Skip to main content

Articles in October 2022

October 4th, 2022
There’s an ancient Egyptian legend that describes how tourmalines got their amazing colors, and it goes something like this... On their long voyage up to the surface from the center of the Earth, tourmalines passed through a rainbow — and by doing so, assumed all of its colors.


The name “tourmaline” is derived from the Singhalese words “tura mali,” which mean “stone with mixed colors.” In fact, when it comes to color, tourmaline is the undisputed champion of the gemstone world.

Not only does tourmaline come in a wide range of colors, such as blue, red, green, yellow, orange, brown, pink, purple, gray and black, the official October gemstone also boasts bi-color and tri-color varieties. (The other official birthstone for October is opal.)

One of our multicolor favorites is called “watermelon tourmaline” because it features green, white and pink bands that look very much like a slice of the delicious summer fruit. Designers love to use thin, polished cross-sections of watermelon tourmaline in their work. Gem collectors love watermelon tourmaline because it’s fun and so unusual.

According to the American Gem Society, the multicolor gems with the clearest color distinctions are the most highly prized.

The trade has unusual names for the wide variety of multicolor tourmalines. According to the International Colored Gemstone Association, colorless crystals with black on both ends is called “Mohrenkopf,” a chocolate-coated marshmallow treat sold in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.

Tourmaline crystals that have banded color zones that lie on top of one another are referred to by the Brazilians as “papageios” or “rainbow tourmaline.” A tourmaline with red on one end is called a “Turk’s head tourmaline.” Apparently, the reference is a nod to the red fez cap made popular in Turkish culture.

Tourmaline is found in many locations around the world, including the U.S. (mainly California and Maine), Brazil, Afghanistan and East Africa.

Tourmalines get their color from trace elements that are introduced to a gem’s chemical structure. Lithium-rich tourmalines yield blue, green, red, yellow and pink colors, while iron-rich tourmalines are black to bluish-black. Magnesium-infused tourmalines tend to be brown-to-yellow in color. Multicolored crystals reflect a “fluid chemistry” during crystallization.

Credit: Photo via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0.
October 5th, 2022
Scientists at Washington State University (WSU) were stunned when platinum outperformed gold in a test to determine how much pressure they could take.


Prior to the study, the scientists at WSU's Institute for Shock Physics speculated that gold would be the victor, but the final results weren't even close.

Platinum easily held its atomic structure at 3.5 million atmospheres, the pressure at the center of Earth. Then the researchers pushed platinum even further, and the metal continued to hold its structure to nearly 4 million atmospheres, at which point it reached 3,215 degrees Fahrenheit and began to melt.

On the other hand, the researchers were surprised when gold's structural integrity began to fail at a relatively modest 1.5 million atmospheres.

“Science is all about curiosity,” said Yogendra Gupta, director of the Institute for Shock Physics at WSU. “Even though I had 48 years of experience in this field, and I was certain gold would behave as I suspected, I was just wrong. That is why we do experiments in science.”

In the test, scientists used a powerful laser to subject four types of metals to immense pressure over short intervals of about 10 to 15 billionths of a second. They then used a synchrotron to send x‑ray pulses into the materials to study the changes in their physical structure.

“Basically, we can look inside things and provide information about their atomic structure,” Gupta said. “This is the only synchrotron-based facility in the US capable of doing these kinds of experiments.”

Silver and copper were also put to the test. Surprisingly, silver matched gold's performance, while copper lasted a little longer before transforming at 1.7 million atmospheres of pressure.

One atmosphere of pressure is what an average person will experience at sea level. At a depth of 5,000 meters (about 3 miles), the pressure will be approximately 500 atmospheres or 500 times greater than the pressure at sea level.

“It’s really just pure fun science more than anything, but nevertheless I find it fascinating,” Gupta said. “I kind of laugh about it because you will never produce 1.5 million atmospheres of pressure in any real-world scenario. For all practical purposes gold is stable.”

Platinum's superior performance at WSU's Institute for Shock Physics aligns neatly with the messaging on the website of the trade organization Platinum Guild International (PGI).

Writes the PGI, "It takes a lot to say 'forever,' but when you’re selecting bridal jewelry—or any jewelry, for that matter—it’s important to know that platinum is truly eternal. This noble metal, one of the strongest, natural materials on the planet, is also one of the longest lasting."

And now we've learned that platinum also performs best under pressure.

Credit: Image by 2x910, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
October 6th, 2022
Lucapa Diamond Company celebrated another milestone when it unveiled a 113-carat, gem-quality, white, Type IIa diamond from its flagship Lulo site in Angola. It was the fifth 100-plus-carat diamond recovered in 2022 and the 30th 100-plus-carat stone unearthed since the site was opened in 2015.


The Lulo mining area, which comprises 1,100 square miles along the length of the 31-mile Cacuilo River, has generated a steady flow of high-quality, impressive finds.

So far, the diamonds recovered at Lulo have been of the alluvial variety, which means that they ferried from their original source by ancient rivers.


Back in May of 2019, Lucapa's chairman, Miles Kennedy, told stockholders that "huge wealth" was within reach because his exploration team was closer than ever to striking the mother lode at Lulo. That meant locating the primary source of the diamonds that ended up downstream.

“There are no silver bullets in the kimberlite exploration game,” Kennedy said at the time. “But the patient and methodical approach adopted by our exploration team is narrowing down and confining the search areas of our quest. It may take us another couple of years, but I am more confident than ever that we can indeed find the diamond source at Lulo.”

Earlier this year, the company reported that it had discovered 24 new kimberlites at Lulo, bringing the total number to 133. Kimberlite exploration is conducted by the Lulo partners through the separate Projecto Lulo joint venture. This exploration is designed to locate the hard-rock primary sources of the exceptional Lulo alluvial diamonds.

“The Lulo alluvial mine continues to produce diamonds of great size and quality," said Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall. "With the stand-alone kimberlite bulk sampling plant now in operation and processing the priority kimberlite samples, we are working hard to realize the primary source kimberlite potential on the Lulo concession.”

The company's success in recovering extremely large stones has been credited largely to the installation of a $3.5 million state-of-the-art XRT large-diamond recovery system in 2017. The system uses advanced X-ray transmission technology (XRT) and larger screens (55mm) so diamonds up to 1,100 carats can be cherry picked. XRT technology is also more efficient at recovering low-luminescing, ultra-pure Type IIa diamonds.

