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Build Your Own Ikuma Diamond: From rough to polished!

May 5, 2010
Rough Ikuma Diamonds

Rough Ikuma Diamonds from Canada's Victor Mine

This week we will be presenting a unique bespoke opportunity: the chance to select a rough diamond and decide exactly how it will be cut. Never before have customers been able to participate in the life of their diamond from its rough stage to finished piece.

A diamond takes shape

Friday and Saturday (May 7th and 8th) in our Alderwood store in Seattle, we will have a large selection of rough (uncut, unpolished) diamonds for customers to view. A customer will be able to purchase a rough diamond and decide how it will be cut and polished (shape, size, number of finished stones from a piece of rough) and can select or design a piece of jewelry for the make-to-measure diamond to live in.

The diamonds each originated in the Victor Mine in Northern Ontario, Canada. Aided by the latest in 3D modeling technology, we will present a number of different options for cutting each rough stone.

Polishing the diamond

A customer might choose a single Ideal cut diamond, princess cut, or other popular shape. She might also choose to fashion two matching finished stones from a single piece of rough–perhaps for a perfectly matched pair of earrings. Alternatively, the rough stone could be cut into two diamonds, one larger and one smaller. In this way, a couple could each wear a diamond from the same piece of rough. There is a wonderful symbolism for each partner to wear pieces that have been together for millions of years.

Choosing where to cut the diamond

For more information, please call Regina Aiello in our Alderwood Mall store, (425) 771-7227.

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Omaha Round Up (with video!)

May 3, 2010

It was a fun weekend in Omaha!

The Oracle was in typically fine form–answering questions all day about topics ranging from Goldman Sachs (he was supportive), derivatives (they continue to be dangerous when parties don’t understand them), and the long term prospects for the US (bullish). Even the usually taciturn Charlie Munger piped in with a few gems and added to the levity of the day. At one point a questioner asked about how to cope with potentially high interest rates in the future. Munger, 86, responded, “If I can be optimistic when I’m nearly dead, you all can handle inflation.”

Before the meeting began, there was a very amusing movie featuring Warren and Charlie and a few friends. This year’s movie included ABC’s Desperate Housewives plotting to land a billionaire and ending up with Charlie. Another segment had Warren pitching for the Boston Red Sox and striking out Alex Rodriguez to win the AL pennant. The movie included a preview of a new animated series called “The Secret Millionaires Club,” where Warren teaches kids about financial literacy.

There was also a cool video showing the history of Berkshire’s latest acquisition, Burlington Northern Santa Fe. BNSF dates back to 1849 and the railroad “Empire Builder” James J. Hill. BNSF has played an integral part in the growth of the United States and it is exciting to have the railroad as part of the Berkshire family.

Another highlight of the event is the chance to visit many Berkshire companies in the convention hall adjacent to the arena where the meeting takes place. Companies ranging from See’s Candy to Justin Boots, Dairy Queen, GEICO, and Fruit of the Loom hawk their wares to shareholders. Watch the video for more on that.

Because of the growth of the meeting, to get good seats we had to be in line at 5:45am! As unpleasant as it sounds to stand outside in the cold Omaha morning, waiting to get in only adds to the festival atmosphere of the meeting. It is so much fun to meet shareholders from all over the world and swap stories about meetings past, the boss, and speculate as to what Warren’s take will be on a great many issues.

It is truly a unique weekend–unlike anything else I have ever been to and likely unmatched by anything in the world. It is a fitting tribute to one of the world’s most admired and distinctive companies.

I look forward to next year’s meeting and encourage you to make plans to get to Omaha at least once for a spectacle unlike any other.

-Marc

From the floor at BRKFest 2010!

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Off to see the Oracle: Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting 2010

April 29, 2010

Warren Buffett and Marc Bridge, Ben Bridge Headquarters, May 2009

For the past ten years, Ben Bridge has been a proud member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies. Every year a number of us from the company join the thousands of pilgrims who make the trek to Omaha, Nebraska for the annual meeting that has been called “Woodstock for Capitalists”.┬áThis year is no exception.

Marc will be blogging from Omaha this weekend, and if he is really nice to her, our favorite travel blogger Lisa might contribute a word or two!

