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Articles in September 2019

September 3rd, 2019
Utilizing state-of-the-art technology that mimics the visual effects of a black hole, artist Diemut Strebe plans to make a $2 million, 16.78-carat yellow diamond disappear at the New York Stock Exchange on September 13.


The normally colorful and reflective diamond will be reduced to a flat black spot.

To pull off her stunning illusion, Strebe has teamed up with scientist Brian Wardle of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Strebe is the artist-in-residence. Wardle is credited with developing a substance made of carbon nanotubes that absorbs 99.965% of light, creating the blackest black material on earth.


With the diamond shrouded in this material, it will cast no shadows and lose dimensionality — rendering it virtually invisible to the naked eye. It's the closest thing to experiencing a black hole on earth. With no light reflected back from the object, one's brain paints it as pure black.

Interestingly, the diamond and its nanotube shroud are both composed of the same element — carbon — but present the opposite extremes when exposed to light. Diamonds are extraordinarily reflective, while the carbon nanotubes are unusually light-absorptive.

A few years ago, "Vantablack" made news when it was introduced as a carbon nanotube-based material that absorbed 99.6% of light.


The sole right to use Vantablack was acquired by British sculptor Anish Kapoor, which sparked a controversy among other artists who wished to work with it. Since then, Wardle developed a different composition of carbon nanotubes, which will be available for any artist to use.


Strebe's art installation, called "The Redemption of Vanity," will be on view at the New York Stock Exchange from September 13 to November 25. It will be presented in coordination with the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST), the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the MIT necstlab.

See CNN's November 2017 coverage of the "darkest thing on Earth" at this link...

Credits: Yellow diamond by MJT Symbolic [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Screen captures via NYSE by Kamel15 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
September 4th, 2019
Characterized as “a true Rembrandt among gemstones,” the pinkish-orange padparadscha is the rarest and most valuable variety of September's birthstone — sapphire.


Padparadscha belongs to the corundum family of gemstones, which includes rubies and sapphires. The presence of trace elements determines the color of each gemstone. While blue sapphires are naturally colored with iron and rubies with chromium, padparadschas are colored by the presence of both. The delicate interplay of pink and orange hues make this gem one of nature’s greatest achievements.


The gem’s name is derived from “padma raga,” which literally means “the color of the lotus flower” in Sanskrit.

The specimen, above, is the largest and finest example of padparadscha in the National Gem Collection at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Weighing 5.51 carats, the gem was a gift from Pasha and Laney Thornton and has been part of the collection since 2002.

According to the Smithsonian, when a sapphire is not blue it is considered "fancy color." Some of the most common fancy-colored sapphires are yellow, pink and purple. The most coveted is the pinkish-orange padparadscha.

Back in 2013, a gemstone dealer told author and gemstone expert David Federman, “Fine padparadscha is far rarer than either fine Kashmir sapphire or Burma ruby. We’re talking about a true Rembrandt among gemstones.”

Padparadscha earned a splash of attention in January of 2018 when Princess Eugenie, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, received an oval padparadscha engagement ring from her long-time boyfriend Jack Brooksbank.

In a BBC interview, Brooksbank, explained what led him to this unconventional choice.

“What’s amazing about it and why I love it so much is that it changes color from every different angle that you look at it,” he said. “And that’s what I think of Eugenie. That she changes color.”

Credit: Padparadscha by Greg Polley / Smithsonian. Lotus flower by Greg Peterson [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
September 5th, 2019
Russia's Alrosa diamond mining company may have discovered a diamond in a diamond.


Alrosa's Instagram page features a video of a 0.62-carat rough diamond with a curious void in its center. Rattling around in that cavity seems to be another rough diamond.

In a caption accompanying the video, Alrosa wrote, "A diamond in a diamond? We couldn't help but share this very special find with you."

Alrosa goes on to describe how the smaller crystal seems to move freely within the larger one. The curious gem was discovered in Yakutsk, Russia.

"We are not sure if the smaller one is a diamond," wrote Alrosa. "Our scientists are looking forward to studying the crystal. It will be researched with non-destructive methods."

Please check out Alrosa's video here...

In an unrelated Instagram post, Alrosa honored the 115th anniversary of Russia's TASS news agency with what the mining company is calling "the world's most expensive diamond hashtag."


Alrosa created a mural with the hashtag "TASS115" rendered in natural white diamonds. The precious stones weigh 4,000 carats and are valued at $350,000.

The mural is being displayed at Alrosa's diamond sorting center in the Siberian town of Mirny.


In its congratulatory message, Alrosa wrote, "On [the] occasion of the 115th anniversary of the legendary TASS, we [are] giving our friends the most expensive hashtag in history as a present."

Alrosa unveiled the mural on its Facebook and Instagram pages.

The TASS news agency was founded on September 1, 1904, as the St. Petersburg Telegraph Agency (SPTA). It was renamed the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA) in 1918. Seven years later, the agency would become TASS (the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union). Today, it boasts 63 bureaus in 60 countries.

Alrosa is the world’s leading diamond producer in terms of volume, accounting for nearly a third of global rough diamond production. The company manages mines in Russia's Yakutia and Arkhangelsk regions, as well as Africa.

Credits: Screen captures via Instagram/alrosadiamonds.
September 6th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you hit songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Spin Doctors frontman Chris Barron portrays one of the title characters of the group's 1993 smash hit, "Two Princes."


In the song, Barron and a rival prince are vying for the affection of the same woman. Barron finds himself outmatched by a prince that has diamonds in his pockets. Barron, who claims to have no future or family tree, can only buy her rockets. It's not clear if the rockets refer to fireworks or the figurative idea of an exciting, intense relationship.

