Diamonds My Way

Articles in October 2018

October 1st, 2018
A 71-year-old grandma from Aurora, Colo., is being credited with finding the largest diamond so far this year at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park — the only diamond site in the world where amateur prospectors get to keep what they discover. The 2.63-carat diamond is the size of a pinto bean and white in color, with several brownish freckles on the surface.



The retiree, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she found the gem after 10 minutes of searching with her husband, son, grandson and granddaughter. At first, she thought the stone might be glass, but she still asked her son to stash it in his pocket so it could be identified later by park officials.

The woman named her gem "Lichtenfels," a nod to her hometown in Germany. The word means “a rock between two lights,” which is significant because she was standing between her grandchildren when she found the diamond.

“She wouldn’t have come to the park if it weren’t for her grandkids,” said the finder's son. “They’re her two points of light.”

The lucky grandma plucked the diamond from the soil about halfway between the park's East Drain and North Wash Pavilion. Visitors are encouraged to test their luck with basic tools in a 37-acre plowed field, which is actually the eroded surface of a volcanic crater.

Even though she found her diamond early in her search, the family continued to prospect for another hour before returning to the park's Diamond Discovery Center, where experts are on hand to help visitors identify what they've found.

When she learned that she'd made the biggest diamond discovery of 2018, the grandma said, “I didn’t know what to think. I was shocked!”

Park Interpreter Waymon Cox said, “About one out of every five diamonds registered by park visitors is found right on top of the ground, including many of the largest ever found at the Crater of Diamonds.”

So far this year, 256 diamonds weighing a total of 49.64 carats have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park. The three most common diamond colors found at the park are white, brown and yellow, in that order. In total, more than 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since the first diamonds were found there in 1906 by John Huddleston, a farmer who owned the land long before it became an Arkansas State Park in 1972.

The largest diamond ever discovered in the United States was unearthed here in Murfreesboro in 1924 during a mining operation. Named the “Uncle Sam,” the white diamond with a pink cast weighed 40.23 carats. The largest diamond ever discovered at the park by a visitor was the 16.37-carat "Amarillo Starlight" in 1975.

Access to the diamond field is $8 for visitors 13 and older. Tickets for children 6 through 12 cost $5, and kids ages 5 and younger get to prospect for free.

Credit: Image courtesy of Crater of Diamonds State Park.
October 2nd, 2018
Jada Dubai's new "Passion Diamond Shoes" — elegant stilettos made from real gold and embellished with two round 15-carat D-flawless diamonds — went on sale last week for $17 million and are said to be the most expensive pair of shoes in the world. The stunning stilettos are on display at the world's only seven-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai.



Each shoe is trimmed with 118 smaller round diamonds and features one of the impressive crowning jewels prong-set near the pointed toe. Everything about the "Passion Diamond Shoes" exudes luxury. Even the insoles are inscribed in gold.

Jada Dubai's record-setting shoes, which were designed in coordination with Dubai-based Passion Jewellers, took nearly nine months to create.

"Jada Dubai designs only shoes with diamonds," said the company's co-founder, Maria Majari. "For the launch of our second collection, we wanted to create a piece that is truly unique in the world using very rare diamonds."

While the prototype shoes are shown in size 5.5, those who place an order will receive a custom pair in the requested size.

The record for the world's most expensive shoes was previously held by a $15.1 million pair conceived by British designer Debbie Wingham in October of 2017.

Credit: Image courtesy of Jada Dubai.
October 3rd, 2018
Six-year-old Alyah "Tiny" Dutton was sure the beautiful diamond rings she found in the restroom of Ballantrae Community Park in Dublin, Ohio, belonged to a magic princess and that they needed to be returned to her right away.



Tiny had been enjoying an outing at the "bunny park" sprayground with family friend John Gerlach when she took a break to use the restroom and happened upon the diamond jewelry worth $10,000. She exited the bathroom and immediately revealed the treasures to John.



"I told her we have to do the right thing," said John. "They're not ours and what you do when people aren't watching is the integrity and character your mom talks about."

Tiny and John turned over the lost rings to Dublin Police Department. John, who is recovering from addiction, admitted that five years ago those rings would have ended up in the pawn shop. Today, he's a new man.

Earlier that same day, Caitlin Adkins was also enjoying her day at the park with her husband, Jake, and baby, Ari. Before applying sunscreen to the baby, she slipped off the bridal set and placed the rings into the front pocket of her jeans. Then she went into the ladies' room to change into her bathing suit.

When the family returned back home later that evening, Caitin realized her precious keepsakes were gone.



"I was hysterical," she told a reporter from 10TV. "My daughter said, 'Mommy what's wrong? What's wrong?' And I was just like, 'Mommy can't find her rings.'"

In a panic, Caitlin searched her jeans, the car, the stroller.

"I cried knowing I must’ve lost them at the park when I put my bathing suit on and thought about how special those rings were to me... not monetarily, but what they meant and their significance," she wrote on Facebook.

Jake raced back to the park to see if he could find the rings in the bathroom, but the park had already closed for the night.

He then connected with the Dublin Police.

Caitlin breathed a huge sigh of relief when Jake reported that someone had turned in her rings that day. More surprisingly, that "someone" was a precocious six-year-old who went by the nickname "Tiny."

