James Middleton Jewelers Blog

Articles in September 2020

September 1st, 2020
As the world’s leading diamond producer, Russia's Alrosa Group gets to see a lot of rough stones — from the ordinary to the extraordinary.



Among the 40 million carats that are sorted in an average year, a handful of exceptional diamond oddities are extracted and preserved in the company's collection of rare finds. They are also photographed and chronicled on the company's Instagram page using the hashtag "uniquediamondsalrosa."



One of those oddities was revealed to the world exactly a year ago. Instagram followers were invited to view to a video that seemed to show a tiny rough diamond moving freely in the cavity of a larger one. The caption read, “A diamond in a diamond? We couldn’t help but share this very special find with you.”

At the time, Alrosa wasn’t quite sure what to make of the phenomenon. Nobody at the mining company had ever seen anything like it. Five weeks later, Alrosa scientists confirmed that both the host and smaller crystal were diamonds. They named the double-diamond “Matryoshka” because its strange configuration was reminiscent of the popular Russian nesting dolls.



Just two weeks ago, Alrosa posted a pic and short video of its most recent oddity: a diamond composed of merged crystals.

Alrosa's asked its Instagram followers, "How many crystals do you see?" We see six, but there may be more.



Earlier in the year, during the onset of the COVID-19 virus, the mining company lifted the spirits of its followers with the post of a diamond with a pyrope inclusion.

Read the caption, "A pyrope heart of a diamond. During this hard time, we are strong while we are compassionate and caring."

The company explained that the unusual diamond was mined in the Arkhangelsk region by Alrosa's subsidiary, Severalmaz.



During holiday season, Alrosa showed off its snowflake diamond. In the caption, the company explained that the gemological name for the crystal formation is a cyclic twin. "But we prefer to call it a snowflake," the company wrote.



Also in December, in the lead-up to Hanukkah, Alrosa revealed a diamond that looked like the Star of David. Wrote Alrosa, "No filters! No cutting! Just creative nature. This greenish yellowish "Star of David" was mined in late 2018 by Alrosa's subsidiary Severalmaz in [the] Arkhangelsk region."

Also a cyclic twin, the diamond reflects the inter-growth of octahedral macles (triangular-shaped twinned crystals) that are oriented in opposite directions.



Just before Thanksgiving, the company had some fun with a strange rough diamond that resembled a galloping horse.

Alrosa's social media team penned, "Do we have a rich imagination or really crazy rough diamonds? Honestly, we expected to find a turkey-shape rough on the eve of Thanksgiving. But no. Instead, we are happy to have a pony diamond!"

Alrosa accounts for nearly one-third of global rough diamond production. The company manages mines in Russia’s Yakutia and Arkhangelsk regions, as well as Africa.

Credits: Images and video captures via Instagram.com/alrosadiamonds.
September 2nd, 2020
In honor of September's official birthstone, we're revisiting a magnificent 392-carat blue sapphire that smashed an auction record when it sold for $17.3 million at Christie's Geneva in 2014. It remains the highest price paid at auction for a sapphire.



Named the "Blue Belle of Asia," the cushion-cut, cornflower blue Ceylon sapphire fetched nearly twice its pre-sale high estimate of $9.9 million.

When the tense bidding session was completed on November 11, 2014, Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Christie’s Jewelry Department, slammed down his gavel and proclaimed, "The private collector, seated in the room, is now the new owner of the most valuable sapphire in the world."

The stone has a provenance dating back 94 years. Blue Belle of Asia was discovered in 1926 at Pelmadula, Ratnapura (The City of Gems) in Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka). It was originally owned by famous gem and jewelry dealers O.L.M. Macan Markar & Co., based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. According to Christie's, the Blue Belle of Asia was cut and polished to its current size and shape between 1926 and 1928.

British automobile magnate Lord Nuffield purchased the gem in 1937 with the rumored intentions of presenting it to Queen Elizabeth on her coronation day in May of that same year. The Queen never took possession of the stone and it subsequently “disappeared” into private hands. Its location remained a mystery for the next 35 years. In the 1970s, the stone curiously turned up in the notes and drawings of Swiss gem dealer Theodore Horovitz, although the owner remained anonymous.

After 40 more years in the shadows, the formidable gem finally returned to the limelight in 2014 as the headliner of the Christie's high-profile Geneva event.



The Blue Belle of Asia is the centerpiece of a majestic diamond necklace featuring nine tassels adorned with brilliant-cut diamonds. Each tassel terminates in a larger oval-cut diamond.

All sapphires are made of the mineral corundum (crystalline aluminum oxide). In its pure state, the corundum is colorless, but when trace elements are naturally introduced to the chemical composition, the results are magical and colorful. Trace elements like iron, titanium, chromium, copper and magnesium give naturally colorless corundum a tint of blue, yellow, purple, orange or green, respectively, according to the American Gem Society. Ruby is the red variety of corundum.

Corundum has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, compared to a diamond, which has a hardness of 10.

In additional to being the official September birthstone, sapphire is also the preferred gem for couples celebrating their 5th or 45th wedding anniversaries.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.
September 3rd, 2020
The Kansas City Chiefs received their championship rings on Tuesday during a socially distanced private celebration at Arrowhead Stadium. Each Super Bowl ring features 255 diamonds and 36 rubies for a total gem carat weight of 10.85 carats.



The surreal on-field ring ceremony saw masked players and coaches standing six feet apart behind small cocktail tables as team chairman/CEO Clark Hunt called up each recipient to collect his well-deserved symbol of a memorable season. The Chiefs' 12-4 regular season record was capped by three nail-biting, come-from-behind playoff victories.



The Chiefs' 31-20 win over the 49ers on February 2, 2020, marked the franchise's second Super Bowl victory and the first in 50 years. The photo, above, shows the 2019 and 1969 championship rings, both of which were designed by Jostens.

For 60 seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs have been proud defenders of the Chiefs Kingdom. The ring face pays tribute to this legacy with 60 diamonds set inside a stunning arrowhead-shaped adornment. The arrowhead is layered over two Lombardi Trophies, each of which is topped by a marquise-shaped diamond.

The letters KC are outlined in yellow gold and shimmer with 16 custom-cut rubies that represent the franchise’s 10 AFC division titles combined with six playoff appearances under Head Coach Andy Reid. The 50 diamonds that surround the rubies and logo signify the 50 years between the team's Super Bowl victories.

The four baguette rubies on the top and bottom edges of the ring symbolize four straight AFC West titles from 2016 to 2019. An additional 122 diamonds cascade along the ring top edges, calling to mind the 100th season of the NFL and the Chiefs' 22 playoff appearances. Wrapping it all up, the words WORLD CHAMPIONS crafted from contrasting yellow gold, appear on the ring’s outermost edges.



