Anschar Diamonds Blog

Anschar Diamonds Blog

Articles in December 2016

December 1st, 2016
In 1967, Maasai tribesmen discovered shockingly beautiful bluish-violet gems in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Samples were entrusted to a prospector named Manuel d’Souza, who shared the crystals with distinguished gemologists. Originally thought to be sapphires, the spectacular gems turned out to be an unusually vibrant blue variety of the mineral zoisite.

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The mesmerizing mineral quickly caught the attention of Tiffany & Co., which launched a campaign to market the gems as "tanzanite." The name honors Tanzania, the only place on earth where tanzanite can be found. Tanzanite is one of the official birthstones for December.

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A Maasai folktale recounts how tanzanite came to be. Once upon a time, the story goes, lightning struck the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, scorching the land. In the aftermath, a spectacular blue crystal was left shimmering in the ashes.

That tale provided the subtitle and inspiration for a new coffee-table book, Tanzanite: Born From Lightning. Written by Hayley Henning, former executive director of the Tanzanite Foundation, and Didier Brodbeck, publisher of the French magazine Dreams, the 208-page book features dazzling jewelry from the world's top brand names as well as first-hand accounts of how tanzanite was discovered and brought to market.

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The book showcases superb creations made by Boucheron, Bulgari, Cartier, Chanel, Chaumet, Chopard, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels, Wallace Chan and more. There are also photos of uncut specimens weighing 100 carats or more.

In 2017, tanzanite will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its discovery. Once a mineral oddity, tanzanite has evolved into one of the most desirable gemstone varieties — thanks to the efforts of Tiffany and the rest of the jewelry industry. Tiffany's marketing campaign earned tanzanite the noble title of "gem of the 20th century" and, in 2002, the American Gem Trade Association added tanzanite to the jewelry industry’s official birthstone list. Tanzanite joined turquoise and zircon as the official birthstones for December.

Tanzanite is said to be 1,000 times more rare than diamonds due the fact that tanzanite is mined in only one location on earth. The area measures 2km wide by 4km long and the remaining lifespan of the mine is just 30 years.

“There are no gemstones that fall into the same category as tanzanite,” Henning told Rapaport Magazine. “There is nothing that comes in really big sizes, gemmy, rare, velvety, gorgeous and affordable. Tanzanite has all these fantastic elements that make it so special and that is why designers love to work with it."

"I am sure in time, as tanzanite becomes less and less available, people will understand just how rare and special it is," she continued. "If you were to show consumers these gorgeous images in the book and ask them, 'What do you think this gem costs?' people would expect it to be so much more.”

Credits: Book cover by publisher 24 ORE Cultura S.r.l.; Tanzanite crystals by Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons; Faceted tanzanite by Gemologos2009 (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
December 2nd, 2016
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, the spotlight shines on Rock and Roll icon Stevie Nicks as she sings "24 Karat Gold," the title song from her 2014 album.

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In a recent interview, Nicks revealed that the song she penned in 1980 — but didn't release until 2014 — was about her passionate, but short-lived, romance with Fleetwood Mac bandmate Mick Fleetwood.

"It was about our relationship and how desperate it was for a while," she said. "But it had its 24-karat moments."

For Nicks, 24-karat gold seems to represent perfection. The term comes up in the title of today's featured song, numerous times in song's lyrics ("There were dreams to be sold / My 24 karat gold"), in the title of her 2014 album (24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault) and the name of her current concert series ("The 24 Karat Gold Tour").

While "24 Karat Gold" appears as the fourth single from Nicks' eighth studio album, it was actually written 34 years earlier during the Bella Donna album sessions. The original 1981 no-frills demo, featuring Nicks playing the piano with an accompanying drum machine and bass, can be found on YouTube.

The 68-year-old Nicks is currently embarking on a seven-week, 27-city tour that kicked off in Phoenix (her birthplace) on October 25 and ends in Inglewood, Calif., on December 18. Last night, she appeared at New York City's Madison Square Garden.

The Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter is best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist. Collectively, she's scored 40 top-50 hits and sold more than 140 million albums. Fleetwood Mac's Rumours album accounted for 40 million of those sales, making it the fifth-highest-selling album of all time.

Nicks was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and was selected by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the world's top "100 Greatest Singers of All Time."

Please check out the official lyric video of Nicks' "24 Karat Gold." You can also follow along with these lyrics below...

"24 Karat Gold"
Written and performed by Stevie Nicks.

Set me free, set me free
Is this what you wanted, to happen to me?
Golden wings in the sunset
Take me back
All alone I waited
But there was no one, out there

There were dreams to be sold (chain of chains)
My 24 karat gold (chain of chains)
There was some love to be sold (chain of chains)
You said you might be coming back to town (chain of chains)
All alone I waited

There was no one out there
In the rain she lay face down.
What is this freedom that she wanted
What kind of freedom...
What kind of game?

There were dreams to be sold (chain of chains)
My 24 karat gold (chain of chains)
There was some love to be sold (chain of chains)
You said you might be coming back to town (chain of chains)

Set me free, set me free
Is this what you wanted, to happen to me?
Golden wings in the sunset
Take me back
All alone I waited
But there was no one, out there

There were dreams to be sold (chain of chains)
You like my 24 karat gold, chain of chains
(chain of chains)
(chain of chains)
You like my 24 karat gold
(chain of chains)
Yes you like my 24 karat gold

Yeah
My love


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
December 5th, 2016
The 10.05-carat "Ratnaraj" ruby and a flawless, 4.29-carat, fancy vivid blue diamond each sold for more than $10 million and were the costars of Christie's Magnificent Jewels sale in Hong Kong last week.

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The stunning Ratnaraj, which means "king of precious stones" in ancient Sanskrit, was one of the most significant pigeon’s blood rubies ever to be offered at a Christie's auction. The oval gem, which was sourced in the famous Mogok Valley in Burma, sold for $10.2 million, or just over $1 million per carat.

The result was the third-highest price per carat ever paid for a ruby. The record holder remains the "Crimson Flame," a 15.04-carat ruby that sold at Christie's Hong Kong in December of 2015 for $18.3 million ($1.21 million per carat). The 25.59-carat Sunrise Ruby holds the record for the highest price ever paid for a ruby at auction — $30.3 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in May of 2015.

Ratnaraj's selling price was in the midrange of the pre-sale estimate of $8.8 million to $12.5 million. Had it sold at the high end of the range, it would have competed with Crimson Flame for the price-per-carat record.

"Top-quality Burmese rubies are rare, especially ones that are more than 5 carats in size," explained Christie's Hong Kong jewelry specialist May Lim. "In recent years we’ve been lucky enough to find a number of amazing rubies for our sales."

