James Middleton Jewelers Blog

Articles in May 2018

May 1st, 2018
A New England man recently received the stunning news that his 1854-S Half Eagle coin is not a counterfeit, as "experts" had told him, and is likely worth millions. It was authenticated as only the fourth known example of the $5 denomination coin struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1854 during the California Gold Rush.

Slightly smaller than a quarter, the Half Eagle is historically rare because Mint records indicate that just 268 of them were struck in San Francisco in 1854, the first year of coin production. On the reverse, the "S" under the eagle stands for the San Francisco Mint.

Out of the short run of 268 gold coins, only three were known to still exist. One of them is in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. A second is owned by a Texas family and a third had dropped off the radar when it was stolen from the DuPont family in Florida in 1967.

The Smithsonian provided high-resolution images of its coin to Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) to assist with authentication of the one owned by the New England man, according to NGC chairman Mark Salzberg.

A careful examination of the newly discovered specimen ruled out the possibility that it was the stolen coin connected to the DuPont family, and just as importantly, it was deemed to be genuine.

"It's like finding an original Picasso at a garage sale," noted Salzburg. "It's the discovery of a lifetime."

The New England man, who wishes to remain anonymous, had shown the coin to collectors and dealers at a recent coin show. Each of the so-called "experts" dismissed his coin as a counterfeit because they knew that there were only three surviving 1854 San Francisco Mint $5 gold pieces known to exist.

Undaunted, the man sought the assistance of Sarasota, Fla.-based NGC, the world's largest rare coin authentication company.

"Our initial reaction on examining the coin was utter disbelief that a rarity of this magnitude could still be discovered in this era," said NGC president Rick Montgomery. "But upon seeing the coin in person for the first time, it was apparent that the coin is genuine."

Salzburg said that the New England man was "stunned" when he learned that his $5 gold piece was, indeed, a genuine, 164-year-old, multi-million-dollar coin.

Newsweek.com reported that the owner is looking to put the coin up for auction. A San Francisco-based coin dealer told the San Francisco Chronicle that the coin would likely fetch between $3 million and $4 million.

Credits: Photos courtesy of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.
May 2nd, 2018
Weighing 858 carats and displaying a superb vivid green color, the uncut "Gachala Emerald" is one of the world's finest examples of May's official birthstone.

The hexagonal crystal was found at the Vega de San Juan mine in Gachala, Colombia, in 1967, and sold to famous New York jeweler Harry Winston, who chose to keep the incredible crystal intact instead of cutting it into a number of smaller stones. In 1969, he donated the gem to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., where it's been on permanent exhibit at the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals.

Measuring 5cm (about 2 inches) in width, the 6-ounce Gachala Emerald crystal is considered to be one of the largest gem-quality emerald crystals in the world. As part of the National Gem Collection, it is prominently displayed alongside famous emerald jewelry, such as the Mackay Emerald Necklace, the Hooker Emerald Brooch, the Chalk Emerald Ring, the Maximilian Emerald Ring and the Spanish Inquisition Necklace.

Emerald is the most valuable variety of the mineral beryl. When it comes to classifying an emerald, much of the emphasis is focused on the color. Pure green stones demand the highest prices. If the green stone displays a tint that is too yellow or too blue, it may not be considered an emerald at all. For example, if the stone is yellow-green, it might be classified as green beryl, according to the Smithsonian, while if a stone is too blue, it could be classified as an aquamarine.

In its pure state, beryl is clear. The beautiful green hues in the beryl family are caused when some of the aluminum atoms in the crystal are replaced by chromium and/or vanadium atoms.

Although the Gachala emerald mines are relatively young (mining started in 1954), other famous Colombian mines, such as the Muzo, Chivor and Cosquez, boast a recorded history that dates back to the 16th century.

In fact, lush green emeralds have excited legions of gem admirers for thousands of years. The first emerald mines were in Egypt, and Cleopatra was reportedly a big fan of the verdant member of the beryl family. The name “emerald” comes indirectly from the ancient Greek word for green gem, “smaragdos.”

Emerald is known to display a wide variety of visible inclusions, which are referred to as “jardin” (French for “garden”). These imperfections do not detract from the stone’s beauty but, instead, give each stone a unique fingerprint and distinct character.

