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Articles in December 2021

December 1st, 2021
Back in 2002, tanzanite joined turquoise and zircon as an official birthstone for the month of December. The occasion was momentous because, up until that point, the list hadn't been amended since 1912. The gem you see here is an extraordinary example of tanzanite from the Smithsonian’s National Gem Collection at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.


The 18.56-carat, emerald-cut stone was purchased for the Smithsonian with funds from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation in 2011. This is significant because 43 years earlier Tiffany played a vital role in making tanzanite a household name.

It was 1967 when Maasai tribesmen discovered a patch of shockingly beautiful bluish-violet gems in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Samples were entrusted to a prospector named Manuel d’Souza, who shared the crystals with distinguished gemologists. Originally thought to be sapphires, the gems turned out to be a totally new, vibrant blue variety of the mineral zoisite.

A year later, Tiffany looked to feature the gemstone in a broad-based advertising campaign, but its marketing team had to overcome a branding hurdle. The name “blue zoisite” sounded very much like “blue suicide” — and that alone could have tanked the campaign. So, the team at Tiffany decided to promote the gems as “tanzanite,” a name that would honor their country of origin.

Tiffany’s marketing campaign was a huge success and tanzanite would eventually earn the title of “Gem of the 20th Century.”

In 2002, a jewelry-industry trade organization — the American Gem Trade Association — designated tanzanite as an official birthstone for the month of December.

Tanzanites are said to be 1,000 times more rare than diamonds due to the fact that the blue-violet gem is mined in only one location on Earth. The area measures 2km wide by 4km long and the remaining lifespan of the mine is less than 30 years.

According to the Smithsonian, tanzanite exhibits the optical phenomenon known as pleochroism. This is when a gemstone presents multiple colors when observed at different angles. A tanzanite could appear intense blue, violet or red depending on the direction through which the crystal or polished gem is viewed.

Credit: Photo by Greg Polley / Smithsonian.
December 2nd, 2021
A 41,500-year-old oval-shaped pendant crafted from a mammoth tusk represents the oldest human-decorated jewelry ever found in Eurasia, according to an international team of researchers.


Discovered in the Stajnia Cave in southern Poland, the jewelry has a sophisticated design that includes 50 puncture marks in a looping curve, along with two drilled holes. The holes indicate that the item was likely worn as a pendant.

“This piece of jewelry shows the great creativity and [the] extraordinary manual skills of members of the group of Homo sapiens that occupied the site,” noted Dr. Wioletta Nowaczewska, a researcher from Wrocław University in Poland.

The scientists believe the markings could represent the monthly cycle of the Moon or Sun, or a counting system that kept track of hunting tallies.

“If the Stajnia pendant’s looping curve indicates a lunar analemma or kill scores will remain an open question,” Dr. Adam Nadachowski, a researcher in the Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals at the Polish Academy of Sciences, told

The pendant was discovered alongside an awl made from horse bone and a number of bone fragments. The researchers believe the artifacts may indicate that humans of this period were beginning to produce small and transportable personal adornments.

Why humans started using jewelry at this time is a mystery that researchers are trying to understand, according to Sahra Talamo, a chemist at the University of Bologna in Italy, who led the study.

The researchers noted that similar carved decorations have appeared at other sites across Germany, France, Russia and the Siberian Arctic. The Polish artifact predates the others by 2,000 years, according to the researchers.


Cousins of modern-day elephants, woolly mammoths roamed Eurasia until about 10,000 years ago. Measuring 14-feet-tall at the shoulder, the giant beasts weighed up to 22,000 pounds.

The Stajnia Cave findings were first reported in the journal Scientific Reports.

Credits: Mammoth tusk jewelry photo by Antonino Vazzana/BONES Lab. Mammoth illustration by DataBase Center for Life Science (DBCLS), CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
December 3rd, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you joyous songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Cuban-American singing sensation Camila Cabello kicks up her heels in the 2021 international dance hit, "Don't Go Yet."


Viewed on Youtube more than 47 million times, the video of this instant classic tells a story of a young woman who can't cope with the idea of being apart from her boyfriend. Throughout the song she implores him to stay — even though he's scheduled to take a flight. Cabello sets the scene by using precious metals to paint a picture of a magical, romantic place.

She sings, "I imagine myself in satin, the room was platinum and gold / I'd dance and catch your eye, you'll be mesmerized, oh."

Written by Cabello and collaborators Scott Harris, Eric Frederic and Mike Sabath, "Don't Go Yet" made its radio debut in July of 2021 as the lead single of Cabello's third studio album, Familia. The song quickly became an international success, charting in 33 countries.

It was nominated for Song of the Summer at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards and as the Best International Video at the 2021 LOS40 Music Awards.

"Familia" in Spanish means "family," and Cabello's official video for "Don't Go Yet" is all about family. The singer told YouTube’s “Released” that the song and music video were both inspired by Cuban-Mexican family parties from her childhood, where "everybody eats dinner, and then after you put on a little cheap disco ball with lights and suddenly the living room is the dance floor."

The video is teeming with a cast of colorful characters, including professional dancers, reality show celebrities and Cabello's actual relatives.

The 24-year-old, Cuban-born Cabello is best known for her smash hits "Havana" (2018) and "Señorita" (2019), a duet she performed with Shawn Mendes.

She got her first big break in 2012, when she placed third on The X Factor. Soon after, she joined a group called Fifth Harmony, which signed a record deal with Syco Music, a music company owned by X Factor host Simon Cowell.

Please check out the awesome video of Cabello and her familia performing "Don't Go Yet." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

"Don't Go Yet"
Written by Camila Cabello, Cabello, Scott Harris, Eric Frederic and Mike Sabath. Performed by Camila Cabello.

