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Articles in March 2023

March 1st, 2023
Rio Tinto has approved a $40-million investment that will extend the productive life of Diavik — Canada’s largest diamond mine — until the first quarter of 2026.


The new funding will pave the way for the underground expansion of the prolific open-pit mine, which has yielded more than 100 million carats since the site first opened in 2003.

The first phase of the project will explore new diamond resources directly below Diavik's existing A21 open pit. Phase 1 is expected to deliver an additional 1.4 million carats of rough diamonds.

Diavik expects to seek approval for Phase 2 of the A21 underground project in the first half of 2024. That phase is expected to deliver an additional 800,000 carats.


“Rio Tinto’s decision to support the underground development of the A21 pipe was prefaced on compelling industry fundamentals, our proven capacity to safely develop diamond mines in extreme conditions and a track record in competing successfully in the global diamond industry," said Sinead Kaufman, Chief Executive of Rio Tinto Minerals. "This is good news for our employees, partners, suppliers and local communities in the Northwest Territories.”


Located in Canada's frigid Northwest Territories, about 300 km (190 mi) northeast of Yellowknife, the Diavik Diamond Mine is most famous for producing the "552," the largest rough diamond ever unearthed in North America. The 552-carat gem was discovered in October 2018 and made a public appearance at Phillips auction house in New York City in February of 2019.

The Diavik mine, which has consistently produced about 6 to 7 million carats of rough diamonds per year, is 100 percent owned and operated by Rio Tinto. According to, Diavik employs more than 1,100, of which 17% are Northern Indigenous people.

Credits: Rough diamonds and mine images courtesy of Rio Tinto. "552" photo by The Jeweler Blog.
March 2nd, 2023
Named after a famous perfume of the 1950s, "Most Precious" is one of the world's most impressive examples of March's official birthstone. The 1,000-carat, fancy rectangular-cut, sea blue aquamarine was gifted to the Smithsonian in 1963 by Baron Walter Langer von Langendorff, the Austrian-born chemist who founded Evyan Perfumes Inc.


The Brazilian-sourced gem, which evokes the clear blue hue of a tranquil sea, now resides in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals within the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Early in his career, Dr. Langer was a consulting chemist for the American Metals Company and sold fragrances to other companies. During the late 1930s, his first wife and love of his life, Evelyn Diane Westall, inspired him to create a special perfume for fashionable American women that might compete with the French imports of the day. "White Shoulders" would become the signature fragrance of their new company, Evyan, a mashup of "Evelyn Diane."

In 1951, Evyan Perfumes, Inc., introduced the world to "Most Precious," a fragrance formulated from the essence of 22 types of flowers, including lily of the valley, honeysuckle, narcissus, gardenia, tuberose and orange blossom.

Dr. Langer was in his mid-70s when he died in New York City in 1983.

Aquamarine is the sea-blue variety of the mineral beryl, whose family members include emerald (intense green) and morganite (pink to orange-pink). Aquamarines can range in color from light blue to pure blue to shades of greenish-blue. The variations in blue color are dependent on trace amounts of iron in the gemstone’s chemical composition. Interestingly, pure beryl is absolutely colorless.

Beryl rates 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it suitable for fine jewelry.

Aquamarine — a name derived from the Latin word "aqua," meaning water, and "marina," meaning the sea — is a symbol of youth, hope, health and fidelity.

Legend states that Neptune, the Roman Sea God, gifted aquamarines to the mermaids, thus bringing love to all who have owned it. In ancient times, it was believed that aquamarines kept sailors safe at sea. Medieval brides wore aquamarine to ensure happy marriages.

In addition to its role as the official March birthstone, aquamarine is also the designated gemstone gift for those celebrating their 19th wedding anniversary.

Aquamarines are mined in many countries, including Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Mozambique and the US, but the finest specimens are sourced in Brazil.

Credits: Photo by Laurie Minor-Penland/Smithsonian.
March 3rd, 2023
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fabulous songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, music legend Bruce Springsteen performs “Jersey Girl,” a tender ballad about a working-class New York City guy who falls head-over-heels in love with a gal from New Jersey. The smitten Springsteen has no time to hang out with the boys because, tonight, he's gonna take that ride across the river to the Jersey side.


He sings, “You know she thrills me with all her charms / When I’m wrapped up in my baby’s arms / My little girl gives me everything / I know that someday she’ll wear my ring.”

When Springsteen released “Jersey Girl” as the B-side to his 1984 hit “Cover Me,” it was already a fan favorite. Three years earlier, he began performing it during encores of his River Tour. The song generated so much emotion from the concertgoers that it became a set list staple — frequently opening or closing his shows. “Jersey Girl” was selected as the final track of Springsteen’s 1986 box set Live/1975-85 and was the final song performed by Springsteen at New Jersey’s Giants Stadium before its demolition in 2009.

The Boss’s fans may be surprised to learn that even though Springsteen was born in Colts Neck, NJ, and his rocker wife, Patti Scialfa, was born in Deal, NJ, “Jersey Girl” was actually penned by Californian Tom Waits in 1980. Waits revealed in an interview that he wrote the song with his future wife and Jersey Girl, Kathleen Brennan, after she came into his life and “saved him.” Waits included the song on his 1980 album Heartattack and Vine.

A master storyteller and poet, Springsteen rarely releases covers of other artists’ songs, but “Jersey Girl” remains an exception. He recognized the main character in the Waits composition as the same guy from his own “Sandy” and “Rosalita.”

In August 1981, Waits and Springsteen — both of whom would later enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — performed “Jersey Girl” together at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

Born in 1949, Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was inspired to pursue a music career after watching the Beatles’ perform on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. The 15-year-old Springsteen bought his first guitar for $18.95 at a Western Auto Appliance store.

He played small venues with a number of bands throughout the late ’60s and then caught the attention of a Columbia Records talent scout in 1972. Springsteen’s debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J., was released in October of that same year.

Springsteen has sold more than 150 million records worldwide. He’s earned 20 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award, and a Special Tony Award for Springsteen on Broadway. In 1999, he was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

We hope you enjoy the audio track of Springsteen’s live performance of “Jersey Girl.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along...

“Jersey Girl”
Written by Tom Waits. Performed by Bruce Springsteen.

