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Articles in October 2017

October 2nd, 2017
On November 14, Christie's Geneva will offer for sale the largest D-flawless diamond to ever hit the auction block. The 163.41-carat emerald-cut diamond was cut from a 404.20-carat rough named “4 de Fevereiro," which was discovered at Angola's Lulo mine in February 2016.


It was bought by de Grisogono founder Fawaz Gruosi and unveiled to clients at the company’s annual party during the 2016 Cannes film festival in May, according to Town & Country.

The rough diamond was studied in Antwerp and cut in New York. There, a team of 10 diamond-cutting specialists pooled their talents to map, plot, cleave, laser-cut and polish the gem into a stunning 163.41 carat emerald-cut stone.


The transformation began on June, 29, 2016, when an 80-year-old master diamond cleaver, Ben Green, performed a cut along a grain line. After 11 months of work, the polished stone was ready to be sent to the Gemological Institute of America, where it earned its D-flawless, Type IIa grade. Type IIa diamonds are the purest of all diamonds because they are composed solely of carbon with virtually no trace elements in the crystal lattice.


The diamond is now the centerpiece of an asymmetrical necklace, featuring cascading pear-shaped emeralds on the left side and cool, white emerald-cut diamonds down the right. The company chose to use emeralds in the design because the green color symbolizes good luck. The final concept, named "The Art of de Grisogono," was one of 50 proposed by the firm's design team and took more than 1,700 hours to complete.

“I never thought I would work with a 163.41-carat diamond of this quality,” Gruosi noted in a Christie’s press release. “I have never had a problem finding creative ideas, but this time there was the immense pressure of ‘dressing’ such an amazing diamond. I couldn’t do something very simple or that has already been seen. I needed a design that is outside-the-box.”

Added Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Christie’s Jewels, “Over our 251-year history, Christie’s has had the privilege of handling the world’s rarest and most historic diamonds. The sensational 163.41-carat perfect diamond suspended from an elegant emerald and diamond necklace propels de Grisogono into a class of their own.”

“4 de Fevereiro" means February 4th in Portuguese, and the name is associated with an Angolan national holiday marking the start of an armed struggle for independence in 1961. The 404.20-carat rough is the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered in Angola.

The fabulous necklace will embark on an exhibition tour, with stops in Hong Kong, London, Dubai, New York and Geneva. The auction is set for November 14 at 7pm GMT at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva.

Credits: Images via PRNewsfoto/de GRISOGONO; Christie's.
October 3rd, 2017
For the first time ever, a satellite will be launched into space solely as an artistic gesture. The brainchild of artist Trevor Paglen, the 100-foot-long inflatable sculpture looks like an elongated diamond and can reflect sunlight while orbiting the nightside of the Earth.


The reflections off the Mylar-like surface will be so bright that skywatchers will be able track the "diamond" moving across the night sky without the aid of a telescope.


The tightly packed, deflated sculpture is scheduled to make its space voyage aboard Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in the spring of 2018. A satellite holding the "Orbital Reflector" will jettison from the rocket at a distance of 350 miles from the Earth. Once deployed, the satellite will shoot out a 4-inch "brick" holding the sculpture, which will then inflate to its full size.


The artist and engineers behind the project debated whether the reflector should be a sphere or a diamond. They finally settled on the diamond shape because it could deliver "bigger, brighter and better in flight than a sphere."


"I think that one of the most important things that art can do is give you a reason to look at something, almost give you permission to look at something," Paglen stated. "The Orbital Reflector project is saying 'Here, I'm going to give you a reason to look up at the sky and to think about what it is that you're looking at.'"


Skywatches will be able to locate the reflector using a free app called Star Walk 2. The app can deliver alerts when the high-flying attraction passes over a particular area. The sculpture will circle the Earth once every 90 minutes. The best visibility will be when the sun reflects off the "diamond" in the few hours after dusk and before dawn.

The project, which has a total budget of $1.3 million, is a collaboration of Paglen and the Nevada Museum of Art. A Kickstarter campaign supporting the project is within a few thousand dollars of its $70,000 goal, with five days still left in the campaign. Other sponsors already have contributed 60% of the total budget. The Kickstarter campaign is helping to close the budget gap.

Amanda Horn, director of communications at the Nevada Museum of Art, told that more important than providing a major source of funding, the Kickstarter campaign is intended to be the official global announcement of the project and provides an "opportunity for people to participate."


Contributors to the project can earn official stickers, patches, stick pins and more.

"An artwork that pushes the boundaries of what we traditionally think of as 'art' challenges the way we engage with the world," explained the project's Kickstarter page. "Orbital Reflector encourages all of us to look up at the night sky with a renewed sense of wonder, to consider our place in the universe and to re-imagine how we live together on this planet."

The diamond-shaped balloon will stay in orbit approximately two months, after which it will fall through the Earth's atmosphere and burn up.

Credits: Images courtesy of Trevor Paglen/Nevada Museum of Art; Screen captures via
October 4th, 2017
Mili the Giraffe, one of the most popular attractions at Dickerson Park Zoo, literally stuck her neck out to help a Missouri man with a surprise marriage proposal.


Cody Hall had arranged for him and his girlfriend, Makayla Blankey, to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo in Springfield, Mo. The special access would give the couple an intimate look at how the zookeepers feed and train the friendly 15-foot-tall giraffe.

What Blankey didn't know was that Hall had conspired with zoo spokesperson Joey Powell to enlist Mili as the central figure in a unique and truly unforgettable marriage proposal. The animal would be fitted with a lanyard necklace, and dangling from the necklace would be the engagement ring.

The zoo had always been a place of wonder for Hall and he dreamed of proposing to Blankey at the zoo since the day he realized that she was the one.


"They showed us the training exercise, getting Mili to point at a big tennis ball with her nose," Hall said. "Then they gave Makayla a tree branch to feed the giraffe, and when it craned its neck out, the ring was hanging."


