Romance University

Articles in November 2014

November 3rd, 2014
The San Antonio Spurs marked their fifth NBA title by raising a new banner and showing off their massive diamond-encrusted championship rings prior to their 2014-2015 season home opener against the Dallas Mavericks last Tuesday.

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Each 14-karat gold ring weighs more than three ounces and features diamonds with a total weight of 5.09 carats.

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The Spurs’ big three — Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker — were excited to show off their rings during the pre-game ceremonies.

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Every fan attending the opener took home a blingy one-size-fits-all commemorative ring — designed in base metal and glittering with what we assume are cubic zirconia or crystals.

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Spurs fan Daniel Ortiz shared a photo on the Spurs’ Facebook page that demonstrates how the rings have gotten progressively larger with each championship. The team’s previous titles were in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007.

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In a neat design twist by manufacturer Herff Jones, the right side of the ring has a custom feature that showcases the Spurs’ “Pounding the Rock” symbol with five sparks shooting out from the rock. Each player's ring has from one to five extra diamonds coming off the sparks, depending how many times that player has been on a Spurs championship team.

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The face of the ring features a diamond-studded Spurs logo in 14-karat white gold superimposed over a 14-karat yellow gold representation of the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy. A large bezel-set diamond symbolizes the basketball of the trophy. The face of the ring includes 76 round, 10 princess cut and four baguette diamonds. An additional 42 round diamonds frame the face.

The left side of the ring showcases the player's name and number along with the NBA logo and winning year 2014. The raised lettering is in white gold against a black enamel background.

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The inside of the band is inscribed with the team’s motto: “Good to Great.” The Spurs came within one game of winning the championship in 2013, but were knocked out by the Miami Heat in seven games. The motto reflects the team effort to come back from that disappointment to be better than before. In 2014, the Spurs got their revenge by defeating the Heat in five games.
November 4th, 2014
Brooklin Yazzie’s desperate plea to get her beloved wedding ring back after she accidentally gave it away with Halloween candy Friday night has been heard around the world.

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What started out as a local story covered by Phoenix ABC-TV affiliate KNXV, has been picked up by numerous other TV stations, news sites and bloggers worldwide.

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Yazzie, a resident of Mesa, Ariz., had taken off her gold wedding ring and placed it in a candy jar so it wouldn’t get slimy while she carved pumpkins with her young daughters. But as Friday evening wore on and the onslaught of trick-or-treaters became more intense, she unwittingly emptied the contents of the jar into a larger bag that she used to distribute candy and goodies to the neighborhood kids.

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“When I first realized what had happened, I just lost my speech. I froze,” Yazzie told KNXV. “I actually had plastic rings in [the bag] too, so it wouldn’t have felt much different.”

Yazzie normally would have been out trick-or-treating with her kids, but this year she was relegated to door-bell duty due to a foot injury and a baby on the way.

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The reason why Yazzie’s story has struck a cord with viewers and readers around the world is not because of the value of the ring. She said, frankly, that it would fetch maybe $50 at a pawn shop.

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Far more important is the ring’s sentimental value. To Yazzie, it’s priceless. It’s the ring her husband placed on her finger on their wedding day 10 years ago, when she was barely 20 years old. They were just starting out and had settled on a basic ring because they couldn’t afford a fancier ring at the time.

“It’s my wedding ring, you know? I mean you could replace it, but it’s not the same,” Yazzie told KNXV. “I'm just really hoping that somebody has it and just doesn’t know what to do with it. They don’t know whose it is or how to find out. You know, through the hundreds of houses they went to they don’t know which house it came from.”

Yazzie and her family have been busy posting fliers throughout their neighborhood, hoping that the little kid who has a very real piece of jewelry in his loot bag will do the right thing and return it to its rightful owner.

And with the viral nature of her story, it’s unlikely the lucky kid with the gold ring will have any doubt that the ring belongs to Yazzie.
November 5th, 2014
Victoria's Secret models Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio will be wearing a combined $4 million worth of scintillating gem-embellished lingerie when they headline the company’s televised fashion show in London on December 9 — an event that will be seen in 200 countries.

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For the first time ever, Victoria’s Secret revealed two bejeweled Dream Angels Fantasy Bras, effectively doubling the “wow” factor of their annual super-high-profile extravaganza. The bras were seen for the first time on Monday’s edition of ABC’s Good Morning America.

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Dripping with an amazing array of 16,505 precious gemstones set in 18-karat gold, the Fantasy Bras — one red and one blue — feature a combined total weight of 9,322 carats (4.1 lbs).

The blingy bras and accompanying body adornments for the arms, legs, stomach and neck were designed by Mouwaud and took a combined 1,380 hours to fabricate by hand. Victoria’s Secret says that the designer was inspired by “the magic of faraway lands.”

