James Middleton Jewelers Blog

Articles in July 2017

July 5th, 2017
A Denver tattoo artist tricked his girlfriend into applying her first-ever tattoo — on him — and during the nerve-racking process revealed a hidden tattoo that doubled as a surprise marriage proposal. The video starring Vinny Capaldo-Smith and now-fiancée Brooke Wodark has gone viral on Facebook with more than 12 million views.



Wodark, 23, told ABC News that Capaldo-Smith, 30, had convinced her to tattoo a small heart on his ankle. Because she had never applied a tattoo before she felt very anxious because "you're about to put a needle in somebody."

But while Wordark was nervously working on the heart, Capaldo-Smith slid his shorts up a bit to reveal a secret tattoo he had gotten on his thigh the day before. The tattoo of a boy and a girl holding a "Love" balloon mimicked an illustration Wodark had drawn months before.



“It was an idea from elementary school from when you pass somebody a note to check off the boxes,” Capaldo-Smith told ABC News. “She drew it one night at dinner on a paper tablecloth, and I took a picture of it that night.”

Added to the stick-figure illustration was the question, "Will you marry me?" along with two check boxes, one for "Yes" and the other for "No."

“In my mind I was just scared to tattoo in general,” Wodark told ABC News. “He told me I was going to tattoo a heart on his ankle and I was freaking out. When he whipped out the ring I just started crying. I looked at it for a second and I was like, ‘No way. Are you kidding? That’s not a real tattoo.’”

Wodark composed herself and tattooed a red "X" in the "Yes" box.

Capaldo-Smith presented Wodark with a pear-shaped diamond engagement ring. The center stone is surrounded by a diamond halo and the split-shank band is adorned with diamonds.

Wodark said the proposal caught her totally by surprise.

“I had no idea it was going to happen that day," she said. "I was just over-the-top ecstatic. It was everything I ever wanted and more.”

Wodark summed up her exciting day with a Facebook post on June 23.

"My boyfriend Vinny had always told me he wanted me to tattoo him. I was going in to get a small tattoo done and he told me that it was the day I was finally going to tattoo him instead. I drew out a small heart on his ankle only to be surprised with a proposal, a beautiful ring, and my future husband!!"

The couple is planning a fall 2018 wedding.

Check out the viral video below...


Credits: Couple screen captures via YouTube.com. Tattoo image via Facebook.com/brooke.wodark.
July 6th, 2017
Babe Ruth's 1927 World Series ring marking his record-breaking season playing for what is universally considered the best baseball team in history fetched $2.1 million at the inaugural Lelands.com Invitational Auction on July 1. The auction house had called the ring "baseball's true holy grail."



ESPN.com reported that the Ruth ring set a new auction record for the highest price ever paid for a sports ring, more than quadrupling the previous record held by Julius Erving's ABA championship ring, which sold for $460,741 in 2011.



Actor Charlie Sheen put Ruth's ring up for bid, along with an original copy of the sale document that sent Ruth from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees. That document, which is considered the most important document in sports history, was sold for a winning bid of $2.3 million.



The 14-karat gold World Series ring features a slightly chipped bezel-set round diamond stylized as a sun with rays radiating from the center. Framing the diamond is a decorative array of arrow feathers and the title "New York Yankees World Champions." The inscription "G. H. Ruth" can be clearly seen on the inside of the band. G.H. stands for George Herman.

Both the left and right sides of the ring display an American eagle with its wings spread. Above the eagle's head is a baseball and following the contours of the wings are the words "New York." Below the eagle is the year 1927.

Bohemia, N.Y.-based Lelands.com reported that the ring had been obtained from Babe Ruth's widow, Claire Ruth, in the 1970s by baseball collector Barry Halper. Sheen purchased both the ring and sale document from Josh Evans of Lelands for an undisclosed sum in the early 1990s.
"I've enjoyed these incredible items for more than two decades and the time has come," Sheen told ESPN. "Whatever price it brings is gravy."

Babe Ruth's 1927 World Series ring commemorated an epic season during which he hit a then-record-breaking 60 homes runs, batted .356 and drove in 164 runs. He was on a Yankees team that won 110 games. The team's legendary "Murderers' Row" was a lineup of powerful hitters that included seven future Hall of Famers. The team would go on to sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series.

The highest price ever paid for a sports memorabilia item was a 1920 Babe Ruth game jersey that sold for $4.5 million in 2012.

Credits: Ring images courtesy of Lelands.com. Babe Ruth photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Charlie Sheen photo by Angela George [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
July 7th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, a giant treasure-hoarding coconut crab named Tamatoa boasts that he's the brightest thing that glitters in "Shiny" from Disney's 2016 animated blockbuster, Moana.



Voiced by New Zealand's Jemaine Clement, Tamatoa is a dastardly — but lovable — Disney villain who collects rare sea treasures from the seabed and conspicuously displays them on his shell. The crab claims to "sparkle like a wealthy woman's neck."

Among the treasures he's salvaged from the depths are pearls, diamonds, gold and a power-granting magical fishhook that was lost by our hero, Maui.

The crab sings, "Watch me dazzle like a diamond in the rough / Strut my stuff; my stuff is so... Shiny."

Even though Tamatoa is able to overpower Maui, he is no match for Moana, who tricks the crab into relinquishing the magical hook.

Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Mark Mancina, "Shiny" is the eighth track from the two-CD set titled Moana: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. The album peaked at #2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and charted in 17 countries. The single reached #6 on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.

Miranda is famous for his starring role in the Broadway musical Hamilton. Clement is a comedian, actor, voice actor, singer, writer, director, multi-instrumentalist and one half of the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords.

Moana was released in theaters on November 23, 2016, and went on to gross more than $642 million worldwide.

