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Articles in June 2022

June 1st, 2022
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers received their 2021 Grey Cup Championship Rings Saturday night during a soiree held at the exclusive Pinnacle Club at IG Field. The two-tone rings tell the story of the club's back-to-back championships, as well as its stunning 33-25 overtime triumph against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the title game this past December.


Designed in 10-karat gold by Canadian jeweler Baron Championship Rings, the face of the dazzling keepsakes feature the club's iconic "W" logo outlined in blue enamel sitting atop the diamond-studded Grey Cup and surrounded by a contrasting 10K yellow gold halo with raised lettering spelling out the phrase "Grey Cup Champions."

The bottom section of the Grey Cup includes 33 diamonds to represent the number of points scored by the Blue Bombers in their overtime win. Above the Grey Cup, on the shoulder of the ring, is the number "108" to signify the 108th Grey Cup. The word "Winnipeg," a nod to the team's host city, anchors the shoulder on the opposite side.


The outer edge of the ring is lined with 12 round sapphires, representing the organization's total championship wins. There are six on one side and six on the other, all set in yellow gold and separated by the phrases "Blue Bombers" and "Back-to-Back."

One side of the ring displays the player's name, position and jersey number rendered in diamonds over a gridiron background.


The opposite side includes a unique and detailed etching of a real photo of fans taken during the championship season. The fans — famous for being the CFL's loudest — are framed by the IG Field arches and the year 2021.

The team's season record is etched on the outer shank of the ring, while the inner shank is engraved with a personalized message unique to each player.

Also on the inside of the ring is the final score of the 108th Grey Cup along with the initials "FIFO" and the team's slogan, "For The W."

"FIFO" was written on a sign above the doors in the Blue Bombers’ locker room. When spelled out, the acronym summed up the organization’s philosophy when it came to assembling the right group of football players to deliver a championship. A family-friendly translation of the off-color phrase would be "fit in or find your way out."

Assisting in the design process was a committee that included linebacker Adam Bighill, receiver Nic Demski, defensive end Willie Jefferson and Rhéanne Marcoux, the Blue Bombers' Director of Creative & Content.

Credits: Images courtesy of Baron Championship Rings.
June 2nd, 2022
Two pear-shaped diamonds larger than 100 carats — one D-flawless and the other fancy deep orange-brown — will headline Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels auction in New York on June 16.


Named "Juno" to honor the ancient Roman queen of the gods, the 101.41-carat, D-color, internally flawless rarity is expected to fetch more than $10 million. Sotheby's noted that the appearance of a 100-carat perfect diamond at auction is a noteworthy event. Only 11 such stones have sold at auction since 1990, and Sotheby’s has had a hand in seven of those sales.

The Gemological Institute of America noted that Juno is a Type IIa diamond, which means that it is colorless and chemically pure with no traces of nitrogen or boron impurities.

The pear-shaped gem measures 38.49 x 27.18 x 17.55mm, about the diameter of a ping pong ball at its widest point.


"Earth Star" boasts a rich history that dates back to the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. The 111.59-carat, fancy deep orange-brown diamond was crafted from a 248.90-carat rough discovered at the Jagersfontein mine in South Africa in 1967.

The rough stone had emerged from a depth of 2,500 feet, which was exceptionally deep for a gem of this size, according to Sotheby's. The find was also notable because the mine previously had not been known to produce brown diamonds or diamonds of such a large size.

The stone was later sent to Baumgold Brothers in New York, which fashioned it into the pear shape we see today. The cutters at Baumgold Brothers called the finished diamond Earth Star due to its high level of brilliance.

In 1971, the diamond returned to South Africa for an exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the Kimberley mine. And then, in 1983, the Earth Star was sold at auction for nearly $1 million. The diamond has been in private hands ever since.

Earth Star has the distinction of being one of the 80 gems reviewed in the authoritative book by Lord Ian Balfour called Famous Diamonds.

David Webb designed a custom mounting for the orange-brown gem using azurmalachite to resemble the Earth as seen from the perspective of a star. The Earth Star diamond is being offered without reserve and Sotheby's published a pre-sale estimate of $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

Credits: Photos courtesy of Sotheby’s.
June 3rd, 2022
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Rolling Stones' guitarist and Rock and Roll icon Keith Richards explains the story behind the 1969 release, "You Got the Silver."


The song's memorable chorus goes like this: "You got my heart you got my soul / You got the silver you got the gold / You got the diamonds from the mine / Well that's all right, it'll buy some time."

In his YouTube series, "Ask Keith," Richards clarified that the lyrics were not intended to make a specific point.

"There's very little coherence in what I do, because I don't think that's the point," he said. "I always try to capture feelings rather than explain things to make a point about anything. You're usually wrong if you try to do that. At least I am."

Then, the 78-year-old smiled and revealed the real inspiration behind the lyrics.

"I just love singing about precious metal," he chuckled. "I don't mean heavy metal, I mean precious."

Originally released in 1969 as the second track on Side 2 of the group's classic Let It Bleed album, "You Got the Silver" languished as a rarely heard song until it was added to The Stones' set list in 1999. This exposed a whole new generation of fans to the song and Richards was reportedly surprised by how well the tune resonated with the live audiences.

Composed by Richards with an assist from Mick Jagger, "You Got the Silver" was the first Rolling Stones tune to feature Richards as the lead vocalist. The songwriting partnership of Richards and Jagger — which dates back to the time they were teenagers in 1962 — has been one of the most successful and prolific in history.

Let It Bleed was such a landmark achievement that the album was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2005. It also made Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time." The Rolling Stones were formed in London 60 years ago and are still active today. With estimated record sales of 200 million, The Stones are considered one of the best-selling musical acts of all time.