I got no time for the corner boys
Down in the street making all that noise
Or the girls out on the avenue
‘Cause tonight I want to be with you

Tonight I’m gonna take that ride
Across the river to the Jersey side
Take my baby to the carnival
And I’ll take her on all the rides

‘Cause down the shore everything’s all right
You and your baby on a Saturday night
You know all my dreams come true
When I’m walking down the street with you

Sha la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la I’m in love with a Jersey girl

You know she thrills me with all her charms
When I’m wrapped up in my baby’s arms
My little girl gives me everything
I know that someday she’ll wear my ring

So don’t bother me man I ain’t got no time
I’m on my way to see that girl of mine
‘Cause nothing matters in this whole wide world
When you’re in love with a Jersey girl

Sha la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la I’m in love with a Jersey girl

I see you on the street and you look so tired
I know that job you got leaves you so uninspired
When I come by to take you out to eat
you’re lyin’ all dressed up on the bed baby fast asleep

Go in the bathroom and put your makeup on
We’re gonna take that little brat of yours and drop her off at your mom's
I know a place where the dancing’s free
Now baby won’t you come with me

‘Cause down the shore everything’s all right
You and your baby on a Saturday night
Nothing matters in this whole wide world
When you’re in love with a Jersey girl

Credits: Photo by Manuel Martinez Perez, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
March 6th, 2023
On Friday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed into law a bill designating the Mississippi Opal as the Magnolia State's official gemstone.


On Twitter, the Governor posted two photos captioned with the proclamation, "Mississippi officially has a state gemstone! I was happy to sign legislation declaring it to be the beautiful Mississippi Opal, the only naturally occurring gemstone in our state."


The state's First Lady, Elee Reeves, is seen modeling a Mississippi Opal pendant in one of the pics. The governor's tweet emphasized his wife's support in ferrying the legislation through the state's House and Senate, where the bills passed unanimously.

“The green Mississippi Opal is as beautiful as our state and it will be an excellent representation of our unique geological history,” noted Governor Reeves. “Thank you to our First Lady and the folks at the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality for working to elevate this issue.”

“There’s no doubt that Mississippi is home to lovely people, places, and natural resources,” First Lady Reeves said. “I’m incredibly excited to have the Mississippi Opal as our official state gemstone. This gem is a perfect example of the beauty found in the state we love.”

Geologist James Starnes is credited with discovering the Mississippi Opal less than 20 years ago when he and his team at the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) were mapping the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River in Claiborne County, near Vicksburg.


The geologists believe Mississippi Opal was formed millions of years ago from volcanic ash. The gem is unique because it displays opal-like flashes ranging from red to orange to green.

The bill's expedited run through Mississippi's legislature — and its ultimate signing by the governor — is attributed to the combined efforts of the MDEQ, the North Mississippi Gem and Mineral Society, the Mississippi State Board of Registered Professional Geologists and Mississippi's First Lady.

The bill emphasized how the designation of the Mississippi Opal as the state's official gemstone would encourage pride in the state's rich natural heritage.

Starnes believes the Mississippi Opal’s elevated status will “encourage folks to take interest in the state’s geology.”

Specimens of Mississippi Opal are currently available for public viewing at both the Museum of the Mississippi Delta in Greenwood and the Oren Dunn City Museum in Tupelo.

Credits: Images via Twitter / Governor Tate Reeves.
March 7th, 2023
A volunteer-in-training at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Haithabu in northern Germany startled his mentors when he unearthed a spectacular pair of 800-year-old gem-set pendant earrings on just his third day using a metal detector.


Nicki Andreas Steinmann's instructor had assigned him to scan a quadrant in an area that is now a working farm, but was once part of a Viking trade center and settlement from the 8th to 11th centuries. Haithabu had been destroyed and abandoned around 1066, ending the Viking era in the region.

About 200 years later, a traveler likely buried the Byzantine-style gold earrings, along with silver coins and other gold jewelry, in a fabric bag and never came back to claim them.


The pendant earrings, which are in remarkably good shape considering they've been buried for eight centuries, each featured 19 colored gemstones of varying sizes. Many of the larger stones are still secure in their bezel settings. The earrings measure about 5 cm in diameter and display an openwork filigree motif.

After Steinmann and his mentors reported the find to state officials, the State Archaeological Department of Schleswig-Holstein (ALSH) conducted a controlled excavation of a 4-square-meter area.

The archaeologists recovered a gilded brooch made to look like an Islamic coin, two gilded rings set with stones, a ring fragment, a gilded perforated disc, a ring brooch and 30 silver coins minted during the reign of Danish King Valdemar II, between 1202 and 1241.

Officials at ALSH noted that it's unclear whether these items were personal property or stolen, if they were meant to be delivered to someone else, or if they were buried for ritual reasons or because of an imminent threat.

According to Live Science, amateur and professional archaeologists have been working together for decades to investigate the Haithabu site in the region of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany's northernmost state.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are places that are listed as having special cultural or physical significance by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Credit: Photos courtesy of the Archaeological State Office of Schleswig-Holstein.
March 8th, 2023
In preparation for King Charles III’s coronation on May 6, Queen Mary's crown has been removed from public display at the Tower of London so it can undergo a few alterations that reflect Queen Consort Camilla's "individual style."


Traditionally, the British Queen Consort would commission a new headpiece for the grand event, but “in the interests of sustainability and efficiency," Camilla decided to repurpose the crown originally designed in 1911 for Mary of Teck, the wife of King George V.

The newest incarnation of Queen Mary’s Crown will see the addition of three famous diamonds — the Cullinan III (pear-shaped, 94.4 carats), Cullinan IV (cushion-shaped, 63.6 carats) and Cullinan V (heart-shaped, 18.8 carats). Each of these diamonds were cut from the magnificent 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond, the largest diamond ever found.

Discovered in South Africa in 1905, the enormous rough diamond was transformed by Joseph Asscher of the Amsterdam-based Asscher Company into nine major diamonds, each of which was given the name Cullinan and a Roman numeral.


In this photograph, the top row shows the Cullinans II, I and III. On the bottom row are the Cullinans VI, VIII, IV, V, VII and IX.

Camilla chose to add the three historic Cullinan diamonds to honor the late Queen Elizabeth II, as they were part of her personal jewelry collection. Elizabeth wore the Cullinan III and IV as a brooch and playfully called them "Granny's Chips" because she inherited them from her grandmother, Queen Mary. According to, the current value of Granny’s Chips is more than £50 million ($59 million).

The Queen Consort's jewelers are also making physical modifications to the crown. Four of the crown's eight detachable half-arches will be removed to create "a different impression to when the Crown was worn by Queen Mary at the 1911 coronation," Buckingham Palace noted.


Queen Mary reportedly purchased the Art Deco crown from royal jewelers Garrard & Co. with her own money, hoping that it would someday become an heirloom worn by future queens consort. The crown weighs 1.3 pounds and is set with 2,200 rose-cut and brilliant-cut diamonds.

Buckingham Palace reported that this will be the first time since the 18th century that a Queen Consort will be utilizing an existing crown. The last time it happened was in 1727, when Queen Caroline, consort of George II, wore Mary of Modena's crown.

