James Middleton Jewelers Blog

Articles in January 2020

January 3rd, 2020
Welcome to Music Friday, when we bring you hot, new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In Jason Derulo's brand new release, "Diamonds," the singer lavishes praise on his girlfriend with a borrowed phrase from what Ad Age magazine called the best advertising slogan of the 20th century.



Penned for a De Beers marketing campaign in 1947 by NW Ayer copywriter Mary Frances Gerety, the brilliant four-word tagline “A Diamond Is Forever” has inspired an Ian Fleming novel, a James Bond flick, an iconic theme song by Shirley Bassey... and a new tune by Derulo.

He sings, "Flawless like diamonds / Out of all the ones I've seen, you are the finest / I can’t buy your heart; your love is priceless / Diamonds are forever / Diamonds are forever."

Written by Derulo, 1Mind, Rogét Chahayed and Shawn Charles, "Diamonds" is the sixth track on Derulo's extended play called 2Sides. As its title implies, 2Sides will, in fact, have two sides, the first of which was released in November of 2019. The second EP is due later this month.

Born Jason Joel Desrouleaux in Miramar, Fla., the 30-year-old singer-songwriter-dancer-choreographer, has sold more than 30 million singles since launching his solo career in 2009. He changed his last name to Derulo because the French spelling was too hard to pronounce.

Derulo majored in musical theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Manhattan and got his big break when he won the grand prize on the 2006 season finale of the TV show Showtime at the Apollo. That exposure led to a recording contract with Beluga Heights Records and Warner Bros. Records.

When asked which artists have had the biggest influence on his music, Derulo cited Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Madonna, Prince, Usher and Justin Timberlake.

Please check out the official lyrics video of “Diamonds.” The lyrics are also noted below if you’d like to sing along…

"Diamonds"
Written by Jason Derulo, 1Mind, Rogét Chahayed and Shawn Charles. Performed by Jason Derulo.

Flawless like diamonds

Girl you are
Flawless like diamonds
I’m nothing without you
You keep me shining
I can’t buy your love; your heart is priceless
Diamonds are forever
So I know you'll stay this way

Flawless like diamonds
Out of all the ones I've seen, you are the finest
I can’t buy your heart; your love is priceless
Diamonds are forever
Diamonds are forever

Got me shining, yeah
Shining, shining, yeah
Girl, you the baddest, yeah (Yeah)
Diamonds are forever, diamonds are forever (Yeah)

Baby, baby
I need you daily
The love we makin' changed me, changed me
'Cause you remind me of a melody
That kind you keep on singing, singing
My pretty lady
You know you make me better
Better then I’ve ever been
There’s no mistaking
You should be famous
‘Cause baby, you are

Flawless like diamonds
I’m nothing without you, you keep me shining (yeah)
I can’t buy your love; your heart is priceless
Diamonds are forever
So I know you’ll stay this way
Flawless like diamonds
Out of all the ones I've seen, you are the finest (Yeah)
I can’t buy your heart
Your love is priceless
Diamonds are forever
Diamonds are forever, yeah

Got me shining, yeah
Shining, shining, yeah
Girl, you the baddest, yeah (Yeah)
Diamonds are forever
Diamonds are forever

This love is forever
This love is forever, babe
‘Cause you make me better (Ooh-hoo)
Diamonds are forever (Ooh-hoo)
Diamonds are forever, no, no
Woo, oh
Diamonds are forever
Diamonds are forever, babe
No, no
Diamonds are
Oh-oh
Diamonds


Credit: Image by MTV International [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
January 6th, 2020
Actor Wilmer Valderrama rang in the New Year by proposing to model Amanda Pacheco with a 4-carat pear-shaped diamond ring. Valderrama announced the engagement with a picture-postcard-worthy addition to his Instagram page, which boasts 1.7 million followers.



Set on the coast of La Jolla, Calif., the photo captures the exact moment when the That ’70s Show star popped the question to Pacheco. The couple is shown in silhouette against a wondrous sky of puffy clouds. Pacheco is standing barefoot on a rocky outcrop while locking eyes with Valderrama, who is on bended knee, clutching an open ring box in his right hand.

He captioned the post, "'It’s just us now' 01-01-2020,” and punctuated the phrase with a blue diamond ring emoji.



On Pachecho's Instagram page (43,600 followers), the model posted the same dramatic photo and caption, but added a closeup shot of the ring, which features the prominent center stone set against a delicate diamond band crafted in rose or yellow gold. Jewelry-industry insiders estimated the pear-shaped diamond's weight at 4 carats and the ring's value at about $100,000.

According to experts contacted by People magazine, the pear-shaped diamond is making a comeback, thanks to high-profile celebrities, such as reality star Kelly Dodd, rapper Cardi B and supermodel Natalia Vodianova — all of whom were recently engaged with diamonds of that shape.



The Knot’s "2019 Jewelry and Engagement Study" recently revealed that the pear shape was the choice of 5% of recently married or engaged couples. That percentage places the diamond shape fifth in popularity, trailing the round brilliant (47%), princess/square (14%), oval (14%) and cushion (9%).

Many brides prefer fancy shapes because they add a sense of personality to their rings and because they tend to look larger than round diamonds of equal carat weight, giving the fancies more bang for the buck.

Valderrama, 39, and Pacheco, 28, had been dating since the spring of 2019. Valderrama had previously dated singer Demi Lovato, a relationship that lasted six years and ended in June of 2016.

Credits: Images via Instagram.com/seaweanie.
January 7th, 2020
Alrosa's 20.69-carat "Firebird" is the latest fancy yellow diamond to pass through the House of Graff, the London-based luxury jewelry firm run by billionaire Laurence Graff. Over the course of his career, the 81-year-old Graff has been associated with some of the world's largest and most valuable yellow diamonds.



Graff and Alrosa did not disclose the details of their transaction, but did reveal that the Firebird "achieved one of the highest prices per carat for such a stone in recent years."