Oh, my love, oh, yeah, yeah
I'm in love, yeah

I replayed this moment for months
Alone in my head, waitin' for it to come
I wrote all your lines in the scripts in my mind, and
I hope that you follow it for once

I imagine myself in satin, the room was platinum and gold
I'd dance and catch your eye, you'll be mesmerized, oh

We'd find a corner, then your hands in my hair
Finally we're here, so, why
Are you sayin' you got a flight, need an early night?
No, don't go yet

Oh, yeah, don't go yet, don't go yet
Oh, yeah, don't go yet, don't go yet
Oh, yeah, don't go yet, don't go yet
What you leavin' for, when my night is yours?
Just a little more, don't go yet

Baby, don't go yet, 'cause I wore this dress for a lil' drama

And I bet, I bet that you think that you know, but you don't
Baby, come to mama
I get, I get what I want when I want
And I get it how I wanna, wanna
And I want you baby, gotta get you, baby

We'd find a corner, then your hands in my hair
Finally we're here, so, why
Are you sayin' you got a flight, need an early night?
No, don't go yet

Oh, yeah, don't go yet, don't go yet
Oh, yeah, don't go yet, don't go yet (No, no)
Oh, yeah, don't go yet, don't go yet
What you leavin' for, when my night is yours?
Just a little more, don't go yet

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la (Don't go yet)
La-la-la-la-la-la-la, hey (Don't go yet)

(Oh-no-no, don't leave yet)
(No te vayas, quédate)

(Oh-no-no, don't leave yet) Ahora voy yo
(No te vayas, quédate)
(Oh-no-no, don't leave yet) Stay a little longer
(No te vayas, quédate) Know you really wanna
(Oh-no-no, don't leave yet) Stay a little longer
(No te vayas, quédate) Oh

Oh, yeah, don't go yet, don't go yet
Oh, yeah, don't go yet, don't go yet
Oh, yeah, don't go yet, don't go yet
(Oh-no-no, don't leave yet) What you leavin' for, when my night is yours?
(No te vayas, quédate) Just a little more

(Oh, yeah, don't go yet, don't go yet) What you leavin' for, when my night is yours? Yours, yours
What you leavin' for, when my night is yours?
Just a little more, don't go yet

Credit: Screen capture via / Camila Cabello.
December 6th, 2021
Millennials (ages 25-34) outspend Gen Zers (ages 18-24) by 63% when it comes to buying an engagement ring. The average price paid for a ring by Millennials is $6,700, compared to $4,100 spent by their younger counterparts, according to a newly released survey by The Knot.


Across all age groups, the average spend is $6,000 — up slightly from the pre-pandemic spend in 2019 of $5,900. Ring costs varied widely depending on whether the couple was buying an engagement ring with a diamond or non-diamond center stone. The average cost of a diamond engagement ring is $6,800, versus an average of $2,500 for a ring with a colored gemstone center stone.

Roughly two out of three couples said they stuck to a set budget, while nearly 30% spent more than planned (up 9 percentage points since 2020).

The most popular type of engagement stone continues to be a diamond (86%), with round (41%) remaining the most popular cut. The wedding planning site noted that the oval shape has been enjoying a steady increase in popularity over the past six years. Only 2% preferred it in 2015, but now that number is up to 19%. 

Among the 10% of respondents who chose a non-diamond for their center stone, the most popular pick is moissanite, which now accounts for more than one-quarter of non-diamond stones (28%, +9% vs. 2019). Moissanite is even more popular among Gen Zers (35%).

Nearly one in four engagement rings in 2021 featured a center stone that was lab-grown. That number is up from 11% in 2019.

The Knot also said that bridal couple’s precious-metal preferences are trending away from white gold. Forty-five percent purchased white gold rings in 2021, compared to 61% in 2017.  Yellow gold has increased in popularity by 11 percentage points since 2017.

What’s more, The Knot reported that while online channels, such as social media and jewelry websites, continue to be the leading resource for ring research and inspiration, proposers value the importance of in-store shopping. Exactly 67% of engagement rings were purchased in-store, with half of in-store purchases happening at local jewelers in 2021.

Proposers said they visited two to three retailers and checked out 10 rings on average — in-store — before purchasing. 

More than 90% of couples announced their engagement on social media, with Instagram (78%) and Facebook (77%) being the most popular, and 20% of couples announced on Snapchat. Of those who got engaged in 2021, more than 75% have already set a date for 2022, with fall being the most popular season. 

Of the nearly three in four engagements taking place outdoors this year, 35% occurred at a scenic spot, such as a mountain top or a place with a city view. Nearly one in three engagements took place during a planned trip, up 7% from last year when many trips had to be canceled because of COVID restrictions.

“The Knot 2021 Jewelry & Engagement Study” reflects the impressions of more than 5,000 respondents who got engaged from January through November 2021. 

Credit: Image by
December 7th, 2021
A group of coins known as the "Big Three" of numismatics — an early 20th century nickel, a 19th century dime and a vintage silver dollar — recently netted a spectacular $13.35 million payday for Las Vegas collector Bruce Morelan.

1913 liberty head nickel.2

The grouping included the finest example of the five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels, a high-grade example of one of the nine known 1894-dated dimes struck at the San Francisco Mint and one of finest of the 15 known "King of Coins," an 1804-dated U.S. silver dollar.

1894 san francisco dime.2

The three coins with face value of $1.15 had been acquired by Morelan over the past four years working with dealer Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics in Lincroft, NJ. The coins were authenticated by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).

1804 u.s. silver dollar.2

Paying the record purchase price was Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections Coin Auctions of Irvine, CA.

“The PCGS Price Guide estimated the combined value of the ‘Big Three’ at $10.85 million, but I happily paid 23% more for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get the Holy Trinity all at one time. Each of the three coins set a new record price,” stated Russell.

Russell said he paid above book value because quality and rarity costs money in today's robust coin market.

"The 1913 Nickel is the ultimate U.S. rarity, and this is the finest known," he told The Jeweler Blog. "We had reached out to the owner and representative of the other two examples in private hands, and they were not interested in selling theirs, so I knew we had to pay a premium to secure this coin."

Russell purchased the trio as a group for $13.35 million, but estimated that the 1913 nickel accounted for approximately 50% of the total value.

GreatCollections is primarily an auction house that specializes in rare coins and banknotes, but the company also represents buyers and sellers in private transactions, such as the one with Morelan.

Russell told The Jeweler Blog that two of the three coins already have new owners, and he expects the third coin to be sold very soon.

"In talking with the new owner of the 1913 Nickel, he is ecstatic," Russell said. "We had discussed this coin for some time, and for the transaction to happen unexpectedly and so quickly, made his day. It was a goal of his to own a 1913 nickel — likely America's most famous coin."

Russell explained that the 1913 Liberty Head nickels are among the most famous and coveted rarities with only five examples known.

"Two are permanently in museum collections, including one at the Smithsonian, leaving just three for the public to own,” he said.