After being reunited with her rings, Caitlin arranged to meet with Tiny, John and Tiny's mother so she could thank them in person.



"Can I give you a hug?" Caitlin asked, as the youngster ran into her arms. "Thank you for being so awesome."

Caitlin rewarded the young hero with a carload of gifts.

"I went crazy shopping for you if that's OK," said said. "I just kept on picking stuff."

Tiny giggled with excitement.



Caitlin also gave Tiny a card, which her mother read out loud: "Thank you so much for being such a special girl. You are going to do so many great things."

Tiny's proud mom kissed the youngster on the head. "I love you," she said.

On Facebook, Caitlin recounted how she found a wedding ring in the parking lot of a local Gymboree 10 years ago and she made sure it was returned to the rightful owner.

"Someone had a choice to do the same today, or not. They did. Thank you," she wrote.

"Tiny and John deserve to be recognized for doing the right thing," Caitlin concluded. "In a day where we judge people, think humanity is lost, and expect the worst, we are shown there [are] good, honest people who are doing the right thing when nobody is looking. Thank you SO much, Tiny and John."

Credits: Screen captures via 10tv.com.
October 4th, 2018
Rubies, diamonds and a sapphire boasting a total weight of 10.2 carats add patriotic pizzazz to the Washington Capitals' 2018 Stanley Cup rings. The handcrafted, two-tone rings, which commemorate the 44-year-old franchise's first championship, were unveiled to players, coaches and hockey staff during a private ceremony on Monday night.



Overall, the 14-karat yellow and white gold rings are set with 252 diamonds, 35 rubies and one sapphire. Jostens partnered with the Capitals to craft a ring that pays special tribute to the relationship between the team and the nation's capital.

Three custom-cut, star-shaped rubies accent the Capitals logo on the face of the ring. The three stars are inspired by the Washington, D.C. flag, where they represent the capital, Virginia and Maryland.

The logo is rendered in blue and red enamel and lies above a circular ground of 27 pavé-set diamonds. Those white diamonds are framed by 28 custom taper-cut rubies. The words “STANLEY CUP" and "CHAMPIONS” in raised yellow gold lettering wrap around the upper and lower edge of the ring face.

Exactly 157 round white diamonds create a cascading waterfall effect down the shoulders of the ring.



Just below the shoulders is a single row of 22 channel-set princess-cut diamonds interrupted by the words "WASHINGTON DC" and the player's name. These are also rendered in raised yellow-gold lettering.

In addition to the player's name, the left side of the ring features the Capitol building, which is created in stunning detail from 14-karat white gold. A star-shaped ruby and star-shaped sapphire are set on either side of the Capitol dome. The player’s numbers are set with round white diamonds to the right of the Capitol.

The right side of the ring displays the year 2018 and the famous Stanley Cup rendered in white round diamonds. One star-shaped ruby on the Cup represents the team’s first Stanley Cup Championship. The two additional star-shaped rubies flanking the Cup commemorate the Capitals’ two Eastern Conference Championships.



The interior of the ring is engraved with the Capitals’ logo surrounded by smaller logos of their playoff opponents and the victory totals from each series. The Capitals battled back from a 2–0 series deficit against the Columbus Blue Jackets to win the first-round series in six games. In the second round, the Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games, and then advanced to the finals after knocking off the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games. The Capitals earned their first Stanley Cup by closing out the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in five games.

"These rings will now forever be a reminder for the players, coaches, and fans: We did it," said Capitals owner Ted Leonsis in a release. "We are thrilled today to be able to unveil this beautiful ring, which will always be a proud symbol of the Capitals' incredible 2018 Stanley Cup run and the unbreakable bond they created among all Caps fans who shared in the joy of that moment together."

Credits: Images courtesy of Jostens.
October 5th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we step into our time machine and dial in May 10, 1970, the day The Jackson 5 performed “The Love You Save” on The Ed Sullivan Show.



In the song, a 12-year-old Michael Jackson is tormented by a girlfriend who can’t seem to shake her cheating ways. When they were little kids, she was always chasing after the boys. Now that she’s older, Michael's promise ring is not enough to keep her faithful.

Jackson sings, “When we grew up you traded / Your promise for my ring / Now just like back in grade school / You’re doin’ the same old thing.”

“The Love You Save” was the third of four rapidly released chart-toppers by The Jackson Five in 1970. The others included “I Want You Back,” “ABC” and “I’ll Be There.” These songs are often mashed and merged in still-popular Jackson Five medleys.

Music historians believe that the emphatic “stop” at the beginning of “The Love You Save” is a nod to The Supremes’ “Stop! In the Name of Love,” which was released on the Motown label in 1965. Diana Ross, the lead singer of The Supremes, is often credited with having discovered The Jackson Five (also on Motown).

According to Songfacts.com, the original lyrics of "The Love You Save" concerned traffic safety. The writing team of Deke Richards, Freddie Perren, Alphonso Mizell and Berry Gordy Jr. (also known as "The Corporation") altered the safety song to fit the style of The Jackson 5. In the end, Songfacts.com reported, the only elements of the original to survive were the title and the line "Darling, look both ways before you cross me."

The founding members of The Jackson Five included brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael. During a successful run from 1964 to 1990, the group (later to be called The Jacksons) amassed international legions of screaming fans and sold more than 100 million records, making them one of the most successful groups of all time.