He sings, "One, two princes kneel before you / That's what I said now / Princes, princes who adore you / Just go ahead now / One has diamonds in his pockets / That's some bread, now / This one said he wants to buy you rockets / Ain't in his head, now."

Adding to the drama is Barron's impression that if she marries the rich prince her father will condone her. If she marries him, her father will disown her.

Interestingly, Barron wrote the song as a 19-year-old, in 1987, after leaving Bennington College as a freshman. He returned to his hometown of Princeton, N.J., where he worked in a restaurant and started to hone his writing talent. Sitting at the top of the stairs near his rented room, the young man — a fan of wizards, kings and fantasy fiction — jotted down the first lines of the song on a yellow legal pad: "One, two princes kneel before you / Princes, princes who adore you."

At first blush, he felt the lines were stupid. But then he had second thoughts. He was developing a daily writing technique that allowed for the separation between his creative voice and his editing voice.

"The creative voice is just this toddler, who’s running around finger-painting and sticking his finger in an electric socket," he told, "and the editing voice is the bouncer at the bar who throws everybody out at the end of the night." In the beginning, he explained, you want to turn the volume down on the editing voice.

He decided to keep the odd lyrics and his hunch was right. People "went nuts" for the song, according to Barron.

Six years later, "Two Princes" would become the Spin Doctors' biggest hit, reaching #7 in the US, #2 in Canada and #3 in the UK. It also earned the band a Grammy for "Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group."

The Spin Doctors have been together for more than 30 years and continue to tour. The band members estimate that they've performed nearly 2,000 shows. A seventh studio album is in the works.

Trivia: In 1988, Barron and Spin Doctors guitarist Eric Schenkman originally teamed with John Popper (Blues Traveler) and called themselves the Trucking Company. When Popper left his part-time gig with the band to focus on Blues Traveler, the remaining band members rebranded themselves as the Spin Doctors, adding Aaron Comess (drums) and Mark White (bass guitar) by the spring of 1989.

Please check out the video of Chris Barron and the Spin Doctors performing "Two Princes." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Two Princes"
Written by Chris Barron, Mark White, Eric Schenkman and Aaron Comess. Performed by Spin Doctors.

One, two princes kneel before you
That's what I said now
Princes, princes who adore you
Just go ahead now
One has diamonds in his pockets
That's some bread, now
This one said he wants to buy you rockets
Ain't in his head, now

This one he got a princely racket
That's what I said now
Got some Big Seal upon his jacket
Ain't in his head now
You marry him, your father will condone you
How 'bout that now
You marry me, your father will disown you
He'll eat his hat, now

Marry him or marry me
I'm the one that loved you baby can't you see?
Ain't got no future or family tree
But I know what a prince and lover ought to be
I know what a prince and lover ought to be

Said if you want to call me baby
Just go ahead now
And if you like to tell me maybe
Just go ahead now
And if you want to buy me flowers
Just go ahead now
And if you like to talk for hours
Just go ahead now

Said one, two princes kneel before you
That's what I said now
Princes, princes who adore you
Just go ahead now
One has diamonds in his pockets
And that's some bread, now
This one who wants to buy you rockets
Ain't in his head, now

Marry him or marry me
I'm the one that loved you baby can't you see?
Ain't got no future or family tree
But I know what a prince and lover ought to be
I know what a prince and lover ought to be

Said if you want to call me baby
Just go ahead now
And if you like to tell me maybe
Just go ahead now
And if you want to buy me flowers
Just go ahead now
And if you like to talk for hours
Just go ahead now
And if you want to call me baby
Just go ahead now
And if you like to tell me maybe
Just go ahead now
And if you like to buy me flowers
Just go ahead now
And if you like to talk for hours
Just go ahead now
If you want to call me baby
Just go ahead now
And if you like to tell me maybe
Just go ahead now
If you want to buy me flowers
Just go ahead now
And if you like to talk for hours
Just go ahead now
Oh Baby!
Just go ahead now
Just just go ahead now
Oh, your majesty!
Just go ahead now
Come on forget the King who... marry me!
Just go ahead now
Come on, come on, come on
Just go ahead now
Go ahead now
Just go ahead now

Credit: Screen capture via
September 9th, 2019
Last November, Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, and renowned industrial designer Marc Newson, collaborated on "The (Red) Diamond Ring" — an all-diamond ring that would be honed from a 45-carat rough gem.


The piece — which has no precious metal components — was specially designed to benefit the third (RED) Auction in Miami, a charity supporting AIDS research. An anonymous bidder purchased the ring for $256,250, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation matched 90% of the bid, nearly doubling the total donation.


At the time of the auction, the ring did not exist in real life. However, Ive and Newson promised to custom make an actual ring for the winning bidder in any ring size up to 5. This past Friday, the ring was finally revealed.


The Diamond Foundry, which supplied the lab-grown diamond for the project, announced on Twitter that the ring was completed, and released a video showing how it was meticulously carved and faceted using laser beam and water jet technology. The ring was created by removing material rather than adding it. The original blueprint boasted 2,000 to 3,000 individual facets. A typical round brilliant-cut diamond has 58 facets.

According to the company, the shape and model of the finished stone are revolutionary since there were no guidelines. The Antwerp-based cutters had to create it from scratch using custom tools that had to be ordered from a specialized diamond tools supplier in Belgium.

Ive is reportedly leaving Apple this year to form a new design company called LoveFrom. He has been with Apple for 30 years.

