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Articles in October 2019

October 1st, 2019
Tourmaline comes in a wide variety of fiery, vibrant hues, such as red, green, yellow, orange, brown, pink and purple. October's birthstone is even available in bi-color and tri-color versions. But, the most coveted tourmaline of all is the neon blue variety that was originally unearthed in Paraiba, Brazil, in 1987.


Gemologists learned that Paraiba tourmalines were distinctly different from the rest because they owed their intense blue color to trace impurities of copper. Other tourmalines got their color from the presence of iron, manganese, chromium and vanadium.

Paraiba tourmalines from Brazil are extremely rare, especially in sizes larger than a few carats. That's why the pear-shaped specimen, above, is so remarkable. It weighs 6.69 carats and is the first Paraiba tourmaline to join the National Gem Collection at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

The popularity of Paraiba tourmaline sparked a mining frenzy in Brazil, and within five years, the supply was largely tapped out, according to the Smithsonian. In 2001, new Paraiba-like tourmalines were discovered in Nigeria. Interestingly, the vivid blue-green gems boasted the same color and chemistry as the Brazilian-sourced goods. Then, only one year later, miners in Mozambique reported a similar find.

Today, gem dealers refer to neon blue or green, copper-infused tourmalines as "Paraiba," regardless of their origin. Tourmalines range from 7 to 7.5 on the Moh’s scale of hardness, which makes them durable enough to be used in any type of jewelry. According to, a small, vivid-color Paraiba gemstone will have a greater value than a larger one of lesser color, all other factors being equal.

The name “tourmaline” is derived from the Singhalese words “tura mali,” which mean “stone with mixed colors.”

Tourmaline has been an official birthstone for October since the original list was published by the National Association of Jewelers in 1912. Opal is the month's other official birthstone.

Credit: Photo by Greg Polley/Smithsonian.
October 2nd, 2019
Johnkoivulaite, a mineral that changes from deep violet to near colorless when viewed with polarized light, is the newest member of the beryl family, which includes emerald, aquamarine and morganite.


The mineral is named after gemologist and author John Koivula, who is best known for his contributions to inclusion research and photomicrography.


The 1.16-carat crystal, shown above, was discovered in the Mogok Valley of Myanmar by local gemologist Nay Myo and confirmed as a new mineral species by the Gemological Institute of America and the International Mineralogical Association.

GIA Senior Research Scientist Aaron Palke unveiled the newly named mineral at the Geological Society of America (GSA) conference on September 25 in Phoenix.

“We are privileged to be able to name this mineral after John Koivula who has contributed so much to science and the gem and jewelry industry as a prominent gemologist and innovator in photomicrography,” said Tom Moses, GIA's executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer.

The GIA reported that johnkoivulaite has a hardness of 7.5 on the Mohs scale and a hexagonal crystal structure that is very similar to beryl and other members of the beryl group. But, what makes the mineral especially unique is the way it changes from a deep violet to near colorless when subjected to polarized light. This optical phenomenon is called pleochroism.

The johnkoivulaite specimen has found a new home in the GIA museum collection, located at the Institute’s world headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif. Established in 1931, the GIA is recognized as the world’s foremost authority in gemology.

Koivula has more than 40 years of industry experience in research and photomicrography. In 1986, Koivula co-authored with Edward J. Gübelin the immensely popular Photoatlas of Inclusions in Gemstones, followed by two additional volumes. Koivula also wrote The Microworld of Diamonds and co-authored Geologica with Robert Coenraads.

Credits: Photomicrographs by Nathan Renfro/GIA; John Koivula photo by Kevin Schumacher.
October 7th, 2019
The average American man knows after seven months of dating if his partner is "the one" and nearly half received not-so-subtle hints encouraging the proposal, according to a survey conducted for the Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group.


Two of the top five methods of dropping hints included forwarding emails from jewelry websites (45%) and stopping in jewelry stores to look at rings (40%). Other key signs that a partner was looking to tie the knot included watching TV or movies that involved weddings (54%), discussing other people’s engagements and marriages (52%), and leaving wedding magazines out to be discovered (50%).


The survey also revealed that it took an average of two months to find the perfect diamond. Of those who proposed with a ring, three in five noted that they were guided by their partners about ring preferences.


After purchasing the engagement ring, nearly half of the men kept it in a home safe while 30% put it in a shoebox. A quarter of the men kept the ring with them all the time, while 27% gave it to mom and dad for safekeeping. The survey also found the most common methods to protect the investment were a jeweler’s warranty (56%), specialty jeweler’s insurance (43%) and manufacturer’s warranty (42%).

Nearly eight in 10 men (79%) said their proposal went exactly as planned and 85% revealed that their proposal actually surprised their partner. We had previously reported that when it comes to getting engaged, nearly half of American brides-to-be want their engagement rings to be a surprise.

Followers of this blog know all too well that the best laid proposal plans sometimes go awry. We've reported on major snafus that nearly thwarted their engagements — including rings getting flushed down the toilet, trapped in lost luggage, falling into city utility grates, and even being washed out to sea during the proposal.

Luckily, all had happy endings.

“Popping the question and finding that perfect ring to symbolize your love are huge decisions,” said Jessica VandenHouten, brand communications manager for Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group. “Deciding how to protect the ring should be equally important. Given the time, financial and emotional investment, you want to protect the ring for all its worth.”

The survey results are based on responses from 2,000 engaged and married American men and was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group.

Credits: Top image by; Infographics courtesy of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group.
October 8th, 2019
About five weeks ago, Alrosa surprised its Instagram followers with a video that seemed to show a tiny rough diamond rattling around in the cavity of a larger one. The caption read, "A diamond in a diamond? We couldn't help but share this very special find with you."