The Ratnaraj is the centerpiece of a ring designed by Faidee. The setting places the oval ruby within a radiating surround of oval-shaped diamonds. Smaller, round diamonds adorn the band. The pigeon's blood classification represents the most desirable, highly saturated color for a ruby.

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Yielding an impressive $2.7 million per carat was a marquise-cut, 4.29-carat, fancy vivid blue, internally flawless diamond. The selling price of $11.8 million made the blue diamond the top lot of Christie's Hong Kong auction. The pre-sale estimate had been $9.7 million to $12.3 million.

The impressive blue gem is set in a platinum ring by Moussaieff and is flanked by triangular-shaped diamonds. The center diamond earned a purity rating of Type IIb, a rare category representing less than 0.5% of all diamonds.

Fancy vivid blue diamonds continue to yield the highest prices at auction.

“The Blue Moon of Josephine” established a new record for the highest price paid per carat for any gemstone when the hammer went down at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2015. The internally flawless, 12.03-carat, cushion-shaped, fancy vivid blue diamond sold for $48.5 million, or $4.03 million per carat.

In May 2016, “The Oppenheimer Blue” became the priciest gem ever auctioned when it sold for $57.5 million at Christie’s Geneva. The fancy vivid blue, step-cut, rectangular-shaped diamond weighed 14.62 carats and earned a clarity rating of VVS1. Its price per carat was $3.96 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.
December 6th, 2016
Scientists from the University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute have developed an ingenious means of transforming nuclear waste into man-made diamond batteries that can generate power for more than 5,000 years.



Diamond batteries could be used for applications that require super-long-lasting, dependable, power sources, such as satellites, spacecraft and pacemakers. Scientists also believe that processing nuclear waste into a clean energy source would be a great benefit to the environment.

It's interesting how the scientific community has fallen in love with diamonds. Only two weeks ago we explained how imperfect diamonds could provide the answer the world's long-term, high-density data storage needs. A single diamond, researchers claimed, might have the storage capacity of one million DVDs.

The Bristol scientists claimed that a diamond battery built in 2016 would last until the year 7746 and even longer. The power supply is based on the 5,730-year half-life of carbon-14, which is the radioactive version of carbon. Carbon-14 is found in the graphite blocks that are used to house uranium rods in nuclear reactors.

The spent blocks would normally be an environmental hazard, but by heating the graphic blocks, much of the radioactive carbon is emitted as a gas. This gas could then be collected and converted into diamond crystals using a high-temperature chemical reaction. When placed near a radioactive source, the man-made crystals produce a small electrical charge. To make the process even safer and more efficient, scientists plan to encase the radioactive diamonds within a layer of non-radioactive diamond material.

The result is a diamond within a diamond that generates a small electrical current, while emitting less nuclear radiation than a banana, the scientists claim.

"Safely held within diamond, no short-range radiation can escape," Dr. Neil Fox from the University's School of Chemistry, told the Daily Mail. "In fact, diamond is the hardest substance known to man. There is literally nothing we could use that could offer more protection."

While it has yet to be determined how much radioactive material would be contained in each battery, scientists claimed that one diamond battery containing one gram of carbon-14 would deliver the power equivalent of an alkaline AA battery. But instead of fading in 24 hours, the diamond battery would maintain its power for thousands of years.

After 5,730 years, the battery would still have 50% of its original capacity. After 11,460 years, the diamond battery's capacity would have halved again, but still maintain 25% of its original power. Even as it degrades, it would still have the ability to keep the object in question running smoothly. The battery's design has no moving parts, no emissions and requires no maintenance.

The Daily Mail reported that the researchers have been awarded funding to develop the project over the next three years.

Check out the video below for more details on this breakthrough technology...


Credit: Image via Bigstockphoto.com.
December 7th, 2016
Rapper Gucci Mane is proud to wear the three-stone diamond man-gagement ring gifted by his new fiancée Keyshia Ka'oir. Mane took to Instagram on Friday to show off the massive ring that features a 4-carat round center diamond flanked by 2-carat side diamonds. The ring is estimated to be worth $120,000.

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Mane, 36, posted a short video of the ring along with a caption that read, "Love my wife. I'm never taking my ring off. Thank u my baby."

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Mane's man-gagement ring post came exactly 10 days after he surprised Ka'oir with a 25-carat diamond engagement ring and a Kiss Cam proposal at an Atlanta Hawks basketball game.

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Celebrity jewelers estimated that her ring was worth between $3 million and $5 million. The design showcases a cushion-cut center stone embellished by a band completely encircled with cushion-cut diamonds.

The 31-year-old model, actress, stylist and entrepreneur posted a beautiful closeup of the ring on her Instagram page, along with this caption, "OMG!!! Babeeeeeeee thank u! I LOVE U !! Yessssssse 25karats." (Note: The ring is gorgeous but we must point out she should have used "carats" with a "c" to describe the weight of her new diamond.)

A Beverly Hills celebrity jeweler told HollywoodLife.com that Mane and Ka'oir have tapped into a trend that sees more men embracing the idea of wearing engagement rings.

"Engagement rings for men are the hottest trend and are now quickly becoming part of the tradition," she said. "Men are sporting various designs with diamonds and gemstones.”

We've been tracking the subject of man-gagement rings for the past few years...

In 2012, 17% of men surveyed by TheKnot.com and Men's Health magazine said they would be open to wearing a man-gagement ring.

A survey conducted two years later by XO Group Inc. — parent company of The Knot — revealed that 5 percent of engaged men actually wore man-gagement rings. That same year, The Atlantic ran a 1,300-word story titled "The Rise of the Man-gagement Ring." Despite the hype, the man-gagement ring failed to wow the masses.

Will 2016 be remembered as the year that the man-gagement ring finally became "a thing"? Only time will tell.

Credits: Images via Instagram/laflare1017; Instagram/keyshiakaoir.
December 8th, 2016
If you're feeling romance in the cool December air, there's good reason. This is the most popular month to get engaged. Exactly 16% of all marriage proposals take place during the 31 days of December, according to The Knot's ninth annual Real Weddings Study.



What's more, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the #1 and #2 most popular days for popping the question. These facts come from Facebook, whose 1 billion active users (yes, that's billion with a "b") love to report their "relationship status." (If you were wondering, the #3 and #4 most popular days for going down on bended knee are New Year's Day and Valentine's Day.)

Facebook has 191 million users in the U.S. and more than 2.5 million will change their status to "engaged" in an average year. Thirty percent of all “engaged” status updates will take place during November and December.

Experts believe that the winter engagement phenomenon is attributed to two factors: the romantic nature of the season… and convenience. Suitors likely choose December to pop the question because they get swept away by the magic of the holiday season. And, certainly, there’s no better time to propose than when all the family is in town to celebrate with the newly engaged couple.

