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Articles in November 2021

November 1st, 2021
Graphite fragments preserved within a Greenland ruby could be evidence of ancient microbial life dating back 2.5 billion years, according to a new study.


The research team, led by Chris Yakymchuk, professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, set out to study the geology of rubies to better understand the conditions necessary for ruby formation.

During this research in the North Atlantic Craton of southern Greenland — which contains the oldest known deposits of rubies in the world — the team found a ruby sample that contained graphite, a mineral made of pure carbon. Analysis of this carbon indicated that it is a remnant of early life.

"The graphite inside this ruby is really unique," Yakymchuk said in a statement. "It's the first time we've seen evidence of ancient life in ruby-bearing rocks."

He said that the graphite within the ruby was likely composed of dead microorganisms, such as cyanobacteria.

As reported by, cyanobacteria are thought to be some of the first life on Earth. Scientists believe that over billions of years of converting sunlight into chemical energy, cyanobacteria gradually produced the oxygen necessary for complex life to eventually evolve.

The graphite found in the ruby formed during a time on the planet when oxygen was not abundant in the atmosphere, and life existed only in microorganisms and algae films, Yakymchuk explained.

During this study, Yakymchuk’s team discovered that this graphite not only links the gemstone to ancient life but was also likely necessary for this ruby to exist at all. The graphite changed the chemistry of the surrounding rocks to create favorable conditions for ruby growth. Without it, the team’s models showed that it would not have been possible to form rubies in this location.

"For me personally, it's quite humbling to think about all the things that are encapsulated in this ruby as a reminder of our small part in the long history of planet Earth," Yakymchuk told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Titled "Corundum (ruby) growth during the final assembly of the Archean North Atlantic Craton, southern West Greenland," the study was recently published in Ore Geology Reviews. A companion study, "The corundum conundrum: Constraining the compositions of fluids involved in ruby formation in metamorphic melanges of ultramafic and aluminous rocks," was published in the journal Chemical Geology in June.

Credit: Image courtesy of University of Waterloo.
November 2nd, 2021
All 41 lots of carefully curated blue and violet diamonds from the recently shuttered Argyle mine were purchased by a single bidder at Rio Tinto's "Once in a Blue Moon" tender.


Hong Kong fancy-colored diamond specialist Kunming Diamonds scooped up the complete collection, which represents the very last blue and violet diamonds to emerge from the Argyle mine.

Rio Tinto stated that Kunming Diamonds’ history-making global bid for the 24.88 carats of final “beyond rare” blue jewels from the East Kimberley region of Western Australia is a significant moment in the history of the Argyle mine and the colored-diamond industry.

"We are delighted to be part of Argyle's legacy in this historical moment, acquiring the Once in a Blue Moon collection," noted Harsh Maheshwari, Executive Director of Kunming Diamonds. "We cherish becoming the custodians of the final Australian treasures from this iconic and industry-defining mine, and look forward to unearthing the incredible possibilities in the years to come."


Throughout its 37-year history, the Argyle mine sporadically produced small blue and violet diamonds in a beautiful array of shades. With the closure of Argyle on November 3, 2020, it is extremely unlikely that there will ever be another collective offering of iconic gems in this color spectrum from a single mine.

Even though Argyle mine is closed, Rio Tinto will maintain and manage the Argyle Pink Diamonds™ brand through secondary market platforms, certification processes and creative collaborations with its trusted partners.

In addition to owning the Argyle Pink Diamonds™ brand, Rio Tinto is the majority owner and operator of the Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada and has signed an exploration joint venture agreement with Endiama, the national diamond mining company of Angola, to evaluate the Chiri kimberlite in that country's Lunda Sul Province.

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto.
November 3rd, 2021
"Julia," an elaborate fractal-inspired necklace set with 423 diamonds and 1,739 sapphires, is expected to sell for 25 million zlotys or more at DESA Unicum's private sale in Poland.


(The zloty is the official currency of Poland. Twenty-five million zlotys is equivalent to about $6.2 million.)

Designed in 2009 by Aussie Marc Newson for the French luxury brand Boucheron, the 18-karat white gold necklace includes more than 125 carats of gemstones and required more than 1,500 hours to complete. The 2.5 carat, E-color, VVS2 diamond at the center of the piece appears to be floating.


Billed as the most expensive piece of jewelry ever offered at auction in Poland, the design's fractal spirals feature a diamond-intensive center that transitions to light blue sapphires and then to dark blue sapphires as the gems radiate outward from the center.

A fractal is a complex geometric pattern that when viewed at any scale repeats elements of the overall pattern. Fractals can be seen in sea shells, fern leaves, sunspots, spiral galaxies and the structure of human lungs.

According to the Warsaw-based auction house, "Julia" is one of the most expensive jewelry pieces ever sold by Boucheron. It even caught the eye of Karl Lagerfeld, who featured it at one of his haute couture shows in Paris.


"Julia" honors French mathematician Gaston Julia, whose work described how fractals are formed.

The necklace had been on public exhibition from October 22 to 26 in a guarded case at the auction house's gallery. The sale of "Julia" will take place under a private sale tender. After the necklace has been inspected by people interested in purchasing it, confidential tenders will be accepted. The last day to make an offer is November 5.