Fun trivia: About halfway through the song, Michael calls out four rivals by name: "Isaac said he kissed you, beneath the apple tree / When Benjii held your hand he felt electricity / When Alexander called you, he said he rang your chimes / Christopher discovered you’re way ahead of your time."

A closer look at the lyrics reveals that he's actually referencing Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell and Christopher Columbus.

We hope you enjoy the clip of The Jackson 5 performing "The Love You Save" on The Ed Sullivan Show. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along...

“The Love You Save”
Written by Deke Richards, Freddie Perren, Alphonso Mizell and Berry Gordy Jr. Performed by The Jackson Five.

Stop, you better save it
Stop, stop, stop, you better save it, woo
Do do do do do …

When we played tag in grade school
You wanted to be it
But chasin’ boys was just a fad,
You crossed your heart, you’d quit
When we grew up you traded
Your promise for my ring
Now just like back in grade school
You’re doin’ the same old thing

Stop, the love you save may be your own
Darlin’ take it slow
Or some day you’ll be all alone
You better stop
The love you save may be your own
Darlin’ look both ways before you cross me
You’re heading for a danger zone

I’m the one who loves you
I’m the one you need
Those other guys will put you down
as soon as they succeed

They’ll ruin your reputation
They’ll label you a flirt
The way they talk about you
They’ll turn your name to dirt, oh.

Isaac said he kissed you, beneath the apple tree
When Benjii held your hand he felt electricity
When Alexander called you, he said he rang your chimes
Christopher discovered you’re way ahead of your time

Stop, the love you save may be your own
Darlin’ take it slow or some day you’ll be all alone
You better stop
The love you save may be your own
Darlin’ look both ways before you cross me
You’re headed for a danger zone
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on...

“S” is for save it
“T” is for take it slow
“O” is for oh, no
“P” is for please, please don’t go

The love you save may be your own
Some day you may be all alone
Stop it
Save it girl
Baby, ooh
You’d better stop
The love you save may be your own
Please, please or some day, some day baby
You’ll be heading for a danger zone
(All alone)

I’m the one who loves you
I’m the one you need
Those other guys will put you down
As soon as they succeed

Ooh, stop, the love you save may be your own oh baby
You better stop it, stop it, stop it girl or someday you’ll be all alone

The way they talk about you
They’ll turn your name, turn your name
Stop, the love you save may be your own
Don’t you know, don’t you know
Some day baby you’ll be heading for a danger zone
(All alone)

Those other guys will put you down
As soon as they succeed
(Fade Out)


Credit: Image by CBS Television [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
October 10th, 2018
Inspired by the constellations that light up the night sky of Canada's remote Northwest Territories, "The Diavik Stars of the Arctic" will headline Rio Tinto’s upcoming "Specials" tender — a showcase of rough diamonds greater than 10.8 carats.



Among the diamonds comprising The Diavik Stars is the 177.71-carat "Vega of the Arctic," one of the largest and most valuable gem-quality rough diamonds ever produced at Rio Tinto's Diavik Diamond Mine, which is located just 136 miles (220 km) south of the Arctic Circle.



A second standout is the "Capella of the Arctic," a dazzling yellow diamond that weighs 24.82 carats.



Rio Tinto reports that this yellow diamond is extraordinarily rare because the mine, on average, delivers only five of these diamonds each year. That translates into less than 0.001% of its annual production.



The 59.10-carat "Altair of the Arctic" rounds out the trio of fabulous gems which, as a group, underscore the rare combination of size, quality and color being produced by the Diavik Diamond Mine.

The Diavik Stars of the Arctic will be exhibited in the diamond centers of Antwerp and Israel before bidding closes on October 25.

Astronomy buffs will recognize that the Vega, Capella and Altair diamonds share their names with some of the brightest stars in the night sky.

According to Rio Tinto, the Diavik Diamond Mine produces predominantly gem-quality diamonds destined for high-end jewelry in all major consumer markets around the world.

The mine, which began production in 2003, is jointly owned by Rio Tinto (60%) and Dominion Diamond Mines (40%).

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto.
October 11th, 2018
Gifted to the Smithsonian in 1977 by legendary jeweler Harry Winston, the "Opal Peacock" brooch showcases a 32-carat black opal sourced from Lightning Ridge, Australia. The cabochon-cut gem, which displays a vivid blue and green play-of-color reminiscent of a peacock's plumage, is considered one of the world's finest examples of October's birthstone.



For his Opal Peacock brooch, Winston adorned the kaleidoscopic center stone with sapphires, rubies, emeralds and diamonds set in 18-karat yellow gold. The impressive piece is currently on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

The black opal — characterized by a blue, gray or black body color — is regarded as the king of the opal world. Lightning Ridge, a small outback town in New South Wales, is the only place in Australia, and one of the few places in the world, where the highly prized black opal is found. Other varieties include white opals, boulder opals, crystal opals and fire opals.

According to the Smithsonian, opals can form only when an undisturbed space in a rock holds a clean solution of silica from which water is slowly removed over a period of thousands of years.

The opals consist of transparent spheres of silica that are tightly packed. The voids among the spheres contain only air or water. 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, an opal's silica structure contains 3% to 20% water, according to the American Gem Society.

