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Articles in June 2017

June 1st, 2017
Let's celebrate June's official birthstone with a close-up look at one of the most extraordinary natural pearls in the world. It stands two inches tall, weighs 450 carats and is the sibling of the world's most famous blue diamond. Introducing the Hope Pearl.


Back in the early part of the 19th century, a London banker named Henry Philip Hope amassed a collection of fabulous gems, including the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond and 150 natural pearls.

Hope's namesake pearl, which was once believed to be the largest natural saltwater baroque pearl in existence, exhibited an irregular pear shape and a unique coloration, grading from dark bronze to white. Experts believe the baroque specimen is a blister pearl, which grows attached to the mollusk's shell.

A natural pearl is extraordinarily rare and valuable because it is created by a mollusk totally by chance, without human intervention. A natural pearl forms when an irritant, such as a grain of sand, slips in between the mollusk’s shell and its mantle tissue. To protect itself from the irritant, the mollusk secretes layer upon layer of nacre, which is the iridescent material that eventually produces a pearl. Cultured pearls, by comparison, are grown under controlled conditions, where a bead is implanted in the body of the mollusk to stimulate the secretion of nacre.

The Hope Pearl is set as a pendant, with the smaller end capped with a crown of red enameled gold set with diamonds, rubies and emeralds.


Both the Hope Diamond (purchased in 1824) and Hope Pearl (purchased between 1800 and 1810) were mentioned prominently in the 1839 publication titled "Catalogue of the Collection of Pearls and Precious Stones Formed by Henry Philip Hope, Esq." Hope, who never married, died that same year and a bitter legal battle ensued among his three nephews, who made claims on the estate. After 10 years, a settlement was reached and the jewels were split up. The pearl ended up in the South Kensington Museum for many years, and was sold at a Christie's auction in 1886 for £9,000 (about £1 million, or $1.29 million, in today's valuation).

The Hope Diamond and Hope Pearl remained apart for the next 156 years. But then, in 2005, the diamond and pearl siblings enjoyed a momentous reunion at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The Hope Diamond was already a resident of the National Gem and Mineral collection at the National Museum of Natural History.

The Hope Pearl was one of 12 extraordinary specimens featured in a six-month special exhibition called "The Allure of Pearls" in the Harry Winston Gallery of the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals. The Hope Pearl was loaned for the presentation by an unnamed collector from England.

Credits: Smithsonian/NMNH Photo Services.
June 2nd, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. As part of our continuing tribute to June's official birthstone, today's selection from Katy Perry shines the spotlight on pearls.


In the title track from her blockbuster 2008 album One of the Boys, Perry sings about shedding her tomboy image: “I just wanna be one of the girls, pretty in pearls. Not one of the boys.”

Later in the song, she tells a guy who used to treat her like a little sister that he may have a chance to win her heart one day, “But not until you give me my diamond ring.”

In an interview with New York radio station Z100, Perry explained that "One of the Boys" was inspired by her own experiences as an awkward teenager who suddenly transforms into a young woman.

"[It's a] coming-of-age-type song," she said. "Something happens from junior high to high school: We girls start blooming; guys start developing crushes. No longer are we playing dodge ball; we want to sit and paint our fingernails instead."

"One of the Boys" was the first track from Perry's Grammy-nominated second studio album — a release that charted in 14 countries and sold more than seven million copies worldwide.

Born Katheryn Elizabeth "Katy" Hudson in Santa Barbara, Calif., the singer changed her name in the early 2000s so she wouldn't be confused with actress Kate Hudson. The daughter of Christian pastor parents, Perry grew up singing in a church choir, where she developed an affection for gospel music. Perry was dropped by two record labels before going on to sign with Capitol Music Group in 2007.

Over the past decade, the 32-year-old Perry has become one of the most successful musical artists of all time, having sold 100 million records globally. Perry has the distinction of being the most followed celebrity on Twitter. She has 99.2 million followers, narrowly edging out Justin Bieber's 95.7 million.

Please check out the video of Perry’s 2008 live performance of “One of the Boys.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“One of the Boys”
Written and performed by Katy Perry.

I saw a spider, I didn’t scream
‘Cause I can belch the alphabet
Just double dog dare me
And I chose guitar over ballet
And I take these suckers down
‘Cause they just get in my way

The way you look at me is kinda like a little sister
Your high five, your goodbyes
And it leaves me nothing but blisters

So I don’t wanna be one of the boys
One of your guys
Just give me a chance to prove to you tonight
That I just wanna be one of the girls
Pretty in pearls
Not one of the boys

So over the summer something changed
I started reading “Seventeen” and shaving my legs
And I studied “Lolita” religiously
And I walked right into school and caught you staring at me

‘Cause I know what you know
But now you’re gonna have to take a number
It’s OK
Maybe one day
But not until you give me my diamond ring

'Cause I don't wanna be one of the boys
One of your guys
Just give me a chance to prove to you tonight
That I just wanna be your homecoming queen
Pin-up poster dream
Not one of the boys

I wanna be a flower
Not a dirty weed
I wanna smell like roses
Not a baseball team
And I swear maybe one day you're gonna
Wanna make out, make out, make out with me

(Don't wanna be) don't wanna be
(Don't wanna be) don't wanna be
(Don't wanna be)

'Cause I don't wanna be one of the boys
One of your guys
Just give me a chance to prove to you tonight
That I just wanna be one of the girls
Pretty in pearls
And not one of the boys

Credit: Image by Lordnikon (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
June 8th, 2017
Social media has been a game changer for bridal jewelry, particularly on Pinterest, where the most popular engagement ring on that image-sharing platform has garnered an astonishing 103,900 pins and worldwide attention.


In a surprising twist on a classic, this dainty rose gold stunner features a 1.22-carat brilliant round solitaire set with four prongs on a simple band. The engagement ring is complemented by a two-millimeter milgrain rose gold wedding band accented with small round diamonds. Simple yet magnificent. Retro yet modern.