Besides being the birthstone for the month of May, it’s also the official gemstone for 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.

Colombia continues to be the world’s most prolific producer of fine emeralds, constituting more than half of the global supply, by value.

Credit: Gachala Emerald photo by Chip Clark, courtesy Smithsonian Institution.
May 3rd, 2018
Consumers plan to spend $4.6 billion on jewelry-related items this Mother's Day, making it the most popular gift-giving category, according to an annual survey released by the National Retail Federation (NRF). More than a third (34%) of respondents said they will be buying jewelry for their moms this year.

Interestingly, the $4.6 billion that will be spent on Mother's Day jewelry in 2018 is nearly identical to the $4.7 billion spent on Valentine's Day jewelry back in February. Valentine's Day gift-givers spent more on jewelry-related items than any other category.

Mother's Day spending in all categories is estimated to reach $23.1 billion in 2018, with the average budget reported to be $180 per person. Both numbers are the second-highest tallies in the 15-year history of the survey, which was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics. Mother's Day 2017 still holds the record at $23.6 billion in total purchases, with an average individual outlay of $186.

“Mother’s Day continues to be a holiday close to the heart of many Americans and this year is no different,” said Prosper Insights Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist. “Those between 35 and 44 years old are planning to spend the most this season, while younger consumers are the most likely to put their online shopping skills to good use to find inspiration for the perfect gift for mom.”

The survey, found that individuals ages 35 to 44 will spend an average of $224, the highest of any age group, and 62% of respondents between 18 and 24 will use smartphones to research their purchases and compare prices.

While jewelry certainly has the biggest “wow” factor of all Mother’s Day gifts, special outings, flowers, gift cards, apparel, electronics and personal services are all expected to be multibillion-dollar categories.

According to NRF's Mother's Day survey, $4.4 billion will be spent on special outings, such as dinner or brunch. More than half (55%) of consumers said treating Mom to a special meal would be their gift of choice. NRF estimated that $2.6 billion will be spent on flowers (to be gifted by 69 percent), $2.5 billion on gift cards (45%), $2.1 billion on clothing (36%), $2.1 billion on consumer electronics (14%) and $1.8 billion on personal services, such as a spa day (24%). Another $956 million will be spent on housewares or gardening tools (19%), $813 million on greeting cards (77%) and $494 million on books or music (19%).

The survey, which asked 7,520 consumers about their Mother’s Day plans, was conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics from April 4 to 12 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

Credit: Image by Bigstockphoto.com.
May 4th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you new tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in title or lyrics. In his 2017 release, "The Long Way," country star Brett Eldredge meets the girl of his dreams — his diamond — and wants to get to know her better by exploring her history and hometown. He'd love to see where her daddy met her momma, and learn about the "faults and glories" that made her the person she is today.

The recurring line, "Take me the long way around your town," reflects Eldredge's willingness to let the relationship develop slowly while he gets to know what's in her heart and soul.

He sings, "Take me the long way around your town / Were you the queen with the silver crown? / I want the secrets you keep, the shine underneath / Of the diamond I think I just found / Take me the long way around."

Co-writer Matt Rogers introduced Eldredge to the basic premise of "The Long Way" during their first-ever songwriting session, and Eldredge added the part about exploring the girl's hometown.

"In a world where we don't have conversations anymore," Eldredge told Taste of Country. "I wanna sit down and have a conversation. Put away the phones, put away everything and I wanna get to know you as a person. I want to get to know your heart."

The 32-year-old admitted to ABC Radio, that the themes in "The Long Way" reflect the love he's hoping to find.

"I want to have somebody, along with me, along for the ride and share that with them," he told ABC Radio. "I'm opening up more to it, and I think now, yeah, something like 'The Long Way' is what I'm looking for."

"The Long Way" was the second single released from Eldredge's self-titled studio album. The single shot up to #7 on both the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and the Billboard Canada Country chart. The album earned four out of five stars from AllMusic and placed #1 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

Born in Paris, Ill., in 1986, Brett Ryan Eldredge was inspired as a child by the songs of Ray Charles, Ronnie Dunn, Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra.

"My family started to have me sing the National Anthem at family parties," he recalled. "I'd get real nervous, and then someone would give me a candy bar or $5, and I'd sing. My body would shake. They'd call it the man voice, because I had this older voice coming out of a kid's body."