Hall detached the ring from the lanyard and got down one knee to pop the question. Mili seemed to be enjoying the romantic moment as she dipped her head toward the couple.


"Marriage was something we had talked about, so I knew she'd say, 'Yes,'" Hall told the Springfield News-Leader. "But it's a different feeling when you ask the question and she says, 'Yes.' It's still surreal."

Hall and Blankey, both from Willard, Mo., are planning a spring 2018 wedding.

Zoo officials joked that Mili should be part of that special day.

"Congrats to Cody and Makayla," noted a photo caption on the zoo's official Facebook page. "We think Mili should be your honorary ring bearer on your big day."

On her Facebook page, Blankey posted a photo of her and her boyfriend embracing at the entrance of the Dickerson Park Zoo. Her caption read: "I'm so in love." She also posted a group shot with Mili posing in the background.


In a gracious thank-you note on the zoo's Facebook page, Hall wrote, "The zoo was a place of wonder and special to me before, but now Dickerson Park Zoo, you all hold a very dear and special place in my life which I'll never forget. I can't thank you all enough."

"I dreamt of this as soon as I knew that Makayla was the one for me," he added. "You turned my dream into a reality and your generosity touched me in such an unexplainable way. I cannot wait until the future when we can bring our own family to the zoo and share the wonder, knowledge and kindness you all have shown us.

Credits: Images via;
October 5th, 2017
Emblazoned with 394 hand-set diamonds weighing a total of 9.25 carats, the eye-popping Pittsburgh Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup ring commemorates the team's impressive back-to-back championships. It was the first time in 19 years that a National Hockey League team has accomplished that feat.


The face of the ring features the iconic Penguins logo rendered in diamonds atop a 14-karat yellow gold triangle set with 10 canary yellow diamonds. Mounted on the penguin's torso is a .75-carat pear-shaped white diamond, and on the blade of its hockey stick is a baguette-shaped diamond. The number "5" creates the eye of the penguin, a subtle nod to the team's five Stanley Cups. Above and below the skating penguin are the words STANLEY CUP and CHAMPIONS in raised 14-karat yellow gold letters on a yellow gold background.

The layering of the yellow and white elements give the ring a three-dimensional appearance.

Of the ring's nearly 400 diamonds, 199 of them are used on the face of the ring to accomplish a full-domed waterfall effect, making for smooth, cascading edges.


The right side of the ring features the year “2017” set with 23 pavé diamonds. Just below are five white gold Stanley Cups, each marked with the year of the championship.

The left side of the ring has the recipient’s name and number. Framing the number are two Stanley Cups, each adorned in pavé-set diamonds. Tucked under the number is a banner that reads “BACK 2 BACK.”

The interior of the band is engraved with the team's motto, “PLAY THE RIGHT WAY,” as well as the record of the four playoff series and the logos of the opponents the Penguins defeated on the way to the championship.

National Jeweler reported that Penguins players with three Stanley Cup wins got three extra diamonds on the back side of their rings. Hall of Famer Mario Lemeiux's ring has five extra diamonds, representing the two Cups he won as a player and the three he's won as an owner.

Jostens noted that the Penguins' rings represent the first time a championship ring has been crafted using a special technique that allowed for the insertion of solid 14-karat yellow gold panels on each side.

The players, coaches and staff received their rings in a private ceremony on Monday at the the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

“It always is a very special day, and a dream come true, for an NHL player, coach or staff member to receive a Stanley Cup ring,” said David Morehouse, president and CEO of the Penguins. “We want to thank everyone at Jostens for doing a great job in creating this phenomenal ring to honor our back-to-back Stanley Cup champions. We are proud of what they accomplished and proud of what they mean to our city. The ring is a lasting tribute to their season of excellence.”

Credits: Photos courtesy of Jostens.
October 6th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Tremolo frontman Justin Dillon sings about a treasured piece of jewelry in the group's 2005 release, "Promise Ring."


Dillon believes that beyond being a symbol of the bond between him and his girlfriend, the promise ring will protect them from "the bitter tide."

He sings, "Long ago, I drew a line into the sand / Jumped across and held your hand / Band of gold protect us from the bitter tide / That comes to wash away our words with time / Hello you, Hello me / Hello hello, can't you see / Love is more than what it seems / So I wear your promise ring."

Described by one reviewer as being "ethereal and catchy," "Promise Ring" is the fifth track from the San Francisco-based band's first full-length album, Love Is The Greatest Revenge. The album is a collection of songs written and recorded by the band during 2003 and 2004.

Trivia: An early demo version of "Promise Ring" was used in the 2003 Mandy Moore flick, How to Deal.

When the album came out in August of 2005, Tremolo announced that 50% of their profits would be dedicated to the "Love>Revenge Fund." Interestingly, the fund allowed fans to determine which organizations would benefit. At the time, the fund's website described Tremolo's debut album as “an auto-biographical social commentating post-deconstructionist protest record” that asks “what if love was the greatest revenge” and “music could change the world?”

In an interview with, Dillon described Tremolo’s music as “one hand holding onto the roots of the grass and one hand reaching to the stars in the sky."

"I’m looking for this 'otherliness,' this transcendence. That’s the reason I think music is here," he said. "I want to be part of touching something that is greater than the sum of its parts."

In 2011, Dillon founded the award-winning website Slavery Footprint in conjunction with the U.S. State Department. The site, which asks the question, “How Many Slaves Work For You?” allows consumers to visualize how their consumption habits are connected to modern-day slavery.

Please check out the audio track of "Promise Ring." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Promise Ring"
Written by Justin Dillon. Performed by Tremolo.