Credits: Images courtesy of DESA Unicum.
November 4th, 2021
Beauty mogul Kylie Jenner revealed to her 279 million Instagram followers on Tuesday the matching “Toi et Moi” diamond rings gifted to her and three-year-old daughter, Stormi, by rapper boyfriend Travis Scott.


"Daddy got us matching rings," the 24-year-old wrote. The pic shows the mommy-daughter duo touching hands while wearing their new rings, which feature a pear-cut diamond nestled next to an emerald-cut diamond in a bypass setting. She punctuated the post with two emojis: a grey heart and a lightning cloud.


A design concept originally conceived by Napoleon in 1796, “Toi et Moi” is a bypass ring set with two unlike stones of similar size. Symbolically, they represent two souls becoming one. The ring that Napoleon presented to Josephine on the occasion of their marriage included two pear-shaped stones, one sapphire and one diamond. (The French phrase "toi et moi" means "you and me" in English.)

We expect that many fashion-forward jewelry lovers are going to be influenced by the Kylie/Stormi fashion statement. Kylie Jenner has more Instagram followers than anybody in the world, except for soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, who claims 362 million.

Jewelry-industry experts estimated that the diamonds in Kylie's ring weigh about 5 or 6 carats apiece and are valued at $325,000. Stormi's petite version is set with diamonds weighing approximately 1.5 carats each and carry a price tag of about $120,000.

Kylie did not reveal whether the gifts celebrated a particular occasion or milestone, but we do know that the reality star announced in early September that she is expecting her second child with the 29-year-old rapper and that Stormi is excited to become a big sister.

Credits: Images via

November 5th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, country music star Luke Combs has diamond rings on his mind as he confronts the cruel fact that everything he loves will ultimately break his heart.


Included on his long list of things that have "torn him apart" are his job, his truck, his dog, his favorite football team and a couple of girlfriends. The only thing he can count on is his favorite frosty libation.

In his 2019 hit "Beer Never Broke My Heart," Combs sings, "Longneck iced cold beer never broke my heart / Like diamond rings and football teams have torn this boy apart / Like a neon dream it just don't know me, the bars and this guitar / And longneck iced cold beer never broke my heart."

Written by Combs in collaboration with Randy Montana and Jonathan Singleton, "Beer Never Broke My Heart" became a fan favorite when Combs and his band began playing it on tour in January of 2018. A studio version appeared on Combs' second studio album, What You See Is What You Get, and was released as a single on May 8, 2019.

The song ascended to #2 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and #1 on the Canada Country chart. The album earned 2X platinum status in the US and topped the album charts in the US, Canada, UK and Australia.

Combs and his band got to perform the song live on both The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in May 2019 and on Saturday Night Live in February 2020.

Luke Albert Combs was born on March 2, 1990, in Huntersville, NC. He demonstrated a love for music at a young age and performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall while attending high school. At Appalachian State University, he worked as a bouncer at a honky-tonk bar and eventually earned stage time to hone his talents.

Just a month before he was set to graduate from college, he dropped out to pursue his dream of becoming a country music star. He released his first EP in 2014, and by 2016 he had been recognized by Sounds Like Nashville as an "artist to watch."

Please check out the video of Combs' Saturday Night Live performance of "Beer Never Broke My Heart." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

"Beer Never Broke My Heart"
Written by Luke Combs, Randy Montana and Jonathan Singleton. Performed by Luke Combs.

I've had a largemouth bass bust my line
A couple of beautiful girls tell me goodbye
Trucks break down, dogs run off
Politicians lie, been fired by the boss

It takes one hand to count the things I can count on
No, there ain't much man that ain't ever let me down

Longneck iced cold beer never broke my heart
Like diamond rings and football teams have torn this boy apart
Like a neon dream it just don't know me, the bars and this guitar
And longneck iced cold beer never broke my heart

She was a Carolina blue jean baby
Fire in her eyes that drove me crazy
It was red tail lights when she left town
If I didn't know then, I sure do now

That longneck iced cold beer never broke my heart
Like diamond rings and football teams have torn this boy apart
Like a neon dream it just don't know me, the bars and this guitar
A longneck iced cold beer never broke my heart

Now I got one hand to count the things I can count on
But I got one man drippin' down on a cold one

'Cause longneck iced cold beer never broke my heart
Like diamond rings and football teams have torn this boy apart
Like a neon dream it just don't know me, the bars and this guitar
A longneck iced cold beer never broke my heart
It never broke my heart.

Credit: Screen capture via Night Live.
November 8th, 2021
An elderly British woman who brought her "costume" jewelry to a local auctioneer to be evaluated was stunned to learn that a huge "faux" stone in the collection was actually a 34-carat diamond valued at more than $2 million.


The woman — described as a lovely, elderly lady in her 70s who wished to remain anonymous — had amassed much of her collection at car boot sales over many years. Car boot sales differ from flea markets because they are generally populated not by professional sellers, but by ordinary folks who sell their unwanted household items out of the back of their cars.


Mark Lane, the owner of Featonby's Auctioneers, said that the box of jewelry contained a number of low-value costume jewelry items, as well as the retiree's wedding band and the unusually large clear stone.

At first, Lane believed the round brilliant-cut stone was likely a cubic zirconia. The stone sat on his desk for two or three days until a friend of the company made a passing comment that he should test the stone.