According to Metro News UK, the ubiquitous ring was custom-designed by its owner, Sylvia Billone, who was inspired by images on Pinterest. The ring stands in stark contrast to last year’s most popular engagement ring, the “Verragio Venetian,” an ornate 18-karat white gold ring centered by a princess-cut diamond.


Rose gold is an alloy made from gold and copper. Colors range from to dusky pink to yellow-orange depending on the ratio of gold to copper. The sugary pink tone has captured hearts since its inception in nineteenth-century Russia, when Carl Fabergé blended yellow gold with copper to create a blush-toned hybrid called “Russian gold.” Cartier’s use of the composite during the 1920s Art Deco period reinforced its popularity.

Trend research indicates that more couples are selecting distinctive rose gold as their metal of choice for engagement rings and wedding bands. While rose gold can feel retro, the metal works surprisingly well for modern designs. The warm hues of rose gold beautifully show off diamonds and other gemstones.

The rose gold shade shined brightly in 2016 when Rose Quartz was named a Pantone Color of the Year along with Serenity blue. According to Pantone, “as consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent.” According to, the most sought after items are swathed in the opulent blush of rose gold. Described a hue between icy white gold and warm yellow gold, rose gold is whimsical and romantic.

According to The Next Web, the rose gold phenomenon really exploded in popularity on the social media scene since the 18-karat rose gold “tech luxury” Apple Watch arrived in September 2014. Then came the wildly popular rose gold iPhone 6s. For personal tech gadgets, rose gold proved to be a welcome change from largely impersonal, cool-toned metallics. According to CNET, rose gold “is the new black” for gadgets, and the hottest option for iPhones, MacBooks and Beats headphones – often causing a "preorder frenzy."

Rose gold-colored accents are even popping up in unexpected places, including interior design. "It's definitely a trend and not a classic look," says Maria Killam, an interior designer and color expert. "Metals for interiors have been getting warmer recently, and now that gold is dominating the scene, rose gold has a strong place on the edge of the trend for those who love to push the limits."

Credits: Images via Pinterest/Sylvia Billone.
June 9th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, legendary band Earth, Wind & Fire uses pearls and gold to symbolize unspoiled perfection in their 1975 classic, "That's the Way of the World."


A powerful song brimming with messages of inspiration and hope, "That's the Way of the World" implores the listener to "stay young at heart" despite the negative influences of the cold world.

They sing, "That's the way of the world / Plant your flower and you grow a pearl / Child is born with a heart of gold / Way of the world makes his heart so cold."

Band members have called "That's the Way of the World" their "national anthem" and, in 2004, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. One year later, Rolling Stone magazine rated it #329 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

"That's the Way of the World" was originally written by band members Maurice and Verdine White, along with producer Charles Stepney, as part of the score for a movie about the dark side of the music business. While the movie flopped, the soundtrack was a rousing success. The song was also the title track of their sixth studio album, which ranked as the third best-selling pop album and the number one best-selling R&B album of 1975.

Founded in Chicago by Maurice White in 1969, Earth, Wind & Fire's unique sound combines modern jazz, fusion, soul, gospel, funk, disco, rock and the distinct rhythms of African music. Featuring the interplay of Philip Bailey's falsetto and Maurice White's baritone — supported by multiple drummers and a powerful brass section — the band amassed a huge international following for more than 40 years. Maurice White passed away in February of 2016 at the age of 74.

The six-time Grammy Award winners are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.

Please check out the video of Earth, Wind & Fire's live performance of "That's the Way of the World." Put on your dancing shoes and be prepared to sing along...

"That's the Way of the World"
Written by Verdine White, Maurice White and Charles Stepney. Performed by Earth, Wind & Fire.

Hearts of fire creates love desire
Take you high and higher to the world you belong
Hearts of fire creates love desire
High and higher to your place on the throne

We come together on this special day
Sing our message loud and clear
Looking back, we've touched on sorrowful days
Future pass, they disappear
You will find peace of mind
If you look way down in your heart and soul
Don't hesitate 'cause the world seems cold
Stay young at heart, 'cause you're never, never old

That's the way of the world
Plant your flower and you grow a pearl
Child is born with a heart of gold
Way of the world makes his heart so cold

Hearts of fire create love desire take you
High and higher to the world you belong
Hearts of fire love desire
High and higher, yeah yeah yeah
Hearts of fire love desire
Ahh higher

We come together on this special day
Sung our message loud and clear
Looking back, we've touched on sorrowful days
Future disappears
You will find peace of mind
If you look way down in your heart and soul
Don't hesitate 'cause the world seems cold
Stay young at heart, 'cause you're never, never, never

That's the way of the world,
Plant your flower and you grow a pearl
Child is born with a heart of gold
Way of the world makes his heart so cold

Hearts of fire, love desire
High and higher, yeah yeah
Hearts of fire, love desire

Credit: Image by Craig ONeal [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
June 12th, 2017
The New England Patriots commemorated their fifth championship and greatest comeback in Super Bowl history with monumental rings gleaming with 283 diamonds. The number of diamonds is a nod to the score of 28-3, the seemingly unsurmountable deficit the Patriots faced before going on to tally 31 unanswered points in their triumph over the Atlanta Falcons on February 5.


"It was a historic comeback win and the players deserve to have a ring that represents that accomplishment," said team owner Robert Kraft, who hosted the celebration at his residence on Friday. "So, we created the biggest Super Bowl ring ever made. Watching the expressions of the players and coaches when they saw them for the first time and the overwhelming pride when they put them on was priceless."


The Patriots earned their first Super Bowl ring 15 years ago. With each subsequent championship, their rings have gotten progressively more impressive. This year's ring boasts diamonds weighing 5.1 carats, while the Super Bowl XLIX Championship rings delivered in 2015 were set with 205 diamonds weighing 4.85 carats.

"Much like the games themselves, the rings and the celebrations keep getting bigger and better," Kraft added.