Shawish Geneva was the first company to form a ring from a single diamond. Shawish unveiled the innovative ring to the public during the 2012 Baseworld Watch and Jewelry Show. That ring was laser-cut from a 150-carat rough diamond. While the Shawish ring was groundbreaking, the Ive-Newson design is said to be more wearable.

Credits: Screen captures from Diamond Foundry video.
September 10th, 2019
Each week during the NFL season, Snickers will be presenting a blinged-out "S" pendant to the league's "Hungriest Player." The chain will pass from one top performer to the next, based on their successes both on and off the gridiron.


The "S" is actually the first letter of the iconic Snickers logo beautifully rendered in 47 carats of brilliant-cut blue sapphires, white diamonds and red rubies. The pendant dangles from a thick Cuban link chain.

As Snickers' social media campaign explains, "Only the hungry can storm the gridiron, but only the hungriest will wear the chain. Follow this season @snickers."


As the end of the season nears, Snickers will be inviting fans to weigh in on which of the weekly honorees was the hungriest. Snickers will then offer the jewelry for sale with the proceeds going to the hungriest player's favorite charity.

"When Snickers hit me up about collaborating on a chain to honor the hungriest players in the NFL this season, I was immediately all in," said Los-Angeles-based jewelry designer Ben Baller. "The idea of passing this Snickers chain to a different player each week is just crazy, so I knew we'd have to come up with something next level to make sure it served as the ultimate reward for hustle and success."

The familiar Snickers candy bar features the product name spelled out in capital blue letters against a white ground and bordered in red. Baller reinterpreted the logo as a single letter "S" rendered in blue sapphires set in yellow gold against a ground of white diamonds and bordered in rubies. Mimicking the candy bar, the border is rounded on the upper-left and bottom-right corners and pointed on the other two.

Established in 1930, Snickers continues to thrive with annual worldwide sales of more than $2 billion. The brand got a boost in 2012 with its wildly popular "You're not you when you're hungry" ad campaign. After its first full year, the clever ad series helped increase the global sales of Snickers by 15.9%.

Fans can follow the #SNICKERSchain journey this season on social media via @SNICKERS to see which player receives the chain each week. For more information, visit

Credits: Images courtesy of PRNewsPhoto/Mars, Incorporated.
September 11th, 2019
An exceptional 10.64-carat flawless vivid purplish-pink diamond is expected to sell for as much as $26 million when it hits the auction block at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale on October 7 in Hong Kong.


In Sotheby's auction catalog, the top lot is described as a cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut diamond, but it also can be described as a radiant cut, which incorporates the shape of an emerald cut with the faceting array of a round brilliant. The stone is set in an 18-karat white and pink gold ring and is flanked by trapeze-cut white diamonds.

Sotheby's established a pre-sale estimate for the headliner at $20 million to $26 million. If it achieves the high estimate, the diamond's price per carat would be $2.44 million — a number on par with some of the most famous pink diamonds in the world.

For instance, in November 2018, the 18.96-carat “Pink Legacy” was purchased by Harry Winston for $50.3 million, establishing a record price-per-carat for a fancy vivid pink diamond at $2.7 million per carat. The previous record holder was the 14.93-carat "Pink Promise," which sold at a 2017 auction for $2.2 million per carat.

In April of 2017, the 59.6-carat Pink Star — a flawless, fancy vivid pink diamond — shattered the world record for the highest price ever paid for any gem at auction. The Pink Star’s hammer price of $71.2 million at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale in Hong Kong.

It is believed that pink and red diamonds get their rich color from a molecular structure distortion that occurs as the diamond crystal forms in the earth’s crust. By contrast, other colored diamonds get their color from trace elements, such as boron (yielding a blue diamond) or nitrogen (yielding yellow), in their chemical composition. Pink diamonds larger than five carats are rarely encountered. In fact, fewer than 10% of pink diamonds weigh more than one-fifth of a carat.

Other top lots at Sotheby's Hong Kong auction will include a spectacular ruby ring and a super-size flawless diamond, both of which feature the number "88" in their carat weights. The number 8 is the luckiest number in Chinese culture and is believed to bring good luck and prosperity. With each hundredth of a carat equally 0.002 grams, precision cutting and care was required to finish the polishing of both gems at just the right moment to achieve double eights in the final weight.


Superb Ruby and Diamond Ring. This ring by designer Raymond Yard features an oval Burmese ruby weighing 11.88 carats. The ruby is set in platinum and is accented by various shaped diamonds. The pre-sale estimate is $5.6 to $8.1 million.


A Magnificent Unmounted Diamond. Weighing 80.88 carats, this unmounted D-flawless emerald-cut diamond has excellent polish and symmetry. It is reportedly one of only five emerald-cut diamonds larger than 80 carats to have come up for auction. The gem is graded Type IIa, the most chemically pure of all diamonds. It is expected to sell in the range of $9.9 million to $12.7 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.
September 12th, 2019
Archaeologists exploring Russia's "Atlantis" have discovered a gem-adorned 2,137-year-old "iPhone case" buried in the grave of a young fashionista who scientists have nicknamed Natasha.


The unusual rectangular object is made from the black gemstone jet and is inlaid with an array of contrasting precious gemstones, including turquoise, carnelian and mother-of-pearl. It is also decorated with ancient Chinese wuzhu coins, which helped the dating process.


Natasha's remains and her blinged-out accessory were excavated from the Ala-Tey Necropolis in the so-called Sayan Sea. Located in the Russian Republic of Tuva, the man-made reservoir is usually 56-feet-deep, but was drained over the summer, giving archaeologists rare access to the site.

Although the seven-inch by three-inch object discovered with Nastasha looks very much like an iPhone case, scientists believe it's a very ornate belt buckle.


