf,” Benvenuto told Gulf Times.

 

Hussein Alfardan and Robert Benvenuto present the ‘Fabergé Pearl Egg’ at the exhibition
Hussein Alfardan and Robert Benvenuto present the ‘Fabergé Pearl Egg’ at the exhibition

“We have a very long relationship with the opportunity to partner with Hussein (Alfardan) that has access to the world’s most important collection,” he said, adding: “We put that together with Fabergé as I mention, with artistry, design and whimsy which has turned out something that was breathtaking.”
Paying homage to the forthcoming centenary of the last Fabergé Imperial Eggs ever delivered, the world’s most iconic artist jeweller has crafted an extraordinary egg objet in collaboration with the Alfardan family, known as one of the world’s most renowned collectors of pearls. 

“I have a passion for natural pearls and it took me many years to build my current collection gathering some of the most extraordinary pearls in the world,” Alfardan said, adding: “Fabergé has a great history in making jewellery for royalty and a truly precious Fabergé Egg is a luxury treasure and the symbol of a long-gone era of opulence.”

The Fabergé Pearl Egg draws inspiration from the formation of a pearl within an oyster, and the egg’s painstakingly-crafted mother-of-pearl exterior opens to reveal a unique grey pearl of 12.17 carats, sourced from the Arabian Gulf and exhibiting exceptional purity and a highly unusual shade of grey. 

Harnessing 20 highly skilled work masters, the objet embodies 139 fine, white pearls with a golden lustre, 3,305 diamonds, carved rock crystal and mother-of-pearl set on white and yellow gold. Each pearl adorning the Fabergé Pearl Egg was hand-selected by Alfardan from his private collection. An ingenious mechanism enables the entire outer shell to rotate on its base, simultaneously opening in six sections to unveil its treasure.
The Pearl Egg is accompanied by a sumptuous Fabergé necklace of white pearls, diamonds and mother of pearl featuring a scallop motif, and finished with an exquisite 19.44 carat white pearl drop.  

“This is why I partnered with Fabergé to combine these two traditional treasures: the Fabergé Egg and natural Arabian Gulf pearls, to create an exceptional piece,” said Alfardan.  

The Alfardan family of Qatar remains one of the oldest and most successful traditional pearl merchants in the Gulf. Born in 1933, Alfardan opened Alfardan Jewellery in Doha in 1954, now the exclusive retailer for Fabergé in Qatar. 

Fabergé was founded in 1842 and won worldwide acclaim for its artistry in creating objets d’art, jewelry and timepieces. The Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs, commissioned by the Russian Imperial Family, are almost universally recognized as the greatest masterpieces of the jeweler’s art. 

The most expensive piece made by Peter Carl Fabergé was a pearl sautoir, gifted by Tsar Alexander III and Empress Maria Fedorovna to Princess Alix of Hesse on her engagement to Tsar Nicholas. Made of natural pearls, it cost 250,000 Roubles at the time, or more than $30 million today.

Original Post by Joey Aguilar dated February 24, 2015, http://www.gulf-times.com

Oops! I Have Been Had

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Mirror images of each other.
Mirror images of each other.
Mirror images of each other.

Oops! I Have Been Had!

I refer to my recent post on the Jade & Stones Art of the Corrupt.

composite 3
A reader showed me that there is something strange in the pictures as the furniture set up are the same for a few pictures.

Alas! the pictures are photoshopped.

pair 2 composite
Oops! I have been had.

I have to be more careful next time.
My sincerest apology to all my readers.

Jade & Stones Art of the Corrupt

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Jade art craved in bas-relief.
Jade art craved in bas-relief.
Jade art craved in bas-relief.

Jade & Stones Art of the Corrupt

A former colleague sent me a link from a Chinese microblog describing the confiscation of a cache of art of jade and stones from the residence of a corrupt officer, who is a high level civil servant.

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2015-02-24_0816
The art of jade and stones are all carved in bas-relief. These are superb pieces only done by master artisans. They are also of huge frames as compared to the flat screen TV or the furniture that surrounds it. It is hard to find a slab of jade or stone in such a big piece, probably they are composite, meaning, they are assembled together seamlessly from a single boulder of jade or stone.

2015-02-24_0816_001

But one thing is for certain. These confiscated works of art will not be destroyed but will be secreted away and kept. Unlike the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution in the mid 60s where the Red Guards destroyed much of the thousand years of cultural heritage of China, condemning every work of art, both foreign and domestic, as works of the bourgeouise. Rantings like ‘Imperialist Dog, Capitalist Roaders, Bourgeoise elements, Revisionist, Running Dog, Enemies of the Proletariat’ and so on and so forth were common scenes in cities and in rural areas. And the cult figure of their Great Chairman, Mao Zedong, reached disproportionate heights where huge picture frames were hung in all the government offices and city halls for the proletariat to pay homage. Mao was then a Demi-god, oh no, Mao was God himself, though a communist was not supposed to believe in God.

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Anyway that was history.