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The blue bra and body chains feature 10,672 precious gems weighing a staggering 6,634 carats. Incorporated into the design are 3,103 blue sapphires, 2,948 blue agates, 2,885 blue topazes, 943 diamonds, 455 amethysts and 338 London blue topazes.

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The red version radiates with 5,833 precious gems, including 2,756 blue sapphires, 1,187 blue topazes, 882 red garnets, 672 red agates, 299 diamonds and 37 yellow quartzes. The gemstone total weight is 2,688 carats.

Both bras are priced at $2 million and are for sale on the Victoria’s Secret website.

Those looking to see these bras in person will get a chance from November 13-16 at the Victoria’s Secret store in Las Vegas’ Fashion Show Mall. On November 13, both Lima and Ambrosio will be on hand to take photos with fans.

Screen captures via vsallaccess.victoriassecret.com.
November 6th, 2014
British pop star Ed Sheeran made superfan Katie Papworth’s dream come true last week when he accepted her infinity-symbol engagement ring and marriage proposal prior to his concert in Glasgow.

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What makes this story extra special is the fact that the 19-year-old Papworth has been battling a rare form of brain cancer for the past eight years and lost her eyesight to the aggressive disease only two weeks ago.

Papworth was thrilled to meet her idol backstage, where she presented Sheeran with a ring engraved with an infinity symbol. She also gave Sheeran a painting she drew before she lost her sight, and he reportedly raved about her work.

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The “A Team” singer was clearly touched by the gesture and accepted her proposal. He also signed another piece of Katie’s artwork, adding this sweet note: “Katie, lovely to finally meet my wife.”

Sheeran’s meeting with Papworth, her mother and her caregiver was made possible by the Les Hoey MBE DreamMaker Foundation, a Scottish charity dedicated to making the lives of children “a bit easier and happier as they are going through treatment.”

On Facebook, the DreamMaker Foundation acknowledged Sheeran's sensitivity and generosity: “Huge thanks to Ed Sheeran (a real Superstar ) and his fantastic team who made Katie’s dream come true last night and she even proposed and he kept her ring. Xx.”

The post has generated 1,174 Likes, 93 Shares and more than 45 Comments, including these…

Said Emma Haddow, “Didn't think I could love Ed more til now. What a guy. Lovely pic xxx.”

James Lee Wilson wrote a single-word comment: “Legend.”

Added Gillian Davie, “Tears in my eyes reading this...amazing memory for the wee girl and for her family to cherish forever x.”

Shelley Overton seemed to sum it up best: “Ed, you are a class act.”

Images: Facebook/Les Hoey MBE DreamMaker Foundation SCIO; Facebook/Ed Sheeran Music
November 7th, 2014
For the first Music Friday of November, we’ve unearthed a cool song by The B-52s that happens to have this month’s birthstone — topaz — as its title and musical hook. Few people know that a Maine psychic gets the credit for inspiring the song’s “topaz” connection.

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“Topaz,” which was written by the group and appeared on its 1989 blockbuster album, Cosmic Thing, is a song about a fanciful city by the sea, where blue dolphins are singing, skyscrapers are winking and minds swim in ecstasy.

Group member Kate Pierson revealed to Onion AV Club that the song’s “topaz” theme is credited to a Maine-based psychic she consulted while the group was finishing up its Cosmic Thing album.

“You have two more songs that you should write before you record… and one of them is ‘Topaz,’” Pierson remembered the psychic saying. “I just see the word ‘topaz.’”

Pierson explained that the group had started writing the song that would eventually become “Topaz,” but they didn’t have a chorus.

“But after she said that, we were, like, ‘Oh, my God: Topaz is the perfect name for this new city by the sea!’”

After the song took on the “Topaz” title, band member Keith Strickland received a comic affirmation when he drove by a giant billboard promoting a Mercury automobile that read: “Topaz: The Right Choice.”

“In retrospect, it seemed so auspicious that that should happen,” she told Onion AV Club. “So we started jamming with those lyrics, and it just came together beautifully. The lyrics just make me tingle. It’s very meaningful. No matter how many times we sing it, it just feels very heartfelt. And it’s one of those songs that everyone knows, so when we play it, everybody gets up and starts shaking it a little bit.”

The B-52s were formed in Athens, Ga., in 1976 and scored their first big hit, “Rock Lobster” in 1978. Rooted in new wave, the group continues to perform with original band members Pierson, Fred Schneider, Cindy Wilson and Keith Strickland. A fifth original member, Ricky Wilson, succumbed to AIDS/HIV-related health complications in 1985 at the age of 32.

The band’s name relates to the beehive hairdo Pierson and Cindy Wilson sported during the band’s early years. The shape of their beehives resembled the nose cone of a B-52 bomber.

We hope you enjoy today’s musical treat. Scroll down for the video, and the lyrics are here if you’d like to sing along...

“Topaz”
Written and performed by The B-52s.