Eldredge signed with Atlantic Records in 2010 and performed at the Grand Ole Opry later that same year. He was named the CMA Awards New Artist of the Year in 2014.

Please check out the video of Eldredge performing of "The Long Way" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in November of 2017. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"The Long Way"
Written by Brett Eldredge and Matt Rogers. Performed by Brett Eldredge.

Don't think I've ever seen your kind of pretty
Wandering 'round this midnight mad house city
You got a look that says you got it all together
So if you don't mind, I'd like to know you better

Take me the long way around your town
Were you the queen with the silver crown?
I want the secrets you keep, the shine underneath
Of the diamond I think I just found
Take me the long way around

I'd love to see just where your daddy met your momma
Your hand-me-down '99 Impala
Show me the field you danced in Clover
The harvest in October
When the leaves fall from the sky just like a Sunday drive

Take me the long way around your town
Were you the queen with the silver crown?
I want the secrets you keep, the shine underneath
Of the diamond I think I just found
Take me the long way around

I didn't think tonight when I walked in
I'd be falling for somewhere I've never been

Take me the long way around your town
Were you the queen with the silver crown?
I want your red blushing stories
Your faults and your glories
That made you who you are right now
Take me the long way around
Take me the long way around

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
May 7th, 2018
A surreal scene played out in New York City last week as diamonds literally rained on the diamond at Citi Field. Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes snapped his diamond chain while legging out a bloop double in the first inning of Wednesday's game against the Atlanta Braves.

As Cespedes slid into second base, one of his necklaces seemed to get tangled with Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies, who jumped over Cespedes to receive the throw from the outfield.

After the play, SNY cameras captured the twinkling of more than two dozen diamonds scattered around second base.

While stretching after the play, Cespedes discovered that his thin, white metal chain had broken and that most of the diamonds from that chain were now on the infield dirt. He held up what remained of his busted chain, stared at it for a moment and then threw it to the ground in frustration.

Between innings, Mets second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera and second base umpire Bill Welke picked up the pieces of the necklace.

"Well, the cleanup is underway after Yoenis Cespedes's necklace exploded," SNY play-by-play man Gary Cohen said. "Asdrubal Cabrera, who has done everything for this team this year, is now doing the housekeeping, as well."

"They were around the base. I didn't want somebody to slide on them," Cabrera told the New York Daily News. "I just tried to get as many as I could. The umpire helped too."

After the game, 25 diamonds sat in a styrofoam Gatorade cup in the Cuban-born slugger's locker.

"I had that necklace for six years," Cespedes told the Daily News. "Oh, well."

Major League Baseball's Twitter feed, Cut4, called the incident "the most expensive double" of Cespedes's career.

According to the Washington Post, the “Official Baseball Rules” do not mention jewelry, and Major League Baseball does not otherwise restrict its usage. Players commonly wear chain necklaces or earrings for religious or stylistic reasons.

MLB’s Rule 1.11, which deals with uniforms, includes a clarification that states, “a pitcher’s person cannot include any unessential or distracting thing (including jewelry, adhesive tape, or a batting glove), especially on his arm, wrist, hand, or fingers.” MLB seems to maintain an unwritten policy, however, that jewelry on a pitcher is OK — unless the batter makes a specific complaint.

Cespedes is not the first Major Leaguer to have his chain explode during a game. Just last year, the black diamond chain of Houston pitcher Lance McCullers came apart during the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium. During a replay review, McCullers dug through the dirt on the pitcher's mound to find the precious stones.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/MLB.
May 8th, 2018
A Coca-Cola bottle-shaped handbag adorned with 9,888 natural diamonds recently earned a Guinness World Record for Swiss luxury brand Coronet. Guinness officials affirmed at the recent Baselworld trade fair that the unique piece is the official title holder in the category "Most Diamonds Set on a Handbag."

The fanciful Coca-Cola bottle/purse is rendered with 8,543 black diamonds, mimicking the color of the soda, and 1,345 colorless diamonds that are set into the iconic brand logo, diamond clasp and borders between the red enamel label and the rows of black diamonds.

It took a production team of 15 craftsmen nearly 100 working days to craft the piece, which is meticulously handset with diamonds weighing a total of 120 carats.