Prior to Morelan’s and Russell’s acquisitions of the 1804 dollar, 1894 San Francisco dime and 1913 Liberty Head nickel, only a few other collectors are known to have owned examples of all three. They include the late owner of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team Dr. Jerry Buss (1933-2013) and the late Baltimore financier Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. (1896-1976).

Credits: Images courtesy of GreatCollections Coin Auctions.
December 8th, 2021
Underrated and often misunderstood, zircon is the colorful alternative birthstone for December. Available in a wide range of brilliant hues — from red, orange, yellow, green to blue and brown — zircon is the oldest mineral on Earth.


Back in 2014, a tiny zircon crystal that scientists believed was 4.4 billion years old was helping to unlock the mysteries of how the Earth first formed. John Valley, a professor of geoscience, and his team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, claimed that a translucent red zircon discovered in Western Australia’s remote Jack Hills region was nearly as old as the Earth itself.

Zircon likely got its name from the Persian word "zargun," which means “gold-hued.” The American Gem Society (AGS) also noted that zircon's name could be traced to the Arabic word "zarkun," which means "vermillion," the brilliant red pigment used to paint buildings in Biblical times.

While zircon has deep roots in science and history, contemporary jewelry buyers are often confused about the difference between zircon and cubic zirconia. Zircon is a naturally occurring mineral and cubic zirconia, also known as CZ, is a synthetic stone grown in a lab.

Zircon in its purest form is colorless and displays flashes of multicolored "fire" that can rival that of a diamond, according to the AGS. Other varieties of zircon owe their color to impurities in its chemical composition. The Smithsonian noted that zircons are most often cut as round brilliants to best show off their dispersion and brilliance.

The most popular color of zircon is blue, which happens to be the alternative birthstone for December. The others are tanzanite and turquoise.

The world's primary sources of zircon are Australia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tanzania, Myanmar, Canada and the US.

Zircon claims a hardness of 7.5 on the Mohs scale, compared to topaz (8), sapphire (9) and diamond (10).

The zircon gems in the photo, above, are from the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection. They were gifted by the Roebling fund and range in size from 48.3 carats to 105.9 carats. Two were sourced in Thailand and the other two were mined in Sri Lanka.

Credit: Photo by Dane A. Penland / Smithsonian.
December 9th, 2021
Vancouver-based artist Cliff Kearns is passionate about diamonds. In his latest series of paintings called "Immortal Diamond," the artist is inspired to interpret, bend and push the gem’s characteristics. Shifting geometric shapes and brilliantly changing facets seem to explode off the canvas in his colorful, spirited explorations of nature's most precious stone.


These mixed-media artworks begin as digital creations which are then rendered, embellished and finished in acrylic paint on canvas. His close-up views and use of background refractions tend to convey the precious stone's beauty, infatuation and romance.


Kearns employs iridescent and metallic acrylics, and even adds some glitter into the painted shapes. This technique tends to alter the appearance of the work when viewed from different angles, making it come alive — not unlike the nature of an actual diamond.


For the past two years Kearns has been working on the series, which, so far, includes 11 original paintings.

"My original references are based on just three high-resolution photos of true round diamonds, thus far," Kearns told The Jeweler Blog. "I crop, flop and manipulate those photos on the computer with filters. I play with the image on the computer until I’m excited and like what I see, and that provides the reference for my finished painted version."


Although brilliant-cut, round diamonds are perfectly symmetrical and generally display 57 facets, Kearns's work is not constrained by a diamond's true angles and proportions.

When the different layers of his digital files are superimposed and merged, they are bound to distort the original trueness of the gem, he said.


The resulting work is based more on a feeling than accuracy.

"The painting process can alter the structure even more, so the finished painting would not be true to the diamond's accurate proportions," he said. "Despite that, I want the finished result to be appealing and to be perceived as a beautiful diamond."


His larger paintings usually take a couple of months to complete. The smaller ones take about a month.

Kearns' current series was inspired by Father Richard Rohr's book, Immortal Diamond, and the artist's own contemplation on life. Rohr likens the diamond to our true self buried deep within us, molded under the intense pressure of our lives.


"The Diamond seems to have a lot of inherent qualities and symbolism which can be presented to make reflective statements and elicit positive response," he said.

So far, Kearns has only used round diamonds for reference.

"But I am intrigued by the square, as it is the same format as a square painting," he said. "I’m also intrigued by the heart shape. I used the heart as a symbol in about 50 original assemblages a few years ago."

Ten of Kearns' 11 original "Immortal Diamond" paintings are on display in the artist's Parker Street Studio in Vancouver. One of the originals was sold and five more pieces are in various stages of completion. The price of his work ranges from CAD$1,200 to CAD$8,200.

"I’m only beginning to learn about diamonds. As I learn more, there [will be] much more to explore in paintings," he said. "As an artist, success depends on image identity and "The Diamond" is a good image to be identified with. So, I see myself doing quite a few more diamond paintings."

The artist also offers limited-edition prints of the original works, in proportions about two-thirds the size of the original. They are printed on an ultra chrome archival paper, which is mounted on a thin durabond and surfaced in acrylic.

"The result is very sleek and contemporary," Kearns said.

You can learn more about the artist and see more examples from the "Immortal Diamond" series at the artist's website.

Credits: Images courtesy of Cliff Kearns,
December 10th, 2021
Welcome to a special holiday edition of Music Friday, when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Christina Aguilera belts out her rendition of the 1947 classic, “Merry Christmas, Baby,” a song about how a very special piece of jewelry has made this the best Christmas ever.


In first lines of the song, Aguilera — with an assist from Dr. John — sings, “Merry Christmas baby, oh ooh / You sure did treat me nice, oh ooh / You gave me a diamond ring for Christmas / Now I’m living in paradise, oh oh.”

Originally recorded by Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers in 1947, this R&B holiday classic has been covered by a Who’s Who of music-industry legends, including Chuck Berry, Otis Redding, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen and Melissa Etheridge.

A little known fact about Aguilera’s version, which appeared on her My Kind of Christmas album in 2000, is that one of her heroines, Etta James, was supposed to be a featured performer on the track. For unknown reasons, Aguilera never got to record with James and Dr. John was picked as a replacement.

Nevertheless, Aguilera’s My Kind of Christmas peaked at #28 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and sold more than one million copies.

Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers’ recording of “Merry Christmas Baby” also was a great success. The song reached #3 on Billboard‘s R&B Juke Box chart during the Christmas of 1947.