The Knot's survey revealed that the average amount spent on an engagement ring in the U.S. was $5,871 in 2015 and the average engagement lasted 14.5 months. The most popular wedding months were October (17%) and September (15%). The Knot noted the average marrying age of those surveyed was 29 for the bride and 31 for the groom.

These ages are a bit higher than what Facebook has reported in the past. The average age of Facebook's newly engaged couples is 24, which would put their marrying age at about 25.

Keep an eye on your Facebook page because there's a very good chance that somebody you know will be changing his or her relationship status from "in a relationship" to "engaged." There's sure to be an engagement ring selfie captioned with a romantic note colorfully tagged by a string of engagement ring, diamond and heart-shaped emojis.

Facebook continues to monitor relationship statuses by providing a growing list of options. They now include “single,” “in a relationship,” “engaged,” “married,” “in a civil union,” "in a domestic partnership," “in an open relationship,” “it’s complicated,” “separated,” “divorced” and “widowed.”

Credit: Bigstockphoto.com
December 9th, 2016
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun music with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the Squirrel Nut Zippers sing about a gal with an affinity for fine jewelry in their irresistible Swing Revival performance of "Baby Wants a Diamond Ring."

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In the song written by bandleader James (Jimbo) Mathus, the protagonist presses her slow-to-commit beau to do the "right thing." She sings, "Baby wants a diamond to have and hold / A diamond ring with a band of gold."

Later in the song, she clarifies that although a string of pearls are "so nice," only a diamond ring will win her heart.

"Baby Wants a Diamond Ring" appeared as the second track of the band's fifth studio album, Bedlam Ballroom, which was released in 2000. Four years earlier, their album Hot sold more than 1.3 million copies and was certified platinum, thanks to the strong support of National Public Radio and college radio stations.

Critics have had a hard time defining the style of the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Their music has been called a fusion of Delta blues, gypsy jazz, 1930s-era swing, rockabilly, klezmer and other genres. One writer comically defined their music as "30s punk." Another called the group a perpetually confused stew of Southern Roots and Surrealist paintings.

NPR admitted during its Morning Edition that it was not easy to categorize the music of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, except to say that it was "hot" — an obvious nod to the title of the 1996 album.

The Squirrel Nut Zippers, which were established in Chapel Hill, N.C., in 1993, are back on stage after a hiatus of seven years. Their current tour supports the 20th anniversary of Hot. Original band members Mathus (vocals and guitar) and Chris Phillips (drums) reactivated the band with a new lineup that includes several leading musicians from New Orleans as well as singer Ingrid Lucia of Flying Neutrino’s fame.

“We are humbled and incredibly excited by the initial Zippers shows since the re-launch,” Mathus told Worldcafelive.com. “It’s not a reunion, it’s a revival!"

The name Squirrel Nut Zippers is derived from a southern term for a variety of bootleg moonshine called "nut zippers."

The band has previously toured with Neil Young and performed at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. They've appeared on The Tonight Show, Late Show with David Letterman, Conan O'Brien and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.

Please check out the audio track of the Squirrel Nut Zippers performing "Baby Wants a Diamond Ring." The lyrics are below if you'd like sing along...

"Baby Wants a Diamond Ring"
Written by James Mathus. Performed by the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

Hey there baby
I have gotten some news for you

You think you're something out of sight
To take me out every night
Take me out show me everything
But you won't do the right thing

Baby wants a diamond to have and hold
A diamond ring with a band of gold

String of pearls are so nice
But it ain't worth a trip to paradise
Your weary romance is much too slow
You gotta give up o that dough

Baby wants a diamond to have and hold
A diamond ring with a band of gold

Baby wants a diamond to have and hold
A diamond ring with a band of gold


Credit: Photo via Facebook/Squirrel Nut Zippers.
December 12th, 2016
"Greenery," a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring, has been named 2017's Color of the Year by Pantone, the world’s global color authority. The color immediately evokes Granny Smith apples and Kermit the Frog, but gem and jewelry lovers will recognize Greenery as an exact match for August's official birthstone, peridot.

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Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate, according to Pantone. It's a life-affirming shade emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.

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"Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape," noted Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose."

Each year since 2000, the color aficionados at Pantone have picked a color that reflects the current cultural climate. Typically, Pantone’s selection shows up in fashion, beauty, housewares, home and industrial design and consumer packaging.

The process of choosing the annual color takes about nine months, with Pantone's trend watchers scanning the globe's fashion runways and high-profile events for "proof points" until one color emerges as the clear winner.

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A year ago, Pantone blended two shades — Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue — to create its 2016 Color of the Year. Together, the mineral pink and tranquil blue combined to communicate a sense of wellness and peacefulness, with a dash of gender equality.

In 2015, Pantone disappointed the masses with its choice of Marsala, a brownish-red hue that was supposed to resemble fine wine, but looked more like high school cafeteria meatloaf. For 2014, the group chose Radiant Orchid, an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink.

Here are most recent Pantone Colors of the Year...

PANTONE 13-1520 Rose Quartz (2016)
PANTONE 15-3919 Serenity (2016)
PANTONE 18-1438 Marsala (2015)
PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid (2014)
PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald (2013)
PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango (2012)
PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle (2011)

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If the jewelry industry takes its cue from Pantone, store showcases will be featuring more peridot in 2017. Colors range from pure green to yellowish-green to greenish-yellow, but the finest hue is green without any hint of yellow or brown, according to the Gemological Institute of America. In addition to being the official birthstone of August, peridot is also the 16th anniversary gemstone.

Peridot is credited with being the first gem to be discovered on another planet. The Mars landing of 2003 revealed that green peridot crystals — in the form of the gem’s less-precious cousin, olivine — cover about 19,000 square miles of the Red Planet’s surface.

Credits: Greenery images courtesy of Pantone. Peridot images courtesy of Smithsonian.
December 13th, 2016
A New Jersey widower was reunited last week with the gold wedding band he lost 15 years ago while cutting down a Christmas tree at Wyckoff's Farm in White Township. The holiday miracle was bittersweet for 68-year-old David Penner because Nancy, the love of his life who gave him the ring on their wedding day in the summer of 1974, passed away on September 30.

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"Maybe it's her way of saying, 'Everything is OK,'" Penner told NJ.com.

Fifteen years ago, Penner had visited Wyckoff's Farm in rural western New Jersey with his wife and two teenage sons to score the perfect Christmas tree. It was a cold day and Penner wasn't wearing gloves. His hands were numb and during the process of sawing down the tree his wedding ring somehow slipped off his finger. He didn't realize the ring was gone until he got home.

Penner returned to the farm, but his efforts to find the ring were fruitless. He accepted the hard truth that the ring was likely gone forever. He and his wife decided that they wouldn't buy a replacement ring. Nothing could match the original, and the important thing was that they had each other.

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This past April, third-generation Christmas tree farmer John Wyckoff was planting saplings off the back of his tractor when a glint on the ground caught his attention. John was used to unusual items turning up on his farm. He's found arrowheads, broken sunglasses, old children's toys and chunks of glass, but this time he had something special.

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Caked with black soil was a gold wedding band inscribed on the inside with the phrase, "To David. Love, Nancy" and the wedding date "July 20, 1974."

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Wyckoff knew this ring was a cherished keepsake, but he wasn't sure how to find the rightful owner. He kept the wedding band on his kitchen's window sill for the next seven months.

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By a stroke of good luck, the popular website NJ.com was planning to do a feature story on Wyckoff's Christmas tree farm. Wyckoff tipped off the reporter that he had found the ring and the website soon ran a story titled "This tree farmer found a lost wedding ring — help him identify the owner." The story posted on Friday, December 2. Five days later, Wyckoff and the website had found their man.

Penner's sister-in-law had seen the story online and encouraged Penner to head over to the farm to meet with Wyckoff. To prove he was the owner, Penner described the ring's design in great detail and correctly noted the wedding date inscribed on the band. (NJ.com's story had reported the "To David. Love, Nancy" inscription, but didn't reveal the date.)

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"Now that I've got it back, that's a good thing," he told NJ.com. "It's like the best Christmas present you could have at the present time."

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Penner added, "Seems like somebody up above is looking down... There's a reason for a lot of things and maybe it's her way of saying 'Everything is OK.'"

Credits: Screen captures via Insideedition.com.
December 14th, 2016
Astronomers at the University of Warwick in the UK have identified a massive exoplanet with cloud formations densely packed with rubies and sapphires.

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Located 1,000 lightyears away, the blistering hot Jupiter-like planet — named HAT-P-7b — was studied using NASA's Kepler space telescope. Researchers monitored HAT-P-7b for four years and witnessed unusual shimmering cloud systems being propelled by a powerful jet stream.

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“When we say clouds, they’re definitely not like clouds on earth,” noted lead researcher David Armstrong in the science journal Nature.

The clouds were shimmering, the scientists suggested, because they were infused with a crystalline form of aluminium oxide — also known as the mineral corundum. Rubies and sapphires are the gem variety of corundum. HAT-P-7b gets so hot that minerals vaporize in the atmosphere.

The HAT-P-7b exoplanet is 16 times larger than the Earth and much closer to its host star — making temperatures an inhospitable 4532 degrees Fahrenheit.

The exoplanet can achieve a full orbit of its star in a mere 2.2 days, a trip that takes the Earth 365 days to complete.

The Kepler space observatory was launched by NASA in 2009 with the goal of discovering Earth-size planets orbiting other stars. It's currently 100 million miles from Earth.

While UK scientists believe exoplanet HAT-P-7b is teeming with sapphires and rubies, U.S. researchers previously floated the idea that it's raining diamonds on Jupiter.

In 2013, two prominent scientists — Dr. Kevin Baines of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Mona Delitsky from California Specialty Engineering — outlined the circumstances under which Jupiter’s atmosphere would rain down thousands of tons of diamonds every year.

While diamonds on the Earth come from the bottom up, diamonds on Jupiter come from the top down, said the scientists.

Baines and Delitsky believe the tremendous gravitational pull of Jupiter results in a super-dense atmosphere of extreme heat and pressure — the same conditions found deep within the Earth.

Lightning storms in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter are responsible for initiating the process that eventually yields a diamond. When lightning strikes, methane gas is turned into soot, or carbon.

“As the soot falls, the pressure on it increases,” said Baines. “And after about 1,000 miles it turns to graphite — the sheet-like form of carbon you find in pencils.”

As it falls farther — 4,000 miles or so — the pressure is so intense that the graphite toughens into diamond, strong and unreactive, he said.

The biggest diamond crystals falling through the atmosphere of Jupiter would likely be about a centimeter in diameter — “big enough to put on a ring, although, of course, they would be uncut,” said Baines.

Credits: Images via NASA.gov.
December 15th, 2016
Some see it as a giant Christmas ornament. We see it as a remarkable achievement in jewelry craftsmanship. The 2016 Swarovski Star sitting atop the glorious Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City weighs an astonishing 550 pounds and is set with 25,000 crystals, featuring one million reflective facets.

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The star, which has six outer rays and six smaller inner rays spanning 9.5 feet in diameter, is perched elegantly at the apex of an 94-foot-high, 56-foot wide, 14-ton Norway spruce. The crystal panels weigh a total of 300 pounds.

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According to Swarovski, the main surfaces of the rays are made of point-mounted safety glass, which is the same shatterproof glass that adorns the facades of New York City buildings. The crystals are affixed to the inner sides of the glass in a tight, scale-like pattern to ensure maximum brilliance.

When the star was originally created in 2004, a team of nine artisans spent 1,200 hours building, programming and testing the Star to ensure the effects would withstand the challenging winter weather conditions high above Rockefeller Center.

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The star is illuminated by 720 energy-efficient LED bulbs that twinkle festively thanks to a customized light sequence directed by a state-of-the-art computer program.

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This is the 13th consecutive year that the Swarovski Star has topped the world famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. The star ascended to the top of the tree with the help of Broadway's own rising star, Denée Benton. The actress plays Natasha in the musical spectacular Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.

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Benton got to press a special button that raised the Swarovski Star by crane to the top of the tree in preparation for the 84th Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony. The tree came to life with its 50,000 lights on the evening of November 30. Thousands crowded the sidewalks for the event and millions watched it live across the globe.

A full-scale replica of the star is on display in Rockefeller Center, allowing visitors the opportunity to get a closer view of the intricate detailing and precision craftsmanship.

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Rockefeller Center officially began the tree lighting ceremony in 1933, when a Christmas tree was erected in front of the then-RCA Building and covered with 700 lights. Christmas trees in Rockefeller Center have ranged from 50-foot pines to 100-foot Norway spruces and are viewed by millions of spectators during the holiday season.

The last day to view this year's tree will be January 7, 2017, after which it will be milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity.

Credits: Denée Benton photo by Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images (PRNewsFoto/Swarovski); Screen captures via YouTube.com and NBCNews.com.
December 16th, 2016
Welcome to a special Christmas edition of Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Kelly Clarkson asks Santa for high-end jewels in the 2013 holiday favorite "4 Carats."

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In this tune penned by Clarkson and three collaborators, the "Original American Idol" makes a plea to Santa on Christmas Eve. She says she's been good all year and that she deserves a "shiny" gift. But, for Clarkson, no ordinary gift will do.

In the catchy refrain, she sings, "Like diamond ring / Just a little something from Tiffany's / Or a big ruby / You know red has always looked good on me."

Clarkson promises to keep it a secret if Saint Nick agrees to makes her "Christmas Eve 4 carats, please."

