Rocks and Metal

Articles in June 2014

June 2nd, 2014
Maureen Kelly was enjoying a half-dozen raw oysters with a friend at a Virginia Beach restaurant on Memorial Day when she bit down on what she thought was a broken shell. Upon closer inspection, the hard object was a near-round natural pearl, about the size of a Red Hots candy.

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Ocean House Waterfront Seafood Restaurant served hundreds of oysters during the holiday weekend. "I got the lucky one," Kelly told The Virginian-Pilot.

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How lucky was Kelly? Well, according to Beth Firchau, curator of Fishes for the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, the odds of finding a pearl this way are one in 10,000 to one in 12,000, depending on the mollusk.

The timing of Kelly’s story couldn’t be more perfect because June’s official birthstone is the pearl.

Natural pearls are organic gems, created by a mollusk totally by chance, without human intervention. When a foreign irritant gets into the mollusk’s shell, the bivalve secretes layer upon of layer of nacre to protect itself. Over time, the layering of iridescent nacre produces a pearl.

Cultured pearls, by comparison, are grown under controlled conditions, where a bead is implanted in the body of the mollusk to stimulate the secretion of nacre.

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The oyster that yielded the Kelly’s pearl was harvested on the Chesapeake Bay side of Virginia's Eastern Shore. The region produced more than 405,000 bushels of oysters in 2013, a huge increase from the all-time low of 17,600 bushels in 1996.

Kelly, who is a licensed professional counselor, told The Virginian-Pilot that she planned to attach the pearl to a seashell necklace and wear it proudly to work.

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About two years ago, Pamela Levi was enjoying an oysters Rockefeller pizza 400 miles away in Columbia, S.C., when she crunched down on a similar pearl at Goatfeathers restaurant. At first, she thought she had broken a tooth, but soon discovered a round, white natural pearl.

“Very ladylike,” Levi joked about attempting to extract a foreign object from a mouthful of food. “I'm trying to take this [pearl] out of my mouth. It was round, so it kinda felt like a BB.”
June 3rd, 2014
Justin Bieber and Leonardo DiCaprio went mano a mano in a bidding war to capture a stunning aquamarine-and-diamond necklace at the Cannes Film Festival’s charity auction to help fund AIDS research.

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In the end, the 20-year-old pop star prevailed with a bid of $545,000, topping the 39-year-old movie star’s best offer of $476,000. The winning bid was more than double the pre-sale estimated price.

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Bieber told The Hollywood Reporter that the necklace was for his mom, Pattie Mallette. He reportedly held an auction booklet open at a page showing the Serpenti-style necklace and said, “I love you mommy, I love you.”

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The necklace by Bulgari features a 13.05-carat aquamarine center stone, surrounded by a “snake” encrusted in 19.12 carats of pavé diamonds.

Bulgari had donated the necklace to support the festival’s annual AmFAR Cinema Against AIDS event in Antibes, a resort town in the south of France. The Serpenti line was beloved by the late Elizabeth Taylor, who was an amFAR co-founder.

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The aquamarine-and-diamond necklace was modeled during the evening’s festivities by its host, the former first lady of France and amFAR ambassador Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

Bieber is one of the hottest pop stars in the world and was named the ninth most powerful entertainer by Forbes. His auction challenger, DiCaprio, made women swoon with his portrayal of Jack Dawson in 1997’s Titanic, the highest grossing movie of all time.

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Despite going home empty handed, DiCaprio can still consider the event a big success. His generosity (and courage) generated nearly a $1 million for the foundation. The philanthropic actor offered one lucky bidder an opportunity to join him on a voyage to an altitude of 68 miles at a speed of 2,600 mph aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo in 2015. The winning bid was $950,000.

The charity event raised $38 million.
June 4th, 2014
When your boyfriend’s idea of a romantic marriage proposal looks like a scene from Dawn of the Dead, it’s only fitting that the engagement ring would feature a large black diamond surrounded by four white gold skulls.

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Last month, Claire Hulse and Brian Tollady were taking a romantic walk on the Albert Dock in Liverpool, England, when 50 horrifying “zombies” started appearing from all angles. The couple fled with the zombies in hot pursuit.

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When the couple managed to escape the blood-thirsty walking dead, Tollady went down on bended knee and proposed to Hulse, saying, “I want to be with you in a zombie apocalypse.”

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He presented her with an unusual black diamond engagement ring with a creepy skull motif. The white gold ring is similar to the one famously received a few years ago by tattoo artist Kat Von D.

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The zombie-loving Hulse said, “Yes.”

Hulse, whose favorite movies are Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later, told The Daily Mirror that she “was a bit freaked out and confused by what was happening. I did really wonder what was going on.”

But, in retrospect, the 34-year-old Hulse was really impressed by it all. “For our first date, we went to see Underworld, which is a film about vampires,” she said.

How did the 33-year-old Tollady arrange for the zombie apocalypse? He enlisted the help of Bristol-based Zombie Business, a company that provides zombies for movies, promotions and special events. Also participating in the gruesome, but romantic, affair were friends of the couple and associates from work.