The right side of the ring pays tribute to the fanbase with the words CHIEFS KINGDOM in raised yellow gold lettering. Located directly in the center, the Super Bowl LIV logo is set in white gold surrounded by a banner displaying the championship game's final score, 31 to 20. The right side is completed with the championship year date, 2019.

On the left side of the ring, the ring recipient’s name is spelled out in raised yellow gold lettering. Below, flags that capture the ’69 and ’19 Super Bowl victories fly high alongside the player’s number set in diamonds. BE GREAT, the team’s championship season motto, is set in a banner beneath, followed by the numbers 142.2, the decibel rating that makes Arrowhead Stadium the loudest in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. All of this is given definition by the stands seen at the very bottom, evoking a fan’s view from the stadium seats.

Etched inside the ring are the logos of the teams that were defeated by the Chiefs on their Super Bowl journey. Also shown are the scores of the games and the deficit overcome to secure the win. As an added touch of personalization, each player’s individual signature graces the interior. The final detail of the ring is a football located on the outer band, which features the initials LH, a tribute to franchise founder Lamar Hunt, who passed away in 2006.

Overall, the rings are highlighted by a total of nine baguette diamonds weighing 0.9 carats, two marquise-shaped diamonds weighing 0.7 carats and 244 round diamonds weighing 3.3 carats. The rings also boast four baguette rubies and 32 custom-cut rubies totaling 5.95 carats.

Credits: Images courtesy of Jostens.
September 4th, 2020
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, Tony Award winner Patti LuPone calls Mr. Goldstone "a gem" in a witty tune from the 2008 revival of the 1959 Broadway musical, Gypsy. In the song "Have an Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone," LuPone as Mama Rose tries to secure a contract with the Orpheum Circuit executive by showering him with flattery and offering all kinds of leftovers from a take-out dinner.



With music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Gypsy follows the lives of Rose, the ultimate show business mother, and her two daughters, June and Louise, as they navigate the vaudeville circuit during the early 1920s. Jammed into a small apartment, Rose and her girls are caught off guard when Rose's boyfriend, Herbie, and Goldstone come by unannounced. Playwright Arthur Laurents cleverly uses the name Goldstone to convey the character's wealth and power.

LuPone and the cast of Gypsy sing, "There are good stones and bad stones / and curbstones and gladstones / and touchstones and such stones as them / There are big stones and small stones / and grindstones and gallstones / but Goldstone is a gem!"

Gypsy opened to rave reviews on Broadway in 1959 with Ethel Merman in the lead role. Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood starred in the big screen version of Gypsy in 1963 and the stage show returned to Broadway in 1974, 1989, 2003 and 2008. LuPone's portrayal of Rose won her a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Critics have called Gypsy the greatest American musical.

Trivia: The Northport, NY-born LuPone played the part of Louise in a high school production of Gypsy when she was 13 years old.

More trivia: "Have an Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone" is the fifth song of Act I in the 2008 revival of Gypsy. The original name of the song was "Mr. Goldstone, I Love You."

Please check out the audio clip of LuPone and the 2008 Broadway cast of Gypsy singing "Have an Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Have an Eggroll, Mr. Goldstone"
Written by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim. Performed by Patti LuPone and the Broadway cast of Gypsy.

Have an eggroll, Mr. Goldstone.
Have a napkin, have a chopstick, have a chair.
Have a spare rib, Mr. Goldstone.
Any spare that I can spare I'll be glad to share!

Have a dish, have a fork, have a fish, have a pork.
Put your feet up. Feel at home.
Have a smoke, have a Coke.
Would you like to hear a joke?
I'll have June recite a poem!

Have a lychee, Mr. Goldstone.
Tell me any little thing that I can do.
Ginger peachy, Mr. Goldstone.
Have a kumquat, have two!
Everybody give a cheer.
Santa Claus is sitting here.
Mr. Goldstone I love you!

Have a Goldstone, Mr. Eggroll.
Tell me any little thing that I can do.
Have some fried rice, Mr. Soy Sauce.
Have a cookie, have a few!
What's the matter, Mr. G?
Have another pot of tea.
Mr. Goldstone I love you!

There are good stones and bad stones
and curbstones and gladstones
and touchstones and such stones as them.
There are big stones and small stones
and grindstones and gallstones,
but Goldstone is a gem!

There are milestones, there are mill stones.
There's a cherry, there's a yellow, there's a blue.
But we don't want any old stone,
only Goldstone will do!
Moonstones, sunstones.
We all scream for one stone.
Mr. Goldstone we love you!
Goldstone!


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
September 8th, 2020
Rio Tinto recently unveiled the six "hero" diamonds from its 2020 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, a collection of the rarest diamonds from a year’s worth of production at the Argyle mine in the remote east Kimberley region of Western Australia.



Among the heroes is the largest Fancy Vivid round brilliant diamond ever offered by Rio Tinto at the Tender, a 2.24-carat Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond known as Argyle Eternity™.

With the Argyle Mine scheduled to close down at the end of this year, the current Tender is presumed to be the second-to-last offering of its kind. During its 35 years in operation, the mine famously produced between 90% and 95% of the world's pink and red diamonds.

“Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine is the first and only ongoing source of rare pink, red and violet diamonds in the world," said Arnaud Soirat, Rio Tinto's chief executive of Copper and Diamonds. "We have seen, and continue to see, strong demand for these highly coveted diamonds, which together with extremely limited global supply, supports the significant value appreciation for Argyle pink diamonds.”

Overall, the 2020 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender — titled "One Lifetime, One Encounter" — includes 62 diamonds weighing a total of 57.23 carats.

According to Rio Tinto, the six hero diamonds were selected for their unique beauty and named to ensure there is a permanent record of their contribution to the history of the world’s most important diamonds:



• Lot 1: Argyle Eternity™, 2.24-carat round brilliant Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond.



• Lot 2: Argyle Ethereal™, 2.45-carat square radiant-shaped Fancy Intense Purple-Pink diamond.



• Lot 3: Argyle Sakura™, 1.84-carat pear-shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond.



• Lot 4: Argyle Emrys™, 0.43-carat princess-shaped Fancy Deep Grayish Violet-Blue diamond.



• Lot 5: Argyle Skylar™, 0.33-carat heart-shaped Fancy Dark Gray-Violet diamond.



• Lot 6: Argyle Infinité™, 0.70-carat oval-shaped Fancy Dark Violet-Gray diamond.



Also included in the Tender 2020 are 12 lots of carefully curated pink, red, blue and violet diamonds weighing 13.90 carats in total. Called "The Petite Suites," these collectible diamonds were assembled over five years and represent a harmonious balance of size, shape, color and clarity.

Rio Tinto has provided a virtual preview of the rare Argyle pink, red, violet and blue diamonds to an exclusive group of collectors, diamond connoisseurs and luxury jewelry houses. In-person viewings will be offered later in the year at the Argyle mine, as well as Perth, Singapore and Antwerp. Bidding will close on December 2, 2020. Rio Tinto's final Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is expected to take place in 2021, after the iconic mine's closure.