Graded by the Gemological Institute of America as a fancy vivid yellow diamond with VS1 clarity, the stone was cut from the "Stravinsky," a 34.17-carat crystal bearing rare honey-yellow overtones and exceptional clarity. It had been unearthed in 2017 at Alrosa's Ebelyah mine in Yakutia and was the largest yellow rough diamond extracted in Russia that year.

Alrosa's cutting and polishing masters crafted the rough stone into the stunning Asscher-cut gem seen here. To achieve this perfection, nearly 40% of the diamond's weight was lost in the cutting process.

"This Fancy Vivid Yellow with high clarity and very special step-cut is truly unique," commented GIA Chief Quality Officer John King. "It is extremely rare and very special in the world of diamonds to see a unique yellow diamond like this."

Alrosa noted that the stone's coloration could be compared to a flame, reflections of sunlight on crystal water or the trail of sparkles seen on the tail of a firebird.



Firebird is one of three diamonds that make up Alrosa's special collection dedicated to the Russian ballet. Called "The Spectacle," the collection includes the 20.69-carat Firebird, the 14.8-carat fancy vivid purple-pink "Spirit of the Rose" and a third diamond to be announced at a later date.

The Firebird ballet was produced by the Ballet Russes company with music composed by Igor Stravinsky. Spirit of the Rose was named after a short ballet called "Le Spectre de la Rose."

Graff has always had a special affection for fancy yellow diamonds. Back in 1974, he acquired the 47.39-carat Star of Bombay, a stone he described as the first of a great many famous diamonds to pass through the House of Graff.

Graff made headlines in May 2014 when the 100.09-carat Graff Vivid Yellow achieved a world auction record price of $16.34 million at Sotheby’s Geneva.



In June 2015, Graff introduced the world to the 132.55-carat “Golden Empress.” The honeyed-hue stone was cut from a 299-carat rough crystal that produced eight beautiful satellite stones. Other notable yellow diamonds owned by Graff include The Delaire Sunrise, a 118.08-carat square emerald-cut fancy vivid yellow, and The Gemini Yellows — twin stones at 51.29 carats and 55.74 carats, respectively.

The British jeweler also famously purchased for $53 million the 1,109-carat gem-quality rough diamond known as Lesedi La Rona, which was discovered at the Lucara Karowe mine in Botswana in 2015. Graff's team mapped the stone and generated 67 diamonds ranging in size from just under 1 carat to more than 100 carats. Graff also bought the 373.72-carat chunk that broke off the Lesedi La Rona during the mining process. That piece carried a price tag of $17.5 million.

Credits: Yellow diamond images courtesy of Graff Diamonds. Spirit of the Rose diamond courtesy of Alrosa.
January 8th, 2020
Tsavo National Park on the border of Kenya and Tanzania is home to lions, black rhinos, cape buffaloes, elephants and leopards. The more mountainous western section of the park is also the singular source of a gorgeous variety of green garnet called tsavorite.



Best known as January's official birthstone, garnet comes in a wide array of natural colors, including deep red, pink, purple, orange, yellow, violet, black, brown — and a vivid shade of green that is sometimes mistaken for an emerald.

Tsavorite is technically a green variety of grossular, a calcium-aluminum garnet that derives its rich color from impurities of vanadium and chromium in its chemical structure.



This exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., shows the many shades of grossular garnet — from hessonite (yellow) at the far left to leuco-garnet (clear) in the center to tsavorite (green) at the far right.



According to the Smithsonian's official website, tsavorite was first discovered in 1967 in northern Tanzania and again in 1970 in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park by world renowned geologist, Campbell Bridges. In 1971, Bridges was granted a permit to mine the Kenyan deposit, and in 1973, this variety of green garnet was named tsavorite in honor of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, by Henry B. Platt, former president of Tiffany & Co., and Bridges, founder of Tsavorite USA. One year later, Tiffany launched a marketing campaign that brought worldwide recognition to the beautiful green gem.



The 7.08-carat tsavorite garnet seen here is on display at the National Museum of Natural History and was donated to the Smithsonian in 1981 by Dr. and Mrs. Marshall Greenman. The gem is set in an 18-karat yellow gold ring and is surrounded by 16 round brilliant diamonds.

Garnets get their name from the Latin word “granatum,” meaning pomegranate seed.

In addition to tsavorite garnets, other varieties often seen in jewelry include pyrope, almandine, andradite, demantoid, grossularite, hessonite, rhodolite, spessartine and uvarovite.

Credits: Tsavorite specimen image by Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA]. Display by Alkivar at English Wikipedia [Public domain]. Map by Lencer [CC BY-SA]. Ring photo by Ken Larsen/Smithsonian.
January 9th, 2020
A New York newlywed said she was horrified when an heirloom diamond fell out of her engagement ring and disappeared into the underbelly of a newsstand refrigeration unit on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Danielle Gelfand's 1-carat diamond had been in her family for more than 100 years.



“I went to grab a bottle of water. I reached in, and all of a sudden, I heard a click,” Gelfand told a reporter from CBS2.

The click was the sound of her diamond caroming into an abyss.



The NYPD's Emergency Services Unit removed a few panels from under the soda case's refrigeration unit but were unable to complete the rescue without cutting the metal frame. The officers said they needed permission from the cart's owner, who, they learned, wouldn't be available until after the weekend.

Gelfand and the Emergency Services officers weren't about to give up easily. Her engagement ring had been a cherished keepsake of not only her 88-year-old mother, but her mother's mother, as well.



“A ring is just a ring, but this ring is so much more,” Gelfand told CBS2. “My mother is a Holocaust survivor and it’s a ring that lived through two wars, the first World War and the second World War. And she gave it to me.”

When Gelfand told her mom that the heirloom diamond was stuck under a newsstand soda case, the Holocaust survivor returned a steady, unemotional response.

"You know what?" the mom said. "We have our health, and if it’s meant to be, we’ll get it back.”