Long ago, I drew a line into the sand
Jumped across and held your hand
Band of gold protect us from the bitter tide
That comes to wash away our words with time

Hello you, Hello me
Hello hello, can't you see
Love is more than what it seems
So I wear your promise ring

Promises made under the rite of spring
Heavy under summer's sting
Say you know,
I'd run to where the spaceships land
A million miles between my mouth and hand

Hello you, Hello me
Hello hello, can't you see
Love is more than what it seems
So I wear your promise ring

Love labors through the night
It bleeds and never fights
And like a seed it lives because it dies

So don't forget, just like cash
I walk the line
Like a soldier guarding what is mine

Hello you, Hello me
Hello hello, can't you see
Love is more than what it seems
So I wear your promise ring

Credit: Promotional image via
October 10th, 2017
Carrying an asking price of $5 million, the recently revealed "Star of Jolie" weighs 888.88 carats and is said to be the largest gem-quality star sapphire in the world.


The pear-shaped, double-cabochon black star sapphire, which is named for actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie, made its debut last week when jewelry designer Robert Procop unveiled it at a press event in Costa Mesa, Calif.


The sapphire hangs as a pendant from an 18-karat rose gold necklace punctuated by 70 additional black star sapphires weighing a total of 104.42 carats.


The 888.88-carat Star of Jolie was cut from a 1,113-carat rough gem that had been discovered in Queensland, Australia, in 1937. The rough sapphire had been owned by Beverly Hills-based gem dealer James Kazanjian and eventually sold to Procop by James' son, Michael, in 2011.

The unique optical phenomenon responsible for the shimmering rays of a star sapphire is called asterism. The word is derived from the Latin word "astrum," for “star.”

According to the Smithsonian, the asterism is actually caused by titanium trapped in the corundum while the crystal is forming. As the crystal cools, the titanium orients itself as needle-like structures in three directions. The cabochon cut's smooth, rounded surface allows the light to reflect off the titanium, revealing a six-legged star.

All the proceeds from the sale of the Star of Jolie will be dedicated to EPCC: Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, the non-profit organization Jolie founded in 2006 to build schools for children in conflict-affected regions of the world. The school she established in war-torn Afghanistan in 2013 educates 200 to 300 girls each year.

The Star of Jolie will be on temporary display at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., starting in December.

Credits: Jewelry images courtesy of Robert Procop. Angelina Jolie image by Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
October 11th, 2017
The practice of using gemstones to vitalize water dates back to ancient Greece. The energy emitted from opals, garnets, emeralds, amethysts, quartz or even diamond slivers can boost water's alkalinity and oxygenation, and some believe the gems have the ability to infuse H2O with their own unique properties and characteristics.


Because of the impractical nature of dropping loose stones into a water glass or other container, Germany-based VitaJuwel devised an elegantly designed water bottle that contains a removable glass pod filled with an assortment of gemstones.


According to the company, "the gems inside VitaJuwel vials transfer their energy to the water that surrounds the vial improving the water’s vitalization level."

Interestingly, the gem-filled glass pods are completely sealed and the gems never come in contact with the water. The benefits come from the subtle radiation of the gems, according to the company's website. The effect is similar to that of sun rays, magnetic rays or microwaves — radiation waves that can pass through glass. The company points to scientific evidence that the pods do, in fact, add alkalinity and oxygenation to the water in which they are submerged.

Each of the 18 interchangeable pods contains a unique combinations of gems, and each has a name that gives a clue to its potential health benefit.


For instance, "Wellness" contains a mix of amethyst, rose quartz and clear quartz. VitaJuwel claims that this blend aims to stimulate and soothe the mind and emotions, foster tranquility and support healthy and radiant skin.


"Fitness," which contains red jasper, magnesite and clear quartz, is said to promote physical endurance, detoxify and distribute energy throughout the body.


"Sunny Morning" has a bright mix of orange calcite and clear quartz. This blend promises to alleviate chronic fatigue and supports healthy hair, skin and nails, according the company.

Even if you're skeptical about the feel-good effects of gemstone-infused water, there is no denying that the gem-adorned VitaJuwel water bottles offer a beautiful and unique way to stay hydrated.

They are sold and distributed in the U.S. by and range in price from $78 to $340. Other products in the line include glass decanters, droplets and wands.

Credits: Images via
October 12th, 2017
Back in March, we recounted the amazing story of pastor and part-time miner Emmanuel Momoh, who extracted a 706-carat diamond from the sediment of a Sierra Leone riverbed using his bare hands and a sieve.


The shimmering yellowish specimen, which is slightly smaller than a hockey puck, is considered to be one of the 20 largest rough diamonds ever recorded.

As is required by Sierra Leone law, Momoh handed his lucky find over to the government and will be entitled to a portion of the final sale. But when the government put the diamond up for bid this past May, the highest offer of $7.7 million failed to meet the undisclosed reserve price.

Now, the 39-year-old pastor and a contingent from Sierra Leone's National Minerals Agency are visiting the international diamond center of Antwerp, Belgium, in search of a suitable buyer with deeper pockets. The team from Sierra Leone was set to meet with sales agents, auction houses and potential buyers.


"I'm expecting not less than $50 million from the diamond," Momoh told Agence France Presse.

The recent sales of two mammoth diamonds may offer a hint as to what Momoh's diamond will fetch on the international market.

Just last month, the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona — the second-largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found — was sold to British billionaire and diamantaire Laurence Graff for $53 million. In May of 2016, the 813-carat diamond named Constellation sold for $63 million.

The government's portion of the proceeds is earmarked to fund development projects throughout Sierra Leone.

Momoh discovered the 706-carat diamond along a river in the diamond-rich area of Kono. While diamonds are usually found within kimberlite pipes, over time, the pipes can be eroded by rivers and the diamonds will be washed downstream. It is extraordinarily rare to find an alluvial diamond that weighs hundreds of carats.