Credits: Queen Mary's Crown photo by Cyril Davenport (1848 – 1941), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Queen Camilla photo by Carfax2, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Cullinan diamonds photo by Plate X, The Cullinan (1908)., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Queen Mary and King George V at her coronation in 1911, photo by W. & D. Downey, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
March 9th, 2023
Actress Eva Amurri and new fiancé, chef Ian Hock, recently re-enacted their romantic Paris engagement in Westport, CT, so Amurri's kids could share the love.


Amurri, who co-parents her three children with ex Kyle Martino, explained on Instagram how excited the kids were when they learned that Hock was taking her to Paris.

"The two big kids kept on asking me if I thought Ian would propose in Paris," she wrote. "Marlowe, especially, has been asking us to get married for over a year, and she told me “I think it’s gonna happen in Paris, mom!!! You have to call me if he gives you the ring!!!”

And he did. In an Instagram Story, Amurri displayed her new emerald-cut diamond engagement ring in a series of photos from the City of Love.


The daughter of actress Susan Sarandon and director Franco Amurri told her fans that she was "absolutely dying" over the ring, and gave a shout out to her new fiancé and the ring's designer.

Amurri wrote, "Ian designed it with @cms_custom and OMG Christina you outdid yourself!!!!!"


The platinum and 14-karat gold ring features a large center stone accented by square baguette side stones and secured in a basket setting with an open gallery.

Amurri explained that after she and Hock were officially engaged, they called the kids to share the news.

"They were SO excited, and they wanted to know all the details," Amurri wrote on Instagram. "We told them we’d redo it for them when [we] came home."

In a video posted to Instagram, the couple shared the heartwarming scene, as the three kids — sons Mateo (2) and Major (6) and daughter Marlowe (8) — watch intently as their mom shows them photos and videos of the garden in Paris where the engagement took place.


Then, in the family's living room, Hock got down on one knee and proposed to Amurri. She said "Yes," and they kissed.


Then Hock pulled a ring box from his pocket and placed the ring on Amurri's finger. The kids cheered and Major was so excited, he jumped on Hock's back. Then each kid got to try on their mom's new ring.


The family capped the celebration with a toast. Their drink of choice was red, sparkly soda.

"This morning, we relived our engagement all over again, with our three favorite people, and it was so dreamy," Amurri wrote on Instagram. "This engagement isn’t just ours, but theirs as well. Feeling so grateful for this love."

Amurri is an actress, blogger and founder of the Happily Eva After lifestyle collection.

Credits: Photos and screen captures via Instagram / thehappilyeva.
March 14th, 2023
On Sunday night, as you watched the cast and crew of Everything Everywhere All at Once scoop up seven Oscars at the 95th Academy Awards — including best picture and best actress — were you wondering if the gleaming statuettes were made of pure gold?


Well, the short answer is "yes and no."

Depicting a knight holding a crusader's sword, the Oscar was designed in 1928 by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons and sculpted by Los Angeles artist George Stanley. It is composed of 24-karat gold-plated bronze.

The sleek award stands 13.5 inches tall and weighs a hefty 8.5 pounds. If cast in 24-karat gold, the award would weigh 22.7 pounds, a mass equivalent to a large watermelon or two-year-old child. Gold is 2.7 times as dense as bronze.

Another reason the statuettes are not cast in sold gold is because of the prohibitive cost. At yesterday's gold spot price of $1,902 per ounce, each statue would require $690,000 worth of precious metal — and the Academy requires 60 statues each year.

The reporters at CNN did a wonderful job recounting the origin and evolution of the Oscars with an illustrated story on

CNN explained how the original statue was made from gold-plated bronze, but then changed to painted plaster during World War II, due to a scarcity of resources. In 1982, the bronze core was substituted for a pewter-based alloy, but changed back to bronze in 2016.

In that year, the UAP (Urban Art Projects) workshop in Rock Tavern, NY, worked with the Academy to create a new version of Oscar that would incorporate the best elements from the original design and those of the more recent incarnations.

UAP uses a lost-wax method to cast the awards in bronze. In the finishing phase, the bronze castings are meticulously checked for minor flaws, polished and plated — first in copper and nickel and finally in 24-karat gold.

“By the time you get to the end," UAP general manager Jake Joyce told, "the final Oscar is much smaller than the original because they’re always grinding and sanding and polishing and taking away metal.”

Trailblazing actor and filmmaker Douglas Fairbanks hosted the 1st Academy Awards in 1929 at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The award ceremony became must-see TV starting in 1953. Sunday's broadcast was seen in 200 territories worldwide and attracted 16 million viewers in the US alone.

Credit: Oscar statuettes by Amdrewcs81, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
March 15th, 2023
An adorable six-year-old is now a celebrity at Dogwood Elementary in Germantown, TN, after finding a lost engagement ring during a treasure hunt on the school grounds.


The treasure hunt was initiated by kindergarten teacher Ann Wallace in an effort to support her friend, first-grade teacher Sabrina Mink, who lost her engagement ring and wedding band at the school two days earlier.


On Saturday, March 4, Mink, her husband and her daughter prepared for a late afternoon outing at the playground of the school where Mink teaches. In the parking lot of the school, Mink took off her diamond engagement ring and wedding band before putting sunscreen on her daughter. She deposited the ring in her husband's T-shirt pocket for safekeeping.

A little after 7 p.m., Mink and her family were back at home when she remembered that her rings were still in her husband's pocket. When she went to retrieve them, she and her husband were terrified to see a giant hole in the bottom of the pocket and no sign of the rings.

“We panicked,” Mink told the Dogwood Elementary School website. “There were five of us that went back to the park that night with flashlights.”

They quickly found the wedding band in the parking lot, but the engagement ring remained elusive. They searched the parking lot and the playground and came up empty. A return to the scene during daylight hours on Sunday proved fruitless.

Mink posted a lost-ring message on the Facebook Germantown Bulletin Board and emailed the Dogwood Elementary School staff.


On Monday, Mink's fellow teachers searched the grounds as they walked to class. One first-grade teacher scanned the area with a metal detector.

Cleverly, kindergarten teacher Wallace told her class that they would be going on a treasure hunt during recess. Then young Scarlett Arnold asked her teacher what they were looking for.

“When Ms. Wallace said we were looking for a ring, I knew where it was,” the youngster told the Dogwood Elementary School website.

You see, Arnold had been at the playground on Saturday, as well.


“I saw it shining in the rocks, so I buried it like treasure,” she said.

“I didn’t believe her at first,” Wallace said, “but she brought it back. I was ecstatic for my friend.”

Arnold's mom told local TV station WREG that her daughter has a new nickname.

“I think when she’s walking down the hall, everyone’s saying, ‘Oh, the ring finder,’” the mom reported.