Please check out the official video of the animated Tamatoa (Clement) performing "Shiny." The video has been viewed more than 114 million times. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Shiny"
Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Mark Mancina. Performed by Jemaine Clement.

Well, Tamatoa hasn't always been this glam
I was a drab little crab once
Now I know I can be happy as a clam
Because I'm beautiful, baby

Did your granny say listen to your heart
Be who you are on the inside
I need three words to tear her argument apart
Your granny lied!
I'd rather be...

Shiny
Like a treasure from a sunken pirate wreck
Scrub the deck and make it look...

Shiny
I will sparkle like a wealthy woman's neck
Just a sec!

Don't you know
Fish are dumb, dumb, dumb
They chase anything that glitters (beginners!)

Oh, and here they come, come, come
To the brightest thing that glitters
Mmm, fish dinners

I just love free food
And you look like seafood
(Like seafood)

Well, well, well
Little Maui's having trouble with his look
You little semi-demi-mini-god
Ouch! What a terrible performance
Get the hook (get it?)
You don't swing it like you used to, man

Yet I have to give you credit for my start
And your tattoos on the outside
For just like you I made myself a work of art
I'll never hide; I can't, I'm too...

Shiny
Watch me dazzle like a diamond in the rough
Strut my stuff; my stuff is so...

Shiny
Send your armies but they'll never be enough
My shell's too tough

Maui man, you could try, try, try
But you can't expect a demi-god
To beat a decapod (look it up)

You will die, die, die
Now it's time for me to take apart
Your aching heart

Far from the ones who abandoned you
Chasing the love of these humans
Who made you feel wanted
You tried to be tough
But your armor's just not hard enough

Maui
Now it's time to kick your...
Hiney
Ever seen someone so...

Shiny
Soak it in 'cause it's the last you'll ever see
C'est la vie mon ami
I'm so...

Shiny
Now I'll eat you, so prepare your final plea
Just for me
You'll never be quite as...
Shiny
You wish you were nice and...
Shiny


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.
July 10th, 2017
Manitoba native Courtney Johnson is harnessing the power of Facebook to find the rightful owner of a three-stone diamond ring her boyfriend found in West Hawk Lake last Tuesday. As of this morning, her Facebook plea had been shared more than 12,000 times.



Johnson and her boyfriend were nearly back to shore after swimming in the picturesque lake, about 160km east of Winnipeg, when the eagle-eyed boyfriend spotted something shimmering on the rocky bottom. He leaned over and scooped up the yellow gold, prong-set diamond ring.

"He was looking down because there's lots of sharp rocks and he saw something shiny so he picked it up," Johnson told CBC News.



At first, Johnson thought that she was in the middle of a surprise marriage proposal, but then realized the ring wasn't part of a ruse. The cherished keepsake had been lost by somebody and she was determined to find the owner.

"It was kind of like ‘Wow. Can this be real?'” Johnson told CTV News Winnipeg. “It looks like it’s been in the water for quite some time because it’s really polished."

Johnson noticed that the ring had a few identifying marks inscribed in the band that would make it easier to confirm the rightful owner.

In a Facebook item dated July 4, 2017, Johnson posted a photo of the ring with this caption: "Found in water at west hawk lake. If you can tell me what is engraved inside then it must be yours. Please share!"

Two days later, she updated the post with a bit more information... "It's engraved with a date and something else. The year is 92."

Johnson also reported her find to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), local jewelers and the region's major media outlets.



Johnson's Facebook page has become a whirlwind of activity. The lost-ring post had been shared more than 12,000 times and a number of Facebook comments focused on Johnson's character.

Wrote Facebook user Aria Dawn, "You're doing an awesome thing by sharing and posting this! The world needs more people like you. Added Kelly Johannsen, "So kind of you! Hope you find the owner!"

Johnson is pleased with the amount of exposure her story has earned.

"I wasn't expecting that at all, but I'm glad it's being shared because maybe the rightful owner or family will come forward for it," she told CBC News. "If I lost a ring, and even if it was 10 years later or 15 years later and somebody found it, I would be so happy."

When one Facebook user asked Johnson if she might sell the ring if nobody came forward to claim it, she told the user that she would never sell it. She wants to keep it available for the rightful owner no matter how long it takes for that person to come forward.

Johnson told CTV News Winnipeg that she intends to turn the ring in to the RCMP.

Credits: Images via Facebook.com/courtney.johnson.9277583. Map by Google Maps.
July 11th, 2017
Since 2004, visitors to the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., have marveled at the Carmen Lúcia Ruby, one of the world's largest and finest examples of July's official birthstone.



At 23.10 carats, the extraordinarily rare Burmese ruby exhibits a richly saturated red color known as "pigeon’s blood.” When the Carmen Lúcia Ruby joined the National Gem Collection 13 years ago, curator Jeffrey Post called the gem "the most important addition to the collection in the 20 years that I’ve been here."



The Carmen Lúcia Ruby is named for Carmen Lúcia Buck, the beloved wife of Dr. Peter Buck, who donated the ring to the Smithsonian after her passing in 2003. Carmen had been undergoing cancer treatments in 2002 and had heard rumors that the magnificent ruby might be coming on the market after being in private hands for decades. Carmen had hoped to purchase the ring to celebrate her recovery. Sadly, she would never wear it.

Knowing how much she admired the ring, Peter Buck, who is now 86, decided to provide the Smithsonian with the funds to purchase it and put it permanently on display. The Carmen Lúcia Ruby would be a gift to the American people and a testament to his everlasting love.

"So it seemed like a really appropriate thing to do, to give it to the nation so people could come and see it," he told The New York Times in 2004. "She would have really liked that people could see it and know it was the Carmen Lúcia Ruby, and that it wasn't locked away in a vault somewhere."