Credits: Video screen captures via
October 13th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you classic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Styx lead singer Dennis DeYoung searches for a pot of gold in the classic 1977 hit, "Come Sail Away."


An inspirational song about following one's dreams no matter how challenging the journey may be, "Come Sail Away" starts as a sweet ballad and then transitions into a powerful rock and roll anthem.

DeYoung sings, "We live happily forever so the story goes / But somehow we missed out on that pot of gold / But we'll try best that we can to carry on."

The lead singer revealed years later that he wrote the song to provide some inspiration to "carry on" during a down time in his life. Styx had achieved commercial success with 1973's "Lady," but then fell flat with its next two albums, Equinox (1975) and Crystal Ball (1976). He was hoping that "Come Sail Away" and the Grand Illusion album would turn their luck around. Up until that point, the band was an opening act, never the headliner.

Powered by the tremendous success of "Come Sail Away," Grand Illusion became the band's breakthrough album. It sold more than three million copies and set the stage for a run of four consecutive multi-platinum albums and 16 top-40 singles in the US. "Come Sail Away" charted at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and, 40 years later, is still one of the band's signature songs.

Formed in Chicago in 1972, Styx borrows its name from a mythological river that forms the boundary between Earth and the underworld. DeYoung revealed that after debating hundreds of options, the band members agreed on "Styx," because it was the only name no one in the group hated.

Styx continues to "carry on" with an active tour schedule that will see the band appearing over the next few months in Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and Ontario.

Please check out the video of Styx performing "Come Sail Away." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Come Sail Away"
Written by Dennis DeYoung. Performed by Styx.

I'm sailing away set an open course for the virgin sea
I've got to be free free to face the life that's ahead of me
On board I'm the captain so climb aboard
We'll search for tomorrow on every shore
And I'll try oh Lord I'll try to carry on

I look to the sea reflections in the waves spark my memory
Some happy some sad
I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had
We live happily forever so the story goes
But somehow we missed out on that pot of gold
But we'll try best that we can to carry on

A gathering of angels appeared above my head
They sang to me this song of hope and this is what they said
They said come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me

I thought that they were angels but to my surprise
They climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies
Singing, come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me

Credit: Image by Ralph Arvesen [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
October 16th, 2017
All eyes will be on the "Raj Pink," the world's largest known fancy intense pink diamond, when it hits the auction block at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva on November 15. The exceptional 37.30-carat, cushion-modified, brilliant-cut gem is estimated to fetch between $20 million and $30 million — but could yield much more.


The current record holder for a fancy intense pink diamond is the 24.78-carat “Graff Pink,” which sold for more than $46.1 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November of 2010. The rectangular-cut Graff Pink, which carries a clarity grade of VVS2, netted $1.86 million per carat.

The Raj Pink has a slightly lower clarity grade of VS1, but weighs 12.52 carats more than the Graff Pink. Sotheby's high estimate for the Raj Pink sets the per-carat price at $804,000, or less than half of what the Graff Pink earned per carat.

Auction watchers believe that the Raj Pink has the potential to crush the pre-sale estimates. The owner of the Raj Pink has chosen to remain anonymous.

“The discovery of any pink diamond is exceptional," noted David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, "but the Raj Pink's remarkable size and intensity of color places it in the rarefied company of the most important pink diamonds known.”

Discovered in 2015, the rough diamond that yielded the Raj Pink was studied for more than a year. It was then entrusted to a master cutter, who crafted it into an exceptional cushion-modified, brilliant-cut polished diamond.

The Gemological Institute of America characterized the Raj Pink as an “astonishing stone” and described its hue as “a very bright and ravishing fancy intense pink color.” The GIA also noted that it is rare for a diamond of such considerable weight to display such a "strong, unmodified pink color."

Of all diamonds submitted to the GIA each year, less than 0.02% are predominantly pink.

The Raj Pink will be on tour — along with other highlighted lots — during the weeks leading up to the November 15 auction. The exhibition will make stops in London (Oct. 13-17), Singapore (Oct. 20-21), Hong Kong (Oct. 23-24), Taiwan (Oct. 26-27), New York (Nov. 3-4) and Geneva (Nov. 11-15).

Credit: Image courtesy of Sotheby's.
October 17th, 2017
New York City bride-to-be Ashlee Palacio is a creature of habit. Every night, she follows the same bedtime routine and places her beloved three-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring in a special tray on her nightstand.


But, last Monday, Palacio broke her routine and fell asleep on the opposite side of her bed — with her engagement ring still on her finger.


In the middle of the night, half asleep, Palacio slipped the ring off and placed it on a night table amidst a bunch of Starburst candy wrappers.


On Tuesday morning, she slid the mess from her night table into a plastic white garbage bag and placed it in the trash.


When Palacio realized that her ring was gone, she called her fiancé, Mike Diamond (great name for this story), and told him she was sure the ring had accidentally ended up in the garbage.


"My first reaction was, ‘Are you kidding?!’” Diamond told CBS New York. “I thought she was joking around with me.”

To make matters worse, the garbage already had been picked up and was on its way to the dump.

Diamond quickly called the authorities at the NYC Department of Sanitation, who were able to identify the truck that serviced Palacio's neighborhood.

“As soon as they get the phone call, they freeze the truck so it can’t dump,” Department of Sanitation supervisor Louis Guglielmetti told CBS New York.


Guglielmetti diverted the truck to a waste transfer facility in New Jersey, where Diamond and a friend were invited to don hazmat suits and pick through very stinky garbage bags. Luckily, Palacio's building was the last one on the truck's route, so her white plastic bag with the black tie was expected to be one of the first to get unloaded from the truck.

“The truck came in and just dumped over a hundred bags just on the floor... I thought it was going to be impossible to find,” Diamond said.

Diamond and the friend had a few clues, however. They were looking for the candy wrappers and a Halloween cookie box.