Created by Jostens, the 10-karat white gold championship rings are loaded with symbols that tell the story of a memorable season and historic Super Bowl LI victory.

The face of the ring features the iconic Patriots logo, which is made from custom-cut sapphire and ruby. The design is outlined in diamonds and punctuated by a diamond-embellished star.

An additional sapphire serves as the background to five Vince Lombardi trophies, each featuring a marquise-cut diamond "football" at the top.

The words "WORLD" and "CHAMPIONS" wrap the sides of the ring in raised white gold lettering on a black ground.


The left side of the ring has the recipient's name and number encrusted with diamonds. An image of the lighthouse and bridge, which form Gillette Stadium's signature view, are accented with the years of each of the Patriots' previous Super Bowl victories.


On the right side of the ring, the Super Bowl LI logo is highlighted with the game's final score at the top and the team's 17-2 overall record at the bottom. Framing the side is Kraft's famous postgame comment that this Super Bowl victory was "UNEQUIVOCALLY THE SWEETEST."

Two additional elements are hidden on the inside of the ring. One is Kraft's memorable quote, "WE ARE ALL PATRIOTS," along with his signature and the date when he first delivered that line. A second element reads, "GREATEST COMEBACK EVER."


All New England players, coaches, football staff and team executives were presented with championship rings, which are reportedly worth $37,000 each.

Credits: Images by Jostens via
June 13th, 2017
The woman who bought a 26.27-carat gem-quality diamond for £10 (about $13) at a car boot sale in London about 30 years ago is now $849,637 richer.


The gem — which has earned the nickname "Tenner" because is was purchased for a 10-pound note — sold for nearly two times the pre-auction estimate after a fierce bidding war at Sotheby's London last week.

The unnamed owner had been convinced the showy ring was a piece of costume jewelry due to its low price, ostentatious center stone and filthy mounting. She cleaned it up and wore it day-to-day, never realizing that the gaudy center stone was actually a VVS2, I-color, cushion-shaped diamond that dated back to the 19th century. Some experts believe that a stone of this size and value might even have royal provenance.

How the ring ended up at a car boot sale — where goods are sold from the boot, or trunk, of a vehicle — may never be known.

What we do know is that the owner, only recently, had been tipped off by a local jeweler that the ring could be very valuable. The owner took the ring to Sotheby’s, which confirmed the authenticity of the diamond with a report from the Gemological Institute of America.

"It was bought as a costume jewel," Jessica Wyndham, head of Sotheby’s London jewelry department, told the BBC. "No one had any idea it had any intrinsic value at all. [She] enjoyed it all this time."

Wyndham explained that the center stone didn't sparkle like a modern-cut diamond.

“With an old style of cutting… the light doesn’t reflect back as much as it would from a modern stone cutting,” Wyndham said. “Cutters worked more with the natural shape of the crystal, to conserve as much weight rather than make it as brilliant as possible.”

Wyndham said the sale of the ring would be life-changing for the owner. She called the ring a “one-off windfall, an amazing find.”

The new owner, who has remained anonymous, is likely to have the Tenner re-cut into a modern diamond, a strategy that will trim its size, while boosting its value.

Credits: Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.
June 14th, 2017
Debbie Cassidy was only one year out of high school when she lost her class ring while swimming in scenic Peconic Bay on Eastern Long Island. The year was 1981.


“We were at a party and we were in the water and it slipped off my finger and I was heartbroken,” Cassidy told ABC News. “We never found it. I thought I’d never see it again. I always dreamed I would."


Cassidy's dream came true on Saturday thanks to the metal-detecting prowess of Rich Miliauskas, who found the ring under three feet of water and 10 inches of sand. Miliauskas scooped up the ring about three houses down the beach from where it was lost 36 years ago. Despite being submerged for more than three decades, the ring — which is engraved with Cassidy's name and features a blue faceted stone — was still in very good condition.


Cassidy, whose maiden name is Deborah E. Wells, played a key role in the return of her ring. The 54-year-old Mattituck resident had told her friend Jimmy Parsons, another metal-detector hobbyist and friend of Miliauskas, that she was heartbroken over the loss of her class ring. She told him about the beach party she attended in Laurel, how she went swimming with her friends and how distressed she was when the loose-fitting ring slipped off her finger and disappeared into the surf. Cassidy and her friends made desperate attempts to find the ring, but came up empty.

Parsons shared Cassidy's heart-tugging saga with a number of his metal-detecting friends and asked them to keep and eye out for the ring.

On Friday, Miliauskas got out of work early and noticed that low tide on the Peconic Bay was the perfect opportunity to break out his equipment and search for Cassidy's ring. Later that evening, Miliauskas called his buddy to report his success.

“Her name is fully inscribed in it: Deborah E. Wells, so there’s no question,” Parsons told ABC News. “I met up with him later Saturday afternoon so I could look at it and confirm it. He had cleaned it up so it looked pretty, much like the day she got it. It was pretty perfect, in pretty good shape for being in the water for 36 years.”

On Saturday, the 1980 Mattituck High School graduate was reunited with her class ring on the beach where she lost it 36 years ago. She slipped the class ring on her finger and it fit perfectly. The ecstatic Cassidy screamed out in delight and then gave her hero a big hug.

“I was beyond happy,” Cassidy told “You have no idea. My husband and I thought it would be all beat up, but it’s not. It looks perfect!”

Cassidy believes in good karma — the concept that one reaps what one sows. Previously, she had purchased a jewelry collection on eBay and was surprised that one of the items was a high school ring. Cassidy took the initiative to call the seller and track down the family of the original owner, who had since passed away. The owner's sister had none of her brother's possessions, so Cassidy gave the ring back to the family.

Her reward: A new friend in Miliauskas and a cherished class ring back on her finger.

Credits: Photos by Debbie Cassidy. Map by Googlemaps.
June 15th, 2017
The Perth Mint has just unveiled "The Australian Trilogy," an exclusive, one-of-a-kind collection of one-kilo coins meticulously set with fancy-color diamonds sourced from Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine.


