Sunday, October 4, 2015

Design by Roberto Coin

Founded in Vicenza in 1977, Roberto Coin was first established by its eponymous creator to produce for internationally acclaimed jewelry brands.

The Roberto Coin brand was introduced in 1996 and within six years had reached the upper echelons of the jewelry world, ranking third internationally and first in Italy.
The signature of Roberto Coin is the use of rubies and rubellite. Roberto Coin has 8 boutiques worldwide.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Cool Cars at Barrett-Jackson

Lot 42: 1989 Jaguar XJS Convertible - $9900
The Barrett-Jackson auto auction produces large prices but there are still some good buys to be had. These cars may not have been the cream of the crop, but they're cool machines.
Lot 205: 1965 Ford Mustang - $11,000
Lot 39.1: 1969 Buick Custom Sport Wagon - $14,850

A 400 cubic inch "big block" with 350 Turbo transmission was found in the GS series.
Lot 461: 1991 Chevrolet Corvette Callaway ZR1 - $30,800.

The fourth-generation Corvette isn’t remembered fondly but in the hands of noted Corvette tuner Calloway, this ZR1 makes 550hp through a six-speed manual. It’s a very rare find.
Lot 519: 1981 Chevrolet Camaro - $6050.

Second-generation Camaros are quickly rising in value. This particular example has Z/28 trim, T-tops, and a 350 cubic-inch V8. The buyer got a bargain.
Lot 807: 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS Convertible - $22,000

Impalas were all over, but one of the best buys was this all original 1967 SS. This car has all the right parts, including the 275hp 327 cubic-inch V8 mated to a four-speed manual transmission.
Lot 7000: 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Custom Coupe - $34,650

Similar Camaros in both stock and custom trim sell closer to $100,000. This one slipped through. It’s a keeper with a 475hp V8, Muncie four-speed manual transmission, front disc brakes and a complete restoration.




The Tucker 48

The Tucker 48 was an advanced automobile conceived by Preston Tucker and briefly produced in Chicago in 1948. 51 cars were made before the company folded on March 3, 1949, due to negative publicity from an SEC investigation and a heavily publicized stock fraud trial.

Speculation exists that the Big Three automakers had a role in the Tucker Corporation's demise.
Some components and features of the car were innovative and ahead of their time. The most recognizable was a directional third headlight (known as the "Cyclops Eye"). It would activate at steering angles of greater than 10 degrees to light the car's path around corners.
Tucker initially tried to develop an innovative engine. It was a 589 cubic inches (9.65 L) flat-6 cylinder with hemispherical combustion chambers, fuel injection, and overhead valves operated by oil pressure rather than a camshaft. As engine development proceeded, problems appeared. The 589 engine was installed only in the test chassis and the first prototype.

Tucker refused to cede creative control to businessmen who could have made the Tucker ’48 commercially viable. Instead, he attempted to raise money through unconventional means, including selling dealership rights for a car that didn’t exist yet.

Tucker died a few years after he went broke, still working on new designs. Some regarded him as a scam artist, others as a tragic visionary.
At the January Barrett-Jackson auction the final bid came in at $2,650,000 for this Tucker.

That means the new owner paid $2,915,000 to drive it home.

Friday, October 2, 2015

North Carolina Emeralds

Emeralds are part of North Carolina's mineral claim to fame. While rubies and sapphires are found near Franklin, about 75 miles southwest of Asheville, different gems lure residents and visitors to Alexander County, about 30 miles northeast of Hickory.

The small town of Hiddenite is named for William Earl Hidden, who mined North America's first emerald and hiddenite on the Adams property in the 1880s. Emeralds are produced where a superheated fluid carrying the element beryllium migrated through rocks that contain chromium.
In late 2010 it was reported that a 65-carat emerald was pulled from a pit near corn rows at a North Carolina farm.

Dubbed "the largest cut emerald ever to be found in North America", the discovery is a rarity for emeralds found not in the rich veins of South America and Asia but in North America. The "Carolina Queen" is valued at $350,000-450,000.
Such a surprise is not new to it's finder. An 88-carat emerald was found in 1998. The rough gem was cut down into two polished gems of 18.8 carats and 7.8 carats. The smaller one, called "The Carolina Prince" was sold in 1999 to a private investor for $500,000.

Another Hiddenite emerald found in 1970 was sold for $200,000 after it was cut by Tiffany's.

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