Palacio, who was stuck at work during the drama, was kept up to date via Snapchat messages.


Within 15 minutes, Diamond had located the right bag. When he ripped it open, he saw the remnants of the Halloween treats and the shimmering diamond.

“I happened to see something glowing, and I said, 'You know, I think that’s it!’” Diamond told CBS New York.

Palacio received the great news via Snapchat.

“It’s them saying, ‘That’s the ring!’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my God!’ I’m like hysterical crying,” Palacio said.

Palacio told CBS New York that she is eternally grateful to her fiancé, the New York City Sanitation Department and everyone who went above and beyond to recover her ring.

Credits: Screen captures via CBS New York.
October 18th, 2017
Thousands of astronomers from around the globe joined together on Monday to confirm the first-ever sighting of two neutron stars colliding in space. In just one second, the "kilonova" generated the equivalent of 50 Earth masses of silver, 100 Earth masses of gold and 500 Earth masses of platinum.


The gold alone is estimated to be worth more than $100 octillion. That's $100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1 followed by 29 zeroes).

The collision, which was detected on August 17, settles the long-standing mystery of how rare precious metals and other “heavy” elements are formed.

“We already knew that iron came from a stellar explosion, the calcium in your bones came from stars, and now we know the gold in your wedding ring came from merging neutron stars,” University of California Santa Cruz’s Ryan Foley told the Associated Press.

Scientists described a scenario in which two ultra-dense neutron stars spiral around each other, moving closer and closer, until they eventually merge in a violent eruption. The material blasted into space contains a variety of heavy elements that are formed through a chain of nuclear reactions know as the "r-process."

After the first detection, astronomers from around the world were alerted and each of them pointed telescopes at the scene to record the visible light, radio waves, X-rays and gamma rays. Their equipment identified massive amounts of platinum, gold and silver.

"You smash these two things together at one-third the speed of light, and that's how you make gold," Duncan Brown, an astronomer at Syracuse University and a member of the research collaboration, told Business Insider.

The smashup took place 130 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Hydra.

Scientists had postulated for years that precious metals were likely forged by the clash of neutron stars, which are the ultra-dense cores of aged stars. A single teaspoon of this neutron-rich material is estimated to weigh roughly one billion tons.

In the two months following the neutron star collision, astronomers from around the world teamed up to make sense of the event, which some have called the "discovery of the century." The resulting research study lists 4,000 authors representing 910 institutions.

Scientists believe that neutron star mergers in our galaxy take place about once every 100,000 years. Because astronomers worldwide are listening to millions of galaxies, they expect to identify a few spectacular collisions per year.

Credit: Image by Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science.
October 19th, 2017
Kris Pond cried uncontrollably as she surveyed the still-smoking rubble on the property where her home once stood. Her Santa Rosa residence was one of nearly 6,000 obliterated by the catastrophic wildfires that have been tearing through Northern California since October 8.


An ABC News crew caught up with Pond and her husband, Mike, as they searched the ashes for her most beloved possession — a diamond engagement ring.


Despite the dangerous conditions, reporter Matt Gutman assisted the couple for more than an hour in what he termed an "exhaustive archaeological dig." Her shoes melted and the reporter's hands burned, but still they came up empty.

Gutman filed his heartbreaking report about the couple, but then was surprised to get a call from a cheerful Mike the next day.


Kris and Mike hadn't given up their search. They had returned to the site and found not only the elusive engagement ring, but also a second diamond ring that had been gifted to them by an uncle.


Gutman was able to deliver the good news during his in-depth followup report for ABC's Nightline.

The Ponds told ABC News that they are thankful for the help and kindness they have received during this difficult time. What's more, the unlikely discovery of the diamond rings offered a much-needed symbol of hope as they look to rebuild their lives.

The Northern California wildfires are some of the deadliest in California's history. More than 40 lives have been lost and 30,000 people are still evacuated from their homes.

Credits: Screen captures via
October 20th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you outstanding songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora perform a beautiful acoustic version of "Diamond Ring," a ballad they co-wrote with Desmond Child in 1988.


Featuring romantic lyrics, soaring harmonies and a memorable acoustic guitar solo by Sambora, "Diamond Ring" tells the story of a man who is head-over-heels in love and wants the world to know. The song's title symbolizes the ultimate commitment from a man who wants to be her "everything."

They sing, "Diamond ring, wear it on your hand / It's gonna tell the world, I'm your only man / Diamond ring, diamond ring / Baby, you're my everything, diamond ring."

During a 1995 concert, Bon Jovi told fans that "Diamond Ring" was one of his favorite collaborations with Sambora, but also recounted how it was the only song the duo ever "rewrote and rewrote and rewrote." "Diamond Ring" was originally intended to be released on the group's 1988 album New Jersey, but didn't quite make it. Then it was reworked and recorded to appear on 1992's Keep the Faith. Again, it didn't quite make it. Finally, the song was perfected and released as the 14th track of 1995's These Days.

Despite its official release in 1995, "Diamond Ring" was played live six times during Bon Jovi's "New Jersey Syndicate Tour," which ran from October 1988 to February 1990.

Many critics and fans believe These Days is Bon Jovi's best album. It charted in 21 countries, including #1 spots in Australia, Austria, Canada, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The album sold more than one million copies in the U.S., peaking at #9 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

Bon Jovi formed the group that bears his name in 1983. Over the past 34-plus years, Bon Jovi has sold more than 100 million records and performed more than 2,700 concerts in 50 countries. Bon Jovi and Sambora were inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009.

Please check out Bon Jovi and Sambora wowing a live audience during an inspired performance of "Diamond Ring." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Diamond Ring"
Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Desmond Child and Richard Sambora. Performed by Jon Bon Jovi and Richard Sambora.