Although the couple didn’t provide a photo of their ring, the description aligns perfectly with the one conceived by Canadian DJ and music producer Deadmau5 for Kat Von D. Handcrafted by The Great Frog London, it featured a large round black diamond center stone, flanked on each side by two skulls. Smaller black diamonds accented the band. Von D received the engagement ring two days before Christmas in 2012.

Zombie photos: Ian Hewitt / Wise Owl Imagery / Liverpool Echo
June 5th, 2014
Karen Guin was “absolutely sick” when she realized that the Ziploc bag of jewelry she sold at a garage sale for $3 a few weeks ago actually contained $8,000 worth of precious keepsakes, including the wedding ring given to her by her now-deceased husband.
  
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Guin’s two bags of baubles — one with costume jewelry and the other with precious jewelry — looked essentially the same, and the wrong one ended up at the sale.

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"I had been absolutely sick about it for the first couple of days [after the sale],” the widow told ABC affiliate WHSV-TV in Harrisburg, Va. “Then I thought, I can't do this to myself anymore.”

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Guin approached the news team at WHSV, which agreed to cover the story about the widow’s very costly faux pas. After the story aired, the widow prayed that the person who bought the bag of jewelry at the garage sale would do the right thing and come forward.

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On Saturday, the widow’s prayers where answered when a Good Samaritan met Guin at her home.

"There was a gentleman that came up my driveway and he asked me if my name was Karen and I said, ‘Yes,’ and he said, 'I have your jewelry,'" Guin told WHSV.

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The man, who chose to remain anonymous, had sold Guin’s jewelry to a local jewelry shop, and then made the extra effort to get the jewelry back once he learned of Guin’s mistake.

Guin was shocked by her good fortune and impressed with the man’s integrity.

“It was a surreal moment,” she said. “It was like, I don’t believe this is happening. I do not believe it.”

When she tried to give the man a reward for returning the jewelry, he wouldn’t accept it.

“He said the reward was him bringing it back and handing it to me personally," Guin told WHSV’s audience. "The qualities that this gentleman presented were far and beyond what you would see in a lot of people."
June 6th, 2014
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great music with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we feature electronic dance music trio Krewella performing their signature song and breakout hit — “Alive.”

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Considered one of the hottest acts in dance music right now, Krewella delivers an anthem that drives home the idea that true love, like a powerful beat, can make one “feel alive.”

Krewella’s Yousaf sisters, Jahan and Yasmine, accompanied by producer Kris "Rain Man" Trindl, sing, “Take me home, where my dreams are made of gold 
/ In the zone, where the beat is uncontrolled / I know what it feels like
 / Come on make me feel alive.”

Originally released in 2012 and then re-released in 2013, “Alive” charted in nine countries and reached #9 on the U.S. Billboard Mainstream Top 40 chart. The song was “certified platinum” with more than one million copies sold. “Alive” is featured on the group’s 2013 debut album, Get Wet, which peaked at #8 on the Billboard’s Hot 200.

Krewella has headlined electronic dance music festivals around the globe. After the group’s performance at the Ultra Music Festival in 2013, Billboard magazine proclaimed, “Krewella is going to be huge.”

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In an effort to raise money and awareness for those with physical disabilities, Krewella partnered with lifestyle brand Electric Family to produce a collaboration bracelet for which 100% of the proceeds are donated to Dance for Paralysis. The nylon bracelets cost $13 and already have generated $10 million for the DFP cause.

We invite you enjoy the video of Krewella’s beautiful acoustic version of “Alive.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Alive”
Written by Jahan Yousaf, Yasmine Yousaf, Kris "Rain Man" Trindl, Nathan Lim, Jake Udell. Performed by Krewella.

Let's make this fleeting moment last forever
So, tell me what you're waiting for?
I'm gonna keep it frozen here forever,
There's no regretting anymore.
It's worth the wait, even so far away.
I'm making the night mine until the day I die
No lights to brake when you're hanging by fate
You know what it feels like when you're dancing blind
All alone, just the beat inside my soul
Take me home, where my dreams are made of gold
In the zone, where the beat is uncontrolled
I know what it feels like
Come on make me feel alive
Feel alive, feel alive
Feel alive, feel alive
Feel alive, feel alive alive alive alive
Alive!

Meet me under shining lights
I've been waiting right here all my life
Feelings you can't deny that you're living, open up your eyes
And I just wanna sink into your crazy laughter
Come on make me feel until the pain don't matter
Every second here makes my heart beat faster
Finally think I found what I'm chasing after
All alone, just the beat inside my soul
Take me home, where my dreams are made of gold
In the zone, where the beat is uncontrolled
I know what it feels like
Come on make me feel alive
Feel alive, feel alive
Feel alive, feel alive
Feel alive, feel alive alive alive alive
Alive!

All alone, just the beat inside my soul
Take me home, where my dreams are made of gold
In the zone, where the beat is uncontrolled
I know what it feels like
Come on make me feel alive
Feel alive, feel alive
Feel alive, feel alive
Feel alive, feel alive alive alive alive
Alive!

I know what it feels like
Come on make me feel alive
Feel alive, feel alive
Feel alive, feel alive
Feel alive, feel alive alive alive alive
Alive! Feel alive!

June 9th, 2014
Reality star La Toya Jackson came clean about her long-rumored engagement to longtime business manager Jeffré Phillips and showed off her mammoth 17.5-carat diamond ring during an appearance on “Good Morning America” last Wednesday.

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“Yes, I am. I’m engaged. And I’m excited about it,” Jackson told ABC’s Abbie Boudreau. “Yes, I’m very much engaged … And it’s wonderful.”

According to HELLO! magazine, the halo-style ring features a 10-carat round center stone with an additional 7.5 carats of diamonds in the setting. The white metal is likely platinum or 18-karat white gold.

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The 58-year-old Jackson, who is a singer, songwriter, author, actress, businesswoman and older sister of the late Michael Jackson, appeared on GMA to promote the second season of her reality show, “Life with La Toya,” which premiered June 7 on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

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Jackson revealed that Phillips, 46, actually popped the question while the couple was on holiday in Hawaii last August. Phillips had arranged for a romantic in-room dinner for two, then led her down a path of white rose petals and gardenias to the balcony, where he got down on one knee and surprised her with the 17.5-carat ring — a ring that he cleverly hid under the dessert tray.

It’s been reported that the proposal was captured by OWN’s production crew and will be seen during the second season of “Life with La Toya.”

“It wasn't a fast yes," La Toya admitted to People magazine. "I had no clue. I couldn't understand why he was so nervous. My heart just stopped. I was in total shock. We're best friends and we've been business partners forever.”

For Phillips, even more nerve wracking than the reality-show marriage proposal was the process of asking Jackson family patriarch, Joe, for his daughter’s hand. In a clip from the show, Phillips can be seen sweating it out, while the 85-year-old Joe Jackson grumbles, “That sounds like marriage talk to me.”

No wedding date has been set, but Jackson said her nuptials would be on a grander scale than the wedding of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

“It’s going to be bigger than Kim’s!” Jackson told the New York Daily News. “It’ll be bigger than anything, huge. Lots of people, all of it.”
June 10th, 2014
Montana residents Mark and Sharon Brown could hardly believe their eyes when they discovered pure gold flakes in their tap water. Sharon first noticed the sparkling gold residue in the sink after washing the dinner dishes last week.

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"She had pulled the plug to let the water out, and there were glistening, gleaming little flecks,” Mark Brown told NBC Montana. “I can't explain it... It's bizarre.”

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And the Browns are not the only ones with gold-infused water. Their neighbor, Paul Harper, also has seen sparkling gold flakes in his drinking water, as well as in his toilet tank. Harper, who deals in antiques and gold, performed an acid test on the gold flakes to prove they were, in fact, the real thing. The flecks passed with flying colors.

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The town of Whitehall, Mont., where gold magically flows from the faucet, is a mere five miles from the Golden Sunlight Mine — a mine that produced 92,000 ounces of gold in 2013. All of the ore from the mine is processed in Whitehall.

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A reporter from NBC Montana visited Whitehall (pop. 1,038) to witness this crazy phenomenon firsthand. (Bonus trivia: the town’s most famous resident is newscaster Chet Huntley, who graduated from Whitehall High School in 1929.)

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But the Browns and Harpers are less concerned with gold riches than they are with their families’ well being. They also question the effectiveness of the town’s filtration system.

“If we're seeing heavy metals that you can see with the naked eye, what else might be in there?" Mark Brown asked.

Whitehall Public Works Director Jerry Ward assured local residents that the water, which comes from two wells in the middle of town, was safe to drink and that the gold mine was an unlikely source of the gold flecks.

The State Department of Environmental Quality told NBC Montana that the gold bits probably came from the water pipes and pumps. How the gold got into the water pipes and pumps was not explained.
June 11th, 2014
A 5.5-carat fancy vivid pink diamond was the shining star of yesterday’s Important Jewels sale at Christie’s New York as it earned a top bid of $9.57 million, more than $2 million above its pre-auction estimate.

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At $1.74 million per carat, the oval-shaped gemstone with a clarity of VVS1, is in the same class as the world famous “Graff Pink,” a 24.78-carat fancy intense pink diamond, which was sold for $45.75 million ($1.84 million per carat) by Sotheby’s in 2010.

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Pink diamonds with a winning combination of intense color, high quality and large size are extremely rare and aggressively sought by investors and gem aficionados.

Gem experts claim that approximately 1 in 10,000 carats of mined diamonds can claim gem quality and fancy color. Only 0.01% are fancy pink diamonds and a scant few exceed 5 carats in size.

Christie’s officials had underestimated the value of the 5.5-carat pink diamond by more than 25%. The auction house believed it would sell for $6.5 million to $7.5 million.

Another pink diamond recently in the news was the "Pink Star." Back in November 2013, the 59.6-carat internally flawless pink diamond had set an auction record for the highest price ever paid for a diamond when it fetched an astonishing $83 million at Sotheby’s Geneva.