The handbag was conceived by Beverly Hills Designer Kathrine Baumann and fabricated by Coronet parent company Aaron Shum Jewelry. It is crafted from Icestrella, a material employed in the creation of bulletproof glass. The unique material replicates the look and feel of the distinctively contoured Coca-Cola glass bottle.

This is the third time Coronet has been honored with a Guinness World Record. In 2016, the company set a record for the "Most Jewels on a Guitar," when it customized a Fender American Deluxe Jazz Bass with 16,033 Swarovski crystals. In 2015, Coronet created the world's "Most Valuable Guitar," a Gibson glittering with 11,441 diamonds weighing 401 carats at valued at $2 million.

“Although we have successfully set two Guinness World Records titles before, we continue to challenge ourselves and create the world’s top-level diamond art treasures,” noted Aaron Shum Wan-lung, President of Aaron Shum. “My team and I are very proud and excited that we have set a new Guinness World Records title.”

Credits: Images via coronetstore.com.
May 9th, 2018
Rising star Andrew Benintendi of the Boston Red Sox had a memorable day at the ballpark on Saturday. Not only did he go 3-for-5 with a triple and double in the Red Sox's 6-5 victory over the Texas Rangers, but he also earned an assist with a very romantic pre-game marriage proposal.

During batting practice at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, a couple from Arkansas — dressed in his-and-her Red Sox regalia — was among a small group of devoted fans allowed on the field to meet the players. Little did the woman know that her boyfriend had plotted a special on-field proposal with the help of a former Arkansas Razorback.

Benintendi, who was born in Cincinnati and played college ball in Arkansas, went up to a woman in the meet-and-greet line and presented her with a baseball that he pulled from his back pocket. Written in bold marker across the ball were the phrases, "Turn Around" and "Will You Marry Me."

The stunned woman spun around to see her boyfriend on bended knee with an engagement ring box in his hand.

The man nervously fumbled with the ring and asked the woman to marry him. Major League Baseball cameras captured the special moment when she said "Yes" and he slipped the ring on her finger.

Under the caption, "It's hard not to be romantic about baseball," the Red Sox organization posted the proposal video to its Twitter page.

One clever fan commented, "Takes a brave man to have @asben16 give his lady a ball that says "Will you marry me?" I'd be like, well I barely know you but what the hell! You only live once!"

The 23-year-old Benintendi told NESN’s Guerin Austin that it was "pretty cool" to be part of the marriage proposal.

Benintendi was drafted by the Red Sox in 2015 and joined the major league team in August of 2016. In his first full year, Benintendi was the second-place finisher for the American League's Rookie of the Year.

Screen captures via Twitter/Red Sox.
May 10th, 2018
Fura Gems is breathing new life into the 400-year-old Coscuez emerald mine in Colombia and its initial sampling has yielded 850 carats of high-quality gemstones, including an exceptional 25.97-carat rough gem named the "ARE Emerald."

The ARE gemstone is “rare and exceptional" given its size, color, saturation and clarity, according to the Toronto-based mining company, and bodes well for the future output at the historic mine, which is located in Colombia’s Boyacá region.

The ARE Emerald is named after a figure in ancient Colombian mythology. Legend states that the Muzo creator God, ARE (also spelled Ar-e), formed two figures on the shore of the sacred Minero River. One was male (Tena) and the other was female (Fura). The Muzo people believed Fura and Tena were the parents of humanity and legend states that the tears of Fura became emeralds. Today, the Fura and Tena mountains, as well as a bountiful source of fine emeralds, are the lasting symbols of that ancient culture.

Although the Coscuez Emerald Mine has been in operation for more than 400 years, recent activities at the mine had been carried out on a very traditional, small-scale basis. Fura's automated mining operation will allow for the processing of 30 tons of material per hour.

“We firmly believe that mine has only been scratched on the surface, and the best is yet to come,” Dev Shetty, President & CEO of Fura, told mining.com. “We estimate that if we capitalize it from the current state itself, [Coscuez] will have a minimum life of about 25 years or more, and there is a potential to expand the life by doing core drilling.”

Since the commencement of Fura's bulk sampling program, 214 tons of host rock have been collected and a total of 1,831 carats of rough emeralds have been discovered — 850 carats of which are considered high-quality gemstones.