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto Diamonds.
September 9th, 2020
The Kansas City Chiefs received their spectacular Super Bowl rings in a special ceremony on September 1, but did you know that on the same day MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes got his ring, he gave one, as well?



The romantic 24-year-old popped the question to his high school sweetheart, Brittany Matthews, with an eye-popping radiant-cut diamond ring. Experts believe the center stone weighs between 8 and 10 carats and could be worth as much as $800,000, depending on the diamond's quality.

The stone is secured with yellow-gold prongs and sits atop a double diamond band. Radiant-cut diamonds are square or rectangular, but unlike an emerald-cut, which has stepped facets, the radiant-cut mimics the faceting of a round brilliant cut.



The surprise proposal took place in a luxury suite at Arrowhead Stadium. In photos posted to Mahomes' Instagram page, the couple is seen posing in a room decorated with candles, flowers and a marquee sign spelling out, "WILL YOU MARRY ME."

Earlier, on the field, each Chiefs player and coach received a personalized Super Bowl championship ring featuring 255 diamonds and 36 rubies.

Matthews wrote on Instagram, "On a day that was meant to celebrate you, you turned it into celebrating us. It’s always us, it’s always you & me, the words you looked into my eyes and said to me, will NEVER leave my mind! You made this day perfect, you took my entire breath away! I LOVE YOU @PatrickMahomes." She punctuated her post with a double-red-heart emoji.

Mahomes was excited to post a closeup of the ring on his Instagram Story. "Ring SZN," Mahomes wrote atop the snap. Of course, that translates to "Ring Season."



Another shot shows the bride-to-be smiling ear-to-ear and proudly holding out her newly adorned left hand to the camera as Mahomes kisses her cheek. The proposal took place one day after her 25th birthday.

Matthews and Mahomes have been dating since they were teenagers. They were prom dates in 2013.

Wrote Matthews on Instagram, "8 years ago, you played safety & I was a cheerleader in a small town called Whitehouse, TX. Oh how times have changed! Love you."

While Mahomes runs the offense for the Kansas City Chiefs, his new fiancée heads a company called Brittany Lynn Fitness. In early July, Mahomes signed the richest contract in sports history, a 10-year, $503 million deal.

No wedding date has been announced.

Credits: Images via Instagram/Patrick Mahomes.
September 10th, 2020
A coin believed to be the first silver dollar ever struck by the U.S. Mint in 1794 is expected to sell for $10 million or more when it hits the auction block in Las Vegas on October 8.



"Because of its significance in 1794, it was likely seen at the time by President George Washington, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson who oversaw the Mint, and by Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury,” said Matthew Bell, chief executive officer of Legend Auctions.

Dubbed the "Flowing Hair Silver Dollar," the coin is a national numismatic treasure because it symbolized the young USA’s financial independence. The coin features a portrait of Lady Liberty on one side and an eagle on the other.

“Of the 1,758 silver dollars the Mint delivered in October 1794, perhaps less than 130 are known to still survive, and this particular coin is the finest known,” noted Brett Charville, President of Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), the world’s leading rare coin authentication and grading company.

The coin is currently owned by Las Vegas collector Bruce Morelan, who paid just over $10 million for the silver dollar in 2013. At the time, the specimen set a record as the world's most valuable coin sold at auction. Experts believe the coin will yield even more on October 8.

“Coins are in my blood, and the 1794 dollar was a lifelong dream,” Morelan said in a statement. "Now that my early American dollars collection is complete and nothing else can be added, I’ve decided it’s time for other collectors to enjoy these magnificent coins.”

Morelan is offering the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar along with 14 other historical coins at a public auction set to take place at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and online. The complete collection is expected to fetch between $15 million and $18 million.

Morelan's coin is said to be in near-pristine condition. It was given a rating of 66 (on a scale of 1 to 70) by PCGS. The company designated the coin as a "specimen strike" because of the extraordinary care taken in its manufacture.



The Coinage Act of 1792 established the first US Mint under the direction of the Department of the Treasury. Located in Philadelphia, the mint occupied the first federal building erected under the Constitution. Exactly 1,758 coins were struck in October of 1794, but none were meant to be put into circulation. Instead, they were placed in the custody of Mint Director David Rittenhouse, who distributed them to dignitaries as souvenirs.

The Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, which was designed by Robert Scot, weighs 26.96 grams and contains 90% silver and 10% copper.

(The heavily worn 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar shown in the image, above, is part of the National Numismatic Collection, which is housed in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Legend Auctions hadn't released a photo of Morelan's record-breaking coin as of this writing.)

Credits: Flowing Hair Silver Dollar by United States Mint, Smithsonian Institution / Public domain. Photo dated 1908 of The Philadelphia Mint, established in 1792, by Unknown author / Public domain. Image of Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull / Public domain.
September 11th, 2020
Welcome to Music Friday when we like to bring you throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, internationally renowned barbershop quartet Gimme Four covers Frank Sinatra's "Oh! Look at Me Now," a 1941 tune about a cynical, unlucky-in-love young man who used to laugh at the idea of gifting a blue diamond ring.



But, now's he's excited to tell the story of his remarkable change of heart.

Gimme Four sings, "So I'm the guy who turned out a lover / Yes I'm the guy who laughed at those blue diamond rings / One of those things / Oh, look at me now!"

The young man is now proud to be a better man, with a new heart and a brand new start. He also has a new appreciation of romantic, blue diamonds.

Written by John DeVries and composed by Joe Bushkin, "Oh! Look at Me Now" was made famous by a 26-year-old crooner Frank Sinatra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The legendary singer recorded it again in 1957 for his album A Swingin' Affair!.

Over the years, "Oh! Look at Me Now" has been covered but the likes of Bing Crosby (1954), Bobby Darin (1962) and Ella Fitzgerald (1989), but the rendition featured today is artfully delivered by Gimme Four, a talented group of young men from Caldwell, NJ.

According to the group's official bio, Gimme Four has been singing together as a barbershop quartet since 2011. The singers are heavily involved in youth outreach and music education through barbershop singing, having coached students across the New York metropolitan area. They love to make music that leaves a lasting impression, one that changes someone's day — or life — for the better.

In 2017, Gimme Four opened for Jay Leno at The Freeman Stage at Bayside in Delaware and toured St. Petersburg, Russia. A year later, the group released its first album, Gimme Four: Volume I, on which "Oh! Look at Me Now" is the eighth track.

Please check out the video of Gimme Four performing "Oh! Look at Me Now" at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, during the Barbershop Harmony Society's 2013 International Convention. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Oh! Look at Me Now"
Written by John DeVries and composed by Joe Bushkin. Performed by Gimme Four.

I'm not the guy who cared about love
And I'm not the guy who cared about fortunes and such
I never cared much
Oh, look at me now!

I never knew the technique of kissing
I never knew the thrill I could get from your touch
I never knew much
Oh, look at me now!