On Monday, Gelfand and her husband returned to the newsstand to meet its owner and to try a newly purchased piece of equipment. It was a snake camera that could easily squeeze between crevices of the refrigeration unit. Within a few minutes, the Gelfands were able to confirm the exact location of the diamond.



Using some other specialty equipment, they were able to finally rescue the diamond that has been through so much.

Danielle Gelfand told CBS2 that she will be keeping her family's tradition alive by one day passing the ring down to her own daughter.

Credits: Screen captures via newyork.cbslocal.com.
January 10th, 2020
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country star Tim McGraw sings about a breakup in his 2015 hit, “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools.” This emotional ballad tells the story of former lovers who agree to go their separate ways after finally conceding that the relationship has no chance of working out.



In the first verse, McGraw sings, “Diamond rings and old barstools / One’s for queens and one’s for fools / One’s the future and one’s the past / One’s forever and one won’t last.”

In the chorus, he continues, “I guess some things just don’t mix like you hoped / Like me and you / And diamond rings and old barstools.”

Written by Jonathan Singleton, Barry Dean and Luke Laird, "Diamond Rings and Old Barstools" was released as the fourth and final single from McGraw’s chart-topping Sundown Heaven Town album. The single peaked at #11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs list and #10 on the Billboard Canadian Country list. It was also nominated at the 58th Grammy Awards for Best Country Song.

McGraw described how he loves to get lost in the emotion of this song, stating, "The guitar is so filled with regret. It just drips with it."

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. McGraw learned to play guitar while attending Northeast Louisiana University on a baseball scholarship. He signed his first record deal with Curb Records in 1990 and married country singer Faith Hill in 1996.

McGraw is one of the best-selling music artists of all time with more than 80 million records sold since he first burst onto the country music scene in 1992. Twenty-five of his 65 hit singles have gone to #1 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs chart, and 10 of his 15 studio albums have topped the Billboard U.S. Top Country Albums chart.

Please check out the video of McGraw’s live performance of “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

"Diamond Rings and Old Barstools"
Written by Jonathan Singleton, Barry Dean and Luke Laird. Performed by Tim McGraw.

Diamond rings and old barstools
One's for queens and one's for fools
One's the future and one's the past
One's forever and one won't last

It ain't like midnight and cigarette smoke
It ain't like watered down whiskey and Coke
I guess some things just don't mix like you hoped
Like me and you
Diamond rings and old barstools

The wrongs and rights, the highs and lows
The "I love you's," the "I told you so's"
Past few miles to wherever's home
Another morning waking up alone

It ain't like midnight and cigarette smoke
It ain't like watered down whiskey and Coke
I guess some things just don't mix like you hoped
Like me and you
Diamond rings and old barstools

It ain't like midnight and cigarette smoke
Nothing like watered down whiskey and Coke
I guess some things just don't mix like you hoped
Like me and you
Diamond rings and old barstools


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
January 13th, 2020
A romantic Massachusetts man worked with an illustrator for six months to pull off an epic, fairytale marriage proposal that has gone viral on social media.



In filmmaker Lee Loechler's ambitious plan, animated versions of he and his girlfriend, Sthuthi David, would take starring roles in her favorite movie, Sleeping Beauty. During the pivotal scene, when Prince Phillip wakes Princess Aurora with a kiss, the characters on the screen would transform into cartoon lookalikes of Loechler and David and set the stage for the real-life proposal. Loechler contracted Australian illustrator Kayla Coombs to make it happen.

On December 30, Loechler and David attended what she thought was a special private screening of Sleeping Beauty at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in the couple's hometown of Brookline. Since all this was a surprise for David, hidden in the back of the screening room were the couple's friends and family. Surrounding the couple were Reddit volunteers, who were incentivized to attend the free screening with a pizza-and-beer afterparty.



A YouTube.com video that has been viewed more than six million times shows David's reaction as the hair and skin colors of the iconic Disney characters start to change and there's the realization that she and her boyfriend are now in the movie.



After the prince awakens the princess, he pulls out an open ring box revealing a glistening diamond engagement ring. The animated Loechler flips the box into the air, and the in-the-flesh version pretends to make the catch.

Standing in front of the screen, with the ring in hand, the real Loechler went down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend.

"I love you with my whole heart, including all of its ventricles, atriums, valves," Loechler joked, before clarifying for the audience that David is a cardiologist.

"Oh my God, these poor people!" David responded, not knowing that the audience was made up of her friends, relatives and Reddit volunteers.

“Will you live happily ever after with me?” Loechler asked. David answered, "Yes."



"It's not every day you get to propose to your high school sweetheart," Loechler wrote on his Instagram page. "The only thing better than seeing the smartest person I know completely dumbfounded was knowing we'd get to live happily ever after together."

As the movie came to a close, the title "The End" changed to "The Beginning."

Then, in a cute touch, the screen transitioned to a bold-color test pattern, and then a title appeared that said, "Alt 2 'Sthuthi Says No.'" In this version of the ending, there is a scene of crying dwarfs.

"Hey Riley," Loechler yelled to the film operator. "Can you kill it? She said, 'Yes.'"

Please check out the Loechler's video here...


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.
January 14th, 2020
Swiss researchers just unveiled a new type of 18-karat gold that's made from 75% gold and 25% plastic, yielding super-lightweight, malleable material that weighs just 1/10th to 1/5th as much as the traditional alloy.



The team at ETH Zurich claims that the new lightweight alloy has the exact same lustrous qualities of traditional 18-karat gold, making it an attractive alternative for jewelry manufacturers and designers.

"Lovers of gold watches and heavy jewelry will be thrilled," wrote Peter Rüegg on ETH Zurich's official website. "The objects of their desire may someday become much lighter, but without losing any of their glitter. Especially with watches, a small amount of weight can make all the difference."

The researchers believe that the new material will also be attractive to manufacturers because it is easier to work than traditional precious metals. The melting point of the new material is just 105° C (221° F), versus 1,064° C (1,943° F) for traditional 18-karat gold.