Lucapa has a 40% stake in the Lulo mine and holds an exploration license that runs until April 2023. The mining firm maintains two partners in the project — Empresa Nacional de Diamantes EP and Rosas & Petales.

The Australia-based mining company also holds a 70% stake in the Mothae mine in Lesotho, which commenced commercial production in 2019.

Credits: Rough diamond images courtesy of Lucapa Diamond Company.
October 7th, 2022
Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you classic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the incomparable Carole King gets the ring in her classic 1964 hit, “Oh No Not My Baby.”


King assumes the role of a young woman, whose trust is unwavering despite signs that her boyfriend has been fooling around. She sings, “When my friends told me you had someone new / I didn’t believe a single word was true.”

Later in the song, King rationalizes that even if he was unfaithful, the dalliance was hardly a betrayal. She sings, “Well, you might have had a last-minute fling / But I am sure it didn’t mean a thing / ‘Cause yesterday you gave me your ring.”

Co-written by King and then-husband Gerry Goffin, “Oh No Not My Baby” was originally recorded in 1964 by Maxine Brown and subsequently covered by some of the biggest names in the music business, including Aretha Franklin, Cher, Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, the Shirelles, Manfred Mann, Dusty Springfield, Debby Boone, Julie Budd, Eydie Gormé and the made-for-TV band The Partridge Family.

Although Carole King has composed most of her songs for other performers, many fans agree that nobody does Carole King like Carole King. That’s why we chose to feature King’s rendition of “Oh No Not My Baby,” which appeared on her 1980 album Pearls: Songs of Goffin and King as well as her 2001 album Love Makes the World.

Born Carol Joan Klein to a New York City firefighter dad and teacher mom, King started playing the piano at the age of 4. While attending high school she dated singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka and changed her name to Carole King. She and her buddy Paul Simon (Yes, of Simon & Garfunkel fame) earned extra money by making demo records for $25 per session. While attending Queens College, she met Goffin, who became her song-writing partner. They were married one year later, in 1959, when King was only 17 years old. The marriage lasted nine years.

In the early 1970s, King launched a successful solo career catapulted by the immense success of Tapestry, a breakthrough album that topped the U.S. album charts for 15 weeks in 1971 and remained on the charts for more than six years. It sold 30 million copies worldwide and still stands as one of the bestselling albums of all time.

King is credited with writing or co-writing 118 songs that have appeared on the Billboard Hot 100. King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, as a writer in 1990 and as a performer in 2021. King announced her retirement in 2012, but then walked back that statement in 2013, clarifying that she was just “taking a break.” She is still performing at the age of 80.

Please check out the audio track of King’s awesome rendition of “Oh No Not My Baby.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Oh No Not My Baby”
Written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin. Performed by Carole King.

When my friends told me you had someone new
I didn’t believe a single word was true
I showed them all I had a faith in you
I just kept on saying

Oh, no, not my baby
Oh, no, not my sweet baby
You’re not like those other guys
Who lead you on and tell you lies

My mama told me when rumors spread
There’s truth somewhere and I should use my head
But I didn’t listen to what she said
I kept right on saying

Oh, no, not my baby
Oh, no, not my sweet baby
You’re not like those other boys
Who play with hearts like they were toys

Well, you might have had a last-minute fling
But I am sure it didn’t mean a thing
‘Cause yesterday you gave me your ring
And I’m so glad that I kept on saying

Oh, no, not my baby
Oh, no, not my sweet baby
You’re not like those other guys
Who lead you on and tell you lies

Oh, no, not my baby
Oh, no, not my sweet baby
Oh, no, not my baby
Oh, no, not my sweet baby

Credit: Image by Angela George, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
October 10th, 2022
The 11.15-carat Williamson Pink Star lived up to its pre-sale hype at Sotheby's Hong Kong on Friday when — after a tense, 20-minute bidding war — the second-largest internally flawless, fancy vivid pink diamond ever to appear at auction sold for the staggering price of $57.7 million. That was more than 2.5 times the auction house's high estimate of $21 million.


The winning bid submitted via phone by a collector in Boca Raton, FL, stands as the second highest price ever paid for any gem at auction. Only the 59.60-carat CTF Pink Star sold for more at $71.2 million (Sotheby's Hong Kong, 2017).

The Williamson Pink Star also crushed the record for the highest price-per-carat ever paid for any gemstone at auction. At $5.2 million per-carat, the gem soundly overtook the $3.9 million per carat achieved by the 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue at Christie's Geneva in 2016.

The bubblegum pink, cushion-cut gem (shown, above, mounted on an 18-karat ring and flanked by trapeze-cut diamonds) was cut from a 32-carat rough diamond unearthed at the famous Williamson Mine in Tanzania.

This is the same mine that produced the 23.6-carat “Williamson” pink diamond, which centers a Cartier-designed, flower-motif brooch often worn at high-profile events by the late Queen Elizabeth II. The gem had been given to the Queen as a wedding gift in 1947 by Canadian geologist Dr. John Thorburn Williamson, who owned the mine.

In fact, the name “Williamson Pink Star” is a nod to both the Williamson mine and the CTF Pink Star.

Just after Friday's single-lot sale in Hong Kong, the anonymous winning bidder renamed the stone “The Rosenberg Williamson Pink Star.” The Rosenberg part of the gem's name and the owner's location of Boca Raton, FL, offer clues to who the new owner could be. We assume that person will come forward shortly.

Market watchers believe that the strength of the pink-diamond segment is partly attributed to the closure of Rio Tinto’s Argyle Mine in Australia, which famously produced between 90% and 95% of the world’s pink and red diamonds during its 37 years of production. The mine officially ceased operations on November 3, 2020.

Unlike yellow or blue diamonds that owe their color to the presence of nitrogen or boron in their chemical makeup, pink diamonds owe their color to the effects of intense pressure and heat while they were still deep within the Earth. These factors caused distortions in the diamond’s crystal lattice that influence the way the gem absorbs green light, thus reflecting a pink hue.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sothebys.
October 11th, 2022
The finest black opals come from Lightning Ridge, an Aussie mining area that has been yielding top-quality opals since 1903 — about the same time Louis Comfort Tiffany took his first stab at designing fine jewelry at the age of 54.


Tiffany, whose father was Charles Lewis Tiffany, the founder of the famous jewelry company, was already a household name based on his magnificent stained glass, ceramics and metalwork. When the elder Tiffany passed away in 1902, his son was determined to embrace a new discipline.