Diamond ring, wear it on your hand
It's gonna tell the world, I'm your only man
Diamond ring, diamond ring
Baby, you're my everything, diamond ring

Red, red rose brought it home to you
Blood red rose, tells me that you're true
Red, red rose, blood-red rose
Like a fire inside that grows, blood-red rose

When you're hungry, I will fill you up
When you're thirsty, drink out of my loving cup
When you're crying, I'll be the tears for you
There's nothing that I wouldn't do for you

When you're hungry, I will fill you up
When you're thirsty, drink out of my loving cup
When you're crying, I'll be the tears for you
There's nothing that I wouldn't do for you

You know, I bleed every night you sleep
'Cause I don't know if I'm in your dreams
I want to be your everything...

Diamond ring, wear it on your hand
It's gonna tell the world, I'm your only man
Diamond ring, diamond ring
Baby, you're my everything, diamond ring
Darling, you're my everything, diamond ring
Now, you've got me on your string... Diamond ring

Credit: Screen capture via
October 23rd, 2017
"Le Grand Mazarin," the legendary 19.07-carat pink diamond that was once part of the French Crown Jewels, is expected to fetch between $6 million and $9 million at Christie's Geneva on November 14.


The magnificent square-cut stone has been in the collection of four kings, four queens, two emperors and two empresses, starting with the Sun King, Louis XIV, in 1661. Le Grand Mazarin was one of the many treasures sold at the famous auction of the French Crown Jewels in 1887.

Christie’s Europe and Asia Chairman Francois Curiel called Le Grand Mazarin “the diamond with the most prestigious and historic provenance still to be in private hands.”


Sourced at the Golconda mines, on India’s Deccan plateau, Le Grand Mazarin is named for Cardinal Jules Mazarin, who served as the Chief Minister to Kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV. Toward the end of his life, Mazarin assembled a collection of 18 exceptional gems that were said to be among the most beautiful jewels on the continent. Many were purchased from the royal families of Europe.


Of the 18 gems, eight were square-cut diamonds, the largest of which was named Le Grand Mazarin. Mazarin's collection became part of the French Crown Jewels and would remain in the possession of the French royal family for more than 225 years. Upon the cardinal's death in 1661, Le Grand Mazarin was bequeathed to King Louis XIV. At the time, the French ruler was just 23 years old.

The first person to wear Le Grand Mazarin was likely Louis’ wife, Maria Theresa of Austria. According to Christie's, after Maria Theresa’s death, Louis XIV added the Grand Mazarin to his "chain of diamonds," set in descending size order, on which it remained for many years.

In the late 1700s, 30 men broke into the royal treasury at the Garde-Meuble in Paris and stole the French Crown Jewels, including Le Grand Mazarin. Most of the thieves were eventually caught and sentenced to death, but their spoils were never recovered. One thief, however, begged to be spared. His portion of the spoils included Le Grand Mazarin and, in exchange for his life, he promised to return Le Grand Mazarin to the French authorities.

In 1810, Emperor Napoleon ordered jeweler François-Regnault Nitot to create a magnificent set of diamond jewelry for his wife, Marie-Louise. The set included a crown, diadem, necklace, comb, earrings, bracelets, belt and more. The diadem was set with the most beautiful of the crown diamonds, including Le Grand Mazarin.

Prestigious French jeweler Frédéric BoucheronIn purchased Le Grand Mazarin during the famous sale of the French Crown Jewels in May of 1887.

In 1962, the Louvre sponsored a presentation of the most important jewels ever produced in France. Listed as item #22 of the exhibition was Le Grand Mazarin. The gem would remain out of the public spotlight for the next 55 years.

Le Grand Mazarin just completed a two-day exhibition at Christie's London and will be seen next at Christie's New York on November 6 and 7. The gem returns to Geneva for a pre-sale exhibition starting November 9 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. Le Grand Mazarin will be offered for sale during Christie's Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva on the evening of November 14.

Credits: Gem images courtesy of Christie's. Portrait of Cardinal Jules Mazarin by Pierre Mignard [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
October 24th, 2017
More than 200 million visitors have marveled at the beauty and majesty of the Hope Diamond since jeweler Harry Winston donated it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. What most of those visitors don't know is that the Hope bears a complicated, multinational lineage that connects it with the stolen French Blue and an earlier incarnation called the Tavernier.


On Friday, the Smithsonian celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Janet Annenburg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals — and its most popular exhibit — by revealing replicas of what the Hope Diamond looked like before it was the Hope.

“After many years of work, we have revealed some new insights into the Hope Diamond’s origins,” said Jeffrey Post, chair of the Department of Mineral Sciences and curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. “With these remarkable replicas, we can now see the Hope Diamond as King Louis XIV saw it more than 300 years ago.”


The computer models, above, depict the history of the Hope Diamond, including (counterclockwise from top) the Tavernier, the French Blue and the Hope Diamond.

The cubic zirconia replicas are the result of a decade-long research project conducted by Post, in collaboration with Professor Francois Farges of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, and renowned New York-based lapidary, John Hatleberg. Eventually, they will go on display alongside the genuine Hope Diamond.

Researchers believe the Hope Diamond's origin can be traced back to 1642, with the discovery in India of a beautiful blue rough diamond. It was crudely finished and weighed 115 carats when it was purchased in 1666 by French merchant Jean Baptiste Tavernier, at which time it became known as the Tavernier Diamond.

French King Louis XIV bought the Tavernier Diamond in February 1669 and ordered it to be recut. The result was a 69-carat heart-shaped stone that would be known as the French Blue.

In 1792, the French Blue was stolen from the royal treasury in Paris. Its whereabouts remained unknown until a large blue diamond appeared in 1839 in the collection of Henry Philip Hope, a London banker and gem collector. Post and his associates are confident that the antique cushion-cut Hope Diamond, at 45.52 carats, is derived from the French Blue.