Gold purity is measured by its karatage, with 24-karat gold being 100% pure. Conventional 18-karat yellow gold is made from 75% gold and 25% other materials, such as copper and silver. Popular 14-karat gold is 14/24ths (58.3%) pure gold, and 10-karat gold is 10/24ths (41.6%) gold. Both 14-karat and 10-karat gold are commonly mixed with silver and copper.

With the new material, ETH Zurich scientists used a matrix of plastic in place of metallic alloy elements. Instead of weighing 15 grams per cubic centimeter, the new 18-karat material weighs 1.7 grams per cubic centimeter.

Raffaele Mezzenga, Professor of Food and Soft Materials at ETH Zurich, explained how she and her colleagues used protein fibers and a polymer latex to form a matrix in which they embedded thin discs of gold nanocrystals. In addition, the lightweight gold contains countless tiny air pockets invisible to the eye.

Highlights of the process were recently published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

“This gold has the material properties of a plastic,” Mezzenga said. "If a piece of it falls onto a hard surface, it sounds like plastic. But it glimmers like metallic gold, and can be polished and worked into the desired form."

The researchers also claimed that the hardness of the material may be adjusted by slightly altering the composition. The latex, for example, could be replaced by other plastics, such as polypropylene. Also, altering the shape of the gold nanoparticles will change the color from gold to violet.

While Mezzenga and her team see obvious applications for jewelry and watch manufacturers, the material also may be suitable for chemical catalysis, electronics applications or radiation shielding.

Credit: Image by ETH Zurich / Peter Rüegg.
January 15th, 2020
For more than 1,500 years, February 29 has been reserved for single ladies who have waited far too long for their guys to pop the question. Leap Day, which hits the calendar every four years, is a time when traditional roles are reversed and women are encouraged to pop the question.



Leap Day marriage proposals have their roots in 5th century Ireland, where St. Brigid of Kildare forged a deal with St. Patrick to permit women to propose to men every four years. In Ireland, Leap Day is also called Bachelor’s Day.

This Irish tradition was then brought to Scotland by Irish monks. Legend states that in 1288, the Scotts passed a law that allowed women to propose on Leap Day. If the man refused the proposal, he would have to pay a fine, ranging from a kiss to a silk dress or a pair of gloves. In upper-class circles, the fine would be 12 pairs of gloves. Presumably, the gloves would hide the shame of not wearing an engagement ring.

In English law, the day February 29 had no legal status, so some Brits believed that traditional customs held no status on that day either. Hence, women were free to reverse the unfair custom that permitted only men to propose marriage.

This theme was celebrated in the 2010 romance/comedy Leap Year. Amy Adams plays the part of Anna, who is frustrated when another anniversary passes without a marriage proposal from her boyfriend. When she learns about the Irish tradition that allows women to pop the question on Leap Day, she rushes to Dublin to track down the boyfriend at a convention just in time to deliver a marriage proposal on February 29.

There is some evidence that more women are considering the idea of popping the question — any day of the year. Pinterest reported in December 2018 that searches on its site for the phrase “women proposing to men” had skyrocketed 336% compared to 2017.

On Christmas Day, Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn shook up the Internet when she proposed to her NHL pro boyfriend P.K. Subban, stating, "Men deserve engagement rings, too." Vonn's proposal needs an asterisk, however. You see, Subban had already proposed to her in August with an emerald ring (because green is her favorite color).

In the fall of 2018, The Knot's sister site — which covers unique proposals — changed its name from "How He Asked" to "How They Asked."

“We are strong believers that inclusivity is not optional," noted Meghan Brown, site director of How They Asked, "and it was about time our name reflected that. How They Asked is a site for everyone."

A recent survey of 500 men by Glamour found that 70% of men would be "psyched" if their female partner popped the question.

Will Leap Day 2020 mark a turning point for traditional gender roles? Only time will tell.

Credit: Image by BigStockPhoto.com
January 16th, 2020
Barclay, the adorable four-legged mascot of the St. Louis Blues, recently received a Stanley "Pup" Championship collar — complete with the team's famous Blue Note logo rendered in sapphires and karat gold. A spokesperson for Purina claimed Barclay is the first dog to ever receive championship jewelry.



Blues executive and Hall of Famer Brett Hull was on hand last week to honor the pup, who was adopted by the team in December of 2018. Many Blues fans and sports writers believe the future service dog played an important role in settling down a team in conflict and leading them to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.



Prior to Barclay's arrival, the Blues were a team in turmoil. They were dropping down to the bottom of the standings and their players were literally fighting among themselves.

Liz Miller of the Riverfront Times recounted, "On December 13th, the team adopts Barclay and brings him to practice. No one fights each other, instead opting to play with the dog. On December 14, eventual Conn Smythe winner Ryan O'Reilly wins the team's next game in overtime — with a shorthanded goal, no less. Is it coincidence that the Blues started to play more like a winning team after Barclay was recruited? We think not, St. Louis."

The yellow Labrador Retriever puppy soon became an internet sensation, as videos of the five-month-old Barclay slipping across the ice with a stick and puck during a team practice went viral.



Purina worked with Jostens in preparing the special collar for Barclay. The team's signature Blue Note — the same one that adorns the players' championship rings — is affixed to the blue leather collar.



For Jostens' ring design, the Blue Note logo was rendered with 16 genuine, custom-cut blue sapphires. The number 16 represented the number of victories earned by the Blues on their path to the championship. Jostens reported that each sapphire had to be delicately shaved so each would fit exactly within the logo’s yellow gold outline.

In addition to the Blue Note, the collar also features a "2019 Champions" plaque and a "Purina" insignia.

The celebrity pup, who was voted "Best Team Dog" in the NHL Fan Choice Awards, has his own Instagram page with more than 78,000 followers.