Please check out the video of Richards performing "You Got the Silver." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

"You Got The Silver"
Written by Keith Richards and Michael Phillip Jagger. Performed by The Rolling Stones, featuring Keith Richards (vocals) and Ronnie Wood (guitar).

Hey babe, what's in your eyes?
I saw them flashing like airplane lights
You fill my cup, babe, that's for sure
I must come back for a little more

You got my heart you got my soul
You got the silver you got the gold
You got the diamonds from the mine
Well that's all right, it'll buy some time

Tell me, honey, what will I do
When I'm hungry and thirsty too
Feeling foolish (and that's for sure)
Just waiting here at your kitchen door?

Hey baby, what's in your eyes?
Is that the diamonds from the mine?
What's that laughing in your smile?
I don't care, no, I don't care

Oh babe, you got my soul
You got the silver you got the gold
If that's your love, just leave me blind
I don't care, no, that's no big surprise

Credit: Photo by Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
June 6th, 2022
The Smithsonian's National Gem Collection in Washington, DC, features an unusual cabochon-cut black diamond that masquerades as a Tahitian pearl.


Named the "Winston Adamantine Pearl," the 44-carat domed diamond presents the lustrous beauty of a pearl while maintaining the unique properties of a diamond.

The adjective "adamantine" is derived from "adamas," the Ancient Greek word for diamond. An item that mimics the hardness or scintillating nature of a diamond may be described as adamantine.

Cut from a rough diamond that was approximately 150 carats in size, the Winston Adamantine Pearl is bezel set in a platinum pendant that resembles a spiderweb. Fifty-two baguette and round brilliant-cut diamonds adorn the interlocking web and outer rim of the pendant.

While it's common to find opal, turquoise, onyx, moonstone and star sapphires cut with a highly polished rounded top, diamonds are almost exclusively faceted to show off that particular gem's unmatched refractive properties.

Black diamonds owe their color to numerous dark inclusions, such as graphite, pyrite or hematite, that extend throughout the stone, according to the Gemological Institute of America. Their opaqueness is caused by a “polycrystalline” structure that inhibits the reflection of light.

This is likely why the luxury jeweler Harry Winston decided to go with the cabochon cut.

Harry Winston donated the pendant to the Smithsonian in 1997 during the dedication of the Harry Winston Gallery, one of eight exhibit areas in the then-renovated Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals at the National Museum of Natural History.

While the Winston Adamantine Pearl and a Tahitian pearl may look very similar, their hardnesses vary widely, with the diamond rating a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale and the pearl occupying the lower end of the spectrum with a Mohs rating of 2.5 – 4.5.

Known for their large sizes (8mm to 18mm) and rich iridescent colors that can include black, grey and brown with overtones of blue, green, purple or pink, the highly coveted Tahitian cultured pearls are cultivated in the waters of French Polynesia.

Pearl is the official gemstone for the month of June, while diamond is the official gemstone for the month of April.

Credit: Photo by Ken Larsen / Smithsonian.
June 7th, 2022
In 1513, an African slave discovered a perfectly symmetrical, pear-shaped, 55.95-carat natural pearl in the waters off the coast of Panama, and for the next 500+ years the treasure would wind its way through the royal boudoirs of Spain, England, France and Austria, earning it the Spanish name "La Peregrina," or "The Pilgrim."


Today, La Peregrina is arguably the most celebrated natural pearl of all time and one of the finest examples of June's official birthstone.

Throughout its history, the pearl has been cherished and protected, albeit with a few exceptions. Legend has it that the pearl was once lost and then found between the cushions of a sofa at Windsor Castle. In a second instance, the pearl disappeared during a wedding reception at Buckingham Palace, only to be spotted a little later hitching a ride on the bride's train.

But La Peregrina was nearly lost forever under the stewardship of actress Elizabeth Taylor.

In 1969, Richard Burton spent $37,000 (outbidding a prince at Sotheby’s) to buy La Peregrina for his wife, Taylor, as a gift for Valentine’s Day. In a Caesars Palace suite, Taylor had been wearing the famous pearl on a delicate pearl-and-diamond chain, but then realized it was gone.

In her book, My Love Affair with Jewelry, Taylor shared a moment-by-moment account of what happened next.

"I glanced over at Richard and thank God he wasn't looking at me, and I went into the bedroom and threw myself on the bed, buried my head into the pillow and screamed," Taylor recalled. "Very slowly and very carefully, I retraced all my steps in the bedroom. I took my slippers off, took my socks off, and got down on my hands and knees, looking everywhere for the pearl. Nothing. I thought, 'It's got to be in the living room in front of Richard. What am I going to do. He'll kill me!' Because he loved the piece."

Then Taylor noticed one of her puppies munching on something.

"I just casually opened the puppy's mouth and inside his mouth was the most perfect pearl in the world," she wrote. "It was — thank God— not scratched."

Shortly thereafter, Taylor commissioned Cartier to reset La Peregrina with pearls, diamonds and rubies in a majestic necklace that was to resemble the jewelry worn by Mary, Queen of Scots, in a famous portrait. The pearl’s original setting can be seen in Taylor’s cameo in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969). The new, more exquisite, setting makes brief cameos in the films Divorce His — Divorce Hers (1973) and A Little Night Music (1977).

In 2005, La Peregrina was one of 12 rare pearls featured during a six-month exhibition called “The Allure of Pearls” at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Taylor passed away in March of 2011 at the age of 79. Later that same year, La Peregrina headlined a high-profile auction of Taylor's jewelry at Christie's New York, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the The Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation.

Christie's had set the pre-sale estimate for La Peregrina at $2 million to $3 million, but enthusiastic bidding for the historic piece drove the final price to $11.8 million.