New cities by the sea
Skyscrapers are winking
Some hills are never seen
The universe expanding
We're gazing out to sea
Blue dolphins are singing
Minds swim in ecstasy
Clear planet, ever free

Topaz
Our hearts are traveling faster,
Faster than the speed of love
Straight through a tear in the clouds
Up to the heavens above

Bright ships will sail the seas
Starfishes are spinning
Some hills are never seen
Our universe is expanding
Moonrise upon the sea
Starships are blinking
We'll walk in ecstasy
Clear planet blue and green

Topaz
Our thoughts are traveling faster
Moving beyond the heavens above

Planets pulsating, constellations creating
Voices are guiding me to the cities by the sea
Yes, I see cities by the sea

Deep forests by the sea
Skyscrapers are winking
Some hills are never seen
The universe is expanding
Topaz

Photo Courtesy of The B52s

November 10th, 2014
The cleanup crew tasked with removing any trace of the Ebola virus from the home of infected nurse Amber Vinson might have been a bit overzealous when they incinerated many of her possessions, including her beautiful new engagement ring.

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Showcasing a round center diamond in a cushion-shaped halo setting and accented by a double micro pavé diamond band, the ring was very similar in design to one shown below.

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Infectious disease expert William Schaffner from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine told ABC News that burning the Ebola patient's engagement ring was unnecessary and "totally overboard." Schaffner said the engagement ring could have been easily disinfected with bleach or a similar cleaning product.

"It sends the wrong public health message," he told ABC News, "as though the engagement ring could be vehicle for the Ebola virus."

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Vinson was released recently from Atlanta's Emory University Hospital, where she was treated for the virus she contracted while tending the first U.S. Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, in Texas. She told CNN’s Don Lemon that she was shocked to learn many of her possessions were burned soon after she started treatment on October 14. The cleanup crew had been hired by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and is apparently not liable for replacing the destroyed jewelry.

"Your house was sterilized? They burned a lot of your things? They incinerated your engagement ring?" Lemon asked the newly engaged 29-year-old on CNN Tonight.

"Yes. I was crushed,” she said. “It's a thing, but it has sentimental value to me."

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Also burned was a binder that included all of Vinson’s wedding plans. This precaution, too, may have been totally overboard because the Ebola virus is spread through close contact and bodily fluids, including blood, sweat and urine — not by touching paper.

The upbeat Texas nurse remained positive about her future even though many of her possessions are gone.

"We've got to rebuild," she told CNN.

If you’re wondering if it’s even possible to burn an engagement ring, the answer is, “Yes.” Commercial incinerators burn at a temperature of 1,400 to 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Gold will melt at 1,948 degrees Fahrenheit and diamonds can burn or oxidize at 1,472 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Merck index, a definitive reference guide used by scientists. Diamonds do have a melting point of 6,432 degrees Fahrenheit, but attaining that temperature is only possible in a vacuum.

Images: CNN.com screen captures; UneekJewelry.com; Facebook/HelpAmberVinson
November 11th, 2014
In yesterday’s blog posting, infectious disease expert William Schaffner criticized an Ebola cleanup crew for incinerating nurse Amber Vinson’s ring when a simpler and more rational solution would have been to dunk the ring in bleach or a similar cleaning product.

Engagement  Ring with Diamond or moissanite Jewelry background

As jewelry experts, we’d like to clarify that Schaffner's bleaching advice misses the mark. Although chlorine bleach does a great job of killing off the Ebola virus, it also — over time — wreaks havoc on ring settings, especially those made of white gold. Jewelry lovers should NEVER clean their precious possessions with chlorine bleach.

A study conducted by Hoover & Strong, a leading refiner and manufacturer of precious metals, found that household bleach, chlorine and bromine (commonly found in pools and hot tubs) caused a gradual failure of karat-gold settings, with the fastest deterioration seen when jewelry was immersed in chlorine bleach and brought to a high temperature.

Chlorine has the ability to dissolve the alloys found in white and yellow gold, ultimately causing stress cracks and breakage. Rings with prong-set stones carry the highest risk, because a single compromised prong could cause the loss of a very valuable gemstone.

In the Hoover & Strong study, 14-karat nickel white gold faired worse than other white metals. Platinum was virtually unaffected and rhodium plating added a layer of protection to the karat gold. Rated from most durable to least durable were platinum, rhodium-plated 14-karat palladium white gold, 14-karat palladium white gold; rhodium-plated nickel white gold and 18-karat nickel white gold.

Although bleach, chlorine and bromine have been proven to damage jewelry, we should stress that the effects are seen over an extended period of time.

For instance, 14-karat nickel white gold exposed to 5% chlorine bleach and heated to 110 degrees F experienced prong failure after 21 hours.

The same experiment done with 5% chlorine bleach at room temperature still yielded prong failure, but it took 120 hours of exposure.

Hoover & Strong also calculated that two hours of daily hot tub use would generate a prong failure after 156 days for a chlorine-treated tub, or 192 days for a bromine-treated tub.