Later in the song, as the clock strikes 2 in the morning, Clarkson is concerned that Santa may have forgotten her. Still she coos about fancy yellow diamonds: "Mm, something sparkly / Yellow canaries / Ooh yea yea / Mm, I'm waiting patiently / Santa don't forget me / Ooh don't forget me!"

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Clarkson told Billboard magazine that "4 Carats" was inspired by Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby" (1953) and Madonna's "Material Girl" (1984). The end result was a mashup of the two. Music critics generally praised the song for its memorable pop hook and bouncy melody.

"4 Carats" appeared as the 12th track on Clarkson's wildly popular Wrapped in Red Christmas album, which was certified platinum after selling more than one million copies. The album peaked at #3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and the single reached #30 on Billboard's Holiday Digital Songs chart.

In 2013, Clarkson made jewelry-industry news when she was stymied in her bid to claim the 200-year-old turquoise ring once owned by famed British novelist Jane Austen.

Clarkson — an avid Austen fan — had won the ring in 2012 at a Sotheby’s auction in London, having outbid a cadre of competitors, including the Jane Austen’s House Museum. Clarkson’s winning bid was $235,000 — more than five times the auction house’s high estimate. But instead of allowing Clarkson to take the ring back to the U.S., British authorities unexpectedly declared the ring a “national treasure” and temporarily blocked its export. If a British patron could match Clarkson’s winning bid, the singer would have to forfeit the ring so it could stay in the U.K.

Seizing the opportunity to get back into the game, Jane Austen’s House Museum launched an aggressive fundraising appeal through its website and Facebook page. Donations from around the world flooded into the “Bring the Ring Home” campaign, and within a month the museum had an infusion of $253,000 — more than enough to match Clarkson’s bid.

As a consolation, Clarkson's husband (then fiancé Brandon Blackstock) had a replica made for her.

Born in Ft. Worth, Texas, in 1982, Kelly Brianne Clarkson rose to fame in 2002 after winning the inaugural season of American Idol. In a career spanning 14 years, Clarkson has sold 25 million albums and 36 million singles worldwide, making her the best-selling American Idol contestant to date.

We know you will enjoy the audio track of Clarkson's "4 Carats." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"4 Carats"
Written by Kelly Clarkson, Cathy Dennis, Livvi Franc and Gregory Kurstin. Performed by Kelly Clarkson.

The door's unlocked
And you don't even have to knock
Or you can use the fireplace
I'll be waiting either way

You come and go
And no one is supposed to know
But ever since you caught my stare
You know I know that you are real

Well Santa I've been thinking
And I'm just in needin' one thing
You to bring me, something shiny

Like diamond ring
Just a little something from Tiffany's
Or a big ruby
You know red has always looked good on me

I won't tell (I wont't tell) anyone
Anyone
I've been good all year long
Oh Santa make my Christmas Eve
4 carats please

Oh oh
Oh

It's getting late
I know you have your rounds to make
But I've been waiting up for you
And now the clock has just struck 2

I'm looking out my windows
Looking for a red nose
My heart's sinking
Don't forget me

Oh my diamond ring
Just a little something from Tiffany's
Or a big ruby
You know red has always looked good on me

I won't tell (I wont't tell) anyone
Anyone
I've been good all year long
Oh Santa make my Christmas Eve
4 carats please

Oh oh
Oh oh

Mm, something sparkly
Yellow canaries
Ooh yea yea
Mm, I'm waiting patiently
Santa don't forget me
Ooh don't forget me!

Oh my diamond ring
Just a little something from Tiffany's
Or a big ruby
You know red has always looked good on me

I won't tell (I wont't tell) anyone)
Anyone
I've been good all year long
Oh Santa make my Christmas Eve
4 carats please

Oh oh
Oh oh
Oh oh
Oh oh


Credit: Wrapped in Red album cover via RCA Records. Kelly Clarkson by Kathy Reesey [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
December 19th, 2016
Two Massachusetts state troopers recently went above and beyond the call of duty to recover the wedding rings of a senior couple who had lost them alongside Route I-495 in Wareham — about 20 miles from the historic Plymouth Rock.

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On December 8, troopers Kurt Bourdon and Jonathan O’Loughlin responded to midday calls from concerned drivers regarding two elderly individuals with metal detectors who were walking along the breakdown lane of the busy interstate highway.

The Cape Cod couple told the troopers that a day earlier they had been on a road trip when they decided to pull over to swap driving responsibilities. During the first part of the drive, the wife was the passenger and had taken off her rings, resting them on her lap. When they pulled over to the shoulder of the highway to switch positions, she forgot about the rings and they slipped off her lap and into the grass.

Many miles later, the distraught wife realized that the rings were missing.

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The couple attempted to retrace their route, but neither could remember the exact location of the stop. They did remember that it took place on I-495 in the town of Wareham. Unfortunately, the town has four exits that span eight miles.

The rings were lost on December 7. The next day, they returned with metal detectors and a determination to find the keepsake jewelry, which included two diamond wedding bands and a diamond engagement ring.

“This couple was in their 70s and had been married for 46 years," Bourdon told Wareham Week. "One of the rings had belonged to her mother. [Trooper O’Loughlin] and I related to them like they were our parents.”

Instead of shutting down their potentially dangerous search, the troopers offered to help.

“We were looking at a legitimate 8-mile stretch of road to search,” said Bourdon. “But the engagement ring had belonged to her mother and was very important to her.”

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After scouring the roadside for 90 minutes, the troopers spotted something sparkly in the grass at the highway's 3-mile marker. Despite the needle-in-a-haystack odds against them, the troopers had found the rings.

The troopers handed the rings to the husband, who had been searching the same stretch of highway about 75 yards behind.

The husband was ecstatic and relieved, but instead of howling the awesome news to his wife, the sly septuagenarian decided to tell her a little white lie.

“He went up to her and said, ‘Hon, why don’t we call it a day,’” Bourdon told Wareham Week. “She started crying, thinking they were going to give up, and then he showed her the rings and instantly she went from crying tears of sadness to tears of joy.”

A few days later, the couple expressed their appreciation by delivering a large gift basket to the Bourne State Police Barracks, where Bourdon and O’Loughlin are stationed.

Bourdon told Wareham Week that he and O’Loughlin were happy to help. “They are great people,” he said.

"I was pleased and really happy that the troopers took the extra time and effort to find the ring and make everything right," Massachusetts State Police Lt. James Plath, Bourne Barracks commander, told WickedLocal.com.

Credits: Jewelry photo courtesy of Kurt Bourdon; Map by Googlemaps.com; Logo via Massachusetts State Police.
December 20th, 2016
Dancing With the Stars’ judge Carrie Ann Inaba couldn't be more elated with the 3.68-carat oval-cut diamond engagement ring that actor Robb Derringer placed on her finger during a bonfire-lit proposal at the site of their magical first date.

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The ring features a number of secret, symbolic, unseen elements, including an oval-cut ruby that is flush-set on the inside of the band. Also hidden from view are inscriptions of their first names and two flush-set birthstones, a ruby for him and a garnet for her.

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The oval center stone — Inaba's preferred diamond shape — is accented by an 18-karat rose gold band embellished with 120 round brilliant-cut diamonds.

"When Robb put it on my finger, it took my breath away," she wrote in an Instagram post. "It is beautiful and elegant."

Derringer collaborated with French-born celebrity jeweler Jean Dousset to create an amazing ring for his bride-to-be.

In an Instagram post directed at the jeweler, Derringer commented about the design process: "You made the experience of conceptualizing and creating Carrie's ring, the symbol of my love and commitment to her, one of the most enjoyable and anticipated components of this most beautiful event in our lives."

“Exhilarating is the best way to describe Robb’s dedication and thoughtfulness in creating the most perfect ring for Carrie Ann,” the great-great grandson of iconic jeweler Louis Cartier told People Style. “True love is alive and well!”

Celebrity stylist Michael O'Connor estimated the value of the ring at $100,000.

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“We shared our desire to commit to one another for life by beginning that journey in a very intimate and private way, just the two of us, alone on the beach with a bonfire, a bottle of Aubert Chardonnay and the majestic Pacific Ocean that has always been an integral force in both our lives,” Inaba told People Style. “Getting engaged where we had that perfect first date, was really such poetic destiny.”

Noted Derringer on his Instagram page, "So overjoyed to share the best thing that has ever happened to me when @carrieanninaba made me the luckiest guy in the world in saying... yes."

The 48-year-old Inaba, who is a dancer, choreographer, actress, game show host and singer, is best known for her work since 2005 on ABC-TV's Dancing with the Stars.

Derringer, 49, played Kyle Sloane on ABC-TV's General Hospital during 2014 and 2015 and will soon take the role of Scooter Nelson on NBC-TV's Days of Our Lives.

Images by Carrie Ann Inaba; Instagram.com/robbderringer.
December 21st, 2016
The world's largest diamonds, such as the Cullinan or Constellation, have a much different composition and structure than their smaller counterparts, states a breakthrough study by the Gemological Institute of America. Unlike smaller diamonds that materialized at a relatively shallow depth of 90 to 125 miles amid oxygen-rich rocks, the biggest diamonds formed 200 to 500 miles below the surface within patches of oxygen-deprived liquid metal.

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The stunning revelations were based on research led by GIA Postdoctoral Research Fellow Evan Smith, who studied the "offcuts," or remnants, of large rough diamonds that had been faceted into precious gemstones. The offcuts offered a window into the workings of the Earth's deep mantle because their inclusions are teeming with other elements. Typically, these the flaws are removed during the cutting and polishing process to enhance the perfection of the end product. For the researchers at GIA, the neatly preserved inclusions held all the value even though some were no wider than a human hair.

"You really couldn't ask for a better vessel to store something in," Smith told NPR. "Diamond is the ultimate Tupperware."

The GIA obtained eight fingernail-sized remnants for this study. After grinding them down and analyzing them with microscopes, lasers, electron beams and magnets, the team concluded that the diamonds contained a solidified mixture of iron, nickel, carbon and sulfur.

Unexpectedly, they also found traces of fluid methane and hydrogen, which led them to conclude that pure carbon crystallized to form diamonds in an oxygen-deprived mix of molten metallic liquid in Earth's deep mantle.

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"Some of the world's largest and most valuable diamonds... exhibit a distinct set of physical characteristics that have led many to regard them as separate from other, more common, diamonds. However, exactly how these diamonds form and what they tell us about the Earth has remained a mystery until now," explained Dr. Wuyi Wang, GIA's director of research and development, and an author of the study.

The breakthrough research, which was featured in the most recent issue of Science magazine, is significant because it offers a glimpse beneath Earth's tectonic plates — an area largely inaccessible for scientific observation.

Despite their origins far below the Earth's surface, diamonds can blast to the surface during volcanic eruptions. The vertical superhighways that take the diamonds on their 100-plus mile journey are called kimberlite pipes.

Credit: Diamond "offcuts" by Evan Smith; © GIA. Constellation photo courtesy of Lucara Diamond.
December 22nd, 2016
For the first time ever, swimming icon Michael Phelps graces the cover of Sport Illustrated wearing every one of his 23 Olympic gold medals. That's nearly 14.5 pounds of precious metal, but what is it really worth?

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The size of gold medals have varied over Phelps' four Olympic appearances. In 2004, the medals of the Athens Games weighed 135 grams. Four years later, the Beijing medals grew to 200 grams. In 2012, the London Games awarded 412-gram gold medals, and in 2016, the Rio de Janeiro medals weighed a whopping 500 grams (1.1 pounds).

If each of Phelps' medals were made of pure gold — as they were back in 1912 — the entire gold cache would tally $239,235.

But, alas, starting in 1916, gold medals were made mostly of silver. The International Olympic Committee mandated that gold medals must be plated with at least 6 grams of 24-karat gold over 96% pure silver.

As we do the math, we find that the gold content in each Phelps medal is worth about $219. The total gold value of the 23 medals is an unspectacular $5,034. The silver value of the complete group is $3,274.

The combined value of all the gold and silver in the gold medals is $8,308, less than the price of Phelps' round-trip, first-class airfare from Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro.

While the most decorated Olympic athlete won't get rich by melting down his Olympic hardware, he has already amassed a fortune in multi-million-dollar sponsorship deals with high profile companies, such as Speedo, Visa, Omega watches, Subway, Kellogg, Under Armour, Head and Shoulders, Louis Vuitton, Procter & Gamble, Hilton hotels, HP and Powerbar. Coupled with the prize money earned at competitions, Phelps' net worth is estimated at $55 million.

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In the Sports Illustrated article, the 31-year-old Phelps didn't offer much hope to fans wishing to see him competing in the Olympic pool at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

“If I do get the desire to come back, great,” Phelps told SI. “Right now, I just don’t see it.”

Phelps' wife, Nicole, believes that the person who may be able to convince the vaunted swimmer to compete again is his son, Boomer. It's going to take a little while before Boomer can communicate that message to his dad. He's only seven months old.

Overall, Phelps has won 28 Olympic medals — 23 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze.

The December 22nd issue marks the 12th time Phelps has appeared on a Sports Illustrated cover. The record is held by basketball star Michael Jordan, who has enjoyed the honor 50 times.

Credit: Michael Phelps cover by Sports Illustrated.
December 23rd, 2016
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you the coolest songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. With Christmas only two days away, we bring you one of YouTube’s most popular Christmas song videos of all time — Straight No Chaser’s witty and masterfully arranged rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” To date, the original version of SNC’s “12 Days” has been viewed more than 20 million times.