According to the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Louis Tiffany's earliest jewelry designs were exhibited at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, where they earned favorable reviews from the art critics of the period. Tiffany's naturalistic designs, use of semiprecious stones with enamel and meticulous handcraftsmanship elevated his imaginative jewelry to the status of art.


Tiffany was particularly fond of opals, according to the Smithsonian, and used them extensively in his work. Louis often sought the advice and expertise of George Frederick Kunz, the gem expert at Tiffany & Company, who traveled the world in search of unusual gems and semi-precious stones for the company’s designers.

Louis designed the black opal necklace, shown above, later in his career. The Art Nouveau necklace is 30-inches in length and features two black opals — a large one on top and a smaller one at the bottom — secured in a vine of 18-karat gold grape leaves and accented with brilliant-cut green demantoid garnets.

Donated to the Smithsonian in 1974 by Mrs. F. R. Downs Jr. and Mrs. R. O. Abbott Jr., the unique piece was originally purchased from Tiffany's on New Year's Eve 1929, according to the original sales receipt. It is currently part of the National Gem Collection at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, and an excellent example of October's official birthstone. The other October birthstone is tourmaline.

Precious opals are universally loved because they can present all the colors of the rainbow. Each opal is truly unique and more than 95% of the world’s fine opals are sourced in Australia. Other varieties include white opals, boulder opals, crystal opals and fire opals.

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

In precious opal, the silica spheres are uniform in size and are stacked into an orderly arrangement, which gives the structure the ability to break visible white light into separate colors.

Interestingly, 95% of the opals found by miners is void of color. These specimens are white, grey or black. The locals call it “potch” and it has very little value. Potch is composed of the exact same mineral as fine opal – spheres of silica dioxide. The only difference is that in potch, the tiny silica spheres are jumbled, whereas in precious opal they’re all laid out evenly.

The value of a fine opal is based on a number of factors, including brightness, color, pattern, body tone and consistency (how it looks from multiple angles).

Credits: Images by Ken Larsen / Smithsonian.
October 12th, 2022
Despite some signs of a softening economy, US consumers are still in a spending mood as we hurtle toward the holiday season, according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse™. The credit card company's annual holiday forecast is predicting that US retail sales will increase 7.1% year over year, excluding automotive sales.


That's very good news, considering last year's holiday sales hit a record high.

Retail jewelry sales showed no signs of slowing down in September 2022, as consumer spending jumped 6.9% compared to September of 2021 (YOY) and an impressive 67.7% versus the pre-pandemic figures of September of 2019 (YO3Y).


"This holiday season, consumers may find themselves looking for ways to navigate the inflationary environment – from searching for deals to making trade-offs that allow for extra room in their gift-giving budgets," noted Michelle Meyer, US Chief Economist at the Mastercard Economics Institute. "New job creation, rising wages and lingering savings should have many consumers ready and able to spend."

Experiential spending continues to rein in consumers’ dollars, according to the survey, as reflected in these sectors showing strong September 2022 YOY gains: Airlines (56.4%), Lodging (38.1%) and Restaurants (+10.9%).

These numbers reflect pent-up demand from consumers, who were forced to hunker down during the prolonged effects of the global pandemic. A shift in consumer spending reflects a need for normalcy, the survey noted.

Overall US retail sales (excluding automotive) increased 11% in September 2022 compared to September 2021, and 24.6% compared to September 2019. The month's in-store sales picked up 11.1% YOY and e-commerce sales increased 10.7% over that same period.

Consumers' widespread acceptance of spending online is reflected in the e-commerce YO3Y sales increase of 90.3%.

Mastercard SpendingPulse™ 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™.
October 13th, 2022
Exactly 731 gemstones weighing a total of 18.50 carats are artfully arranged in a breathtaking 14-karat white gold ring that tells the story of the Colorado Avalanche's franchise and the team's exciting march to the NHL 2022 Stanley Cup championship.


Designed by Jostens, each ring is set with 669 diamonds, 18 custom-cut genuine sapphires, two round genuine sapphires and 42 custom-cut genuine rubies.

The team's players, coaching staff and owners received their rings in a private ceremony just ahead of the season opener, which took place last night against the Chicago Blackhawks at Ball Arena in Denver.

“We wanted to bring the Avalanche’s championship journey to life, and this ring tells that story beautifully," said Chris Poitras, VP and COO of Jostens Professional Sports Division.

The ring is teeming with unique details that depict the team's championship journey.

The ring top features the distinctive Avalanche mountainous “A” logo and the title of STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS in raised gold lettering above 18 custom-cut sapphires. Creating the "A" are six custom-cut rubies, symbolic of the exciting six-game Stanley Cup Final victory over the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

Paying homage to Joe Sakic’s lifetime commitment to the Avalanche, as well as his distinction of being the only team captain and general manager to win a Stanley Cup with the same team, 19 diamonds are set in the snow that flows to the black hockey puck on the logo (Sakic's jersey number was 19). These diamonds have a total weight of .22 carats, a nod to the 22 years of Kroenke ownership.

An additional 220 diamonds are intricately set, cascading down the ring top. A design element from the team’s jersey is brought to life along the top and bottom edges of the ring top through custom-cut rubies set in the pattern of the “mountain” stripe detail found on their jersey. Thirty-six rubies are set in the stripes.


The left side of the ring features the player’s name in raised white gold. Below the name is the player's jersey number set in diamonds. Set on either side of the player’s number are two sapphires, symbolizing the team's ’96 and ’01 Stanley Cup victories. Completing the left side is a representation of the team's alternate "C" logo, which is seen on the shoulder of the team’s home jersey. The alternate logo is accented with black ceramic – a nod to the team's most recent Stanley Cup title. The background of the left side is a shimmering ground of 80 diamonds.


Displayed at the top of the right side of the ring is the team’s name created in the official Avalanche jersey font. Below are three Stanley Cups. The largest Cup in the center is set with 44 diamonds. The year-dates of each Stanley Cup title are proudly displayed on the Cups. The background of the right side is completed with 28 diamonds. In total there are 72 diamonds set on the right side. That number is significant because it represents the 72 combined regular season and playoff victories won by the Avalanche during the championship season. This accomplishment tied an NHL record that's been achieved only three times in the league’s 104-year history.


Flowing from the top of the ring, down the sides and wrapping around the palm are 184 diamonds. The exterior palmside of the ring includes a detailed miniature version of the iconic Denver skyline, a tribute to the team's home city.