The oval stone was sourced in the fabled Mogok region of Burma in the 1930s and is acknowledged as being one of the largest faceted Burmese rubies in the world. While sapphire, emerald and diamond gems weighing hundreds of carats exist, high-quality Burmese rubies larger than 20 carats are rarely seen.

A nuclear physicist by trade, Peter Buck is famous for making one of the most brilliant investments in U.S. history. In 1965, at the age of 35, Buck loaned $1,000 to his family friend, Fred DeLuca, so he could open a sandwich shop. That shop was intended to help the 18-year-old DeLuca pay for college at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. DeLuca honored his benefactor by naming the shop "Pete's Super Submarines." That single store has since grown into the mammoth Subway chain, with 44,000 restaurants in 112 countries. Buck's net worth is currently estimated at $2.6 billion.

Peter Buck never disclosed how much he donated to the Smithsonian to purchase the ruby. We do know, however, that a similar stone — the 25.59-carat Sunrise Ruby — established a new world record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a ruby when it yielded $30.3 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in May of 2015.

The Carmen Lúcia Ruby can be seen near the Hope Diamond and Logan Sapphire at the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals, which is part of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

Credits: Photos by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.
July 12th, 2017
It's been a symbol of "tech luxury" since the Apple Watch arrived in 2014 and the metal of choice for Pinterest's most-pinned engagement ring style of 2017. It's a material that conveys opulence, elegance, and its warm glow complements any skin tone. The summer sensation that's grabbing all the headlines is rose gold.



If you're wondering how a precious metal like gold can become pink, we have the answer. Rose gold earns its blush when copper is mixed with pure gold. Yes, the magic is the copper content. Depending on the ratio of copper used, the hue can range from a soft pink to a deep red.

Pure 24-karat gold is a relatively soft metal, so jewelry makers learned early on that mixing gold with other metals would make the end product stronger and more resistant to wear. They also learned that adding specific metallic elements could alter the metal's color.

Typically, 18-karat yellow gold is composed of 75% fine gold, 15% copper and 10% fine silver. To make 18-karat rose gold, however, the recipe changes to 75% fine gold, 22.25% copper and 2.75% fine silver. Voilà.

In a feature story on Sothebys.com, the author explained that the use of rose gold in fine jewelry can be traced to 19th century Imperial Russia when Carl Fabergé incorporated the material into the designs of his elaborate Fabergé Eggs. The innovative gold hue earned widespread appeal and was originally dubbed "Russian Gold." As other jewelers from around the world caught on to the trend, the material was given the more generic moniker of "pink gold."

Sotheby's explained that throughout recent history, rose gold has fallen in and out of favor based on social, economic and political upheavals. For instance, rose gold had a strong run during the Roaring Twenties, but lost its sheen after the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

Then, when platinum was declared a "strategic material" during World War II, jewelry designers refocused their attention on yellow and rose gold.

Over the past 50 years, rose gold's popularity has ridden a rollercoaster of changing tastes. Today, it's plain to see that "rose gold" is once again at the top of its game.

Credit: Image by BigStockPhoto.com.
July 13th, 2017
Gone with the Wind fans will get a fascinating glimpse at "the real, and unexpected, Vivien Leigh" when Sotheby's London brings to auction 250 of the illustrious leading lady's personal items on September 26.



Leigh, who is most famous for her role as Scarlett O’Hara, loved clothes and jewelry, and was not afraid to mix historic jewels with contemporary couture. Highlighted lots include a large mid-19th-century diamond bow brooch/pendant that Sotheby's described as the ultimate accessory. The bow motif appeared frequently in Leigh’s wardrobe, and this piece is expected to yield $32,000 to $45,000 at auction.



A second highlighted jewelry item is a gold ring gifted to Leigh by her second husband, British actor and director Laurence Olivier. The ring has an inscription that reads "Laurence Olivier Vivien Eternally" and is expected to sell in the very affordable range of $515 to $770.

“Behind the guise of the most glamorous and talked-about woman of her age we find a fine art collector, patron, even a bookworm, who was the intellectual equal of the literati, artists and aesthetes she counted among her coterie," commented Harry Dalmeny, chairman of Sotheby’s UK. "This is our chance to discover the real, and unexpected, Vivien Leigh."



Also up for grabs is a silver cigarette box (high estimate of $770) from Myron Selznick, the talent agent who helped Leigh land one of the most coveted roles in cinematic history; Leigh’s copy of Margaret Mitchell’s novel, Gone With the Wind, complete with a handwritten poem from the author ($9,000); and a bound copy of the original film script ($4,500) from the epic 1939 motion picture.

The two-time Academy Award winner, who was only 25 when she starred with Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind, died in 1967 at the age of 53. Her collection had been passed down to her daughter, Suzanne Farrington, who died two years ago. Farrington's sons chose to put their grandmother's possessions up for auction.

Their joint statement read, “We hope people take as much pleasure from this collection as our grandparents, parents and families have done.”

Overall, the 250 lots are expected to yield about $650,000. More information about the September sale will be released later in the summer, according to Sotheby's.

Credits: Photos of auction items courtesy of Sotheby's. Leigh and Clark Gable photo by Deems Taylor, Published by Simon & Schuster, New York (page 319 A Pictorial History of the Movies) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
July 14th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we often shine the spotlight on inspirational songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, five-time Grammy nominee Brandon Heath seeks divine intervention in "Diamond," his 2012 song about a young coal miner who is hardly living up to his potential. He wants to be a better man, but needs God's help to find the "diamond" buried deep inside.



He sings, "I got something down inside of me / That only You can see / Help me dig a little deeper now / And set that diamond free."