Mink was thankful that her colleague came up with the idea of a recess treasure hunt and mentioned the lost ring. It was serendipitous that the child who buried the treasure was in that very class.

“It was so sweet that everyone was trying to help,” Mink said. “The events that led me to lose [the rings] were so silly, and the events that led to finding it… you can’t make them up.”

The Dogwood Elementary School website reports that young Arnold was rewarded for her responsible thinking with a supply of Skittles.

Credits: Teacher and student photo via Dogwood Elementary School website ( Screen captures via
March 16th, 2023
David Anderson, a super-successful amateur diamond hunter and frequent visitor to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, AR, recently scored a 3.29-carat brown sparkler — the biggest find of 2023.


Over the past 16 years, Anderson has amassed more than 400 diamonds, including 15 weighing more than 1 carat. His other top finds include a 3.83-carat yellow diamond found in December 2011 and a 6.19-carat white gem discovered in April 2014.

Anderson said a story about the park on the Travel Channel gave him the inspiration to try his luck at the only diamond site in the world that’s open to the general public.

“My first trip here was in 2007," Anderson said. "After I found my first diamond, a 1.5-carat white, I was hooked!”


About the size of an English pea, with a light brown color and octahedron shape, Anderson's newest treasure was found on March 4 near the West Drain of the park’s 37.5-acre diamond search area.

The Murfreesboro resident said he was wet-sifting soil when an unusual stone caught his eye.

“At first I thought it was quartz but wondered why it was so shiny,” said Anderson. “Once I picked it up, I realized it was a diamond!”


Successful diamond hunters often choose to name their gems. In this case, Anderson affectionately called his diamond "B.U.D." — short for Big Ugly Diamond.

Of course, when it comes to diamonds, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and some people may see the brown diamond with a pitted surface and mottled brown color as something uniquely beautiful.

Park Interpreter Tayler Markham said the stone exhibits a "metallic shine typical of all diamonds found at the park, with a partially resorbed surface and lots of inclusions.”

Markham explained that all diamonds found at Crater of Diamonds State Park have gone through partial resorption during the eruption that brought them to the surface.

"Magma in the volcanic pipe melted the diamonds’ outer surfaces and gave them smooth, rounded edges," Markham added. "Larger diamonds like Mr. Anderson’s may have rough areas on the surface, but you can still find signs of resorption on the corners and edges.”

According to the Gemological Association of America (GIA), the kimberlite magma that brings diamonds to the surface from deep in the Earth can effect the external surface and internal features of a diamond. The diamond crystal can be dissolved to form secondary shapes by the partial removal of crystalline diamond in a geological process known as dissolution or resorption.

Writes the GIA, "Left alone without dissolution, diamond will form a perfect octahedron or a cube. But with dissolution, diamond can change from an octahedron to other forms, such as dodecahedron (12 faces) or tetrahexahedron (24 faces), and even form “irregular” diamonds with no discernible shape.

As of this publication, 124 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park this year. Since the park opened in 1972, visitors have registered 35,250 diamonds.

Amazingly, even though the park has welcomed more than 4.6 million guests over that time, Anderson alone has accounted for more than 1% of that total.

According to the park's press release, Anderson typically sells his diamonds locally and plans to sell "B.U.D." as well.

Credits: Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.
March 17th, 2023
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you excellent tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the husband-and-wife duo known as Johnnyswim performs "Diamonds," an inspirational song about enduring personal tragedy and coming out stronger on the other side.


Amanda Sudano-Ramirez and Abner Ramirez employ diamonds in the lyrics to symbolize the triumph of the human spirit.

They sing, "In the wake of every heartache / In the depth of every fear / There were diamonds, diamonds / Waiting to break out of here."

“‘Diamonds’ is a song about the realization that even the hardest times can somehow make life more beautiful,” Sudano-Ramirez told Entertainment Weekly, “just like the years of pressure that turn coal into a diamond.”

The catchy chorus repeats, "We're the diamonds, diamonds / We're the diamonds, diamonds / Rising up out the dust."

The 2014 release draws on the real-life experiences of the couple. They both suffered heartbreaking losses in 2012. Abner's mom passed away, as did Amanda's grandmother and famous mom — five-time Grammy winner and 1970s "Queen of Disco" Donna Summer.

The couple channeled their sadness into a passionate, upbeat anthem that earned critical acclaim that resonated with their growing fan base. "Diamonds" became the title track of Johnnyswim's first full-length album.

The Nashville-based duo met at a church service in 2001 and formed Johnnyswim in 2005 after reconnecting at a songwriting class that Abner was teaching. Their professional relationship evolved into a romantic one and the couple married shortly thereafter.

Please check out the video of Johnnyswim performing "Diamonds" in a live session for Dallas radio station KXT in 2014. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

Written by Abner Pedro Ramirez, Amanda Sudano Ramirez and Britten Newbill. Performed by Johnnyswim.

In the wake of every heartache
In the depth of every fear
There were diamonds, diamonds
Waiting to break out of here.

Don't you think I hear the whispers
Those subtle lies, those angry pleas
They're just demons, demons
Wishing they were free like me.

We're the fire, from the sun
We're the light when the day is done
We are the brave, the chosen ones
We're the diamonds, diamonds
Rising up out the dust.

Oh oh. Rising up out the dust
Oh oh. Rising up out the dust
Oh oh. Rising up out the dust
Oh oh. Rising up out the dust

All your curses will surrender
Every damning word will kneel
They're just mountains, mountains
About to turn into fields.

We're the fire, from the sun
We're the light when the day is done
We are the brave, we're the chosen ones
We're the diamonds, diamonds
Rising up out the dust.

Oh oh. Rising up out the dust
Oh oh. Rising up out the dust
Oh oh. Rising up out the dust
Oh oh. Rising, rising, rising, rising…

You've taken down
So many others
Oh but you'll know my name when you see
And in these ashes I'm stronger still
You'll learn to fear my pain, yeah you will.

You've taken down
So many others
Oh but you'll know my name when you see
And in these ashes I'm stronger still
You'll learn to fear my pain, yeah you will.
You'll learn to fear my pain, yeah you will, yeah you will, yeah you will.

We're the fire, from the sun
We're the light when the day is done
We are the brave, we are the chosen ones
We're the diamonds, diamonds
We're the diamonds, diamonds

We're the diamonds, diamonds
We're the diamonds, diamonds
Rising up out the dust.

Oh oh. Rising out the dust
Oh oh. Rising up out the dust
Oh oh. Rising out the dust
Oh oh…

Oh oh. Rising out the dust
Oh oh. Rising up out the dust
Oh oh. Rising out the dust
Oh oh…

Credits: Screen capture via / kxtradio.
March 20th, 2023
A fabulous ruby-and-diamond bracelet designed for screen siren Marlene Dietrich and most recently owned by socialite Anne Eisenhower, the granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, could fetch $4.5 million when it hits the auction block at Christie's New York on June 7.