Natural pearls, such as La Peregrina, are exceedingly rare because they are created by mollusks randomly, without human intervention. When a grain of sand or similar irritant gets between the mollusk’s shell and its mantle tissue, the process begins.

To protect itself, the mollusk instinctually secretes multiple layers of nacre, an iridescent material that eventually becomes a pearl. Cultured pearls, by contrast, are created when a bead is embedded inside the body of the mollusk to stimulate nacre secretion.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.
June 8th, 2022
With summer vacations right around the corner, we have fresh information and expert advice on the best way to take your precious jewelry possessions through airport security.


In most cases, it’s perfectly OK to wear your fine jewelry through the checkpoint station instead of removing it, according to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Your fine jewelry should NEVER be packed into your checked luggage.

As long as the jewelry is not really bulky, you should keep your jewelry on your body as you walk through metal detectors or imaging devices.

Chances are the jewelry won’t alarm, and if it does you can let an officer inspect it with you there.

If you are traveling with very valuable items, you can ask the TSA officer to screen you and your jewelry in private to maintain your security.

"In general, jewelry doesn’t need to be removed before going through security," wrote the TSA on its Twitter page called @AskTSA. "However, we recommend putting on heavy jewelry after you go through security, to reduce the likelihood of an alarm that results in a pat-down screening."

In that case, the heavy jewelry should be placed in a carry-on bag and then put on after the screening process.

Additional items should be stored in the carry-on bag because it stays with you throughout your air travel journey. It's additionally useful to keep your jewelry untangled and organized in a travel jewelry case. These handy travel companions usually have a zipped enclosure with dedicated space for earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets.

Avoid putting fine jewelry in the plastic bowls that typically hold smaller items, such as pocket change and money clips. Bowls can easily flip over on the conveyor belt.

IMPORTANT: Under no circumstances should you pack your fine jewelry in checked luggage. Here’s real-life example of how doing so can turn out very, very badly…

Back in 2006, the Duchess of Argyll was returning to Glasgow, Scotland, after a short stay in London. The 68-year-old dowager duchess had checked a bag containing more than $150,000 worth of jewelry, including a Victorian diamond tiara, Cartier brooch, emerald ring and pearl earrings.

Yes, the bag was lost.

The Duchess filed a complaint with the airport and police authorities, but the bag was never turned in… or at least that’s what the Duchess believed.

In fact, the bag did resurface, but the airport authorities auctioned the jewelry instead of making any effort to return the items to their rightful owner. A British diamond merchant claimed the lot for a mere $7,500 (exactly 5% of their value) and the proceeds were donated by the airport to charity.

In 2012, the Duchess spotted her Cartier brooch in a Scottish auction catalog and promptly hired a lawyer to investigate. Airport authorities were embarrassed by a lost-luggage saga with high-profile implications.

After offering to reimburse the diamond merchant for his cooperation, operators of Glasgow Airport successfully reunited the Duchess with her brooch and tiara. Sadly, she would never see her emerald ring or pearl earrings again. A hard lesson learned.

Credit: Image by
June 9th, 2022
The Colombian army just released fascinating underwater footage of treasure strewn from the wreckage of the San José galleon — a warship sunk by the British Royal Navy in 1708.

Shipwreck1 1

Considered to be one of the richest treasure ships ever lost in the Western Hemisphere, the Spanish flagship had been carrying more than 200 tons of valuables, including high-purity gold doubloons, silver coins and chests filled with emeralds. The bounty is estimated to be worth up to $17 billion.


The San José languished on the ocean floor at a depth of nearly 1 kilometer (3,280 feet) for more than 300 years. The Colombian navy formally announced the ship's discovery in 2015 near the port of Cartagena on Colombia's coast. Its exact location is considered a state secret.

For many years, a number of entities have claimed ownership of the treasure, including Colombia, Spain, the Qhara Qhara nation of indigenous Bolivians and a professional salvage company.

According to the BBC, Spain had claimed the San José as a "ship of state" as it was under the country's control when it was sunk. The indigenous Bolivians claimed the ill-gotten Spanish treasure was extracted from the wealth its people. The salvage company, Sea Search Armada, claimed to have found the San José wreckage in the early 1980s.

Built in 1699, the 127-foot-long, three-masted galleon had been escorting 11 merchant ships when it was attacked by a British fleet and exploded during the battle. Of the 600 people aboard, only 11 survived.


The video of the shipwreck taken by a submersible vehicle was shared by Colombian Minister of Defense Diego Molano Aponte. In the video, we can clearly see valuable items, such as gold coins, pottery and Chinese porcelain teacups, scattered across the ocean floor near the wreckage.

Colombian President Ivan Duque praised his country's navy for capturing "images with a level of precision that's never been seen before" and has vowed that the treasure from the wreck would remain in Colombia.

It's expected that valuables from the wreck will be exhibited in a museum to be built in Cartagena.

In an unexpected twist, while studying the site of the San José, the Colombian navy's submersible vehicle also spotted two new shipwrecks — one of a colonial boat and another of a schooner that dates back to Colombia's war for independence from Spain in 1819. Colombian officials have yet to offer details about what either ship might have been transporting.

Credits: Screen grabs via / Diego_Molano.
June 15th, 2022
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History just unveiled "Great American Diamonds," a new exhibit showcasing four of the most stunning diamonds ever found in the United States.


Some of the new gems going on display are record holders, including the Freedom Diamond, the largest faceted diamond ever to originate in the United States, and the Uncle Sam Diamond, an emerald-cut stone fashioned from the largest uncut American diamond ever discovered.

For decades, the Uncle Sam Diamond was feared to have been lost before recently resurfacing in a private collection. This is the first time the Uncle Sam Diamond has been on public display in more than 50 years.

