Drake’s New $400,000 iPhone X Case Is Set Edge to Edge in Blue Diamonds

Talk about opulence! Canadian rap star Drake recently commissioned a Beverly Hills jeweler to design an 18-karat white gold iPhone X case adorned from edge to edge with blue and white diamonds weighing a total of 80 carats. The $400,000 case is punctuated by a white gold, diamond-eyed symbol of Drake’s record label, the OVO owl.

Instagram users got their first peek at Drake’s vision on the page of jewelry designer Jason Arasheben, who posted two videos of the extravagant cell phone case. Arasheben added this caption: “Because we can’t do basic! Diamond iPhone cover for our friend @champagnepapi.”

Drake, whose song “God’s Plan” earned the 32-year-old a Grammy Award earlier this month, is famous for his over-the-top purchases that often feature gold and diamonds.

In July of 2016, we wrote about Drake’s solid gold Air Jordans, a pair of shoes that reportedly weighed 100 pounds and were worth more than $2 million. Designed and fabricated by mixed-media artist Matthew Senna, the shoes represented a gilded replica of the Air Jordan 10s that record label OVO created in collaboration with Nike.

More recently, Drake commissioned a 100-carat, life-sized owl pendant, which included its own cage.

Drake’s new iPhone X case features row upon row of meticulously hand-set blue diamonds. Rising from the sparkling blue ground is the beautifully detailed white gold owl that stares at the user with its large white diamond eyes.

While Instagram comments about Arasheben’s post were generally positive, some users wondered what will happen to the $400,000 case if, and when, Drake upgrades to the iPhone XI later this year. If the newest iPhones are a different size, Drake’s blue bling accessory could become obsolete in a hurry.

Wmagazine.com reports that despite its six-figure price tag, Drake’s iPhone isn’t the most expensive one ever designed. That honor goes to Canadian jewelry designer Anita Mai Tan, who created a dragon-themed 18-karat gold case adorned with 32 diamonds covering 75% of the surface. The case, which is designed to hang from the neck on a chain, is priced at $880,000.

Credits: Images via instagram.com/jasonofbeverlyhills.

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Couples Spending More Than Ever on Super-Personalized Weddings, Reports The Knot

The Knot’s 12th annual “Real Weddings Study” paints a picture of a new generation of couples who are willing to break with tired traditions and invest, instead, in super-personalized events infused with meaningful details. Their goal is for guests to leave the celebration saying, “That was so them.”

The Knot reports that bridal couples are pulling out all the stops to make sure their loved ones have an absolute blast: The average couple hosts 136 guests, and the average spent per guest is $258. Besides the expected food, drink and music, 38% of couples hire above-and-beyond reception entertainment. The Knot’s survey respondents listed live tattoo artists, cigar-rolling stations and craft margarita bars among the outside-the-box attractions.

The cost of an average wedding (not including the honeymoon) reached another all-time high in 2018. The total expenditure of $33,931 was up slightly from 2017’s mark of $33,391.

The engagement ring — at $5,680 — remained the second-highest-priced item on the list of all wedding expenses (the venue was #1). The average price for an engagement ring in 2018 was slightly down from the previous year’s total of $5,764. The Knot noted, however, that a sub-group of “high spenders” (those whose weddings cost more than $60,000) spent an average of $13,619 on their engagement rings.

Couples spent an average of $1,078 on a wedding band for the bride, and $584 for the groom. For high spenders, the numbers were $1,983 and $1,017, respectively.

“Weddings in 2018 showcased more personality and attention to detail than ever before,” noted Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor in chief of The Knot. “Couples are rethinking conventional traditions and putting their own creative spins on long-standing wedding moments, like unity ceremonies and first dances. Some couples are opting to embrace their cultural heritage, while others choose to pay homage to pop culture that plays a part in their shared story. Each wedding is a love story worth celebrating, and every detail is an opportunity to infuse personal style and sentiment.”

According to The Knot, how couples signify their unity is evolving. In addition to using traditional sand or candles, couples are embracing their personal history and cultural heritage in new ways—through unity ceremonies that mix up guacamole recipes from their grandparents, blending whiskeys from locales close to their heart, or honoring a long-standing cultural unity tradition like Celtic Handfasting, where the couples commit to each other by having their hands tied together with a braid.