The mint uses three precious metals — yellow gold, platinum and rose gold — in a set of coins that celebrate Western Australia’s unique heritage and natural treasures.

With a mintage of just one, "The Australian Trilogy" carries a price tag of AUS$1.8 million ($1.36 million) and boasts a hefty combined weight of 6.6 pounds.


The Australian Kookaburra coin, crafted from 99.99% pure gold, depicts two kookaburras perched on a wooden fence gazing toward a round 0.47-carat fancy deep purple-pink diamond. (The photo, above, shows the freshly struck coin, minus the diamond.)

Fashioned from 99.95% pure platinum, the Australian Kangaroo coin portrays this iconic animal bounding across an outback plain over an emerald-cut 0.46-carat fancy dark gray-violet diamond.

To complete the trilogy, the 91.67% rose gold Australian Koala coin illustrates this native marsupial beneath a eucalyptus tree in a rural landscape beside an emerald-cut 0.58-carat fancy intense pink diamond.

The artistry on each coin is bordered by a title inscription, the year 2017, the weight, fineness and metal, and The Perth Mint’s traditional "P" mintmark.

Each release also displays the renowned Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on its obverse. The Australian Kookaburra coin has a face value of AUS$5,000.

The one-of-a-kind set will be on display in The Perth Mint Shop throughout June — or until a buyer takes it home.


The Australian Trilogy was revealed to the public by officials of The Perth Mint, the Australian government and mining company Rio Tinto.

“The Australian Trilogy has elevated our creations to a new level with three diamond-studded gold and platinum coins in one dazzling presentation,” Perth Mint Chief Executive Officer Richard Hayes said in a statement.

Check out the video below, which offers an insider's perspective of how the coins came together at The Perth Mint.

Credits: "The Australian Trilogy" and executive images courtesy of The Perth Mint; Coin screen capture via
June 16th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you hit songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we shine the spotlight on one of the most requested wedding songs of the 1990s: "Beautiful in My Eyes" by Joshua Kadison.


Kadison's lyrical love letter offers a sweet and sentimental prediction of how a relationship will become stronger through the years. Kadison pledges that even as they grow old together — and lines appear on their faces — she will always be beautiful in his eyes. To emphasize the concept of a "perfect" love, Kadison introduces June's official birthstone in the first verse.

He sings, "You're my peace of mind / In this crazy world / You're everything I've tried to find / Your love is a pearl."

Released in 1994 as the second single from his critically acclaimed debut album Painted Desert Serenade, "Beautiful in My Eyes" ascended to #19 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and charted in five countries. The song was Kadison's most successful single, even surpassing the performance of his breakout hit, "Jesse."

In reviewing the album, Bryan Buss of Allmusic described it as "chock full of odes to finding romance, longing for romance and losing romance." rated "Beautiful in My Eyes" #7 on its list of "beautiful" songs to play on your beautiful day.

Born in Los Angeles in 1963, Kadison started writing songs at the age of 12. Four years later, he hit the road as a teenager, searching for life's answers after the tragic death of his mother. He made a living playing at bars in cities, such as Santa Barbara, Nashville and Dallas. His major influences included Cole Porter, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens, Nina Simone, Igor Stravinsky and Bela Bartok.

"All of that time on the road was great therapy for me," he told Billboard magazine. "It strengthened my soul and focused my songwriting — however corny that sounds."

At 30 years old, he got his big break when he was signed by EMI Records and released Painted Desert Serenade. VH-1 named Kadison the network's major video breakthrough artist of 1993.

Despite his commercial success, Kadison still didn't feel fulfilled.

"It felt as if I had the world at my feet but it wasn't what my soul wanted," he said. "I felt I had learned all I could from my experiences in the pop music field. The lessons of fame and success and all that go with them were amazing, but I knew there was much more to life I had to learn."

He took a long sabbatical to study music. First it was classical, then it was jazz. He did an apprenticeship with a Native American sound healer and worked with her for three years until her death.

"It was the strangest thing really. She found me as much as I found her," he said. "She told me I would be her last student. At the time, I didn't understand the profundity of that statement. From Otelia, I amplified my respect for both silence and sound.”

Kadison still performs at the age of 54 and has a strong fanbase in Germany. Trivia note: Kadison dated the actress Sarah Jessica Parker in the early 1990s.

Please check out the video of Kadison's performance of "Beautiful in My Eyes." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Beautiful in My Eyes"
Written and performed by Joshua Kadison.

You're my peace of mind
In this crazy world
You're everything I've tried to find
Your love is a pearl
You're my Mona Lisa
You're my rainbow skies
And my only prayer is that you realize...
You'll always be beautiful in my eyes

The world will turn
And the seasons will change
And all the lessons we will learn
Will be beautiful and strange
We'll have our fill of tears
Our share of sighs
My only prayer is that you realize...
You'll always be beautiful in my eyes

You will always be
Beautiful in my eyes
And the passing years will show
That you will always grow
Ever more beautiful in my eyes

And there are lines upon my face
From a lifetime of smiles
When the time comes to embrace
For one long last while
We can laugh about
How time really flies
We won't say good-bye
Cause' true love never dies...
You'll always be beautiful in my eyes

You will always be (You will always be)
Beautiful in my eyes (Beautiful in my eyes)
And the passing years will show
That you will always grow
Ever more beautiful in my eyes

The passing years will show
That you will always grow
Ever more beautiful in my eyes

Credit: Screen capture via
June 19th, 2017
Outfitted with state-of-the-art sonar technology and drilling devices, the mv SS Nujoma is ready to start probing the ocean floor for valuable diamond deposits off the coast of Namibia. It's the sixth and most advanced vessel in De Beers's growing fleet.


Mining of Namibia’s diamonds — some of the most valuable in the world — takes place at about 120 to 140 meters below sea level.