These precious gemstones hail from the only two diamond mines that have operated in the United States: Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds (1919–1926) and Colorado’s Kelsey Lake Mine (1996–2001). Together, these sites produced tens of thousands of carats of rough diamonds.

“Most people are surprised to learn that diamonds have been mined in the United States, and as the national museum, we are delighted to introduce these great American diamonds to our visitors,” said mineralogist Jeffrey Post, the museum’s curator-in-charge of gems and minerals.

The flawless 12.4-carat pinkish-brown Uncle Sam Diamond was cut from a crystal weighing a whopping 40.23 carats. The rough gem was discovered at Crater of Diamonds in 1924, making it the largest faceted diamond ever discovered in the Arkansas mine.

The cushion-cut Freedom Diamond, which is now set in a ring, was fashioned from a 28-carat diamond crystal discovered at the Kelsey Lake Mine in 1997.

These American diamonds join the Smithsonian’s National Gem and Mineral Collection, the world’s most visited collection of gems, thanks to gifts by Peter Buck (Uncle Sam Diamond) and Robert E. and Kathy G. Mau (Freedom Diamond). The national collection contains more than 10,000 precious stones and pieces of jewelry, including the iconic Hope Diamond.

“Amazingly, the Uncle Sam and Freedom diamonds were donated to our national collection within a month of each other,” Post said. “The generosity of the donors ensure that these great Earth treasures will forever belong to the people of the United States, and the world.”

In “Great American Diamonds,” the two new gems will be displayed alongside two additional American diamonds from the museum’s collection.

Unearthed in Arkansas, the “Canary Diamond” is a golden-yellow gem crystal weighing nearly 18 carats. This stone is one of the largest uncut diamond crystals from Arkansas. It was discovered in 1917 and acquired by famed civil engineer and mineral collector Washington Roebling, whose son donated it to the Smithsonian nearly a century ago.

Originating in Colorado, the 6.5-carat Colorado Diamond Crystal displays the typical eight-sided (octahedral) shape of natural diamond crystals.

Despite the beauty of the diamonds they produced, neither American mine proved to be commercially successful, causing each to close after less than a decade of operation.

That does not mean that the United States is devoid of diamonds. The Arkansas site where the Uncle Sam Diamond was found has been refashioned into Crater of Diamonds State Park, one of the world’s only diamond-bearing sites accessible to the public. The search area at the park is actually a plowed field atop the eroded surface of an extinct, diamond-bearing volcanic pipe. Visitors have found more than 33,100 diamonds since the Crater of Diamonds opened as an Arkansas State Park in 1972.

During an average year, amateur treasure hunters discover and get to keep roughly 600 new diamonds, potentially unearthing the next “Great American Diamond.”

Credit: Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.
June 16th, 2022
Jewelry continues to outperform all other retail sectors, according to statistics released by Mastercard SpendingPulse. Jewelry sales in May of 2022 were up 22.3% compared to May 2021.


When comparing May's performance with pre-pandemic levels, the numbers are even more impressive. Retail jewelry sales for May 2022 grew 65.4% compared to May of 2019, the strongest three-year gain of any retail sector.

“The continued retail sales momentum in May aligns with the sustained growth rates we’ve seen so far this year,” said Michelle Meyer, U.S. Chief Economist, Mastercard Economics Institute. “The consumer has been resilient, spending on goods and increasingly services as the economy continues to rebalance."


Mastercard SpendingPulse reported that total U.S. retail sales, excluding automotive, increased 10.5% year-over-year in May, and 21.4% compared to pre-pandemic May 2019. In-store sales were a key driver, up 13.7% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The jewelry sector has been riding a year-long wave of impressive sales data. Last summer Mastercard singled out “jewelry” as the fastest growing retail sector, with July 2021 sales jumping a whopping 54.2% compared to pre-pandemic July 2019 levels.

In December, the jewelry sector was highlighted again when Mastercard emphasized how “smaller boxes had a big impact” during the holiday season. Jewelry sales soared 32% during the period that spanned November 1 through December 24.

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.

Credits: Shopper image by Table courtesy of Mastercard SpendingPulse.
June 17th, 2022
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bonnie Raitt compares the stars in the night sky to a fantastical gemstone necklace in her brand new release, "Blame It on Me."


She sings, "Blame it on stars / Shining like headlights from a million cars / Strung like jewels from here to Mars / Blame it on stars."

In the song, Raitt tells the story of a woman of advancing age contending with a drifting lover. Her ex-boyfriend is blaming her for the breakup, but she wonders whether the relationship has been a victim of uncontrollable factors, like the stars or the passage of time.

But at the end of the song she predicts, "But one summer night / When my door is open and the moon is new / And some sad melody comes stealing through / And my heart should break in two / If my heart should break in two / Oh baby, ooh / Oh baby, I’m gonna blame it on you / Blame it on you."

"Blame It on Me" was released in April as the 7th track from Raitt's new album titled Just Like That… on the artist's own Redwing label.

“On this record, I wanted to stretch,” Raitt said in a statement. “I always want to find songs that excite me, and what’s different this time is that I’ve tried some styles and topics I haven’t touched on before.”

She added, “I’m really aware of how lucky I am and I feel like it’s my responsibility to get out there and say something fresh and new — for me and for the fans. But I need to have something to say or I won’t put out a record.”

Raitt delivered an intimate, soulful, live performance of the song on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert this past Wednesday. The show was seen by an estimated 3.5 million viewers.

The 72-year-old rocker is also promoting the album on her current seven-month tour, which includes stops in 69 cities from coast to coast.