"Woof! My name’s Barclay!" notes the Official Stanley Pup of the @stlouisblues on Instagram. "I’m a good boy who’s training to be a future service dog through @duodogsinc."

Credits: Barclay mages via instagram.com/stlbluespup. Collar closeup screen capture via YouTube.com/KSDK News. Ring photo courtesy of Jostens.
January 17th, 2020
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you wonderful songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, British songstress Billie Marten delivers her enchanting acoustic cover of "The Book of Love."



In the song, Marten explains how love is unnecessarily complicated and frequently irrational. In fact, if someone could write The Book of Love, it would be a mammoth volume — long, boring and overwrought with "flowers and heart-shaped boxes and instructions for dancing." Love, she contends, is spending special moments together, and expressing one's love with a time-honored symbol of jewelry.

At the end of the song, she concludes, "And I / I love it when you give me things / And you / You can give me wedding rings / You can give me... You can give me wedding rings."

Written by Stephin Merritt and originally released by American indie pop group The Magnetic Fields in 1999, "The Book of Love" was covered by British rocker Peter Gabriel, whose version appeared in the soundtrack of the 2004 flick, Shall We Dance. The song earned a cult following in 2010 when Gabriel's "Book of Love" was used during the series finale of the hit show Scrubs.

Born Isabella Sophie Tweddle in Ripon, England, in 1999, Marten began playing the guitar and singing when she was just seven years old. In 2008, she established a channel on YouTube, where she posted covers of pop songs, mostly for the benefit of her grandparents who lived in France.

When she was 12, Marten was invited to do a few sessions for a local YouTube channel called "Ont' Sofa." Immersed in a studio filled with Fender guitars, the young lady performed a number of popular songs, including her beautiful, effortless rendition of "The Book of Love." The videos went viral and her singing career was set in motion. She was signed to Chess Club Records, a division of Sony Music, in 2015, and was nominated for Britain's Sound of 2016 Award.

Please check out the video of Marten's "Ont' Sofa" performance of "The Book of Love." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"The Book of Love"
Written by Stephin Merritt. Performed by Billie Marten.

The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes
And instructions for dancing

And I
I love it when you read to me
And you
You can read me anything

The book of love has music in it
In fact that's where music comes from
Some of it is just transcendental
Some of it is just really dumb

And I
I love it when you sing to me
And you
You can sing me anything

The book of love is long and boring
And written very long ago
It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes
Things we're all too young to know

But I
I love it when you read to me
And you
You can read me anything

And I
I love it when you sing to me
And you
You can sing me anything

And I
I love it when you give me things
And you
You can give me wedding rings
You can give me... You can give me wedding rings


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com/Ont' Sofa.
January 20th, 2020
French luxury brand Louis Vuitton has purchased the historic 1,758-carat Sewelô diamond from Lucara in a deal that allows the mining company to retain a 50% interest in the individual polished diamonds that result from the cutting of the massive stone. The amount of Louis Vuitton's upfront payment was not disclosed.



Sewelô, which means “rare find” in Setswana, was recovered from Lucara's Karowe Diamond Mine in Botswana in April 2019. It ranks as the world's second-largest rough diamond. Only the 3,106-carat Cullinan, which was discovered in South Africa in 1905, was larger. The Cullinan was eventually cut into nine principle stones (some of which now form part of the British royal family's crown jewels) and 96 smaller stones.

Louis Vuitton will be working with Antwerp-based diamond manufacturer HB Company to determine the optimal way to divide the tennis ball-sized diamond in order to deliver its full potential. According to published reports, the size, shape and quantity of polished diamonds that Sewelô will yield may take a year to finalize due to the complexity and high stakes of the task at hand.



The New York Times reported that Louis Vitton's manufacturing partners are already talking about potential principle diamonds — a 904-carat cushion, an 891-carat oval or several smaller diamonds ranging between 100 and 300 carats.

Lucara had previously characterized the stone as near-gem quality. A more recent analysis confirmed that the stone includes domains of higher-quality white gem.

Amazingly, the Karowe Diamond Mine in Botswana has yielded two 1,000-plus-carat diamonds. The 1,111-carat Lesedi La Rona, which was unearthed in 2015, had been purchased for $53 million by British luxury jeweler Graff Diamonds and divided into one principle emerald-cut stone weighing 302 carats and 66 smaller diamonds of varying shapes.

Lucara also announced that 5% of all the proceeds generated from the Sewelô collection will be earmarked for community-based initiatives in Botswana.

Lucara CEO Eira Thomas commented: "We are delighted to be partnering with Louis Vuitton, the famous luxury house, to transform the historic, 1,758-carat Sewelô, Botswana's largest diamond, into a collection of fine jewelry that will commemorate this extraordinary discovery and contribute direct benefits to our local communities of interest in Botswana."

Credits: Image (top) courtesy of Louis Vuitton. Image (middle) courtesy of Lucara Diamond Corp.
January 21st, 2020
Archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority have unearthed a clay juglet filled with seven gold coins dating back 1,200 years. The find was made near an ancient pottery studio in the city of Yavne, which was well known for its commercial production of ceramic storage jars, pots and bowls. The archaeologists believe the juglet — commonly used as a container for liquids — may have been a potter's personal "piggy bank."



“The hoard includes coins that are rarely found in Israel,” said Dr. Robert Kool, an expert on ancient coins at the Israel Antiquities Authority. “These are gold dinars issued by the Aghlabid dynasty that ruled in North Africa, in the region of modern Tunisia, on behalf of the Abbasid Caliphate centered in Bagdad."



The coins are from the early Abbasid Period (9th century CE). One of the coins has a special significance because it is a gold dinar from the reign of the Caliph Haroun A-Rashid (786-809 CE), who was a central figure in the famous Arabian Nights folk tales.

“I was in the middle of cataloging a large number of artifacts we found during the excavations when all of a sudden I heard shouts of joy,” said Liat Nadav-Ziv, co-director of the excavation. “I ran towards the shouting and saw Marc Molkondov, a veteran archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority, approaching me excitedly. We quickly followed him to the field where we were surprised at the sight of the treasure."