The $157 million, 113-meter-long vessel incorporates unique technologies that allow it to sample faster, take larger samples and collect more information per sample than any other diamond sampling vessel. It generates sampling results at more than double the speed of its predecessor.


The new vessel was officially introduced Thursday at an inauguration ceremony, which was attended by De Beers and Namibian officials, including the ship's namesake, Namibia's founding president Sam Nujoma.

“Offshore diamond mining is becoming increasingly important in meeting global demand for diamonds as many of the major onshore deposits have now been discovered," said Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group. "The mv SS Nujoma will allow even more of Namibia’s high-quality offshore diamonds to be discovered and mined, ensuring a strong future for Namibia’s diamond industry, as well as the global diamond market.”


In 2016, Debmarine Namibia, a 50/50 joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Namibia and the De Beers Group, mined more than 1.2 million carats of high-quality diamonds off the shore of the southwestern edge of the African continent. According to The Wall Street Journal, the mining operation yields a handful of diamonds for every 180 tons of material processed.

De Beers predicts that it will take about 50 years to “mine out” the licensed area that covers 2,300 square miles. It starts about three miles offshore and extends into the ocean an additional 10 to 20 miles.

The partnership is the single biggest contributor to Namibia’s economy and delivers more than $781 million in revenue annually. Since 2002, Debmarine Namibia has been the only company in the world to mine diamonds offshore.

While sea-based diamonds account for just 4% of De Beers’s annual production by carat weight, they account for 13% by value. This is because 95% of the diamonds pulled from the ocean floor are of gem-quality. This compares to just 20% of gem-quality diamonds coming from De Beers’s top mine in Botswana. Some experts surmise that the diamonds in the ocean have endured such a pounding for so long that only the gem-quality ones could stay intact.

Geologists believe that many eons ago, the Orange River ferried precious diamonds from the center of South Africa westward all the way to the Atlantic coast — eventually scattering millions of carats across the ocean floor.

Credits: Images courtesy of De Beers; Map via Google Maps.
June 20th, 2017
The three-headed snake ring that notorious outlaw Clyde Barrow crafted in prison for the love of his life and partner in crime, Bonnie Parker, will be offered for sale at RR Auction in Boston later this month.


The silver-tone promise ring — featuring green and red jewels — was recovered from their bullet-riddled ’33 Ford Model B by Sheriff Smoot Schmid after the "Sowers Raid" in November 1933. Bonnie and Clyde fled on foot, escaping the police ambush despite wounds to their legs from the bullets that passed through the car. The legendary couple famously robbed banks and evaded the law for two years until they met a tragic demise in 1934. Bonnie was 23 and Clyde was 25.


This promise ring, which is expected to fetch $40,000+ at the auction house's “Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen” sale on June 24, is recorded in Sheriff Schmid’s inventory as “Bonnie Parker Ring (3 Silver Snakes with Tiny Jewels)."


An authentication paper written by New Hampshire-based graduate gemologist David H. Bellman explained that Clyde was a skilled amateur craftsman, dabbling in jewelry-making, leather craft and woodworking. He was also an accomplished musician.

The snake ring he crafted in 1930 while incarcerated at Eastham Prison Farm near Huntsville, Texas, bears his personal trademark, an arrow passing through the musical note "B." The arrow in his maker’s mark may be that of Cupid, symbolizing his love for Bonnie, or it may be a clever, graphical way to spell out his last name, [B]arrow. He likely carved the design from a block of wax and then fabricated the ring from copper using the lost-wax casting process. The final step was plating it in silver.

Among some of the other items known to have been made by Clyde while in jail are a beaded necklace given to his sister, Marie, a hand-tooled leather belt with metal studs and blue and red stones, and his own polished silver belt buckle with a five-pointed Texas Star in the center surrounded by abalone shell. Bellman noted that the leather belt, belt buckle and snake ring all exhibit similar styles of artistic approach and the same level of high-quality, though unrefined, craftsmanship.

The couple's exploits were romanticized in the 1967 blockbuster film, Bonnie and Clyde, with Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty playing the title roles. Bonnie and Clyde captured two Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography.

Interestingly, at the time of her death, Bonnie was wearing the wedding ring that was given to her by Roy Thornton, who she married just before her 16th birthday in 1926. Their marriage crumbled when Thornton was jailed in 1929. Bonnie met Clyde in 1930, and they immediately fell in love. Two months later, Clyde would become an inmate at Eastham Prison Farm, where he would test his jewelry-making skills. Although they were never formally engaged, the three-headed snake promise ring remains a powerful symbol of two of America's highest-profile antiheroes.

On May 23, 1934, Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed by police officers near the town of Sailes, in Bienville Parish, La.

Credits: Jewelry images courtesy of RR Auction; Bonnie and Clyde photo by one of the Barrow gang [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
June 21st, 2017
The 18.4-carat “Rockefeller Emerald” set a new world auction record for the highest per-carat price ever achieved for an emerald when it fetched $5.5 million yesterday at Christie's New York, which is headquartered, quite fittingly, in Rockefeller Center.


Described by Christie's as possessing mesmerizing color and impeccable clarity, the Colombian emerald was originally purchased in 1930 as part of a pendant brooch by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., for his wife, Abby. After Abby passed away in 1948, Rockefeller asked New York jeweler Raymond C. Yard to disassemble the Van Cleef & Arpels brooch so the individual emeralds from the setting could be distributed among the Rockefeller children. Yard set the center emerald in a platinum ring and Rockefeller gifted it to his son, David.


"This is supremely natural beauty," Rahul Kadakia, Christie's International Head of Jewelry, told CNBC. "This truly is the finest emerald that's ever come up for sale at auction, or anywhere else in the world."

The ring features the octagonal step-cut emerald flanked on either side by trapezoid and circular-cut diamonds.