At the time, Alrosa wasn't quite sure what to make of the phenomenon. Nobody at the mining company had ever seen anything like it.

Despite weighing just 0.62 carats, the tiny specimen became the focus of a series of elaborate tests to determine exactly what it was.

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


Alrosa is now reporting that by utilizing Raman spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy and X-ray microtomography, its researchers are able to confirm that both the smaller crystal and its host are diamonds.

The larger one measures 4.8 mm x 4.9 mm x 2.8 mm, while the smaller, tabular-shaped crystal weighs .02 carats and measures 1.9 mm × 2.1 mm × 0.6 mm.

Alrosa is calling the curious double-diamond "Matryoshka," which is a nod to the popular Russian nesting dolls. The diamond was discovered in Yakutia at the Nyurba mining and processing division of Alrosa.

Explaining the extreme rarity of this find, Oleg Kovalchuk, deputy director for innovations at Alrosa's Research and Development Geological Enterprise, said, "This is really a unique creation of nature, especially since nature does not like emptiness. Usually, some minerals are replaced by others without cavity formation."

"The most interesting thing for us was to find out how the air space between the inner and outer diamonds was formed," he said.

Alrosa's scientists believe there was an internal diamond at first, and the external one was formed during the subsequent stages of growth.

Please check out Alrosa's video here...

Credits: Images courtesy of Alrosa.
October 9th, 2019
The Diamond Producers Association (DPA) is launching an $11 million ad campaign that is an unprecedented, cinematic telling of the natural diamond story. Titled "The Diamond Journey," the video chronicles the history of a beautiful rough diamond from its fiery subterranean origins to its place as the ultimate representation of love, commitment and meaningful moments.


At the epicenter of the campaign is a three-minute hero film that could be mistaken as the trailer for a major motion picture, due to its impressive special effects, period costumes, cast of characters and engaging score by Oscar-winning musician, Atticus Ross.

As the newest part of the “Real is Rare, Real is a Diamond” platform, the campaign was developed in partnership with creative agency BBH London. The film was directed by Ian Pons Jewell, whose impressive client list includes Nike, Audi, Lexus and Michelob.

“We know from research that the majority of consumers are unaware that diamonds are the oldest thing they will ever touch or own," noted Jean-Marc Lieberherr, CEO of the DPA. "It’s a powerful message that resonates and one this campaign celebrates with the tagline ‘Three Billion Years in the Making.’"

The campaign also uses the phrase "Before there was life, there were diamonds."

Elements of the three-minute hero film have been edited into 60-, 30- and 15-second videos, which will be seen on social media platforms. The DPA is also producing striking portrait and landscape still visuals of an embracing pair of hands emerging from a natural scene. One of the hands is adorned with a diamond ring (See image, above).

The featured item in the campaign is a 2-carat cushion-cut diamond engagement ring, set in yellow gold. It was chosen because it evokes a classic, timeless quality with eternal appeal.

The advertising campaign, which has a primary target audience of 21-39 year olds, launches digitally on October 15 with Condé Nast, The New York Times and Sports Illustrated, among others. The creative ads also will be posted to Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

"The Diamond Journey" commercials will be seen during NFL games on ESPN, holiday movies on the Hallmark channel, and The Today Show on NBC.

The DPA is also targeting high-impact placements in transit hubs and key cities during the busy holiday travel and gifting season. Expect to see "The Diamond Journey" messaging in New York's Grand Central Terminal, JFK and LAX airports, and select in-flight TVs.

Check out the full-length version of "The Diamond Journey" here...

Credits: Image courtesy of the Diamond Producers Association.
October 10th, 2019
L.J. West Diamonds recently granted CNBC unprecedented access to its New York City cutting facility to witness the re-polishing of a 5-carat pink diamond — a risky procedure that, if successful, would more than double the stone's value from $3.2 million to $7 million.


The father-son team of Larry and Scott West were betting that the pink diamond they had purchased at auction could be elevated from a from a "fancy pink" to a "fancy intense pink."


All it would take was a master diamond cutter and six painstaking hours at the polishing wheel. The cutter would remove a few micro millimeters of material from key points around the diamond and alter the angle of a few facets. Based on the Wests' computer modeling, the result would be a diamond that would better reflect the light and magnify its natural pink hue.


The re-polishing process took 10 sessions that extended over two weeks. The cutters were careful to keep each season on the wheel to less than 30 minutes. The grinding creates a lot of heat, so the diamond is allowed to "rest" and cool down while the experts evaluate their next move.

Overall, the calculation is simple: More color equals more value.

Scott emphasized that the procedure did come with a scary downside. At any time during the process, the diamond could shatter and their investment would go completely down the drain.

The younger West explained how a huge yellow perished during a similar process.

“We had a 20-carat yellow diamond that busted on the wheel," he told CNBC. "It went from $600,000 to $100,000 — just like that. It’s the unlucky lotto."

In this case, the 5-carat diamond survived its "surgery," but it was still unclear whether it would earn a high color grade at the Gemological Institute of America.


Two weeks later, the Wests invited CNBC back again to view GIA's grading report. The Wests were thrilled to learn that the gem did, indeed, earn a jump from "fancy pink" to "fancy intense pink."


"It was a big risk, but it really paid off," said Scott, who believes the $3.2 million gem is now worth $7 million.

The gem was recently set in a platinum ring flanked by two white diamonds. The Wests will be traveling with the stone to a number of VIP events, where they hope to match it up with a buyer.

Read the CNBC's story and see the network's video coverage at this link...

Credits: Screen captures via
October 11th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you hit songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Mario tells his new love interest why she deserves a fistful of diamonds and a handful of rings in his 2004 blockbuster hit, "Let Me Love You."