“Natasha’s’ burial with a Hunnu-era 'iPhone' remains one of the most interesting at this site,” noted archaeologist Dr. Pavel Leus.

Nastasha lived during a time when a nation of nomads ruled ancient Mongolia from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD.

"This site is a scientific sensation," Dr. Marina Kilunovskaya of the St Petersburg Institute of Material History Culture told "We are incredibly lucky to have found these burials of rich Hun nomads that were not disturbed by [ancient] grave robbers."

The gemstone jet is considered to be a mineraloid — a naturally occurring mineral-like substance. Some examples of mineraloids are jet, amber and lapis lazuli. Jet, specifically, is derived from wood that has decomposed under high pressure. The term "jet black" means the darkest black possible.

In the U.S. during the Roaring Twenties, young flappers would wear multiple strands of jet beads reaching from their necklines to their waists.

Credits: Images courtesy of IHMC RAS/Pavel Leus.
September 13th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, Barbadian singer Rihanna compares herself and her boyfriend to yellow diamonds in the very first line of her blockbuster 2011 hit, "We Found Love."


She sings, "Yellow diamonds in the light / And we're standing side by side / As your shadow crosses mine / What it takes to come alive / It's the way I'm feeling I just can't deny / But I've gotta let it go."

in 2009, Rihanna and singer Chris Brown were precious and rare diamond-grade performers on the verge of superstardom. They were an A-list couple enjoying the glow of the media spotlight, but what most fans didn't know was that Brown had an abusive dark side — a side Rihanna describes in the song as his "shadow crossing mine."

She finally comes to the realization that no matter how much she loves him, she can't be with him anymore. She's got to "let it go."

Written by Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, "We Found Love" appeared on Rihanna's sixth studio album, Talk That Talk, and rapidly ascended the charts in 25 countries. It topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks and went on to sell more than 20 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.

"We Found Love" is described as an electro house song with elements of Europop, pop, techno, trance and Euro disco.

Interestingly, the song's composer, Calvin Harris, cautioned a Q magazine writer against reading too much into the song's hook phrase, "We found love in a hopeless place."

While some believe that it represents two people finding each other when both are down on their luck, Harris described the origins of the phrase this way: "I don't know exactly what I was thinking about. I was just playing the song and doing nonsense singing to see if the syllables fitted the song. It was like that. I was singing nonsense and that's how the lyrics happened."

Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born in Saint Michael, Barbados, in 1988. She grew up listing to reggae music and, as a 15-year-old, dropped out of high school to form a musical trio. The girls were lucky enough to land an audition with American record producer Evan Rogers, who recognized Rihanna's talent and invited her to record some demo tapes. The tapes landed at the studios of Def Jam Recordings, where she was signed to a record deal by singer Jay-Z, who was also a record company exec.

Please check out the audio clip of Rihanna singing "We Found Love." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"We Found Love"
Written by Calvin Harris. Performed by Rihanna, featuring Calvin Harris.

Yellow diamonds in the light
And we're standing side by side
As your shadow crosses mine
What it takes to come alive

It's the way I'm feeling I just can't deny
But I've gotta let it go

We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place

Shine a light through an open door
Love and life I will divide
Turn away 'cause I need you more
Feel the heartbeat in my mind

It's the way I'm feeling I just can't deny
But I've gotta let it go

We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place

Yellow diamonds in the light
And we're standing side by side
As your shadow crosses mine (mine, mine, mine)

We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place

We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place

Credit: Image by Sam Collart [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
September 16th, 2019
The fully functional 18-karat gold toilet that dazzled and delighted visitors to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City during its year-long installation in 2016-2017 was stolen from Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England, on Saturday — just two days after its British debut. The toilet is said to be worth $6 million.


Called “America,” the irreverent work by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, was heisted from the palace — the birthplace of Winston Churchill — in the wee hours of the morning by a team using two getaway vehicles. The exhibit had been set to run through October 27.

Ironically, in an August interview with The Times, Edward Spencer-Churchill, the founder of the Blenheim Art Foundation, poo-pooed the idea of the toilet being stolen.

"It's not going to be the easiest thing to nick (steal)," Spencer-Churchill said. "Firstly, it's plumbed in, and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate. So no, I don't plan to be guarding it."

Another barrier to stealing a gold toilet was its weight. Gold is an extremely dense material. A standard gold bar (7 inches x 3 5/8 inches x 1 3/4 inches), for example, weighs 400 troy ounces, or 27.5 pounds.

Undaunted, the bandits entered the palace some time before 4:50 a.m. on Saturday and unceremoniously ripped the commode from its plumbing fixtures.

"Due to the toilet being plumbed in to the building, this has caused significant damage and flooding," Detective Inspector Jess Milne said in the statement. "We believe a group of offenders used at least two vehicles during the offense."

Artist Cattelan seemed to be amused that his work of art has become the subject of an elaborate heist.

"When this morning I was informed about the robbery," said Cattelan, "I thought it was a prank and it took me a while to come to the conclusion that it was true and it wasn't a surreal movie where instead of the jewels of the crown, the thieves went away with a toilet. I always liked heist movies and finally I'm in one of them."

When the toilet was exhibited in New York City, the Guggenheim’s website noted that Cattelan’s toilet was a social commentary about the excesses of the art market, while also evoking the American dream of opportunity for all. The toilet's basic utility reminded us of the inescapable physical realities of our shared humanity.

“This is 1 percent art for the 99 percent,” Cattelan told the New York Post during the opening of the exhibition in 2016.

