Streets of Dreams: The Diamond District

The Diamond District, located in Midtown Manhattan, has been the center of the diamond trade for over a hundred years. Marcus Lemonis, the star of CNBC’s: The Profit, has a five part series covering five interesting city districts around the U.S.. He decided to to cover the business and trade aspects of NYC’s diamond district. Diamonds are a valuable commodity and have been used as one of the most precious gemstones in jewelry throughout history to the present day. The traditional diamond engagement ring and a wedding proposal conjure up images of love, romance and fidelity. Marilyn Monroe sang; Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend and Madonna’s Material Girl hit video illustrates the allure of sparkly white diamonds. Elizabeth Taylor and her jewelry collection as well as her signature, White Diamond perfume is another pop culture reference to the gemstone’s desirability. The show portrays West 47th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, as rows of store fronts with jewelry displayed in windows and the booths. Men use a magnifying tool to inspect the diamond and business people scurry around the diamond shaped building which is the center of the district. Lemonis’s goal, breaking some of the mystery on the streets which sell diamonds, the hawkers in front of stores, negotiations, backrooms and the trade which rocks the area. Movies such as; Uncut Gems and A Stranger Among Us are films illustrating the lives of characters who walk paths of diamonds, money, intrigue, generational mystique and gambling. Marcus Lemonis questions if the millennial generation will buy the same jewelry as past generations. The answer is yes. Even if the stores, nature of business, branding, people and styles change, the diamond district will carry on.

The diamond market has international business centers in New York, Antwerp, Belgium, Amsterdam and diamond mining in several African countries. India is a major force in the diamond trade. The blood diamond conflict is brought up, but the presentation centers on the standards which the diamond district adheres: a code of trust and the production line of: mining, stone cutting, polishers, distributers, traders to the retail-merchandise floor. The industry uses the Rapaport book to describe the value of a diamond’s clarity, cut, color and carat. Lemonis talks with several companies which showcase the diversity of styles. Shiffon Company is a line which features a pinky ring, named the duet ring. The start up venture began as the brainchild of Shilpa Yarlagadda who is creating “a new generation of jewelry.” She is a business student and entrepreneur is on a hiatus from her studies at Harvard. Yarlagadda taught herself jewelry design online. The pinky ring is a symbol of a pinky promise which pledges that females can achieve entrepreneurial status and spiral upwards to their dreams. The ring’s spiral design comes in silver, yellow gold and rose gold with a diamond positioned towards the top. Shiffon is comprised of an all female team who work together on the jewelry and 50 % of sale’s profits support capital venture funding to female owned businesses. Their website features prominent female CEO’s in technology, cosmetics, fashion and education. Shilpa Yarlagadda developed The Startup Girl’s Foundation to support other females. Shiffon focuses on this ring which is worn by Emma Watson, Nicole Kidman, Shalaine Woodsy and Michelle Obama. Instagram influencer, Richie Rich, runs a third generation company, selling higher end bling to a men’s market. Big rings with large stone settings and thick layered gold chains, which can run up to millions of dollars. Richie Rich creates “high end art” and the jewelry has a hip hop vibe. Many of the clients are athletes, celebrities and influencers. Richie started a new phase of the business, posting images of the jewelry on sites such as; Instagram. Jacob and Co., owned by Jacob Arabo, is a known for a hip hop style collection, intricate colorful stones and trendy high end watch merchandise. Jacob was born in Uzbekistan, a Mizrahi Jew who immigrated to the US. He worked in the diamond district before opening a store off of Madsion Avenue and is nicknamed; “The King of Bling”. His jewelry is styled with big and plentiful diamonds and unique watches with design images of a roulette wheel, collaborations with Paramount Pictures for The Godfather watch, a Bugatti brand watch and the Astronomia collection. A fairly new jewelry niche are synthetic or lab grown diamonds which are expected to reach peak sales by 2025. They are now classified as diamonds, similar to the natural ones, but the diamonds do not take billions of years to develop underground and cost less. Lemonis takes us to see an office where the owner sells synthetic diamond jewelry, The owner’s marketing message; they look just like the natural ones to the human eye, educate the consumer. Another store has estate jewelry from Cartier and Bulgari. A model shows a ruby and diamond necklace as well as elaborate blue sapphire and diamond drop earrings. Many years of trade and trust have been built on these Midtown Manhattan streets, mostly occupied by a majority of the Orthodox Jewish community. It has been “easy” for the community to trade in diamonds, as they are small and easy to carry. As Orthodox Jews often fled persecution, the diamond business became a stable occupation. The tradition has passed through many generations. Trust is earned and anyone who violates the trust in the trade, can be blocked from ever doing business again. The majority of diamonds pass through the diamond district and are sold to other household name brand boutiques, even if the new price is slightly higher. The motto; diamonds are a girl’s best friend can ring true.