Sotheby’s had guaranteed the sale, so when the winning bidder was not able to come up with the funds, the auction house was obligated to buy the stone for a pre-sale agreed-to price of $60 million.

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A second notable piece from yesterday's New York auction was a platinum ring by Taffin, which featured a stunning rectangular-cut diamond weighing 20.08 carats. The D-color diamond boasts a VVS1 clarity and a Type IIa rating, which means it is chemically pure and has an exceptional optical transparency. Type IIa diamonds were first identified as originating from India (particularly from the Golconda region). The ring sold for $3 million.

In all, the Christie’s Important Jewels sale offered more than 220 items and achieved $27.5 million in sales. The auction house already has grossed more than $340 million during the spring auction season across its global showrooms.

June 12th, 2014
Welland Tribune reporter Maryanne Firth has a nose for news, so when a rash of pink-heart signs started to appear on roadsides throughout the Ontario city in April, the young journalist was on the case.

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The outbreak of pink hearts — a simple pink graphic painted on a white plywood square — came without warning and without explanation. The more signs that appeared, the more curious Firth got.

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On May 5, Firth started to tweet photos of the curious signs and created her own hashtag for followers to use. “Have you spotted the heart signs posted all over Welland? Join our conversation and post photos using #WellandHearts,” she tweeted.

For the next month, Welland’s hearts became the talk of the town, but Firth was no closer to solving the riddle.

Finally, last week there was a big break in the story when new signs began appearing next to old ones. The new signs hinted that something big was going to be happening at Welland’s Chippawa Park on Sunday, June 8, at 3 p.m.

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When Firth arrived at the park, she headed over to a pop-up tent where she was greeted by an oddly dressed fellow with a box on his head. She knew she was in the right place because the “face” on the box matched the pink hearts on Welland’s now-famous signs. The tall box-headed character was dressed in a dark suit and handed carnations to passersby.

"Despite the rain, dozens of people came out with umbrellas in hand, all eager to satisfy the same curiosity that had been eating away at me for weeks," Firth wrote in a column for her newspaper.

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She continued: “He handed [a carnation] to me — a sweet, but familiar gesture — and then continued passing them out to others. Then he gathered up the remaining flowers into a bouquet and turned to me. He removed the disguise.”

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The man in the box — and the mastermind of the pink heart mystery — was Ryan St. Denis, Firth’s boyfriend for the past eight years. The clever St. Denis got down on one knee and proposed to his startled girlfriend. Of course, she said, “Yes.”

St. Denis was certain his ruse would work because he knew his girlfriend so well. He was sure that her determination to get “the story” would lead her to the scene of the romantic proposal.

But the story continues, so to speak. The reporter had a deadline.

"My editor was expecting a story," she wrote. "There was a newspaper to put out tomorrow. It's usually hard to catch a journalist off guard, but I'd say that was successfully accomplished."

Firth was able to bang out a heartwarming piece about her first-hand experience for the next day’s edition on Monday, June 9. Within 24 hours, the story had gone viral, with pickups by Gawker, Buzzfeed, Yahoo! and the front page of Reddit.

“It’s overwhelming. I’m not used to being on this side of the news,” said Firth. “It’s amazing that so many people are taking an interest in it. It started as a special moment between two people, and now it’s exploding online.”
June 13th, 2014
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring your great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today we present Miranda Lambert performing “Platinum,” the second track from her newly released chart-topping album of the same name.

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In the refrain of this witty, self deprecating song, the sassy Lambert belts out, “Somethin' bout platinum irrefutably / Looks as good on records / As it does on me.”

While some may argue that Lambert is referring to her platinum blonde hair, we’re going to assume that the white-hot country singer has an affection for the precious metal, as well. She certainly deserves it.

Platinum, the album, made its debut at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart with sales of 180,000 in its first week. This was also Lambert’s fifth consecutive #1 debut on the Top Country Albums Chart, which sets a new record.

Rolling Stone magazine rated the album four stars and noted Lambert “earned her throne” by “singing top-shelf songs in the voice of a woman getting real. Listening to her records is like eavesdropping in a hair salon.”

Newsday gave the album an A rating and claimed that Platinum "isn't just the finest work of her already-strong career," it's now the top country music album of the year.

Lambert first came on the music scene as a finalist on the 2003 season of Nashville Star. In 2011, she married fellow country singer Blake Shelton.

We hope you enjoy this track from Lambert’s brand new album. The lyrics to “Platinum” are below if you’d like to sing along.

"Platinum"
Written by Nicolle Galyon, Natalie Hembry and Miranda Lambert. Performed by Miranda Lambert.

My disposition permeates
The room when I walk in the place
I'm sorry!
By calculation I'm way too much
Pretentiously I bitch a buck
But you bought it!