While couples embrace, reclaim and redefine some traditions, they’re breaking with others, such as the garter toss (33%, down from 41% in 2016), and the bouquet toss (45%, down from 53% in 2016).

Four in five (80%) couples report having set a wedding budget. Nearly half (45%) admitted to going over their planned budget and only 6% said they stayed under budget. In 2018, 91% of couples contributed to their overall wedding costs, with 9% of those couples paying for their wedding entirely on their own.

Other key findings from the survey include the following:
• Most Expensive Place to Get Married: Manhattan, $96,910
• Least Expensive Place to Get Married: Idaho, $16,366
• Average Spent on a Wedding Dress: $1,631
• Average Marrying Age: Bride, 29.1; Groom, 30.5
• Average Number of Guests: 136
• Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)
• Average Length of Engagement: 13.6 months
• Most Popular Month to Get Married: September (18%)
• Popular Wedding Colors: Ivory/Champagne (33%), Dark Blue & Burgundy/Wine (tie at 29%), Gold (27%) and Light Pink (23%)
• Percentage of Destination Weddings: 23%

These were the average costs of key bridal services in 2018: reception venue ($15,439); reception band ($4,247), photographer ($2,679), florist/décor ($2,411), ceremony venue ($2,382), videographer ($2,021), wedding/event planner ($2,002), wedding dress ($1,631), rehearsal dinner ($1,297), reception DJ ($1,292), transportation ($856), ceremony musicians ($797), wedding cake ($528), invitations ($386), groom’s attire and accessories ($283), officiant ($286), favors ($245), wedding day hair stylist ($123) and makeup artist ($102). Catering averaged $70 per person.

The 2018 “Real Weddings Study” is based on the responses from nearly 14,000 U.S. brides and grooms married between January 1 and December 31, 2018.

Credit: Image by BigStockPhoto.com.

Everybody’s Buzzing About the Yellow Diamond Lady Gaga Wore at the Oscars

Lady Gaga may have scored an Oscar for Best Original Song on Sunday night, but what had everybody buzzing was her red carpet reveal of “The Tiffany Diamond,” one of the largest and finest fancy yellow diamonds in the world.

The extraordinary 128.54-carat cushion-cut sparkler, which normally resides on the main floor of Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue flagship store, has been worn by only three women during its 142-year history.

The gem made its first public appearance on the neck of Mrs. E. Sheldon Whitehouse at the 1957 Tiffany Ball. Actress Audrey Hepburn famously wore it in 1961 publicity posters for the motion picture Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And, on Sunday, Gaga and The Tiffany Diamond turned heads at the 91st Academy Awards.

The 128.54-carat yellow diamond was cut from a 287.42-carat rough stone discovered in the Kimberley diamond mines of South Africa in 1877 and acquired the following year by Tiffany’s founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany.

The rough stone was brought to Paris, where Tiffany’s chief gemologist, Dr. George Frederick Kunz, supervised the cutting of the diamond into a cushion-shape brilliant with an unprecedented 82 facets — 24 more facets than the traditional 58-facet brilliant cut. The stone measures slightly more than an inch across.

In 1961, the diamond was set in a ribbon rosette necklace to promote Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In 1995, it was part of a brooch called Bird on a Rock, which was exhibited at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

The Tiffany Diamond necklace worn by Gaga was designed in 2012 to mark Tiffany’s 175 anniversary celebration. The platinum necklace features an openwork motif of sunrays glistening with 481 diamonds totaling more than 100 carats.

Credits: Academy Awards screen capture via YouTube.com/ABC; The Tiffany Diamond and rendering image © Tiffany & Co.; Bird on a Rock image by Shipguy [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

‘For Me, From Me’ Diamond Ad Campaign Debuts During E!’s Oscar Coverage

The Diamond Producers Association’s “For Me, From Me” ad campaign made its debut yesterday during E! News‘ highly rated coverage of the 91st Academy Awards.

“For Me, From Me” is a campaign inspired by the ever-growing segment of the market represented by women who buy diamonds for themselves. The group now accounts for one-third of the $43 billion diamond jewelry market.