Shetty noted that the gem-quality emerald rough will be sold via auction, with the first offering taking place during the second quarter of 2019. Fura holds a 76% stake in the Coscuez Emerald Mine.

Credits: Images courtesy of Fura Gems.
May 11th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you romantic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Ron Isley of The Isley Brothers sings about the symbolism of bridal jewelry in the group's release, "Brazilian Wedding Song (Setembro)."

Written by Brazilian composers Ivan Lins and Gilson Peranzzetta, "Brazilian Wedding Song (Setembro)" became a frequent request for wedding day playlists after a sweet rendition by The Isley Brothers appeared on their 1992 Tracks of Life album.

The song is essentially a groom's wedding vow — using jewelry references to describe his solemn pledge of love and devotion.

Isley sings, "I pledge all my love to you always / Don't you know this ring / This ring is a symbol of my love / Grant us blessings from above oh, oh / Who cherish all the magic of our days."

In the next verse, gold chains symbolize the couple's eternal bond... "Oh Lord, oh Lord, here I stand / Golden chains around our hearts / Vow to death we'll never part."

Often cited as the group that has enjoyed one of the "longest, most influential, and most diverse careers in the pantheon of popular music," The Isley Brothers became the first band to score a Top 50 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in six consecutive decades.

Originally from Cincinnati, the group was established in 1954 as a gospel trio consisting of brothers O'Kelly Isley, Jr., Rudolph Isley and Ron Isley. Soon they landed a spot on Ted Mack's Amateur Hour, where they won the competition and took home the grand prize — a watch. With their new-found fame, they began touring all over the eastern U.S., performing in a variety of churches.

The brothers moved to the New York City area in the late 1950s. In 1959, the brothers celebrated their first big hit, "Shout," a song that would become a cultural phenomenon nearly two decades later when it was performed by Otis Day and the Knights in the 1978 fraternity house film National Lampoon's Animal House.

The Isley Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and in 2010, Ron Isley received a "Legend Award" at the Soul Train Music Awards. The 76-year-old is still actively touring.

Trivia: A then-21-year-old Jimi Hendrix played on The Isley Brothers' stage shows in 1964.

Please check out the audio track of The Isley Brothers performing "Brazilian Wedding Song (Setembro)." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Brazilian Wedding Song (Setembro)"
Written by Ivan Guimaraes Lins and Gilson Peranzzetta. Performed by The Isley Brothers.

Today is the day to say I do
Yes, I promise to be true

I pledge all my love to you always
Don't you know this ring
This ring is a symbol of my love
Grant us blessings from above oh, oh
Who cherish all the magic of our days

Oh Lord, oh Lord, here I stand
Golden chains around our hearts
Vow to death we'll never part
From this day as one we'll start our lives

Oh Lord, here I stand
With my heart out in my hand
Rich or poor, I am your man
I'm your lover and friend for life

So much love, so much love, girl
So much love, girl, la, la, la, la
Today, today, today is the day to say I do
Yes, I promise to be true

I pledge all my love to you always
Don't you know this ring
This ring is a symbol of my love
Grant us blessings from above oh, oh
Who cherish all the magic of our days

And I can hear them when they play
Our Brazilian wedding song

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
May 14th, 2018
Archaeologists at the Smallin Civil War Cave in Ozark, Mo., recently recovered a 1960 class ring that had been lost for 57 years and returned it to its stunned owner.

Workers had demolished an old wooden platform at the popular historic site and were planning to replace it with a new concrete one. With the old platform out of the way, historical surveyors were able to explore a previously inaccessible part of the cave's stream bed. Metal detectors led them to some very interesting discoveries — including one that had profoundly changed the life of Peggy McLaughlin.

"We were finding bullets, we were finding some change from different time periods and then we found the ring," Eric Fuller, archaeologist for the Smallin Civil War Cave, told NBC affiliate KY3. "We always have history in here, I just never expected it in the form of a class ring."

Fifty-seven years earlier, McLaughlin lost her Osage High School class ring during a Civil War-themed field trip to the cave that had been arranged by her history professor. At the time, she was a freshman at Evangel University.

McLaughlin told the Springfield News-Leader that she enjoyed exploring the cave, and barely noticed how cold her hands were. After walking some 200 feet into the cave, the young woman suddenly felt her loose-fitting class ring slip from her finger.