I'm a new man better than Casanova at his best
With a new heart and a brand new start
Why I'm so proud I'm bustin' my vest

So I'm the guy who turned out a lover
Yes I'm the guy who laughed at those blue diamond rings
One of those things
Oh, look at me now!

I'm not the guy who cared about love
And I'm not the guy who cared about fortunes and such
I never cared much
Oh, look at me now!

And I never knew the technique of kissing
I never knew the thrill I could get from your touch
I never knew much
Oh, look at me now!

I'm a new man better than Casanova at his very best
With a new heart and a brand new start
I'm so proud I'm bustin' my vest

So I'm the guy who turned out a lover
Yes I'm the guy who laughed at those blue diamond rings
One of those things
Oh, look at me now!
Look at me now!


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
September 14th, 2020
Crafted from 100 grams of gold, the Miami Hurricanes' "Touchdown Rings 2.0" span eight knuckles and spell out "The Crib" when the two fists are held together. The script words are adorned with orange and green sapphires to match the team's colors. The rings are set with 829 and 1,096 gems, respectively.



The latest version of the college football team's celebratory rings was unveiled during the first quarter of the Hurricanes' Thursday opener against UAB (The University of Alabama at Birmingham).

Down 7-0 and facing a 4th and 1 from their own 34 yard line, running back Cam’Ron Harris took a handoff, busted through the line and scampered untouched for a 66-yard touchdown. The Hurricanes would go on to win 31-14.

For his efforts, Harris earned the honor of being the first Hurricane to wear the over-the-top, double-fisted rings.

"The Crib" represents a nickname for South Florida and is also a way of referring to the end zone, as in, "taking it to the crib."



According to a University of Miami press release, the rings were designed by Miami jeweler AJ Machado and took more than three months to complete. He also created an alternate, one-handed version of the piece, with the words "The Crib" stacked.

Machado's 2019 edition of the team's Touchdown Rings spelled out "Hurri" on one hand and "canes" on the other. Two fists together spelled out "Hurricanes."

The Miami Herald reported that coach Manny Diaz believed the Touchdown Rings would encourage his offense to play with the same intensity as his defense.

The offense-focused Touchdown Rings were the answer to the defense-oriented Turnover Chain that was unveiled in 2017. The first incarnation of that chain featured a diamond-encrusted "U" hanging from a Cuban link chain. The 2019 version was a diamond-adorned "305," also hanging from a Cuban link chain chain (The three-digit number refers to the South Florida area code.)

Defensive players credited with causing a turnover got to wear the special jewelry. The 2020 version of the Turnover Chain remains under wraps because no turnovers were recorded by the Miami defense in their battle with UAB.

Credits: Images courtesy of Miami Athletics.
September 15th, 2020
In an unprecedented move for a diamond of this importance and value, Sotheby's Hong Kong will place on the auction block an oval-cut, 102.39-carat, D-flawless diamond — without reserve. In auction parlance, that means the highest bid will be the winning bid, regardless of the amount or the intrinsic value of the stone itself.



No diamond of this caliber has ever been offered this way, according to Sotheby's. Typically, a high-value item would enter an auction with a reserve price, which is the confidential minimum selling price agreed upon between the auction house and the consigner. If the bidding fails to meet the reserve, the piece would be withdrawn from the sale.

“Offering without reserve is really a way to let the market decide what the price is going to be for this diamond,” Quig Bruning, Sotheby’s head of jewelry in New York, told barrons.com.

Online bidding starts today, Tuesday, Sept. 15, and the winning bidder will be determined during a unique, single-lot live event on October 5. Sotheby's did not publish a presale estimate for the diamond, but based on previous sales of similar stones, the winning bid may reach $30 million.

In 2013, a 118.28-carat, D-flawless, oval diamond fetched $30.8 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. That selling price translated to $260,252 per carat.

Sotheby's noted that this is the eighth time a D-flawless diamond weighing more than 100 carats has been offered at auction. It is only the second time in auction history that a 100-plus-carat D-flawless oval has hit the auction block.

The Gemological Institute of America described the stone as a Type IIa diamond with excellent polish and symmetry. Type IIa diamonds are colorless and chemically pure with no traces of nitrogen or boron impurities.



The 102.39-carat gem was cut by Diacore from a rough diamond weighing 271 carats. That stone was sourced in 2018 at De Beers’ Victor Mine in Ontario, Canada. The exacting process of cutting and polishing the diamond took more than a year, according to Sotheby's.

The Sotheby's headliner is scheduled to tour New York, Beijing and Shanghai before returning to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center from October 3-5.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.
September 16th, 2020
Timed to coincide with the first virtual World Diamond Congress, the World Diamond Museum unveiled Diamonds Across Time, a stunning 432-page book that celebrates every aspect of history's most coveted precious stone.



Diamonds Across Time includes essays from 10 internationally renowned jewelry experts and is richly illustrated with high-quality images of gems and jewels, archival documents, rare drawings and eye-popping photographs.

The new book presents new discoveries, explores extraordinary collections, looks back on history and trade, investigates the nature of diamonds, reviews legendary gems, celebrates jewelry collections and spotlights great designers. The volume places diamonds in the context of the political, social and cultural stage on which their histories were etched.

Above all, the contributors tell the human stories that underpin the adoration of diamonds.



Dr. Usha R. Balakrishnan, the chief curator of the World Diamond Museum, compiled and edited the book, which includes her own monograph, titled The Nizam Diamond, Bala Koh-i-noor, the Little Koh-i-noor in the Sacred Trust of the Nizam of Hyderabad.

"There is a saying that, 'It takes a village to raise a child' and the same goes for making a great book," Balakrishnan told rough-polished.com. "Diamonds Across Time involved people from all over the world — all of us united by a love for diamonds."

Other topics include the following:

• Diamonds of the French Crown Jewels – between West and East, by François Farges;
• A Concise History of Diamonds from Borneo, by Derek J. Content;
• Indian Diamonds and the Portuguese during the rise of the Mughal Empire, by Hugo Miguel Crespo;
• Two Large Diamonds from India, by Jack Ogden;
• The Romanov Diamonds - History of Splendour, by Stefano Pappi;
• The Londonderry Jewels 1819-1959, by Diana Scarisbrick;
• Dress to Impress in South East Asia, by René Brus;
• Powerful Women Important Diamonds, by Ruth Peltason;
• One in Ten Thousand; the Unique World of Coloured Diamonds, by John King.

“The establishment of the World Diamond Museum marks the first step in the long journey to reignite the passion for diamonds, chronicle traditions, explore cultures and show the eternal relevance of beauty, even in present times," wrote Alex Popov, Founder of the World Diamond Museum, in the book's foreword. “This volume unites diverse stories that reveal the many meanings of the diamond and how human emotions and beliefs are reflected in its thousands of facets. The book is illustrated with incredible photographs of rarely seen gems and jewels from closely held collections and reconstructions of historical diamonds, done with the help of state-of-the-art computer technology.”