The interior of the ring features the team motto “FIND A WAY” with the “A” represented by the Avalanche logo. Below are the series results from the Avalanche’s dominate playoff run. As a final detail, the date of the championship series game six, 6-26-22, can be found on the interior palmside of the ring.

Credits: Images courtesy of Jostens.
October 14th, 2022
Welcome to Music Friday when we feature awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, a soulful Marvin Gaye compares his girlfriend's greatness to precious gems in his memorable hit from the late 1960s, “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby.”


Gaye portrays a man who is so obsessed with the love of his life that he “ain’t got time for nothing else.” He sings, “The diamonds and pearls in the world / Could never match her worth, no no / She’s some kind of wonderful, people tell ya / I got heaven right here on earth.”

Written by Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong and Janie Bradford, “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” was first recorded by The Temptations in 1966, but attained huge commercial success when Gaye released his rendition three years later.

The song peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, sold more than 1.5 million copies and was the top R&B single of 1969. “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” became Gaye’s second biggest hit of the 1960s, trailing only his iconic “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” — another Whitfield/Strong collaboration — which ascended to #1 on the charts in 1968 and sold more than 4 million singles.

Born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr. in 1939, in Washington, DC, the singer co-founded a local doo-wop group, the Marquees, which later became the Moonglows. When the Moonglows’ tour arrived in Detroit, Motown executives noticed Gaye’s talent and signed him to a deal.

Proclaimed the Prince of Motown and Prince of Soul, Gaye enjoyed a stellar career that flourished throughout the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. Gaye’s life came to a tragic end on April 1, 1984, only one day before his 45th birthday. At the height of his success, Gaye was senselessly shot to death by his father after an argument.

Although he’s been gone for more than 38 years, Gaye’s music and influence lives on. After his death, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame and was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

We hope you enjoy the audio clip of Gaye performing “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Too Busy Thinking About My Baby”
Written by Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong and Janie Bradford. Performed by Marvin Gaye.

Ah-ah-aaah, oh yeah… Oh listen to me people

I ain’t got time to think about money
Or what it can buy
And I ain’t got time to sit down and wonder
What makes a birdie fly

And I don’t have the time to think about
What makes a flower grow
And I’ve never given a second thought
To where the rivers flow

Too busy thinking about my baby
And I ain’t got time for nothing else

Said, I ain’t got time to discuss the weather
How long it’s gonna last
And I ain’t got time to do no studies
Once I get out of class
Tellin ya I’m just a fellow
Said I got a one track mind
And when it comes to thinking about anything but my baby
I just don’t have any time

Too busy thinking about my baby
And I ain’t got time for nothing else

Too busy thinking about my baby
And I ain’t got time for nothing else

The diamonds and pearls in the world
Could never match her worth, no no
She’s some kind of wonderful, people tell ya
I got heaven right here on Earth
I’m just a fellow
With a one, one track mind
And when it comes to thinkin’ about anything but my baby
I just don’t have any time

Too busy thinking about my baby
And I ain’t got time for nothing else

Too busy thinking about my baby
And I ain’t got time for nothing else

Too busy thinking about my baby
And I ain’t got time for nothing else

Credit: photo by-J. Edward Bailey, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
October 17th, 2022
Eight ultra-rare, fancy blue diamonds ranging in size from 1.22 carats to 11.29 carats and collectively worth more than $70 million will headline Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels auctions in New York, Geneva and Hong Kong. Three of the stones will be offered for sale by the end of this year, and the rest will hit the auction block in early 2023.


"The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection" includes blue diamonds of various shapes and weights totaling 32.09 carats. The diamonds were sourced at the historic Cullinan mine in South Africa, the same mine that produced the De Beers Blue, a 15.10-carat step-cut, fancy vivid blue diamond that fetched $57.5 million at Sotheby's Hong Kong in April 2022.

In November 2020, De Beers and Diacore jointly purchased five rare blue rough diamonds from the Cullinan mine that weighed a total of 85.62 carats. Over a period of nearly two years, Diacore meticulously cut and polished the five roughs — ranging from 9.61 to 25.75 carats — and transformed them into the eight-piece collection you see, above.

Each of the polished gems share the name "De Beers Exceptional Blue" and is distinguished by a number that represents its carat weight.

For instance, the De Beers Exceptional Blue 5.53, with an estimated sale price of $11 to $15 million, will highlight Sotheby’s Magnificent and Noble Jewels auction in Geneva on November 9.

Both the De Beers Exceptional Blue 3.24 ($5 million to $8 million) and De Beers Exceptional Blue 2.08 ($1.2 million to $1.5 million) will be offered on December 7 at the Magnificent Jewels sale in New York.

The other five diamonds from the collection are slated to be sold during the Spring of 2023.

Four of the eight blue diamonds in the collection earned the color grade of "fancy vivid" from the Gemological Institute of America. Fancy vivid is the highest color grading for colored diamonds. The other four earned the grade of "fancy intense."

"Nearly six months after we set a new benchmark for one of the highest prices achieved for a blue diamond at auction with the $57.5 million sale of the De Beers Blue, we are honored to be entrusted with this superb collection of fancy blue diamonds," commented Quig Bruning, head of Sotheby’s Jewels, Americas. "Also recovered from the historic Cullinan mine in South Africa, the De Beers Exceptional Blues are a true testament of our world’s most extraordinary treasures and what is yet to be discovered."

Here's the full list of the diamonds of The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection, from largest to smallest:

  • De Beers Exceptional Blue 11.29: a step-cut fancy vivid blue weighing 11.29 carats (estimate $28 million to $50 million)
  • De Beers Exceptional Blue 5.53: a cushion brilliant-cut fancy vivid blue weighing 5.53 carats ($11 million to $15 million)
  • De Beers Exceptional Blue 4.13: a step-cut fancy intense blue weighing 4.13 carats ($2.5 million to $3.5 million)
  • De Beers Exceptional Blue 3.24: a cushion brilliant-cut internally flawless fancy vivid blue weighing 3.24 carats ($5 million to $8 million)
  • De Beers Exceptional Blue 3.10: a cushion brilliant-cut fancy vivid blue weighing 3.10 carats ($4.5 million to $5 million)
  • De Beers Exceptional Blue 2.08: a cushion-cut fancy intense blue weighing 2.08 carats ($1.2 to $1.5 million)
  • De Beers Exceptional Blue 1.50: a round brilliant-cut fancy intense blue weighing 1.50 carats ($750,000 to $1 million)
  • De Beers Exceptional Blue 1.22: an oval brilliant-cut fancy intense blue weighing 1.22 carats ($600,000 to $800,000)

The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection just embarked on an international publicity tour that starts in Hong Kong (October 17-19) and will move on to Singapore (October 20-21), Taipei (October 26-27) and Geneva (November 4-8).

Blue diamonds are considered one of the rarest colors of all diamonds. A fabulous fluke of nature, a blue diamond is produced by the random presence of the element boron within the diamond’s carbon structure.

Scientists believe that blue diamonds form about 400 miles below the surface, four times deeper than about 99 percent of all other diamonds.

Credit: Photo courtesy of De Beers.
October 18th, 2022
Back in 1913, the US Mint introduced a new design for the 5-cent piece that featured a Native American on the front and a bison on the back. The new Buffalo nickel officially replaced the Liberty Head design that had been the standard since 1883.


On Monday, GreatCollections of Irvine, CA, announced it purchased a 1913 Liberty Head nickel for $4.2 million. The coin is the holy grail of numismatic collectors because it was produced in Philadelphia without the consent of the US Mint. Only Buffalo nickels were supposed to be minted that year but, somehow, five Liberty designs got through.


Samuel Brown, a numismatist and former Mint employee, first revealed the impossibly rare, unofficial, coins in 1920. It's been speculated that Brown may have struck these himself or hired an insider to do it for him.

What makes the story even more intriguing is that this particular specimen — known as the Walton nickel because it was owned since 1945 by North Carolina collector George O. Walton — was mistakenly judged a fake by New York numismatic "experts" after Walton's death in 1962.


Walton tragically died in a car crash en route to a coin show. His vehicle had been loaded with rare specimens, including his 1913 Liberty Head nickel. His heirs offered the coins for sale via a New York-based auction house, but the 1913 Liberty Head was deemed a fake and returned to the family. Today, insiders believe that the New York "experts" were ill-suited to make that judgement because they had never seen any of the other four specimens in person. All they had for reference were photos.

The Walton nickel would spend the next 40-plus years in the closet of Walton's sister's house in Virginia.

The coin remained off the radar until 2003 when a nationwide search for the missing 1913 Liberty Head was conducted as part of a publicity stunt hatched by public relations specialist Donn Pearlman on behalf of Bowers and Merena Galleries. The firm offered a minimum of $1 million for the coin's return and sale. The other four 1913 Liberty Head coins were scheduled to appear at the The American Numismatic Association (ANA) World's Fair of Money 2003 in Baltimore.

Walton's heirs got wind of the offer and decided to present their-dormant specimen for analysis. In a secured room in the Baltimore Convention Center, a half-dozen experts compared the Walton coin with the four other known specimens and concluded that the long-lost 1913 Liberty Head nickel was, indeed, legit.

Walton’s heirs finally sold the coin for $3.1 million in 2013 on the occasion of its 100th anniversary. The fabled nickel was privately acquired in 2018 by the Firman family of Florida for an undisclosed price.

“Our family thoroughly enjoyed owning the Walton nickel for the past four years and it was fulfilling for us to have it on display at the American Numismatic Association Money Museum in Colorado and in exhibits across the country during this time,” stated Ron Firman of Miami.


“Two of the five known 1913 Liberty Head nickels are in museums; one in the Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection and another example still at the ANA Money Museum in Colorado,” explained Ian Russell, President of GreatCollections. “This is the second one that I purchased in the past year on behalf of collectors, but I doubt if any of the three 1913 Liberty Head nickels now in private hands will become available again for years.”

According to, some of the top names in coin collecting have possessed a 1913 Liberty nickel. They include King Farouk of Egypt, Louis Eliasberg, Col. EHR Green, Eric Newman, Dr. Jerry Buss, Bruce Morelan and Gerald Forsythe.

Credits: Liberty Head 1913 nickel courtesy of Professional Coin Grading Service. Ian Russell photo and Liberty Head coin in case courtesy of GreatCollections. Buffalo Head nickel by US Mint (coin), National Numismatic Collection (photograph by Jaclyn Nash), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

October 19th, 2022
A Staten Island woman is singing the praises of New York City's Strongest after a team of sanitation workers went above and beyond the call of duty, searching through mounds of trash to find a deeply sentimental ring.


Jackie Cacace had received the abalone butterfly ring as a gift during a trip to Aruba this past June.

"It means a lot to me," she told ABC News station WABC. "A man who loves me very much, who I love very much, gave it to me."


Her world came crashing down this past week when she accidentally tossed the ring in the trash after wrapping it in a crumpled napkin.

When she realize her mistake a feeling of angst overwhelmed her.

"It was a strike of fear going from the top of my head all the way throughout my body, down to my toes," she told ABC News station WABC.

Sadly, she had tossed the ring on garbage day and the sanitation crew had already serviced her block. Her next move was to hop in her car and search the neighborhood for the garbage truck. She finally caught up to the truck and tried to communicate her harrowing tale to the workers.

She described the scene to WABC, "I have tears running down my face. My hands are trembling. I can not get my thoughts together and I'm sure my words made absolutely no sense."

On Facebook, Cacace explained, "They quickly calmed me down, placed a phone call to their supervisor, Richie, and ensured me my ring [would] be found. The truck was routed to the transfer station to be searched."


Cacace met the sanitation crew at Garage #3 in Staten Island and, after looking at the huge pile of trash bags that tumbled out of the truck, thought, "There's no way I'm finding my ring."

Five sanitation workers joined in the search and, within 15 minutes, Cacace's sentimental keepsake was found. The 46-year-old Cacace had provided a few clues that expedited the search, including the type of garbage bag she used and one of its known contents — a discarded box of Mallowmars, a throwback cookie that happens to have a bright yellow wrapper.

Sanitation worker Pete Mauro was credited with finding the ring.

"She was really upset when she came in," Mauro told WABC, "but we were able to get it done. We found it and she was really happy."

Cacace recounted, "At that point, tears were flowing out of my eyes. Tears of joy. I gave Pete the biggest hug ever. I was so grateful that he actually found my ring."

"THANK YOU to all the men who helped me (Mo, Anthony, Richie, Pete, Scott, Mike) and many others, including those behind the scenes who saved the trash on the truck from being dumped elsewhere," Cacace wrote on her Facebook page. "I recognize the massive amount of facilitation that took place, and the chaos I caused. I am simply impressed, humble, and overwhelmed with joy."

New York City Mayor Eric Adams was also impressed with the Staten Island crew and gave New York's Strongest a shout-out on his Twitter account.