The ring had fallen into the cave's rocky stream bed and she realized that the prospects of getting it back were slim to none.

When the freshman returned to campus later that day, she told her boyfriend, Gene Grounds, about the loss of her cherished ring — a ring she had owned for only four months.

The boyfriend responded, “Maybe we will just have to replace that ring.”

Two weeks later, he presented McLaughlin with an engagement ring.

McLaughlin and Grounds were married and had two children.

The class ring that was partly responsible for Gene Grounds' marriage proposal lay dormant in the stream bed for next 57 years. Then, during the demolition of the old viewing platform, an old wooden plank was cleared from the stream bed. Underneath was McLaughlin's Osage High School ring.

"It was a surreal moment when I found it," historical surveyor Chadwick Oldham told the Springfield News-Leader. "I saw an Osage Indian on it, but of course they didn't have class rings."

Once the calcite was cleaned from the ring, it was clear that it was from the 1960 graduating class of Osage High School at Osage Beach, Mo. Oldham and his wife, Jackalyn, posted photos of the ring to the Osage High School alumni page. A few days later, McLaughlin spotted her ring and arranged to have it returned.

McLaughlin told the Springfield News-Leader that the return of her long-lost ring has brought back many fond, wonderful memories.

She was excited to get it back on her finger.

"It was still loose," she said, laughing.

Credits: Ring photo by Smallin Civil War Cave. Screen captures via KY3.com.
May 15th, 2018
A 50.47-carat cushion brilliant-cut diamond ring is expected to be the top lot at Christie's Magnificent Jewels Sale in Geneva tomorrow. The D-color, VVS1-clarity diamond is set in a platinum ring designed by Harry Winston and carries a pre-sale estimate of $5 million to $7 million.

Christie's is saving the best for last. Bidding for the sale's headliner will culminate two sessions, during which 419 lots will hit the auction block at the Geneva Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. The first session starts at 1:30 p.m. and includes Lots 1 through 274. The second session commences at 7 p.m. and covers Lots 275 through 419.

Christie’s boasts that its Magnificent Jewels Sale catalog reads as an encyclopedia of the world's finest jewelry. And while it's true that the auction house will be offering a range of spectacular pieces — including Art Deco, Retro and animal-themed jewelry — colored and colorless diamonds stand out as the highest-valued lots of the sale. Here are some of the most exciting items up for grabs...

Superb Diamond Ring, Harry Winston (Lot 419). The 50.47-carat cushion brilliant-cut diamond in this ring carries the ultra-rare Type IIa purity grade and is potentially internally flawless, according to Christie's. Estimated price: $5 million to $7 million.

Rare Colored Diamond and Diamond Ring (Lot 381). A fancy light purplish-pink rectangular cut-cornered diamond weighing 33.51 carats is the colorful centerpiece of this white gold ring. Flanked by tapered baguette-cut diamonds and secured by double-claw prongs, the fancy-colored center stone boasts a VS2 clarity. Estimated price: $4 million to $5 million.

Sensational Colored Diamond Ring (Lot 414). This fancy vivid yellow rectangular cut-cornered diamond weighs 20.49 carats and is set on a plain white gold band. The diamond earned a clarity rating of VVS1. Estimated price: $3.8 million to $4.5 million.

Colored Diamond Ring (Lot 406). Also boasting a clarity of VVS1, this fancy intense purplish-pink rectangular cut-cornered diamond weighs 8.52 carats. Estimated price: $3.5 million to $5 million.

Rare Colored Diamond and Diamond "Toi et Moi" Ring, Cartier (Lot 418). Translated in English as "You and Me," this stylish "Toi et Moi" ring by Cartier features a 5.03-carat fancy intense blue pear modified brilliant-cut diamond and a 4.16-carat fancy vivid yellow pear modified brilliant-cut diamond, connected by sweeping steps of yellow and colorless tapered baguette diamonds. Estimated price: $2.5 million to $3.5 million.

Diamond Ring (Lot 320). Scintillating 21.83-carat marquise brilliant-cut diamond highlights this platinum ring. The D-color gem has a clarity of VVS2, but is potentially internally flawless, according to Christie's. This stone also carries the coveted Type IIa purity grade. Estimated price: $2.5 million to $3.5 million.