The book will be available soon on the World Diamond Museum's website.

Credits: Images courtesy of the World Diamond Museum.
September 17th, 2020
Carbon-rich exoplanets in distant solar systems may be made of diamonds and quartz, according to a new study published in The Planetary Science Journal.



According to a team of researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Chicago, the key factor in determining whether an exoplanet will be rich in diamonds is the chemical composition of the star that it orbits.

They explained that when stars and planets are formed, they do so from the same cloud of gas, so their bulk compositions are similar.

Our sun, for example, has a lower carbon-to-oxygen ratio so its planets, such as Earth, are composed of silicates and oxides with a very small diamond content. In fact, the Earth's diamond content is about 0.001%, according to the scientists.

On the other hand, exoplanets that orbit stars with a high carbon-to-oxygen ratio are more likely to be carbon-rich. Under the right conditions, such as the presence of water, heat and pressure, the highly concentrated carbon at the core of exoplanets could turn into diamonds.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers needed to simulate in a lab the extreme conditions deep within a carbon-rich exoplanet. They employed high-pressure, diamond-anvil cells to create the pressure and lasers to generate the intense heat.

The researchers submerged the silicon carbide (silicon and carbon) in water, compressed it between the diamond anvils and blasted the material with a laser.

As they predicted, the silicon carbide reacted with water and transformed into diamonds and silica (quartz).

While the prospects of finding a diamond planet are exciting, the scientists claim that the same characteristics that might make a planet diamond-rich would also make it uninhabitable. They believe that carbon-rich planets lack geologic activity and, therefore, have atmospheric conditions that would be inhospitable to life. Atmospheres are critical for life as they provides air to breathe, protection from the harsh environment of space and even pressure to allow for liquid water, say the scientists.

“Regardless of habitability, this is one additional step in helping us understand and characterize our ever-increasing and improving observations of exoplanets,” said the study's lead author, Harrison Allen-Sutter from ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration. “The more we learn, the better we’ll be able to interpret new data from upcoming future missions like the James Webb Space Telescope and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope to understand the worlds beyond our own solar system.”

Credit: Illustration courtesy of Shim/ASU/Vecteezy.
September 18th, 2020
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fabulous songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, New Zealand songstress Kimbra channels jazz legend Nina Simone in her contemporary rendition of "Plain Gold Ring," a song about a young woman who is in love with a married man.



The tune's emotionally torn protagonist pledges she will love him until the end of time while acknowledging that for as long as he wears that symbol of eternal love, he belongs to another.

She sings, "Plain gold ring has but one thing to say / I'll remember 'til my dying day / In my heart it will never be spring / Long as he wears a plain gold ring."

In her live performance video, below, Kimbra utilizes an electronic device called a "phrase sampler" or "looper," which captures and plays back audio snippets in realtime. The result is a complex, layered sound, where Kimbra seems to be harmonizing with herself.

"Plain Gold Ring" originally appeared on Simone's Little Girl Blue album in 1958 and made subsequent appearances on the jazz singer's 1964 live album and 2001 compilation album. During her career, she released more than 40 albums. The artist passed away in 2003 at the age of 70.

Kimbra gave the song a fresh, new interpretation on her debut album, Vows, which was released in 2011. The album charted in seven countries, including a #14 position on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and a #24 placement on the Canadian Albums chart. It was also nominated for Australian Album of the Year.

The multi-talented singer-songwriter-actress-model grew up in Hamilton, New Zealand, and began writing songs at the age of 10. As a 12-year-old, she sang the New Zealand national anthem in front of a crowd of 27,000 rugby fans. As a 17-year-old in 2007, she won the Juice TV award for Best Breakthrough music video. She was signed to a record deal in 2008 and moved to Australia to pursue a music career.

Please check out the 2012 video of Kimbra performing "Plain Gold Ring" live in the Seattle studio of radio station KEXP. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Plain Gold Ring"
Written by Earl Burroughs and George Stone. Performed by Kimbra.

Plain gold ring on his finger he wore
It was where everyone could see
He belonged to someone, but not me
On his hand was a plain gold band

Plain gold ring has a story to tell
It was one that I knew too well
In my heart it will never be spring
Long as he wears a plain gold ring
Oh, oh

When nighttime comes a' callin' on me
I know why I will never be free
I can't stop these teardrops of mine
I'm gonna love him 'til the end of time

Plain gold ring has but one thing to say
I'll remember 'til my dying day
In my heart it will never be spring
Long as he wears a plain gold ring
Plain gold ring on his finger he wore
Plain gold ring on his finger he wore
Plain gold ring on his finger he wore


Credit: Screen capture via Youtube.com.
September 21st, 2020
The lavish diamond earrings worn by French Queen Marie Antoinette during the 18th century are the focus of today's virtual tour of the Smithsonian’s National Gem Collection in Washington, DC.



Gifted to the ill-fated Queen by Louis XVI, the large pear-shaped diamonds dangle from a ribbon-like platinum setting topped with shield-shaped stones. The pear-shaped diamonds weigh 14.25 carats and 20.34 carats, respectively, and were likely sourced in India or Brazil. Marie Antoinette was arrested fleeing the French Revolution and was guillotined in 1793. Historians still wonder how the earrings managed to escape the Revolution and remain in the French Royal Family.

There is strong evidence that, in 1853, Napoleon III presented these earrings to Empress Eugenie as a wedding gift. According to the Smithsonian, original engravings from the Illustrated London News wedding issue seem to confirm that Eugenie, indeed, wore the Queen's jewelry.



The "Marie Antoinette Earrings" occupy their own showcase at the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals. The descriptive panel next to the showcase is titled “Worn by a Queen" and describes the historical significance of the jewelry displayed.

Normally, Smithsonian visitors would be able to see these magnificent earrings in person, but while most of the national museums remain temporarily closed in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, we continue to present these virtual tours of the National Gem Collection's most famous items. Previous stops have included the “Hall Sapphire Necklace,” “Victoria-Transvaal Diamond,” “Carmen Lúcia Ruby,“ “Chalk Emerald,“ “Gifts from Napoleon,“ “Stars and Cat’s Eyes,“ “Logan Sapphire,“ “Dom Pedro“ aquamarine, “Steamboat“ tourmaline and a grouping of enormous topaz.

Here’s how to navigate to the exhibit called “Worn by a Queen.”

— First, click on this link…

The resulting page will be a gallery called “Geology, Gems & Minerals: Precious Gems 1.”

— Next, click the double-right-arrow once to navigate to the gallery called “Geology, Gems & Minerals: Precious Gems 2.”

When you arrive, the foreground in the left part of the screen will show a four-sided glass case housing a topaz exhibit. In this view, there are showcases on the front wall, the right wall and the back wall.