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As everyone knows, the jewelry reference in this holiday favorite comes on the fifth day of Christmas when “my true love gave to me, five golden rings.”

The a cappella group's “12 Days” is famous for its clever infusions of other songs, such as “I Have a Little Dreidel” and Toto’s “Africa.” SNC's version of the popular Christmas song was inspired by a 1968 comic arrangement of the song by Richard C. Gregory, a faculty member of The Williston Northampton School in western Massachusetts.

Originated on the campus of Indiana University in 1996, Straight No Chaser is truly a grassroots, internet-inspired phenomenon. The 10-man group owes its worldwide fame to a video of its 1998 performance that was first posted to YouTube eight years later. That video went viral and caught the attention of Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman, who signed the group to a five-album deal in 2008.

Straight No Chaser is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary and supporting its I'll Have Another... Christmas Album with live shows in Indianapolis, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Honolulu and Maui. The album, which was released in October, sits at #12 on the U.S. Billboard Holiday Albums chart, having peaked at #4.

Check out the video of Straight No Chaser's live performance of "The 12 Days of Christmas." It is guaranteed to brighten your holidays and bring a smile to your face. Enjoy!


Credit: Promotional photo via Facebook.com/StraightNoChaser.
December 26th, 2016
The picturesque Bavarian town of Nördlingen, Germany, is situated in a crater filled with 72,000 tons of diamonds, according to a story posted Friday by Smithsonianmag.com.



Although the town's origins date back to 898 A.D., it wasn't until 50 years ago that scientists realized that the 9-mile-wide depression, known as the Ries crater, was formed by the impact of an asteroid. The intense pressure resulting from the asteroid crashing into the Earth caused the graphite-bearing rock in the region to transform into diamonds.

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“We assume that the asteroid was a stony one with a weight of [approximately] three billion tons,” Gisela Pösges, a geologist and deputy director of the Ries Crater Museum in Nördlingen told Smithsonianmag.com. “[We think that] the asteroid was a similar size to the town of Nördlingen, about one kilometer (less than three-quarters of a mile) across.”

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The diamonds formed from the asteroid impact will never find their way to the center of an engagement ring. The largest ones are 0.3mm in size (barely 1/100th of an inch). A 1mm diamond, by comparison, weighs 0.005 carats.

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The high-pressure impact didn't only create diamonds, but also a material called suevite, which is a rock embedded with angular fragments of glass, crystal and diamonds.

Interestingly, when medieval residents set out to build the majestic St.-Georgs-Kirche church in the center of town, they used local materials to create the structure, including chunks of suevite. In fact, most of the town's structures were constructed with diamond-infused suevite.

“Our church, St. Georgs, is made of suevite [and contains] about 5,000 carats of diamonds,” Pösges told Smithsonianmag.com. “But they’re so tiny... that they have no economic value, only scientific value. You can observe the diamonds only with a microscope.”

Scientists estimate that the asteroid impact on Nördlingen generated 60 gigapascals of pressure. To turn carbon into diamonds, it takes between 24 and 136 gigapascal of pressure.

Guided tours of the diamond town of Nördlingen are regularly offered by the Ries Crater Museum, where suevite samples are on display.

Credits: Nördlingen photo via BigStockPhoto.com; Map by Googlemaps.com; Relief map by Batholith (Wikimedia Commons) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; Suevite by H. Raab (User: Vesta) (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.0 at], via Wikimedia Commons.
December 27th, 2016
Anonymous donations of valuable gold coins — including one recovered from a 300-year-old shipwreck — made the 2016 holiday season bright for Salvation Army chapters from Florida to Oregon.

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The Salvation Army’s bell ringing season starts each November and runs through Christmas Eve. Most of the donations come in the form of pocket change and paper money, but this year a bunch of benefactors generously dropped gold coins into the iconic red kettles.

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In Sebastian, Fla., an anonymous donor decided to hand his coin donation to veteran bell ringer Jim Bessy. The 300-year-old gold escudo, which is said to be worth several thousand dollars, had been recovered from the wrecks of the Spanish treasure ships known as the 1715 Plate Fleet. The donor didn't want to drop the gold escudo into the kettle because he feared it would get mixed in with the other loose coins.

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The coin, which was recovered off the Florida coast and encased in plastic with the label “1715 Fleet 1 Escudo,” will benefit the operations of the Salvation Army chapter in Vero Beach.

“This coin will help bring light on so many stories of families in need right here in Indian River County,” Salvation Army Lt. Jay Needham told USA Today. “With this great contribution and so many more from around this generous community, we are able to help people that are in need during the Christmas season and into the New Year."

In past years, we've written about anonymous benefactors dropping diamond and gold jewelry into the Salvation Army kettles during the Christmas season. This year, the most surprising donations were in the form of 1-ounce gold coins worth about $1,200 apiece. Here's the rundown, as compiled by USA Today...

• In Wisconsin, exactly 80 2016 American Eagle 1-ounce gold coins were dropped into Salvation Army kettles in locations near Manitowoc County and Green Bay. One-ounce South African gold Krugerrands were also scooped from red kettles in Mukwonago and De Pere.

• In Colorado, a pair of 1-ounce South African gold Krugerrands were found in red kettles in Fort Collins. Salvation Army Capt. Isaias Braga told USA Today that in years past an anonymous gold coin donor always returned to The Salvation Army to buy back the item at $1,000 more than its value.

• In Kentucky, Salvation Army officials discovered a 1-ounce South African gold Krugerrand in a red kettle at a Louisville Walmart.

• In Montana, a new Salvation Army lieutenant found a 1-ounce American Buffalo gold coin while sorting red kettle donations in Bigfork.

• In Oregon, an anonymous donor placed an Austrian 100-corona gold coin into a kettle in Salem. The 1915 coin is worth about $1,100.

The Salvation Army red kettle program can track its origins to 1891, when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry. During the holiday season, he resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. He only had one major hurdle to overcome — funding the project.

According to The Salvation Army's official website, McFee's red kettle idea was inspired by his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England. There, he remembered an iron kettle called "Simpson's Pot" into which passers-by tossed a coin or two to help the poor.

The next day McFee placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street. Beside the pot, he placed a sign that read, "Keep the Pot Boiling." He soon had the money to see that the needy people were properly fed at Christmas.

Credits: Images via Facebook/1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, LLC; Red kettle via Facebook/SalvationArmyUSA.
December 28th, 2016
Color and clarity are the most important factors influencing a consumer's gem-buying decision, according to a recent study conducted on behalf of Gemfields, one of the world's leading suppliers of responsibly sourced precious stones.

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The study of 12,900 U.S. consumers between the ages of 21 and 64 revealed that when it comes to purchasing rubies, sapphires and emeralds, color is the key consideration, followed by clarity, carat weight and, to a much lesser degree, the country of origin.

The survey also showed that millennials (those born between 1982 and 2004) have a greater fondness for precious gemstones than other groups. Overall, 41% of millennials said that they had acquired jewelry featuring a ruby, emerald or sapphire within the past 24 months. That percentage is significantly higher than the 31% registered by the overall survey sample.

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As an interesting side note, millennials are nearly twice as likely as non-millennials to use social media and mobile devices to research jewelry and gemstones.

Precious gemstone owners love to wear their jewelry, according to the survey. Exactly 43% of women reported that they wear their rubies, emeralds or sapphires every day. About one in four said they wear the gemstone jewelry at least once a week and just 7% noted that they only wear the jewelry on special occasions.

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Another interesting finding was related to multiple purchases. Nearly four in 10 (38%) of those who had purchased fine gemstone jewelry during the prior 24 months had actually gotten two items. Fifteen percent acquired three pieces and 10% had bought four or more.

For the overall sample, the average price paid for a piece of precious stone jewelry was $1,386, although men ($2,048) and affluent buyers ($2,499) with incomes of $100,000-plus were apt to pay significantly more.

Half of the respondents who said they purchased precious colored stone jewelry in the past two years and two-thirds of those in affluent households said they are likely to buy another piece within the next year.

The study, which reflects a nationally representative sample, was conducted for Gemfields by a third party to determine the overall size and potential of the U.S. market and to better understand consumers’ beliefs and perceptions about the value, price and use of precious gemstone jewelry.

Credits: Carmen Lúcia Ruby, Logan Sapphire and Maximilian Emerald courtesy of Smithsonian/Chip Clark.
December 29th, 2016
Red-hot country star Kelsea Ballerini got the greatest gift on Christmas morning — a marriage proposal and a beautiful diamond engagement ring from the love of her life, Australian musician Morgan Evans.

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The ring features a large round center stone framed by a cushion-shaped halo of smaller round diamonds. The cushion halo adds extra surface area and a larger look than a conventional round halo. This effect is achieved by using diamonds of various sizes to fill out the halo around the center stone. The ring also has a dainty diamond-embellished band.

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"I had the ring custom made with a diamond I picked from a local designer here in Nashville," Morgan told People Style. "I wanted it to be classic and beautiful, like her."

On Sunday, the 23-year-old Ballerini — a nominee for Best New Artist at the 2017 Grammy Awards in February — let her fan base in on the exciting news with a series of photos posted to Instagram and Twitter. The songstress has 669,000 followers on Instagram and 180,000 on Twitter.

When Morgan popped the question, we're guessing Ballerini responded with the title of her latest single, "Yeah Boy."

Ballerini posted a romantic outdoor photo showing her and her new fiancé embracing in a park, her left arm extended toward the camera with the new ring in full view. The photo includes a caption that references exactly how long it's been since the two met while co-hosting Australia's Country Music Channel Awards in March.

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"This morning, 9 months and 13 days later, he got down on one knee in the kitchen while I was burning pancakes and asked me to marry him," she wrote. "Loving him has been the greatest gift of my life. And now I get to do it for life. #HECALLEDDIBS."

Evans, 31, posted the same photo to his Instagram page with this romantic caption: "When you know, you know... she's perfect."

On Twitter, the "Love Me Like You Mean It" singer posted a close-up shot of the ring with a caption that read, "My heart is bursting from loving this human so much."

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Ballerini used the Instagram Boomerang app on Monday to post a cute mini-video of herself drinking from a mug that's printed with the phrase, “Does this ring make me look engaged?”

The couple has yet to set a wedding date.

Credits: Photos via Instagram/KelseaBallerini, Instagram/MorganEvansMusic.
December 30th, 2016
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the impossibly cute cast of characters from the blockbuster animated film Trolls sing about bling in "Hair Up," the opening track from the official motion picture soundtrack.

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In this feel-good anthem written by Justin Timberlake and four collaborators, the overly optimistic Trolls — voiced by Timberlake, Gwen Stefani and Ron Funches — put their hair in the air and have a fever for diamonds and gold.

They sing, "I've got a fever coming on / And now it's beating on my bones / I feel like diamonds or some gold / So DJ play it that's my song."

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The film focuses on two trolls who are on a quest to save their village from the woefully pessimistic Bergens, creatures who can only gain happiness by consuming Trolls. The mismatched duo of perpetually happy Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) and overly cautious curmudgeonly Branch (Timberlake) embark on a rescue mission full of adventures and mishaps.

At one point in the movie, a Zen-like Troll named Creek (Russell Brand) is held captive in the jewel that decorates the king's mantle. While the Trolls are successful in stealing the jewel, they are dismayed to discover that it is empty. Creek has betrayed them to save himself.

Since Trolls was released in theaters on October 8, it has generated more than $150 million in box office revenue in the U.S. and $330 million worldwide.

Trolls: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on September 26 and zoomed to #3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart. It also charted in 13 other countries. The Trolls official promotional trailer, which includes snippets from "Hair Up," has been viewed more than 3.9 million times on YouTube.

The film features five original songs performed by Timberlake, Ariana Grande, Anna Kendrick and Gwen Stefani.

We've included two videos at the end of this post. The first is the Trolls promotional trailer and the second is the full audio track of "Hair Up." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Hair Up"
Written by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Shellback, Savan Kotecha and Oscar Holter.

Hair in the air, hair in the air
Put your hair
Put your hair in the air

Hair in the air, hair in the air
Put your hair
Put your hair in the air

I've got a fever coming on
And now it's beating on my bones
I feel like diamonds or some gold
So DJ play it that's my song

Go, go, go, go, go
Put your hair in the air
Go, go, go, go, go, go
Hair up

Come on baby
Let's go crazy
We ain't never gonna stop
Hair up
Come on baby
Let's go crazy
We ain't never gonna stop
Hair up

Put your hair in the air (hair up)
We don't care (hair up)
Put your hair in the air (hair up)
We don't care (hair up)

I've got a fever coming on
And now it's beating on my bones
I feel like diamonds or some gold
So DJ play it that's my song

Go, go, go, go, go
Put your hair in the air
Go, go, go, go, go, go
Hair up

Come on baby
Let's go crazy
We ain't never gonna stop
Hair up
Come on baby
Let's go crazy
We ain't never gonna stop
Hair up

Put your hair in the air (hair up)
We don't care (hair up)
Put your hair in the air (hair up)
We don't care (hair up)

Hair up
Hair up in the air, hair up in the air, hair up in the air
Hair up in the air, hair up in the air, hair up in the air
Put your hair in the air

Hair up
Come on baby
Let's go crazy
Put your hair in the air

Hair up
Come on baby
Let's go crazy
Put your hair in the air
Hair up
Put your hair in the air
Hair up

Trolls Trailer...

"Hair Up" audio track...

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.