For Heath, the diamond symbolizes the ability to bring his life to the next level — a life of clarity, not confusion, of compassion, not cruelty, of ambition, not excuses.

In the last lines of the song, Heath invites the Almighty to seek him out in the coal mine: "Come down with your old flashlight / Underground, black as night / No telling what you’re gonna find in me."

"Diamond" is the fourth track on Heath's fourth studio album, Blue Mountain. The album is unique because each song takes place in the Blue Mountains and is told from the point of view of a particular character. The real and fictional players featured in the songs include his grandfather, his mentor, a farmer, a coal miner and a death-row inmate. Each song weaves a message of hope, love and redemption.

When it was released in 2012, the album earned strong reviews and a #5 spot on Billboard's U.S. Christian Albums chart. It also reached #97 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

“[The songs] are all kind of telling my story a little bit,” Heath revealed to The Clarion-Ledger. “[They talk] about my own fears, and my own desires. As a songwriter, it was more fun to give someone else my own voice. I think the best way to describe a place is to describe its people. And so, all these characters tell a story about what Blue Mountain is and who lives there.”

Born in Nashville, Tenn., Brandon Heath Knell turns 39 next Friday. The son of a police officer dad and hairdresser mom, Heath received his first guitar as a Christmas gift when he was 13. In high school, he converted to Christianity and explored his spirituality by participating in faith missions to India and Ecuador. Those trips helped inspire a career in contemporary Christian music.

Please check out the audio track of Heath performing "Diamond." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Diamond"
Written by Brandon Heath, Ross Copperman and Lee Thomas Miller. Performed by Brandon Heath.

My father’s father broke this ground
Daddy mined till we laid him down
Only God knows what they found beneath
Now here I stand in my own boots
Ax to grind and a point to prove
Tangled up in my own roots, it seems

I got treasure up in Heaven
I got dirt all over me
I have only scratched the surface
Of the man I’m meant to be
I got something down inside of me
That only You can see
Help me dig a little deeper now
And set that diamond free

Why do I do the things I do
All the things that I don’t want to
Act like I don’t fear You at all
Hard head and a heart of stone
Older now but I haven’t grown
Any riches that I have to show are small

Set it free
Set it free
Set it free
Set it free

Come down with your old flashlight
Underground, black as night
No telling what you’re gonna find in me


Credits: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
July 17th, 2017
When astronaut Edward H. White II became the first American to step outside his spacecraft and let go, the visor of his helmet was plated with an ultra-thin layer of gold to protect him from the unfiltered rays of the sun. If you look closely at the image below, you'll also notice that his 25-foot lifeline back to the Gemini IV spacecraft was wrapped in gold tape.



It was 1965 and scientists at NASA depended on gold's amazing characteristics to ensure a safe and successful mission. Gold is highly reflective of heat and light, so NASA scientists coated the visors with a gold layer so thin — 0.000002 inches — that astronauts could see through it.

While gold was a largely unsung hero of America's early space program, man's infatuation with this precious metal can be traced back 6,000 years to the ancient Thracian civilization. Worked-gold objects made around 4000 BC were discovered at a burial site near Varna, Bulgaria.

Despite being enchantingly beautiful, gold demonstrates a wide range of extraordinary properties — qualities well known to the jewelry, electronics, medical and dental industries.

For instance, gold is nature's most malleable metal. That means that it can be pounded so thin that one ounce of gold could cover about 100 square feet of a surface. The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) calculated that it would take 576 ounces (or just 36 pounds) of gold to completely cover a football field.

Gold leaf typically measures 0.18 microns in thickness (about 7 millionths of an inch), and according to AMNH, a stack of 7,055 sheets would be no thicker than the width of a dime.

Gold is also ductile, which means that it can be made into the thinnest wire. The AMNH notes that one ounce of gold can be drawn into 50 miles of wire, five microns thick.

Of all the gold mined this year, expect 78% of it to be made into fine jewelry. Other industries consume about 12%, and the remaining 10% is supplied to financial institutions. Jewelry designers and manufacturers love to use gold because of its high luster, its ability to be cast into shapes, drawn into wires and hammered into sheets. It possesses a beautiful golden color, but also can be alloyed into many hues, including pink, white and green. And, what's more, it will never tarnish.

Fun fact: The largest accumulation of gold lies 80 feet below street level at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The vault houses $147 billion in gold bullion — a bounty that weighs a staggering 5,000 metric tons.

Credit: Image by NASA/James McDivitt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
July 18th, 2017
A Russian luxury brand famous for its blinged-out, over-the-top iPhones and accessories has just introduced a solid gold version of the world's most popular toy — the fidget spinner.



While many a fidgety kid has doled out less than $10 for his spinner, those with an eye on Caviar's newest release will have to come up with 999,000 rubles — that's $16,840 to you and me.

The top-of-the-line version is crafted from 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of solid gold and is adorned with "Fine Gold" markings on each of the three lobes and the Caviar Royal Gift logo on the center bearing.

The firm is also offering a gold-plated fidget spinner encrusted with diamonds for 99,000 rubles ($1,650) and a simpler gold-plated version without diamonds for 14,900 rubles ($251).

The year 2017 will be forever remembered as The Year of the Fidget Spinner. The toy exploded on the scene this past spring and became an international phenomenon. Kids couldn't put them down and retailers couldn't keep them in stock. On the down side, educators saw them as a distraction and went to great lengths to keep them out of school.

For those of you who have never seen a fidget spinner in action, it's basically a flat, multi-lobed structure made of plastic or metal that resembles the triple heads of an electric shaver. The center consists of a bearing that allows the lobes to spin freely along the device's axis. The user holds the center of the spinner in one hand and propels the lobes with the other.