The friend's hunch was right. Lane held his diamond tester to the stone and it registered as genuine.

The HRD Diamond Grading Laboratory in Antwerp confirmed that the elderly lady's gem was, in fact, a 34.19-carat round, brilliant-cut diamond boasting H color, VS1 clarity and a triple excellent cut grade. Lane described the gem as larger than a British pound coin, which is equivalent to about an inch wide.

"The color, the clarity, the size… to find a 34-carat diamond is off the scale," Lane told the BBC.

Lane explained that the woman had nearly tossed the gem into the trash, believing it was valueless.

"She told us she'd been having a 'clearout' and that it nearly went in the bin before her neighbor suggested bringing her items to us to get valued," Lane said.

Featonby's Auctioneers is promoting the diamond as “The Secret Stone," and will be offering it for sale during a single-lot auction on November 30 at the auction house's Newcastle location. Featonby's estimates the diamond will sell in the range of £1.6 million ($2.1 million) to £2 million ($2.7 million).

Credits: Images courtesy of Featonbys.
November 9th, 2021
Sapphire-and-diamond jewelry linked to the Imperial Romanov family and smuggled to Great Britain at the onset of the 1917 Russian Revolution will be offered for sale at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Nobel Jewels auction in Geneva on November 10.


The sapphire-and-diamond brooch and matching ear clips were originally owned by Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, the aunt of Czar Nicholas II, the last Czar of Russia.


Pavlovna was known as the "grandest of the grand duchesses" because of her attractiveness and sense of style. Her fabulous collection of jewelry included at least 242 items.

Fearing that her valuable jewels might be pillaged during the revolution, she entrusted British dignitary Albert Stopford to ferry her jewels to the safety of England. The hundreds of items were folded into old newspaper and stuffed into two shabby leather bags. The perilous 10-day voyage by steamer across the heavily mined North Sea was a success.

Stopford put the jewels in a safety deposit box in a bank in London, where they remained for more than two years — the time it took Pavlovna to finally flee Russia and reach Western Europe. She never made it to London to collect her jewels. She died in Paris in 1920.

The jewelry was bequeathed to her daughter, Princess Elena of Greece and Denmark. Sotheby's reported that Pavlovna's sapphire ensemble was put up for auction by a European princely family, who purchased the items at auction in 2009.

Designed circa 1900, the brooch is centered by an oval sapphire weighing 26.80 carats and bordered with cushion-cut and rose-cut diamonds. The ear clips are set with step-cut sapphires weighing 6.69 and 9.36 carats respectively, within a border of cushion-cut and rose-cut diamonds. The presale estimate for Lot 279 is $306,000 to $525,000.

In addition to the imperial jewelry, Sotheby's is showcasing a number of head turning items. They include the following:


Lot 292. Set with a cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut fancy orangey-pink diamond weighing 25.62 carats, this 18-karat gold ring is accented with shield-shaped diamonds weighing 1.06 and 1.18 carats respectively. The colored diamond has a clarity of VS2 and the side diamonds are internally flawless. The presale estimate is $3.9 million to $5.9 million.


Lot 287. The perfectly matched pair of diamond earrings are literally perfectly matched. Each 18-karat gold earring is set with a square-cut diamond weighing exactly 25.88 carats, along with a suspended brilliant-cut diamond weighing 1.04 carats. Sotheby's expects the pair to sell in the range of $4.5 million to $5.5 million.


Lot 297. Designed by Mouawad, this 18-karat gold bracelet features a pear-shaped modified brilliant-cut diamond weighing 59 carats. The lavish piece is set with step-cut, oval and square diamonds weighing an additional 76 carats. The main stone boasts a D color and VVS1 clarity, while the rest of the diamonds range in color from E to G and VVS to SI in clarity. The presale estimated price range for the piece is $4 million to $4.6 million.


Lot 241. A pear-shaped fancy intense pink diamond weighing 4.53 carats is at the center of this 18-karat gold ring adorned with pink and near-colorless brilliant-cut diamonds. The featured diamond is graded VS1 in clarity and the piece is signed by Chopard. The presale estimate is $2.8 million to $4.2 million.

Credits: Jewelry images courtesy of Sotheby's. Maria Pavlovna photo by Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
November 10th, 2021
A stunning member of the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection for the past three years, the impossibly rare "Whitney Flame Topaz" is one of the world's most extraordinary examples of November's official birthstone.


The vibrant red gem weighs 48.86 carats and exhibits an exaggerated pear-shape that resembles a flame. At the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals in Washington, DC, the gem is mounted vertically and lit from behind to emphasize its fiery color.

Red topaz represents an extremely tiny subset of gem-quality Imperial Topaz, which is highly coveted and most often seen in golden-orange to orange-red hues. Shades of pink, purple, and red are even more rare. The red color is the result of trace amounts of chromium in the gemstone’s chemical composition.

The Whitney Flame was sourced more than 50 years ago at the famed Capao Mine mine of Ouro Preto, Brazil.

“Of all the topaz found in that locality, only about a percent or two is gem quality,” Jeffrey Post, curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection, told in 2018. “And, of those one to two percent, maybe one percent of those have a deep enough red color that they could be marketed as red topaz.”