Christie's noted that the intense color and distinct saturation that typifies a Colombian emerald is illustrated perfectly in this remarkable stone. American Gemological Laboratories described the stone as "exceptional," possessing what AGL calls an "unusual combination of size, provenance, absence of treatment and quality factors [that contribute] favorably to its rarity and desirability."

The Rockefeller Emerald's per-carat price of $304,878 edged out the $281,329 achieved by the previously record holder — a 23.46-carat emerald-and-diamond pendant brooch formerly owned by actress Elizabeth Taylor. That Bulgari brooch was sold by Christie's New York for $6.6 million in 2011 as part of the landmark auctions of “The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor” and still claims the record for the highest price ever paid for an emerald jewel.

Members of the Rockefeller family are often characterized as American royalty. John D. Rockefeller Jr. was the only son among five children of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller, America's first billionaire. During the Great Depression, "Junior" developed Rockefeller Center, an impressive complex of midtown Manhattan office buildings, which he called the "city within a city."

"It's very, very cool that we have this city within a city, selling the stone that belonged to the man who built it," Kadakia told CNBC.

Credits: Rockefeller Emerald images courtesy of Christie's.
June 22nd, 2017
Earlier this month, airline passenger Kana Chi-Murenbeeld had just cleared the security checkpoint at New York's Albany International Airport when she looked down at her engagement ring and was horrified to see that a prong had broken off and her pear-shaped diamond was missing from the setting.


“I have never in my life been so panicked and upset in an airport, let alone anywhere else in public before,” wrote Kana Chi-Murenbeeld in note to TSA. Married only three years, the young woman had worn the diamond ring every day since her engagement in 2013.

Overcome with despair, the Fort Lauderdale resident sank into a seat at the back of the checkpoint area and cried.

Supervisory Transportation Security Officer Louetta “Rainy” Littman spotted the distraught passenger and assured her that her diamond was "not lost yet."

While a group of TSA officers continued to screen passengers, other officers were on their hands and knees looking for the diamond. They scoured the area from the ticket document checking station through the entire checkpoint lane, going through the stack of bins, peering under machines and using flashlights in the hope of seeing a reflection bouncing off the diamond.


After about 10 minutes, Transportation Security Officer Steven Kaminski glanced at a bin with a tissue left inside of it.

“Nobody had looked in that bin yet, so I looked in and there it was,” he said. “I just wanted to help her out. I know I would have been disappointed if I had lost a valuable item like that and nobody had helped me.”

Chi-Murenbeeld was quick to thank the entire TSA crew, and especially the man who saved the day.


“She squeezed the air out of me with a huge hug,” Kaminsky said. She also hugged all of the other officers who were involved in the diamond hunt.

“The amazingly kind and caring supervisor on duty was on top of the situation right away, having her team of officers scour the area as well as calm me down with her optimistic attitude,” noted Chi-Murenbeeld. “I have traveled all around the world and can say in all honesty that I have never met such an amazing team of workers in the airline or security industry.”

Credits: Steve Kaminiski and Albany TSA team photos courtesy of TSA. Ring photo courtesy of Kana Chi-Murenbeeld.
June 23rd, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, a love-struck Brad Paisley is about to propose to his girlfriend, but accidentally leaves the engagement ring at home in 2001's "You Have That Effect On Me."


In the song, Paisley assumes the role of a young man who is so head-over-heels in love that he can hardly think straight. He tells his girlfriend how anxious he's been during the past few weeks — that he's been haunted by the vision of getting down on one knee and forgetting what to say. Each morning, while brushing his teeth, he's rehearsed the lines, but still can't get them memorized.

He purchased the ring of her dreams, but when it was finally time to pop the question, something was still not right...

Paisley sings, "You've had your eyes on a 2-carat ring / I finally went out and I bought it / Right now it's at home sittin' on my TV / Would you believe I forgot it."

Our hero tells us why he deserves a free pass for his absentmindedness: "You can't blame me 'cause it's plain to see that you have that effect on me."

The role of an awkward suitor comes naturally to Paisley, who famously fell in love with actress Kimberly Williams in 1991, but didn't get the courage to call her until 10 years later. Williams starred in 1991's Father of the Bride, and Paisley developed an instant crush when he saw her on the big screen. His feelings only grew stronger when he saw her in Father of the Bride II in 1995. It took another six years before he would finally contact the actress and convince her to go out on a date.

Williams told that they "fell for each other fast." They met in 2001, were engaged in August of 2002 and tied the knot in March of 2003.

"You Have That Effect On Me" was the 11th track of Part II, his second studio album — a release that rose to #3 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart and #31 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.

Born in West Virginia, Bradley Douglas “Brad” Paisley was introduced to country music by his grandfather, Warren Jarvis, who gave the eight-year-old his first guitar, a Sears Danelectro Silvertone. Jarvis taught his grandson to play, and by the age of 10 Paisley was already performing at his church.

While in junior high, Paisley was doing a show at a local Rotary Club, when he was discovered by a program director for a Wheeling, W.V., radio station. He was invited to be a guest on the popular radio show “Wheeling Jamboree” and the rest is history.

Paisley has sold more than 12 million albums, won three Grammy Awards, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, 14 Country Music Association Awards and two American Music Awards. In 2001, at the age of 28, he became the youngest artist ever to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

In 2010, Paisley performed at the National Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (see photo, above).

Please check out the audio track of Paisley performing "You Have That Effect on Me." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"You Have That Effect On Me"
Written by Brad Paisley and Frank Rogers. Performed by Brad Paisley.