– Click and drag the screen 180 degrees so you can see the back wall. The exhibit on the far right of the back wall is titled "Worn by a Queen." It contains the "Marie Antoinette Diamond Earrings." Touch the Plus Sign to zoom in.

(You may touch the “X” to remove the map. This will give you a better view of the jewelry. You may restore the map by clicking the “Second” floor navigation on the top-right of the screen.)

Empress Eugenie sold her personal jewels between 1870 and 1872 after she was exiled to England. The Marie Antionette Earrings ended up in the possession of Grand Duchess Tatiana Yousupoff of Russia. Famed jeweler Pierre Cartier purchased the diamond earrings from the Duchess's family in 1928.

American socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post acquired the earrings from Cartier later that same year. In 1959, another famous jeweler, Harry Winston, Inc., mounted the diamonds into platinum and diamond replicas of the “original” silver settings worn by Marie Antoinette.

During her lifetime, the owner of General Foods was an avid collector of high-profile, Royal Family fine jewelry.

Post's daughter, Eleanor Barzin, generously gifted the "Marie Antoinette Earrings" to the Smithsonian in 1964. It was one of many notable pieces that were donated to the Smithsonian by the Post family. The items included the “Maximilian Emerald Ring,” “Blue Heart Diamond,” “Napoleon Diamond Necklace,” “Marie-Louise Diadem” and the “Post Emerald Necklace.” Marjorie Merriweather Post passed away in 1973 at the age of 86.

Credits: Jewelry photo by Chip Clark / Smithsonian, digitally enhanced by SquareMoose. Screen capture via naturalhistory2.si.edu.
September 22nd, 2020
The Natural Diamond Council's "For Moments Like No Other" campaign made its worldwide debut during the first-ever virtual Emmy Awards on Sunday night. Starring Cuban-Spanish actress Ana de Armas, the 30-second spot emphasized how diamonds are not solely the purview of romantic interests or formal occasions. They are meant to celebrate every type of meaningful connection.



This new campaign marks the first time the Natural Diamond Council (NDC) has employed a Hollywood headliner as a brand ambassador. The rising Hollywood star will be appearing opposite Daniel Craig in the James Bond thriller, No Time to Die, which is scheduled to be released on November 20, 2020.

According to the NDC, Armas was approached for the project because she epitomizes an ascendant, free-thinking generation. Her elegant, effervescent and easygoing demeanor reflects the next chapter in the history of natural diamonds — where traditional tenets of diamond-wearing are dismantled and reimagined.

The commercial features the actress romping at a barefoot party in a fragrant vineyard and enjoying an intoxicating tangerine sunset along the Portuguese coast. All the while she is wearing diamond jewelry that catches and diffuses the glowing rays as the sun. This new diamond-wearing attitude is casual, fun, energetic, present and, most importantly, driven by connection and experience, according to the NDC.

"I love thinking of diamonds this way, as special emblems of even the small personal moments in our lives," noted de Armas. "They represent joy and warmth and beauty."



Following its Emmys debut, the campaign will be featured in print media, including Vogue and Vanity Fair's respective November 2020 issues, The New York Times, and at online publications ranging from Bustle to Who What Wear. It will, additionally, be featured on non-linear TV, from Hulu to Amazon Fire. The campaign will continue through the spring of 2021.

The ads are aimed at 21- to 45-year-olds with household incomes of $75,000 or more. The average consumer in that demographic range will encounter elements of the campaign at least seven times between September and the end of December, according to the NDC.

The Natural Diamond Council will also distribute campaign materials through its own channels, including its website, which will feature behind-the-scenes footage and an interview with de Armas. The site will also offer comprehensive information about the brands and designers represented in the commercials. The global campaign will run in the US, UK, China and India.

"Ana is a true talent, and the dynamism she exemplifies is exactly what we seek to do daily in our support of the natural diamond industry," said Kristina Buckley Kayel, Managing Director of Natural Diamond Council North America. "This campaign redefines traditional diamond moments, celebrating a variety of personal connections with these natural stones. It's a more contemporary approach to the diamond dream, for meaningful moments big or small."

The Natural Diamond Council represents seven of the world’s leading diamond producers. Back in June, the Diamond Producers Association became the Natural Diamond Council and replaced its “Real is Rare” and “For Me, From Me” slogans with the phrase “Only Natural Diamonds.”

Credits: Images courtesy of The Natural Diamond Council.
September 23rd, 2020
The Miami Hurricanes finally unveiled the 2020 edition of their famous "turnover chain" during the highly ranked team's 47-34 road victory against the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday. Cornerback Al Blades Jr. got to wear the massive, gem-encrusted Florida-shaped pendant after picking off a pass from Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham late in the second quarter.



The pendant is affixed to a massive Cuban-link chain that weighs 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) and measures 32 inches long. The Florida-shaped pendant weighs 300 grams and is dotted with 4,000 sapphires set in 10-karat yellow gold. The design incorporates the Hurricanes' "U" logo positioned over the northern part of the state. The "U" is emblazoned with 700 orange sapphires and 700 green sapphires to match the team's colors.

Most of the state of Florida is set with white sapphires, except for southeastern region, including Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, which are key recruiting areas near the school's home base in Miami. On the pendant, those counties are filled in with orange and green sapphires.

The Hurricanes' defensive unit didn't cause any turnovers in their home opener against the University of Alabama so the long-awaited reveal was held over to Week 2.

During that game, fans did get to see the team's 2020 "touchdown rings" for the first time after running back Cam’Ron Harris took a handoff, busted through the line and scampered untouched for a 66-yard touchdown. The Hurricanes would go on to win 31-14.

The rings span eight knuckles and spell out “The Crib” when the two fists are held together. The script words are adorned with orange and green sapphires. The rings are set with 829 and 1,096 gems, respectively.

The celebratory turnover chain is the team's fourth in four years. The first incarnation of that chain, in 2017, featured a diamond-encrusted “U” hanging from a Cuban link chain. The 2018 edition highlighted a jeweled Sebastian the Ibis, the team’s mascot, but no “U” logo. The 2019 version was a diamond-adorned “305,” a number that refers to the South Florida area code.

Saturday's win lifted the Hurricanes to  #12 in the new AP college football rankings.

Credit: Image courtesy of Miami Athletics.
September 24th, 2020
As of this month, Oscar Mayer's 27-foot-long Wienermobiles have been making appearances at marriage proposals from coast to coast. There are currently six hot-dog-shaped promotional vehicles criss-crossing the continent, and to book one, all you have to do is visit the company's website, fill out a request form, and hope for some good luck.



Oscar Mayer charges no fee for a Wienermobile appearance, but spots are based on availability. The company recommends that requests be made from three to 12 months ahead of the big day. The company will notify winners one week prior to the requested date.