Household detergent had no effects on the settings, according to the study.

So what’s the best way to disinfect jewelry? A lot has to do with the type of stone that may be in the setting.

Alcohol is a great disinfectant, but shouldn’t be used on pearls, opals, emeralds, coral or turquoise. Boiling water can kill germs and viruses, but could damage fracture-filled stones and other gems that are susceptible to cracking with drastic changes of temperature. Highly resilient diamonds, rubies and sapphires can be heated with a jeweler’s torch, effectively killing any potential contaminate.

Other industry experts recommend scrubbing the jewelry with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a simple brew of warm water and liquid dish soap.

If Ebola is on your mind, please note that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control claims that the Ebola virus is easily killed by soap, bleach, sunlight, high temperatures and drying. Cycling an item through your washing machine or dishwasher can also destroy the Ebola virus.

Photo: Bigstockphoto.com/Rozaliya
November 12th, 2014
The makers of NECLUMI, a projection-based interactive necklace, ask the provocative question, “Are we willing to abandon atoms of gold for the waves of light?” We may be biased, but we have to chime in with a resounding, “No.”

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Still, the concept of “jewelry” made from pulsing and undulating light patterns beamed onto the wearer's neck via a palm-sized pico projector is fascinating.

Poland-based panGenerator boldly calls NECLUMI “a probable future of jewelry.” In its current prototype form, NECLUMI is based on an iPhone app, where the user can choose from four distinctive “jewelry” patterns — Airo, Roto, Movi and Sono. Each one has the ability to react to the user’s movement and environment.

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For instance, Airo utilizes the smartphone’s pedometer to emit thin horizontal bands of light that vary by the user’s walking speed. Roto uses the smartphone’s compass to gauge the body’s position, and rotates the globe-like “jewelry” image accordingly. Movi is a curved-shaped graphic that bends with the body’s movement. This works off the smartphone’s accelerometer. And Sono radiates pixels of light in a graphic that looks that the sun during a full eclipse. The activity of pixels bursting from the darkened circle is dependent on the ambient sound in the location. The smartphone’s microphone is used for this function.

Although the maker is confident that fast-moving improvements in the miniaturization of projection technology will make the user experience more comfortable in the future, for now the body installation of NECLUMI is a bit cumbersome. The pico projector needs to be mounted to the wearer’s chest and wired with an HDMI cord to a smartphone. The smallest pico projectors currently on the market measure 4.2 inches by 2.9 inches, have a thickness of 0.8 inches and weigh a little more than five ounces.

Although panGenerator is predicting that projection-based jewelry will become a reality in a few years, the company is not quite ready to go to market with NECLUMI. It’s currently seeking “funding and collaboration” to get the project to the next level.

Check out the promo video for NECLUMI below…

NECLUMI - a probable future of jewellery from ◥ panGenerator on Vimeo.


Screen captures via panGenerator on Vimeo
November 13th, 2014
The fourth-largest faceted blue sapphire in the world — the stunning 392-carat “Blue Belle of Asia” — smashed the world record for any sapphire sold at auction when excited bidders at Christie’s Geneva pushed the price to $17.7 million on Tuesday.

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"The private collector, seated in the room, is now the new owner of the most valuable sapphire in the world," exclaimed Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Christie's Jewelry Department, at the close of the bidding. He did not reveal the identity of the collector.

"We are extremely proud that the Blue Belle of Asia established a new world record for any sapphire sold at auction," he added in an official statement.

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Boasting an historical provenance dating back 88 years, the cushion-cut, cornflower blue Ceylon sapphire fetched about twice its pre-sale estimate of $6.9 million to $9.9 million.

Christie’s reports that the 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. British automobile magnate Lord Nuffield purchased the gem in 1937 with the rumored intentions of presenting it 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.

The Blue Belle of Asia, which has "excellent clarity" and is suspended on a diamond tassel pendant, was the top performing lot of Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale.

At $44,974 per carat, the gem’s selling price was in line with the $40,962 per carat achieved by a 102-carat Ceylon sapphire sold for $4.2 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in April of 2014.

Overall, Christie’s Geneva sale generated $154 million from 346 lots. More than 600 buyers from 30 countries registered for the auction.

Photos: Christie's
November 14th, 2014
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring your great new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. When we tuned in to Conan on Tuesday night, we were hypnotized by the harmonies of Swedish musical guest First Aid Kit performing “Stay Gold,” a song that uses “gold” as a metaphor for the innocence of youth.

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Klara Söderberg, who co-wrote the song with her sister, Johanna, told The Oregonian that “Stay Gold” was inspired by Robert Frost’s eight-line poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” In that poem, which was originally published in 1923, Frost begins with these two lines, “Nature’s first green is gold / Her hardest hue to hold" and ends with these, "So dawn goes down to day / Nothing gold can stay.”

In “Stay Gold,” the sisters’ take on the Frost poem goes like this, “The sun shone high those few summer days / Left us in a soft, wide-eyed haze / It shone like gold / It shone like gold / But just as the moon it shines straight / So dawn goes down today / No gold can stay / No gold can stay.”

Essentially, they're saying that a young person's idyllic view of life — and likely their own — is often short-lived.

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Klara Söderberg revealed in the The Oregonian interview, "I had this collection of poetry, and I thought, 'I'll open this and see if there's anything in here that inspires me,' and I came upon the line 'Nothing gold can stay.' That was literally the first thing I saw, and it was perfect."

“Stay Gold” is the title song from First Aid Kit’s third studio album, which dropped in June 2014 and peaked at #23 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and #2 U.S. Billboard Folk Albums chart.

“Stay Gold” introduces new elements to the group’s music, such as the rich backing and full sound of a 13-piece orchestra.

Despite the sisters’ humble beginnings as a MySpace/YouTube indie folk phenomenon in 2007-2008, First Aid Kit may turn out to be Sweden’s hottest musical export since ABBA.

Please check out First Aid Kit’s live performance of “Stay Gold.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

"Stay Gold"
Written by Klara and Johanna Söderberg. Performed by First Aid Kit.

The sun shone high those few summer days
Left us in a soft, wide-eyed haze
It shone like gold
It shone like gold

But just as the moon it shines straight
So dawn goes down today
No gold can stay
No gold can stay

What if our hard work ends in despair?
What if the road won't take me there?
Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold

What if to love and be loved's not enough?
What if I fall and can't bear to get up?
Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold
We could stay gold

We're on our way through rugged land
Top of that mountain we wanted to stand
With hearts of gold
With hearts of gold

But there is only forward, no other way
Tomorrow was your hope at the end of the day
And gold turns gray
And gold turns gray

What if our hard work ends in despair?
What if the road won't take me there?
Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold

What if to love and be loved's not enough?
What if I fall and can't bear to get up?
Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold
We could stay gold

All of my dreams, they fall and form a bridge
Of memories where I can get back
All of my dreams, they fall and form a bridge
Of memories where I can't get back to you

What if our hard work ends in despair?
What if the road won't take me there?
Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold

What if to love and be loved's not enough?
What if I fall and can't bear to get up?
Oh, I wish, for once, we could stay gold
We could stay gold

Could stay gold
Stay gold


Screen capture: YouTube
November 17th, 2014
Just one day after the 392-carat “Blue Belle of Asia” sapphire set a world record when it fetched $17.3 million at Christie’s Geneva, rival Sotheby’s Geneva claimed two auction records with the sale of the 8.6-carat “Graff Ruby” for $8.6 million.

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The gem, which was scooped up for a second time by its namesake, Laurence Graff, now owns auction records for the highest price ever paid for a ruby, as well as the highest price per carat for a ruby at $997,727. The selling price nearly reached the high end of Sotheby's pre-sale estimate of $6.8 million to $9 million.

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The London jeweler, who is famous for his purchases of world-class diamonds and colored gemstones, first acquired the spectacular cushion-cut “pigeon blood” ruby at an auction more than eight years ago. It’s been reported that Graff’s most recent winning bid of $8.6 million at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction was more than double what he paid for the gem originally.

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Sotheby’s called the “Graff Ruby” a “gem among gems,” and, in 2006, Graff had told Bloomberg News that “the cut and spread of color is the finest I have ever seen.”

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The "Graff Ruby" is set in an impressive ring designed by Graff. The ruby is centered between triangular diamond shoulders within a mounting decorated throughout with brilliant-cut diamonds. Sotheby’s offered the “Graff Ruby” with an alternative ring mounting, also designed by Graff.

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"This is the finest ruby in the world," Graff said in a Sotheby's statement. "We are very proud to have it in our possession for the second time."

Until last week’s auction, the “Graff Ruby” was part of the collection of jewelry connoisseur and Greek financier Dimitri Mavrommatis. Sixteen of Mavrommatis’ jewels were among the 403 sold at Sotheby’s Geneva last Wednesday.

Video captures via sothebys.com. Other images: Sotheby's.
November 18th, 2014
A California woman is singing the praises of an extraordinarily honest dumpster diver and the Porterville Police Department after she was miraculously reunited with the custom-made diamond ring she accidentally threw away four months ago when cleaning out her car at a gas station.

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Porterville, Calif., resident Treesha Flores could barely believe her eyes when local police officers returned her lost ring last Wednesday.

"I am speechless, definitely speechless, but excited,” Flores told Fox-TV affiliate KMPH. “It's nice. It feels normal again, like a piece of me was missing." The elaborate diamond ring, featuring an unusual bezel-set pear-shaped center diamond, had been a gift from her husband.

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Flores first realized her diamond ring was missing after taking a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area with her 12-year-old daughter, Selicia. Flores’ daughter remembered seeing the ring in a small makeup case when they were in the hotel, but couldn’t pinpoint where or when it became misplaced.

After arriving home and realizing the ring was gone, they called the hotel multiple times, but the ring didn’t turn up.

“We figured whoever found it in the hotel room, kept it,” Treesha told the Porterville Recorder.

Added Selicia, “I just really thought it was my fault and I felt so bad."

Actually, Treesha and Selicia had accidentally dropped the makeup case in a Chevron station trash bin on the way home from their trip. They were cleaning out their car during a fuel stop and the case got mixed in with the refuse.

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From the trash bin, the case ended up in a much larger dumpster, and this is where one of our heroes enters the story. A dumpster diver, who was looking for cans, bottles and other useable items, found the case and its very valuable contents, and “did the right thing” by turning it in to the gas station’s proprietor.

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The proprietor called the local police authorities, who not only contacted the local media to publicize the fact that they possessed a missing ring, but also put a notice on the department’s Facebook page and researched the ring’s trademark.

The JAVDA trademark led the police to the designer, who was able to match the ring with the owner because it was a one-of-a-kind piece. Treesha also possessed a sales slip and appraisal document that confirmed her ownership.

Treesha told KMPH, “The police went above and beyond in order to get this back to me. They contacted the manufacturer. They really did more than they had to and I'm grateful for that."

She had also planned to thank the man who found the ring in the dumpster and the proprietor who turned the ring in to the police.

California law requires police departments to hold lost valuables for 90 days in order to give rightful owners sufficient time to claim them. After the 90-day period, the item becomes the property of the person who found it. Treesha was reunited with her ring eight days before the 90-day period was set to expire.

Images: Video captures via KMPH-KFRE.com; Ring closeup via Porterville Police Department.
November 19th, 2014
You might find this hard to believe, but a German scientist is turning ordinary peanut butter into diamonds. Yep, the delicious nutty spread that you have in your cupboard is the exact material Dan Frost, a geologist from the Bayerisches Geoinstitut, is using to produce man-made diamonds.

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Now, before you go out and invest in cases of Jif, Skippy or Peter Pan, it’s important to know just how Frost gets the mushy inexpensive peanut butter to transform into the world’s hardest and most coveted gemstone.

The formation of natural diamonds occurs when carbon-rich material is exposed to the extreme temperatures and pressures of the Earth’s mantle about 500 miles below the surface. Temperatures at that depth are 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit and the pressure is 1.3 million times greater than the atmosphere.

To recreate this environment in his lab, Frost takes the carbon-rich peanut butter and cooks it in a furnace while squeezing it with a piston until it’s at 280,000 atmospheres of pressure. The heat and pressure force the carbon atoms to rearrange themselves into denser matter. Then, the already-dense crystals are squeezed a second time using an anvil composed of gem-quality diamonds. This process generates about 1.3 million atmospheres of pressure.

The result of the high-tech peanut butter torture test is a lab-created diamond suitable for industrial purposes, but not for jewelry. Frost acknowledges that the process is a slow and arduous one. It takes weeks to produce a diamond 3mm in diameter (about 0.10 carats).

Specifically, Frost believes that his peanut butter-based diamonds can be used to build better semiconductors in electronics and super-strong material for industrial applications.

Image: BigStockPhoto.com
November 20th, 2014
A heartwarming YouTube video showing a middle-aged woman literally floored by the sight of her long-lost engagement ring is blowing up the Internet with more than 1.1 million video views and subsequent news coverage on Inside Edition, Huffington Post, AOL, The Daily Mail and more.

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Portland, Ore., resident Kay Butler told Inside Edition that her engagement ring was the most precious thing she owned and that she was devastated when she misplaced it 15 years ago.

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A few weeks ago, the ring turned up when Kay’s husband, Dave, was moving around some old CDs in a china cabinet. There, behind the CDs was a heart-shaped wooden box with the ring inside.

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The couple’s daughter, Lacey, and her dad thought it would be a great idea if Dave surprised Kay with a marriage proposal on bended knee — just as he’d done more than 38 years ago when they were high school sweethearts.

Lacey told Inside Edition, "I looked at him and I said, 'Dad, you got to do this right.' He was like, 'I know, come up with something good.' I was like, 'You just got to propose again.'" Dave agreed.

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Lacey shot an iPhone video of her dad waiting patiently on bended knee in the family’s workshop. He’s holding the ring behind his back while Kay is rummaging through the pantry. When she turns around, she gives her husband an odd look — as if to say, “Why are you kneeling?”

Dave then presents the ring and asks Kay if she will marry him. Recognizing her long-lost ring, Kay collapses into a heap on the floor, landing in a seated position. When she finally gathers herself, she pops up to her knees, stares at the ring and says to Dave, “No way. Where did you find that?”

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Kay and Dave share a tender embrace and then the emotional bride excitedly tries on the ring she thought was gone forever. “And it fits!” she exclaimed as she slipped it on.