The bracelet was Dietrich's favorite piece of jewelry and she famously wore it in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1950 thriller, Stage Fright. In the film's trailer, Dietrich clasps the cuff while chatting with co-star Richard Todd in a pivotal scene. Hitchcock shot the film in black and white, so the intense color of the rubies had to be left to viewers' imagination. She also wore the bracelet to the Academy Awards in 1951.


It's difficult to classify the piece because it has a totally unique design.

Speaking with The New York Times in 1992 (the year Dietrich passed away at the age of 90 and Eisenhower anonymously won the piece at auction), Dietrich’s grandson Peter Riva revealed that author Erich Maria Remarque convinced his lover to "take all her bits of jewelry and make them into one fabulous piece."

In 1937, jeweler to the stars Louis Arpels conceived Dietrich's "Jarretière" bracelet from diamond earrings, a diamond necklace, a ruby bracelet and earring set, a couple of pins and more. The cushion-cut Burmese rubies are accented by round, rectangular and baguette-cut diamonds, all set in platinum.

The New York Times has described Dietrich’s Jarretière piece as a “modernist platinum cuff” featuring “an exaggerated, asymmetrical loop covered in cushion-cut rubies set atop twin buckle-like bands of… diamonds.”

If you were wondering, "Jarretière" means "garter" in French.

“This bracelet is legendary in a lot of ways,” Claibourne Poindexter, vice president and jewelry specialist at Christie’s, told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s bold. It’s very large in scale and has a wonderful curvature. She wore it so beautifully in Stage Fright and you get this appreciation for how sculptural the design is. It doesn’t really fit into any period. It’s not art deco jewelry. It’s not retro jewelry. It’s just sort of high glamour. It really is its own work of art.”

The first time it came to auction in 1992, Eisenhower purchased it for $990,000 — an amount that far exceeded its presale estimate of $300,000 to $400,000.

Eisenhower subsequently enlisted Van Cleef & Arpels to design a complementary necklace and earrings — both of which will appear at the upcoming auction.

Now, 31 years later, the Jarretière bracelet is expected to sell in the range of $2.5 million to $4.5 million, although it could sell for more due to a provenance that ties it to one of the most famous movie stars and a member of a pre-eminent American family.

Eisenhower, who passed away last year at the age of 73, was a New York-based interior designer, collector and philanthropist.

The Jarretière bracelet is the top lot from Christie’s upcoming June 7 sale in New York, titled “The Magnificent Jewels of Anne Eisenhower.”

“From Marlene Dietrich to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Anne Eisenhower collection traces the history of the last century through a single collector’s brilliant passion for fine jewels,” said Marc Porter, chairman of Christie’s Americas. ”Anne Eisenhower had a keen eye for the finest examples of the jeweler’s art, and her collection tells fascinating and interwoven stories of patrons and collectors.”

The collection will be on tour, starting in Los Angeles on March 23 and ending in New York City on June 6. Other stops on the tour will include Shanghai, Paris, Taipei, Geneva and Hong Kong.

Credits: Ruby bracelet photo courtesy of Christie's. Screen capture from "Stage Fright" trailer via
March 21st, 2023
Australia-based Burgundy Diamond Mines has agreed to pay $136 million to acquire Arctic Canadian Diamond Company Ltd. and its prized Ekati Diamond Mine in Canada's Northwest Territories.


Ekati's new owner was very familiar with the Canadian mining operation. For the past two years, Burgundy has been purchasing top-quality rough diamonds — including extremely rare fancy yellows — from the Ekati mine for cutting and polishing at its facility in Perth, Australia.

Burgundy's purchase of Ekati will guarantee a steady flow of premium material from a tier-one asset in a tier-one country, according to Burgundy CEO Kim Trutter, and put a bow on the company's strategy of becoming truly vertically integrated across the diamond value chain.

"Having been involved with Burgundy since 2017, this exciting acquisition completes Burgundy's vertically integrated business model: bringing the world's most beautiful diamonds to market from discovery through to design," Burgundy Diamond Mines executive chair Michael O'Keefe told

"Source of origin of diamonds is becoming very, very important," Rory Moore, president and CEO of Arctic Canadian Diamond Company, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. "Canadian diamonds are highly sought after because they come with a guarantee of ethical mining practices, both in terms of treatment of people as well as the environment."

The recapitalization of Arctic Canadian is also great news for the 1,100 workers at Ekati, and bodes well for the extended lifespan of the mine, which has been operating for nearly 25 years.


Ekati’s famous Misery Pipe has been the source of many of the world’s finest precious yellow diamonds. Ekati, which derives its name from the Tlicho word meaning “fat lake,” is Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine. It is located approximately 300 km northwest of Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Accessible seasonally via ice roads, the frigid operation is just 200 km south of the Arctic Circle.

In 2022, Ekati generated $494 million in revenue and recovered 4.1 million carats of rough diamonds. estimated Ekati's diamond reserves at approximately 26.1 million carats, a number that does not include diamonds that might be salvaged via an innovative underwater remote mining system developed by Arctic Canadian and expected to be deployed by Burgundy.

That system would employ a submersible mining crawler and floating platform that would collect and process diamond-bearing kimberlite from the bottom of previously mined open pits that have since filled with water.

Burgundy will also implement applied machine learning technology (artificial intelligence) to identify and explore new kimberlite pipes on the Ekati property, which spans 113,485 hectares.

Credits: Images courtesy of Arctic Canadian Diamond Company.
March 22nd, 2023
Jay Glazer has finally found true love. The 53-year-old reporter, who is best known as the NFL Insider for FOX Sports' award-winning NFL pregame show, FOX NFL Sunday, popped the question to ex-model and clothing designer Rosie Tenison last week in Santa Monica, CA, with a dazzling emerald-cut diamond accented by two rows of round diamonds on a shared-prong band.


The center stone is secured with white-metal claw-style prongs (likely platinum), and the round accent diamonds appear to completely encircle the band.


Having battled depression for years, Glazer explained in a candid engagement message on Instagram how Tenison was able to rescue him from the "gray" and deliver him to the "blue."

On Sunday, he posted three photos to his Instagram page and wrote, "Sooooo this happened! It only took me 53 years to find true love. For everyone out there… it’s never too late… Because of my gray, I’ve felt unlovable for 53 years! As a result, I’ve sabotaged and pushed others away - that’s what the gray gets you to do.”