The fidget spinner gets its name from the type of person who is said to benefit from handling the device. Apparently, the toy is calming to children and adults who have trouble controlling their fidgety nature. Advocates of the fidget spinner claim the device can benefit kids with anxiety, ADHD and autism.

Currently in a pre-order phrase, the solid gold Caviar fidget spinner is scheduled to officially hit the market in August 2017.

Credit: Image via caviar-phone.ru.
July 19th, 2017
When the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona failed to meet its reserve price at Sotheby's London in June of 2016, the disappointing result was the first signal that the massive diamond was just too big to sell. The final bid of $61 million fell short of the $70 million reserve price.



Now, 13 months later, diamond-industry insiders are buzzing about the likelihood that Canada-based Lucara Diamond Corp., which mined the stone in Botswana, will have to carve up the world's largest rough diamond in order to attain its maximum value.

Originally, Lucara and its chief executive William Lamb were hoping that Lesedi La Rona's buyer would forgo the opportunity to process the large rough into many smaller diamonds — and leave it in its natural state. Instead of working with members of the upper echelon of the diamond trade, Lamb decided to put the huge diamond on the international stage at Sotheby's. He was confident a deep-pocketed collector would appreciate the historical significance of the gem and essentially leave it alone.



"It's only the second stone recovered in the history of humanity over 1,000 carats," he told Reuters. "Why would you want to polish it? The stone in the rough form contains untold potential. As soon as you polish it into one solution, everything else is gone."

Cutting a rough diamond of this size is uncharted territory for the few elite diamond firms that have the finances and skill set to make a deal with Lucara. While an 1,109-carat rough diamond could yield the world's largest polished diamond — the current record is held by the 530.20-carat Great Star of Africa — the cutting process is fraught with risks and there are no guarantees.

"When is a diamond too big? I think we have found that when you go above 1,000 carats, it is too big — certainly from the aspect of analyzing the stones with the technology available," Panmure Gordon mining analyst Kieron Hodgson told Reuters.

Breaking the Lesedi La Rona into smaller, less risky parcels might generate more buyer interest. We already know that Lucara successfully sold the 813-carat "Constellation" to a Dubai trading company for a record $63 million, and Laurence Graff purchased the 374-carat broken shard from Lesedi La Rona for $17.5 million. All three diamonds were mined within three days of each other in 2015.

Holding onto the diamond for too long may have a negative effect on Lucara's potential payday. New technology employed by the world's largest diamond mining companies has resulted in the recovery of many more 100-carat-plus stones. Previously, the sorting machines would fracture the largest crystals instead of identifying and preserving them.

It may be only a matter of time before the next 1,000-carat diamond is revealed to the world. If and when that happens, the novelty connected to Lesedi La Rona's extraordinary size may be lost, along with some of its value.

Credit: Images courtesy of Sotheby’s.
July 20th, 2017
In a video that's become an instant sensation on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, choreographer and dancer Phil Wright proposed to his shocked girlfriend, Ashley Liai, in the middle of an elaborate dance routine.



The couple had started dating exactly eight years ago when she was attending his dance class, so the 26-year-old Wright decided to surprise his 29-year-old girlfriend in front of a large crowd of dance students at the Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles.



As the routine begins, we see a series of young couples demonstrating Wright's expressive choreography set to John Legend's "You & I (Nobody In The World)." About three minutes into the number, Wright and Liai step into the spotlight to show to the younger dancers how it's done. Throughout their part of the performance, Wright tapped his back-left pocket to ensure the ring box has stayed put.



During one critical point in the choreography, Liai turns away from her boyfriend for just a moment. When she turns back toward him, he has already pulled the ring box from his pocket and is down on one knee.



Totally surprised, Liai bursts into tears as the equally astonished students scream their approval. The look on Liai's face is priceless, as are the expressions of the tiniest dance students, who are probably witnessing a marriage proposal for the first time.



Wright says, "You know I love you with all my heart. Ashley Liai, will you marry me?"

Liai answers with a breathless, "Yes."

The couple embraces and then Wright slips a diamond ring on Liai's finger.



A ring selfie later posted to Instagram reveals that Wright chose for his new bride a four-prong diamond solitaire set in a plain gold band.

"To my knowledge all I knew is that we were doing a couples class on our anniversary," she told Daily Mail Online. "I had no idea the man of my dreams would ask me to be his forever. We met in class so it's just so perfect that he asked me to be his future wife in the same setting. This moment was truly unforgettable for the both of us. I'm still on cloud nine."

On her Instagram page, Liai posted a sweet photo of her embracing her new fiancé. The caption appropriately read: "Never letting go... 7.12.17 #MyMrWright."

Wright and Liai's proposal video has been picked up by a number of top media outlets, including TIME, Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, Mashable, Huffington Post and Popsugar.

The YouTube video below has been viewed more than one million times. It runs more than six minutes, but you can advance the video to the 3:10 mark, the point at which Wright and Liai start their dance.


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com. Ring photo via Instagram/Phil Wright.
July 21st, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you exciting new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Coldplay introduces us to the curious phrase "diamonds ate the radio" with the July 14 release of "Aliens."



In the song's animated video, we see a family of aliens — rendered as armless orb-like beings — fleeing their war-torn planet. They dodge artillery fire while being pursued by giant spike-headed worms. The family ascends skyward to meet up with their spacecraft — and enter a secured portal just in the nick of time. The family travels to a new planet, but yearn to return home again.

The saga of the orb people is a metaphor for the dire circumstances currently faced by millions of migrants who have been forced to flee their homeland. Proceeds from "Aliens" will benefit the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), an international non-governmental organization that rescues migrants at sea.

Now, let's get back to the phrase that qualifies "Aliens" as a Music Friday tune. In the first two lines of the song, frontman Chris Martin sings, "We were just about to lose our home / Diamonds ate the radio."

