Thursday, September 17, 2015

Signposts: "The $200 Million Necklace"

From Barron's Penta Asia:

$200 Million Masterpiece Lifts Luxury to New Heights
Renowned jeweler Wallace Chan’s 383.4 carat necklace creates a dazzling heritage for Chow Tai Fook. 
This is a story about artistry, glamour and unattainable luxury at a whole new level: the creation of a subtly exquisite 383.4-carat diamond and jade necklace by a philosophical, exacting Hong Kong jeweler that is arguably one of the most expensive pieces of jewelry ever made.
Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group ( 1929:HK ) unveiled this dazzling necklace, designed by Wallace Chan from a 104-carat colorless and internally flawless round brilliant diamond, in dramatic fashion on Thursday at the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong. The stone at the heart of the piece was cut from the 507.55-carat Cullinan Heritage rough diamond that Chow Tai Fook bought at a 2010 auction for US$35 million. 
The necklace, dubbed “A Heritage in Bloom,” and designed to be worn 27 different ways, is studded with an astonishing 11,551 diamonds, including all 24 D (meaning colorless) and internally flawless stones cut by Chow Tai Fook from the Cullinan Heritage stone.

With no comparative piece on the market, the Hong Kong jeweler isn’t putting a value on the necklace. But the finished materials, which also includes 19 additional colorless internally flawless diamonds, is estimated to be worth about US$200 million, a Chow Tai Fook spokesperson says. Perhaps the most expensive piece of jewelry known to exist is the Hope Diamond Necklace, featuring a 45.52-carat deep-blue gem, which is owned by the Smithsonian Institution and reported to be valued at about US$350 million.

The Cullinan Heritage necklace is unattainable not only because of its extraordinary value, but because Chow Tow Fook, which has been cultivating an exclusive high-end jewelry business of original pieces for the last five or more years, has no immediate plans to sell the masterpiece, says Adrian Cheng, son of Chow Tai Fook chairman Henry Cheng.

“This is jewelry of the company, Chow Tai Fook, but it represents the idea of family for generations as well. It represents a sense of heritage as well,” says Cheng. The necklace also allows Chow Tai Fook to showcase China’s cultural identity to the world. “The key thing is it’s authentic and original, something crafted by an artisan from China,” he says. “All the elements, all the creativity, all these ingredients in this piece are part of Chinese history.”

Creating “A Heritage in Bloom”:“Heritage” also connects China to the west. Surrounding the 104-carat stone is a circle of “mutton fat” white jade which Chan included to symbolize a confluence of cultures as jade, long valued in the east, comes together with a diamond, long revered in the west. “When he was creating this piece he wanted to express the spirit of this era, when east and west are merging,” says Cherry Rao, an editor and writer for Chan, who translated the artist’s responses in Cantonese. “Like a utopia, he is thinking about, where all is in harmony and there is peace and everything is beautiful.”...MORE
Chow Tai Fook's Hong Kong Stock exchange symbol, 1929, somehow seems appropriate.
Meanwhile for the fat cat who has everything, PanArabia Enquirer and:

Dubai clinic unveils world’s most expensive gastric band surgery
A new clinic in Dubai is offering what it claims to be the world’s most luxurious – and expensive – gastric band surgery.

According to Dr Maximilian Schmidt, founder of The Wellness Zone in Jumeirah, his company’s new Platinum VIP Band offering is the “ultimate treatment for the morbidly obese”, with the lavish experience beginning long before the actual operation takes place.

“Our patients are picked up from their homes by a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce Phantom and taken to the operating room where they will have their own executive entrance,” he revealed at a press conference on Tuesday morning.

Once there, a sumptuous six-course “final” meal is served by one of Dubai’s top chefs, with dishes including caviar, wagyu beef and a “decadent selection of scrummy cupcakes,” added Dr Schmidt.

“Of course, the actual operation is the most important part of the service, and that’s where the real opulence comes in,” he told reporters. “The surgery itself takes place in a room designed by a leading feng shui expert, while our operating table is made with flecks of real 18 carat gold.”

But perhaps the most luxurious element of the whole treatment is the part the patient takes home, the actual gastric band....MORE
You decide, which is real and which is satire?