Visitors to the Guggenheim were encouraged to use the golden toilet, and over the course of the exhibition more than 100,000 people waited patiently in line for an "opportunity to commune with art and with nature,” noted Nancy Spector, the Guggenheim’s artistic director and chief curator.

Credits: Photo by Kris McKay © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
September 17th, 2019
San Diego bride-to-be Jenna Evans swallowed her 2.4-carat diamond engagement ring during a vivid dream last Tuesday night. Her crazy story, which has gone viral on Facebook, earned the young woman a Monday morning spot on NBC's Today Show.


Evans told Today's Gadi Schwartz that she was having an action-packed, exciting dream about a cargo train and some villains.

"It was very James Bond," she said. "And in my dream my fiancé told me that I needed to swallow my engagement ring in order to protect it, I guess."

While still in a semi-dream state, Evans slid the diamond ring off her finger, put it in her mouth and swallowed it with a glass of water.

When she woke up the next morning, the 29-year-old noticed her ring was gone and she had a very good idea of where it could be.

"I couldn't help but laugh at it, and then I had to wake my fiancé up and tell him that I had swallowed my engagement ring," the frequent sleepwalker told Schwartz.


Urgent care physicians confirmed Evans' hunch when an X-ray revealed the distinctive shape of a diamond ring in her digestive tract.

Rather than risk internal injuries as the ring traveled naturally through her system, the doctors ordered an emergency upper endoscopy to retrieve the ring.


"They put a camera down my throat with a net, and they scooped it up and pulled it right out," Evans said.

The doctors handed the ring to Evans' boyfriend, Bobby Howell, for safe keeping. It wasn't until the next day that Evans got her ring back.

"I promised not to swallow it again, we're still getting married and all is right in the world," she wrote. The wedding is planned for May of 2020.


Despite a scary hospital visit, Evans was able to enjoy the silly side of her predicament. She shared her story on Facebook, hoping it would bring smiles to the folks who happened upon her post.

On Facebook, she wrote, "I also had no idea this would go viral — please be kind. I didn't do it on purpose and I'm not trying to change the world here, just share a funny story and hopefully a good belly laugh. Pun intended."

Credits: Screen capture via X-ray and hospital images via
September 18th, 2019
The Pantone Color Institute recently unveiled its top 12 colors for Spring/Summer 2020. Described as friendly and relatable, the colors — which range from Flame Scarlet to Biscay Green — were seen illuminating the runways of NY Fashion Week in downtown Manhattan from September 5-13.


Flame Scarlet / Saffron / Classic Blue / Biscay Green

While Pantone's Fashion Color Trend Report described the 2020 hues as "recognized favorites," it also acknowledged that designers will be taking these colors through some unique twists and turns, highlighting humor, modernity and entertainment.

And we'll be ready with colorful jewelry accessories and vibrant gemstones to align with Pantone's palette.

“Combining our desire for stability, creativity, and more spontaneous design approaches, the color palette for Spring/Summer 2020 infuses heritage and tradition with a colorful, youthful update that creates strong multi-colored combinations, as well as energizing and optimistic pairings,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Pantone's 2020 standouts lead off with Flame Scarlet, a burning bright color that exudes confidence and determination; Saffron, a pungent hue that adds flavorful brilliance to the palette; Classic Blue, which is evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky; and Biscay Green, an aqua shade reminiscent of a tropical bay.


Chive / Faded Denim / Orange Peel / Mosaic Blue

The next foursome expected to dominate in the coming year include Chive, a savory herbal green that imparts healthy and restorative harmony; Faded Denim, a relatable and dependable blue that conveys comfort and ease; Orange Peel, a bright shade with a tasteful tang; and Mosaic Blue, which displays an air of mystique and depth of feeling.


Sunlight / Coral Pink / Cinnamon Stick / Grape Compote

Pantone's final four colors include the smile-inducing Sunlight, the warm and welcoming Coral Pink, the earthy and warm Cinnamon Stick and the mellow and mysterious purple shade called Grape Compote.


Lark / Navy Blazer / Brilliant White / Ash

In additional to the 12 dominant colors, Pantone revealed four classic neutrals that impart an element of natural sophistication and versatility. Pantone noted that there will always be a need for structure in everyday fashion, and the neutrals for 2020 work well as a singular color statement or serve as a foundation for playful color contrasts. These include the khaki-colored Lark, deep blue Navy Blazer, crisp and pristine Brilliant White and eternally timeless Ash.

Pantone, the global color authority, publishes its Fashion Color Trend Report to give consumers and retailers a sneak peek at the color stories that will emerge in all areas of design and fashion in the coming year.

In early December, we will reveal Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2020. Previous winners have included Living Coral (2019), Ultra Violet (2018), Greenery (2017), Rose Quartz/Serenity Blue (co-winners for 2016), Marsala (2015), Radiant Orchid (2014), Emerald (2013) and Tangerine Tango (2012).

Credits: Images courtesy of Pantone.
September 19th, 2019
Emirates, the luxury airline that set the Twittersphere ablaze in 2018 with the introduction of its "Bling 777," is back again with a post of its "Diamond" A380 onboard lounge.


It was December 2018 when the airline took to Twitter to show off an Emirates Boeing 777 spectacularly embellished with diamonds. The image went viral instantly, as supporters and naysayers alike chimed in on what they believed to be the first-of-its-kind, gem-encrusted aircraft.


What many Emirates Twitter followers didn't grasp was that the "Bling 777" was a fanciful rendering by award-winning Pakistani artist Sara Shakeel, who specializes in photo-editing diamonds onto otherwise-ordinary objects.

At the time, the confusion on social media forced Emirates to clarify that the diamond jet was not real.