He continued, "But it takes a special spirit to stand there with me, help me grow, and feel worthy of feeling loved. That’s who this woman is!! This amazing, incredible soul Rosie Tenison saw my pain but more so saw my heart and said ‘This man takes care of so many people but who takes care of him? I want to be the one to take care of him!'"


Glazer had previously broken up with Tenison, 54, even though he cared for her dearly and called her "the love of his life." But the journalist needed to embark on a mental health journey before being able to accept her love. He documented his challenges and triumphs in a book titled Unbreakable: How I Turned My Depression and Anxiety into Motivation and You Can Too.

“I wouldn’t have been able to receive this love had I not gone on this mental health journey with all of you,” Glazer wrote on Instagram. “Took me 53 years to do the work on myself to see I am worth it, I can beat the gray… I can live in the blue. Thank you Rosie for what’s going to be a lifetime of blue and love.”

Tenison, who has an identical twin sister (also a former model), is now a clothing designer and operates a Los Angeles boutique called Varga.

When he's not breaking news stories for FOX Sports, Glazer can be found in his Unbreakable Performance Center gym in West Hollywood, where he trains NFL players and military veterans in mixed martial arts.

Glazer's post spawned comments from sports and Hollywood celebs, including tight end Rob Gronkowski, actor Sylvester Stallone, fellow broadcaster Bonnie Bernstein and Dwyane "The Rock" Johnson.

Credits: Photos via Instagram / jayglazer.
March 23rd, 2023
"Srinika" — a head-turning timepiece sparkling with 17,524 diamonds and 113 blue sapphires set in 14-karat gold — recently captured a Guinness World Record for the "Most Diamonds Set on a Watch." The cuff-style, luxury accessory weighs 373.30 grams (13.1 ounces) and is completely wearable, according to Harshit Bansal, founder and CEO of Renani Jewels, Meerut, India.


The timepiece's impressive diamond count surpassed the previous record holder by 1,666. A watch designed by Aaron Shum Jewelry Ltd., Hong Kong, had held the title since December 2018.

Renani Jewels explained on its website that "Srinika" is not just a watch, it is an emotion.

The piece was inspired by ancient Indian mythology. "Srinika," means "flower," which is in the heart of Lord Vishnu. It also signifies Goddess Lakshmi, the Supreme goddess of good fortune.

The watch contains 17,512 natural diamonds with a total weight of 53.98 carats in E-F color and VVS-VS clarity, 12 treated black diamonds totaling 0.03 carats, plus a 0.72-carat natural diamond solitaire of D color and VVS clarity. International Gemological Institute (IGI) was tasked with certifying the authenticity of every gemstone.


Guinness World Records posted an item about "Srinika" on its Twitter account and challenged its readers to spot the 12 black diamonds in the design? In the photo, above, we've zoomed into the face of the watch so you can see how the black diamonds were used as hour markers. The large solitaire is set just beyond the watch bezel in the 3 o'clock position.

"We and the whole team have worked really hard for months, and this watch was created with so much passion and greatness," Bansal said. "One should always seek for new challenges in life. I look forward to new technologies that we can merge with traditional methods of jewelry making. I believe that this technology will make the impossible, possible."

Bansal told Guinness World Records that the main challenge faced by his company in designing the piece was procuring a vast number of diamonds with the same color, size, shape and clarity.

The company was also required to provide documentation to Guinness World Records that all the diamonds in “Srinika” were sourced from producers certified by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), which prevents so-called "conflict" diamonds from entering the mainstream market.

Renani Jewels is no stranger to Guinness World Record accolades. Back in December 2020, the company introduced us to “The Marigold – The Ring of Prosperity,” which earned a record for the “Most Diamonds in a Single Ring.” The eight-layer ring featured 12,638 natural diamonds.

Credits: Images courtesy of Renani Jewels.
March 24th, 2023
Welcome to Music Friday when we celebrate chart-topping songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Aussie sensation Sia teams up with Jamaican rapper Sean Paul to deliver the international mega-hit “Cheap Thrills.” Viewed more than 1.7 billion times on YouTube, the song features Paul’s reggae-spiced refrain, “You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold.”


The song follows Sia as she prepares for an exciting weekend with her partner at the dance club. She explains that she doesn’t need dollars bills to have fun tonight, because embracing the music and letting loose on the dance floor is worth so much more.

Sia and Paul alternate lines as they sing, “But I don’t need no money / (You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold) / As long as I can feel the beat.”

Penned by Sia and Greg Kurstin, “Cheap Thrills” was the second single released from Sia's seventh studio album, This Is Acting (2016). The song has been described by critics as a “bouncy party anthem,” a "sunny jam" and “another superior slab of on-trend ear candy.” It has the distinction of being the most Shazamed song of 2016.

The “Cheap Thrills” lyrics video, which mimics the 1960s vibe of American Bandstand and features faceless dancers (Minn Vo and Stefanie Klausmann) wearing signature Sia wigs, is well on its way to 2 billion views.

A second video highlighting the then-13-year-old Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler has accumulated 860 million views. Ziegler also appeared in Sia’s videos for “Chandelier,” “Elastic Heart” and “Big Girls Cry.”

"Cheap Thrills" ascended to #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and sold more than 11 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time. Sia fans may remember that she wrote “Diamonds” for Rihanna in 2012. That song was also an international hit, with worldwide sales of more than 9 million.

In an interesting twist, Sia and Kurstin wrote “Cheap Thrills” for Rihanna, but the artist passed on it. As reported in Rolling Stone, Rihanna’s manager was seeking out another “Diamonds,” a song with soul and feeling.

“I realized just as soon as I was cutting it that it sounded a little bit too Brit-pop for her,” Sia told Rolling Stone. “We did actually send it to her, but they passed on it, and then I just couldn’t stop listening to it in the car.”

Sia decided to perform it herself, and the rest is hit-making history.

Please check out the “Cheap Thrills” video at the end of this post. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Cheap Thrills”
Written by Greg Kurstin and Sia Furler. Performed by Sia, featuring Sean Paul.