Wienermobile proposals became a thing at Oscar Mayer after Zach Chatham, an official Wienermobile driver, revealed his plans to pop the question in front of the vehicle at Yellowstone National Park. Wienermobile drivers are called "hotdoggers," and this hotdogger's proposal idea caught the attention of Nick Guerten, marketing director for Oscar Mayer.

“When Zach told us about his plans to propose with the Wienermobile at Yellowstone, we knew it would be a one-of-a-kind experience they would never forget,” Guerten told foodandwine.com. “We wanted to extend this to our fans so everyone can have the opportunity of a 27-foot hot dog on wheels present during such an important life moment.”

In a clever pun-filled statement, the company wrote, “You can now relish your upcoming special day with the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Summer weddings may have been a no-go, but proposal season is coming up FAST. So, Oscar Mayer is making the iconic Wienermobile available to anyone who’s ready to mustard up the courage to pop the question to their significant other.”

Oscar Mayer devotes a large section of its website to the Wienermobile. There, hot dog aficionados will learn that the first Wienermobile was created in 1936 by Carl Mayer, that the 1952 version of the Wienbermobile has a permanent home at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI, and that the 1969 Wienmobile featured Ford Thunderbird taillights, a Chevy motorhome frame and averaged 187 smiles per gallon. Fans can also track the whereabouts of the six Wienermobiles and fill out an appearance request.

When filling out the form, be sure to state how the Wienermobile will be incorporated into your proposal plan.

Credit: Image courtesy of Oscar Mayer.
September 25th, 2020
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you brand new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, English singer-songwriter Sam Smith tries to wrap his mind around a bitter breakup in his sensational, new single, "Diamonds."



Throughout the song, Smith acknowledges that his ex-lover was using him for his money and fame. But, Smith hardly cares that his ex has walked away with "glitter and gold." What's most painful is the loss of the thing that is most precious in his world — his love, which is represented in the song as his "diamonds."

Smith sings, "Material love won't fool me (Mmm) / When you're not here, I can't breathe (Mmm) / Think I always knew / My diamonds leave with you."

Penned by Smith and Shellback, "Diamonds" was released as the second single from Love Goes, an album that's scheduled to drop on October 30. Today's featured song premiered on September 17 and the official music video has become a global sensation, averaging more than a million views per day (8.7 million and counting). The official lyric video has been played more than a half million times.

On his Instagram page, Smith wrote, "I'm extremely happy and overjoyed to announce my third album (I can't believe I'm saying that) ‘Love Goes’. This album marks a time of experimentation and self discovery in my life. I wrote this from the age of 26-28 and it’s been one hell of a ride. I hope the people who listen to it enjoy it and love it like I have and do."

Born Samuel Frederick Smith in London in 1992, the velvety-voiced singer developed his love for music in musical theater and youth choirs. As a 20-year-old, he was featured on the Disclosure song, "Latch," which charted in 15 countries. A year later, he would release his debut album, Lay Me Down.

To date, Smith has captured four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards, three Billboard Music Awards, an American Music Award, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award.

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

"Diamonds"
Written by Sam Smith and Shellback. Performed by Sam Smith.

Have it all, rip our memories off the wall
All the special things I bought
They mean nothing to me anymore
But to you, they were everything we were
They meant more than every word
Now I know just what you love me for (Mmm)

Take all the money you want from me
Hope you become what you want to be
Show me how little you care
How little you care, how little you care
You dream of glitter and gold
My hеart's already been sold
Show you how little I care
How little I care, how little I care

My diamonds leave with you (Mmm)
You're never gonna hear my heart break (Mmm)
Never gonna move in dark ways (Mmm)
Baby, you're so cruel
My diamonds leave with you (Mmm)
Material love won't fool me (Mmm)
When you're not here, I can't breathe (Mmm)
Think I always knew
My diamonds leave with you (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)

Shake it off, shake the fear of feeling lost
Always me that pays the cost
I should never trust so easily
You lied to me, lie-lied to me
Then left with my heart 'round your chest (Mmm)

Take all the money you want from me
Hope you become what you want to be
Show me how little you care
How little you care, how little you care
You dream of glitter and gold
My heart's already been sold
Show you how little I care
How little I care, how little I care

My diamonds leave with you (Mmm)
You're never gonna hear my heart break (Mmm)
Never gonna move in dark ways (Mmm) Baby, you're so cruel
My diamonds leave with you (Mmm)
Material love won't fool me (Mmm)
When you're not here, I can't breathe (Mmm)
Think I always knew
My diamonds leave with you (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)

Woah-oh (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)
Woah-oh (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)
Always knew
My diamonds leave with you (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)
Woah-oh (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)
Woah-oh (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)
Always knew (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)

You're never gonna hear my heart break
Never gonna move in dark ways
Baby, you're so cruel
My diamonds leave with you
Material love won't fool me
When you're not here, I can't breathe
Think I always knew
My diamonds leave with you, oh

You're never gonna hear my heart break (Mmm)
Never gonna move in dark ways (Mmm, oh)
Baby, you're so cruel (So cruel)
My diamonds leave with you (Mmm)
Material love won't fool me (Mmm)
When you're not here, I can't breathe (Mmm)
Think I always knew
My diamonds leave with you (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)

Woah-oh (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)
Woah-oh (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)
Always knew
My diamonds leave with you (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)
Woah-oh (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)
Woah-oh (Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds)
Always knew
My diamonds leave with you


Credit: Photo by marcen27 from Glasgow, UK / CC BY.
September 28th, 2020
In a shining example of how persistence pays off, Kevin Kinard scored a 9.07-carat diamond during a Labor Day visit to Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro. The 33-year-old bank branch manager from Maumelle, Ark., had caught the diamond bug during a second-grade field trip to the park and had returned regularly ever since. For 25 years, his amateur prospecting turned up no diamonds.



All that changed on September 7 when he picked up a curiously shiny, marble-sized brown crystal in the southeast portion of the park's 37.5-acre search area. The crystal turned out to be the second-largest diamond discovered in the 48-year history of the park. The largest was the 16.37-carat white Amarillo Starlight, which was unearthed in August of 1975.



Kinard told park officials that he and his friends were wet sifting for about 10 minutes before he decided to break off from his group to walk up and down the plowed rows of the search field. While scanning the ground, a stone with a rounded, dimpled shape caught his eye.

“It kind of looked interesting and shiny,“ he said, “so I put it in my bag and kept searching. I just thought it might’ve been glass.”

After a few hours, Kinard and his friends headed to the Diamond Discovery Center, where park staffers help identify visitors' finds.

“I almost didn’t have them check my finds, because I didn’t think I had found anything,“ Kinard said. “My friend had hers checked, though, so I went ahead and had them check mine, too.”

A few minutes later, a park manager invited Kinard into the Discover Center's office to tell him the big news.

“I honestly teared up when they told me," he said. "I was in complete shock!”



Park officials described the dewdrop-shaped stone as "brandy brown" with a metallic shine, which is typical of all the park's diamonds.