Impressive Diamond Riviere Necklace (Lot 352). Exactly 26 graduated old-cut diamonds — the largest of which are 15.04, 13.20 and 13.02 carats — add brilliance to this choker-length necklace, which is fabricated in silver and gold. Estimated price: $1.7 million to $2.2 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.
May 16th, 2018
A 6.16-carat blue diamond owned more than 300 years ago by Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain, fetched $6.7 million at Sotheby's Geneva yesterday. The winning bid crushed the auction house's pre-sale high estimate by more than $1.7 million.

The historic "Farnese Blue" was originally presented in 1715 as a wedding gift to the Spanish Queen by the governor of the Philippine Islands.

Secreted away in a royal jewelry box, the pear-shaped, fancy dark grey-blue diamond traveled across Europe for centuries, as the Queen’s descendants married into Europe’s most important dynasties.

For 300 years, the gem would stay in the same family, but would never be seen in public. In fact, except for close relatives and the family jewelers, no one knew of its existence.

Recently, the diamond emerged on the market for the first time and was highly touted by Sotheby’s in the run-up to the Geneva auction. In fact, the Farnese Blue headlined a promotional tour that made stops in Hong Kong, London, New York, Singapore, Taipei and Geneva.

As the final lot of yesterday's auction, the Farnese Blue didn't disappoint. Bidding started on Lot 377 at $3.6 million and advanced rapidly in $100,000 increments. After four minutes, the final price of $6.7 million had beaten the pre-sale high estimate by more than 34%.

The Farnese Blue was the most historic lot of the auction, but was not the highest priced.

Two magnificent diamonds, each weighing more than 50 carats, were the auction's top performers.

Lot 373 featured a round, brilliant-cut diamond weighing 51.71 carats. Set in a ring, the D-color diamond boasts the highly coveted Type IIa purity grade and flawless clarity. The ring sold for $9.2 million, just slightly more than its pre-sale high estimate of $9.1 million.

An oval diamond weighing 50.39 carats highlighted the highly anticipated Lot 350. This diamond also carried a D-flawless grade and a Type IIa purity classification. The diamond ring, which went into the auction with a pre-sale estimate of $6.9 million to $7.6 million, sold for $8.1 million.

Credits: Diamond images courtesy of Sotheby’s. Elisabeth Farnese image by Louis-Michel van Loo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
May 17th, 2018
A Galveston, Texas, police officer went above and beyond the call of duty Saturday evening to help a young woman who lost her engagement ring at the beach. Not only did he drive nearly 100 miles to retrieve his own metal detector to assist in the search, but went back to the site in the wee hours of the morning even though all the other searchers had given up. At 4:36 a.m., officer Derrick Jaradi texted the woman, Jessica Haelen, with the news he had found her ring.

What's even more amazing is the fact that the selfless officer had gotten engaged earlier that same day.

Saturday had been a beautiful beach day on Galveston Island. Haelen and a bunch of friends were cleaning up after a long day of sun worshipping when a friend's car got stuck in the sand. Haelen had taken off her engagement ring and placed it in her lap while she applied hand sanitizer, but got distracted by her friend's call for assistance.

After freeing the car, the group went out for dinner. That's when Haelen realized the ring was no longer on her finger.

Healen, who will be taking her wedding vows on July 7, was frantic. Not only did the ring symbolize an eternal bond with her fiancé, but it also served as a lasting sentimental connection to her mom, who passed away five years ago. The ring was originally hers.

The group of friends — nine in total — hustled back to the beach and started what would become a tiring and fruitless search. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Haelen flagged down Galveston Police officer Jaradi, who immediately connected emotionally to the young woman's plight. The officer had proposed to his fiancée earlier that day.

Jaradi told Haelen and her search party that he owned a metal detector, and that he was willing to drive home to get it. The roundtrip would cover 94 miles and take about an hour and a half. He told Haelen to text him if the searchers found the ring while he was gone.

When Jaradi returned, he handed his equipment to Haelen's group and delivered a crash course in how to use the metal detector.

"[We} searched everywhere, every square inch of the area," Haelen told CBS affiliate KHOU. "My heart was stopping at every little beep, because I knew it had to be there."

Despite their best efforts, Haelen's exhausted team called off the search at midnight and returned the detector to the officer.

Later that night, a devastated Haelen had trouble sleeping.