Archaeologists found the small, broken jug and its shimmering contents near the entrance to one of many ancient kilns in Yavne, a hub of commercial pottery production from the seventh to the ninth centuries.

The large-scale excavation had been conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority prior to the construction of a new Yavne neighborhood. The city is located about 20 km south of Tel Aviv and just 7 km from the Mediterranean Sea.

In another section of the site, the archaeologists found ancient wine-making facilities, including an unusually large number of vats that were used for commercial production. This area was dated to the Persian period (4th – 5th centuries BCE).

Credits: Images by Liat Nadav-Ziv, Israel Antiquities Authority.
January 22nd, 2020
Crafted in 18-karat rose gold and pavé set with 3 carats of extraordinarily rare Argyle pink diamonds, "The Jewelled Tiger" strikes a menacing pose on the face of The Perth Mint's 2020 limited-edition 3D coin.



Priced at $177,275 (AUD $259,000), The Jeweled Tiger represents the third in a series of highly collectible coins showcasing Asia’s revered mythical and mortal creatures. The 2018 Jewelled Phoenix and 2019 Jewelled Dragon coins sold out within weeks of their respective release dates.

Recognizing the significance of the number eight in Asian cultures and its association with luck and prosperity, only eight Jewelled Tiger coins will be issued by The Perth Mint, each presented in a luxurious display case with 18-karat gold accents and inset with two additional Argyle pink diamonds.



The proof coin is unusual because it features a three-dimensional representation of the beast known as the "king of the mountain." The super-rare gems that make up the body of the tiger include a mix of fancy vivid, intense pink and purplish-pink Argyle diamonds. The diamonds are highly coveted because Australia's Argyle mine — the main source of the world's gem-quality pink diamonds — will be retired in 2020. Two emeralds from Colombia's legendary Muzo mines are used to represent the tiger's brilliant green eyes.



The coin’s reverse design is rendered In the style of literati painting, with the tiger depicted ascending a rocky outcrop with stylized mountains and foliage in the background. Also included is the Chinese character for "tiger," the inscription "JEWELLED TIGER" and The Perth Mint’s traditional "P" mintmark. The obverse features the Jody Clark effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the weight and fineness, the "2000 DOLLARS" monetary denomination, "AUSTRALIA," the Queen's name and the year 2020.

The Jewelled Tiger coin measures 61 mm (2.4 inches) across and includes 10 ounces of 99.99 fineness yellow gold and .41 ounces of 18-karat rose gold. The unique coin will be on display at The Perth Mint shop in East Perth until supplies run out.

Please check out The Perth Mint's promotional video...


Credits: Images courtesy of The Perth Mint.
January 23rd, 2020
When Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs match up against Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV on February 2 in Miami, the teams will be vying for championship bling their franchises haven't seen in a combined 75 years.



It was exactly 50 years ago when Len Dawson led the Chiefs to victory against the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV. To mark their first and, to this day, only Super Bowl championship, the players took home a simple keepsake featuring a large single diamond surrounded by smaller diamonds in a football motif. The rest of the ring gives off a class ring vibe, with raised gold lettering against a black ground.

The National Football League maintains an unwritten rule that teams with multiple Super Bowl victories get to design the most extravagant rings. The more Vince Lombardi Trophies, the bigger the ring. Since the Chiefs earned only one title, the design evolution of their ring started and ended in 1970.

It's a much different story for the 49ers, a team that dominated the NFL throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. The team won championships in 1981 (Super Bowl XVI), 1984 (XIX), 1988 (XXIII), 1989 (XXIV) and 1994 (XXIX).



As you can see from the images, above, the ring gradually got more ornate as the team collected more trophies. The team's first-ever ring featured a large round diamond in the center of a football motif, with 14 diamonds comprising the outer edge of the ball. Each subsequent championship ring used marquise-shaped diamonds to represent the Lombardi Trophies.



If the 49ers prevail in Super Bowl LIV, the team will tie the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl victories at six. It's our guess that even though 49ers haven't raised a trophy in 25 years, their championship rings should be in the same stratosphere as the ones awarded to the Patriots last year.



Those over-the-top Jostens-designed rings featured 422 diamonds weighing 8.25 carats and 20 blue sapphires totaling 1.60 carats.

If the Chiefs are the victors, we're guessing that their rings will be more modest, with the red "KC" logo rendered in rubies and the white "arrowhead" rendered in diamond pavé. The ring will likely feature two large marquise-shaped diamonds to represent the franchise's two Lombardi Trophies.

The NFL typically awards 150 rings to the Super Bowl victor and allocates approximately $7,000 per ring — although teams with multiple Super Bowl victories are allotted a higher budget for diamonds. Teams often create “B” and “C” level rings — designs with faux diamonds or fewer diamonds — for distribution to the front office staff. The rings are usually presented to the players some time in June.

Credits: Chiefs Super Bowl ring, 49ers Super Bowl XIX, XXIII, XXIV rings by Jostens. 49ers Super Bowl XVI via Goldin Auctions. 49ers Super Bowl XXIX ring by Owen Byrne [CC BY] via Wikimedia Commons.
January 24th, 2020
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you blockbuster songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Mumford & Sons' frontman Marcus Mumford paints his spirit gold in the Grammy-nominated 2012 hit, "I Will Wait."



Mumford told MTV News that the song was written on the road and reflective of the band's hectic touring schedule. Life away from home can take a heavy toll on personal relationships, and this song serves as a solemn reminder of why it's so important to cherish the ones you love.

He sings, "Raise my hands / Paint my spirit gold / And bow my head / Keep my heart slow."

While the repeated chorus, "And I will wait, I will wait for you," is directed to Mumford's significant other, fans have shared their own heartfelt interpretations of the song. Some have recounted how they waited patiently for years and then finally married the girl of their dreams. Others shared how the song gives them hope that one day they will be reunited with loved ones who passed away.