Written by Ne-Yo, Kameron Houff and Scott Storch, "Let Me Love You" is the story of a young woman with relationship problems. She has to choose between a cheating boyfriend who comes home with makeup on his shirt and a sweet-talking suitor who promises to show her the way love's supposed to be.

Mario sings, "You're the type of woman (deserves good thangs) / Fistful of diamonds (handful of rings) / Baby you're a star (I just want to show you, you are)."

The song, which appears on Mario's second studio album, Turning Point, was an instant hit, as it zoomed to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and remained there for nine consecutive weeks. It was also an international hit, charting in 19 countries. Billboard named "Let Me Love You" the eighth most successful single of the decade. It even earned Mario a Grammy award nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 2006.

Trivia: Mario's "Let Me Love You" is one of the top-selling ringtones of all time with 1.6 million downloads.

Mario Dewar Barrett was born in Baltimore in 1986. At age four, Barrett told his family that he wanted to be a singer, and to support his dream, his mother bought him a karaoke machine. At age 11, Barrett signed a record deal after being discovered at a Coppin State College talent show by producer Troy Patterson. Three years later, the talented teen signed a new deal with Clive Davis' J Records.

Please check out the video of Mario's duet with Zendaya. The live performance of "Let Me Love You" is from the short-lived television show called Greatest Hits ABC, which ran in the summer of 2016. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Let Me Love You"
Written by Ne-Yo, Kameron Houff and Scott Storch. Performed by Mario, with Zendaya.

Baby I just don't get it
Do you enjoy being hurt?
I know you smelled the perfume, the make-up on his shirt
You don't believe his stories
You know that they're all lies
Bad as you are, you stick around and I just don't know why

If I was ya man (baby you)
Never worry bout (what I do)
I'd be coming home (back to you)
Every night, doin' you right
You're the type of woman (deserves good thangs)
Fistful of diamonds (handful of rings)
Baby you're a star (I just want to show you, you are)

You should let me love you
Let me be the one to give you everything you want and need
Baby good love and protection
Make me your selection
Show you the way love's supposed to be
Baby you should let me love you, love you, love you"

Your true beauty's description
Looks so good that it hurts
You're a dime plus ninety-nine
And it's a shame don't even know what you're worth
Everywhere you go they stop and stare
'Cause you're bad and it shows
From your head to your toes, out of control, baby you know

Credit: Screen capture via
October 14th, 2019
Sparkling with 282 diamonds and 51 sapphires, the St. Louis Blues' first-ever Stanley Cup rings pay tribute to the strong bond between the players and their dedicated fans. The impressive 14-karat white and yellow gold rings — which boast a total gem weight of 10.6 carats — were recently presented to the players, coaches and executives by local police and firefighters during a private ceremony.


Founded in 1967, the St. Louis Blues and their fans waited 52 years to raise the Stanley Cup.

Designed by Jostens, the ring face features the Blues' distinctive Blue Note logo rendered with 16 genuine, custom-cut blue sapphires. The number 16 represents the number of victories earned by the Blues on their path to the championship. Jostens reported that each sapphire had to be delicately shaved so each would fit exactly within the logo's yellow gold outline.

The Blue Note logo sits atop the Stanley Cup, rendered with 45 pavé-set diamonds. To the left and right of the Cup are 30 more diamonds for a total of 75 — a number representing the goals scored by the Blues during the 2019 postseason.

The words "STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS" in raised gold lettering encircle the face of the ring and sit against a ground of custom blue antiquing. Completing the top's stunning design are 115 additional diamonds intricately set in a cascading waterfall effect.

A total of 20 princess-cut sapphires — channel set in yellow gold — wrap around two sides of the ring's top edge. One of the remaining two sides features the player's name in raised yellow gold lettering, and the fourth side showcases the words "ST. LOUIS BLUES" with "ST. LOUIS" in raised gold letters and the word "BLUES" colored with blue antiquing.


The player's jersey number set in diamonds is prominently placed on the left side of the ring, along with an illustration of the players and fans celebrating their victory with the Stanley Cup held aloft. Also on the left side of the ring is the championship year of 2019.

Intricately detailed music notes for the song “When the Blues Go Marching In” are featured on the right side of the ring. The music notes flow through the iconic St. Louis Arch, formed by 16 diamonds, again representing the number of victories earned in the playoffs. According to Jostens, the scene is inspired from photos taken from an overhead blimp during the city’s championship parade celebration. A mix of 76 diamonds and 15 sapphires symbolizes the huge crowd that surrounded the stage during the city's celebration.


The results of the each playoff series and the opponents' logos are engraved on the interior of the ring, along with the Blue Note logo. Below the scores is an engraving of the player's personal signature. Also on the interior is the name "LAILA," an 11-year-old superfan who suffers from a rare, life-threatening disease. Laila Anderson was a season-long source of inspiration for the team.

The palm crest reads "PLAY GLORIA," a nod to the Laura Branigan song that was played after the team's home victories.

“The Blues journey to become Stanley Cup Champions for the first time was nothing short of extraordinary," said Chris Poitras VP and COO of Jostens Professional Sports Division, "and we wanted to honor that story through an equally incredible ring."

Credits: Images courtesy of Jostens.
October 15th, 2019
Lightning Ridge, a small outback town in New South Wales, is the only place in Australia, and one of the few places in the world, where the highly prized black opal is found. Opals with a vivid play-of-color and a black or dark body color are classified as black opals.


The beautiful 26.9-carat specimen, above, is an example of a black opal sourced at Lightning Ridge — a mining area that has been yielding top-quality opals since 1903. The ring was gifted to the Smithsonian in 1970 by Mrs. Oliver B. James and became part of the National Gem Collection in Washington, D.C. The cabochon-cut gem displays a variety of intense colors, including red, violet, blue, green, yellow and orange.