Born in Staten Island, NY, in 1980, Christina María Aguilera moved to the Pittsburgh area as a 6-year-old to live with her grandmother after her parents' divorce. There she earned a reputation as "the little girl with the big voice." At the age of 9, she competed on Star Search and made it all the way to the semi-finals.

The next year, she auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club even though she did not meet its age requirements. Two years later, she would land a role on the series with castmates — and future stars — Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake.

With record sales tallying 75 million, Aguilera is recognized as one of the world's best-selling music artists. She's been referred to as the "Voice of a Generation" and claims a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Please check out the video of Aguilera’s live performance of “Merry Christmas Baby” on The Late Show With David Letterman. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along!

“Merry Christmas, Baby”
Written by Brian Douglas Wilson and Mike E. Love. Performed by Christina Aguilera, featuring Dr. John.

Oh oh
Merry Christmas baby
You sure did treat me nice, oh ooh yeah yeah
Said uh, merry Christmas baby, oh ooh
You sure did treat me nice, oh ooh
You gave me a diamond ring for Christmas
Now I’m living in paradise, oh oh

I’m, I’m feeling mighty fine
Got good music on my radio
(Yes you do child)
Well I’m, I’m feeling mighty fine
Got good music, on, music on my radio, oh
Well I, I want to kiss you baby
While we’re standing underneath the mistletoe

Santa came down the chimney
About a half past three
Left all these pretty presents
That you, that you see before me, oh

Merry Christmas baby, merry Christmas baby
You sure been good to me, oh, oh ooh
Well I, I haven’t had a drink this morning
But I’m, I’m lit up like a Christmas tree
Christmas tree, oh oh oh, oh yeah

Oh, yeah yeah yeah
Oh oh ooh, yeah, oh, ooh,
Oh oh yeah, yeah, yeah

St. Nick came down the chimney
About a half past three
He left all these pretty presents
That you see before me

Merry Christmas baby
You sure been good to me
Haven’t had a taste this morning
But I’m all lit up like a Christmas tree

Oh, oh, oh ooh, oh ooh
Merry Christmas baby
You sure been good to me
Oh oh, oh oh
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh

Sure been good, to, to, to, me
Hey, oh oh hey

Credit: Photo by Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
December 13th, 2021
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County just unveiled a new exhibit called “Brilliance: The Art and Science of Rare Jewels.” Appearing in the museum's Gem Vault for a limited engagement are more than 100 spectacular objects — necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and unmounted gems — drawn primarily from the works of master jewelry designer Robert Procop.


The museum is encouraging visitors to discover how gems and minerals are used in a wide variety of fields, from jewelry design to scientific research in geology, chemistry, physics and other disciplines. Procop's jewelry is paired with the museum’s mineral collection to encourage visitors to make the connection between the dazzling finished jewelry and the rough, uncut gems.

The displays will explain how scientists use exceptional stones to learn about Earth processes, and, in turn, gain a better understanding of how our planet works.

“This is about discovery, it’s about wonder. It’s an inspiration of what can be found in this mother Earth that has such rarities,” Procop told the Los Angeles Daily News.


The exhibition, which opened on December 8 and will run through February 21, 2022, will include a number of head-turning pieces. Among the highlights are the 42.72-carat “Pink Starburst" diamond, the fancy blue 46.39-carat “Celeste Diamond” and the 21.01-carat "Ceylon Star" sapphire.


In an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News, Aaron Celestian, the curator of mineral sciences for the museum, described the exhibition as "some of the rarest gemstones in the world all coming together under one roof."


The primary gems feature in the necklaces, above, include the "Jade of Muzo," a 63.70-carat pear-shaped, cabochon-cut emerald; "The Golden Sundrop," a 64.72-carat pear-shaped yellow sapphire; and the "Magnificent Muzo," a 24.45-carat pear-shaped emerald.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is located in Exposition Park and general admission is $15, $7 for children under 12. Timed-tickets are required to enter the Gem and Mineral Hall, as well as the new jewelry exhibit.

Visitors may pick up their tickets at the museum's ticket counters or at the entrance to the Gem and Mineral Hall on the day of their visit. Capacity is limited.

Credits: Images courtesy of Robert Procop/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
December 14th, 2021
"Very Peri," a dynamic periwinkle blue hue with an intense violet-red undertone, is Pantone's Color of the Year for 2022.


Blending the faithfulness and constancy of blue with the energy and excitement of red, this happiest and warmest of all the blue hues introduces an empowering mix of newness, according to The Pantone Color Institute. Consumers who embrace Very Peri fashion items will be accessorizing with fine jewelry featuring amethyst, tanzanite, iolite, spinel or violet sapphire.


The spinels shown, above, were sourced in Vietnam and are now part of the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection.

The selection of PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri marks the first time the international color authority has cooked up a brand new color and then instantly designated it as the Color of the Year.

According to Pantone, Very Peri displays a carefree confidence and a daring curiosity that animates our creative spirit. The inquisitive and intriguing color helps us to embrace this altered landscape of possibilities, opening us up to a new vision as we rewrite our lives.

“As we move into a world of unprecedented change, the selection of PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri brings a novel perspective and vision of the trusted and beloved blue color family,” noted Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute. “Encompassing the qualities of the blues, yet at the same time possessing a violet-red undertone, Very Peri displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expression.”


The confident and joyful "Veri Peri" of 2022 is a far cry from Pantone's Colors of the Year for 2021 — “Ultimate Grey” and “Illuminating” yellow. In the midst of a global pandemic, the experts at Pantone were torn between a grey color that symbolized rock solid fortitude and a yellow color that represented sunny optimism. In the end, they chose both.

Now, as the world is emerging from an intense period of isolation, our notions and standards are changing, Pantone explained.

“The Pantone Color of the Year reflects what is taking place in our global culture, expressing what people are looking for that color can hope to answer,” added Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute.

Each year since 2000, the color experts at Pantone have picked a color that reflects the current cultural climate. Typically, Pantone’s selection influences product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.