Released as the first sing from Mumford & Sons' second album Babel, "I Will Wait" became the group's biggest hit, selling more than five million copies and charting in 17 countries. Babel was named "Album of the Year" at the 2013 Grammy Awards.

After listening to this rousing Bluegrass tune, one would assume that Mumford & Sons has its roots in Nashville. But that couldn't be farther from the truth. The band was actually formed in West London in December 2007.

Frontman Marcus Mumford had been playing for various acts in London, where he met the other three founding members of Mumford & Sons — Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall and Ted Dwane. The men bonded over their passion for bluegrass and folk music.

Please check out the beautifully shot video of Mumford & Sons' live performance of "I Will Wait." The concert took place in August 2012 at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver, Colo., and the video has been viewed 164 million times. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"I Will Wait"
Written by Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford and Winston Marshall. Performed by Mumford & Sons.

Well I came home
Like a stone
And I fell heavy into your arms
These days of dust
Which we've known
Will blow away with this new sun

But I'll kneel down
Wait for now
And I'll kneel down
Know my ground

And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

So break my step
And relent
You forgave and I won't forget
Know what we've seen
And him with less
Now in some way
Shake the excess

'Cause I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

Now I'll be bold
As well as strong
And use my head alongside my heart
So take my flesh
And fix my eyes
A tethered mind free from the lies

And I'll kneel down
Wait for now
I'll kneel down
Know my ground

Raise my hands
Paint my spirit gold
And bow my head
Keep my heart slow

'Cause I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you


Credit: Image by Rob D [CC BY] via Wikimedia Commons.
January 28th, 2020
In a black velvet booth at the Ritz in Paris, Swarovski unveiled a fun and colorful collection of lab-grown diamonds, each with a fashionable name related to its hue. These included Gothic Cognac (deep orange), Cubist Sky (sky blue), Androgyny Flamingo (bright pink) and Heavy Metal Cherry (deep red).



The 125-year-old Austria-based company, which is famous for cutting fine crystals, entered the lab-grown diamond business in 2018 with a limited line of white diamonds. The process of creating colored diamonds is far more complex because additional heating, pressure and electro-radiation treatments are required in varying degrees for each color.

"We love to cut. We believe we’re real master cutters, so this category always intrigued us,” executive board member Markus Langes-Swarovski told WWD.

The new project highlights human innovation by re-creating the rarest diamond hues.



The 16 colors will be divided into four pillars, each representing a different creative medium: fashion, art, music and architecture. Each pillar is led by an intense hero color (available as large as 2.5-carats), with the less vivid shades offered in the 0.25-to-1.5-carat range.

The colored diamonds will be presented in six classic cuts: Round brilliant, square princess, cushion, pear, oval and radiant.

Swarovski Created Diamonds have the same optical, chemical and physical attributes as mined diamonds. Both are 100% carbon and have the same hardness, brilliance and fire as natural mined diamonds.

All Swarovski Created Diamonds are certified by the International Gemological Institute (IGI). Since lab-created diamonds can only be distinguished from mined diamonds with sophisticated lab equipment, gems 0.10 carats and larger will be laser engraved to clearly identify them as man-made.

Swarovski has been working on creating an ambitious array of colors, and Langes-Swarovski is optimistic about the possibilities.

“Imagine being able to order a lab-grown diamond to match your fiancée’s eyes,” he told The Telegraph. “By the end of the year, we could have 120 colors. We have the possibilities to create alien colors, colors that have never even been seen before or imagined on this planet. Our vision is to create millions of colors!”

Credits: Images courtesy of Swarovski.
January 29th, 2020
Reflecting its efforts to push boundaries, stretch the limits of technology and achieve something unique, Swissmint issued a gold coin so small that neither image on the minted sides can be discerned with the naked eye. Naturally, Swissmint has that covered by providing magnifying lenses and a light with every purchase.



Billed as the smallest gold coin in the world, the new "1/4-franc gold" measures 2.96mm (0.12 inches) in diameter and weighs 0.063g (0.0022 ounces). The coin is about the size of a match head.

With a bit of ocular assistance, coin lovers will recognize that the obverse of the coin features the famous image of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue, and the year 2020. The reverse shows the nominal value of 1/4 franc ($0.26) together with the inscription "Helvetia" (the female national personification of Switzerland) and the Swiss cross. Also shown is the alloy mark "AU 999.9" and the weight (1/500 ounce).

In creating the world's smallest coin, Swissmint drew inspiration from Albert Einstein's qualities of determination and patience. From 1895 to 1914, Einstein lived mainly in Switzerland, where he also completed his studies in 1900 at what is today called ETH in Zurich. In 1901, he was granted Swiss citizenship and in 1902 he found permanent employment as a technical expert in the Patents Office in Bern. It was in 1905 that he published what is probably the most famous formula in the world: E=mc2.

The new offering is packaged in a special presentation case, complete with magnifying lenses and light, ensuring that the collector can examine the smallest gold coin while still keeping it safely stored. Designed by Swissmint engraver Remo Mascherini, the new 1/4-franc gold coin is available as a "special minting" of just 999 coins. Swissmint is selling each coin for 199 Swiss francs (about $204).



The record for the largest, heaviest and most valuable coin is held by The Perth Mint's “1 Tonne Australian Kangaroo." Made from 99.99% pure gold, the coin measures 80 cm (31.5 inches) wide and 12 cm (4.5 inches) thick. It weighs one metric ton, which is equivalent to 2,200 pounds or 35,274 ounces. The coin has a face value of $1 million, but at today’s gold price, the precious metal alone is worth $55 million.