The flame-shaped red topaz was held privately for many decades, before emerging at the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in 2017. Post and Smithsonian benefactor Coralyn Wright Whitney were moved to tears when they viewed the stone for the first time.

“When we saw it, we all collectively started weeping a little bit,” Post said. “The color and beauty of this gemstone is astounding. You have to see it to believe it.”

Whitney acquired the stone and gifted it to the Smithsonian, along with a $5 million endowment.

In September of 2018, the Smithsonian welcomed the red gem as a permanent resident of the National Museum of Natural History and honored the philanthropist by naming it the "Whitney Flame Topaz."

Brazil is the largest producer of quality topaz, but the stone is also mined in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Russia, Australia, Nigeria, Germany, Mexico and the U.S (specifically California, Utah and New Hampshire). Topaz rates an 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it a durable and wearable gem.

Credits: Whitney Flame Topaz image by Greg Polley / Smithsonian and digitally enhanced by SquareMoose.
November 11th, 2021
Gemfields just unveiled the largest emerald ever discovered at its Kagem mine in Zambia. Named “Chipembele,” which means "rhino" in the local indigenous dialect of Bemba, the 7,525-carat hexagonal crystal displays a rich, golden green hue and "gemmy" nature suitable for cutting and polishing.


The crystal was unearthed in July by geologist Manas Banerjee and veteran miner Richard Kapeta, who were also responsible for finding the 5,655-carat "Inkalamu" (meaning “lion”) at the Kagem mine in 2018.

According to Gemfields, when Kapeta encountered the crystal, he shouted in joy, “Look at this rhino horn!” And hence, the gemstone got its name.

“Chipembele" unseated the 6,225-carat "Insofu" as the largest emerald ever found at the mine. Meaning “elephant,” "Insofu" had been discovered in 2010.

All three massive emerald crystals were within relatively close proximity at Kagem, the world’s largest and most productive emerald mine. Kagem is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% owned by the Government of the Republic of Zambia.

“Chipembele" is due to be sold at the next Gemfields emerald auction, with 10% of the proceeds supporting the North Luangwa Conservation Program in Zambia to aid critical black rhinoceros conservation efforts.

“A key Gemfields tenet is that Africa’s gemstone wealth must contribute meaningfully not only to host-country economies, but also to conservation efforts, host communities and the next generation by way of education, healthcare and livelihoods projects,” noted Jackson Mtonga, Kagem Sort House Assistant Manager, in a press release.

The winning bidder for "Chipembele" will be given the option of a unique DNA nano-tag identity, developed by Gübelin, ensuring that the cut and polished gems that it yields can be identified and certified as having originated from this extraordinary gemstone.

Gübelin's "provenance proof" service embeds within the gemstone nanoparticles coded with information about the gemstone’s origin.

Credits: Images courtesy of Gemfields.
November 12th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you outstanding songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the multitalented Andra Day performs "Gold," a bluesy ballad framed as a heartfelt apology to a former lover.


Day admits she betrayed him even though he treated her “like a precious gift.” She suffers a hard lesson when she learns that her new lover is a cheater.

Day describes her remorse with a line that repeats throughout the song: “I gave up gold / For grains of sand / Slipping through my hand.”

In an NPR interview, Day explained how “Gold” was born.

“I was with someone that I was not good to, and wasn’t faithful to,” she said. “I used to be ashamed to talk about it, and ‘Gold’ was really my moment to say, ‘I’m going to talk about it. I’m going to purge because other people experience this.'”

She continued, “So, it’s basically a letter to him apologizing for what I had done. Sort of spelling out my experience and heartbreak after that — having someone betray me and what it felt like. And then letting him know that I now understand what [he] went through… It’s a whole candid story told from beginning to end.”

“Gold” is featured on Day’s 2015 debut album, Forever Mine. That same year, Rolling Stone magazine named Andra Day one of the “10 New Artists You Need to Know.”

The publication was right on the mark, as Day would score a 2021 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in the biopic The United States vs. Billie Holiday.

Born Cassandra Monique Batie in Edmonds, WA, in 1984, the artist's stage name was inspired by Holiday’s nickname, "Lady Day."

Day got her first break in 2012 when a series of her popular song covers went viral on YouTube. Those videos caught the attention of numerous record labels, which courted the future star. Eventually, she signed with Warner Bros. Records.

The photo, above, also reveals that Day is a big fan of gold jewelry. She wears two gold rings on each finger, bold gold cuffs on her wrists, large gold hoop earrings and two gold chain necklaces.

Please check out the video of Andra Day performing "Gold" live at the SiriusXM studios in June of 2016. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

Written and performed by Andra Day.

He don’t know I call him the teacher
He had a hard lesson for the kid
I get I put you through hell
He put me under the same spell
He lied man, he stressed me out
You loved me like a precious gift
And he loved me like a sloppy kiss
You would tell me your heartaches
Now I understand the pain
Oh why did I let you drown

Baby would you believe
That I’ve been broken
You say memories
Play again and again
I see the reel now it’s real to me
I gave up gold
For grains of sand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand

You had no problems with commitment
Like a king is loyal to what’s his
You looked for a ring to fit
While I played wifey with a kid
Oh the irony makes me sick

He tried to make me look crazy
Nothing new about his kind of scheme
I laugh when I think about
His face when truth nearly spilled out
He looked like me I get that now

Baby would you believe
That I’ve been broken
You say memories
Play again and again
I see the reel, now it’s real to me
I gave up gold
For grains of sand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand

Baby would you believe
That I’ve been broken
You say memories
Play again and again
I see the reel, now it’s real to me
I gave up gold
For grains of sand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand

Credit: Screen capture via / SiriusXM.
November 15th, 2021
An unstable, deep-Earth mineral that shouldn't be able to exist on the surface has been found inside a diamond.


“It’s the strength of the diamond that keeps the inclusions at high pressure,” Oliver Tschauner, a geochemist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told Live Science.

Before the discovery, davemaoite existed theoretically.

Under extreme pressure and heat, it presents as calcium silicate perovskite, but degrades into other minerals when it moves toward the surface and pressure decreases.

The tiny spec of davemaoite was able to make to 400-plus-mile journey to the surface — and stay intact — because it was trapped within a diamond.

As diamonds form hundreds of miles beneath the Earth’s crust, tiny bits of their surrounding environment can be trapped inside. What’s particularly unique about diamonds is that the inclusions will remain under the same pressure as they were during the time they were encapsulated.

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.

“Diamond is a remarkable vessel for sampling the geochemistry of the deep mantle,” Steven Jacobsen, a mineral physicist at Northwestern University, told in 2018, “because of its ability to seal off trapped inclusions from the reactive environment during ascent, like a tiny indestructible spaceship.”

Named after scientist Ho-kwang ‘Dave’ Mao, davemaoite was approved as a new mineral by the International Mineralogical Association. Mao is famous for his pioneering discoveries in the field of high-pressure geochemistry and geophysics.

Scientists confirmed the presence of davemaoite in the diamond by using a technique known as synchrotron X-ray diffraction. The researchers focused a high-energy beam of X-rays on the inclusions within the diamond and then measured the angle and intensity of the returning light. Those results revealed a distinctive chemical signature of what was inside. The davemaoite inclusions measured just a few micrometers (millionths of a meter) in size.

While most diamonds are formed under intense pressure and heat at a depth of 93 to 124 miles, the diamond encasing the davemaoite material was likely formed 400-plus miles below the surface. The greenish, octahedral-shaped deep-Earth diamond samples studied by Tschauner and his team had been unearthed at the Orapa mine in Botswana.

Scientists believe that davemaoite is one of three main minerals in Earth’s lower mantle and makes up 5% to 7% of the material in the mantle. Davemaoite is believed to be part of the group of minerals that helps manage how heat moves and cycles through the deep Earth.

Credit: Image by Aaron Celestian, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
November 16th, 2021
Weighing in at 277.9 carats, this yellow-orange citrine from the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection is a head-turning, sun-kissed example of November's alternative birthstone.


Sourced in Brazil, the round modified brilliant-cut citrine seen here is currently displayed in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Citrine gets its name from "citron," the French word for lemon, and can range in color from the warm hues of golden champagne to the deep oranges of Madeira wine. Most gem-quality citrine is mined from Brazil, but other important sources include Spain, Bolivia, France, Russia, Madagascar and the U.S. (Colorado, North Carolina and California).

Citrine is the golden-yellow-to-orange variety of quartz and gets its color from trace amounts of iron in the gem’s chemical makeup. Quartz, which is composed of silicon and oxygen, is colorless in its pure state. The Greeks referred to the material as “krystallos,” or “ice.”

But when trace amounts of impurities invade its chemical structure, nature yields a wide range of vivid hues. Citrine, for example, is a near-cousin chemically to February’s purple birthstone, the amethyst.


In fact, some quartz specimens display a fascinating transition from yellow to purple and nature's mashup is aptly called ametrine. The gems in the photo, above, were sourced in Bolivia and weigh 55.68 and 24.15 carats, respectively.

National Museum of Natural History is the most-visited natural history museum in the world and the National Gem Collection consists of approximately 350,000 mineral specimens and 10,000 gems.

Citrine is a relative newcomer to the official birthstone list. The National Association of Jewelers added it in 1952 as an alternative to topaz.

Credits: Photos by Chip Clark / Smithsonian.
November 17th, 2021
When an amethyst ring dating back 1,500 years was unearthed in Yavne, Israel, near the site of the largest winery of the Byzantine period (330-1453 AD), archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority were quick to point out the obvious connection.


You see, in ancient times it was believed that amethyst jewelry could protect its wearer from intoxication and ward off the effects of a hangover. The word "amethyst," in fact, comes from the Greek word "amethystos," which literally means "not drunken."

"Did the person who wore the ring want to avoid intoxication due to drinking a lot of wine?" asked Dr. Elie Haddad, the director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. "We probably will never know."

The director noted that the ring was found just 150 meters from the remains of a long warehouse, which was used to store tall wine jars, called "amphorae." These jars had long, narrow necks and handles on each side.

Weighing 5.11 grams, the gold ring is bezel set with a cabochon cut amethyst. Despite being buried for more than 1,500 years, the ring and the stone are in remarkably good shape.

The popularity of amethyst dates back thousands of years. The pretty purple stone is mentioned in the Old Testament as one of the 12 precious stones worn by the high priest of the Temple on his ceremonial breastplate.

“The person who owned the ring was affluent, and the wearing of the jewel indicated their status and wealth,” noted Dr. Amir Golani, an expert on ancient jewelry at the Israel Antiquities Authority. “Such rings could be worn by both men and women.”

It is possible that the impressive ring belonged to the owner of the warehouse, a foreman, or simply to an unlucky merchant, who dropped it en route to the winery.

The researchers are still debating when the ring was actually fabricated. The material at the a dig site dates back to the 7th century AD, but it is possible that the ring, due to its beauty and prestige, had been handed down from generation to generation over the centuries. Gold rings inlaid with amethyst stone are known in the Roman world, and it is possible that the ring had belonged to the elites who lived in the city as early as the 3rd century AD.

“The small, everyday finds that are discovered in our excavations tell us human stories and connect us directly to the past," said Eli Eskozido, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “It is exciting to imagine that the man or woman to whom the ring belonged, walked right here, in a different reality to what we know in today's city of Yavne.”

Credit: Image courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority/Dafna Gazit.
November 18th, 2021
More than 50 gem dealers from the four corners of the Earth are participating in the first-ever global auction of Australian sapphires. On Monday, mining company FURA Gems began unveiling 900,000 carats of natural sapphires in a wide range of colors, including blue, teal, yellow, green and "parti," a unique and popular multi-hued variety. The event is taking place through November 23 in Bangkok.


"Discovered in Queensland a century and a half ago, sapphires have since been unearthed by Australian miners in a rainbow of colors that buyers around the world rarely get to see," said Dev Shetty, Founder & CEO, FURA Gems. "Exploring the enormous range of Australian sapphires has been a journey of discovery for FURA Gems.”

By establishing this global auction, FURA Gems is setting into motion an organized way to present and distribute Australian sapphires to the marketplace.

“The auction in Bangkok will be historic as the market will get a first look at our graded, unheated and versatile range of colored sapphires. It presents a unique opportunity for the industry to explore different colors in sapphires on one single platform,” said Shetty.


The nine-day event will see auction tables covered in 275,000 carats of rough blue sapphires, 300,000 carats of rough green sapphires and more than 300,000 carats of rough teal, yellow and polychrome sapphires.

FURA's global sapphire production was 5.5 million carats in 2021 and the company is looking to boost production to 10 million carats in 2022. The company owns 20 square kilometers of mining area in Australia, and claims to be the largest supplier of sapphires in the world. It had recently acquired two Queensland-based mining operations — Capricorn Sapphire in 2019 and Great Northern Mining in 2020.

With its new claims in Central Queensland, FURA is hoping to bring back the glory days of Australia's sapphire mining industry. In the late 20th century, Australia accounted for more than 90% of global sapphire production, according to FURA.

The mining company is collaborating with the Gemological Institute of America to establish "mine of origin" reports for the sapphires produced by FURA. The company also has established a proprietary color-grading initiative that will help buyers determine the quality and value of the precious stones.

FURA noted that the "pièce de résistance" of all its colorful selections is the parti sapphire in both bi-color and tri-color combinations. These polychrome sapphires display the complementary colors of either blue, green or yellow in a single stone.

In addition to its sapphire operations in Australia, the UAE-based FURA Gems owns ruby mines in Mozambique and emerald mines in Colombia.

Credits: Images courtesy of FURA Gems.
November 19th, 2021
Welcome to another Music Friday Flashback, when we bring you classic tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we feature Seals & Crofts performing their Summer of ’73 hit, “Diamond Girl.”


Using gemstone imagery to describe a girl who is perfect in their eyes, Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts sing, “Diamond Girl – you sure do shine / Glad I found you – glad you’re mine / Oh my love, you’re like a precious stone / Part of earth where heaven has rained on.”

The Texas-born Seals and Crofts are famous for their lush harmonies, spiritual lyrics and a string of chart-toppers in the 1970s. Their songs are said to be influenced by the teachings of the Bahá’í faith.

Coming off their success with “Summer Breeze” in 1972, the duo was back in the studio one year later with “Diamond Girl.”

Released as the title track of Seals & Crofts' fifth studio album, the single reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album also was a huge success, as it rose to #4 on the Billboard 200 chart. A second charting single from the album was “We May Never Pass This Way Again,” which topped out at #21.

The duo had a strong run through the 1970s, but disbanded in 1980. They reunited briefly in 1991 and then again in 2004, when they released their final album, Traces.

Seals & Crofts’ fans may not know that Jim Seals is the brother of Dan Seals, who was “England Dan” in the duo England Dan and John Ford Coley (“I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,” 1976). In the early and mid-2000s, Jim Seals toured with his brother under the name, Seals & Seals.

Another interesting bit of trivia: Seals and Crofts both belonged to the group The Champs (“Tequila,” 1958) in the late 1950s and early 1960s, before going out on their own.

Jim Seals turned 80 on October 17. Dash Crofts celebrated his 81st birthday on August 14.

Please check out the video of Seals & Crofts performing “Diamond Girl” live on The Midnight Special in 1973. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Diamond Girl”
Written by Jim Seals and Dash Crofts. Performed by Seals & Crofts.

Diamond Girl – you sure do shine
Glad I found you – glad you’re mine
Oh my love, you’re like a precious stone
Part of earth where heaven has rained on

Makes no difference where you are
Day or nighttime you’re like a shinin’ star
And how could I shine without you
When it’s about you that I am

Diamond Girl – roamin’ wild
Such a rare thing – radiant child
I could never find another one like you
Part of me is deep down inside you

Can’t you feel the whole world’s a-turnin’
We are real and we are a-burnin’
Diamond Girl now that I’ve found you
It’s around you that I am

Diamond Girl – you sure do shine
Diamond Girl – you sure do shine
Diamond Girl – you sure do shine
Diamond Girl – you sure do shine

Credit: Image by Warner Brothers Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
November 22nd, 2021
Lawmaker Thomas Mahaffie is advancing a bill to make amethyst the official gemstone of Pennsylvania. Twenty-seven of the 50 states currently have a gemstone to call their own, and the state representative from Dauphin County believes that The Keystone State deserves one, as well.


In a legislative memo, Mahaffie outlined why amethyst is the best choice.

"Pennsylvania is well known for its variety of vast mineral deposits and the mines that work them," he wrote. "Among these is quartz, the most beautiful type of which is the vibrant, purple gemstone, amethyst."

Mahaffie also noted that amethysts are featured in the tiara used to crown the winner of the Miss Pennsylvania pageant. The tiara boasts 92 carats of amethysts, including a keystone-shaped primary jewel weighing 37 carats. The tiara is the subject of great pride because the gems and gold used to fabricate it were contributed by jewelers throughout the state.

"The official symbols of the Commonwealth are important because they help to differentiate our state from others," he continued. "Most states have an official state dog, tree and flower, etc., all of which help to show what is important to that state."

Mahaffie added one more piece of purple passion to his argument.

“Coincidentally, the state plant of Pennsylvania is Penngift Crownvetch, commonly known as “‘Purple Crown,’” he wrote. “How fitting that Pennsylvania is represented by the beauty of the attractive purple blooms of the state plant ‘Purple Crown’ and the radiant purple amethyst gemstones of the ‘Purple Crown’ worn by Miss Pennsylvania.”

According to, 27 states currently claim an official gemstone. New Hampshire has smoky quartz, Idaho has star garnet and Maine has tourmaline, to name a few.

If the measure — HB 777 — passes through the House and Senate, Pennsylvania will become the second state to anoint amethyst as its official gemstone. The other is South Carolina.


Also included in Mahaffie's bill is a proposal to make celestite the state's official mineral. First discovered in Pennsylvania in 1791, the pale blue mineral gets its name from the Latin word for "celestial."

"I believe that denoting celestite, more commonly referred to as celestine, as the state mineral will not only pique the interest of school children across the state to learn more about Pennsylvania and its rich environment, but will also help educate the public about a uniquely beautiful mineral," Mahaffie wrote.

Celestite has been found in Pennsylvania's Blair, Juniata, Lycoming, Northumberland, Huntingdon and Mifflin counties. Deposits of amethyst are present in the state's southeastern counties of Lancaster, Chester and Delaware.

Credits: Amethyst image by Marie-Lan Taÿ Pamart, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Celestite image by Ivar Leidus, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
November 23rd, 2021
In April 2019, Botswana's state-run Okavango Diamond Company unveiled the largest blue diamond ever discovered in that country — a 20.46-carat oval gem with Fancy Deep Blue color and VVS2 clarity. At the time, the company's managing director called the gem "a once-in-a-lifetime find."


Earlier this month, the "Okavango Blue Diamond" made its New York City debut as the centerpiece of a spectacular display at the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, the newly renovated, 11,000-square-foot section of the American Museum of Natural History.


The vibrant gem occupies the lead showcase in a presentation about the wide variety of natural diamonds found in Botswana — from more common industrial diamonds used in construction, manufacturing and other sectors to gem-quality ones. More than 1,000 rough natural diamonds are included in the gallery that explains the different characteristics of diamonds, including size, shape, quality and color. There is also an emphasis on the unique way that Botswana runs its diamond industry.


Botswana is the second-largest producer of natural diamonds in the world and a major source of gem-quality, ethically sourced diamonds. The "Okavango Blue Diamond" was sourced at one of the world’s largest open-pit diamond mines, the Orapa Mine.

It was cut from a 41.11-carat rough diamond and its name honors the world heritage site known as the Okavango Delta. The lush delta is the home of hippos, elephants, crocodiles, lions, leopards, giraffes and rhinos. It's an area of exceptional biodiversity and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The government of Botswana established the first of four large diamond mines shortly after it attained independence in 1966. At that time, lawmakers entered into agreements with tribal leaders to make certain that the country's valuable diamond resources would always benefit the people.

“Our natural diamond resources are managed responsibly in a manner that puts the people of Botswana first,” said Okavango Diamond Company Managing Director Mmetla Masire. “There is a strong sense of local pride knowing that these diamonds are improving the lives of Batswana with profits directly reinvested in education, infrastructure and public health. We are so pleased to share with the world the larger story of the diamond industry of Botswana.”

The "Okavango Blue Diamond" and the other diamonds of Botswana are on loan from the Okavango Diamond Company. Visitors will find the gems within the museum's Melissa and Keith Meister Gallery, which is specifically designed to accommodate rotating exhibitions at the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals.

Credits: Diamond photo courtesy the Okavango Diamond Company. Display photos by D. Finnin/©AMNH.
November 24th, 2021
More than a week after accepting a romantic marriage proposal from Twilight star Taylor Lautner, newly engaged Tay Dome was still basking in the glow of her oval-cut diamond engagement ring.


"I can get used to this view," she captioned an Instagram selfie of her outstretched left hand, against the backdrop of her famous fiancé.

The 29-year-old actor had popped the question to his registered nurse girlfriend on 11.11.21 and celebrated a few days later at the DAOU Vineyards in Paso Robles, CA. Both Lautner and Dome shared photos of their romantic getaway, and in a number of photos the ring was front and center.


In one photo, Lautner is holding a wine glass with his left hand while pointing at the 23-year-old's ring with his right hand. His fianceé smiles as she looks straight into the camera with her ring finger extended straight up. In his caption, Lautner shared with his 7.1 million Instagram followers just how much Dome has changed his life.

He wrote, "Cannot wait to spend forever with you @taydome You love me unconditionally. You don't put up with my [stuff]. You calm me when I'm anxious. You make me laugh way too much. You make every single day spent with you so special. And most importantly, you make me a better person. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve brought to my life. I love you forever."


The November 11 proposal took place at Lautner's home in a room strewn with rose petals and lit by a fireplace and white candles. A pink neon sign above the fireplace spelled out "Lautner" in script.

Lautner posted a pic of the scene and captioned it, “11.11.2021 … And just like that, all of my wishes came true.”

According to, Lautner and Dome went public with their relationship three years ago during the Halloween season. Lautner posted to his Instagram page a photo of the couple wearing matching costumes.

Credits: Images via / taydome.
November 29th, 2021
A new "Engagement Expectations" study conducted by The Knot and De Beers Group reveals that 96% of pre-engaged women want to have some involvement in the selection of the engagement ring and would not want the proposal to be a total surprise.


Carried out just ahead of "engagement season," the period between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day, the study reveals new insights into marriage proposals in a post-COVID environment. Nearly 300 women in a serious relationship were surveyed about expectations related to the proposal process — from where and how it takes place, to the selection of the engagement ring.

Three-fourths of pre-engaged females have thought a lot or some about their engagement ring and most are increasingly preferring more personalized and unique engagement rings.

The primary choice for an engagement ring center stone remains a diamond, with the majority citing this as their first choice. But contrary to popular opinion, pre-engaged women are less focused on carat weight and more concerned with the shape, style and setting of the stone.

The majority (68%) also believe that ring designs today are more unique than in their parents' generation, and one in five feel the exchange of rings has more meaning and significance today.

When it comes to purchasing the ring, about 2 in 10 respondents expect both partners to contribute to the cost; most women (76%) expect their partner will pay.

The findings also highlight an increased interest in intimacy and connection when it comes to the proposal itself.

While most pre-engaged women still want their partner to propose to them, they want the experience to be more personal and unique. Grand gestures and elaborate public displays were less appealing to respondents, with a solid majority saying the ideal way to pop the question would be one person proposing to the other (98%), planned ahead of time (66%), and in a private place (66%).

While females desire more intimate proposals, the majority (85%) feel there is more pressure on their partners to plan a unique proposal than in their parents' generation.

The Knot and De Beers Group Engagement Expectations Study was fielded on Instagram in October 2021 among 296 females in a serious relationship. A majority of female respondents (77%) participating in the survey believe they will be engaged within the next two years. Most were between the ages of 18 and 34.

Credit: Image courtesy of De Beers Group.
November 30th, 2021
Actress Lindsay Lohan’s Thanksgiving weekend ended on a spectacular note, as the Mean Girls star turned to Instagram on Sunday to announce her engagement to fund manager Bader Shammas.


Lohan’s 9.8 million Instagram followers were treated to an unpretentious, four-pic gallery showing her and her new fiancé enjoying their special moment. The new engagement ring can be seen in all four photos, which shared the caption, “My love. My life. My family. My future.” She punctuated the post with the hashtag “love” and a diamond ring emoji.


Because the ring is a bit blurry in the series, jewelry-industry experts were hard-pressed to lock down the shape, size and value of the ring. The diamond certainly has a squarish shape, so the experts narrowed down the possibilities to radiant, cushion or princess cut.


The metal type is likely platinum or white gold and the thin band seems to be adorned with diamonds.

The jewelry-industry insiders couldn’t agree on the size of the center stone, with estimates ranging from 3 carats to 6 carats. The same experts placed the value of the ring in the neighborhood of $150,000 to $250,000.


The 35-year-old Lohan and 34-year-old Shammas were first spotted together at a Dubai music festival in 2020 and have been dating ever since. According to The Independent, Shammas holds the title of assistant vice president at Credit Suisse and the couple has been living in Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates.

The Freaky Friday actress was previously engaged to Egor Tarabasov in 2016. Her previous engagement ring was similar to the current one in that it also featured a square-shaped center stone and thin band. 

Lohan will return to the big screen in 2022 with a starring role in a Netflix romantic comedy that is still untitled. She will play a newly engaged, spoiled hotel heiress who loses her memory after a skiing accident. Her co-star and love interest in the film is Glee alumnus Chord Overstreet.

Credits: Images via Instagram / lindsaylohan.