Here are the Pantone Colors of the Year dating back to 2014…

PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue (2020)
PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral (2019)
PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet (2018)
PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery (2017)
PANTONE 13-1520 Rose Quartz (2016)
PANTONE 15-3919 Serenity (2016)
PANTONE 18-1438 Marsala (2015)
PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid (2014)

Credits: Screen capture, color swatches via Spinel photo by Ken Larsen / Smithsonian.
December 15th, 2021
Six emerald-themed avatars called "The Chipembele Crash” are being auctioned in a very unique way to raise financial support for the black rhinoceros conservation efforts in Zambia, home of Gemfields’ famous Kagem mine.

Gemfields chipembele.all

The six rhino avatars are being sold as NFTs — non-fungible tokens — on OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace.

NFTs are pieces of digital content linked to the blockchain, the same digital database underpinning cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin. NFTs are typically used to buy and sell digital artwork.

Even though images of the rhino avatars may be widely distributed, the winning bidder of the NFT can claim ownership of the original. The winner will also have the ability to unlock exclusive content. In this case, it is an exclusive photo of the avatar’s real-life counterpart in Zambia. Bids will close at 4:42pm EST on December 19.

Gemfields chipembele

If you're wondering how The Chipembele Crash got its name, “Chipembele” means rhinoceros in the local indigenous dialect of Bemba and “crash” is a term used to describe a group of rhinos.

The announcement of The Chipembele Crash NFT coincides with Gemfields’ sale of the largest emerald ever discovered at its Kagem mine. The 7,525-carat "Chipembele" emerald was recently sold for an undisclosed sum to Isreali-based Eshed-Gemstar, a worldwide diamond and emerald supplier.

Gemfields noted that Eshed-Gemstar will benefit from the unique DNA nanoparticle tagging carried by Chipembele. Developed by Provenance Proof, the DNA tagging technology ensures that the cut-and-polished gems that Chipembele yields can be identified and certified as having originated from this extraordinary gemstone.

Gemfields chipembele2

Each of the six avatars is inspired by a real-life rhino from the North Luangwa Conservation Programme (NLCP) in Zambia. Their names are Intanda, Kango, Mapalo, Mwamba, Subilo and Tamala.

The unique green body color of each avatar is actually a photographic representation of the emerald inclusions seen inside Chipembele. Each avatar carries the individual ear-notch of the animal, and is outfitted with human accessories that hint at the rhino’s distinctive personality.

Funds raised from the sale of each avatar will go to the North Luangwa Conservation Programme to aid critical black rhinoceros conservation efforts. Those funds will be added to the donation Gemfields has already pledged from the sale of the Chipembele emerald.

"Gemfields is excited to embrace innovative technology in supporting conservation efforts in Africa,” said Sean Gilbertson, CEO of Gemfields. “We are delighted to celebrate the Chipembele emerald in this manner and to promote our belief in ‘conservation gemstones.’ The Chipembele Crash NFTs are fun, unique and rooted in supporting the vital efforts of Zambia’s North Luangwa Conservation Programme. We hope that the NFTs appeal to likeminded thinkers and secure meaningful donations to help even more black rhinos in Zambia.”

NFT bidding runs through the afternoon of December 19 at this website.

Credits: Images courtesy of Gemfields.
December 16th, 2021
More than 148 million consumers plan to shop in-store and online on "Super Saturday," the last Saturday before Christmas this year, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.


Bolstered by what's expected to be a successful Super Saturday, December 18, the 2021 holiday season appears to be on track to exceed 2020's performance by 11.5% — a number recently revised from NRF's earlier forecast of 8.5% to 10.5%.

Overall retail sales should top $860 billion. The 11.5% is an impressive number because the average increase over the past five years has been just 4.4%.

Just over a quarter of consumers (27%) plan to shop exclusively in-store and another third (32%) plan to shop online only. But most consumers (41%) expect to use a combination of the two channels.

A record 42% planned to purchase their last gift before December 18. This figure is up from 40% a year ago and 30% in 2012 when NRF first asked this question. Some analysts believe that supply chain concerns contributed to consumers getting a jump on their shopping lists this year.

Despite the growing number of practical shoppers, a great number of procrastinators remain. More than half (52%) expect they will still be picking up last-minute gifts in the week leading up to Christmas.

Retailers also planned earlier than usual to make sure their shelves were stocked.

“Retailers began preparations for the holiday season months in advance, offering seasonal inventory early and taking preventative measures to circumvent supply chain challenges exacerbated by the pandemic," noted NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

The majority (71%) of holiday shoppers say they have been able to find the items they are looking for most or all of the time. And optimism is high, with two-thirds (67%) indicating they are confident or very confident they will be able to find the gifts and other items needed for the holiday season this year.

In an earlier survey, the NRF revealed that about 20% of consumers picked "Jewelry" when they were asked "What type of gift would you like to receive" this holiday season. The age break-outs show that respondents ages 18-24 were the most enthusiastic about getting a jewelry gift (32%), compared to those ages 25-34 (23%), 35-44 (25%), 45-54 (18%), 55-64 (14%) and 65+ (12%).

As noted in NRF’s Thanksgiving survey, more than half (54%) of holiday shoppers took advantage of early holiday sales and promotions even before the Thanksgiving holiday. In fact, nearly 180 million Americans shopped during the five-day period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.

The Super Saturday survey of 7,453 adult consumers was conducted November 24 through December 3 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2%.

Credit: Image by
December 17th, 2021
Welcome to another Christmas Edition of Music Friday when bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we present Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell singing the original 1951 version of “Silver Bells,” a holiday favorite that was nearly scrapped, according to songwriter Ray Evans.


A 91-year-old Evans revealed to NPR’s radio audience in 2006 the “stupid, stupid” backstory of “Silver Bells” and its first, off-putting incarnation — “Tinkle Bell.”

Evans and his writing partner, Jay Livingston, were under contract for Paramount Studios when they were assigned to write a Christmas song for The Lemon Drop Kid, a comedy starring Bob Hope. Evans and Livingston believed the world already had too many Christmas songs and were underwhelmed with the task at hand.

Sitting at facing desks in a shared office, the pair was inspired by a little bell that sat on one of the desks.

“We said, ‘Ahh, there’s our theme for Christmas. The bell makes a tinkly sound when it rings,’” Evans remembered. “We’ll call the song ‘Tinkle Bell.’”

When Livingston told his wife about the new song, she was astonished by the writing team's stupidity.

“Tinkle bell? Are you out of you mind?” Livingston’s wife said. “You can’t write a Christmas song with the word ‘tinkle’ in it. Don’t you know what tinkle means?”

Jay Livingston said, “I never thought of that.”