Since opal was first discovered in Australia circa 1850, the country has produced 95% of the world’s supply. Scientists believe that the abundance of opal can be traced to a vast inland sea that once covered a large portion of Australia.

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.

Even though Australia is the world leader in opal production, the October birthstone is also mined in Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Ethiopia, the Czech Republic and parts of the U.S., including Nevada and Idaho.

Credits: Photos by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.
October 12th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you romantic throwback tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In Tom Jones's soaring rendition of “I (Who Have Nothing),” the Welch crooner assumes the role of a poor man trying to win the heart of his true love. While his rival has the means to buy her diamonds, all Jones can offer are the words, "I love you."



He sings, "He, he buys you diamonds / Bright, sparkling diamonds / But believe me, dear when I say, / That he can give you the world, / But he’ll never love you the way / I love you."

The passionate young man professes his love, but it's not enough.

The song ends with Jones's character — nose pressed against his window pane — painfully watching his love "go dancing by wrapped in the arms of somebody else."

Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, "I (Who Have Nothing)" has been covered by dozens of artists, both male and female, for the past 55 years, but the version that rises above the rest is performed here by Sir Thomas John Woodward (better known as Tom Jones). His powerful interpretation elevated the song to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970.

The first artists to hit the airwaves with “I (Who Have Nothing)” were Ben E. King and Shirley Bassey, both in 1963. Since then, the song has been covered by singers as diverse as Petula Clark, Luther Vandross, Liza Minnelli and Neil Diamond.

Interestingly, "I (Who Have Nothing)" was derived from an Italian song called "Uno Dei Tanti," which translates to "one of many" in English. Joe Sentieri released the Italian version in 1961.

Jones, whose soulful voice and great looks melted hearts during the 1960s and 1970s, has sold more than 100 million records and charted 36 Top-40 hits, including “It’s Not Unusual,” “What’s New Pussycat” and “Delilah.” He's still touring at the age of 78.

We invite you to enjoy the video of Tom Jones performing “I (Who Have Nothing).” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“I (Who Have Nothing)”
Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Performed by Tom Jones.

I, I who have nothing
I, I who have no one
Adore you, and want you so
I’m just a no one,
With nothing to give you but oh
I love you

He, He buys you diamonds
Bright, sparkling diamonds
But believe me, dear when I say,
That he can give you the world,
But he’ll never love you the way
I love you

He can take you anyplace he wants
To fancy clubs and restaurants
But I can only watch you with
My nose pressed up against the window pane
I, I who have nothing
I, I who have no one
Must watch you, go dancing by
Wrapped in the arms of somebody else
When darling it’s I
Who loves you

I love you
I love you
I love you


Credit: Photo by VMusic2016 [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons
October 15th, 2018
As Princess Eugenie exchanged wedding vows with Jack Brooksbank on Friday at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, England, all eyes were on her magnificent emerald tiara.



Dubbed the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara, the diamond-encrusted platinum headpiece features a 93.7-carat oval-shaped emerald center stone flanked by six additional emeralds on each side. Jewelry experts have pegged the value of the tiara at somewhere between $6.5 million and $13 million.



The Greville Tiara was lent to Princess Eugenie by her 92-year-old grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The emerald tiara was originally designed for Dame Margaret Greville in 1919 by Parisian jewelry house Boucheron. The tiara reflects the "kokoshnik" style popularized by the Russian Imperial Court and introduced into western Europe after the Russian Revolution.

When she died in 1942, the socialite left many of her jewels — including the Greville Tiara — to the Queen Mother. Queen Elizabeth II inherited the piece when her mother passed away in 2002 at the age of 101.



Throughout the pageantry of the royal wedding, the tiara was in constant view because the 28-year-old bride chose to forgo the traditional veil.

Her choice of tiara surprised many royal watchers. They had speculated that Princess Eugenie would wear the York tiara, which her mother, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, donned when she married Prince Andrew in 1986.

Instead, Princess Eugenie decided to "go green." Her emerald tiara was complemented by emerald drop earrings, a gift from the 32-year-old groom.



During the marriage ceremony at St. George's Chapel, Brooksbank placed a simple gold wedding band on his bride's finger. Despite its simplicity, the ring reflects a rich royal family tradition. Since the Queen Mother's wedding in 1923, the royal family's wedding bands have been crafted of pure Welsh gold, sourced at the Clogau mine in Bontddu.

The mine dates back to the Bronze Age, and commercial mining began there in the mid-1880s. The mine was closed in the 1990s, but Queen Elizabeth II had received a kilogram of the rare gold for her 60th birthday in 1986. The Queen’s reserves have been the source of royal wedding bands ever since.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/The Royal Family Channel.
October 16th, 2018
New York City's Central Park — the verdant oasis of majestic trees, rolling lawns and bass-stocked ponds just steps away from the bustling metropolis — has been named by Celebrity Cruises as the most popular place in the world to pop the question.



The company analyzed more than one million Instagram posts from the past 12 months with the hashtags #shesaidyes, #hesaidyes, #isaidyes and #proposal to pinpoint the specific places where the most marriage proposals took place.

Interestingly, back in March of this year, the wedding-planning website Hitched.co.uk used a similar methodology — analyzing hashtags such as #bridetobe and #engaged — to define the most popular landmarks associated with engagement messaging.