A 10-time Grammy winner, Raitt rated 50th on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time" and 89th on the magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time." She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

Please check out the video of Raitt's live performance of "Blame It on Me" on The Late Show. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

"Blame It on Me"
Written by John Capek and Andrew Matheson. Performed by Bonnie Raitt.

Blame it on me
Hold up my faults for all to see
Truth is love’s first casualty
Blame it on me

Blame it on me
It’s not the way love is supposed to be
How can you so casually
Blame it on me

Blame it on stars
Shining like headlights from a million cars
Strung like jewels from here to Mars
Blame it on stars

Blame it on time
The fugitive, the vagabond, it’s the perfect crime
Poured like sand through your hands and mine
Blame it on time

How can you talk that way?
Just turn around and walk away
Your words, they sting so heartlessly
So go ahead, be free, blame it all on me

But one summer night
When my door is open and the moon is new
And some sad melody comes stealing through
And my heart should break in two

If my heart should break in two
Oh baby, ooh
Oh baby, I’m gonna blame it on you
Blame it on you

I’ll blame it on you, baby

Credit: Screen capture via / The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
June 20th, 2022
In an effort to draw hundreds of thousands of adventure tourists each year to its stunning Tsalka Nature Reserve, the country of Georgia has just unveiled a first-of-its-kind "Diamond Bridge" featuring a multi-level diamond-shaped cafe that seems to float like a pendant 280 meters above the Dashbashi Canyon.


The cafe is believed to be the largest and tallest hanging structure in the world, a notion that may soon be affirmed by the authorities at Guinness World Records. The diamond-shaped cafe weighs 9 tons and can accommodate 2,000 tourists.

Designed and constructed by the Georgian-Israeli Kass investment group at a total cost of $38.7 million, the bridge and related amenities took three years to come to fruition.

Tomer Mor Yosef, Vice President of Kass Group, told The Jerusalem Post that the inspiration for the diamond cafe came from how the canyon itself is shaped like a diamond, spanning some 800 meters at the top while only 4 meters at the bottom. The canyon has been carved over time by the Ktsia River.

The bridge spans 240 meters and is made of glass and steel. Tourists can literally see the gorge beneath their feet as they traverse the bridge. The developers also created a bicycle zip line that runs parallel to the bridge and a 40-meter cliff swing.

The complex also includes hiking trails to the canyon, caves and waterfalls, as well as cottages, a hotel, camping site and a visitor's center.

A two-hour drive from Georgia's capital of Tbilisi, the Diamond Bridge was opened for visitors last Wednesday. The fee to access the bridge is 29 Georgian Lari ($9.91) for Georgian citizens over 12 years old and 49 GEL ($16.75) for foreigners. Discounts are available for younger visitors and children under 3 can cross for free.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Georgian Government Administration.
June 21st, 2022
Russian journalist Dmitri Muratov put his 18-karat gold Nobel medal on the auction block last night, with the proceeds benefiting children who have been displaced by the war in Ukraine. Nobel medals rarely come to auction, and until last night the highest price ever paid for one was $4.76 million. Now the record is $103.5 million.


Muratov, the editor-in-chief of the now-shuttered independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, had already donated his $500,000 cash reward for winning the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. The melt value of the 175-gram medal is less than $10,000, but the historical and humanitarian significance of Muratov's medal pushed the bidding at Heritage Auctions to more than 10,000 times that amount. The event was streamed live from The Times Center in midtown Manhattan.


The live auction began at 7:26 p.m. EST with the opening bid at $875,000. Over the first 14 minutes, the bids grew gradually in increments of $100,000. When the price hit $10 million, auctioneer Mike Sadler asked for bids in increments of $200,000.


Four bidders — two on the phone and two online — kept the excitement going until the bidding seemed to stall at $16.6 million. But then, at 7:49 p.m, a Heritage Auctions associate holding paddle #303 shocked the auctioneer, Muratov and the live crowd when he stood up to declare his head-turning bid.

At first, Sadler seemed to not quite comprehend what the associate was saying and asked him to take off his mask and repeat the bid. At that point it was clear the winning bid would be $103,500,000. At the conclusion of the auction, Muratov returned to the stage to hug members of the Heritage Auctions team. The identity of the phone bidder was not immediately disclosed.


Just before the auction, Muratov had said, "I will not see this medal again, but I will like to see the future of those people who will benefit from it."

The proceeds will go directly to UNICEF to aid with efforts to support Ukrainian refugees, 90% of whom are women and children and 5.2 million who Muratov classified as needing desperate help. Heritage Auctions waived all of its fees related to running the sale.

Fittingly, the bidding had opened on June 1st, International Children's Day, and concluded on June 20th, World Refugee Day.

Established and financed by Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833-1896), the Nobel Prize is regarded as the ultimate recognition for contributions to humanity. Nobel wanted to recognize the remarkable achievements of "those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind." Since 1901, Nobel Prizes have been awarded annually for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Peace by the Nobel Foundation.

On the rare occasions Nobel prizes come to auction, the results can be spectacular. In 2014, a bidder paid $4.76 million for the medal earned by James Watson, whose co-discovery of the structure of DNA earned him a Nobel Prize in 1962. In 2017, the family of Watson's co-recipient, Francis Crick, received $2.27 million for his Nobel medal.

Heritage Auctions explained that the Nobel Peace Prize is distinct from the Nobel medals for sciences and literature. Unlike the other prizes awarded in Sweden, the Peace Prize is presented by the Norwegian Nobel Institute. The artistic engravings of the two different medals are distinct, with the Peace Prize more bas-relief than medallic in form. Gustav Vigeland executed the engraving, which since 2012, has been struck by Det Norske Myntverket (Mint of Norway) in Kongsberg.

Prior to the auction, the Norwegian Nobel Institute lauded the sale of a medal for this fundraiser. In a letter of support, Director Olav Njølstad stated, "This generous act of humanitarianism is very much in the spirit of Alfred Nobel. The intended sale is therefore subject to the wholehearted approval of the Norwegian Nobel Committee."

Measuring 66mm in diameter, the Nobel medal is smaller than the Olympic medals (85mm) awarded in Tokyo last summer. But unlike the Olympic medals, which are made mostly of silver and clad with just six grams of pure gold, the Nobel medals are composed of 18-karat green gold plated in 24-karat gold. The Nobel medals contain 75% gold and about 25% silver, with trace amounts of copper.

This type of alloy is often called green gold, but is also known as electrum, a naturally occurring precious alloy that had been cherished by the ancients. According to, the Egyptians used the metal for jewelry, ornaments and drinking vessels. In addition, they used the metal to adorn pyramidions (capstones) atop pyramids, dating back as early as the third millennium BC.

Credits: Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions, Screen captures via
June 22nd, 2022
Flaunting a gold chain strung with three NBA championship rings, Finals MVP Steph Curry and the rest of the Golden State Warriors paraded up Market Street in San Francisco on Monday afternoon to celebrate their six-game victory over the Boston Celtics and their fourth Larry O'Brien Trophy in eight years.


When questioned about his jewelry during NBC's coverage of the parade, Curry said, "I had to bring the jewelry back out. I don't look at it during the year… But, every once in a while you've got to remind yourself. You got four!"

Curry turned to his Instagram Story to show off his three previous championship rings and an armful of trophies. The 2021-2022 championship ring will be unveiled prior to the team's home opener in late October.

In the world of professional sports, championship rings tend to get more elaborate as teams become dynasties. This was seen with the NFL's six-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and now with the NBA's Golden State Warriors (7th title overall).


To mark their 2017-18 championship run, the Warriors employed designer Jason Arasheben, aka Jason of Beverly Hills, who created a technically challenging championship ring composed of nearly 20 pieces.

The ring's most compelling feature was a reversible top, the first-of-its-kind for a championship ring. The head of the ring, which could be completely detached from its band, had a centerpiece that could be flipped to show blue sapphires on one side or white diamonds on the other. Blue and white are two the Warriors’ primary colors with golden yellow being the third. Twisting off the top of the ring revealed the slogan ‘Strength in Numbers’ etched in gold.

We expect the 2021-2022 edition will be even more impressive.

Curry had a hunch that this year's team could make it all the way to the championship.

"It's all about the journey," he said. "I knew last year, the way that we finished the season, we could carry that momentum into this year. I'd be lying if I said I knew for a fact that we would be NBA champions. [We had to] make that the goal and stay in the present."

After a stunning 18-2 start to the season, the team was on its way.

The Warriors players began the parade waving to fans from an open-top tour bus. But as the parade progressed, many players jumped down from the bus to meet and greet their passionate and proud Dub Nation fans one-on-one.

Credits: Steph Curry images via Instagram / stephencurry30. Ring image via Instagram/Jason of Beverly Hills.
June 23rd, 2022
An exceptional pair of Mozambican rubies — one weighing 32.5 carats and the other 29 carats — headlined Gemfields' most recent series of ruby auctions in Bangkok. Each ruby is expected to surpass 10 carats when cut and polished.


Exhibiting a vivid red hue and remarkable crystalline luster, the featured rubies represent the finest production from Montepuez, the most prolific ruby mine in the world.


More specifically, the sizable rough gems were sourced at the Mugloto mining pit, a secondary deposit at the Montepuez mine, where rubies have been concentrated by alluvial flows along ancient paleochannels. Gemfields explained that the stones found in Mugloto secondary deposit are often the most exceptional because they had to survive the arduous journey along the ancient riverbed.

Among the world-famous rubies found at Mugloto are the 45-carat total weight matched pair of vivid red gems called the "Eyes of the Dragon" (2015) and the 40.23-carat "Rhino Ruby" (2014).

Overall, Gemfields reported that the $95.6 million generated during seven mini-auctions held between May 30 and June 17 represented "an all-time high for any Gemfields auction." The company sold 94.1% of the 119 lots offered, with 49 companies participating in the sealed-bid process.

A portion of the proceeds arising from the sale will be donated to the Quirimbas National Park in Mozambique, a long-standing Gemfields conservation partner.

The Montepuez ruby mine is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% by Mozambican partner Mwiriti Limitada. Gemfields also operates Kagem, the world’s largest and most productive emerald mine. Kagem is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% by the Government of the Republic of Zambia.

Credits: Images courtesy of Gemfields.
June 24th, 2022
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the legendary Neil Diamond sings about how “gold don’t rust” and “love don’t lie” in a country classic from his 1996 Tennessee Moon album.


Diamond, who was a pre-med student at New York University and can certainly find his way around a periodic table, took an interesting fact about a chemical property of gold and spun it into a love song.

Besides its rarity, value and radiance, gold in its purest form is an element that will never oxidize or rust. That’s why gold is considered a "noble precious metal" and has been used for jewelry and coinage for millennia.

In “Gold Don’t Rust,” Diamond assures his lover that she doesn’t have to worry every time he goes away. His sweet feelings for her will continue to shine.

He offers her a 24-karat commitment in the chorus, which goes like this: “Gold don’t rust / Love don’t lie / I’ll be true ’til the day that I die. / Trust in me, you will find / Baby, you’re the gold in this heart of mine / And that gold will shine for a long, long time.”