“I thought maybe when I lost it, it was God telling me to let go of my parents and to move on with my life,” Haelen told click2houston.com.

But then at 4:36 a.m., an unexpected text alert startled the young woman.

It was from Officer Jaradi and read, "I ended up getting called back to that beach at 2 a.m... You happened to wave down the one Galveston Police officer on the same day he gets engaged to find your lost engagement ring. I couldn't get that out of my mind, so I gave it another shot between calls."

"I was just bawling," Haelen told KHOU. "He went above and beyond, and I definitely thank him for that."

Haelen and her fiancé have extended an invitation to Officer Jaradi and his new fiancée to attend their July 7 wedding.

"No pressure," Haelen told a TV reporter for KHOU. "I know we just met, but we shared such a special moment, and they should be a part of [the celebration]."

Credits: Images via Facebook.com/Jessica Marie Haelen. Screen captures via click2houston.com.
May 18th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you exciting songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, Marina Lambrini Diamandis, better known as Marina and the Diamonds, stays true to her name in the 2012 international hit, “Primadonna.”

In this song about a self-absorbed diva who “wants the world,” the sassy 32-year-old Welsh recording artist tries to coax a marriage proposal and a giant-size sparkler from her suitor.

She sings, “Would you do anything for me? / Buy a big diamond ring for me? / Would you get down on your knees for me? / Pop the pretty question right now baby.”

Diamandis created her stage name by incorporating her first name with the translation of her surname, which means “diamonds” in Greek. She explained that “the Diamonds” part of “Marina and the Diamonds” does not refer to her backing band, but to her fans.

"Primadonna" was the lead single from the 32-year-old artist's second studio album, Electra Heart. MTV Buzzworthy critic Sam Lansky described "Primadonna" as “a monster song,” and fans across the globe agreed. The song was an international sensation, reaching the top five in three countries and charting in 13. Within the first few hours of its release in March of 2012, the song became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter.

Born in Brynmawr, Wales, Diamandis moved to London as a teenager to pursue a music career. In 2009, at the age of 24, she placed second in the BBC's "Sound of 2010" competition. That success led to her debut studio album, The Family Jewels.

The official video at the end of this post has been viewed on YouTube more than 68 million times. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along...

Written by Marina Diamandis, Julie Frost, Lukasz Gottwald and Henry Walter. Performed by Marina and the Diamonds.

Primadonna girl, yeah
All I ever wanted was the world
I can’t help that I need it all
The primadonna life, the rise and fall
You say that I’m kinda difficult
But it’s always someone else’s fault
Got you wrapped around my finger, babe
You can count on me to misbehave

Primadonna girl,
Would you do anything for me?
Buy a big diamond ring for me?
Would you get down on your knees for me?
Pop the pretty question right now baby
Beauty queen of the silver screen
Living life like I’m in a dream
I know I’ve got a big ego
I really don’t know why it’s such a big deal, though
I’m sad to the core, core, core
Everything is a chore, chore, chore
When you give I want more, more, more
I wanna be adored

Cause I’m a primadonna girl, yeah
All I ever wanted was the world
I can’t help that I need it all
The primadonna life, the rise and fall
You say that I’m kinda difficult
But it’s always someone else’s fault
Got you wrapped around my finger, babe
You can count on me to misbehave

Primadonna girl
Fill the void up with Celluloid
Take a picture, I’m with the boys
Get what I want cause I asked for it
Not because I’m really that deserving of it
I’m living life like I’m in a play
In the limelight I want to stay
I know I’ve got a big ego
I really don’t know why it’s such a big deal, though
Going up, going down, down, down
Anything for the crown, crown, crown
With the lights dimming down, down, down
I spin around

(Chorus x 2)
Cause I’m a primadonna girl, yeah
All I ever wanted was the world
I can’t help that I need it all
The primadonna life, the rise and fall
You say that I’m kinda difficult
But it’s always someone else’s fault
Got you wrapped around my finger, babe
You can count on me to misbehave

Cause I’m a primadonna girl, yeah
All I ever wanted was the world
I can’t help that I need it all
The primadonna life, the rise and fall
You say that I’m kinda difficult
But it’s always someone else’s fault
Got you wrapped around my finger, babe
You can count on me to misbehave
Primadonna girl

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.