Up with it girl
Rock with it girl
Show dem it girl (Bada bang bang)
Bounce with it girl
Dance with it girl
Get with it girl (Bada bang bang)

Come on, come on, turn the radio on
It’s Friday night and I won’t be long
Gotta do my hair, I put my make up on
It’s Friday night and I won’t be long

Til I hit the dance floor (Bada bang)
Hit the dance floor (Bada bang)
I got all I need (Sia)
No I ain’t got cash
No I ain’t got cash
But I got you baby
(Just you and me)

Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills)
Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills)
But I don’t need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I can feel the beat
Mek di beat jus tek control
I don’t need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I keep dancing
Free up yourself, get outa control

Come on, come on, turn the radio on
It’s Saturday and I won’t be long
Gotta paint my nails, put my high heels on
It’s Saturday and I won’t be long

Til I hit the dance floor (Bada bang)
Hit the dance floor (Bada bang)
I got all I need (Sia)
No I ain’t got cash
No I ain’t got cash
But I got you baby
(Just you and me)

Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills)
Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills)
But I don’t need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I can feel the beat
Mek di beat jus tek control
I don’t need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I keep dancing
Free up yourself, get outa control

Me and you girl, you and me
Drop it to di floor an mek mi see your energy because
Mi nah play na hide an seek
Wah fi see di ting you have weg mek me feel weak girl
Cause anytime you wine and kotch it
Di selector pull it up an pull it pon repeat girl
I’m nah touch a dollar in my pocket
Cause nuttin in this world ain’t more dan what you worth

But I don’t need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I can feel the beat
Mek di beat jus tek control
I don’t need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I keep dancing
Free up yourself, get outa control
Oh, oh

Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills)
Baby I don’t need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills)
But I don’t need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I can feel the beat
Mek di beat jus tek control
I don’t need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I keep dancing
Free up yourself, get outa control

La, la, la, la, la, la
(I love cheap thrills)
La, la, la, la, la, la
(I love cheap thrills)
La, la, la, la, la, la
(I love cheap thrills)
La, la, la, la, la
(I love cheap thrills)

Credits: Screen capture via
March 27th, 2023
The Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones (DANAT) is teaming up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to explore advanced methods to establish a natural pearl’s area of origin and method of growth.


MIT.nano, MIT’s open-access center for nanoscience and nanoengineering, will be the organizational home for the project, where MIT associate profession Admir Mašić and his team will utilize the facility’s state-of-the-art tools to study a pearl's morphological, micro-structural, optical and chemical properties.

DANAT is a gemological laboratory specializing in the testing and study of natural pearls as a reflection of Bahrain’s pearling history and desire to protect and advance Bahrain’s pearling heritage, which dates back to the 5th millennium BC.

"Pearls are extremely complex and fascinating hierarchically ordered biological materials that are formed by a wide range of different species,” said MIT associate professor Admir Masic. “Working with DANAT provides us a unique opportunity to apply our lab’s multi-scale materials characterization tools to identify potentially species-specific pearl fingerprints…"

Petroleum production and refining currently accounts for 60% of Bahrain's exports, but until the early 1930s, this island kingdom just off the Arabian Peninsula drew its wealth from the natural pearls that propagated the abundant oyster beds that hug the nation's coast. Bahrainis would free dive to collect oysters from the sea floor.

On June 2, 1932, oil was discovered in Bahrain, and that new natural resource — combined with competition from Japan's lower-priced cultured pearls — sent Bahrain's natural pearl industry into a tailspin.

Now, more than 90 years later, Bahrain is looking to reinvigorate its natural pearl industry. Its pearl beds are said to be larger than Manhattan.

Natural pearls 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.

It is estimated that a pearl will naturally form in only one in 10,000 oysters.

Cultured pearls, by contrast, are created with human intervention — when a bead is embedded inside the body of the mollusk to stimulate nacre secretion.

"Today the world knows natural pearls and cultured pearls. However, there are also pearls that fall in between these two categories," said DANAT's chief executive officer Noora Jamsheer. "DANAT has the responsibility, as the leading gemological laboratory for pearl testing, to take the initiative necessary to ensure that testing methods keep pace with advances in the science of pearl cultivation.”

Credit: Image by Angela Manthorpe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
March 28th, 2023
An ultra-rare “Ides of March” gold coin that darkly commemorated the assassination of Roman dictator Julius Caesar in 44 BC — and broke an auction record in 2020 when it fetched $4.2 million — has been returned to Greece by New York authorities.


The Manhattan District Attorney's office confiscated the ill-gotten coin from an unnamed US billionaire, who bought it in good faith, but the coin should have never been offered at auction. Greece's Antiquities Law states that ancient works, including coins, are the property of the state.

Greek officials reclaimed the coin last Tuesday during an official ceremony at the country's consulate in New York City.

This previously unrecorded coin — one of only three known to exist — was reportedly closely held in a private European collection. But New York authorities claim that it has been looted from a field near where, more than 2,000 years ago, an army loyal to Caesar's assassins camped during the struggle for control of Rome. Experts told The New York Times that the coin was likely found about a decade ago, but not reported to Greek authorities as required by law.

Back in 2020, numismatic expert Mark Salzberg, chairman of the Sarasota, FL-based Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, said he anticipated the coin's strong performance at auction.

“I’m not surprised it set a world record as the most valuable ancient coin ever sold,” said Salzberg at the time. “It’s a masterpiece of artistry and rarity, still in mint condition after 2,000 years, and only the third known example made in gold. Many of us believed it would sell for millions, and it did.”


The front of the coin features a portrait of Marcus Junius Brutus, one of Caesar’s assassins, and the other side dramatically depicts two daggers and the marking “EID MAR.” The initials represent the Latin abbreviation for the Ides of March, which corresponds to March 15 on the calendar and is the date Caesar was assassinated.


Between the two daggers is a “pileus” — a cap of liberty traditionally given to Roman slaves when they were freed. The cap’s image was a symbolic statement that Rome was liberated after the assassination of the tyrant dictator.

“It was made in 42 BC, two years after the famous assassination, and is one of the most important and valuable coins of the ancient world,” explained Salzberg in 2020.

While nearly 100 Ides of March silver coins are known to still exist, this is only the third example known to be struck in gold. Of the other two, one is in the British Museum on loan from a private collector and the other is in the Deutsche Bundesbank collection.

The gold coin was one of 29 Hellenic antiquities returned to Greece during the ceremony. Some dated back to 5,000 BC and included figurines, vessels and jewelry. They had a combined estimated value of about $20 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.
March 29th, 2023
An international team of archaeologists announced last week that they unearthed the UAE’s oldest pearling village on Al Sinniyah Island, about 40 miles northeast of Dubai. The site dates back 1,300 years.


Timothy Power, an archaeologist at the United Arab Emirates University, told the AP that the ancient settlement is the oldest known example of a Khaleeji pearling town, the type of settlement that sourced and traded rare and valuable natural pearls in the Persian Gulf for thousands of years. "Khaleeji" is the Arabic word for "Gulf."

Among the items discovered at the site were pearls, pots, a diving weight and a many, many discarded oyster shells.

The diving weight is an apparatus worn by free divers to quickly descend to the seabed, where they would search for oysters while holding their breath. The diving weight recovered at the site is the oldest ever documented in the UAE.

A significant portion of the pottery found at the site was made in India, which proves the local residents were trading pearls for Indian goods.

The large mound of discarded shells is a testament to the number of oysters collected during the 200 years of production at the site.