The next day, Livingston and Evans agreed that the song had to be tossed and the writing partners started working on a brand new song.

“We were ready to get rid of ‘Tinkle Bell’ completely,” said Evans, “but we liked the music and a lot of the lyrics. We ended up with the same song we started with, except ‘tinkle’ became ‘silver.’”

“It’s a stupid, stupid story,” Evans continued, “but ignorance is bliss. Our royalties are very, very good.”

The Evans and Livingston collaboration produced a string of hits that included the Oscar-winning “Buttons and Bows,” “Mona Lisa” and “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)." They wrote 26 songs that were million-sellers and, in total, recordings of their songs have sold nearly 500 million copies.

“Silver Bells” has been covered by dozens of artists spanning 70 years. The neatest of them all is the original performed by Hope and Maxwell. At the very beginning of the clip, you will see a street corner Santa played by William Frawley, who was famously Fred Mertz on the classic TV sitcom I Love Lucy. The song starts at the :40 mark.

The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Silver Bells"
Written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston. Performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell.

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.
Dressed in holiday style
In the air
There's a feeling
of Christmas
Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
and on every street corner you'll hear

Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas Day

Strings of street lights
Even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green
As the shoppers rush
home with their treasures

Hear the snow crunch
See the kids bunch
This is Santa's big scene
And above all this bustle
You'll hear

Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas Day

Credit: Screen capture via
December 20th, 2021
Atlanta Hawks' star point guard Trae Young popped the question to his college girlfriend Shelby Miller on Thursday with a stunning oval-cut diamond in a halo setting. Young shared with his four million Instagram followers a bunch of candid pics of the actual proposal.


He captioned his post, "What a night," and added two ring emojis and the hashtag "FutureMrsYoung."

On her own Instagram page, the former Oklahoma Sooners cheerleader posted similar pics and captioned them, "Forever Young" punctuated by a grey heart.

With a ring box gripped in his left hand, the NBA's second-leading scorer kneeled on a bed of white rose petals against a backdrop of white and blue balloons and a sign that read, "Marry Me."


One of the Instagram photos shows Miller overcome with emotion, holding her right hand over her mouth as Young is just about to propose. In another photo, the newly engaged Miller joyfully shows her new ring to the camera.


The oval shape has been trending lately, as a cavalcade of stars have chosen this shape — a cut that flatters the wearer by making the finger appear longer and slimmer. Among the most recent celebs to join the "Oval Club" are Kourtney Kardashian, Ariana Grande and Tay Dome, the new fianceé of actor Taylor Lautner.

Young, 23, and Miller, 25, have been dating since 2017. They met at the University of Oklahoma, where he became a top NBA prospect after his freshman year.

The 6 ft 1 in, 164 lb playmaker they call "Ice Trae" is currently second in the NBA in scoring, averaging 27.3 points per game in the first half of an All Star-caliber season. In August of this year, he signed a new deal with the Hawks that's worth at least $172 million.

Credits: Images via / traeyoung.
December 21st, 2021
Welcome to what is normally the pinnacle of "Engagement Season," the time of the year between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day when 40 percent of all marriage proposals take place.


For years, Christmas Day was the most popular day to get engaged, followed by a wintry mix of favorites that included Christmas Eve, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Day and New Year's Eve.

But, COVID threw a monkey wrench into the long-standing proposal patterns, and Christmas Day was surprisingly unseated in 2020, according to WeddingWire's 2021 Newlywed Report, which covered engagement-related activities throughout the full year of 2020.

Christmas had always been a time when families and friends came together from far and wide to celebrate the spirit of the season. It was also the perfect time to pop the question because loved ones were present to participate in the festivities.

But Christmas 2020 was very different from previous Christmases. Some states implemented COVID-related travel restrictions and many holiday travelers decided to stay home. The end result was that couples that otherwise would have gotten engaged on Christmas Day pushed their proposals into other parts of the calendar.

According to the most recent stats from WeddingWire, Valentine's Day is now the most popular day of the year to get engaged. Cupid's Day was followed by New Year's Day, Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and the Fourth of July (Independence Day). Interestingly, a bunch of warmer weather weekend dates, such as June 20th, September 12th, October 10th and May 16th cracked the list, presumably because of the prevalence of COVID-inspired fresh air proposals.

Outdoor proposals were huge in 2020, according the WeddingWire. Exactly 31% of its respondents said that they proposed in a scenic, outdoor location. Popping the question also tended to be more low-key, intimate and spontaneous.

These were the Top 5 Days to Get Engaged in 2020, according to WeddingWire...

Valentine's Day #1. The team at WeddingWire believes that the most romantic day of the year nabbed the top spot on the list because the February 14th holiday actually took place just before COVID swept through the US.

New Year’s Day #2. This date moved up from third place in the previous survey. Clearly, a lot of couples chose to kick off the new year on a high note.

Christmas Day #3. The perennial favorite moved down to third place for reasons already mentioned.

Christmas Eve #4. A joyful time to share a festive meal, sit in front of a fireplace and open a present or two ahead of Christmas Day was also a great time to pop the question for many of WeddingWire's respondents.

Fourth of July (Independence Day) #5. This warm-weather holiday moved all the way up from the 10th spot in WeddingWire's previous survey. As the popular bridal site explained, most people have off from work on Independence Day and summertime in 2020 meant more opportunity for outdoor (and COVID-safer) activities and proposals.

We expect to see the top engagement dates rejiggered once again in WeddingWire's 2022 report.

Credit: Image by

December 22nd, 2021
Did you hear about the guy who missed his own jumbotron marriage proposal during halftime of the Dolphins-Jets game at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday?


Dolphins fan Luis Llorens had arranged with the Hard Rock's special events team to propose in dramatic fashion to his girlfriend — and Jets fan — Christine Dobrin. But when the big moment arrived, Llorens was nowhere to be found.

The giant screen showed a still photo of the couple with the caption: “Christine. Will you marry me?” But when the Hard Rock's video team switched to the live shot of what was supposed to be the marriage proposal, only Dobrin was seated. Frozen in the moment, she stared at the screen with her hand over her mouth.

“I didn’t know what was going on because he wasn’t at the seats, and looking all around, between the crying and the happiness, I didn’t know where he was, so it was a whole big mix of emotions,” Dobrin told Miami FOX affiliate WSVN.