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2015-02-24_0817

Now a large number of mainland Chinese are more capitalist than Americans or the Westerners. Amassing huge wealth, from business, corruption, appreciation of land, dismantling of State apparatus, decentralization, liberalization of its markets and supported by a huge domestic market with its pent-up demand for goods and materials plus a whole host of other market factors, these super noveau riche moneybags are floundering their wealth since China opened up in early 80s.

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2015-02-24_0820_0022015-02-24_0819
Didn’t Deng XiaoPeng, the former Premier who opened up China said that “To get rich is glorious’ and thereby unleased a capitalist revolution that paled in comparison with any other past revolutions like the Great Leap Forward or the Cultural Revolution.

2015-02-24_08202015-02-24_0821_0022015-02-24_0822
Now the present President, Xi JinPing, is witch-hunting those officers who have been on the gravy train for too long. His fiece anti-corruption drive has gone on for two or more years and its momentum is still ploughing hard ahead. He catches corrupt officers who may be ‘mosquitoes’ (lower ranking officers) or ‘tigers'(high ranking officers) in his drag-net anti-graft measures. Several very high and senior officers of the Communist Party or military generals of the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) have fallen from grace.

2015-02-24_0821_004
Maybe a number of past or present military PLA Generals are liberating themselves from poverty to prosperity.

The above arts confiscated purportedly comes from a high ranking former PLA General by the surname of Xu (authenticity not confirmed).

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Anyway for us commoners we just enjoy the art, though it is seen through a computer screen.

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Link : http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s?__biz=MzA3NjEyMDkxMg==&mid=202307825&idx=3&sn=6f34ff979a218264adfe3de304ac99c4&scene=1&from=singlemessage&isappinstalled=0#rd

3 Hey I Am Back

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central park
Central Park, Manhattan, New York City

Hey I am back.

After a hiatus of many months I have to get back to writing again. A number of readers wrote that they missed my ‘kick-ass’ posts and they would like to hear from me again on their jade pieces or their gemstones or some other spins of a story.

With the 3 kids at the Apple Store at 5th Avenue, New York City
With the 3 kids at the Apple Store at 5th Avenue, New York City

Anyway, I am back to New York City, in the good Old US of A, where cars still run miles on their speedometer, where you pump petrol/gas by the gallons, where you buy fruits and vegetables by the pounds, where a foot run is 12 inches, the temperature weather is quoted in Fahrenheit and where the dime ( US 10 cents coin) is smaller in size than a nickel (US 5 cents coin).

Guess that America will stick on with the Imperial unit of measurement forever.

I have been traveling to a few countries and a few States in USA. In NYC my favorites are always the museums, Strand bookstore and Broadway shows on Times Square.

The Lion King - Musical at Times Square, NYC
The Lion King – Musical at Times Square, NYC

Now what do you do in the Big Apple without going to museums and Broadway shows?

Anyway I will catch up with some of the enquiries on jade and gemstones and I write some on my travels.

Thank you to all those readers who still continue to read my posts.

The 3 Kids circa 10 years ago
The 3 Kids circa 10 years ago

For two weeks the Chinese celebrates the Lunar New Year, so I wish all readers a Happy and Prosperous Lunar New Year, this year being the Year of the Sheep, immaterial of what creed, religion, color or ethnicity you are….

Life is one Great Celebration!

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-happy-chinese-new-year-goat-card-greeting-sheep-shape-eastern-icons-composition-vector-file-organized-layers-image45648685
courtesy : dreamstime.com

Yours Truly
Arthur

BULGARI’s Biggest HollyWood Moments

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MBDCLEO FE027

The Italian jewelry brand Bulgari is synonymous with luxury, Hollywood and of course, Elizabeth Taylor. The Dame became famous for her love of over-the-top jewels but had a particular obsession with Bulgari bling. Her jewelry dispensary (aka on-again/off-again husband Richard Burton) once said, “I introduced Liz to beer, she introduced me to Bulgari. The only word Elizabeth knows in Italian is Bulgari.”

HelenM 1

 

NaomiW

 

During the filming of Cleopatra, where Taylor — dripped in Bulgari as the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh (picture above) — met a married Burton, the two conducted a jewelry-laden affair of extreme scandal almost bankrupting 20th Century Fox. Okay, it was already the most expensive movie ever produced too, but oh the glamor of it all! 

JuliaR
JulietteBinoche

JChastain

Liz isn’t the only star who’s taken a liking to the brand. Bulgari: 130 Years of Masterpieces, currently showing exclusively at the Houston Museum of Natural Science until October 5, showcases 150 pieces from Bulgari’s Hollywood-rich Heritage Collection.

ElizabethT

 

JChastain_ETaylor

The exhibition marks the first time the jeweler has displayed pieces from every time period since its Roman beginnings in 1884. From Dame Helen Mirren at this year’s Golden Globes to an epic Jessica Chastain-meets-Elizabeth Taylor look at Cannes in 2013, we rounded up Bulgari’s biggest Hollywood moments below.   

MonicaV

 ElizabethT2

 

 

Re-post from http://www.papermag.com/ . Written by Maggie Dolan 

 

 

 

 

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