I can't exceed my reputation
A small town girl with compensation
Explorin' all my possibilities
Well don't you know I'll blaze a trail
But hell
You can come with me

What doesn't kill you
Only makes you blonder
My heels and my hotel
They just got taller
Somethin' bout platinum irrefutably
Looks as good on records
As it does on me

Historically real men prefer
The Marilyns with curls and curves
and I've got it!
Genetically or chemically
As long as it contains some bleach
I want it!

You don't need to be a fighter
Honey, just go one shade lighter
You'll acquire everything you want
When your roots grow out
And things go South
Hey, go back to the salon!

What doesn't kill you
Only makes you blonder
My heels and my hotel
They just got taller
Somethin' bout platinum irrefutably
Looks as good on records as it does on me

Hey! What doesn't kill you
Only makes you blonder
In fact, my heels and my hotel
They just got taller
Somethin' bout platinum irrefutably
Looks as good on records as it does on me

Somethin' bout platinum irrefutably
Looks as good on records as it does on me

Platinum
Platinum
Somethin' bout platinum

June 16th, 2014
An extremely rare — and awesomely beautiful — 122.52-carat blue diamond discovered at Petra Diamonds’ famed Cullinan mine in South Africa could sell for more than $35 million and set a new record, according to gem-industry analysts.

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Rough blue diamonds larger than 100 carats are some of the most rare and valuable items on the planet. In fact, only three or four have ever been recovered, according to Cathy Mallins, corporate communications manager at Petra Diamonds Ltd.

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“The rarity of a blue diamond of this magnitude sets it apart as a truly significant find,” the company said in a statement.

The highest price ever paid for a rough diamond is $35.3 million. That record was accomplished in February 2010 with the sale of a 507-carat white diamond unearthed at the same Cullinan mine. Analyst Martin Potts believes Petra’s newest find can rival or surpass the $35 million mark.

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Petra officials have sent the diamond to a lab for analysis. If the color rating comes back “fancy vivid,” the gem could "blow the roof off" the previous record, Potts told the BBC.

The Cullinan mine, which Petra has owned since 2008, has a long and storied history of producing the largest and finest-quality diamonds the world has ever known. The 3,103-carat Cullinan Diamond was discovered there in 1905.

Blue diamonds get their color from small traces of boron trapped in their carbon structure during formation.
June 17th, 2014
Drawing design inspiration from the Russian Matryoshka nesting doll, a Spanish maker of ultra-luxury products has launched a line of diamond-and-rose-gold baby bottles, in five sizes ranging in price from $136,000 to $272,000.

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Suommo claims the largest of the series — a 200ml version — is the world’s most expensive baby bottle. It’s not clear from the company’s website whether the bottle, which has a diamond-encrusted nipple, is meant for display or actual use.

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The bottles are also available in yellow-gold or white-gold versions from $62,560 for the petite 25ml bottle to $149,600 for the 200ml size.

Of course, such a luxurious bottle needs to have a bit of customization, lest some other tyke in the sandbox might claim it as her own. Suommo will add a personalized engraving of up to 20 characters at no extra charge.

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Suommo made headlines in April when it introduced the world’s priciest bassinet. The limited-edition, 24-karat solid gold bassinet has a startling price tag of $16.2 million. The company offers a more modestly priced 18-karat gold version for $51,680.

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Suommo also turned heads recently with its 18-karat-gold-and-diamond pacifier. Price: $40,800.

June 18th, 2014
If you hate the idea of missing important texts or calls when your smartphone is buried at the bottom of your purse, “Ringly” is a fashionable, high-tech solution. The “smart” ring — the latest in a new wave of wearable technology — is designed to blink or vibrate depending on whether you’re receiving a call, push notification or reminder.

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Ringly emits five different color flashes and four vibration patterns so you can tailor your alerts to specific people or messages. A blinking blue light might signal a call from the babysitter, while a red flash might be an urgent call from the boss.

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In the describing her inspiration for inventing Ringly, co-founder and CEO Christina Mercando told Fast Co Design, “I continued to miss calls and texts from my friends and family because my phone was in my purse, and I hated leaving it on the table during social outings.”

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The rings feature one of four semi-precious stones, and are plated in 18-karat matte gold. The colors have been cleverly named “Stargaze,” “Wine Bar,” “Daydream” and “Into the Woods.”

Ringly supports both the iOS and Android platforms, with the phone and ring being synced by Bluetooth wireless technology.

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It’s truly amazing that all the high-tech components that allow the ring to light up, vibrate and communicate with a smartphone are all neatly packed into a modestly sized fashion ring.

“We believe that the future of wearables is in building discreet technology that integrates seamlessly into your life and makes your day-to-day easier,” Mercando said in a statement. “The more I use my Ringly, the more it’s like a personal assistant telling me what to do — plus there’s something so fun about having my jewelry talk to me!”

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Expected to retail between $195 and $260, the rings carry an “early bird” price of $145 to $180 with delivery in the fall of 2014. Each ring has a battery life of two to three days, and the decorative box also serves as a charging station.

June 19th, 2014
A 31,308-carat blue sapphire, 5,905-carat brown sapphire and 508-carat tanzanite are just three of nine extraordinary specimens from the Ophir Collection recognized by Guinness World Records as being the largest cut gemstones in their class.