Every morning the last couple of weeks
In between shaving and brushing my teeth
I'd lean on the sink and practice my lines
By now you would think they'd be memorized

But leave it to me to come all this way
Get down on one knee and forget what to say
I'm at a loss, should have known this is how it would be
'Cause you have that effect on me

I must admit I still don't understand
Why I lose my head holding your hand
There's no explanation, no simple excuse
For this intoxication I feel around you

And now truth be known since I've met you girl
I've been walkin' around in my own little world
One look in my eyes and darlin' any fool could see
That you have that effect on me

You've had your eyes on a 2-carat ring
I finally went out and I bought it
Right now it's at home sittin' on my TV
Would you believe I forgot it

But you can't blame me 'cause it's plain to see
That you have that effect on me
Yeah, you have that effect on me
Girl, you have that effect on me

Credits: Image by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
June 25th, 2017
Grant Tribbett swept two ladies off their feet in late May when he popped the question to his girlfriend, Cassandra Reschar, and then, moments later, asked her five-year-old daughter, Adrianna, if he could be her daddy. Both ladies said, "Yes."


While the 29-year-old Tribbett proposed to Reschar with a traditional diamond engagement ring, Adrianna received a heart necklace to symbolize the permanent piece of his heart that she will always have with her.


"I knew proposing to Cassandra [meant] that I also would be committing to a lifetime of fatherhood. So what better way to ask the love of my life to marry me than to ask her beloved daughter to get the honor to be her daddy?" Tribbett told ABC News.

Reschar, 26, gave her account of the momentous event on "How He Asked," the Instagram page managed by The Knot: "After proposing to me, Grant got back down to propose to my daughter. He said, 'Adrianna can I be your daddy, to promise to love and protect you for the rest of your life?' As soon as he spoke those sweet words, I once again broke down in tears. Not the cute kind of tears either, the bawling type tears. My little heart could not take so much love! Adrianna replied, “YES!” and then screaming with joy she said, "I FINALLY GET A DADDY, MOMMY, I FINALLY GET A DADDY!'"

Reschar concluded, "My daughter and I both got our fairy tale ending..."


The heartwarming two-for-one proposal took place on a picturesque bridge inside Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve in Fishers, Ind. Tribbett had arranged for his photographer friend, Mandi Gilliland, to hide near the bridge so she could capture the moment. The resulting photos are spectacular. You can see the series at "How He Asked." Click this link.

The future groom recently moved from St. Louis to Westfield, Ind., to be closer to Reschar and her daughter. The couple will be hosting 125 guests at a barn wedding in December.

Credits: Photos via
June 27th, 2017
Syd Pearson, a 68-year-old metal detector hobbyist from Down Under, dug up a 151.6-ounce nugget at a secret location near Bendigo, Australia, fulfilling a 37-year dream of finding "The Big One." The golden treasure netted a $227,000 windfall for the pensioner.


The former sanitation engineer said that his discovery actually took place in December, but he kept it a secret for security reasons.

He told the media that he was enjoying his favorite pastime when the hum from his metal detector signaled a sizable find. He poked his pick axe into the soil and was astonished by the distinctive "clunk" sound that echoed back at him. It was the sound of gold.


He carefully pried out the nugget that had been lying just under the surface and held it with two hands. He said he was "gobsmacked" by the experience.

“I never let it go, I just sat there and shook,” he said.


Pearson joked that he was shaking so much that he didn't need to stir the cup of tea he made for himself right after the discovery.

“It’s not just the value of it,’’ Pearson told The Herald Sun. “I’ve achieved something I spent 37 years trying to do. I always dreamt of finding the big one. I was persistent and never gave up.’’

The nugget — which he named "The Lady Catherine" in honor of his wife — was determined to be about 96% pure, the equivalent of 23-karat gold. Based on the spot price of gold, the precious metal content would be worth $183,404. The Aussie press has reported that the nugget was valued at nearly AUD$300,000, or about $227,000. Apparently, the rarity of the nugget warrants a premium of 24%.

While The Lady Catherine is a huge nugget by most standards, it's barely 7% the weight of “The Welcome Stranger,” which was discovered near Moliagul, Victoria, in 1869. That record-setting nugget weighed a staggering 2,300 ounces (143.75 pounds) and would have a precious metal value today of more than $3 million.

In the months between his initial discovery and now, Pearson has successfully sold the nugget to an anonymous U.S. collector. But, before he did, he commissioned two replicas of the nugget — one for himself and one for the Melbourne Museum.

Pearson used his earnings to pay down his home mortgage and invest in bathroom renovations. He's also planning to go on a houseboat holiday.

Australia is experiencing a mini Gold Rush, with thousands of metal detector enthusiasts returning to the "Golden Triangle" in western Victoria to seek their fortune. The area’s first Gold Rush period was in the 1850s.

Credits: Screen captures via Map by GoogleMaps.
June 28th, 2017
More than 2,500 Israeli schoolchildren helped unearth a trove of 900-year-old jewelry at the Givat Tittora excavation site in Modi’in, about 20 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Among the items found were bronze and silver rings, bracelets and earrings dating from the Crusader period.


Local students from the fourth to 12th grades got a chance to learn about history while literally playing in the dirt. Over the past year, the students and other volunteers from the community have successfully exposed the inner courtyard of a Crusader fortress, where its occupants cooked and baked for hundreds of years during the Middle Ages.


“It seems that the cooks of the time were not sufficiently careful with the jewelry they wore while cooking and baking, since numerous pieces of jewelry have been found in the excavation, some made of bronze and silver,” explained Avraham Tendler, excavation director for the Israel Antiquities Authority.


Other artifacts found at the site included clay ovens, cooking pots, jars and serving dishes. They also identified food remains, such as olive pits and animal bones.

Nine-year-old volunteer Kinneret Goodman told the Times of Israel that participating in the dig was "as good as going to the beach."

Said the fourth grader, "You get to find things and then you can take pictures and remember the time that you found things from hundreds of years ago, and even more."


Tendler said that the excavation site has yielded artifacts left behind by a long line of inhabitants dating back to the Chalcolithic period (c. 6,000 years ago). The hilltop site has been a popular settlement due to its strategic location on the route from the Mediterranean coast to Jerusalem, as well as its proximity to fertile valleys, which were able to support food production.


The cultural-educational archaeological program is jointly sponsored by the Israel Antiquities Authority and the municipality of Givat Tittora. The program gives local students a unique opportunity to work alongside professional archaeologists in an historical setting.