Last year more than 35,000 shareholders filled Omaha’s Qwest Center (and a number of nearby overflow rooms) to listen to 6 hours of questions and answers with Berkshire Chairman Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger. With the purchase of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, the stock split, and the company’s addition to the S&P 500 Index, thousands of new shareholders will be flocking to the Cornhusker State to learn from the masters.

“The Warren and Charlie Show”, as it is affectionately known, regularly covers topics as far reaching as the relative performance of the US economy, the impact of derivatives and government regulation, the rise of China, what small children should do with their lives, and every once in a while touches on the performance of Berkshire businesses in between bites of See’s Peanut Brittle and Cherry Coke. (Berkshire owns See’s Candy and is the largest shareholder in Coca-Cola).

In addition to the meeting itself, the weekend has sprawled into a celebration of business, investing, old-fashioned American values, and Omaha steaks. It is as much a carnival as a business meeting and the perfect embodiment of the Chairman’s worldview.

It is always an enjoyable, educational, and fun weekend. I hope you will check back periodically for updates from BRKfest 2010!

-Marc

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Ben Bridge Style: Becky’s TW Steel

April 28, 2010

“Hi! I’m Becky and I work in the watch department at Ben Bridge. My favorite piece is my new TW Steel watch. It is an oversized watch at 45mm. TW Steel is a new watch line we are carrying in 12 of our Ben Bridge stores. They are big, fun and affordable. My watch retails for $525. What I really like about the watch is that while it is fashionably big on me, it is an everyday watch for a guy. These watches are available now, please check out website to see the stores that are carrying them.”

TW Steel Canteen Collection Watch

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Ben Bridge Style: Lisa’s HOT DIAMONDS

April 16, 2010

HOT DIAMONDS Echo Pendant in Sterling Silver

HOT DIAMONDS Serenity Bracelet in Sterling Silver

“I’m Lisa Bridge and I’m here to share a fabulous new collection, HOT DIAMONDS. It’s a great new collection because they are fun, easy, completely affordable pieces that can be mixed and matched. I’m wearing my favorite necklace which is from the Echo Collection. It’s comfortable and fun and easy to dress up and dress down. Every piece is Sterling Silver with a little accent diamond. They are really great gifts to give people for birthdays, for just because, for anniversaries, or just to get for yourself. They’re not very expensive. The pieces range from $50 to $220. I’m also wearing the Pebble Bracelet. It is a fun piece, really comfortable and light weight to wear. It comes in great packaging. They have a really nice box. I’m really excited about this product. We’ve now launched it in 11 of our stores and on our website and I’m excited to see how it does. We’ve already sold a number of pieces and it’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to seeing it!”

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Ben Bridge Style: Camber’s Favorite Tungsten and Diamond Ring

April 9, 2010

“I’m here to talk about a Tungsten ring I really like. It’s this particular one right here. It’s actually 8mm wide and all Tungsten with a satin finish, which gives it a two-tone look that honestly goes great with my jacket.┬áMost guys wear a lot of blacks and grays and it goes really good with that.

Plus, while maybe not all guys like a diamond, but sometimes deep down inside they still want one, this kind of has the best of both worlds, where it has a small one but you don’t always have to show it. You can turn it around and it just has a nice plain straight line look. It’s comfort fit so it slides on and off the finger very easily. It’s a great ring its got a nice weight to it easily for guys.

I would highly recommend it.”

Camber's Favorite: Tungsten and Diamond 8mm Band

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Ben Bridge Style: Stephanie’s Favorite Piece

April 2, 2010

Stephanie Powers from our Store Service Department shares her favorite piece: a pair of White Quartz Briolette earrings. Great style for only $199!

“I’m showcasing a pair of earrings that I love and adore and wear them all the time because they go with everything. These are the brio white quartz earrings for $199, you’ve gotta love that. You can wear them dressy, casual, you name it. So, that’s what is great about them. They flow beautifully, as you can see, they are a great length, and very comfortable and lightweight and easy to wear.

They also come in a great amethyst color and have matching pendants as well. So if you are also interested in a matching pendant, which is next on my list as well! Definitely grab a pair and you’ll see what I’m seeing and you’ll wear them all the time!

They’re a great pick!”

White Quartz Briolette Earrings

Amethyst Earrings

Amethyst Pendant