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Lacey told Inside Edition that her mom likes to put her valuables in a “safe place,” but the safe place isn’t always in the same spot.

When the ring was lost 15 years ago, Kay said that she "tore the place apart" in an attempt to find it. She recruited her kids and her friends to assist, but they all came up empty.

Check out the Butler family's viral video below…


Screen captures: Inside Edition; YouTube
November 21st, 2014
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you spectacular songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today’s gem of a song is “A Woman’s Worth” by the multitalented Alicia Keys.

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In this soulful ballad written for her 2001 debut album, “Songs in A Minor,” Keys sings about being worthy of the kindness of others, because she’s worth it. In the opening verse, she states, “You could buy me diamonds / You could buy me pearls / Take me on a cruise around the world / Baby you know I'm worth it.”

In March of 2002, Keys revealed in a webchat for The Sun newspaper that “A Woman’s Worth” was inspired by a L'Oreal cosmetics commercial and its legendary advertising catch phrase, “Because I’m worth it.”

Keys was watching TV at a friend’s house during Thanksgiving when the Loreal commercial sparked an idea. “There was this one commercial that said, 'Because I'm worth it.' And you know what? I AM worth it," she exclaimed during the webchat.

And, hence, a song was born.

Once released, this song about self-worth and self-esteem met with critical acclaim. “A Woman’s Worth” won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Song in 2002 and was nominated for both Best R&B Video and Best Cinematography at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. It charted in 15 countries and peaked at #7 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Keys would go on to perform the song at the 2002 Grammy Awards ceremony.

Keys has sold more than 65 million records worldwide and was named one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time by VH1 in 2010. Billboard magazine named her the top R&B Songs Artist of the 2000s decade.

Check out Keys’ awesome live performance of “A Woman’s Worth.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

"A Woman's Worth"
Written by Alicia Keys and Erika Rose. Performed by Alicia Keys

You could buy me diamonds
You could buy me pearls
Take me on a cruise around the world
Baby you know I'm worth it
Dinner lit by candles
Run my bubble bath
Make love tenderly to last and last
Baby you know I'm worth it

Wanna please wanna keep wanna treat your woman right
Not just dough but to show that you know she is worth your time
You will lose if you chose to refuse to put her first
She will and she can find a man who knows her worth

Mmm
Cause a real man, knows a real woman when he sees her
And a real woman knows a real man ain't afraid to please her
And a real woman knows a real man always comes first
And a real man just can't deny a woman’s worth

Mm Hmm Mm Hmmm
Mm Hmm Mm Hmmm
Mm Hmm Mm Hmmm
Mm

If you treat me fairly
I'll give you all my goods
Treat you like a real woman should
Baby I know you're worth it
If you never play me
Promise not to bluff
I'll hold you down when it gets rough
Cause baby I know you're worth it

She walks the mile makes you smile all the while being true
Don't take for granted the passions that she has for you
You will lose if you chose to refuse to put her first
She will and she can find a man who knows her worth

Oh
Cause a real man knows a real woman when he sees her
And a real woman knows a real man ain't afraid to please her
And a real woman knows a real man always comes first
And a real man just can't deny a woman's worth

No need to read between the lines spelled out for you (spelled out for you)
Just hear this song cause you can't go wrong when you value (better value)
A woman's (woman's)
Woman's (woman's)
WORTH!

Cause a real man knows a real woman when he sees her
And a real woman knows a real man ain't afraid to please her
And a real woman knows a real man always comes first
And a real man just can't deny a woman's worth

[Repeat until end]


Screen capture via YouTube.
November 24th, 2014
A 9.75-carat blue diamond from the estate of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon sold for an extraordinary $32.6 million — or $3.3 million per carat — at Sotheby’s New York on Thursday, shattering two auction records.

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The fancy vivid blue pear-shaped gem, which was purchased by a Hong Kong private collector and promptly named “The Zoe Diamond,” now holds the auction records for the highest price ever paid for a blue diamond, and the highest price-per-carat paid for ANY diamond.

Sotheby’s reported that seven suitors competed for the blue diamond in a bidding war that lasted 20 minutes. Ultimately, the selling price more than doubled the pre-sale high estimate of $15 million.

The record for the highest price ever paid for a blue diamond had been held since December 2008 by the 31-carat Wittelsbach Diamond, which was sold for $24.3 million at Christie’s London.

The price-per-carat record for any diamond had been held since November 2013 by an unnamed 14.82-carat fancy vivid orange diamond, which sold for $2.4 million per carat at Christie’s Geneva.

Gary Schuler, head of Sotheby’s Jewelry Department in New York, said that he knew from the moment he first saw the diamond that it would be one of the most important stones he would ever present at auction.

“Mrs. Mellon’s diamond absolutely deserves the place in the record books that it achieved tonight,” he said in a statement.