In 2009, a 17th century lead replica of the French Blue was discovered at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. It had been misfiled under the category of "lead specimens." Scientists used computer modeling of the lead replica to simulate what the actual jewel looked like during the reign of Louis XIV.

“Because of the information that we have now, the technology that we have available to us and some skilled people, we can actually produce a replica for the first time that will show us what [the Tavernier Diamond], the French Blue diamond and, of course, the Hope Diamond look like side by side,” Post told

Credits: Hope Diamond photo by Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution. Computer model creator Stephen Attaway, photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution. Lead replica photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.
October 25th, 2017
Reflecting 8,800 hours of meticulous craftsmanship by 10 artisans, "The Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse" incorporates 4,517 diamonds with a total weight of 381.92 carats. The one-of-a-kind masterpiece, which Guinness World Records certified in 2010 as the most valuable handbag in the world, will be offered by Christie's via its "Private Sales" service.


In 2010, the bag was valued at $3.8 million. For this transaction, Christie's will be brokering a deal between the seller and prospective high-net-worth buyers outside of the auction room.

Internationally acclaimed jeweler Robert Mouawad took his design inspiration from One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, a collection of the world’s most epic tales of romance, intrigue and fantasy. The resulting purse is a visual feast of white, yellow and pink diamonds set in 18-karat white and yellow gold.


The focal point of the heart-shaped bag is a 5.04-carat heart-shaped white diamond, framed by white tapered baguettes and accented by a burst of 15 pear-shaped fancy vivid pink diamonds.

Overall, The Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse boasts 333.84 carats of white round diamonds, 27.51 carats of white baguette diamonds, 7.66 carats of fancy vivid yellow diamonds and 7.89 carats of fancy vivid pink diamonds.


The bag just completed a four-day appearance at Christie's Hong Kong. The tour will continue at Christie's Geneva from November 9 -13 before returning to London.


Besides owning the record for the world's most expensive handbag, Mouawad also created the world's priciest bra. The "Very Sexy Fantasy Bra," which was first revealed at a Victoria's Secret fashion show in 2003, was blinged out with 2,800 gemstones, including diamonds, sapphires and amethysts. The total weight of the gems was 2,200 carats and the value of the bra was said to be $11 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.
October 26th, 2017
An adorable baby hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo became an internet sensation this week when she photobombed a surprise marriage proposal that was taking place just outside her tank. The Instagram post was so awesome that it was picked up by USA Today, Huffington Post, Fox News, US Weekly, E! News, the Daily Buzz and The Telegraph, among other outlets.


In the photo, we can see Fiona the Hippo peeking through the glass at the exact moment Nick Kelble popped the question to his girlfriend, Hayley Roll. credited Fiona with "perhaps the most wonderful photobomb of our time."

“We went to the zoo for our one-year anniversary and Fiona was in the window,” Roll told the Daily Buzz. “Nick and I were waiting in line to get our photo taken with Fiona and I gave my cell phone to someone to take the photo. When I turned back around, Nick was on one knee proposing."

The now-world-famous photo was posted by Roll with the caption, "We're so happy Fiona could be there on our special day. Here's to many more years of going to zoos with you."


Fiona has been an inspiration to the Cincinnati community and a top attraction at the zoo since she was born six weeks premature in January of 2017. At birth, she weighed only 29 pounds, barely half that of a normal hippo. Developmentally delayed, and with the odds of survival stacked against her, Fiona battled day after day under the tender care of the zookeepers, who had to teach her to walk and to swim.


Her 10-month battle to become "the smallest hippo ever to survive" is documented on the animal's own Facebook page, titled "The Fiona Show." The page has 228,000 followers.

Roll told E! News that Fiona has played a special role in the couple's relationship.

"Nick and I had been long distance for a while when we first started dating," she told E! News. "Fiona was something we could talk about and obsess over together. We always kept up with her and still adore her. When we went to the zoo that day, it was pouring rain and we hardly saw any of the other animals. We just really wanted to meet Fiona for the first time!"


Not only did they get to meet Fiona, but the baby hippo also helped to make their marriage proposal story truly memorable. Yesterday, Roll returned to Instagram to post an important photo. Her caption: "Almost forgot to show insta my ring!!"

Credits: Images via Instagram/Haley Roll; Facebook/The Fiona Show.
October 27th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you golden oldies with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Gary Lewis & the Playboys perform "This Diamond Ring," a 1965 chart topper about a heartbroken young man desperate to sell a piece of precious jewelry that doesn't shine for him anymore.


In the song, Lewis is stunned when his girlfriend returns her engagement ring and admits she's been untrue. For him, the stone had symbolized something genuine, "like love should be," and the ring reflected dreams that were coming true.

Lewis sings, "Who wants to buy this diamond ring? / She took it off her finger, now it doesn't mean a thing / This diamond ring doesn't shine for me anymore / And this diamond ring doesn't mean what it meant before / So if you've got someone whose love is true / Let it shine for you."

"This Diamond Ring" was released as the group's first single in January of 1965 and quickly ascended to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The popularity of the song helped Gary Lewis & the Playboys to land a high-profile appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and a touring gig with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars. By the end of 1965, Gary Lewis was named Cash Box magazine's "Male Vocalist of the Year," beating out nominees Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. The group would go on to score seven Top-10 hits.

Lewis, who is still performing with his band at the age of 71, told that his biggest hit is often misinterpreted.

"A lot of people love 'This Diamond Ring,' but they think it's a getting-together song," he recounted. "They say to me, 'Hey, we got married because of 'This Diamond Ring.' I say, 'Really?' I mean, it's a breakup song."

Despite the success of "This Diamond Ring," songwriters Al Kooper, Bob Brass and Irwin Levine were unhappy with the uptempo arrangement of what was supposed to be an R&B song, claiming Gary Lewis & the Playboys removed the soul and "made a teenage milkshake out of it." The song had been written for The Drifters, who passed on the opportunity to record it.