“We just posted an art piece made by crystal artist Sara Shakeel," an airline spokesperson told Gulf News. "I can confirm it’s not real.”

On Tuesday, Emirates posted a new pic across its social media outlets with the following caption: "We know you liked our Bling 777, so here’s the Emirates ‘Diamond’ A380 Onboard Lounge. #FlyEmiratesFlyBetter."

The super-realistic image shows how the lounge of the luxury jetliner would look if it was decorated from wall to wall with diamonds. The "diamonds" cover the seat backs, partition coverings, window trim and horseshoe-shaped bar area.

The post has already earned more than 124,000 likes on Instagram, where Emirates boasts 4.7 million followers.

Credits: Images via Instagram/emirates; Twitter/emirates.
September 20th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you classic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Martha and the Vandellas sing about the thrill of receiving a wedding band in the 1967 release, "Third Finger, Left Hand."


They sing, "At last my dreams come true / Today he said "I do" / Friends said it couldn't be done / But all his love I know I've won / 'Cause third finger, left hand / That's where he placed the wedding band."

Written by Motown's main creative team of Lamont Dozier and the brothers Brian and Eddie Holland, "Third Finger, Left Hand" is the memorable hook of a song that's best known for being the "B" side of "Jimmy Mack," which soared to #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart and #10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In the years before CDs and digital downloads, young people cherished their vinyl 45 singles. While the purchase was sparked by the popular "A" side, sometimes the "B" side would reveal a hidden gem.

"Against the Vandellas' 'shoop-shoops,' Martha recalls the sweet moments leading up to that wonderful walk to the altar," writes Ed Hogan of "It's a good bet that 'Third Finger Left Hand' got almost as much turntable play as its hit A-side."

Trivia: While one's thumb is a digit, it is generally not considered a "finger." So the third finger of one's left hand is, indeed, the ring finger.

Formed in Detroit in 1957, Martha and the Vandellas, became one of Motown's greatest acts. Featuring the powerful lead vocals of Martha Reeves, the group charted more than 26 hits, including their signature single, "Dancing in the Street." The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Reeves continues to tour at the age of 78.

The songwriting and production team known as Holland–Dozier–Holland was behind the Motown sound of the 1960s. They not only wrote for Martha and the Vandellas, but also for the Supremes, the Four Tops and Freda Payne, who sang one of our H-D-H favorites, "Band of Gold." The trio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Please check out the audio track of Martha and the Vandellas singing "Third Finger, Left Hand." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Third Finger, Left Hand"
Written by Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland. Performed by Martha and the Vandellas.

At last my dreams come true
Today he said "I do"
Friends said it couldn't be done
But all his love I know I've won
'Cause third finger, left hand
That's where he placed the wedding band

He walked right up to me
And pledged his love for me
I longed to hear him say
The sweet words he spoke that day
Made me feel so good inside
The tears came to my eyes
I love him above the rest
'Cause in my book he's the best

'Cause he did something that no one else did
Friends said it couldn't be done
But all his love I know I've won
'Cause third finger, left hand
That's where he placed the wedding band

His words were precious few
But all along my heart knew
That no other boys in line
Could ever change my mind
Other boys, I sent away
I locked my heart till our wedding day
I love him above the rest
'Cause in my book he's the best

'Cause he did something that no one else did
Friends said it couldn't be done
But all his love I know I've won
'Cause third finger, left hand
That's where he placed the wedding band
Third finger, left hand
That's where he placed the wedding band
Third finger, left hand
That's where he placed the wedding band
Third finger, left hand
That's where he placed the wedding band
Third finger, left hand
That's where he placed the wedding band

Credit: Image by Aug856 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
September 23rd, 2019
Imagine finding treasure in your trash. That's what happened when Lucara Diamond Corp. salvaged a 375-carat gem-quality diamond from a pile of old tailings at its prolific Karowe mine in Botswana.


Tailings are the residue of the diamond-bearing ore that was processed during an original mining operation.

The company revisited the tailings because they were generated prior to the 2015 implementation of its advanced XRT diamond sorters, which were designed to identify and preserve high-value diamonds of 100 carats or larger. Older, less sophisticated sorting devices often mistakenly damaged, pulverized or passed through large diamonds as worthless tailings.

The new XRT sorters have the ability to detect the carbon signature of rocky material coming down a conveyor belt so the diamond-bearing ore can be picked out and preserved. The machines can be calibrated to extract valuable material based on X-ray luminescence, atomic density and transparency.

The 375-carat rough diamond was just one of nine 100-plus-carat diamonds recovered from the re-processing of old material.

Lucara also reported strong results from the processing of new material, including the discovery of a 123-carat diamond from Lucara's South Lobe (see photo, above). Year to date, the mining company has recovered 22 diamonds larger than 100 carats, including six of 200 carats or more.

Lucara's Karowe Mine is famous for yielding many of the world's largest diamonds, including the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona, the 813-carat Constellation and the recently recovered 1,758-carat Sewelô.

Credit: Image courtesy of Lucara.
September 24th, 2019
PhD student Nicole Meyer of University of Alberta's Diamond Exploration Research and Training School discovered a never-before-seen mineral trapped within the inclusion of a diamond. She named the material "goldschmidtite" to honor Victor Moritz Goldschmidt, the founder of modern geochemistry.


Back in March 2018, scientists at the same university identified a new deep-Earth mineral — also trapped within a rough diamond (see image, below). While measuring only .031 millimeters in diameter, the diamond was credited with ferrying the unstable material called “calcium silicate perovskite” to the surface from its original home 400 miles within the earth's mantle.