As one of October’s official birthstones, the precious opal is universally loved because it can present all the colors of the rainbow. Each opal is truly unique and more than 95% of the world's fine opals are sourced in Australia. Other varieties include white opals, boulder opals, crystal opals and fire opals.

As we reported earlier this year, a world-class facility dedicated to Australia’s national gemstone is taking shape at Lightning Ridge. The $24 million Australian Opal Centre will be a world-class tourism attraction and an internationally recognized hub for opal-related knowledge, training and certification.

Scientists believe that between 100 million and 97 million years ago, Australia’s vast inland sea, which was populated by marine dinosaurs, began retreating. As the sea regressed, a rare episode of acidic weather was taking place, exposing pyrite minerals and releasing sulphuric acid. As the surface of the basin dried further and cracked, silica-rich gel became trapped in the veins of the rock. Over time, the silica solidified to form opals.

In precious opal, the silica spheres are uniform in size and are stacked into an orderly arrangement, which gives the structure the ability to break visible white light into separate colors. Interestingly, 95% of the opals found by miners is void of color. These specimens are white, grey or black. The locals call it “potch” and it has very little value. Potch is composed of the exact same mineral as fine opal – spheres of silica dioxide. The only difference is that in potch, the tiny silica spheres are jumbled, whereas in precious opal they’re all laid out evenly.

An opal’s silica structure contains 3% to 20% water, according to the American Gem Society. The value of a fine opal is based on a number of factors, including brightness, color, pattern, body tone and consistency (how it looks from multiple angles).

While Australia remains the primary source of fine opal production, the October birthstone is also mined in Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Ethiopia, the Czech Republic and parts of the U.S., including Nevada and Idaho.

Credits: Photos by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.
October 16th, 2019
Back in February of 1981, Prince Charles proposed to the 20-year-old Lady Diana with a big blue sapphire-and-diamond ring that the future princess got to pick out herself. According to the editors of Vogue, some members of the British royal family fumed at Diana's choice — not because it featured an unconventional center stone, but because it was a stock item from the Garrard catalog.


Founded in London in 1735, Garrard was the official crown jeweler of the UK from 1843 until 2007. The distinguished company that had been entrusted with the upkeep of the British Crown Jewels was the logical source for Diana's bridal jewelry.

So, in the lead-up to their engagement, the 32-year-old Prince Charles presented his bride-to-be with a bunch of design options from Garrard. Her favorite was an 18-karat white gold ring set with a 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire surrounded by a halo of 14 round white diamonds.

In Diana's eyes, the ring was perfect. She loved it so much that she didn't request any modifications or customizations.

In the eyes of her critics and some members of the royal family, the ring was sub-standard because it was hardly unique. Critics called the Garrard stock item a "commoner's ring" because any non-royal with $60,000 to spend could purchase the exact piece.

Nevertheless, Diana's sapphire and diamond engagement ring would become one of the most recognizable and imitated engagement rings of all time. Gerrard still features a sapphire ring with a halo of 12 diamonds in its "1735 Collection." (The ring seen, above, is a replica with 16 accent stones.)

Diana wore the ring throughout her marriage and even, on some occasions, after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.

After Diana died tragically in 1997, her sons, then 15 and 12, were given an opportunity to select a keepsake from their mom's possessions.

Prince William picked a Cartier watch that his mom received on her 21st birthday and Harry got the sapphire engagement ring.

But, wait... Didn't Prince William famously propose to Kate Middleton in October of 2010 with his late mother's sapphire ring? Well, yes. We learned in April of this year, that the sapphire ring proposal was made possible by the selfless act of William's younger brother, Harry.

According to Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, the princess's ring was in Harry’s possession for 12 years. When William broke the news to his brother that he was about to propose to his long-time girlfriend, Kate, the younger brother said, “Wouldn’t it be fitting if she had mummy’s ring? Then one day that ring will be sat on the throne of England.”

William accepted his brother’s generous offer and the rest is history.

Credits: Princess Diana photo by John Mathew Smith [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Engagement ring replica by Ann Porteus from Tasmania, Australia [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
October 17th, 2019
Britain's Royal Mint just took the concept of a "gold card" to a whole new level with the unveiling of the first-ever payment card made from 18-karat gold.


Developed in association with Mastercard and Accomplish Financial, the solid gold Raris card offers limitless spending, zero foreign exchange and no transaction fees. It also carries a $23,000 price tag.

Each Raris card is personalized with the name and signature of the accountholder engraved right into the precious metal. The card is fully customizable. Additional graphics may be added to the front and back of the card — for an additional fee.

The Royal Mint, which has produced coinage in England for more than 1,100 years, is targeting the premium product to the elite consumer who values high-quality luxury items and wants to make a statement.

Because the Raris card is part of the Mastercard World Elite package, cardholders will have access to a dedicated concierge service and other travel benefits.

In addition to being the world’s first precious metal payment card to be hallmarked by the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office, Raris is also the first payment card in the world to use source-traceable metals and to be certified under the Responsible Jewellery Council’s Chain of Custody.

"The Royal Mint is constantly innovating, and as the UK’s leading precious metals solutions provider, we are hugely excited to launch the solid gold Raris card in acknowledgement of growing consumer demands for unique and luxury payments cards," noted Anne Jessopp, CEO at The Royal Mint.

CNN reported that the Royal Mint's initial run will consist of 50 Raris cards with the same design. New card designs and additional runs will follow as the product gains traction.