In New York City, members of the sanitation department are known as New York's Strongest, while police officers are called New York's Finest, and the firefighters are New York's Bravest.

Credits: Images via
October 20th, 2022
A first-of-its-kind secret panel slides open to reveal a case of Larry O'Brien Trophies in the 2022 edition of the Golden State Warriors' NBA Championship rings. Each bespoke ring is adorned with 16 carats of yellow and white diamonds (mostly yellow) and features the precise number of Larry O'Brien Trophies won by each player during their time with the Warriors.


Four trophies are hidden in the rings of veteran Warriors Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. Warriors assistant general manager Kirk Lacob, who spearheaded the design process, told ESPN that the individualized custom feature came from a desire to honor the four core players.


Designed by Jason of Beverly Hills, the rings were presented to the players, coaches and front-office members during a special celebration prior to the team's Tuesday home opener against the Los Angeles Lakers.

As with most championship rings, the design is packed with symbols that tell the story of the team's memorable journey through the playoffs, which culminated in a 103-90 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Finals at TD Garden in Boston. One symbol, for instance, is a subtle nod to their opponent's home court. Engraved behind the trophies on the ring's shank is the pattern of Boston's legendary parquet floor where the Warriors raised their trophy.

The ring's 16 carats of diamonds represents the Warriors' 16 wins during the 2022 NBA playoffs. The 7 carats of yellow cushion-cut diamonds rimming the top of the ring symbolizes the franchise's seven championships, and the 43 white baguette diamonds used in the Bay Bridge design celebrate Curry's 43-point showing in Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals.

The .91 carats of white diamonds on the inner bezel honors the team's 91% home winning percentage during the postseason.

Designer Jason Arasheben also incorporated into the ring design key architectural features of Chase Center, the Warriors’ home arena. By twisting an architectural element just below the white diamond bezel, a slice of the ring top slides open to reveal a secret compartment that houses from one to four championship trophies.


On one side of the ring is the player's name in black enamel, along with the series results of the four playoff rounds, as well as seven Larry O'Brien Trophies representing the franchise's NBA championships.


The other side of the ring features the Warriors' 2022 World Champions banner along with the NBA logo and the team's 2022 mantra, "Just Us."

Arasheben told that this is the first championship ring that uses primarily yellow diamonds. The designer said that supply-chain issues earlier this year made it additionally challenging to source the number of rare yellow diamonds required for 65 rings.

The yellow diamonds are a nod to one of the team's primary jersey colors, as well as the slogan, "Gold Blooded," which the franchise introduced just ahead of the playoffs.

The designer had a five-week window to complete the order. He reported that each ring took 40 to 50 hours to complete and required seven specialists.

Credits: Images courtesy of Jason of Beverly Hills.
October 21st, 2022
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Malcolm Kelly and Tony Oller (better known as MKTO) perform “Classic,” a 2013 feel-good anthem that pays tribute to "old school chic."


In the song, the duo serenades a girl who is way out of their league. Her style is reminiscent of a bygone era — a time when Hollywood starlets lit up the silver screen.

The opening line sets the scene: “Ooh girl you’re shining / Like a 5th Avenue diamond.”

Oller told MTV News that the song is about natural beauty. As the lyrics affirm, in a "world gone plastic" this girl is "classic."

The pop/hip-hop duo’s “Classic” charted in 16 countries, including a #14 position on the US Billboard Top 100 chart. It was also nominated for “Catchiest New Song” at the 2014 Radio Disney Music Awards.

Both accomplished child actors, Kelly and Oller met as teenagers in 2010 on the set of the Nickelodeon series Gigantic and decided to form a band. Their YouTube covers caught the attention of bigwigs at Columbia records and MKTO scored a record deal.

While MKTO clearly stands for the combined initials of Malcolm Kelly and Tony Oller, the artists insisted that their group name meant much more. Oller told, “It also stands for what our album kind of is: Misfit Kids and Total Outcasts – just like the kids we were in high school.”

Established in 2010, MKTO had a successful run until March of 2017, when Oller posted news via social media that the band had broken up. Fans rejoiced when the pair announced a reconciliation in June of 2018. Then, a little more than three years later, Oller reported that he and Kelly had parted ways.

Please check out the video of MKTO performing “Classic.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

Written by Lindy Robbins, Andrew Maxwell Goldstein, Emanuel Kiriakou and Evan Bogart. Performed by MKTO.

Hey! Where’s the drum?

Ooh girl you’re shining
Like a 5th Avenue diamond
And they don’t make you like they used to
You’re never going out of style

Ooh pretty baby
This world might have gone crazy
The way you saved me,
Who could blame me
When I just wanna make you smile

I wanna thrill you like Michael
I wanna kiss you like Prince
Let’s get it on like Marvin Gaye
Like Hathaway write a song for you like this

You’re over my head
I’m out of my mind
Thinking I was born in the wrong time
One of a kind, living in a world gone plastic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you,
Baby you’re so classic

Four dozen of roses
Anything for you to notice
All the way to serenade you
Doing it Sinatra style

Ima pick you up in a Cadillac
Like a gentleman bringin’ glamor back
Keep it real to real in the way I feel
I could walk you down the aisle

I wanna thrill you like Michael
I wanna kiss you like Prince
Let’s get it on like Marvin Gaye
Like Hathaway write a song for you like this

You’re over my head
I’m out of my mind
Thinking I was born in the wrong time
Let’s start the rewind, everything is so throwback age (I kinda like it like it)
Out of my league
Old school chic
Like a movie star
From the silver screen
One of a kind living in a world gone plastic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you’re so classic

Baby you’re class and baby you’re sick
I never met a girl like you ever til we met
A star in the 40’s, centerfold in the 50’s
Got me tripping out like the sixties
Hippies Queen of the discotheque
A 70’s dream and an 80’s best
Hepburn, Beyoncé, Marilyn Manson
Girl you’re timeless, just so classic

You’re over my head I’m out of my mind
Thinking I was born in the wrong time
Let’s start the rewind, everything is so throwback age (I kinda like it like it)
Out of my league
Old school chic
Like a movie star
From the silver screen
You’re one of a kind living in a world gone plastic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you’re so classic
Baby you’re so classic

Credit: Screen capture via / MKTO Band.
October 24th, 2022
The reimagined “Incomparable Diamond," now sporting a classic pear shape and slimmed down to 303.10 carats to reveal a deeper color, brighter hue and improved profile, will be introduced as "The Golden Canary" when it hits the auction block at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels event in New York on December 7.