Of the 16 most popular locations picked by Celebrity Cruises and the 10 most popular spots pinpointed by Hitched, only three appear on both lists. Those include Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Eiffel Tower. The Celebrity list is more global in scope, with 13 of 16 sites outside the U.S. The Hitched version lists only four of 10 outside the U.S.

In March, Hitched had named the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris as the most romantic place on earth. The site estimated that 1 in 500 marriage proposals are posed in front of that picturesque landmark. In fact, while Hitched touted three Disney sites in its Top 10 list, Mickey Mouse's favorite venues didn't even crack the Celebrity Top 16.

Here are the most popular places to pop the question, according to Celebrity Cruises...

The Celebrity Cruises List
1. Central Park, New York


2. Eiffel Tower, Paris


3. Brooklyn Bridge, New York


4. Grand Canyon, Arizona
5. Oia, Santorini, Greece
6. Colosseum, Rome
7. Tower Bridge, London
8. Sydney Opera House, Sydney
9. Louvre, Paris
10. Lake Louise, Banff, Canada
11. The Shard, London
12. Spanish Steps, Rome
13. Taj Mahal, Agra, India
14. (tied) Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles/ Trevi Fountain, Rome
16. Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

Here are the top places to stage a bended-knee photo op, according to Hitched. Please note that Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge, which ranked #1 and #3 on the Celebrity list, are grouped together as #6 on the Hitched list.

The Hitched.co.uk List
1. Disneyland, Paris
2. Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Florida
3. Centennial Lakes Park, Minnesota
4. Eiffel Tower, Paris
5. The Hollywood Sign, California
6. Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge, New York
7. Niagara Falls, Ontario
8. Walt Disney’s Epcot, Florida
9. Big Bear Lake, California
10. Bondi Beach, Sydney

These two lists offer hopeful lovers a wide range of romantic backdrops for their big moment. We hope to see your #proposal posts on Instagram.

Credits: Central Park image by Ed Yourdon from New York City, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons. Eiffel Tower image by HjalmarGerbig [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons. Brooklyn Bridge image by Tiago Fioreze [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons. Grand Canyon image by Sean McMenemy (Flickr: IMAG0834) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons.
October 17th, 2018
With a revolution raging in France in March 1791, Queen Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI prepared for their escape. The queen spent an evening carefully wrapping her most precious jewels in cotton and then packed them neatly into a wooden chest. The diamond, ruby and pearl treasures were secretly shipped to Vienna in the care of Count Mercy Argentau, a loyal retainer to the queen.



“The jewels made it, but unfortunately, she did not,” Daniela Mascetti, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Jewelry Europe, told The New York Post.

Three months later, the royal family was captured in Varennes as they were trying to leave France. Both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were imprisoned and executed by guillotine in 1793. Their son died in captivity shortly afterwards at the age of 10.

Their last surviving child, Marie-Thérèse, was finally allowed to flee to Vienna after serving three years in solitary confinement. There, the teenage princess reclaimed her mother's jewels that had been kept safe by her cousin, the Austrian Emperor Francis II.

The jewelry remained in the queen's family for the next 200 years and has never been seen by the public — until now.

Earlier this week, Sotheby's New York put on display several jewels from the collection of Marie Antoinette. Visitors to the landmark store were even permitted to try on the regal pieces, which will be offered for sale at Sotheby's Geneva on November 14. The jewels are currently on an international tour, with stops in Dubai, New York, London, Singapore, Taipei and Geneva.

The highest-value item in the group is a natural pearl and diamond pendant set with an oval diamond in a diamond bow motif. The slightly baroque drop-shaped natural saltwater pearl measures approximately 15.90mm x 18.35mm x 25.85mm. The piece carries a pre-sale estimate of $1 million to $2 million.



A second notable lot from the collection is a fabulous necklace featuring 119 natural pearls. It is composed of three rows of slightly graduated pearls measuring from approximately 7.3mm to 9.3mm.  Interestingly, 116 were confirmed by a European gem lab to be natural saltwater pearls, while three were found to be natural freshwater pearls. The necklace is adorned with a star-motif clasp set with cushion-shaped, circular-cut and rose-cut diamonds. Estimated price: $200,000 to $300,000.

Marie Antoinette's jewelry is part of a larger auction collection comprised of pieces from the Bourbon Parma family — a family linked to the royal dynasties of France, England, Spain, Austria, Holland and Italy.

"Every jewel is absolutely imbued with history," said Mascetti. "This extraordinary group of jewels offers a captivating insight into the lives of its owners going back hundreds of years. What is also striking is the inherent beauty of the pieces themselves: the precious gems they are adorned with and the exceptional craftsmanship they display are stunning in their own right."

Credits: Jewelry images courtesy of Sotheby's. Marie Antoinette portrait by Joseph Kreutzinger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
October 18th, 2018
They're back! The iconic ruby slippers made famous by actress Judy Garland in the landmark 1939 film The Wizard of Oz return to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., this Friday after an 18-month hiatus and rejuvenating facelift.



Since they were first exhibited in 1979, Dorothy's Ruby Slippers had been a top attraction, but environmental factors, such as light and moisture, had taken their toll. The leather was deteriorating, the ruby-red sequins that once gave the slipper their vibrant color were flaking and the threads holding the sequins in place were frayed. Overall, the slippers appeared dull and washed out. They were crying out for some TLC.