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The other record holders include a 65.22-carat serendibite, 25.92-carat painite, 23.66-carat hibonite, 22.64-carat musgravite, 15.43-carat neptunite and 4.32-carat grandidierite.

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The Delaware-based Ophir Collection is comprised of 40 rare and exquisite specimens, nine of which are current record holders and many others that are still in the process of being vetted by Guinness World Records.

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The collection includes what Ophir believes are the three largest cut musgravites in the world, as well as an impressive jadeite, coppertop tourmaline, fire opal, kunzite and black tourmaline.

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Officials from Ophir Collection LLC noted that the some of the minerals could be worth "upwards of $2 million per carat." This is a bold claim considering that the world record for the highest price paid per carat for a colored diamond at auction is $2.4 million. “The Orange,” a 14.82-carat fancy vivid orange diamond, fetched $35.5 million in 2013.

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Each of the minerals has been positively identified and certified by the Gemological Institute of America, with the exception of one. The curious dark green stone with veins of bright orange failed to yield a positive ID and is now known as the “Ophir Mystique.” GIA's trouble identifying the stone may signal the Ophir Collection's discovery of a brand new mineral.
June 20th, 2014
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you classic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In today’s featured song, Steely Dan lead singer Donald Fagan uses precious gems as metaphors for "perfection" in his classic 1976 hit, “Kid Charlemagne.”

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In the song inspired by the legend of “underground” chemist Owsley Stanley III, Fagan sings, “Just by chance you crossed the diamond with the pearl / You turned it on the world / That's when you turned the world around.”

In this case, crossing a diamond with a pearl symbolizes how Stanley perfected the recipe for the highest-quality LSD available in San Francisco in the 1960s. A subsequent line explains, “On the hill the stuff was laced with kerosene / But yours was kitchen clean.”

“Kid Charlemagne,” which was released as a single from Steely Dan’s fifth album, The Royal Scam, met with modest success in 1976 as it reached #82 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. But, as Steely Dan’s popularity bloomed in the late 1970s, the song grew in popularity and became a concert staple, despite its cryptic drug references.

Blending elements of jazz, rock, funk, R&B and pop, Steely Dan continues to tour in its fifth decade. The group has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001.

Steely Dan’s "Jamalot Ever After" 53-show tour starts July 2 in Portland, Ore., and ends at Baltimore's Pier Six Pavilion on September 17.

We hope you enjoy the video of Fagan and the rest of Steely Dan performing "Kid Charlemagne." The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Kid Charlemagne”
Written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. Performed by Steely Dan.

While the music played you worked by candlelight
Those San Francisco nights
You were the best in town
Just by chance you crossed the diamond with the pearl
You turned it on the world
That's when you turned the world around
Did you feel like Jesus?
Did you realize
That you were a champion in their eyes?

On the hill the stuff was laced with kerosene
But yours was kitchen clean
Everyone stopped to stare at your technicolor motor home
Every A-frame had your number on the wall
You must have had it all
You'd go to L.A. on a dare
And you'd go it alone
Could you live forever?
Could you see the day?
Could you feel your whole world fall apart and fade away?

CHORUS:
Get along, get along Kid Charlemagne
Get along Kid Charlemagne

Now your patrons have all left you in the red
Your low-rent friends are dead
This life can be very strange
All those dayglow freaks who used to paint the face
They've joined the human race
Some things will never change
Son you were mistaken
You are obsolete
Look at all the white men on the street

CHORUS

Clean this mess up else we'll all end up in jail
Those test tubes and the scale
Just get them all out of here
Is there gas in the car?
Yes, there's gas in the car
I think the people down the hall
Know who you are
Careful what you carry
'Cause the man is wise
You are still an outlaw in their eyes

CHORUS

June 23rd, 2014
The Seattle Seahawks utilized neon-green tsavorite and blue sapphires to represent their team colors in the fabulous Super Bowl rings awarded to the world champions on Thursday night.

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The team clearly spared no expense when it came to designing the elaborate, diamond-emblazoned rings that would commemorate its dominating 2013-2014 season — a season that culminated in a blowout 43-8 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

The most prominent design feature of the 14-karat white gold ring is a Seahawks logo rendered in 65 round brilliant diamonds punctuated by a neon-green tsavorite “eye.” The logo lies against a sparkling background of 87 pavé-set diamonds and one larger marquise-shaped diamond that represents the Lombardi Trophy football.

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Forty round blue sapphires encircle the ring in a channel setting. The pattern is interrupted in one place by a "12" flag, a symbol of the team's fans, who have been credited with being the 12th man on the field. The ring's  bezel, which is inscribed with the phrase “WORLD CHAMPIONS,” is accented with 12 round diamond, six on each side.

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The Seahawks received their rings during a private ceremony in downtown Seattle after their final day of mini-camp on Thursday. The event included a performance by Usher, who posed with Russell Wilson in the quarterback's tweet showing off his new Super Bowl bling.

Tiffany designed the Super Bowl ring after consulting with the Seahawks’ top management, including owner Paul G. Allen and head coach Pete Carroll.