“You only find one pearl in every 10,000 oyster shells. You have to find and discard thousands and thousands of oyster shells to find one,” Power told the AP. “The waste, the industrial waste of the pearling industry, was colossal. You’re dealing with millions, millions of oyster shells discarded.”

While pearling has been a fundamental component of this region's heritage and livelihood for more than 7,000 years, unearthing settlements like the one on Al Sinniyah Island has been an elusive challenge for archaeologists. The recent find is unique because it hadn't been resettled since pearling activity ended in the 8th century and was left virtually undisturbed.


The pearling village, which included one-room homes in close proximity to more lavish multi-level homes with courtyards, reflected the fact that poor divers and wealthy merchants were living side by side.

Spread across 12 hectares (about 30 acres), the structures were made from beach rocks, lime mortar and palms trunks that were brought over from the mainland. Powers told CNN that this was a year-round settlement, "a proper town."


The pearling community, which included hundreds of homes and thousands of people, shared the island at the time with a Sinniyah Christian Monastery. The archaeologists are still trying to noodle out why the monastery was built on a the pearling island, but surmised that the pearl divers and merchants were likely Christians. The town predates the rise of Islam across the Arabian Peninsula.

Taking part in the excavation of the pearling village were the Umm al-Quwain’s Department of Tourism and Archaeology, UAE University, the Italian Archaeological Mission in the emirate and the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University.

According to CNN, at the height of the Persian Gulf pearling industry in the 19th century, nearly two in three men living in Abu Dhabi were connected to that industry.

Credits: Photos top and middle courtesy of Umm al Quwain Tourism and Archaeology Department. Photo at bottom by Alexandermcnabb, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
March 30th, 2023
One of the largest and most perfect sapphires to come to auction over the past three decades will headline Phillips’ Jewels & Jadeite Sale in Hong Kong on May 23. Weighing 118.35 carats and scoring an astonishing 98 out of 100 points on Gübelin Gem Lab's rating scale, the Sri Lanka-sourced stone is expected to sell in the range of $3.2 million to $4.5 million.


Gübelin Gem Lab awarded the cushion-shaped sapphire its coveted "Royal Blue" color grading, noting that the stone displays an even saturation rarely seen in a blue sapphire of this size.

The colored gem is horizontally set in a lavish diamond-and-platinum necklace designed by Bulgari in 2004. The luxury jeweler's executive director, Lucia Silvestri, remembered the feeling that overtook her when she handled the sapphire for the first time more than 20 years ago.


“I was so impressed and touched that I still remember the emotion I felt,” she said, adding that Sri Lankan sapphires possess “the transparency and luminosity” of “gems that are infused with light and joy."

Although it was designed in the 2000s, the necklace invokes the opulence of the 1950s, according to Phillips.

The auction house explained that the repeating circular links are typical of Bulgari’s “modulo” jewelry designs, where a single element is produced in series and then connected to each other.

Phillips compared the center stone favorably with some of the world's most famous sapphires, such as the 486.52-carat Giant of the Orient, the 422.99-carat Logan Blue Sapphire and the 392.52-carat Blue Belle of Asia.

The auction house explained that Sri Lanka’s gem mining history dates back nearly 2,500 years, making it one of the first sources of fine sapphire — the luxury gem coveted by the ancient Greeks, Romans and Persians.

The auction's top lot will be on exhibit in five cities — Hong Kong, New York, Singapore, Taipei, Geneva — before returning to Hong Kong for the sale on May 23.

Credits: Images courtesy of Phillips.
March 31st, 2023
Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we return to the early days of cable TV and celebrate the 40th anniversary of Spandau Ballet's James Bond-tinged pop anthem, "Gold."


In the song, the protagonist's former love interest embodies the properties of a precious metal that is not only rare and beautiful, but virtually indestructible.

Lead vocalist Tony Hadley sings, "Gold (Gold) / Always believe in your soul / You've got the power to know / You're indestructible / Always believe in, 'cos you are / Gold (Gold).

Songwriter and lead guitarist Gary Kemp had always been inspired by the soaring theme songs composed by John Barry for the Agent 007 series and was determined to compose one of his own. Kemp headed to his bedroom and knocked out "Gold."

"I used to get my brother Martin to come in when I was writing songs to give an opinion, muck about on his bass to see if I was going in the right direction," Kemp told The Mail in 2011. "He loved 'Gold' from the start so I knew that I was on to something."

It was 1983 when Spandau Ballet earned a coveted spot on the MTV playlist with a lavishly produced music video for "Gold," a 3:51 journey of international intrigue that paid homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Goldfinger (1964).

In the music video, shot in Andalusia, Spain, Hadley plays an adventurer who searches an exotic town for the missing pieces of a gold puzzle.

"Gold" was released as the fourth single from Spandau Ballet's third album, True. With support from the fledgling MTV network, "Gold" became an international hit, charting in nine countries.

The song caught the attention of the BBC, which made "Gold" the theme song for its coverage of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. In 1988, the band was invited to perform the song at the ceremony that saw Seoul pass the Olympic torch to the next host city, Barcelona. Even today, "Gold" continues to be a song associated with Olympic glory.

Formed in North London in 1979 by brothers Gary and Martin Kemp, Tony Hadley, Steve Norman, and John Keeble, Spandau Ballet enjoyed a run of new wave hits in the '80s and then a resurgence in 2009.

Please check out Spandau Ballet's official music video for "Gold." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

Written by Gary Kemp. Performed by Spandau Ballet.

Thank you for coming home
I'm sorry that the chairs are all worn
I left them here I could have sworn

These are my salad days
Slowly being eaten away
Just another play for today
Oh but I'm proud of you, but I'm proud of you

Nothing left to make me feel small
Luck has left me standing so tall

Gold (Gold)
Always believe in your soul
You've got the power to know
You're indestructible
Always believe in, 'cos you are
Gold (Gold)
Glad that you're bound to return
There's something I could have learned
You're indestructible, always believing

After the rush has gone
I hope you find a little more time
Remember we were partners in crime

It's only two years ago
The man with the suit and the face
You knew that he was there on the case
Now he's in love with you, he's in love with you
My love is like a high prison wall
But you could leave me standing so tall

Gold (Gold)
Always believe in your soul
You've got the power to know
You're indestructible
Always believe in, 'cos you are
Gold (Gold)
I'm glad that you're bound to return
Something I could have learned
You're indestructible, always believing

My love is like a high prison wall
But you could leave me standing so tall

Gold (Gold)
Always believe in your soul
You've got the power to know
You're indestructible
Always believe in, 'cos you are
Gold (Gold)
I'm glad that you're bound to return
Something I could have learned
You're indestructible, always believing

Credit: Photo by Peter.Wetter, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.