When CNN asked Mastercard spokesman James Thorpe why anyone might want to invest in an 18-karat gold payment card, he said, "If you want something that is unique in this world, there are very few things. But this is a remarkable and valuable product."

Credit: Image courtesy of The Royal Mint.
October 18th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring nostalgic tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Dion's 1963 hit, "Donna the Prima Donna," shines the spotlight on a young woman who aspires to be a socialite and has an affection for the finer things in life, including jewelry and gemstones.


While Donna loves to talk about high society, she's really just a working-class girl. As Dion sings, "She always wears charms, diamonds, pearls galore / She buys them at the 5 and 10 cents store / She wants to be just like Zsa Zsa Gabor / Even though she's the girl next door."

As a poor kid from the Bronx, New York, Dion acknowledges that winning her heart will be nearly impossible, singing, "Pretty little girl, I don't stand a chance /Without any money there goes our romance."

Written by Dion and Ernie Maresca, "Donna the Prima Donna" appeared on Dion's 1963 album of the same name. The song zoomed to #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and #17 on the R&B chart, and continues to get airplay 56 years after its release.

Born in 1939, Dion DiMucci developed his love for music early in life while touring with his dad, Paquale DiMucci, a vaudeville entertainer. Dion's singing style was honed on the street corners of the Bronx, where he and his buddies performed a cappella riffs.

Dion started his career in the late 1950s as the frontman for Dion and the Belmonts. He rocketed to stardom after going solo in 1960 and is best remembered for the singles "Runaround Sue," "The Wanderer," "Ruby Baby" and "Donna the Prima Donna."

Trivia: Dion also released an Italian version of "Donna the Prima Donna." The lead vocals are in Italian, but the backing vocals — provided by The Del-Satins — are identical to the original song.

Dion, who celebrated his 80th birthday in July and continues to tour, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

We hope you enjoy these clips of Dion performing "Donna The Prima Donna." (As a fun bonus, we've also included the Italian-language version.) The English lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along...

"Donna The Prima Donna"
Written by Dion DiMucci and Ernie Maresca. Performed by Dion.

Donna, Donna the Prima Donna
Broke my heart.
We're apart.
Thinks she's smart.

I met a girl a month ago
I thought that she would love me so.
But in time I realized.
She had a pair of roving eyes.

I remember the nights we dated,
Always acting sophisticated,
Talking about high society,
Then she tried to make a fool out of me.

They call her Donna, Donna the Prima Donna
Broke my heart now.
Thinks she's smart now.
We're apart now.

Pretty little girl you're just having fun
You're running all around and breaking lover's hearts.
Pretty little girl, I don't stand a chance,
Without any money there goes our romance.

She always wears charms, diamonds, pearls galore,
She buys them at the 5 and 10 cents store.
She wants to be just like Zsa Zsa Gabor,
Even though she's the girl next door.

They call her Donna, Donna the Prima Donna.
Broke my heart.
Thinks she's smart.
We're apart.

Pretty little girl you're just having fun,
You're running all around, you're breaking lover's hearts.
Pretty little girl, I don't stand a chance,
Without any money there goes our romance.

She always wears charms, diamonds, pearls galore,
She buys them at the 5 and 10 cents store.
She wants to be just like Zsa Zsa Gabor,
Even though she's Donna next door.

Donna, Donna the Prima Donna

Credit:Screen capture via
October 21st, 2019
Eighty-seven-year-old Aussie Tom Susans finally got to marry his college sweetheart last weekend with bridal jewelry he had stored away for the past 60 years.


Susans and Judith Beston met at a teacher's training college in Brisbane, Australia, in 1957 and agreed to tie to knot two years later when Susans graduated and landed a good job in his field of study.

He had already purchased an engagement ring and wedding band when Beston's mum pulled the plug on the relationship. Susans was 27 at the time and Beston's mum disapproved because she felt he was far too old to be courting her 20-year-old daughter.

"I thought, 'This is good, I can get married here and Mum can help me a bit,' but at home it was really difficult," Beston told Australia's ABC network. "Mum didn't want Tom involved. She thought he was much too old for me."

Without telling Susans her plans, Beston abruptly moved from Australia to New Zealand, where she got a job as a school teacher and started a new life.

"She just disappeared," Susans told ABC. "I didn't know where she was. I couldn't find her anywhere in Australia."

A brokenhearted Susans placed the engagement ring and wedding band intended for Beston in a wooden cabinet and there's where they remained for the next 60 years.

Beston went on to marry an Englishman with whom she raised seven children. Susans married a fellow teacher and established a home in Rockhampton, Australia, where they raised four girls.

Throughout his 53-year marriage, Susans always wondered about the one who got away. He consistently attended the reunions of the Queensland University of Technology, hoping to reconnect in some way. He couldn't find her at the 30th or the 40th. At the 50th, he didn't even try.

But, when he returned from the 50th reunion he scanned through the names of the 400 attendees and, sure enough, Beston's name was on the list.

"I thought she had died," said Susans.

It was 2009 when Susans and Beston finally met face-to-face at another Golden Graduates Reunion. They had a great time catching up on each other's lives, but for the next decade they only communicated via Christmas cards.

When Susans' wife, Sylvia, passed away, he decided to correspond more frequently with Beston, who lost her husband many years earlier.

In April of this year, the two connected once again when Beston traveled to Australia to celebrate her 80th birthday.


The two holidayed on the Queensland coast and this is where Susans proposed to Beston, again, with the engagement ring he had purchased in 1959.

This time, her mum wasn't around to stand in their way.

"When he asked me to marry him, I said yes straightaway," Beston told ABC.

"I thought after 60 years, it was about time she had it back — and it fitted," Susans said.

The couple officially tied the knot last weekend in an intimate ceremony attended by family and close friends.

And this past weekend, Beston proudly wore her old/new bridal jewelry as she and Susans participated in their 60th Golden Graduates Reunion.

Credits: Screen captures via
October 22nd, 2019
The 8,000-year-old "Abu Dhabi Pearl" will be making its world debut on October 30 at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the new UAE outpost of the famous Paris museum. The natural pearl — which is said to be the world's oldest — will headline a special exhibition called “10,000 Years of Luxury.”


The iridescent gem was carbon dated to 5,800-5,600 BC, during the Neolithic period. It was discovered during excavations at Marawah Island, located 62 miles west of the capital city. Despite being privately owned, the island is rich in archeological sites. In 2004, a 7,500-year-old skeleton was found among the ruins of Neolithic buildings, along with 200 flint tools.


“The discovery of the oldest pearl in the world in Abu Dhabi makes it clear that so much of our recent economic and cultural history has deep roots that stretch back to the dawn of prehistory,” said Mohamed Al-Muabarak, the chairman of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Archaeologists believe that pearls from the region were held in high esteem and traded for ceramics and other goods with merchants from Mesopotamia.

A spokesperson for the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism noted the Venetian jewel merchant Gasparo Balbi, who traveled through the region, mentioned the islands off the coast of Abu Dhabi as a source of pearls in the 16th century.

Natural pearls continued to underpin the economy of the region until the 1930s. The local pearl trade would eventually collapse due to a number of factors, including the advent of cultured pearls and conflicts that disrupted global economies.

Interestingly, the "Abu Dhabi Pearl" was loaned to the Louvre Abu Dhabi by the Zayed National Museum collection. The Zayed National Museum is scheduled to open in 2020 and is located just 3 km from the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi was inaugurated in November 2017 by French President Emmanuel Macron, United Arab Emirates Vice President Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Credits: "Abu Dhabi Pearl" screenshot of video by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism. Photo of Abu Dhabi Louvre by Wikiemirati [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
October 23rd, 2019
Building on the success of a pilot project that gave small-scale miners in Tanzania new tools to evaluate the quality of rough gemstones, the GIA is committing $1.3 million to extend the program into Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia.


Artisanal miners are provided with an innovative guide that illustrates how to examine and evaluate rough gemstones found in East Africa. The booklet is waterproof and comes with a durable plastic tray that can be used to sort gems and do basic gemological evaluations.

“This is a tremendous step forward in our efforts to bring information directly to artisanal miners right at the beginning of the gem and jewelry supply chain,” said GIA President and CEO Susan Jacques. “We know that this investment will bring an invaluable benefit to miners, their families and the communities in which they live.”

Working with Pact, a Washington D.C.-based international development nonprofit organization with expertise in the region, GIA plans to reach 10,000 miners.

“We found that for every dollar invested, there was a 12-fold social return that will last years into the future,” said Cristina M. Villegas, technical program manager for Pact’s Mines to Markets program. “With their new knowledge, miners improve their income, send their children to school, invest in their mines and their communities.”


First developed in English and later translated into Swahili, the photo-rich booklet titled “Selecting Gem Rough: A Guide for Artisanal Miners” was developed by the GIA research and library staff under the guidance of GIA Distinguished Research Fellow Dr. James Shigley and Dona Dirlam, then-director of the GIA library.

GIA staff, including Robert Weldon, current director of the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center at GIA and a major contributor to the development and content of the guide, trained more than 1,000 artisanal miners on how to use the guide and tray during a two-week period earlier this year in Tanzania.

“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the reaction of the miners as they learn the material – you instantly see that you’ve positively made a change in someone’s life,” said Weldon. “These transcendent moments make us so proud that we can provide artisanal miners with a gem guide that gives them the confidence to know their value in the market.”

The broader rollout into Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia will be funded through the GIA endowment.

An independent nonprofit organization, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is recognized as the world’s foremost authority in gemology.

Credits: Pact representative Norbert Massay, GIA Graduate Gemologist (GG) Marvin Wambua and GIA’s library director Robert Weldon instruct artisanal miners in MoroGoro, Tanzania. Photo by Pedro Padua/GIA; Robert Weldon, GIA director of the Richard T. Liddicoat Library and Information Center, is pictured with an artisanal miner from Tunduru, Tanzania. Photo by Pedro Padua/GIA.
October 24th, 2019
The Toronto Raptors celebrated their first-ever NBA championship Tuesday night with gigantic 14-karat yellow gold rings emblazoned with 650 diamonds weighing 14 carats. The number of diamonds and the total carat weight are records for a championship ring in any sport.


The ring also set a new record for the largest single diamond in any professional championship ring. A 1.25-carat round diamond replaces the basketball in the ring's representation of the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Representing his teammates, eight-year Raptors veteran Kyle Lowry worked with the designers at Windsor, Ont.-based Baron Championship Rings to create a special piece that would reflect the awesome accomplishments of a team that brought the Larry O’Brien trophy north of the border for the first time in NBA history.

“This isn’t just a ring for the Raptors. It’s a ring for the city of Toronto and the country of Canada,” Lowry said. “The details in the ring reflect things that are important to us and are symbolic of our championship season. I think it’s one of the best rings in the history of the NBA.”

The face of the ring is made up of 74 diamonds, representing the number of wins during the 2018-19 season. The large, bezel-set diamond in the trophy commemorates the team’s first NBA Championship. Custom-cut baguette diamonds accentuate the iconic Toronto skyline, which includes the CN Tower and Scotiabank Arena.

The six round diamonds set above the arena represent "The Six," which rapper Drake popularized as a nickname for the city of Toronto. The modern city of Toronto was formed by the amalgamation of six municipalities.