More than ever, scientists are relying on minuscule mineral inclusions within diamonds to learn more about Earth’s chemistry deep beneath the surface. Both diamonds were recovered from mines in South Africa.

“Goldschmidtite has high concentrations of niobium, potassium and the rare earth elements lanthanum and cerium, whereas the rest of the mantle is dominated by other elements, such as magnesium and iron,” Meyer said in a university press release. “For potassium and niobium to constitute a major proportion of this mineral, it must have formed under exceptional processes that concentrated these unusual elements.”

Meyer's new mineral is believed to have originated about 170 kilometers (105 miles) beneath the earth's surface, where the temperatures can reach 1,200 degrees Celsius (2,192 degrees Fahrenheit).

“This discovery is the result of a lot of patient and meticulous work by Nicole and the research team,” said Graham Pearson, Meyer’s co-supervisor. “Goldschmidtite is highly unusual for an inclusion captured by diamond and gives us a snapshot of fluid processes that affect the deep roots of continents during diamond formation."

Diamonds can be blasted hundreds of miles to the surface during volcanic eruptions. The vertical superhighways that take the diamonds on their journey are called kimberlite pipes.

Meyer reported her discovery in the September edition of the scholarly journal American Mineralogist. Born in Switzerland and schooled in Oslo, Norway, Goldschmidt (1888-1947) is considered to be the founder of modern geochemistry and crystal chemistry.

Credit: Goldschmidtite image courtesy of Nicole Meyer. Calcium silicate perovskite image courtesy of Nester Korolev, University of British Columbia.
September 25th, 2019
Inspired by the story of a Canadian woman whose lost engagement ring turned up in a vegetable patch 13 years later — cinched tightly around a carrot — fellow Canadian John Neville looked to replicate the phenomenon to surprise his bride-to-be, Danielle (Deejay) Squires.


Neville recounted to The Washington Post how he had purchased the diamond engagement ring four years ago, but hid it in his work shed until he could come up with the perfect way to pop the question.

In June of this year, the resident of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, got to work.

First, he filled a five-gallon bucket with soil. Then he pressed the engagement ring into the center of the bucket to bury it. Using a pencil, he poked a narrow hole aimed right through the center of the ring. He put a few carrot seeds in the hole, sprinkled a bunch of seeds around the perimeter of bucket and hoped for the best.

After tending his secret project for three months, it appeared that the carrots were ready for harvesting.

On Saturday, he invited Squires and their three-year-old son, Eric, to pick some carrots for dinner.

Neville was relieved when Eric pulled a few well-formed carrots from the other edge of the bucket. Then he asked Squires to pull the one in the center.

As she wriggled it out, Neville went down on one knee and said, "I love you very much. Will you marry me?"

At first, Squires was a bit confused, but when she realized her new engagement ring was wrapped tightly around the middle of the carrot, her eyes started welling up and she nodded "Yes."

"I was in complete shock when I saw the ring on the carrot," Squires told CBC News.

Then young Eric took a bite from the tip of the engagement carrot.


Squires's new ring features a raw, uncut diamond. The couple noted that the stone pays homage to their homesteading way of life on Pinchgut Lake near Corner Brook. They have yet to pick a wedding date.


"Of course, he wanted to do something unique and imaginative," Squires told CBC News. "He just wanted the perfect idea to come along, and I guess it was worth the wait."

“The more I think about it, the more amazing it is,” she told The Washington Post.

Neville had been inspired by the story of octogenarian Mary Grams, who lost her diamond engagement ring while gardening at her family’s farm in 2004. After unsuccessfully searching on her hands and knees for days, she gave up, assuming the ring she had worn since 1951 was gone forever.


Grams secretly bought herself a less-expensive replacement ring and never told her husband, Norman, of the mishap. Thirteen years later, her daughter-in-law, Colleen Daley, called with some fabulous news. Daly, who had moved to the farm, found a strangely deformed carrot while plucking vegetables for her family’s dinner. The carrot was squeezed in the middle, like it was wearing a corset. On closer inspection, she saw that the constriction was caused by a diamond engagement ring.

“I asked my husband if he recognized the ring,” Daley told CBC News. “And he said, ‘Yeah.’ His mother had lost her engagement ring years ago in the garden and never found it again. And it turned up on this carrot.”

And the crazy carrot stories don't end there. In December of 2016, the German press first reported the story of an 82-year-old man from Bad Münstereifel, who found his lost wedding ring wrapped around a carrot. The retiree had lost the ring while gardening three years earlier and then discovered it while collecting vegetables from his garden. The man, whose name was not released, had just celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary.

And way back in January of 2012, The Daily Mail and many other news sources covered the story of a Swedish woman named Lena Påhlsson, who pulled up a carrot cinched in the middle with a wedding ring she had lost in 1995. The ring has gone missing in her kitchen and she assumed that it must have gotten mixed up with some kitchen scraps that ended up in her compost pile. That material found its way to her vegetable garden and the rest is history.

Credits: Images via Squires. Screen capture via
September 26th, 2019
When Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection hit Christie’s auction block late in 2011, one of the 24 lots selling for more than $1 million was a rare 19th century sapphire-and-diamond brooch — a surprise gift from actor Richard Burton during their marriage.


The piece, which features a cushion-cut 37.29-carat sapphire framed with old-mine and old-European-cut diamonds, entered the Christie's action with a pre-sale estimate of $200,000, but exited with a hammer price of $1.3 million. In total, Taylor’s landmark collection of 80 baubles netted $115.9 million.


Now, nearly eight years later, Taylor's sapphire brooch will return to the auction scene at Sotheby's Hong Kong, where it will carry a pre-sale estimate of $1.7 million to $2.3 million. If the piece attains the high estimate at the Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale on October 7, it will have appreciated 77% since December of 2011.

The 37.29-carat sapphire is described in its grading report as having Burmese origin, high clarity and a richly saturated "royal blue" color.

Taylor3 reported that Burton surprised Taylor with the sapphire brooch after she had admired it on a magazine cover.

Taylor and Burton were married from March 1964 to June 1974 and then again from October 1975 to August 1976. Overall, she tallied eight marriages to seven men. Recognized as the last great icon of Hollywood's Golden Era, Taylor passed away in 2011 at the age of 79.

Taylor's sapphire brooch and other top lots from Sotheby's October 7 auction are currently part of a traveling exhibition, with stops in Taipei City, Taiwan, and Macau, China, before returning to Hong Kong for the big event.

Credits: Jewelry images courtesy of Sotheby's. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor image by Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York City [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
September 27th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, lead singer Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive delivers some sassy, unambiguous straight talk to aggressive males in the group's 2014 ditty, "Wedding Band."


When introducing the song during live performances, Price jokes that what they're about to perform is a PSA (public service announcement) — from the gals in the band to a select group of guys in the audience.

She sings, "If you're married, wear a wedding band / There's no need for you to whisper in my ear / When you can say it with your hand / If you're gonna go breakin' my heart / There's no need for you to let it linger / When you can say it with your finger / If you're married, baby, wear a wedding band."

Written by bassist Bridget Kearney, "Wedding Band" is an amusing sub-two-minute sing-along that showcases Price's rich and sultry voice. Her stylings have been favorably compared to those of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. A reviewer for went a step farther, characterizing Price as "one of the greatest American singers alive."

Founded at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston in 2004, Lake Street Dive gets its name from a specific area within the hometown of trumpeter Mike "McDuck" Olson. In his hometown of Minneapolis, Lake Street is famous for its dive bars.

The band members of Lake Street Dive were all influenced by classic pop, soul and jazz. Noted drummer Mike Calabrese, "We want it to sound like the Beatles and Motown had a party together."

The band got its big break when a bluesy cover of The Jackson 5's “I Want You Back” was posted on Reddit by an anonymous fan. Soon, the video earned more than a million views and actor Kevin Bacon was tweeting about it.

"There’s a nameless faceless hero of our band, who put it on there and everything changed overnight," Price told "The Internet is a rocket ship to fame.”

The Brooklyn-based band will be spending the next few months touring New Hampshire, Upstate New York, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ontario.

Please check out the video of Lake Street Dive's live performance of "Wedding Band." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Wedding Band"
Written by Bridget Kearney. Performed by Lake Street Dive.

If you're married, wear a wedding band
There's no need for you to whisper in my ear
When you can say it with your hand
If you're gonna go breakin' my heart
There's no need for you to let it linger
When you can say it with your finger
If you're married, baby, wear a wedding band

You've got somebody
That'll love you forever already (already)
And you owe it to her, and you owe it to me
To hold steady

If you're married, wear a wedding band
There's no need for you to whisper in my ear
When you can say it with your hand
If you're gonna go breakin' my heart
There's no need for you to let it linger
When you can say it with your finger

If you're married, baby, wear a wedding...
Married, baby, wear a wedding...
Married, baby, wear a wedding band

Credit: Photo by Steven Pisano [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
September 30th, 2019
Princess Beatrice, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, is rocking a new 3.5-carat diamond engagement ring from Italian real estate tycoon Edoardo Mapellu Mozzi. The ring, which reflects "Victorian and Art Deco fusion," features a round center stone flanked by smaller diamond baguettes in a platinum setting.


Unlike her sister, Eugenie, who got engaged nearly two years ago with an avant-garde padparadscha, Beatrice's bling is said to be inspired by her grandmother's platinum engagement ring, which also has a large white center stone flanked by smaller white diamonds.


The 93-year-old queen has been wearing her ring since the day she accepted Prince Philip's marriage proposal in July of 1947. The prince celebrated his 98th birthday in June.

Eugenie’s ring — an oval padparadscha surrounded by a halo of white diamonds — was strikingly similar in design to the engagement ring of her mother, Sarah, Duchess of York, whose ruby center stone complemented her red hair.


Eugenie’s choice of center stone had sparked the obvious question: What's a padparadscha? Followers of the British royal family soon learned that the beautiful gemstone is one of the rarest and most valuable varieties of sapphire, boasting a rich salmon color.

Beatrice's more traditional engagement ring was revealed in a series of photos posted to Eugenie's official Instagram page. The post included a congratulatory message from Eugenie, along with a comment from the new bride-to-be. The photos were taken by Eugenie on the grounds of Windsor Great Park.

Eugenie wrote, "Beabea - wow! I'm so happy for you my dearest big sissy and dear Edo. It's been a long time coming and you two are meant to be. [Photo] by me!!"

Beatrice added, “We are extremely happy to be able to share the news of our recent engagement. We are both so excited to be embarking on this life adventure together and can’t wait to actually be married. We share so many similar interests and values and we know that this will stand us in great stead for the years ahead, full of love and happiness”

Beatrice's new fiancé collaborated with British jeweler Shaun Leane on the ring's design. Jewelry experts believe the ring's value is approximately £100,000 ($122,000). The two have known each other for many years, but began dating about a year ago. The couple is expected to walk down the aisle some time in 2020.

Credits: Princess Beatrice images by Princess Eugenie/Instagram. Padparadscha ring screen capture via Royal Family Channel.