E! viewers were introduced to the new lifestyle videos via an innovative picture-in-picture presentation. This is a technique where — just before scheduled commercial breaks — the show coverage and DPA video were shown on the screen simultaneously.

In addition, elements of the campaign were seen in photo gallery takeovers on E!’s Instagram page and at EOnline.com.

Kristina Buckley Kayel, DPA’s managing director for North America, noted that “For Me, From Me” represents the third wave of the Real is Rare, Real is a Diamond campaign. The previous campaigns helped establish diamonds as the ultimate symbol of realness and authenticity in love and in life.

“Our latest campaign celebrates the distinct pride and joy women feel in purchasing a diamond for themselves, a celebration of self that is beautifully embodied by the enduring qualities of a natural diamond,” she said. “It’s timely for the diamond industry to acknowledge the different needs and mindset of the female self-purchaser, and position itself optimally to service her.”

Kayel explained that the qualitative research conducted by DPA in 2018 uncovered the key reasons why women consider natural diamonds the ultimate self-luxury: They can be worn every day with any outfit, they last a lifetime and can be passed down, and they are a good investment because they retain their value.

The $10 million to $15 million campaign is set to run through September and will include TV, digital and print components.

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com/Real is a Diamond.

Music Friday: Noncommittal Boyfriend Loses the Prettiest Jewel in Roxette’s ‘Happy Together’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. In 1999’s “Happy Together,” Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle of the Swedish pop band Roxette tell the story of a young man whose fear of commitment derails his chance for a lifetime of happiness with the love of his life, the “prettiest jewel.”

They sing, “She carried his ring / Since she left school / He knew she was precious / The prettiest jewel / She wanted a baby / But he wasn’t sure / He couldn’t make up his mind anymore.”

In the song, we learn that the couple has been together since high school and she’s looking to tie the knot. Although he loves her, the young man is frozen in fear. His noncommittal attitude leads her to break off the relationship and move on with her life, while he’s left to wonder what could have been.

Deep inside, he knows they would have been so happy together. They could have run the earth, the stars, the sun.

Penned by Gessle, “Happy Together” was released as the “B” side to “Wish I Could Fly,” a song that charted in 23 countries.

According to Roxette’s official website, Fredriksson and Gessle, both 60, came out of Halmstad, Sweden, in the late 1980s with the dream of conquering the pop-music world. With 33 chart-busting singles and total record sales exceeding 75 million, they were well on their way to accomplishing their mission.

In 2002, Roxette was forced to go on a long hiatus while Fredriksson recovered from a life-threatening brain tumor operation. The band staged a successful comeback in 2009 and celebrated three decades on the airwaves with a world tour in 2016.

The 30th Anniversary Tour was cut short, however, when the rigors of being on the road became too demanding for Fredriksson. Band members took their final bow after their 557th live performance.

Please check out the audio track of Roxette performing “Happy Together.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Happy Together”
Written by Per Hakan Gessle. Performed by Roxette.

When she walked up
He walked down
Just like the seasons went round and round
She was in love
He wasn’t sure
She wrote some letters he tried to ignore
They could have been
so happy together
They could have been
so lucky in love
Sing la dee da
So happy together
They could have run the earth, the sky, the sun

She carried his ring
Since she left school
He knew she was precious
The prettiest jewel
She wanted a baby
But he wasn’t sure
He couldn’t make up his mind anymore

They could have been
So happy together
They could have been
So lucky in love
Sing la dee da
So happy together
They could have run the earth, the stars, the sun

I couldn’t ever hurt no one
If you feel shattered
I’m sorry for what I’ve done
We could have been
so happy together
We could have been
so lucky in love
sing la dee da
so happy together
We could have run the earth, the sky, the sun

yeah we could have been
so happy together
we could have been
so lucky in love
so happy together
we could have run the universe
could have run the universe
could have run the universe
for fun

so happy together
so happy together
so happy together

Credit: Image by Lala Lugo [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

‘Perfect’ 88.22-Carat Oval Diamond to Headline Sotheby’s Hong Kong Auction

Described by Sotheby’s as “perfect according to every critical criterion,” this 88.22-carat oval diamond will headline the auction house’s Hong Kong Sale of Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite on April 2.