Adding to the design is the team’s NORTH chevron jersey logo, with each letter rendered in diamonds against polished yellow gold.

Encircling the outer edge of the ring is a row of 16 genuine natural rubies along with the jersey numbers of the team roster. The rubies and numbers are situated below a graceful cascade of diamonds.


One side of the ring displays each player’s name and jersey number, while “WORLD CHAMPIONS,” the NBA logo, and the Raptors logo complete the look on the opposite side.


The inside of the ring features personalized messages unique to each player, a ruby set inside a Maple Leaf, and the championship series scores.


“The Raptors’ first NBA championship is a moment that basketball fans across the country, and the franchise itself, waited 24 years for and we are incredibly proud to mark the occasion for the players, coaches and staff who made it possible with this stunning championship ring,” said Larry Tanenbaum, Chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. “This championship made history and will be treasured forever as will this ring commemorating the achievement.”

All the gold and diamonds used to create the Raptors’ 2019 World Championship Rings were sourced from Canada.

As an added bonus, each fan attending the game on opening night — about 20,000 in all — received a replica of the championship ring.

Credits: Images courtesy of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and Baron Championship Rings.
October 25th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we like to bring you throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, crooner Dean Martin sings about a little band of gold in his cover of "Wedding Bells," a song first made famous by country legend Hank Williams exactly 70 years ago.


In the song, Martin portrays a young man who has just gotten an invitation to his ex-girlfriend's wedding. Not only is he heartbroken by the thought of her marrying another man, but he reveals that he had been all set to pop the question.

He sings, "I planned a little cottage in the valley / And I even bought a little band of gold / I thought someday I'd place it on your finger / But now the future looks so dark and cold."

In the end, Martin laments that wedding bells will never ring out for him.

Although the official writing credit for "Wedding Bells" is attributed to guitarist Claude Boone, country music historian Colin Escott wrote that Boone actually purchased the song for $25 from James Arthur Pritchett, a musician who performed under the name Arthur Q. Smith. Twenty-five dollars in 1949 is equivalent to about $300 today.

It turned out to be a great investment for Boone. The song was recorded by some of the biggest names in the music business, including Williams (1949), Hank Snow (1957), Marty Robbins (1958), George Jones (1962), Martin (1965), Jerry Lee Lewis (1967), Charlie Rich (1967), Bill Anderson (1968), Conway Twitty (1971), Glen Campbell (1973) and Lissie (2009).

Of all the versions of "Wedding Bells" posted to YouTube, we like Martin's the most. The song is included as the last track on his album titled Dean Martin Hits Again.

Born Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio, in 1917, Martin’s first language was Italian and he didn’t start learning English until he entered school at the age of five. His lack of English skills made him a target of neighborhood bullies. He dropped out of school in 10th grade because he believed he was smarter than his teachers. The teenager made ends meet by bootlegging liquor, working in a steel mill and dealing blackjack at a speakeasy. He also became a welterweight boxer.

Martin moved to New York City, where he worked as a croupier in an illegal casino behind a tobacco shop. He called himself “Dino Martini” and started singing for local bands. He got his first big break working for the Ernie McKay Orchestra.

He would go on to record some of his generation’s most memorable tunes, including “Memories Are Made of This,” “That’s Amore,” “Everybody Loves Somebody,” “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You,” “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head?” and “Volare.”

Martin passed away on Christmas Day 1995 at the age of 78. In 1996, Ohio’s Route 7 through Steubenville was rededicated as Dean Martin Boulevard.

Please check out the audio track of Martin’s cover of “Wedding Bells.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

"Wedding Bells"
Written by Claude Boone. Performed by Dean Martin.

(Wedding bells, wedding bells)

I have the invitation that you sent me
You wanted me to see you change your name
I couldn't stand to see you wed another
But I hope you're happy just the same

Wedding bells are ringing in the chapel
That should be ringing out for you and me
Down the aisle with someone else you're walkin'
Those wedding bells will never ring for me

I planned a little cottage in the valley
And I even bought a little band of gold
I thought someday I'd place it on your finger
But now the future looks so dark and cold

Wedding bells are ringing in the chapel
That should be ringing out for you and me
Down the aisle with someone else you're walkin'
So wedding bells will never ring for me
So wedding bells will never ring for me

Credit: Image by ABC Television [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
October 28th, 2019
The 55.08-carat, champagne-colored "Kimberley Diamond" is the newest member of the National Gem Collection. The emerald-cut gem was donated to the Smithsonian by philanthropist Bruce Stuart and went on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., this past Friday.


The Kimberley Diamond has been a rock star throughout its history. The Smithsonian noted that the Kimberley was one of the most recognizable gems in the world from the 1940s through the 1960s, as it appeared in books, magazines, newspapers and popular TV shows, such as It Takes a Thief and Ironside.

It was also exhibited throughout the U.S., including a highly promoted 2013 engagement at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

The gem was cut from a 490-carat crystal discovered at the Kimberley Mine in South Africa in 1921. Its original weight was 70 carats, but it was recut to its current proportions in 1958 to improve its clarity and brilliance. It had been owned by a private collector since 1971 and then acquired by Stuart in 2002.


The Kimberley Diamond, which dangles from an extraordinary diamond-encrusted necklace, can be seen at the National Museum of Natural History, just a few steps from the Hope Diamond in the Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals.

“We offer our sincere appreciation to Bruce Stuart for his generosity in making this historic gift to the nation," said Dr. Jeff Post, curator of the National Gem Collection. "It will enrich the National Collection for generations to come."

Credits: Images courtesy of the Smithsonian.
October 29th, 2019
After many years of searching, 65-year-old Pat Choate finally captured her "Illusive Dream" last Tuesday at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Ark.


