Author: KVT (page 1 of 307)

This Might Be A Good Time To Sell Diamonds or Jewels

I need to start watching the diamond market more closely as I continue to see record setting auction prices. An incredible purchase recently took place in Hong Kong and set a new world record for any diamond or jewel for that matter. The oval mix-cut “Pink Star” diamond smashed the pre-sale estimate of $60 million and sold for an impressive $71.2 million. The bidding lasted only five minutes with an opening price of $56 million. The diamond was purchased by renowned Hong Kong jeweler Chow Tai Fook. Life for the Pink Star began after it was mined by De Beers in an unspecified location in Africa in 1999. It was uncovered as a 132.5 raw diamond and two years were spent cutting and preparing the diamond for the market. Obviously two years is an exceptionally long time to cut a diamond but this find was like no other. As it turns out this is the largest diamond ever classified as “internally flawless fancy vivid pink” as graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The giant pink diamond was also graded by the GIA to have the highest color and clarity. It is part of a rare subgroup of gem diamonds known as Type IIa, considered chemically the purest of all diamond crystals and accounting for less than 2 percent of all gem diamonds, according to Sotheby’s. Below are some the previous high selling gem auction prices from this past year. If you have some items that you’ve been thinking about selling, this might be a good time to consider…

  • The Oppenheimer Blue Recently Sold For $58 million: A 14.62-carat fancy vivid blue rectangular cut diamond that fetched a world record for any jewel sold at an auction. The blue diamond was sold by Christie’s Geneva Magnificent jewels sale in May. The Oppenheimer Blue was named in honor of its previous owner, Sir Philip Oppenheimer. ‘The Oppenheimers have been leaders in the diamond industry for generations and Sir Philip could have had any diamond he wanted. But he chose this one, with its perfect hue, impeccable proportions and fabulous rectangular shape.

  • De Beers Millennium Blue Recently Sold For $32 million: A 10.10-carat fancy vivid blue oval cut diamond. Sold at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale in April. The gem was unveiled by De Beers in 2000 to commemorate the millennium and displayed at London’s Millennium Dome.

  • The Unique Pink Recently Sold For $31.5 million: A 15.38-carat fancy vivid pear-shaped diamond sold for a world auction record price for any fancy vivid pink diamond. Sold at Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble jewels sale in May.

  • The Cullinan Dream Recently Sold For $24.3 million: A 24.18-carat mixed cut fancy intense blue diamond. This blue diamond is the largest fancy intense blue diamond ever to be auctioned off. The blue diamond was sold at Christie’s New York Magnificent Jewels and the Cullinan Dream sale in May.

  • Pink Pear Shaped Diamond Recently Sold For $18.2 million: A 9.14-carat fancy vivid pink pear-shaped diamond, which was sold at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale in November.

  • Miroir de L’Amour Recently Sold For $17.7 million: A dazzling pair of 52.55 and 50.47-carat pear-shaped diamond earrings with color grading D-color and flawless clarity. In addition, the diamond earrings are graded type IIa, which makes them even rarer. The earrings are the world’s largest perfect pear-shaped diamond eardrops to be offered at an auction.

  • The Aurora Green Diamond Recently Sold For $16.8 million: This 5.03-carat rectangular-cut fancy vivid green diamond is called the Aurora green. This green diamond is set within a ring surrounded with pink round cut diamonds, which makes the color contrast even bigger. This item got sold at Christie’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels sale in May

Corn Growth Stages

Crop Progress w/e 6/18/17

The USDA left corn crop conditions “unchanged” at 67% rated “Good-to-Excellent” vs. 75% last year. Below are some of the specifics:

State Conditions “Better Than” Last Year

  • Kentucky +12% better than last year… +0% this week to 85% GD/EX 
  • Tennessee +10% better than last year… +3% this week to 86% GD/EX
  • Pennsylvania +6% better than last year…-2% this week to 82% GD/EX
  • Colorado +3% better than last year… -10% this week to 83% GD/EX
  • Michigan +3% better than last year… +0% this week to 69% GD/EX
  • North Carolina +3% better than last year… +1% this week to 76% GD/EX
  • Minnesota +2% better than last year… +3% this week to 81% GD/EX
  • Texas same as last year… -2% this week to 74% GD/EX