It turns out that Llorens wasn't suffering from cold feet. He was a victim of poor communications. Llorens mistakenly believed that he was supposed to meet the Hard Rock's video crew in the tunnel just below their seats.

“I was actually there," Llorens told WSVN. "People just don’t realize I was about 25 feet underneath her. I was in the tunnel.”

As soon as he realized the mistake, Llorens rushed to make the best of a bad situation.

"I had to hurry up back to my seat and do what I could do to save this,” said Llorens.


Once he was reunited with his girlfriend, Llorens delivered a proper proposal to the cheers of the well wishers in their section, and then from the whole stadium of fans. You see, the Hard Rock's video crew had followed the action and managed to catch the exact moment of the proposal on the big screen.


Connor Hughes, a writer who covers the Jets for The Atlantic was tweeting about the halftime oddities in real time.

"Amazing," Hughes tweeted. "So they just did a scoreboard proposal here at Hard Rock. However, when they cut away from this graphic to where the two are supposed to be sitting, the guy wasn’t there! Just the girl, sitting there, hand over mouth! Dude must have been in the concession line lol."

Hughes' followers on Twitter enjoyed taking light-hearted jabs at the hapless Llorens, who had yet to tell his side of the story. They presumed that he was preoccupied with halftime snacks or stuck in the bathroom.

For a $500 donation, the Hard Rock Stadium special events team will post a message on the giant screen and then cut to a live shot of guests in their seats. The messages run during the last four minutes of halftime, following the on-field entertainment.

The fee is considered a donation because the funds go to the Miami Dolphins Foundation, which leverages the power of sports and entertainment to inspire a healthier, more educated and united South Florida community.

Credits: Proposal message photo via / Connor_J_Hughes; Proposal screen captures via / derekdferny.
December 23rd, 2021
Back in August of this year, the Natural Diamond Council (NDC) unveiled its global ad campaign titled, “Thank You, By the Way,” with the mission of communicating the massive socioeconomic benefits generated by the natural diamond industry.


The campaign addressed the concerns of jewelry consumers who, now more than ever, want to know where their products come from, and the impact their purchases have on the producing countries and local communities.

Created with the support of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), the campaign illustrated how choosing a natural diamond positively influences the lives of millions of people in the most remote corners of the earth.

In a pre-Christmas press release, the NDC announced that it will be magnifying the “Thank You, By the Way” messaging by partnering with a leading India-based trade group called the Gem Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).

"In order to achieve long-term sustainability in our industry, we need to adapt a 360-degree approach," said Colin Shah, chairman of the GJEPC. "The association with the Natural Diamond Council does just that, by highlighting the contributions made and recognizing the vital role of the trade in bringing the community together, touching lives and making a real difference. The sector has always taken a 'do good' approach and we will continue to do so in the future."

The GJEPC has spearheaded a number of philanthropic initiatives, including aid to orphanages, schools, old age homes, hospitals and other similar causes in India and around the world. What's more, the natural diamond sector helps 2 million Indians secure their livelihoods.

NDC's omnichannel ad campaign is built around a core of critical facts related to the socioeconomic and community benefits of the natural diamond industry. The series of creative executions can be seen across NDC's social media channels, with a dedicated page on Only Natural Diamonds.

Here are some headlines from that page…

  • "Your natural diamond has contributed to $16 billion of annual benefits for our world. That includes healthcare, jobs, education, biodiversity and infrastructure."
  • "Your natural diamond provides high quality and safe jobs, as well as supports the livelihood of 10 million people worldwide."
  • "Your daughter’s natural diamond jewelry is not just a gift to her, but also the reason why 4 million people get access to healthcare."
  • "Your natural diamond helps educate children and empower thousands of women."
  • "While your natural diamond is a sparkling symbol of your legacy, it is also a treasure trove of education for half a million children in rural communities."
  • "From solar-powered clinics to groundbreaking disease management programs, your natural diamond purchase helps build a healthier future for some of the world’s most remote, vulnerable communities."
  • "When you reward yourself for that much-deserved promotion with natural diamond jewelry, you help fund more than 400 women-owned businesses across Africa."

"Consumers are looking for purpose and want to know if the company they buy from has strong values and robust management systems that integrate sustainability at the core of their operations," said RJC executive director Iris Van der Veken. "The RJC certification gives that third-party assurance."

Credit: Image courtesy of The Natural Diamond Council.
December 27th, 2021
Two ships that sank in the exact location more than 1,000 years apart in the ancient port city of Caesarea are yielding a bounty of jewelry, gems, coins and artifacts for the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).


Among the rarest and most fascinating items pulled from the ocean floor is a thick gold ring set with a greenish-blue gemstone carved with the figure of a young shepherd boy dressed in a tunic and carrying a ram or a sheep on his shoulders. The depiction of the "Good Shepherd" is one of the earliest images used in Christianity for symbolizing the compassionate and benevolent characteristics of Jesus.


The ring was recovered from the remains of the older of the two wrecks and dates to the third century AD. The jewelry was likely owned by someone of a very high position who was also an early practitioner of Christianity. According to the IAA, Caesarea housed one of the first Christian communities.


Also recovered from the older wreck was a carved red gemstone that might have been set in a "gemma" ring, said the IAA. An ancient string instrument called a lyre is artfully carved into cabochon-cut stone. In Jewish tradition, the instrument is known as a "kinnor,' or King David's harp.

Both ships apparently were destroyed during violent storms while attempting to seek refuge at Caesarea, a major port that was originally built by the Roman King Herod the Great in the year 25 BC.

A team of divers from the Israeli Antiquities Authority’s Marine Archaeology Unit had been conducting a routine survey of the ocean floor near Caesarea, a town about 35 miles north of Tel Aviv, when they encountered the wrecked hulls of two ships at a depth of about 4 meters (13 feet).


The marine treasures included the following:

  • Hundreds of silver and bronze Roman coins from the mid-third century AD.
  • A large hoard of 560 silver coins from the Mamluk period (14th century AD).
  • A bronze figurine in the form of an eagle (symbolizing Roman rule).
  • A figurine of a Roman pantomimus in a comic mask.
  • Numerous bronze bells (used to ward off evil spirits).
  • Pottery vessels.
  • An inkwell.
  • Multiple metal items from the hull of a wooden ship, including dozens of large bronze nails, lead pipes from a bilge pump and a large iron anchor broken in pieces — attesting to the force it withstood until it finally snapped, probably in a storm.