In a bold move, the auction house is offering the famous diamond without reserve. Experts believe the massive stone — one of the largest polished diamonds in the world and the largest internally flawless diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America — will sell for $15 million or more.

The original 407-carat, shield-shaped, step-cut Incomparable Diamond had been cut from an 890-carat rough gem discovered by a young girl in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the early 1980s. She reportedly scooped up the stone from a pile of rubble collected from an old mine dump. The diamond had been overlooked because it was mixed in with the bulky rubble thought to be too large to contain any diamonds.

The girl gave the stone to her uncle, who then sold it to local diamond dealers. Given its enormous size, cutters originally intended to shoot for a record-breaking finished stone that would outweigh the Cullinan I (530.20 carats). But as the project progressed, the cutters decided to forego the record. The final size was reduced to 407 carats in order to earn a flawless grade. The original rough diamond also yielded 14 satellite finished gems ranging in size from 1.33 carats to 15.66 carats.

The fancy, deep brownish-yellow Incomparable Diamond became an instant sensation. The gem has attracted crowds at famous museums around the world, including a six-week stint at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, in 1988.

Sotheby's noted that vastly improved computer modeling and cutting technology contributed to the decision to trim the gem by more than 100 carats. The goal was to maximize its depth of color, brighten its hue and improve its shape.

The GIA described the stone in its monograph: “The re-cut of the Incomparable to the current 303.10 carat pear modified brilliant is to look at the diamond as new; a re-creation bringing to bear the advances in technology, computer modeling and visual evaluation available today. Everything from the orientation of the stone, to its shape and cutting style, has been considered.”

"Steeped in history, The Golden Canary is one of the most exquisite diamonds to ever be discovered, not only for its sheer size and intensity in color, but for its stunning beauty that is sure to captivate collectors around the world," noted Quig Bruning, Sotheby’s Head of Jewelry for the Americas. "Sotheby’s is privileged to help write the next chapter for this incomparable, reborn gem.”

The Golden Canary is embarking on a worldwide tour that will include appearances in Dubai, Taipei, Geneva, Hong Kong before returning to New York for the auction.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Sotheby's.
October 25th, 2022
A new study published in the Journal of Family Psychology takes a deep dive into the dynamics of rejected marriage proposals and concludes that most failed proposals violate the "proposal script."


Lead author Lisa Hoplock told that the typical Western proposal involves kneeling, offering a ring and asking some variant of "Will you marry me?" It's part of a "life script theory," where people within a culture have shared ideas about the timing and order of big life events.

When a potential suitor fails to stay within the guardrails of what society believes is acceptable, the likelihood of a rejection skyrockets.

As a graduate student at the University of Victoria in Canada, Hoplock analyzed 374 first-person written accounts of accepted and rejected marriage proposals between men and women that were sampled from online forums.

She learned that rejected proposals often came earlier in the relationship, typically prior to the discussion of the topic of marriage by the couple.

"My research shows that some details [of a proposal] can be welcome surprises, but the timing of the proposal in a relationship should not be surprising," Hoplock told "That is, couples should be on the same page about when they want to get married.“

Hoplock explained the essential role played by the engagement ring in the proposal process.

"We also learned that accepted proposals were more likely to have a ring than rejected proposals," Hoplock noted. "The engagement ring is part of the proposal script. It signifies commitment and readiness for marriage, and was noticed when missing."

Another path to rejection occurred when men popped the question to "save" an unstable or abusive relationship that was otherwise headed toward dissolution.

In the few instances where women proposed in the study, an unusually high proportion were unsuccessful. Once again, the life script theory helps explain the results.

“According to the Western script, men propose to women,” Hoplock said.

One man wrote that he rejected the proposal because he wanted to be the one to propose.

"So, while this element of the script might be slowly changing," Hoplock told, "it is still currently present in relationships between men and women."

Hoplock wrote that audiences played an important role in many proposals. Rejected proposals were more likely to occur under the pressure of public scrutiny. Hoplock said that bystanders encouraged couples to follow the "proposal script" and sometimes became hostile when the woman said "no."

Confusion and anger were the two most common emotions experienced by rejected suitors. She also reported that 30% of relationships survived, despite the rejected proposal.

Hoplock offered the readers of some simple advice on how to up the odds of a successful marriage proposal: Talk in advance about marriage and proposal preferences, and if in doubt, propose in private with a ring.

Credit: Image by
October 26th, 2022
Here's the story behind how one of the world's most accomplished female guitarists earned a Super Bowl LVI championship ring.


Los Angeles born guitarist Nita Strauss has become a force to be reckoned with in the music world, dazzling audiences across six continents. She was Alice Cooper’s touring guitarist from 2014 to 2022 and is currently on tour with Demi Lovato.

She's also a wildly dedicated Los Angeles Rams super fan whose "shreddy guitar playing" prior to the team's home games at SoFi Stadium has been credited with juicing the crowd and supporting the Rams epic run to the Super Bowl LVI championship in February 2022.


In an 800-word piece on, staff writer Michael Rothstein recounted the rocker's Herculean efforts to honor her tour commitments while supporting her favorite team. It was not unusual for her to play a Saturday evening concert, hop a crack-of-dawn Sunday flight to Los Angeles, take an Uber straight to the stadium, perform at the game, grab an Uber back to the airport and catch a red eye to the next stop of the tour.

For her over-the-top devotion to the team, Strauss was honored with an official Super Bowl ring, the same one earned by the players, coaches and staff.

On her Instagram page, Strauss wrote, "And ring or no ring, it was worth every early morning sprint through the airport to be a small part of bringing the energy to SoFi and watching the team bring the championship home."

She said the ring is "pretty damn awesome" and her "new favorite piece of hardware."

Strauss recalled being on tour when she received an unexpected text from Sarah Schuler, the Rams' senior director of game presentation and brand experience.

Schuler's one-line question was, "What's your ring size."

Strauss has been the in-house guitarist for Rams games since the team moved to the $5 billion SoFi Stadium in 2020. She was there when the Rams played in front of no fans during the pandemic, and she enjoyed packed houses last season — all while wearing her No. 86 Rams jersey, a nod to her birth year and her dad's uniform number when he played football.

Strauss put her accomplishments into perspective with this comment on her Instagram page: "You have these goals and dreams and aspirations in your life. And then sometimes, as your career goes on, you’re fortunate enough to achieve things that weren’t even a part of those aspirations, because they didn’t even exist before."