So, exactly two years ago, conservationists at the National Museum of American History launched a Kickstarter campaign to generate the funds to provide Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers with conservation treatment and a new display case. Within 30 days, the campaign exceeded its $300,000 goal with support from more than 6,000 donors.



On Friday, visitors to the museum will see the new-look ruby slippers in their own gallery at the museum's newly renovated third floor West Wing. They are highlighted in an exhibit called the "Ray Dolby Gateway to American Culture," which is dedicated to exploring American history through culture, entertainment and the arts.



The Ruby Slippers will be on view in a state-of-the-art display, along with a prop wand used by Billie Burke, who played Glinda the Good Witch. The wand is on special loan to the museum through November 2019. And the museum’s Scarecrow hat will be shown through February 2019.

Interestingly, Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers are not adorned with rubies. In fact, the bugle beads that prop designers used to simulate rubies proved to be too heavy. The solution was to replace most of the bugle beads with sequins, 2,300 on each slipper. The butterfly-shaped bow on the front of each shoe features red bugle beads outlined in red glass rhinestones in silver settings.

More recently, we learned that the Smithsonian's Ruby Slippers — one of four pairs known to exist — are mismatched. Each shoe has Garland's name hand-written on the inside, along with the "#1" on one shoe and "#6" on the other. Last month, the Ruby Slippers stolen from the Judy Garland museum in 2005 were finally recovered. When Smithsonian conservators inspected the shoes, they realized that the museum's shoes completed two matched pairs.

On Friday and Saturday, museum visitors are encouraged to celebrate the return of the Ruby Slippers by wearing Oz-inspired costumes and red shoes. The museum is located on Constitution Avenue N.W., between 12th and 14th streets, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (except Dec. 25). Admission is free.

Credits: Ruby Slippers photo by Richard Strauss, Smithsonian; The Wizard of Oz publicity shot by MGM (ebay posting) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. "Ray Dolby Gateway to American Culture" photo courtesy of Smithsonian.
October 23rd, 2018
The Golden State Warriors kicked off a new season with a ring ceremony last Tuesday to commemorate their 2017-18 championship run, and as expected, they’re opulent.



The rings’ most interesting feature is the reversible top, the first-of-its-kind for a championship ring. The head of the ring, which can be completely detached from its band, has a centerpiece that can be flipped from blue to white, the Warriors' primary colors. Twisting off the top of the ring reveals the slogan ‘Strength in Numbers’ etched in gold.



There are 56 diamonds set on the right side of the ring to commemorate the number of years the team has been in the San Francisco Bay area. The left side features the player’s name and number, Bay Bridge and “Just Us” slogan. There is an interesting bristly texture (as though it were swept with a broom), celebrating the four-game sweep of the Cavaliers in the 2018 final. The top is a perfect circle to match the footprint of Oracle Arena, the Warriors' current home. And that's just for starters.



There are two trophies on top of the ring, signifying the team’s back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018. The 2017 trophy is 17-karat gold and has .17 carats of white diamonds; the 2018 trophy is 18-karat gold and has .18 carats of white diamonds. Each side has 74 sapphires and diamonds to represent the combined number of wins in the regular season and the playoffs.

When you've won three NBA championships in the past four years (only the 13th team ever to complete such a feat), your championship ring needs some extra bling. Designer Jason Arasheben, aka Jason of Beverly Hills, created the technically challenging rings composed of nearly 20 pieces.



“The highlight of the ring is clearly the reversible feature from the top of the ring. Jason of Beverly Hills really brought something new to the ring design game, and executed his vision beautifully,” stated a Warriors’ spokesperson.

On Tuesday night, as the Warriors headed to the floor in white jackets with “The Champions” inscribed in gold, the team’s accomplishments were announced over the public-address system — dominance practically unheard of in NBA history.

Credits: Images via Twitter/Golden State Warriors; Instagram/Jason of Beverly Hills.
October 24th, 2018
Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe sang "Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend" and wore the 24-carat Moon of Baroda diamond while promoting the Howard Hawks film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953.



"It’s gorgeous!" Monroe gasped when she first set eyes on the pear-shaped, VS2, canary yellow stone. It was the largest diamond she ever wore in her lifetime.

Despite its historical ties to the Maharajas of India and the legendary Golconda mines near Hyderabad, it was an adoring Monroe who helped catapult the Moon of Baroda to international fame.



On November 27, after 18 years in a private collection, the Moon of Baroda will regain the spotlight at Christie's Magnificent Jewels Sale in Hong Kong. The pre-sale estimate is $510,300 to $765,450. When the same stone hit the auction block at Christie's New York in 1990, it fetched $297,000.

This time around, the winning bidder will get a bonus — an autographed publicity shot of the glamorous Monroe wearing the Moon of Baroda. On the photo she wrote, "Thanks for the chance to wear the Moon of Baroda — Marilyn Monroe."

“It’s really hard to give an estimate to such a legendary and historical stone," Christie’s Connie Luk told The Hollywood Reporter. "We give the estimate based on the market price of a 24-carat yellow diamond. We believe that the historical value will add to the price.”

According to Christie's, the Moon of Baroda was likely discovered between the 15th and 17th centuries and owned by the Gaekwads of Baroda, one of India’s wealthiest and most powerful ruling families.