At first blush, the diamond lyrics had us truly stumped. What could they possibly mean?

But, then we found a Reddit thread that focused on that exact question.

One Reddit contributor believes that "diamonds ate the radio" is a reference to artists being pressured to churn out overproduced music that conforms to a certain proven standard. A second Reddit user is confident the diamond reference is a nod to the ultimate RIAA sales threshold, where artists earn a diamond certification for an album that's shipped more than 10 million units.

Perhaps the writers of "Aliens" had both explanations in mind when they introduced a doomed future society that's not only under fire, but where only diamond-certified songs will get any airplay.

"Aliens" was released as the third track from Coldplay's new EP Kaleidoscope. Coldplay's pledge to donate proceeds from the song to MOAS received warm coverage from both RollingStone.com and Billboard.com. The Youtube video has been viewed more than 4.7 million times.

With more than 80 million records sold worldwide, Coldplay ranks as one of the world’s best-selling music groups. In December 2009, Rolling Stone readers ranked Coldplay as the fourth-best band of the 2000s. The group has earned five MTV Video Music Awards, seven Grammy Awards and 31 Grammy nominations.

Please check out the "Aliens" animated video. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Aliens"
Written by Brian Eno, Rik Simpson and Markus Dravs. Performed by Coldplay.

We were just about to lose our home
Diamonds ate the radio
Moving in the dead of night
We took photographs just some just so
History has some to know
We were moving at the speed of flight

Kids cry
If you want to
That's alright
If you want to
Hold me
Hold me tight

Just an alien

We were hovering without a home
Millions are UFO
Hovering in hope some scope tonight
Sees the light and says

Fly if you want to
That's alright
But if you want to
Call me
Call this line

Just an alien
Just an alien
Oh, we just want to get home again

Tell your leader
Sir or ma'am
We come in peace
We mean no harm
Somewhere out there
In the unknown
All the E.T.'s are phoning home
Watching my life
On the skyline
Crossing your eyes
For a lifetime

Just an alien
Moving target
Target movement
A patch, a corner
Of the spacetime
Just an alien
Turning toward it
Turning pages
Over Asia
Crossing ages
Just an alien
Oh, we just want to get home again


Credit: Screen captures via YouTube.com.
July 24th, 2017
Last month, Wisconsin resident Destinee Fitzgerald woke up a bit earlier than usual to check the time on her cell phone. She became terrified when she smelled smoke in her apartment and heard the the faint sound of a neighbor's smoke alarm. She looked out the window and saw flames leaping from her landlord's air conditioner.



In an instant, she scooped up her four-year-old daughter, Deana Marie, and dashed to safety. Left behind in her bedroom, on top of a framed photo of her unborn son's ultrasound, was a cherished family heirloom — her grandma's diamond ring.

Mauston firefighters arrived on the scene but couldn't keep the blaze from completely gutting her apartment.

It took several weeks before the local authorities deemed the conditions safe enough to allow residents back into the building to salvage their property. Destinee was sure her grandmother's ring had perished in the fire.

“Yeah, I just felt terrible about it,” Destinee told the Juneau County Star-Times. “It was so bad because the ring was something that stood out to me and something I wanted to pass on to my own daughter.”

Destiny's mom, Dana Fitzgerald, had other ideas. She bravely navigated up the badly damaged steps and into the blackened rooms.



“She kept saying, ‘Mom, don’t go up there, it’s not safe,’” Dana told the Juneau County Star-Times. “But I was determined to find this ring. I made it all the way to the back bedroom. I lifted up some soaking wet papers and there was this shiny, beautiful ring sitting on top of the frame of my grandson’s ultrasound. I put it right on my finger so I wouldn’t lose it.”

Dana had received the ring from her mother, Donna "Hookie" Chamberlain, who passed away in 1998 when Destinee was just two years old. Dana was determined to give Deana Marie an opportunity to be the fourth generation to wear the ring.



On Facebook, Destinee summarized her ordeal: "What a crazy couple days it has been. I can't stop thanking God that I happened to wake up to check my phone that night... It's the most terrifying thing waking up to smoke in your home and not knowing what's going on. My first thought was, 'Oh my gosh. Get my baby girl out of this!'"

Destinee told the Juneau County Star-Times that the only reason she had taken off the ring was because her fingers had become swollen during her pregnancy. She reported that the ring is back on her finger.

“Even though it is a material thing, it is more than just a ring,” Destinee said. “There is a lot of meaning behind it because I don’t have my grandma around anymore. I’m back to wearing it every day, unless my finger is swollen, of course.”

Credit: Ring image by Dana Fitzgerald. Other images via Facebook/Destinee Fitzgerald.
July 25th, 2017
On Sunday, after 21 days and 2,500 grueling miles, British road racing cyclist Chris Froome got to hold aloft the coveted Tour de France trophy — but Frenchman Cyril Gautier got the girl.



About 20km into the race's last leg into Paris, the 29-year-old Gautier called over to a motorcycle cameraman who was able to capture a very special moment when the rider revealed a handwritten note scrawled in thick black marker. Written on a page ripped from the spiral-bound official route profile was the French phrase, "Caroline, Veux tu m'épouser? Je t'aime," which translates to “Caroline, Will you marry me? I love you.” The note was punctuated by a large heart.



The jubilant Gautier, wearing his team's blue, brown and white colors, then blew a kiss into the camera, presumably directed at his girlfriend.



At that moment, fellow Frenchman Pierre Rolland rode alongside Gautier and shouted, "Dis oui! Dis oui," which means "Say yes! Say yes!” Dressed in bright green gear, Rolland, who obviously knew in advance of Gautier's proposal plan, smiled at the camera, released his handle bars and shaped a heart with his fingers.