“Gold Don’t Rust,” which Diamond co-wrote with Gary Burr and Bob DiPiero, was the seventh track of Diamond’s 23rd studio album, Tennessee Moon. The album was certified gold (500,000 units sold) by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Over the course of his stellar 60-year career as a singer-songwriter-musician, Diamond has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Diamond was a member of Erasmus Hall High School’s Chorus and Choral Club along with close friend Barbra Streisand. Diamond was inspired to write music after meeting folk singer Pete Seeger, who visited a summer camp he was attending.

“And the next thing, I got a guitar when we got back to Brooklyn, started to take lessons and almost immediately began to write songs,” he told Rolling Stone magazine.

Just 10 credits short of an undergraduate degree from New York University, Diamond dropped out of college to take a 16-week assignment writing songs for Sunbeam Music Publishing. The job paid $50 per week. Later in his career, he would joke, “If this darn songwriting thing hadn’t come up, I would have been a doctor now.”

The 81-year-old Diamond shook the music world four years ago with the news that he'd been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and wouldn't be touring anymore. Instead, he's been collaborating on a Broadway-bound musical based on his life story and extensive catalog of timeless hits. "A Beautiful Noise, the Neil Diamond Musical" premiered on Tuesday at Boston's Emerson Colonial Theatre.

Diamond was a surprise guest on opening night and earned a standing ovation as he took his seat in the audience. The show began a six-week engagement in Boston before it opens this fall in The Big Apple at the Broadhurst Theatre.

Please check out the audio track of Diamond’s “Gold Don’t Rust.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Gold Don’t Rust”
Written by Gary Burr, Bob DiPiero and Neil Diamond. Performed by Neil Diamond.

I know you worry every time I go away
You wonder will these sweet, sweet feelings shine or fade
Well, that’s a question you don’t have to ask
What heaven makes, it always makes to last

Gold don’t rust
Love don’t lie
I’ll be true ’til the day that I die
Trust in me, you will find
Baby, you’re the gold in this heart of mine
And that gold will shine for a long, long time.

I wish that I could give you
What you need from me.
But what good is a promise or a guarantee?
Love is still a simple act of faith
And a faithful heart is always worth the wait

Gold don’t rust
Love don’t lie
I’ll be true ’til the day that I die
Trust in me, you will find
Baby, you’re the gold in this heart of mine,
And that gold will shine for a long, long time

Love is still a simple act of faith
And a faithful heart is always worth the wait

Gold don’t rust
Love don’t lie
I’ll be true ’til the day that I die
Trust in me, you will find
Baby, you’re the gold in this heart of mine
And that gold will shine for a long, long time

Baby you’re the gold in this heart of mine
And that gold will shine
For a long, long, long time

Credit: Image by Irisgerh at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
June 27th, 2022
Exactly a week after the Golden State Warriors put an exclamation point on the NBA’s 75th Anniversary season by defeating the Boston Celtics in the Finals, the basketball association's senior director of social media, Ashley Atwell, revealed the backstory of how a bedazzled basketball became the unofficial mascot for NBA 75.


It all started with a fresh take on the NBA's iconic NBA logo, which features a silhouette of former LA Laker and Hall of Famer Jerry West. For the league's diamond anniversary season, the NBA "Logoman" was reimagined in the center of a blue and red diamond with the number 75 superimposed over facets rendered to mimic the seams of a basketball.


“It was the NBA’s diamond season, so we took that theme of the diamond logo while creating the ball,” Atwell told “The idea was sparked because we previously used the bedazzled ball at an award show. This was a really good opportunity to bring that idea back to life. So, once we saw the logo, we thought it would be cool to put it on a ball. This really started because we needed a cool idea for the NBA Draft.”

All the draftees who were in Brooklyn last July got to take a pic with the gem-encrusted ball. And slowly but surely, the ball started making appearances everywhere.

It appeared at the G League Winter Showcase, NBA All-Star Weekend, Formula One Grand Prix and NBA venues throughout the country. There was so many requests for the ball that the league decided to create eight additional promotional balls to fill the demand.

We're guessing that the white, red, blue and black stones affixed to the "diamond" balls are actually glass crystals.

Atwell challenged fans to search for the NBA 75th Anniversary ball on Tik Tok, Instagram or Twitter. The results will be collection of celebrities, players and fans of all ages posing with the ball.

“The celebrities are cool,” Atwell said. “There are definitely moments where you’re like, 'Oh my God, I can’t believe that celebrity had the ball.’"

Atwell said that actor Kevin Hart was the first to post to IG a picture of himself with the ball. Then there was a photo of former Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller sharing the ball with actor-director (and NY Knicks fan) Spike Lee.

"The ball has become the face of the 75th anniversary, especially on social media," said Atwell. "It’s a big part of the campaign. I don’t think I realized that was going to happen."

Atwell said that she remembers pitching the diamond ball idea in preparation of the 75th anniversary season. At the time, she said, it seemed insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Now, in retrospect, she acknowledged that the diamond ball evolved into one of the biggest fan-facing initiatives of the season.

"It’s helped us carry the campaign all season long," she said. "And bring these generations together – fans and players.”

Credits: Houston Rockets rookie Jalen Green with the 75th anniversary ball, photo courtesy of the NBA. Logos via
June 28th, 2022
Two miles above sea level in the rarefied air of the tiny, landlocked Kingdom of Lesotho, twin diamond mines are churning out some of the largest and highest-value diamonds in the world.


Continuing a run of impressive discoveries, Gem Diamonds announced that it had recovered an exceptional 245-carat white Type II diamond from its Letšeng mine.

The mining company's newsworthy find is the third 100+ carat diamond unearthed this year and the 121st since Gem Diamonds acquired Letšeng in 2006. (Type II diamonds are extremely rare, colorless and chemically pure with no traces of nitrogen impurities.)