It was later sent by the Gaekwad family to Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, the only female monarch of the Habsburg dynasty. The diamond was returned to the Gaekwad family and set into a necklace in the mid-1800s. The Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad sold it to an unknown buyer in the early 1920s.

The stone was acquired by Cleveland diamond cutter Samuel H. Deutsch in 1944 and sold to Meyer Rosenbaum, president of Detroit-based Meyer Jewelry Company, in 1953. It was Rosenbaum who loaned the diamond to Monroe for her publicity tour.

Luk told The Hollywood Reporter that the anonymous current buyer had a hard time parting with the famous stone.

“We paid him a visit almost every year to ask him if he’s interested in selling, and we were quite persistent," she said. "And finally, this year he said yes to us.”

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.
October 25th, 2018
A diamond-shaped reflective balloon the size of two school buses will be delivered into low-Earth orbit by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in mid-November. Visible from the Earth without the aid of a telescope, the "The Orbital Reflector" by artist Trevor Paglen will appear as bright as a star in the Big Dipper.



The diamond will orbit the Earth for three months, after which it will fall through the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up harmlessly. The high-flying diamond could go down in history as the most widely viewed artwork of all time.

Paglen collaborated with the Nevada Museum of Art on the $1.3 million project that encourages all of us to look up at the night sky with a renewed sense of wonder, to consider our place in the universe and to re-imagine how we live together on this planet.



The rocket's main mission is to place 70 communication satellites into orbit about 350 miles from the Earth. But one of those satellites will be "The Orbital Reflector." The package will start its mission the size of a shoebox, but when it reaches the proper altitude, it will unfurl and then self-inflate into a 100-foot-long diamond in the sky.

It's actually constructed of a lightweight polyethylene material that looks like thin plastic. Reflective titanium dioxide powder coats the sculpture, making it visible from Earth with the naked eye.

The artist and engineers behind the project debated whether the reflector should be a sphere or a diamond. They finally settled on the diamond shape because it could deliver “bigger, brighter and better in flight than a sphere.”

Skywatchers will be able to track the diamond's path using a free app that can post alerts when the high-flying, slow-moving attraction is about to pass over a particular area.

Credits: Images courtesy of Trevor Paglen/Nevada Museum of Art.
October 26th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you new tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Lauren Mayberry of the Scottish synthpop band Chvrches (pronounced churches) implores her young fans to embrace their mistakes and "make them gold."



Written by band members Iain Andrew Cook, Martin Clifford Doherty and Mayberry, "Make Them Gold" is an empowerment anthem that reinforces the notion that nobody is perfect and mistakes are actually a blessing in disguise. They're an essential part of the process of building skills, confidence and attaining one's goals.

She sings, "We are made up of our mistakes / We are falling but not alone / We will take the best parts of ourselves / And make them gold."

Gold, in this case, symbolizes perfection, success and something of great value.

"Make Them Gold" appeared as the fourth track of the group's second studio album, Every Open Eye. Released in 2015, the album went to #1 on both the U.S. Billboard Top Alternative Albums and U.S. Billboard Top Rock Albums charts. It was also an international success, charting in 16 countries, including Scotland, Sweden, Australia and the UK.

Gathering their inspiration from Madonna, Eurythmics, Prince, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush, Death Cab for Cutie and Cyndi Lauper, among others, the band members write, record, mix and master their songs in Glasgow, Scotland.

The odd spelling of Chvrches is attributed to a general concern about how the band may — or may not be — found on the internet. When the band was formed in 2011, the three members had chosen Churches as the name, but changed it to Chvrches with a Roman letter "v" instant of a "u" because they didn't think they'd have a chance to come up at the top of a "churches" search result.

"After we decided on [the name], we realized it was more or less impossible to Google," Doherty told Interview magazine. "There's a girl called Amy who's designed all of our artwork. She'd already stylized the logo with the "V" in it. It kind of felt natural just to go with that. Now, we don't have to compete with anyone, which is cool."

Trivia: Just a few weeks ago, the band appeared in the heart of Texas at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Please check out the video of Chvrches' live performance of "Make Them Gold." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Make Them Gold"
Written by Iain Andrew Cook, Lauren Eve Mayberry and Martin Clifford Doherty. Performed by Chvrches.

Can you tell me what to have
And what to hold
If you never take the way
On your own

No one tells us what is hard
And what is fair
We will deliver once we know
Where to fall

We are made up of our mistakes
We are falling but not alone
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

We are made of the smallest stars
We are breathing and letting go
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

Can you steady all the hands
That you hold
If you never look away
From the drum

If you push yourself then I
Will pull you up
And we will deliver once we know
Where to fall

We are made up of our mistakes
We are falling but not alone
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

We are made of the smallest stars
We are breathing and letting go
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

I will wait to see if you come at all
To stop us falling out of phase
Let's see if we can keep
Track of losing days

You'd smile so wide i can see the stars
To stop us falling out of phase
I will be with you in the fray
With those second thoughts

You asked for all you asked for

We are made up of our mistakes
We are falling but not alone
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

We are made of the smallest stars
We are breathing and letting go
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

And make them gold


Credit: Image capture via YouTube.com.
October 29th, 2018
Justine Aichelberger and Jesse Seads met at a Halloween party seven years ago, so when the young man was plotting a surprise marriage proposal recently, he was determined to include pumpkins — many pumpkins — in his plan.