Check out the IAA's informative video about the treasures recovered from the Caesarea wrecks…

Credits: Photos by Yaniv Berman and Dafna Gazit, Israel Antiquities Authority.
December 28th, 2021
Jewelry sales soared 32% during the 2021 holiday season, according to a newly released Mastercard report.


"Smaller boxes had a big impact," the report emphasized. "Whether consumers were shopping for themselves or for loved ones, the jewelry sector experienced some of the strongest YOY (year-over-year) and YO2Y (year-over-two-year) growth."

During the traditional holiday period that spans from November 1 through December 24, jewelry sales jumped a whopping 32% over the same period of 2020. When comparing the jewelry sector's 2021 performance to the pre-pandemic numbers of 2019, the jewelry sector was up 26.2%.


The only category to grow faster was apparel, which scored a 47.3% gain in 2021 compared to 2020, and a 29% boost compared to 2019.

According to the findings from Mastercard SpendingPulse™, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, overall holiday retail sales increased 8.5% in 2021 — the fastest pace in 17 years.

Consumers' pent-up desire to get back into the purchasing mode after a COVID-restricted 2020 holiday season more than compensated for their underlying concerns about higher prices, supply-chain disruptions and a new COVID variant.

Consumers shopped early. In fact, the season got its biggest boost from Black Friday and the Thanksgiving weekend. Retail sales activity during that three-day period was up 14.1%.

“Shoppers were eager to secure their gifts ahead of the retail rush, with conversations surrounding supply chain and labor supply issues sending consumers online and to stores in droves,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated.

The retail sales success was seen across multiple channels, as in-store sales grew 8.1% in 2021 versus 2020, and online sales surged by 11% over that same period.

According to the report, holiday season e-commerce accounted for 20.9% of total retail sales, up from 20.6% in 2020 and 14.6% in 2019.

Mastercard SpendingPulse™ reports on US retail sales across all payment types. The findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check. “US retail sales” are defined as sales at retailers and food service merchants of all sizes. Services sectors, such as airlines and lodging, are not included.

Credit: Image by Chart by Mastercard SpendingPulse™.
December 29th, 2021
A 54-pound Gold Rush-era ingot that was swallowed by the sea in 1857 and recovered 200 miles off the coast of South Carolina in 1988 will be offered for sale at Heritage Auctions in early January.


Assayed in California by Justh & Hunter, the massive gold brick met its watery demise when a hurricane sank the sidewheel steamer while it was transporting its precious cargo to Philadelphia via New York City. Onboard was 30,000 pounds of gold and 578 passengers.


The loss of the SS Central America was reported at the time as the country's worst peacetime disaster at sea. Only 153 passengers survived and all the cargo was lost.

The 12-inch-wide ingot is in pristine condition and stamped with its weight, value, fineness of .892, serial number 4221 and maker's mark. Even though it was underwater for more than 130 years, the ingot looks brand new. This is because gold, as an element, is practically impervious to corrosion.

The single 54-pound ingot seen above was worth $15,971.93 at the time of the disaster, or the equivalent of $1.4 million in today's dollars. The 30,000 pounds of gold aboard the ship would have been worth about $8.8 million in 1857, or the equivalent of about $800 million today.

To put the value of the ingot into perspective, the average carpenter in New York City in 1857 earned $10.74 per week. This single ingot could have paid the weekly wages of 1,487 of these laborers.

For more than 130 years, the sunken steamer known as the Ship of Gold, rested undisturbed in the Atlantic Ocean 1 1/2 miles beneath the surface. Then, in 1988, an inventor named Tommy Thompson spearheaded a recovery operation, which involved sending down a remotely operated vehicle, the Nemo.

Thompson's associate Bob Evans told CoinWeek in 2018, "We dusted off an area where there was a huge concentration of treasure, which turned out to be the commercial shipment area or a portion of it, on the shipwreck, and we just see gold bars and coins carpeting the sea floor. That was just beyond belief… We called it the 'Garden of Gold.' It literally looked like it."

California Gold Marketing Group has owned this unique piece of American history for the past 20 years. The ingot will be offered for sale by Heritage Auctions during its January 5-10 FUN US Coins Signature® event in Orlando.

Credits: Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions,
December 30th, 2021
Mining giant Alrosa recently bestowed the name Kyndykan on a newly mined, yellow-brown, 91.86-carat diamond to shine a global spotlight on the indigenous peoples of Russia's frigid Far North territory.


Kyndykan was a little girl who was miraculously found alive 200 years ago by Yakut hunters near the Verkhoyansk Mountains in an ancestral settlement that had been completely wiped out by smallpox. Over time, Kyndykan became a folk heroine — a symbol of the resilience and spiritual strength of the Evens, the indigenous peoples of Yakutia.

Kyndykan is also the name of Alrosa's initiative to preserve the traditions and culture of the inhabitants of the Arctic territory of Yakutia, where 99% of all Russian diamonds are mined.

Measuring about an inch tall, the Kyndykan diamond was found in the Olenyok district, one of the coldest regions in the northern hemisphere, where winter temperatures routinely hit -35C (-31F).

Since the Kyndykan Project was established in September of 2021, Alrosa has been involved in the lives of indigenous peoples, supporting ancestral deer-herding and fishing settlements, training communities in various specialties, creating jobs, organizing ethnic festivals and supplying products to remote villages.

Alrosa currently funds nine districts in Yakutia’s “diamond province,” with a strong focus on supporting the day-to-day needs of the residents in the most northerly districts.

The projects are funded by "Diamonds That Care," an Alrosa initiative that allocates 8% of its revenue to fund social and environmental projects in the regions where the company operates.

"On this occasion, we decided to name a diamond mined in the Far North in honor of the little Even heroine Kyndykan and after a wonderful project, which is doing a lot to ensure that voices of indigenous peoples of the North are heard," said Alrosa's deputy CEO, Evgeny Agureev. "Alrosa has always admired their resilience and strength of character, rich history and age-old traditions. Our common goal is to preserve all of this for future generations and to tell this story to the world."

As the world’s leading diamond producer in terms of sheer output, Alrosa accounts for nearly one-third of global rough diamond production. The company manages mines in Russia’s Yakutia and Arkhangelsk regions, as well as Africa. The mining company generates about 40 million carats of diamonds per year.

Credit: Image courtesy of Alrosa.