The stone, which received a VVS2 clarity grade from the Gemological Institute of America, was the most notable item from a much larger collection of jewels and valuables from Mellon's estate that were auctioned by Sotheby’s.

“Bunny” Mellon was the widow of philanthropist and horse breeder Paul Mellon, as well as the heiress to the Listerine fortune. She passed away in March of 2014 at the age of 103.

Image: Sotheby's
November 25th, 2014
A lavishly adorned female mummy, who archaeologists are affectionately calling “Lady of the Jewels,” was unearthed by a Spanish research team at the site of Pharaoh Thutmosis III’s Temple on the west bank of the river Nile near Luxor, Egypt.

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The stylish woman lived 4,000 years ago during the time of Egypt’s Middle Kingdom (2000 BC to 1700 BC) and was likely an aristocrat.

Although the mummy and sarcophagus were badly damaged, according to Discovery.com, the jewelry remained largely intact. Among the items she was wearing were a large, shell-shaped golden pendant weighing 20 grams, a gold-plated necklace inlaid with lapis lazuli, two twisted-wire golden bracelets and two silver anklets. The silver items are the only ones that showed deterioration after 4,000 years underground. The gold and gem items looked virtually new.

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"She still wore the marvelous jewelry that was attached during the process of mummification," Thutmosis III Temple Project director Myriam Seco said in a statement. "These spectacular findings confirm that an elite necropolis is located under the mortuary temple of Thutmosis III. Wealthy and important individuals of the Middle Kingdom and their families were buried there."

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According researchers at the Thutmosis III Temple Project, a collaboration between Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and the Academy of Fine Arts in Seville, Spain, the woman was likely in her 30s when she was entombed.

Archaeologists expected that the tomb and its valuable contents would have been plundered by tomb robbers centuries ago, but this wooden sarcophagus remained sealed and untouched. It turns out that robbers couldn’t get to it because it had been crushed and buried under the massive stones of the tomb’s collapsed roof.

Thutmosis III lived from 1490 BC to 1436 BC and is sometimes referred to as the Napoleon of Ancient Egypt. He ruled for 40 years during a prosperous time of Egypt’s history. The excavation, restoration and conservation of his temple began in 2008 and is scheduled to end in early 2015.

Jewelry images: Twitter/Discovery Channel UK; Screen capture: thutmosisiiitempleproject.org
November 26th, 2014
An ultra-rare 2.09-carat red diamond broke another auction record at Christie’s Hong Kong yesterday when it sold for an unprecedented $5.09 million, or $2.44 million per carat.

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The heart-shaped fancy red diamond, which now holds the title of most expensive red diamond ever sold at auction, puts an exclamation point on an extraordinary month of auction record breakers — two red, two blue, two sold by Christie's and two by Sotheby's.

• On Monday of this week, we reported on a 9.75-carat blue diamond from the estate of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon that sold for an extraordinary $32.6 million at Sotheby’s New York. The fancy vivid blue stunner shattered two auction records, including the highest price ever paid for a blue diamond — and for a diamond of any color.

• In mid-November, Sotheby’s Geneva established two auction records — including the highest price ever paid for a ruby — with the sale of the 8.6-carat “Graff Ruby” for $8.6 million.

• Only a day earlier, the 392-carat “Blue Belle of Asia” sapphire set a world record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a blue sapphire when it fetched $17.3 million at Christie’s.

Yesterday's record-breaking red diamond was scooped up by a private Asian investor, according to Christie’s. The selling price of $5.09 million was slightly above the auction house's pre-sale high estimate of $4.92 million.

London luxury jeweler Moussaieff designed the ring in a flower motif with the heart-shaped red diamond as the center and six pear-shaped diamonds of approximately one carat in size representing the petals.

Interestingly, Moussaieff currently owns the 5.11-carat Moussaieff Red Diamond, the world’s largest known red diamond and one of only three faceted red diamonds five carats or larger — the Moussaieff Red, the 5.05-carat Kazanjian Red and the 5.03-carat De Young Red.

It is believed that red diamonds get their rich color from a molecular structure distortion that occurs as the jewel forms in the earth’s crust. By contrast, other colored diamonds get their color from trace elements in their chemical composition. For instance, boron yields a blue diamond while nitrogen results in a yellow one.

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Another top lot at the Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale in Hong Kong was a 10.1-carat pigeon’s blood red ruby and diamond brooch by Cartier. Selling for $8.4 million (more than double the pre-sale-estimate of $2.59 million to $3.88 million), the cushion-shaped ruby is the centerpiece of an openwork octagonal plaque set with square, rectangular and triangular-shaped diamonds.

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Christie’s third headliner was an exceptional 3.39-carat oval-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond ring also designed by Moussaieff. This ring carried a pre-sale estimate of $4.59 million to $6.47 million, and yielded $5.8 million at auction.

The internally flawless blue diamond is surrounded by marquise and brilliant-cut pink diamonds in an 18-karat rose gold setting.

Images: Christie's