While Gautier's proposal to his long-time girlfriend was seen in real time, curious viewers didn't know Caroline's response until a few hours later.



Tour de France commentator Robbie McEwen posted the news on Twitter. He wrote, "Update on the @LeTour marriage proposal by Cyril Gautier... she said YES."

Gautier, who is a member of the AG2R La Mondiale team, finished his eighth Tour de France Sunday evening in a respectable 48th place. For much of the race he had helped secure a top-three finish for his teammate Romaine Bardet. The three-week race covers challenging terrain in France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain and Switzerland, and ends at the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris.

If you're wondering how a cyclist could manage to pull off a proposal in the middle of a race, the answer is that the last leg of the Tour de France is largely ceremonial. The eventual winner usually has amassed an unsurmountable lead during the previous legs, so the "racing" on the final day is less intense. The racers will not challenge the leader in deference to the previous weeks' accomplishments.

Gautier's memorable racing proposal went down in less than 20 seconds. Check out the video here...


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.
July 26th, 2017
For the past 27 years, a succession of golden retrievers — each playing the role of "Jake The Diamond Dog" — have delighted minor league baseball fans from coast to coast. Just recently, however, Jake's brilliant and adorable on-field antics have caught the attention of huge media outlets and made him an instant celebrity.



The current Jake, whose real name is Deuce, took over the role in 2009. The handsome, well tempered pooch is often called "the best darn dog in professional baseball."



If you've been to a minor league contest featuring the Fort Wayne TinCaps, South Bend Cubs, Louisville Bats or Columbus Clippers over the past quarter century there is a good chance that you've already seen one of the Jakes in action.



The current iteration of Jake delights the crowd by taking water bottles out to the umpires in a little straw basket. The pup waits patiently while the umpire rehydrates and returns the empty bottle. The dog is also responsible for taking the game ball to the pitcher before the start of the contest, standing by the pitcher during the National Anthem, shagging foul balls, picking up stray bats and catching Frisbees between innings.



Before the game, fans will often see Jake The Diamond Dog meeting and greeting fans as they enter the ballpark. Pre-game activities also include searching the stands for that day's "Ballpark Sweetheart," who is typically a little red-headed girl with Jake's colorations. During the game, the Sweetheart is introduced to the crowd and Jake brings her a bouquet of flowers.

Adorable pups doing adorable things have become a staple of social media, and Jake The Diamond Dog is riding a wave of popularity. Just recently, he's caught the attention of Inside Edition, People Magazine, the Washington Post and the BBC. Jake also has become a darling of social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Jake The Diamond Dog has his own Facebook page, and this is where upcoming appearances are promoted. The Events section outlines three upcoming ballgames in Ft. Wayne (Aug. 1), Louisville (Aug. 20) and Columbus (Aug. 21).



When he's not performing during the game, Jake keeps out of harm's way by resting in an inflatable dog house on the first base line.

The original Jake The Diamond Dog was trained by Jeff "Dog Man" Marchal in 1990. That dog, whose real name was Jericho, caught the attention of Mike Veeck, who specialized in minor league promotions. Veeck was impressed when he witnessed Jericho delivering items curb-side at a drive-thru farm store, and then taking the customer's money and bringing it back to Marchal. Veeck wondered if Marchal could train the dog to bring water bottles to the umpires. Clearly the answer was yes, and the rest is history.

Marchal believes that Deuce loves his role as Jake The Diamond Dog.

"The dog does a great job and we share a lot of stories with the fans,” he told Inside Edition. “His tail's always wagging. I think he enjoys it a whole lot.”

Deuce is the fourth golden retriever to portray Jake The Diamond Dog. Marchal told Inside Edition that he's getting so many calls for bookings that he may consider training a new "Diamond Dog" in the near future.

Check out the video of Jake The Diamond Dog doing what he does best...


Credits: Top image via Instagram/MelissaBooker. Other images via Facebook/Jake The Diamond Dog.
July 27th, 2017
So, you thought finding a needle in a haystack was tough. How about finding a diamond engagement ring at the bottom of a cascading — and very cold — waterfall?



That was the challenge for Maine resident Evan Nadeau, whose fiancée, Erin Helfen, had lost her solitaire ring while swimming under the Buttermilk Falls in scenic central Maine. The couple had enjoyed a day of hiking and swimming, but it wasn't until later that Helfen realized her ring was missing.



"It was awful," Helfen told local CBS affiliate WABI. "We had just come out of a swimming hole and [then] we had hiked about a quarter of a mile. I'm one of those people who kind of fidgets with her rings, so I was about to fidget with it when I looked down and it wasn't there. I was just like, 'Oh my God, oh my God.'"

After inspecting some selfies that they took during their trip, the couple could tell that the ring was on Helfen's finger when they got to the falls, but was missing after their swim. They were pretty sure the ring had found its final resting place at the bottom of the falls.



Helfen and Nadeau have a wedding planned for September 23, so the loss of their engagement ring was particularly heart wrenching. It hadn't been insured and the couple was not able to replace it.

But then, two weeks after the ring was lost, Nadeau was not ready to give up. He had formulated a new plan to get his fiancée's ring back. The future groom scooped up his diving gear and made a solo 70-mile drive back to the falls. Despite the frigid water, he was determined to spend hours submerged, scouring every nook and cranny of the rocky bottom while getting pummeled by the torrent. Nadeau said the water was so cold that his knees turned blue.



Despite impossible odds, Nadeau spotted the ring.

"After about the second hour in the water, after combing the area really well, I just saw the two prongs on her ring," Nadeau told WABI. "Her band had been wedged under a rock... The next thing you know I had the ring on my finger. I couldn't believe it. There was somebody looking out for me because there's no way I should have found that."