The D-Flawless diamond is expected to fetch between $11.2 million and $12.7 million, a value reflecting its extreme rarity. Sotheby’s reports that only three oval diamonds larger than 50 carats have appeared at auction over the past few decades.

The 88.22-carat faceted diamond was cut from a 242-carat rough stone discovered at the Jwaneng mine in Botswana. The mine, which is well know for producing high-quality diamonds, is jointly owned by De Beers and the government of Botswana.

According to Sotheby’s, the rough diamond was cut and polished over a period of “intense months” to produce a symmetrical and striking oval brilliant diamond. Given the elongated shape of the rough stone, the oval shape was chosen to preserve the greatest amount of weight.

The double-eights in the carat weight will hold extra significance to buyers of Asian heritage. Eight is considered a lucky number, and “88” is believed to bring good fortune in abundance.

The star of Sotheby’s upcoming event was rated Type IIa, the most chemically pure classification. Diamonds of this quality display exceptional optical transparency and make up less than 2% of all gem-quality diamonds.

“When you think that one ton of mined earth yields less than a carat of diamond, and that high-quality diamonds over 10 carats are a rarity, the discovery of a 242-carat rough, of gem quality and exceptional size, is nothing short of a miracle,” noted Patti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia.

Wong added that the perfect 88.22-carat diamond is a “summary of everything: A wonder of nature, a masterpiece resulting from man’s ability to shape the hardest material on earth into an object of ultimate beauty and the most concentrated form of wealth, as stated by Pliny the Elder almost 2,000 years ago.”

David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, said that one adjective came to mind when he viewed the stone for the first time.

“Breathtaking,” he said. “Barely any diamonds of this weight are known to possess the same exceptional qualities of purity and perfection as this remarkable stone which is so full of fire and blinding brilliance.”

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby’s.

As Alrosa Focuses More on Color, Miner Unveils Largest Pink Diamond in Its History

Already the world’s biggest diamond producer in terms of sheer output, Russian mining company Alrosa is looking to become a major player in a segment of the industry now dominated by Rio Tinto and Anglo American’s De Beers — gem-quality colored diamonds.

Alrosa recently conducted a media preview in Moscow to showcase a portfolio of its most dazzling finds, in hues ranging from lush pink to bright yellow. The star of the show was a 14.83-carat pink oval diamond sourced at the Ebelyakh deposit in Yakutia, Russia, in 2017.

At the time of its discovery, the pink diamond was billed as the largest pink diamond ever mined in Russia. The smooth-surfaced alluvial diamond measured 22.47 mm x 15.69 mm x 10.9 mm and weighed 27.85 carats. The previous record holder was much smaller at 3.86 carats.

Alrosa Deputy CEO Yury Okoyemov said that due to its size and clarity, the rough gem was “one of the best to be discovered anywhere in the world in recent years.”

The largest stone in the exhibition was a deep yellow Asscher-cut diamond, weighing 20.69 carats. It was cut from a raw crystal with a rare honey hue, which weighed 34.17 carats and had the distinction of being the largest yellow diamond mined in Russia in 2017.

A third standout in the collection was a pink-purple cushion-shaped diamond weighing 11.06 carats. Alrosa noted in a press release that the Gemological Institute of America has recognized the gem to be the largest of its color in the world.

Describing the rarity of gem-quality colored diamonds, Okoyemov offered this telling statistic: “Out of every 10,000 natural jewelry-class diamonds mined, only one will be colored. And large colored diamonds are even rarer.”

One of the reasons Alrosa is making such a big play in the colored diamond market is the strength of this niche sector. Okoyemov cited market analysts, who reported that the average price for colored diamonds has risen consistently by 12% a year during the last few decades.

“The diamonds we are now exhibiting are completely unique, and each of them perfectly embodies the Russian art of gem cutting,” Okoyemov added. “We calculate that the huge potential of [our colored diamonds] will soon enable Alrosa to become the leader in the international market.”

Credits: Images courtesy of Alrosa.