'Aurora Green' Sells for $16.8 Million, Obliterates Two Records at Christie's Hong Kong

Aurora is now the undisputed "Queen of Green."

The 5.03-carat "Aurora Green," the largest and finest fancy vivid green diamond ever offered at auction, was scooped up by mega-retailer Chow Tai Fook Jewellery for $16.8 million at Christie's Hong Kong on Tuesday.

The hammer price was on the lower end of Christie's pre-sale estimate of $16.2 million to $20.1 million, but the gem's performance still obliterated two auction records. It was the highest price ever paid for a green diamond and the highest per-carat price ever achieved by a green diamond ($3.34 million).

The previous records for a green diamond were held by “The Ocean Dream,” a 5.5-carat fancy vivid blue-green diamond that yielded $8.6 million ($1.5 million per carat) at Christie's Geneva in 2014.

The rectangular-cut Aurora Green boasts a color that is rarely seen in the world of colored diamonds. Green diamonds are unique because they owe their color to their exposure to natural radiation as they were forming in the earth eons ago. Many a gemologist has gone a whole career without having handled a fancy vivid green diamond, no less one of 5-plus carats.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) included with its grading report a special note stating that the Aurora Green is the "largest fancy vivid green, natural color diamond GIA has graded as of 20 January 2016."

Because of this extreme rarity, gem experts speculated whether the Aurora Green might challenge the all-time price-per-carat record held by the “Blue Moon of Josephine,” a 12.03-carat vivid blue diamond that sold in November 2015 for $48.5 million, or $4.03 million per carat. If the Aurora Green had sold at the top of Christie's pre-sale estimate, the price per carat would have been close to $4 million.

The Aurora Green diamond was presented in a pink diamond halo setting. The GIA described the gem as a “cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant” with a clarity of VS2.

There is a significant difference in the value of a green diamond rated "fancy vivid" vs. one rated "fancy intense." For instance, back in May of 2014, a 6.13-carat fancy intense green diamond (see above) was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong for $3.6 million, or $594,510 per carat. That's about 18% of the per-carat value of the Aurora Green. It's easy to see the deeper, more saturated color of the record-breaking stone.

Here's a First Look at Movado Bold With Colorado Straps

Movado — a legend in time thanks to its famed Museum Dial watches — unveils a great new collection of large Movado Bold watches with fantastic Colorado straps. The 42mm Large Movado Bold watches are crafted in your choice of stainless steel, black TR90 composite material or in a combination of both. They naturally feature the black dial with iconic dot, but now they are further enhanced with new Colorado bull-hide leather straps with tack-stitching details. These straps are meant to reflect the authentic nature of time and have a retro/vintage/worn looking feel to them that is just magical. The watches are water resistant to 30 meters and house Swiss quartz movements. Stop in to see our great Movado collection.

Hidden for 70 Years: Gold Jewelry Found Under the False Bottom of a Mug at The Auschwitz Museum

Staffers of The Auschwitz Museum in southern Poland made a stunning discovery last week when an enameled mug's carefully constructed false bottom shook loose, revealing a small stash of gold jewelry.

It's been more than 70 years since the liberation of the notorious Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in southern Poland, and staffers at the museum dedicated to the memory of those murdered at the camp are still uncovering fascinating secrets of how desperate families tried to preserve their valuables.

“[The jewelry] was very well hidden,” noted Hanna Kubik of the Memorial Collections. “However, due to the passage of time, the materials underwent gradual degradation, and the second bottom separated from the mug."

Under the false bottom was a women’s ring and a necklace wrapped in a piece of canvas. Both were made of 14-karat gold and fabricated in Poland between the years of 1921 and 1931.

The German Nazis of World War II routinely lied to deportees, telling them that they were being resettled in new locations and that they should take some luggage. The deportees, most of whom were Jews, were actually being transported to concentration camps for extermination. By allowing them to travel with luggage, the Nazis were certain the deportees would bring their valuables, which could be easily confiscated.

The innovative ways in which the victims hid their most valuable possessions reflects their understanding of the "robbery nature of the deportation" as well as the "ray of hope that these items would be required for their existence," stressed Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum director Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp claimed an estimated 1.1 million lives during the Holocaust. While most of the victims were Jewish, the Germans also killed Poles, Gypsies, Byelorussians, Ukrainians, French, Soviets and others at the camp.

The Collections of the Memorial comprises more than 12,000-enameled kitchenware items, including cups, pots, bowls, kettles, jugs and crockery, many decorated with images of animals and children playing. The jewelry discovery occurred during routine maintenance of the collection.

Museum curators will be returning the jewelry of the false-bottom mug to its original state, reflecting the manner in which it had been hidden by its original owner.

A Look at the Rolex Yacht-Master in the Wake of America's Cup Racing in New York

This past weekend, New York City played host to the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Racing. With the dramatic backdrop of the Empire State Building, the racing took place on the Hudson River for the first time in nearly 100 years, and Emirates Team New Zealand came out with the win.

This exciting weekend gives us the perfect opportunity to bring you a closeup look at another sailing winner: the Rolex Yacht-Master. While there are several versions of the famed Yacht-Master, this Yacht-Master II is designed to meet professional sailing needs. It is a regatta chronograph that features a programmable countdown of the final minutes before the race — thanks to a mechanical memory. This 44mm Oyster Yacht-Master II features a red contoured countdown arrow and a dedicated 10-minute countdown graduation on the daily and bezel. It is finished with an Oyster bracelet.

While we love the look of this Yacht-Master II, we have others in the store that can also fulfill your sailing needs, and if sailing isn't your thing, stop in anyway and we will be happy to show you our extensive Rolex collection.

Spring Fling: Touring Switzerland's Watch Regions Is a World-Class Breath of Fresh Air

Watch lovers take note: the mountain air in Switzerland is particularly fragrant in springtime. This is especially true for those who may want to tour the famed watchmaking region in the Jura Mountains — the Vallee Joux, Le Sentier, La Chaux de Fonds. Geneva and its outlying cantons, such as Neuchatel, Le Locle, Villeret offer breathtaking views of the country’s forests, lakes and mountains, as well as of some of the most famed watch brands in the world (Oh, and let's not forget the chocolate or the cheese).

A visit to La Chaux–de-Fonds and Le Locle also gives you the opportunity to say you've been to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just about seven years ago, in 2009, these “manufacture towns” joined the select UNESCO list. The towns became popular in the end of the 17th century, when farmers turned to watchmaking to idle away the long winter hours and to earn an income to supplement their non-existent winter crops. The art caught on and the region produced clocks and travel watches for clients around the world — making it a unique place of interest.

Since the cities came under the UNESCO list, Neuchatel tourism has increased significantly, and the tourist department has even developed an exclusive program that allows watch-loving tourists to discover the region’s rich history. They are working with certain watch brands and museums to encourage them to open their doors for tours. Today, some brands offer tours on specific days via reservation.

Additionally, fascinating world-class watch museums reside in this region: The International Museum of Horology in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Musee International d’Horlogerie) and the Le Locle Watch Museum (Musee d’Horlogerie, Chateau des Monts). Both are universally acclaimed for the quality, breadth and scope of their collections and for their tireless efforts to offer a high-caliber cultural experience with each visit. Both museums have exhibits that include early automatons, watchmaking benches, tools and more.