Credits: 1/4-franc gold coin image courtesy of Swissmint. 1 Tonne Australian Kangaroo coin image courtesy of The Perth Mint.
January 30th, 2020
While the screen of a new iPhone 11 does a fine job resisting scratches from keys, coins and even razor blades, it would hardly stand up to a challenge from most of the gems in your jewelry box. The reason is that the glass of the iPhone 11 has a rating of 6 on the Mohs hardness scale, while your favorite peridot, topaz and diamond, to name a few, all rate higher.



More than 200 years ago, German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs developed a method to define the hardnesses of various minerals based on the relative ease or difficulty with which one could be scratched by another. Mohs' method bucked the trend of classifying minerals by their chemical composition.

On the lowest end of the scale was talc with the rating of 1, and on the other end the spectrum was diamond with a rating of 10. Other minerals were given intermediate values based on their scratch performance.



It's important to note that the Mohs ratings are relative, not linear, meaning that even though diamond is a 10 and talc is a 1, it does not mean that diamond is 10 times harder than talc. In fact, diamond is more than three times harder than the 9-rated corundum, which includes ruby and sapphire. And only a diamond can scratch a diamond.

When it comes to picking gemstone jewelry that is likely to be worn every day, such as an engagement ring, consumers are best served with a gemstone that resides on the higher end of the Mohs scale. When soft gems are used in jewelry, they need to be in settings that will protect them, and worn with extreme care.

It's also important for jewelry lovers to remember to protect softer gems from scratching, especially when they are sharing a jewelry box with harder items, such as diamonds. The gems most susceptible to scratching are pearls, amber, malachite, coral, opal and turquoise — all of which rate 6 or lower on the Mohs scale.

Experts recommend storing gemstones apart from each other, such as utilizing separate compartments of a jewelry box, or separate boxes altogether. Gems can be further protected from the edges of metal jewelry by wrapping them in tissue.

Here's a sampling of where your favorite gemstones rate on the Mohs scale:
10  Diamond
9  Corundum, including sapphire and ruby
8.5  Alexandrite
8  Topaz, spinel
7  Quartz, citrine, amethyst
6.5-7  Peridot, tanzanite
6  Feldspar
5.5-6  Opal, turquoise
5  Apatite
4  Fluorite
3.5-4  Malachite, coral
3  Calcite
2.5-4.5  Pearl
2-2.5  Amber

Compare the hardness of the gems, above, to these common items...
8.5  Masonry drill bit
6.5  Steel nail
6  Screen of iPhone 11
5.5  Razor blade
5  Window glass
3.5  Copper penny
2.5-3  Pure gold or silver
2.5  Fingernail



During his illustrious career, Mohs earned professorships in Graz (1812), Freiberg (1818) and Vienna (1826). The memorial plaque shown above is dedicated to Mohs and his accomplishments in the Austrian capital. In 1839, Mohs passed away while on holiday in Italy at the age of 66.

Credits: Portrait of Friedrich Mohs by Josef Kriehuber [Public domain]. Marquise Diamond Ring photo by Chip Clark and digitally enhanced by SquareMoose/Smithsonian. Mohs scale graphic by Eurico Zimbres [CC BY-SA]. Memorial plaque photo by Doris Antony, Berlin [CC BY-SA].
January 31st, 2020
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Aussie star Kylie Minogue rescues her lover from darkness and despair in the 2007 ballad "White Diamond."



Minogue is empowered by the symbolic characteristics of a diamond — brilliance, strength, timelessness, faithfulness, purity and love — to light the path to his salvation.

She sings, "You're looking out from the darkness / Feeling so alone and you need a flare / Well, I've got the light that's gonna treat you right / And illuminate what's already there / Understand I will be there for you / Understand I'm a diamond for you / A white diamond for you."

Later in the song, she adds, "Like a pure white diamond / I'll shine on and on and on and on."

Minogue co-wrote "White Diamond" in 2006 during her recovery from breast cancer and later performed it on her comeback tour, which she called "Showgirl: Homecoming."

A 2007 documentary film that chronicled that triumphant tour was titled "White Diamond: A Personal Portrait of Kylie Minogue." The song is performed in Act 1 of the tour DVD and is included as a bonus track on the Australian and New Zealand iTunes editions of Minogue's 10th studio album, simply titled X.

The singer had been diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2005, resulting in the cancellation of the Australian leg of "Showgirl: The Greatest Hits" tour. She subsequently underwent successful surgery and radiotherapy, and resumed her touring schedule in November 2006.

Born Kylie Ann Minogue in 1968, the singer, songwriter and showgirl began her career as a child actress on an Australian television series. In 1987, her breakout cover of the 1963 hit, "The Loco-Motion," spent seven weeks at #1 on the Australian singles chart and became the best-selling Aussie single of the 1980s.

To date, Minogue has sold 70 million records worldwide and has earned numerous awards, including a Grammy, three Brit Awards, 17 ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Music Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards. She is the top-selling female Australian performing artist of all time.

Please check out the video of Minogue's live performance of "White Diamond" in New York City. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"White Diamond"
Written by Kylie Minogue, Babydaddy and Jake Shears. Performed by Kylie Minogue.

I know that it's getting too much, baby
But you don't need the words to say
Sometimes you feel you're at the end of the line
But tonight it's gonna fade away

You're looking out from the darkness
Feeling so alone and you need a flare
Well, I've got the light that's gonna treat you right
And illuminate what's already there

Understand I will be there for you
Understand I'm a diamond for you
A white diamond for you

And just like a burning radio I'm on to you
Your spell I'm under
In the silver shadows I will radiate
And glow for you

What you see and what it seems
Are nothing more than dreams within a dream
Like a pure white diamond
I'll shine on and on and on

Where I'm gonna take you now
Every tear will look out of place
Well, I thought about it but it took until now
To crystallize it into a phrase

Understand I will be there for you
Understand I'm a diamond for you
A white diamond for you

And just like a burning radio I'm on to you
Your spell I'm under
In the silver shadows I will radiate
And glow for you

What you see and what it seems
Are nothing more than dreams within a dream
Like a pure white diamond
I'll shine on and on and on and on


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.