State Conditions “Worse Than” Last Year 

  • Indiana -27% worse than last year… +1% this week to 45% GD/EX
  • North Dakota -25% worse than last year… +3% this week to 61% GD/EX
  • South Dakota -25% worse than last year… +4% this week to 49% GD/EX
  • Illinois -16% worse than last year… +1% this week to 59% GD/EX
  • Wisconsin -15% worse than last year… +1% this week to 71% GD/EX
  • Ohio -12% worse than last year… +2% this week to 52% GD/EX
  • Kansas -8% worse than last year… -4% this week to 61% GD/EX
  • Missouri -3% worse than last year… +4% this week to 63% GD/EX
  • Iowa -1% worse than last year… +1% this week to 78%GD/EX
  • Nebraska -1% worse than last year… +0% this week to 78% GD/EX

The USDA now estimates 67% of the soybean crop is in “Good-to-Excellent” condition compared to 66% last week and 73% last year.  Below are some specifics:

State Conditions “Better Than” Last Year

  • Arkansas +14% better than last year… +2% this week at 71% GD/EX 
  • North Carolina +12% better than last year… -2% this week at 80% GD/EX
  • Tennessee +10% better than last year… +11% this week at 86% GD/EX
  • Missouri +6% better than last year… +2% this week at 63% GD/EX 
  • Louisiana +4% better than last year… +4% this week at 80% GD/EX
  • Michigan +3% better than last year… +1% this week at 71% GD/EX
  • Kansas +2% better than last year… +7% this week at 67% GD/EX
  • Kentucky +1% better than last year… +1% this week at 78% GD/EX 
  • Minnesota +1% better than last year… -1% this week at 77% GD/EX 

State Conditions “Worse Than” Last Year 

  • South Dakota -30% worse than last year… +5% better at 48% GD/EX
  • North Dakota -20% worse than last year… +2% this week at 58% GD/EX
  • Indiana -20% worse than last year… +1% this week at 52% GD/EX
  • Illinois -8% worse than last year… +1% this week at 67% GD/EX
  • Wisconsin -7% worse than last year… +2% this week at 78% GD/EX
  • Iowa -6% worse than last year… +1% this week at 74% GD/EX
  • Ohio -6% worse than last year… +1% better at 58% GD/EX
  • Nebraska -5% worse than last year… -2% this week at 72% GD/EX
  • Mississippi -4% worse than last year… -2% this week at 63% GD/EX

Custer’s Last Stand

This weekend marks the anniversary of the “Battle of Little Bighorn”. For those not familiar with U.S. history, the battle pitted the the U.S. army’s 7th Cavalry Regiment against Indians from several tribes, primarily Sioux and Cheyenne. The leader of the U.S. Army was Lieutenant Colonel George Custer, and the Native Americans were led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. The Indians had been successfully resisting American efforts to confine their people to reservations for more than a decade. Although both chiefs wanted nothing more than to be left alone to pursue their traditional ways, the growing tide of white settlers invading their lands inevitably led to violent confrontations. Increasingly, the Sioux and Cheyenne who did try to cooperate with the U.S. government discovered they were rewarded only with broken promises and marginal reservation lands. In 1876, after many claimed the U.S. Army blatantly ignored treaty provisions and invaded the sacred Black Hills land, many formerly cooperative Sioux and Cheyenne abandoned their reservations to join Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse in Montana. The U.S. Army soon ordered all the “hostile” Indians in Montana to return to their reservations or risk being attacked. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse ignored the order and sent messengers out to urge other Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe Indians to unite with them to meet the white threat. By the late spring of 1876, historians say more than 10,000 Indians had gathered in a massive camp along a river in southern Montana called the Little Big Horn. “We must stand together or they will kill us separately,” Sitting Bull told them. Custer had originally been told there were no more than 700 to 800 hostile Indians in the area. When the 7th Calvary attacked on June 25, 1876, near the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana, they were greeted by what some say were thousands of Native Americans. The entire battle actually started in the afternoon and lasted overnight, but in the end the U.S. Army’s 7th Calvary was decimated. Many historians say the battle with Custer’s Battalion lasted less than an hour as he and his troops were grossly outnumbered, perhaps by a ratio of 9:1. Not only did Custer die, but so did two of his brothers, his brother-in-law, and his nephew were also killed. Call it bad intel, faulty strategy, or karma it was a rough outing for the U.S. military. (Source: History; Wiki)

This is just a small excerpt of the full Van Trump Report that I send out every day. To find out what you’re missing, sign up for a FREE 30-day trial.

Great Wisdom From T. Boone Pickens

I was sent this brief life lesson the other day and wanted to pass it along. Apparently it was penned and posted on LinkedIn by T. Boone Pickens, the 89 year young, Founder, Chairman and CEO at BP Capital and TBP Investments Management. Good stuff!

Last month I turned 89 years old, mindful of the fact I’m now 24 years beyond traditional retirement age.

My post-65 era has included the most productive years of my life.

I was 68 when I left Mesa Petroleum. I turned out the lights at 6 p.m. my last day in the office, as I had throughout my career. Not once at my farewell dinner at Bob’s Steak and Chop House did I mention retirement.

When I then formed BP Capital, I went from having 400 employees to six. We started hunting with a rifle, not a shotgun.

I’ve long thought in terms of resurgence rather than retirement. One of my longtime associates, Bobby Stillwell, likes to say that “Boone has been in the prime of his life three times.” I first met Bobby in 1963, so he has seen a lot of water flow under the bridge. He left BP Capital some time back but he still serves as Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer of the T. Boone Pickens Foundation.

Indeed, an imaginary headline has captivated me for years: “The Old Man Makes a Comeback.” And I have repeatedly, most recently from mini-strokes I experienced in December.

I have learned that if you never give up, if you push through the resistance and keep driving for what you want, you will ultimately achieve rewards beyond any you had hoped for. Because deep down, just beyond the hard, tough spot we all have found ourselves in, there awaits the opportunity to become stronger, more successful, and more fulfilled than you ever imagined. You just can never, ever, give up.

Oh, there have been ups and downs throughout but if nothing else, I hope that I can serve as a role model for how to live in the fourth quarter of life. The rewards are beyond anything I experienced as a “young man.”

I show up to work every day by 7 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m. I tell anyone who will listen that the most critical trait for success in the workplace is a good work ethic.

Age is meaningless in some instances. I didn’t make my first billion until I was 70, and although I paid a good measure of taxes before then, I’ve paid more than 85 percent of my taxes since. Opportunity comes in many forms, and in America it is endless. We are allowed second, third, fourth, and fifth acts — and who knows how many more.

Admittedly, part of what drives me is fear. I want no part of becoming a FOFWAW — a Fine Old Fart With A Watch. Too many of my friends reached 65, retired, and then spent their days unengaged, unmotivated, and unenthused. Much too quickly, those days were done for them. They are gone.

I’ve lived by a watch that tells time a bit differently. I embrace change. Those facing retirement age don’t need a new watch but rather a different outlet. You can stay around as long as you stay active — and, of course as I’ve mentioned time and again — you have a plan.

I thank the Lord for letting me hang around as long as I have. Every day is still thrilling for me. I thrive when I’m in the middle of the action. That remains the only place for me. That’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it.

T. Boone Pickens, founder and chief executive officer of BP Capital LLC, speaks during the Skybridge Alternatives (SALT) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Thursday, May 10, 2012. Participants from the around the world discuss macro-economic trends, geopolitics and alternative investment opportunities in the global economy. Photographer: Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** T. Boone Pickens

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