An aerial view of the Letšeng site shows side-by-side diamond mines — the Main and Satellite kimberlite pipes. The pits are currently just over 250 meters deep and have a planned final depth of 450 meters, placing them among the deepest pits in the world. Ironically, at twice the elevation of Denver, Letšeng is also one of the world's highest diamond mines.


Despite a land mass about the size of Maryland (12,407 square miles) and a population less than that of Houston (2.3 million), Lesotho flexes its muscles on the world diamond stage.

Among the country's highest-profile rough diamonds are the Lesotho Legend (910 carats, sold for $40 million), Lesotho Promise (603 carats, $12.4 million), Letšeng Star (550 carats, undisclosed amount), Lesotho Legacy (493 carats, $10.4 million), Light of Letšeng (478 carats, $18.4 million), Letšeng Icon (439 carats, $16.1 million), Letšeng Princess (367 carats, $9.6 million), Letšeng Dynasty (357 carats, $19.3 million) and the Letšeng Destiny (314 carats, undisclosed amount).

The destiny of the unnamed 245-carat diamond has yet to be determined. About 40% to 60% of a diamond's weight is typically lost during the cutting and polishing process, so there is a very good chance that the sizeable rough will yield a gem-quality faceted stone larger than 100 carats.

The United Kingdom-based Gem Diamonds holds a 70% stake in the Letšeng mine with the government of Lesotho owning the remaining 30%. In October 2019, the partners renewed the mining lease for an additional 10 years. Gem Diamonds claims the Letšeng site generates the highest average dollar per carat of any kimberlite diamond mine in the world.

Trivia: Lesotho is one of only three countries fully surrounded by another country. Lesotho is encircled by South Africa, while San Marino and The Vatican are fully contained within Italy.

Credits: Diamond and mine images courtesy of Gem Diamonds. Map by Google Maps.
June 29th, 2022
An impossibly rare 5.09-carat electric blue Paraiba tourmaline fetched $377,650 at Bonhams' Jewels and Jadeite auction in Hong Kong last night.


The modified shield brilliant-cut gem was the most anticipated lot of the event because a stone of this color, size, quality and origin is a unicorn in the world of colored gemstones. Faceted specimens larger than a few carats are virtually unheard of.

To put the rarity of such a large intense blue Paraiba tourmaline into some perspective, note that the Smithsonian has one in the National Gem Collection in Washington, DC. It's an oval-cut gem and weighs a mere 1.22 carats.

"Paraiba" is the most prized tourmaline variety. The vivid teal, turquoise and neon blue stones caused a sensation when they were first discovered by prospector Heitor Dimas Barbosa in Brazil’s tropical, coastal state of Paraiba in 1989.

Worldwide demand sparked a mining frenzy and, within five years, the supply beneath “Paraiba Hill” — an area measuring 400 x 200 x 65 meters — was largely tapped out.

Bonhams explained that Paraiba tourmalines are typically seen in smaller carat sizes because the crystals mined at their original source were extracted from pencil-thin veins. The material was delicate and prone to splintering or fragmenting during the mining process.

Common tourmalines come in a rainbow of colors, which are determined by the trace amounts of iron, manganese, chromium or vanadium in their chemical makeup. Paraiba tourmalines are different. They owe their spectacular blue hues to a high concentration of copper, an element not previously seen in tourmalines.

Bonhams noted that while traditionally mined in Brazil, copper-bearing tourmalines have been discovered in both Mozambique and Nigeria.

Some gem experts believe that the uncanny connection can be attributed to continental drift, the theory that the Earth’s continents have moved over geologic time and that South America and Africa were once connected. Paraiba, on the far eastern tip of Brazil, would have been adjacent to the west coast of Nigeria.

“Thus we may suppose that the radiant copper tourmalines from Nigeria came into being under the same conditions as those from Paraiba, at a time before the ancient continent drifted apart,” writes the International Colored Gemstone Association on its Paraiba Tourmaline web page. “Is that the reason why it is so difficult to tell one from the other? This remains one of the great riddles in the fascinating world of gemstones.”

Credit: Image courtesy of Bonhams.
June 30th, 2022
This 58.19-carat, honey-colored "Maharani Cat’s Eye" displays one of the world's finest examples of an optical phenomenon called "chatoyancy" — or the cat's eye effect.


A chatoyant gem presents a single band of reflected light that seems to move just beneath the surface of the stone, and the effect looks very much like the vertical-slit pupils of a cat's eye.


Chatoyant is derived from the French word "chatoyer," which literally means "to shine like a cat's eyes."

Chatoyancy arises when light reflects off of needle-shaped inclusions present within the body of the gemstone, in this case chrysoberyl. When a stone is cut with a domed top and flat bottom, called a cabochon, the light reflected off the inclusions is focused into a bright band that forms the "eye." To get the best results, cutters will orient the needle-shaped inclusions to be parallel to the base of the gem.

When the needles are oriented in a single direction, the result is a cat's eye. When the needles grow in three directions, the result will be a six-rayed asterism or "star."


Chatoyancy occurs in many gemstone varieties, including corundum, tourmaline, spinel and quartz, but the most coveted cat's eyes are cut and polished from the mineral chrysoberyl.

The International Gemological Institute clarified that while other minerals can be polished to produce a similar cat’s eye effect, only chrysoberyl can be referred to as “cat’s eye” with no other designation. Other minerals require a qualifier, such as cat’s eyes quartz or cat's eye sapphire, etc.

The stone seen above was sourced in Sri Lanka and is now part of the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection. The Smithsonian obtained the gem in an exchange in 1961.

Credits: Gem photos by Chip Clark / Smithsonian. Cat's eye by Keith Kissel, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.