“The enthusiasm begins with the younger generation, with activities carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the schools, and makes its way into the homes, to the parents and the extended family," noted Vered Bosidan, project coordinator for the Israel Antiquities Authority. "It is there that the seeds are sown that result in the development of an awareness of antiquity preservation.”

The Israel Antiquities Authority anticipates that the Givat Tittora project will continue for many years as local schoolchildren and residents carry on the task of peeling away ancient layers, exploring its treasures and being connected to them in an exciting, hands-on way.

Credits: Images courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
June 29th, 2017
Despite their obsession with technology, millennials prefer to shop in physical stores, according to a new survey released by CouponFollow. The study reveals that while millennials love their mobile devices and are likely to use them to research items online, when it comes to closing the deal, most of them will end up buying the products in a traditional store.


Understanding how millennials shop is crucial to the evolution of retail sales strategies. Those born between 1982 and 1996 make up the largest generation in human history, with more than 80 million members in the U.S. alone. They pump nearly $600 billion into the U.S. economy annually and are poised to inherit $30 trillion from their Baby Boomer parents. Today, millennials account for 28% of all daily per-person consumer spending — a figure that could rise to 35% by 2030, according to CouponFollow, a website that provides online coupon codes to consumers.

Here are the most important takeaways from CouponFollow's "Millennial Shopping Report Summer 2017," which outlines the trends, attitudes and behaviors of 1,000 Americans between the ages of 20 and 35 from all 50 states...

• According to the survey, 53% of millennials make the majority of their purchases in brick-and-mortar stores. Exactly 31% report that most of their purchases are made online via desktop computer and 16% make the majority of their purchases via a mobile device.

• Younger millennials (ages 20-23) are more likely to shop at brick-and-mortar stores. The survey reveals that 58% of younger millennials make the majority of their purchases offline. That number is five percentage points higher than the generational average.

• More than three in four millennials will browse the internet before making a purchase. When millennials research a product both online and offline, they’re more likely make the purchase at a traditional store. Specifically, 67% of millennials who conduct this level of research will make their purchase offline, while 33% will head for the online shopping cart.

• When shopping online, millennials are most impacted by savings, free shipping and peer reviews, and least impacted by personalization and checkout ease. Nearly 80% of online shoppers noted that they are "greatly impacted" by finding deals and saving money, while 67% are “greatly impacted” by the option of free shipping. Six in 10 said they are “greatly impacted” by product reviews and feedback.

• On average, more than half of millennials search for coupons on the internet before making an online or offline purchase. Seventy percent of those purchasing via desktop will seek an internet coupon, while 52% of their brick-and-mortar counterparts will do the same.

The analysts at CouponFollow believe that as millennials advance in age and spending power, so too must the strategies developed and implemented by America’s retailers.

Their advice: By fusing together the online and offline shopping experience, brands can earn considerable market share by adopting a hybrid approach to commerce that’s rooted in value and designed to empower authentic consumer engagement across a rapidly evolving suite of channels and platforms.

Credit: Image by Porapak Apichodilok/Creative Commons CC0.
June 30th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the brainy British performer who blinded us with science in 1982, returns with "Cruel," a deeply personal song about a one-sided love affair. Thomas Dolby, in a haunting duet with honey-voiced Eddi Reader, uses jewelry imagery to tell the story of an unrepentant boyfriend who refuses to change his ways.


He sings, "You were a shining pearl / In a broken shell / Under moonlight / And I was cruel."

Dolby and Reader trade verses throughout the song, but join voices in a line about chasing false hope.

Together they sing, "But when my tears are washed away / You'll still be blind / Skin-diving / For jewels."

"Cruel" was released in 1992 as the second track from Dolby's fourth studio album Astronauts & Heretics. Although the song hardly achieved the success of his biggest hit, “She Blinded Me With Science," Dolby told in 2008 that "Cruel" was one of three songs that best defined him as an artist.

When asked by what he wanted to be remembered for, he answered, "My more obscure songs like 'Screen Kiss,' 'I Love You Goodbye' and 'Cruel.' I think it’s inevitable when you have hits as big as I had with “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Hyperactive,” that still get played on the radio 20 years later, people will tend to assume those songs define your music. But in my case, the music I really care most about is my quieter, more personal side."

He told that he was pleased that his big hits gave people an inroad to discover the rest of his music, but lamented that his record label wouldn't take the risk of releasing his "quieter" songs as singles.

Thomas Morgan Robertson was born in London in 1958. The son of an internationally distinguished professor of classical Greek art and archaeology, Dolby sang in a choir at age 11 and learned to sight-read music shortly thereafter. The artist's stage name is a nod to Dolby noise-reduction cassettes. His schoolmates teased him about the Dolby cassette player that he carried everywhere.

Dolby is primarily known for synthpop, a subgenre of new wave music that first became prominent in the late 1970s. Dolby said he "got his hands on a kit-built synthesizer and never looked back." Early in his career, he promoted himself as a kind of a musical mad scientist. Later on, he would become a technology entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. Today, he's a Professor of the Arts at Johns Hopkins University.

Please check out the audio track of Dolby and Welsh songstress Reader singing "Cruel." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

Written by Thomas Dolby. Performed by Dolby with guest vocal by Eddi Reader.

Cruel - what a thing to do
I've been cruel to you such a long time
And how can I hide my shame
'Cause there I go again
At the wrong time

And I know that it was just the fear of flying
And I know it's hard to keep myself from crying

But when my tears are washed away
You'll still be blind
For jewels

You were a shining pearl
In a broken shell
Under moonlight
And I was cruel

And I know that it was just the fear of flying
And I know it's hard to keep myself from crying
But when my tears are washed away
You'll still be blind
For jewels
Cruel - I've been such a fool
And I'll be missing you
Such a long time
I was cruel

Credit: Image by Arthur Mouratidis from United States [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.