The 3.29-carat brandy-colored gem is the third-largest diamond discovered this year at the 37½-acre search field, which is actually the eroded surface of an ancient diamond-bearing kimberlite pipe. Amateur miners get to keep what they find at the only diamond site in the world that’s open to the general public.

Originally from the Murfreesboro area, Choate and her husband, John, have been frequent visitors to Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park, where they've discovered five diamonds over the years. Tuesday's find was, by far, the biggest and most exciting.


“It has been a long time coming," said Choate. "A lot of dirt and many years of searching — and I thank the good Lord for it! I know it’s not a perfect diamond, but it sure is a thrill!”

Choate named her diamond "Illusive Dream."

The park's assistant superintendent, Meghan Moore, said that Choate's diamond is about the size of a chickpea, with a sparkling metallic luster and a beautiful hue similar to brandy.

"Like many larger diamonds from the park," she said, "it appears to be fractured and contains a few inclusions, which gives it a unique appearance.”

Choate and her husband now live in Jacksonville, Ark., and decided to take the two-hour drive to Murfreesboro when the summer-like heatwave gave way to cooler temperates last week.


Said John Choate, “Each time Pat and I see the road sign for the Crater of Diamonds while driving to the park, we always tell each other, ‘Let’s be like some of these other tourists and find a diamond within 30 minutes.’ We’ve been saying that for years, but this time it actually happened to us!”

The couple was fortunate to visit just after an excavating company was contracted by the park to complete a deep plowing project to churn up previously untouched diamond-bearing material. Rainfall early in the week washed away loose soil from the surface, and that likely exposed Choate's diamond.

Choate and her husband entered the search area on Canary Hill in the southwest part of the site at 2 p.m. and scored her diamond about 30 minutes later.

“I saw something shiny several feet ahead of me and walked over to see what it was," Choate said. "I lost sight of it when I got close, but then I turned around and found the diamond lying beside me!”

Choate is planning the keep the gem in its rough form as a reminder of the wonderful memories she's shared with her husband during their many visits to the park.

So far this year, 426 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park, weighing a total of 84 carats. Fifteen of those diamonds weighed more than 1 carat each.

Credits: Images courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.
October 30th, 2019
When the newly crowned Rose Queen, Camille Kennedy, leads the 131st edition of the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, Calif., she will be wearing a special headpiece adorned with 600 Japanese Akoya cultured pearls, 10 Australian South Sea cultured pearls and six carats of diamonds.


Designed by Mikimoto, the crown took about a year to fabricate and is valued at $400,000.

The much-anticipated parade features floral floats, marching bands and high-stepping equestrian units along the 5 1/2 mile route. As always, the spectacle will be followed by the Rose Bowl college football game, now in its 106th year.

Kennedy, who is a senior at La Salle College Preparatory and lives in Pasadena, was crowned during a coronation ceremony held last week at the Pasadena Playhouse in Southern California.

Her selection followed a month-long process during which 45 top candidates from Pasadena-area schools competed for the coveted title. The participants were judged on their public speaking ability, academic achievement, youth leadership, community service and school involvement.


Kennedy will be donning the impressive three-pound crown, while her six princesses will be wearing simpler Mikimoto-designed cultured pearl tiaras valued at $90,000 each. Mikimoto Kōkichi is credited with creating the first cultured pearl in the late 1800s and subsequently starting the cultured pearl industry.

Historically, the Rose Queen’s head adornments have not been as lavish as they are today, according to the Associated Press. In the early 1900s, for example, the Rose Queens had no crowns. They simply wore hats or garlands.

The 2020 Rose Queen and her Royal Court will attend numerous community and media functions, serving as ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses, the Pasadena community and the greater Los Angeles area.

In the photo, above, Kennedy is wearing a white gown and is flanked by the members of her Royal Court: Rukan Saif, Mia Thorsen, Emilie Risha, Reese Rosental Saporito, Michael Wilkins and Cole Fox.

Credits: Queen and her court image via; Crown photo courtesy of Mikimoto.
October 31st, 2019
A Tampa man successfully dug through 10 tons of rotting trash to rescue his wife's engagement ring that had been accidentally thrown away and carted off to the city landfill on Monday morning.


Sara E. Petro took to Facebook to praise the efforts of her husband, Fadi, and a bunch of helpers from the city's Waste Management - Southeast Landfill team.

"It's a really rough day, but there is a happy ending," wrote Sara on Facebook. "This morning I realized my engagement ring was missing. After frantically tearing my house apart and searching to no avail, I realized that I must have accidentally thrown it away with a pile of trash as I was cleaning last night."

"As you can probably imagine," she continued, "my level of hysteria was through the roof."

Her husband, however, was calm as could be. He tracked down a supervisor at the city's Waste Management facility and explained that he needed to find a single bag that contained the precious jewelry.

The supervisor was able to identify the truck that serviced the Petros' neighborhood, but explained that the Petro bag already had been mixed in with 10 tons of compacted trash.

Finding a ring buried in that much trash would be virtually impossible, according to the supervisor, but that somber assessment didn't dissuade Fadi from trying.

"My sweet husband was bound and determined to find it for me," wrote Sara.

By the time Fadi arrived at the landfill, he had two hours to get the job done. Fortunately, he was assisted by a small team of Waste Management employees.

"I’ll spare the rancid details, but it was a horrendous task," wrote Sara. "The sweet guys working at the landfill helped Fadi search and THEY FOUND IT!! Literally a needle in a haystack."

Sara noted that words could not express her gratitude for the efforts of her husband and the Waste Management team.

"I feel very blessed and like the luckiest girl in the world," she wrote. "These men are my heroes!"

Credit: Image via E. Petro.