Seads had arranged for his girlfriend to "win" an aerial tour for two over Vancouver Island. Once airborne, Aichelberger could have hardly predicted that the flight would take her and her boyfriend directly over Gobind Farms, where 640 pumpkins neatly spelled out the question "Justine - Will You Marry Me?"



The romantic groom-to-be pulled out a diamond engagement ring when the pumpkin message came into view. A stunned Aichelberger said, "Yes," and the couple celebrated their engagement with some high-flying selfies and a glass of champagne.

“It kind of read ‘Justine will you marry me’ and it took me a minute for me to take it all in. I was really shocked,” Aichelberger told cheknews.ca. "I’m so happy, he will do anything for me. He would move the world if he could for me. It’s just an amazing feeling.”

Seads had enlisted the help of his parents, Douglas and Julie, friend Andreas Bokelman and 95-year-old neighbor Jim Squire for the tricky task of rolling hundreds of pumpkins precisely into place.



"We got really lucky I think it just turned out really well,” Seads told vancouverislandfreedaily.com.

The flight continued from Saanichton northwest to scenic Courtenay, where the couple gathered with friends and family at a cabin on the beach.

Seads said the pumpkin proposal was well worth the effort.



“Any time she thinks of pumpkins in the future or sees pumpkins, pumpkin pies or whatever, she will think of our engagement day,” Seads told cheknews.ca.

The couple has yet to announce a wedding date.

Credits: Flight images by Justine Aichelberger. Screen captures via cheknews.ca.
October 30th, 2018
Adorned with 600 cultured pearls and valued at $400,000, the bejeweled Tournament of Roses crown was placed on the head of 17-year-old Louise Deser Siskel during a coronation ceremony last Tuesday evening at the Pasadena Playhouse in Southern California.



The newly crowned Rose Queen will lead the 130th edition of the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day in Pasadena. The parade, which features floral floats, spirited marching bands and high-stepping equestrian units along the 5 1/2 mile route, will be followed by the 105th Rose Bowl game.



The crown designed by Mikimoto glistens with hundreds of Akoya cultured pearls, 10 white South Sea cultured pearls from Australia and six carats of diamonds. Mikimoto spokesperson John Cotter told pasadenanow.com that it took about a year to fabricate the crown.



Siskel, a senior at Sequoyah High School in Pasadena, will don the impressive three-pound crown, while her six princesses will be wearing simpler cultured pearl tiaras valued at $90,000 each. The new Rose Queen plans to study cellular and molecular biology and would like to attend Johns Hopkins University.

Once the Rose Parade celebrations have concluded, the crown and tiaras will head back to Mikimoto headquarters in Japan for refurbishing. Mikimoto Kōkichi is credited with creating the first cultured pearl in the late 1800s and subsequently starting the cultured pearl industry.

Historically, the Rose Queen's head adornments have not always been so lavish, according to the Associated Press. In fact, in the early 1900s, the Rose Queens had no crowns. They simply wore hats or garland.

In 1939, a special crown was created for Rose Queen Barbara Dougall to mark the Tournament of Roses’ 50th anniversary. It was reportedly made of crystal rhinestones and featured the tournament's rose logo. Eventually, tournament officials nixed that version in favor of a more traditional design.

Credits: Louise Deser Siskel screen capture via YouTube.com/KTLA 5; Crown photo courtesy of Mikimoto. Queen and her court image via tournamentofroses.com.
October 31st, 2018
On Monday, Gemfields unveiled "Inkalamu," a 5,655-carat Zambian emerald crystal with remarkable clarity and a perfectly balanced golden green hue. The carat weight is equivalent to 1.1 kg or 2.5 lbs.



Inkalamu, which means the "Lion Emerald" in the regional Bemba language, was discovered at the Kagem mine on October 2 by geologist Debapriya Rakshit and veteran emerald miner Richard Kapeta. It will be offered for sale at Gemfields' next auction, which will take place in Singapore in November. Forty-five approved auction partners will be vying for the extraordinary find.



“We expect a number of large, fine-quality cut emeralds to be borne of the Inkalamu crystal,” said Adrian Banks, Gemfields’ Managing Director for Product and Sales. “There might be hundreds of offcuts that are fashioned into smaller gems, cabochons and beads, but the key lies in recovering the fine-quality pieces. Given this emerald is such a rare find, it is also perfectly conceivable that the buyer will choose to purchase it as an investment.”

Gemfields noted that it is extremely difficult to predict what the selling price might be.

Despite its massive size, Inkalamu is not the largest crystal to be unearthed at the Kagem mine. In 2010, it yielded a 6,225-carat emerald that would take the name "Insofu," which is the Bemba word for "elephant."

Gemfields believes that Inkalamu will take its place among the world's most exceptional gemstones of all time, and if the crystal is divided into smaller stones, the "The Pride of Inkalamu," so to speak, will continue the legacy for generations to come.

The name Inkalamu honors the work carried out by two of Gemfields’ conservation partners, the Zambian Carnivore Programme and the Niassa Carnivore Project in Mozambique. Gemfields will divide 10% of Inkalamu’s auction proceeds equally between the two carnivore initiatives.

Kagem, the world's largest emerald mine, is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% owned by the Government of the Republic of Zambia.

Credits: Images courtesy of Gemfields.