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Fashion Consultant; Natya Abascal, A Spanish Socialite, Model, Timeless Beauty

Natya Abascal has been involved with fashion since she was in her 20’s, working in NYC as a model and muse for Valentino and Oscar de La Renta. Posing in magazines and ad campaigns, photographed by icons such as ; Richard Avedon. Her first shoots took place on tropical beaches in 1965. She was in Harpers Bazaar, wore the latest in haute couture and posed on the beaches of Capri and Ibiza. She attended the Met Galas, parties, runway and appeared in international fashion ads, Natya Abascal’s, younger years, show her wearing elegant dresses, at the top runway shows and on the beach with horses. Abascal has been on the International Best Dressed List, since the mid 80’s. Natya was in a commercial with Salvador Dali and had a role in Woody Allen’s; “Bananas”. Now, at 77, she is a consultant for Hola Magazine, getting style in the pages from the yearly fashion week shows and promoting current trends. Natya looks amazing with her dark hair and eyes, fresh face as well as trim body. She currently represents Elizabeth Arden’s : Ceramide Advanced. Natya Abacal married Fernando Medina, Duke Feria of Cordoba, and has two sons, Rafael and Luis. She travels throughout Spain, Portugal, Paris, London, Columbia and the Dominican Republic with fashion icons and long time friends; Joan Collins, Jane Seymour and Valentino. Life has kept her busy with fashion engagements, family, photography and exemplifying the culture of her native Spain. She has a tradtional, unique, colorful and fashion forward approach.

Capucines HandBags by Louis Vuitton

The capucines handbag by French icon design house, Louis Vuitton, has launched a new ad campaign. The bag is a classic for the company and is trés chic Parisian as well as having a universal appeal. The ads show Princess Olympia of Greece, or Princesse de Grece, modeling the bag with scenes filmed in the city of light. Olympia, daughter of Marie Chantal and Prince Pavlos of Greece, is wearing the bags in a variety of colors, ranging from white to dark green. She strides in cute casual wear, pants and dresses, carrying the bag which shows the products beauty and versatility. We see her lying coyly on a white bed with a white cat, wearing a short top blanc and leggings. She is in a cute townhouse where she is relaxing in a Lolita like style. Olympia is shown eating bon bons reading the Le Gazette de Paris. Olympia then walks down a spiral staircase, wearing a a blue mini dress, with another colored bag, going up and down in an old style elevator and on a balcony taking a selfie, eating croissants and wearing dark sunglasses. She is speeding along the Seine, by bicycle, with the Tour Eiffel in the background. The sexy music, features a French female singer, crooning to the tune from The Who’s Talking ‘Bout My Generation. The ad clips move in a fast pace with a twist on the famous handbag which is named after Rue Neuve de Capucine, the first Louis Vuitton maison. The company was founded in the mid 1800’s and has a history of producing well made leather goods; traveling luggage, bags, wallets, shoes and fashion apparel. They changed their signature color from a orange -yellow to brown packaging, but the brand is classic and modern. The Capucines comes in styles such as; mini, BB and artsy. It ranges in price from $2,000 -$40, 000 + for the crocodile skin bags, all with the signature LV emblem on top and has a handle or leather strap. Check out the ads because they add a great look for any season; in bright pink, classic green, white, black. or with designs. They are functional and fashionable pieces to be enjoyed for your generation.