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One side of the shank details the player's name and number, season record of 16-3, and Mount Rainier with the 12th man flag waving over the Seahawks’ stadium.

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The opposite shank features the Seahawks team name, NFL shield, Seattle skyline, Super Bowl XLVIII logo and the Vince Lombardi trophy set with a marquise-shaped diamond.

The bottom of the band is notched with 12 feathers, a nod to the markings on the team uniforms.

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The inside of the ring is inscribed with the slogan “Leave No Doubt 24/7,” representing the message printed on the team’s T-shirts during its march through the playoffs; SEA 43 DEN 8, the final score of the Super Bowl; and What’s Next, a hint as to what the team may deliver during the 2014-2015 season.
June 24th, 2014
We’ve all seen cute canines dressed in fashionable togs and spangled collars, but Lady Gaga apparently went a little too far last week when she Instagrammed a few pics of her beloved French bulldog, Asia, wearing a face-covering bejeweled head-piece in one shot and a three-piece jewelry ensemble in another.

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Although the photo was intended as a light-hearted joke, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) was quick to pounce on the controversial singer, who famously wore a dress made of raw flank steak to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.

PETA senior vice president of cruelty investigations Daphna Nachminovitch told Radar Online, “Lady Gaga may choose to decorate herself with elaborate and even uncomfortable outfits, but Asia doesn’t get to make that choice."

She continued, "Though it seems pretty clear that Lady Gaga loves Asia, we think Asia — and all dogs — are adorable without all the added flair.”

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On Instagram, Gaga captioned Asia’s headdress photo “Little McQueen” in a reference to British fashion designer and couturier Alexander McQueen, who often pushes the boundaries of fashion and jewelry accessories. Similar head-pieces have been seen on the catwalks of high-profile shows, especially during London Fashion Week.

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In the second photo, captioned “I don't have time for this moms,” Asia is wearing clip-on earrings and a draped necklace featuring red, white and blue stones. An antique-style bracelet adorned with dark blue and white stones is a tad too big for Asia's puppy-size wrist.

Although critics bashed Gaga for treating her dog as an accessory, Gaga fans flocked to her Instagram to lend support. One follower commented, “Oh shut up! This isn't animal cruelty... I used to put make up on my cats and they seemed to love it! They would just sit there. If Asia didn't enjoy the time with her mommy she wouldn't be around her. She's around her 24/7!”

Gaga and Asia have been inseparable since the singer adopted the dog in April of this year. Gaga carries the pooch everywhere she goes and Asia is often seen mugging for the paparazzi — minus the jewelry.
June 25th, 2014
Less than a month before her wedding, Danielle Maurer was boating with friends on tranquil Lake Pawtuckaway in New Hampshire when a freak accident turned the picturesque day into a diamond disaster.

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All was well at the lake on a spectacular Sunday in early June... until it was time to bring the small boat back to the dock. Somehow, in her effort to guide the boat, Maurer's hand got pinned between the corner of the dock and the boat, squashing her engagement ring, compromising the integrity of the setting and sending her solitaire diamond on a hopeless descent to the bottom of the lake.

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After being treated for minor cuts and scrapes and having the damaged ring pried off her finger, the 30-year-old Maurer from Beverly, Mass., grabbed a snorkel and attempted to retrieve the diamond on her own. The water was eight feet deep and the bottom was strewn with reflective rocks.

"I jumped down and went to look for it, but there were all these shiny things in the water and I said, 'We're not going to find it,'" Maurer told Seacoast Online. "I pretty much assumed it was gone and I tried to come to terms with it."

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The timing of her loss couldn’t have been worse. In two weeks, she and her fiancé, Kumar Thangamuthu, were set to fly to India to prepare for their wedding, which would take place on July 7.

The couple’s sadness turned to elation the very next day when a family friend and owner of the dock, William Mercer, sent a “remarkable” email reporting how he recovered of the diamond after diving into the lake with his scuba gear.

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Mercer, a veteran diver, told Seacoast Online that his first attempts at finding the diamond were fruitless, but then he had the answer. By dropping a diamond-size pebble off the corner of the dock, Mercer was able to track its path to the approximate location where the diamond had landed. His theory was spot-on.

The recovered diamond will be with the couple on their voyage to India and will be set into a repaired ring by a jeweler there. Also, on the voyage will be the hero of our story, Mr. Mercer, who was invited to attend as a thank-you gesture for his selflessness.

“It's a great story,” Maurer told Seacoast Online. “[The ring is] beautiful, and now I think it has more meaning."
June 26th, 2014
A white dwarf star 50 light-years away in the constellation Centaurus is actually a mind-boggling chunk of diamond two-thirds the size of the Earth, according to astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

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"You would need a jeweler's loupe the size of the Sun to grade this diamond," joked astronomer Travis Metcalfe, who led the team of researchers that discovered it.

Metcalfe said the weight of the galaxy’s largest diamond is 10 billion trillion trillion carats. Try that on for size!