The guitarist has been touring internationally with Lovato and hasn't been able to whip up the crowds at the Rams' home games this season — so far.

On Instagram, she wrote, "Can’t wait to be back home in the #RamsHouse in a few short weeks!!!"

She'll make her return to SoFi on November 13.

Just for the record, the Super Bowl LVI rings presented to the Los Angeles Rams’ players, coaches, staff and Strauss set a record for the highest diamond carat weight in the history of NFL championship rings. Each ring pops with 20 carats of white diamonds, along with custom-cut blue and yellow sapphires set in white and yellow gold.

Images via Instagram / hurricanenita.
October 27th, 2022
Here's a fun quiz. What do this beautiful sunstone from the Smithsonian National Gem Collection and Bon Ami's original formula cleanser have in common?


The answer is feldspar.

Sunstone — along with moonstone, amazonite and labradorite — are the members of the feldspar family most familiar to the jewelry-buying public. The mineral in its common form makes up about 60% of the Earth's crust, but on rare occasions the mineral presents crystals that shimmer like the rainbow on a soap bubble.

Sunstones exhibit a reddish to golden "schiller," resulting from light reflecting off numerous tiny copper or hematite (iron oxide) flakes scattered within the stones. The golden sheen flashing off of the Tanzania-sourced 17.91-carat sunstone, above, is due to the presence of hematite platelet inclusions.

More often than not, however, common feldspar has been considered a worthless byproduct of pegmatite mining. Pegmatite consists primarily of the minerals quartz, mica and feldspar. At a mining site in Connecticut during the 1820s miners diligently captured the quartz and mica and discarded the feldspar. And that's the way it was for the next 60 years.

But then in 1885, J.T. Robertson noticed that the shovels used by the miners to separate the feldspar from the other materials were always so bright and shiny. Robertson realized that the relatively soft feldspar (6.0 on the Mohs scale) was doing a great job of polishing the shovels and could be mixed with soap to produce a non-abrasive cleanser. By 1886, Robertson would be harvesting the feldspar "waste" at the quarry to produce Bon Ami soap cleaners, which were billed as the best way to clean windows, floors, oilcloth, woodwork, tin, brass, copper, nickel and glassware.

The product was a runaway hit, as it replaced the harsher, quartz-based scouring products on the market at the time. The Husband Quarry in South Glastonbury, CT, became the primary source of feldspar for the Bon Ami Company.


The company introduced the logo of a newly hatched chick and the slogan, “Hasn’t Scratched Yet!” The phrase, which is one of the US's oldest registered trademarks, referred to the fact that baby chicks live off the nutrients of its egg for three days before having to scratch the ground for food.

On its website, Bon Ami noted that today’s city dwellers no longer make this barnyard connection between non-scratching Bon Ami and non-scratching chicks, but the chick remains a popular mascot.

"We wanted to show that, despite our mineral ingredients and powdered form, Bon Ami is still a gentle cleaner and won’t scratch countertops or fine hard surfaces," the company stated.

Despite aggressive competition from post-WWII products, such as Zud, Ajax and Comet, Bon Ami has remained true to its roots.

"Over the years, there has been pressure for Bon Ami to adapt to the marketplace with new additives and artificial fragrances to compete with mainstream cleaning products," the company wrote. "When more and more chemical cleaning products were introduced in the 1970s, Bon Ami began receiving letters from consumers who thanked us for NOT adding chlorine bleach, perfume and dye."

Today, consumers are very sensitive about keeping harsh chemical cleaning products out of their homes, and Bon Ami is making a comeback by promoting itself as an environmentally friendly, "green" product — thanks to feldspar.

Credits: Sunstone photo by Greg Polley / Smithsonian. Bon Ami product shot and 1909 print ad via
October 31st, 2022
Hey, it's Halloween, so let's take a deep dive into the curious, otherworldly origins of black diamonds — the spookiest variety of the world's hardest material.


Black diamonds are also known as “carbonado diamonds,” and gemologists believe that they likely formed in outer space and were brought to earth by meteorites. Earth-formed diamonds often display a crystal structure, while carbonado diamonds — in their natural, unpolished form — have an irregular surface that resembles charcoal.


Black diamonds are also different than other colored diamonds because they do not get their color from trace amounts of nitrogen, hydrogen or boron in the gem’s chemical makeup. Instead, black diamonds owe their color to numerous dark inclusions (mostly graphite). Their opaqueness is caused by a “polycrystalline” structure that inhibits the reflection of light.

Black diamonds are also known to be "tougher" than conventional diamonds.

Leibish Polnauer, the founder of New York-based Leibish & Co. and world-renowned authority on fancy color diamonds, told us in 2020 that natural black diamonds are extremely difficult to cut and polish.

“Black diamonds are exceptionally hard,” he said. “They actually eat up the polishing wheels.”

A rough diamond is cut and shaped by placing it on a polishing wheel, where a large stone disc covered in a layer of solidified diamond powder rotates and sands down the diamond in short bursts.

Polnauer explained that diamond cutters use diamond powder on their polishing wheels, since the only material that can be used to mechanically cut a diamond is another diamond.

Even so, the diamond powder used on the wheels is often no match for black diamonds.

Polnauer said that black diamonds are heavily included and contain hard nodes that eat away at the polishing powder, forcing the cutters to replenish the powder more often than when polishing other types of diamonds.

Polnauer explained in a column titled “The 18 Most Asked Questions About Black Diamonds,” that natural black diamonds are somewhat different from most other diamonds in that they are entirely opaque.

“These stones are incredibly precious, absolutely beautiful and considered quite valuable,” he wrote. “Still, even with all the hype of black diamonds, these stones are more affordable than most other natural fancy colored diamonds.”

Carbonado diamonds are found in only two places on earth — Brazil and the Central African Republic. (During the Earth’s history, the eastern coast of Brazil may have been connected geographically to the western coast of Africa before breaking apart due to continental drift).

The polished diamond shown, above, is the 555.55-carat black carbonado diamond previously known as “The Enigma.” The 55-facet gem was renamed the Diamond after Richard Heart, the founder of cryptocurrency company Hex, submitted the winning bid of $4.29 million at a Sotheby's online auction in February of 2022. The transaction was completed in cryptocurrency.

In 2006, The Enigma officially entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Largest Cut Fancy Black Diamond.”

Credits: Enigma image via Instagram / Sothebysjewels. Carbonaro rough diamonds image by James St. John, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.