Body á la Carte

After viewing the French documentary: Body á la Carte, one is taken away by a visual and emotional perspective on French culture’s look into plastic surgery and beauty. The universal concept and theories are similar, but rhe French have long been associated with having a chic style and effortless non chalance. Many inspire to have the style of Bridgette Bardot, Catherine Deneuve or Laeticia Casta. The film explores a French female physician who works as an ER doctor and runs her own plastic surgery clinic. One arena does not replace the other, as one focuses on medical care in the high stress life or death emergencies or accidents and the other focuses on improving the aesthetic harmony for both females and males. The doctor , herself, has gotten plastic surgery procedures. She speaks of the naturalness of it and some patients are shown feeling more self confident and happy with their appearance. The topic of aging is introduced and a female in her 80’s shows flash backs of pictures of her younger self, but also is complacent with her age, as of the present. Plastic surgery is accepted and done more in countries such as; Brazil ands Thailand, but is a worldwide phenomena. Everyone knows the physical changes bring about increased self esteem and confidence. Feeling more youthful or just better able to function once their lips or wrinkles are erased.

Male plastic surgery is another topic which is portrayed. Becoming more accepted by most societies for the same reasons females might get plastic surgery and revel in the cosmetic industry. It used to be men in the Renaissance and ancient Greece and Rome who adored beauty. It was not until recently, that men might go to a nail soon, get a filler or be labeled a metrosexual. The social media is a revolution for the beauty, med spa and plastic surgery industries. Teenagers have tuned to sites such as Snapchat and Instagram to post their new look and even film their surgery. It is a new culture and cult following, but it is mostly a positive step, according to the film. Dr. Miami.. his nickname, is a star of the piece and shows his busy South Florida practice and the life of his admiring staff.. He believes if one achieves the “right”aesthetic results, we can focus on better relationships, life, career, self satisfaction, personality and character more. So the message, aesthetic surgery is fine and is integrated into most cultures as of the new millneium.

Sakara Life : Meal Plans Which Heal Within

Sakara Life Inc. is a trendy and thriving company which provides organically prepared meal plans, delivered to your doorstep. Two childhood friends, Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle, got together and created Sakara Life to bring food, supplements and healthier living, to the table. Both were experiencing physical ailments and decided to create a unique business model; convenient and organic/plant based deliverable meal plans. The target market, like minded females also in search of healthier food options. The 20 -50 year old market is in search of an already prepared balanced diet which aids in health. Danielle DuBoise, an actress, now also a mother, was struggling with inflammation, gut health issues and conditions such as; cystic acne. Whitney Tingle was working on Wall Street in a high pressure job and wanted to use her business savvy to create a passion; helping people on the go, who might not have the time to create quick, tasty and healthy meals. Weekly meals can be a choice of breakfast, lunch, dinner.. or all 3, as well as supplements which work with Sakara Life. The plan has food options such as; a rainbow carrot salad and honey chia parfait. A more advanced plan is offered as well.

In 2011, the two women started delivering Sakara Life, based in NYC, by bicycle to homes and offices. It is now subscription based and is delivered around the country. Their main philosophy, use plant based and organic ingredients, to heal from within. The emphasis on the origins of health and wellness, derived internally and externally. The company offers snacks, salad dressings and supplements aa well. Super Green Vegetable Powder, Sakara Rx-The Foundation with probiotics, B 12, ceramides, Beauty Detox Water Drops and Metabolism Super Powder are big sellers. There is a bridal plan which prepares for the wedding day by aiding with detoxification, reducing inflammation, boosting energy and mood while helping to create a “radiant glow”. A Best Self Plan and the Sakara Life Plan are other options. HeyMamas is a 2,500 member network of mothers who mentor, post and partner with relevant brands, Daniele and Whitney wrote a cookbook: Eat Clean, Play Dirty. The book is catchy and describes the ultimate guide to healthy living and diet with personal anecdotes. Their informative website is updated regularly with tips and there is a podcast. Both entrepreneurs and Sakara Life have been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30, Women in Wellness, the NY Times and in Oprah’s Super Soul. Sakara is a Japanese word, referring to springtime cherry blooms, a descriptive moniker for the company.