Park Assistant Superintendent Dru Edmonds noted that conditions in the diamond search area were perfect for Kinard to find his diamond.

“Park staff plowed the search area on August 20, just a few days before Tropical Storm Laura dropped more than two inches of rain in the park,” Edmonds said. “The sun was out when Mr. Kinard visited, and he walked just the right path to notice the sunlight reflecting off his diamond.”

Kinard pointed out the uncanny connection between the diamond's weight and the day he found it.

”It weighs 9.07, and I found it on 9/7. I thought that was so unique!” he said.
> As is customary with large diamond finds at the park, Kinard was encouraged to give his diamond a name.

He decided to honor his friends by calling it the ”Kinard Friendship Diamond.”

“We love to travel together and had such a great time out here,” he said. ”It was a very humbling experience.”

The search area is actually a plowed field atop the eroded surface of an extinct, diamond-bearing volcanic pipe. Visitors have found more than 33,000 diamonds since the Crater of Diamonds opened as an Arkansas State Park in 1972.

Amateur miners get to keep what they find at the only diamond site in the world that’s open to the general public. The park had been closed for two months due to COVID-19 health concerns, but reopened on May 22.

Admission to the park’s diamond search area is currently limited to 1,000 tickets per day due to COVID-19 restrictions. Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance at www.CraterofDiamondsStatePark.com, to ensure access.

Credits: Images courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.
September 29th, 2020
Snapchat executive Juan David Borrero pulled out all the stops for his marriage proposal to Victoria’s Secret Angel Jasmine Tookes on September 21. The Ecuador-born Borrero's romantic adventure covered three states and culminated with a drone-delivered 7-carat oval-shaped diamond engagement ring.



This past Thursday, the supermodel's 4.1 million Instagram followers got to see intimate shots of her special day, along with a close-up look at her new ring. The 18-karat yellow gold ring features a hidden halo, diamond-embellished prongs and is estimated to be worth more than $250,000. Borrero reportedly spent eight months designing the custom ring with specialists at Ritani.

Tookes captioned the photo, "Si, mi amor! We’re engaged!!!" and punctuated the post with heart, love and crying emojis.

In an interview with Vogue.com, the 29-year-old Tookes dished all the details of her memorable day.

Early on Monday, September 21, Borrero, the 30-year-old director of international markets at Snapchat, interrupted Tookes' workday to tell her to pack her bags. They were going on a surprise trip and they were leaving in two hours.

Tookes was blindfolded on the way to their first stop, The Rose in Venice, CA. It was the restaurant where they first met four years ago.

Then they drove off to the airport, where they boarded a plane to Page, AZ. Along the way, the model munched Popeyes chicken tenders and drank Champagne.

"I was in heaven," she wrote, but things were about to get even more exciting.

After touching down in Arizona, they boarded a helicopter.



"[They] flew us to the most beautiful, otherworldly-like secluded place in the middle of the desert rocks in Utah. It was just us,” she told Vogue.com.

More specifically, they were at the breathtaking Lake Powell, a man-made reservoir on the border of Utah and Arizona.

The couple enjoyed a Champagne toast and sat for about an hour, taking in the gorgeous vistas and enjoying each other's company.

“Shortly after that, he escorted me to a lookout above where we were sitting, and on the ground was a bunch of rocks which spelled out WYMM?" she said. "At first glance, I didn't know what this meant, but it immediately dawned on me that it meant ‘Will you marry me?’”



While she tried to process what was happening, she heard a drone flying above them. Hanging from the drone at the end of a long string was a small black pouch, and in the pouch was a ring box.



Borrero grabbed the ring box, took out the ring and went down on one knee.
"I was in complete disbelief and immediately burst into tears because this was something I did not expect," Tookes told Vogue.com. "After lots of happy tears, I obviously said 'Yes,' and this was honestly the best day I could've ever imagined. We are very excited and looking forward to a future filled with lots of love and happiness.”



The couple will be tying the knot in Borrero's hometown in Ecuador. Due to the issues related to COVID-19, plans have yet to be cemented.

“Hopefully, all of my Spanish classes will have paid off by then,” she joked.

Credits: Images via Instagram/jastookes.
September 30th, 2020
Diamond sits alone atop the Mohs scale as the hardest naturally occurring material known to man. It is harder than a ruby, sapphire or emerald and has the ability to slice through steel like a hot knife through butter. The only substance that can scratch a diamond is another diamond.



Under normal circumstances, diamonds truly are forever. But in the labs of the British Royal Institution, the famous De Beers ad slogan was put to the test.

Because a diamond is made from pure carbon, scientists have theorized since the 1700s that it should burn like other carbon materials, such as graphite or coal.

And, indeed, during the early 1770s, French chemist Antoine Lavoisier used two powerful lenses to magnify the sun’s rays directly onto a diamond. The diamond slowly disappeared and carbon dioxide gas accumulated, proving that the diamond was made from carbon.

In the 2013 video, below, British scientist and author Peter Wothers enlisted the help of Nobel prize-winning chemist Sir Harry Kroto to demonstrate what it takes to get a diamond to burn. (Kroto passed away in 2016 at the age of 76.)



Wothers added a bit of drama and comic relief by using Kroto’s wife’s engagement diamond for the experiment. The viewer can see Kroto getting increasingly more uncomfortable as it becomes very clear that his wife’s diamond — under just the right conditions — has ignited.

In pure oxygen, diamonds can burn at 1320 degrees F. In normal conditions, the ignition occurs at about 1520 degrees F.

Wothers’ experiment was conducted in a chamber of pure oxygen. The resulting gases were collected in a tube leading to a beaker of limewater. The experiment anticipated that if the burning material contained carbon, the smoke would contain carbon dioxide. When the carbon dioxide was mixed into the limewater, it turned the mixture a milky white color — basically delivering calcium carbonate, an antacid used to calm a sour stomach.



In his preliminary experiment, Wothers easily ignited a bit of graphite using a torch. Then he upped the ante by doing the exact same experiment using the Kroto engagement diamond.



Surprisingly, that lit up, too. The diamond burned as a golden ember without producing any flames. At that point, Kroto half-jokingly commented that he hoped Wothers could afford to pay for a replacement diamond.



As you might have figured out by now, Wothers had cleverly swapped the Krotos’ engagement diamond with a much lower quality specimen before the experiment began.

If you’re worried about how a diamond is protected when a ring needs to be retipped, for example, be assured that jewelers go to great lengths to make sure that the extreme heat of the torch does not affect the gemstone. Some jewelers use boric acid to protect the stone while others depend on the pinpoint accuracy of a laser welder to keep the diamond out of harm’s way.

Kroto won his Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996 for his work in discovering fullerenes, a pure carbon molecule that takes a shape similar to a soccer ball. Research has suggested many uses for fullerenes, including medical applications, superconductors, fiber-optics systems and nanotechnology.

Check out Wothers’ diamond-burning experiment here…


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.