Quick trivia: Gary Lewis is the son of the comedian Jerry Lewis, who passed away in August at the age of 91.

Please check out the video of Gary Lewis & the Playboys performing "This Diamond Ring." The clip is introduced by TV's Batman, Adam West, who also died this year at the age of 88. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"This Diamond Ring"
Written by Al Kooper, Bob Brass and Irwin Levine. Performed by Gary Lewis & the Playboys.

Who wants to buy this diamond ring?
She took it off her finger, now it doesn't mean a thing
This diamond ring doesn't shine for me anymore
And this diamond ring doesn't mean what it meant before
So if you've got someone whose love is true
Let it shine for you

This stone is genuine like love should be
And if your baby's truer than my baby was to me
This diamond ring can mean something beautiful
And this diamond ring can mean dreams that are coming true
And then your heart won't have to break like mine did
If there's love behind it

This diamond ring can mean something beautiful
And this diamond ring can mean dreams that are coming true
And then your heart won't have to break like mine did
If there's love behind it

This diamond ring doesn't shine for me anymore
And this diamond ring doesn't mean what it meant before
So then your heart won't have to break like mine did
If there's love behind it

Credit: Screen capture via
October 30th, 2017
A pair of fancy intense yellow diamonds steeped in history and weighing 82.47 carats and 102.54 carats, respectively, is expected to fetch up to $13.7 million at Sotheby's Geneva next month. "The Donnersmarck Diamonds" were famously owned by La Païva, a Russian-born courtesan who ascended into French high society in the mid-1800s, eventually marrying Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck, one of Europe's wealthiest men.


Sotheby's announced that the two diamonds will be sold as a single lot. The larger of the two diamonds is cushion shaped and carries an SI1 clarity grade. The smaller one is pear shaped and boasts a VS2 clarity.


La Païva, also known as Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck (1819–1884), was said to be so enchanted by her diamonds that she insisted that the central staircase of her mansion in Paris — Hôtel de la Païva — be made of Algerian yellow marble to match their hue.

Noted David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division: “These stunning diamonds carry with them a fascinating story, full of romance and determination over adversity, which could have inspired some of the greatest novels and operas, from Manon Lescaut to La Traviata."

Born Esther Lachman of a Russian family of modest means, La Païva arrived in Paris at the age of 18 to pursue her dreams. She was rapidly introduced to the city's cultural and artistic circles by her lover, piano composer and pianist, Henri Herz. Among her close friends were composer Richard Wagner, conductor Hans von Bülow, poet Théophile Gautier and journalist Emile de Girardin.

In 1851, she married the Portuguese Marquis Albino Francisco de Araújo de Païva, an heir to two important Macao wholesale fortunes. That marriage would last only one day, but her nickname, La Païva, would last her lifetime.

A year later, she crossed paths with a 22-year-old Prussian industrialist and mining magnate, Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck. According to one account, she pursued him across Europe, pretending not to be interested in him, but always being at the same social events. A relationship ensued, and 19 years later, in 1871, the 42-year-old La Païva would receive an annulment from her one-day marriage and tie the knot with von Donnersmarck.

Among her wedding gifts was a triple-strand diamond necklace formerly owned by the deposed French empress, Eugénie. He also gifted her the twin baubles that would be known as The Donnersmarck Diamonds.

La Païva’s died in 1884 and The Donnersmarck Diamonds would remain in the Donnersmarck family for more than a century. They first appeared at a public auction in 2007, where the pair earned slightly less than $8 million at Sotheby's. Now, 10 years later, Sotheby's has the good fortune of presenting them once again. They will be previewed during a five-city tour, which started in Singapore and includes stops in Hong Kong, Taiwan, New York and Geneva.

The Donnersmarck Diamonds will be a featured lot at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva on November 15.

Credits: Image of The Donnersmarck Diamonds courtesy of Sotheby's. La Païva image [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons.
October 31st, 2017
When Apple employee Steven Simon started looking for an engagement ring for his soon-to-be fiancé, Andrea, his online research proved to be more than frustrating. He called it "painful."


Sites, such as Pinterest, had a great selection of engagement photos, but no details. Was he looking at a 1-carat cushion cut or a 1.5-carat round? How would a diamond of that size look on Andrea's hand? What would be the best precious metal color to flatter her complexion?


With so many questions and few answers, Steven and Andrea set out to build a better mousetrap.

Introducing Sparkly (, a site dedicated solely to engagement ring selfies, where the founders invite you to "Find your ringspiration™."

Sparkly presents a gallery-style board of user-posted ring selfies, but adds a slew of filtering options — the types seen on top e-commerce sites — so users can drill down to the ring of their dreams.

There are three main menu sections: Diamonds, Settings and Hands.

Within "Diamonds," users can choose from 11 popular cuts, diamond sizes up to 15 carats, colors from D to W and clarities from Internally Flawless to I2.

The "Settings" category offers eight styles, five band features and three metal colors.

The "Hands" section is intended to offer the viewer a proportional, lifelike example of how a ring will look on a specific hand. In addition to being able to pick the carat weight of the diamond, users can also filter based on five skin tones, 15 nail colors and whether or not the ring is shown with a wedding band.

"There had to be a better way to see what a ring really looks like on a real hand, narrow down the faves, and somehow along the way hint to that special someone what you’d love... all the while keeping the proposal the surprise of the century," the founders wrote on the Sparkly "About" page.


Once the user has narrowed down the search and selected her faves, she can share them with friends, family and her future fiancé. Brides-to-be are never notified when a groom-to-be peeks at the registry, thus preserving any potential surprise. A future site enhancement will allow users to select a ring and then "Shop This Look."

And, of course, after the proposal, users are encouraged to return to Sparkly to show off their new engagements rings — along with all the details.

Credits: Screen captures via