Given the pet name “Lucy” by astronomers in deference to the Beatles’ famous song, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” the dwarf star is officially known as “BPM 37093.” It is 4,000km in diameter, and likely the coldest white dwarf ever detected.

The white dwarf star is the compressed dying remnant of what used to be a star very much like our sun. Once a star uses up its fuel, it shrinks in on itself and starts to cool off. Since it’s made mostly of carbon, the crystallization of the super-dense material produces a diamond.

Before you think about planning a mining expedition to Lucy, take note that her super-cool temperature (compared to other stars) is still a blistering 5,000°F. Our sun at its center is about 5,000 times hotter.

White dwarf stars are nearly impossible to identify because they are extremely difficult to see. Lucy, for instance, shines with only 1/2000th of the sun's visual brightness. Lacking visual clues, astronomers have relied on other methods to pinpoint a white dwarf in space. In the case of Lucy, she happens to do an “orbital tango” with a pulsar, or fast-spinning neutron star.

Metcalf noted that in five billion years our own sun would meet the same fate as Lucy. It will cool down, shrink, crystallize and become a huge diamond in the center of our solar system.

"Our sun will become a diamond that truly is forever," said Metcalfe.
June 27th, 2014
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fantastic new tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Philadelphia R&B legends Boyz II Men give us a preview of “Diamond Eyes,” the first single off their upcoming album, Collide.

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In the romantic and powerful ballad about a man longing to be reunited with a long-lost love, the soulful singers croon, “And then the sun rose, our bodies unfroze / And it turned us both gold / Your diamond eyes glowed, yeah.”

The group, which has been performing for 24 years, is in the midst of a whirlwind promotional tour, first previewing two tracks exclusively on PerezHilton.com, then making a musical guest appearance on the June 1 episode of The Bachelorette, and then performing “Diamond Eyes” three nights later on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Collide is schedule to release on September 30.

The music from Collide was described by the group as “very eclectic, very different, unlike what people have heard from us in the past.”

The four-time Grammy-winning act, which features the sweet harmonies of founding members Shawn Stockman, Wanya Morris and Nathan Morris, has sold more than 60 million recordings and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012. The group originated as a quartet, but is now a trio since Michael McCary had to leave the group in 2003 due to health issues.

Check out the video of Boyz II Men performing “Diamond Eyes” three weeks ago on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

"Diamond Eyes"
Written and performed by Boyz II Men.

When we were young, our hearts were strong,
And they beat as one, till the day had come
When I thought that you were gone

And then the sun rose, our bodies unfroze
And it turned us both gold
Your diamond eyes glowed, yeah, ohhhhh

When we were young, Our love was strong
We beat as one, till the day had come,
And I thought that you were gone

And then the sun rose, our bodies unfroze
And it turned us both gold
Your diamond eyes glowed, yeah

I would search near and far
Drag the seas and mind the dark,
Search through every place I think you are
I would search near and far
Drag the seas and mind the dark
And never losing hope that you be found, ohhhh

And then the sun rose, our bodies unfroze
And it turned us both gold
Your diamond eyes glowed, yea,
your diamond eyes glowed,
your diamond eyes glowed,
your diamond eyes glowed, ohhhh

June 30th, 2014
Appalled by the depravity of a thief who would yank the engagement ring off the finger of an 87-year-old hospital patient with advanced Alzheimer’s, investigating officer Laurie Graber took it upon herself to help make the situation right.

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Before heading home at the end of her shift, the kind-hearted Plantation, Fla., cop made a side trip to buy a replacement ring.

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Graber was touched by the love story of Betty Wagoner and her devoted husband, Arthur, who has been at his wife’s side as she has suffered with the debilitating disease.

The couple has been married for 67 years and Arthur remembered purchasing Betty’s engagement ring for in 1946 for $400. He placed it on her finger when Betty was just 20 years old and that's where it stayed — until last Saturday.

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Apparently, someone who had access to Betty’s hospital room pulled her engagement ring and wedding band from her finger while the patient was heavily sedated. The horrible bruising on her finger reflects the force used to remove the rings.

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The thief took the engagement ring and put the wedding band back on Betty’s finger. Arthur noticed the diamond engagement ring was gone when he went to hold her hand during a visit to the hospital on Sunday. That’s when Graber was called in to investigate.

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"After 67 years of that ring being on her finger, she still looked at him like he was her knight and shining armor and he looked at her like she was still his young bride," Graber told Local 10 News.

"I just couldn't imagine what kind of depravity you would have to have to take something off of someone so vulnerable.” Graber said.

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So Graber took it upon herself to select a new ring for Betty — a delicate gold ring adorned with small diamonds in the shape of a heart. She returned to the hospital that same night with the intention to deliver it to the nurses’ station anonymously.

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The officer had placed the ring in a gift bag, along with a note that read, “It’s not much. It’s not the same, but 67 years of a promise kept should be recognized. May God bless you both.”

The nurses at Westside Regional Medical Center were so impressed by Graber’s character and random act of kindness that they chose to reveal her identity to Arthur and then go to the local media with the story.