Instead of calling his fiancée with the good news, Nadeau kept his miraculous find a secret until he got back home.

Helfen greeted Nadeau as he pulled up in his truck. He told her that it was a hard, long day and that he got sick of being in the water. He was getting tired of it.

And then he said, "Well, what I don't get tired of is asking you to marry me."

Nadeau, who is a Registered Nurse at Eastern Maine Medical Center, pulled the ring out of his pocket and proposed again.

Helfen, who just earned her Master's degree in speech-language pathology at the University of Maine, believes that the ring symbolizes how the couple was "just meant to be together."

Nadeau couldn't be happier. "She got her sparkle back," he said.

Credits: Images via Facebook/Evan Nadeau; screen captures via WABI.tv.
July 28th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you hit songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we feature superstar Tim McGraw singing Billboard's #1 country hit of 1998, "Just to See You Smile."



In this song about selflessness, unconditional love and heartbreak, McGraw portrays a hard-working Texas miner who is willing to do just about anything to make his girlfriend happy — and that includes lavishing her with fine jewelry.

In the very first lines of the song, McGraw sings, "You always had an eye for things that glittered / But I was far from bein' made of gold / I don't know how but I scraped up the money / I just never could quite tell you no."

The miner leaves his job in Amarillo to relocate with her to Tennessee, but the relationship quickly breaks down. The girlfriend finds a new lover and our hero graciously tells her that he's happy for her.

"And given the chance I'd lie again," he admits. "It's worth all that's lost / Just to see you smile."

Released in August 1997, the song would go on to spend 42 weeks on the Billboard Country chart — the longest chart run for any country single in the 1990s.

"Just to See You Smile" was the third single from McGraw's fourth studio album, Everywhere. Both the song and the album topped the Billboard Country charts.

The son of New York Mets star pitcher Tug McGraw, Samuel Timothy "Tim" McGraw was born in Delhi, La., in 1967. Tim was brought up by his step-dad, Horace Smith, and didn't know that the famous athlete was his biological father until he was 11. He signed his first record deal with Curb Records in 1990 and married country singer Faith Hill in 1996.

McGraw has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide, and 25 of his singles have gone to #1 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs chart. He has also won three Grammy Awards, 14 Academy of Country Music awards, 11 Country Music Association (CMA) awards, 10 American Music Awards and three People's Choice Awards.

Please check out the audio track of McGraw’s performance of “Just to See You Smile.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

"Just To See You Smile"
Written by Mark Nesler and Tony Martin. Performed by Tim McGraw.

You always had an eye for things that glittered
But I was far from bein' made of gold
I don't know how but I scraped up the money
I just never could quite tell you no
Just like when you were leavin' Amarillo
To take that new job in Tennessee
And I quit mine so we could be together
I can't forget the way you looked at me

Just to see you smile
I'd do anything
That you wanted me to
And all is said and done
I'd never count the cost
It's worth all that's lost
Just to see you smile

When you said time was all you really needed
I walked away and let you have your space
Cause leavin' didn't hurt me near as badly
As the tears I saw rollin' down your face
And yesterday I knew just what you wanted
When you came walkin' up to me with him
So I told you that I was happy for you
And given the chance I'd lie again

Just to see you smile
I'd do anything
That you wanted me to
And all is said and done
I'd never count the cost
It's worth all that's lost
Just to see you smile

Just to see you smile
I'd do anything
That you wanted me to
And all is said and done
I'd never count the cost
It's worth all that's lost
Just to see you smile


Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Budd Butcher (Public Domain) via Wikimedia Commons.
July 31st, 2017
An ultra-rare, 2.11-carat, fancy red diamond known as the Argyle Everglow headlines the 2017 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender – an annual showcase of the rarest diamonds from Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Western Australia.



The Argyle Everglow, which earned a grade of fancy red VS2 from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), is the largest fancy red diamond ever to appear at an Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender. One gem expert told CNN that he believes the radiant-cut gem may sell for $10 million or more.

If the Argyle Everglow achieves that price, it will set a record for the highest price ever paid per carat for a gemstone. The current record is held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine, which sold for $48 million, or a bit over $4 million per carat.

“We are delighted to announce this historic diamond at our Tender preview, a testament to the unique Argyle ore-body that continues to produce the world’s rarest gems,” noted Rio Tinto Copper & Diamonds chief executive Arnaud Soirat.

Fancy red diamonds are so rare that the Tender typically releases only four, or so, per year. In fact, in the 33-year history of the Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender there have been fewer than 20 carats of fancy red certified diamonds sold.

"The Argyle Everglow represents rarity within rarity and will drive global demand from collectors and connoisseurs in search of the incomparable,” added Argyle Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson.

The 2017 Tender, known as "Custodians of Rare Beauty," comprises 58 diamonds weighing a total of 49.39 carats.



The collection includes five “hero” diamonds selected for their unique beauty and named to ensure there is a permanent record of their contribution to the history of the world’s most important diamonds:

• Argyle Everglow™ — 2.11-carat radiant-cut fancy red diamond
• Argyle Isla™ — 1.14 carat radiant-cut fancy red diamond
• Argyle Avaline™ — 2.42-carat cushion-cut fancy purple-pink diamond
• Argyle Kalina™ — 1.50-carat oval-cut fancy deep pink diamond
• Argyle Liberté™ — 0.91-carat radiant-cut fancy deep gray-violet diamond

It is believed that red diamonds get their rich color from a molecular structure distortion that occurs as the jewel forms in the earth’s crust. By contrast, other colored diamonds get their color from trace elements, such as boron (yielding a blue diamond) or nitrogen (yielding yellow), in their chemical composition.

The 2017 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender will be showcased in New York, Hong Kong and Perth with bids closing on October 11, 2017.

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto.