Topaz Goldsmiths and Gallery

Topaz Goldsmiths and Gallery
November 24th, 2021
More than a week after accepting a romantic marriage proposal from Twilight star Taylor Lautner, newly engaged Tay Dome was still basking in the glow of her oval-cut diamond engagement ring.

"I can get used to this view," she captioned an Instagram selfie of her outstretched left hand, against the backdrop of her famous fiancé.

The 29-year-old actor had popped the question to his registered nurse girlfriend on 11.11.21 and celebrated a few days later at the DAOU Vineyards in Paso Robles, CA. Both Lautner and Dome shared photos of their romantic getaway, and in a number of photos the ring was front and center.

In one photo, Lautner is holding a wine glass with his left hand while pointing at the 23-year-old's ring with his right hand. His fianceé smiles as she looks straight into the camera with her ring finger extended straight up. In his caption, Lautner shared with his 7.1 million Instagram followers just how much Dome has changed his life.

He wrote, "Cannot wait to spend forever with you @taydome You love me unconditionally. You don't put up with my [stuff]. You calm me when I'm anxious. You make me laugh way too much. You make every single day spent with you so special. And most importantly, you make me a better person. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve brought to my life. I love you forever."

The November 11 proposal took place at Lautner's home in a room strewn with rose petals and lit by a fireplace and white candles. A pink neon sign above the fireplace spelled out "Lautner" in script.

Lautner posted a pic of the scene and captioned it, “11.11.2021 … And just like that, all of my wishes came true.”

According to, Lautner and Dome went public with their relationship three years ago during the Halloween season. Lautner posted to his Instagram page a photo of the couple wearing matching costumes.

Credits: Images via / taydome.
November 23rd, 2021
In April 2019, Botswana's state-run Okavango Diamond Company unveiled the largest blue diamond ever discovered in that country — a 20.46-carat oval gem with Fancy Deep Blue color and VVS2 clarity. At the time, the company's managing director called the gem "a once-in-a-lifetime find."

Earlier this month, the "Okavango Blue Diamond" made its New York City debut as the centerpiece of a spectacular display at the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, the newly renovated, 11,000-square-foot section of the American Museum of Natural History.

The vibrant gem occupies the lead showcase in a presentation about the wide variety of natural diamonds found in Botswana — from more common industrial diamonds used in construction, manufacturing and other sectors to gem-quality ones. More than 1,000 rough natural diamonds are included in the gallery that explains the different characteristics of diamonds, including size, shape, quality and color. There is also an emphasis on the unique way that Botswana runs its diamond industry.

Botswana is the second-largest producer of natural diamonds in the world and a major source of gem-quality, ethically sourced diamonds. The "Okavango Blue Diamond" was sourced at one of the world’s largest open-pit diamond mines, the Orapa Mine.

It was cut from a 41.11-carat rough diamond and its name honors the world heritage site known as the Okavango Delta. The lush delta is the home of hippos, elephants, crocodiles, lions, leopards, giraffes and rhinos. It's an area of exceptional biodiversity and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The government of Botswana established the first of four large diamond mines shortly after it attained independence in 1966. At that time, lawmakers entered into agreements with tribal leaders to make certain that the country's valuable diamond resources would always benefit the people.

“Our natural diamond resources are managed responsibly in a manner that puts the people of Botswana first,” said Okavango Diamond Company Managing Director Mmetla Masire. “There is a strong sense of local pride knowing that these diamonds are improving the lives of Batswana with profits directly reinvested in education, infrastructure and public health. We are so pleased to share with the world the larger story of the diamond industry of Botswana.”

The "Okavango Blue Diamond" and the other diamonds of Botswana are on loan from the Okavango Diamond Company. Visitors will find the gems within the museum's Melissa and Keith Meister Gallery, which is specifically designed to accommodate rotating exhibitions at the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals.

Credits: Diamond photo courtesy the Okavango Diamond Company. Display photos by D. Finnin/©AMNH.
November 22nd, 2021
Lawmaker Thomas Mahaffie is advancing a bill to make amethyst the official gemstone of Pennsylvania. Twenty-seven of the 50 states currently have a gemstone to call their own, and the state representative from Dauphin County believes that The Keystone State deserves one, as well.

In a legislative memo, Mahaffie outlined why amethyst is the best choice.

"Pennsylvania is well known for its variety of vast mineral deposits and the mines that work them," he wrote. "Among these is quartz, the most beautiful type of which is the vibrant, purple gemstone, amethyst."

Mahaffie also noted that amethysts are featured in the tiara used to crown the winner of the Miss Pennsylvania pageant. The tiara boasts 92 carats of amethysts, including a keystone-shaped primary jewel weighing 37 carats. The tiara is the subject of great pride because the gems and gold used to fabricate it were contributed by jewelers throughout the state.

"The official symbols of the Commonwealth are important because they help to differentiate our state from others," he continued. "Most states have an official state dog, tree and flower, etc., all of which help to show what is important to that state."

Mahaffie added one more piece of purple passion to his argument.

“Coincidentally, the state plant of Pennsylvania is Penngift Crownvetch, commonly known as “‘Purple Crown,’” he wrote. “How fitting that Pennsylvania is represented by the beauty of the attractive purple blooms of the state plant ‘Purple Crown’ and the radiant purple amethyst gemstones of the ‘Purple Crown’ worn by Miss Pennsylvania.”

According to, 27 states currently claim an official gemstone. New Hampshire has smoky quartz, Idaho has star garnet and Maine has tourmaline, to name a few.

If the measure — HB 777 — passes through the House and Senate, Pennsylvania will become the second state to anoint amethyst as its official gemstone. The other is South Carolina.

Also included in Mahaffie's bill is a proposal to make celestite the state's official mineral. First discovered in Pennsylvania in 1791, the pale blue mineral gets its name from the Latin word for "celestial."

"I believe that denoting celestite, more commonly referred to as celestine, as the state mineral will not only pique the interest of school children across the state to learn more about Pennsylvania and its rich environment, but will also help educate the public about a uniquely beautiful mineral," Mahaffie wrote.

Celestite has been found in Pennsylvania's Blair, Juniata, Lycoming, Northumberland, Huntingdon and Mifflin counties. Deposits of amethyst are present in the state's southeastern counties of Lancaster, Chester and Delaware.

Credits: Amethyst image by Marie-Lan Taÿ Pamart, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Celestite image by Ivar Leidus, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
November 19th, 2021
Welcome to another Music Friday Flashback, when we bring you classic tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we feature Seals & Crofts performing their Summer of ’73 hit, “Diamond Girl.”

Using gemstone imagery to describe a girl who is perfect in their eyes, Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts sing, “Diamond Girl – you sure do shine / Glad I found you – glad you’re mine / Oh my love, you’re like a precious stone / Part of earth where heaven has rained on.”

The Texas-born Seals and Crofts are famous for their lush harmonies, spiritual lyrics and a string of chart-toppers in the 1970s. Their songs are said to be influenced by the teachings of the Bahá’í faith.

Coming off their success with “Summer Breeze” in 1972, the duo was back in the studio one year later with “Diamond Girl.”

Released as the title track of Seals & Crofts' fifth studio album, the single reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album also was a huge success, as it rose to #4 on the Billboard 200 chart. A second charting single from the album was “We May Never Pass This Way Again,” which topped out at #21.

The duo had a strong run through the 1970s, but disbanded in 1980. They reunited briefly in 1991 and then again in 2004, when they released their final album, Traces.

Seals & Crofts’ fans may not know that Jim Seals is the brother of Dan Seals, who was “England Dan” in the duo England Dan and John Ford Coley (“I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,” 1976). In the early and mid-2000s, Jim Seals toured with his brother under the name, Seals & Seals.

Another interesting bit of trivia: Seals and Crofts both belonged to the group The Champs (“Tequila,” 1958) in the late 1950s and early 1960s, before going out on their own.

Jim Seals turned 80 on October 17. Dash Crofts celebrated his 81st birthday on August 14.

Please check out the video of Seals & Crofts performing “Diamond Girl” live on The Midnight Special in 1973. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Diamond Girl”
Written by Jim Seals and Dash Crofts. Performed by Seals & Crofts.

Diamond Girl – you sure do shine
Glad I found you – glad you’re mine
Oh my love, you’re like a precious stone
Part of earth where heaven has rained on

Makes no difference where you are
Day or nighttime you’re like a shinin’ star
And how could I shine without you
When it’s about you that I am

Diamond Girl – roamin’ wild
Such a rare thing – radiant child
I could never find another one like you
Part of me is deep down inside you

Can’t you feel the whole world’s a-turnin’
We are real and we are a-burnin’
Diamond Girl now that I’ve found you
It’s around you that I am

Diamond Girl – you sure do shine
Diamond Girl – you sure do shine
Diamond Girl – you sure do shine
Diamond Girl – you sure do shine

Credit: Image by Warner Brothers Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
November 18th, 2021
More than 50 gem dealers from the four corners of the Earth are participating in the first-ever global auction of Australian sapphires. On Monday, mining company FURA Gems began unveiling 900,000 carats of natural sapphires in a wide range of colors, including blue, teal, yellow, green and "parti," a unique and popular multi-hued variety. The event is taking place through November 23 in Bangkok.

"Discovered in Queensland a century and a half ago, sapphires have since been unearthed by Australian miners in a rainbow of colors that buyers around the world rarely get to see," said Dev Shetty, Founder & CEO, FURA Gems. "Exploring the enormous range of Australian sapphires has been a journey of discovery for FURA Gems.”

By establishing this global auction, FURA Gems is setting into motion an organized way to present and distribute Australian sapphires to the marketplace.

“The auction in Bangkok will be historic as the market will get a first look at our graded, unheated and versatile range of colored sapphires. It presents a unique opportunity for the industry to explore different colors in sapphires on one single platform,” said Shetty.

The nine-day event will see auction tables covered in 275,000 carats of rough blue sapphires, 300,000 carats of rough green sapphires and more than 300,000 carats of rough teal, yellow and polychrome sapphires.

FURA's global sapphire production was 5.5 million carats in 2021 and the company is looking to boost production to 10 million carats in 2022. The company owns 20 square kilometers of mining area in Australia, and claims to be the largest supplier of sapphires in the world. It had recently acquired two Queensland-based mining operations — Capricorn Sapphire in 2019 and Great Northern Mining in 2020.

With its new claims in Central Queensland, FURA is hoping to bring back the glory days of Australia's sapphire mining industry. In the late 20th century, Australia accounted for more than 90% of global sapphire production, according to FURA.

The mining company is collaborating with the Gemological Institute of America to establish "mine of origin" reports for the sapphires produced by FURA. The company also has established a proprietary color-grading initiative that will help buyers determine the quality and value of the precious stones.

FURA noted that the "pièce de résistance" of all its colorful selections is the parti sapphire in both bi-color and tri-color combinations. These polychrome sapphires display the complementary colors of either blue, green or yellow in a single stone.

In addition to its sapphire operations in Australia, the UAE-based FURA Gems owns ruby mines in Mozambique and emerald mines in Colombia.

Credits: Images courtesy of FURA Gems.
November 17th, 2021
When an amethyst ring dating back 1,500 years was unearthed in Yavne, Israel, near the site of the largest winery of the Byzantine period (330-1453 AD), archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority were quick to point out the obvious connection.

You see, in ancient times it was believed that amethyst jewelry could protect its wearer from intoxication and ward off the effects of a hangover. The word "amethyst," in fact, comes from the Greek word "amethystos," which literally means "not drunken."

"Did the person who wore the ring want to avoid intoxication due to drinking a lot of wine?" asked Dr. Elie Haddad, the director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. "We probably will never know."

The director noted that the ring was found just 150 meters from the remains of a long warehouse, which was used to store tall wine jars, called "amphorae." These jars had long, narrow necks and handles on each side.

Weighing 5.11 grams, the gold ring is bezel set with a cabochon cut amethyst. Despite being buried for more than 1,500 years, the ring and the stone are in remarkably good shape.

The popularity of amethyst dates back thousands of years. The pretty purple stone is mentioned in the Old Testament as one of the 12 precious stones worn by the high priest of the Temple on his ceremonial breastplate.

“The person who owned the ring was affluent, and the wearing of the jewel indicated their status and wealth,” noted Dr. Amir Golani, an expert on ancient jewelry at the Israel Antiquities Authority. “Such rings could be worn by both men and women.”

It is possible that the impressive ring belonged to the owner of the warehouse, a foreman, or simply to an unlucky merchant, who dropped it en route to the winery.

The researchers are still debating when the ring was actually fabricated. The material at the a dig site dates back to the 7th century AD, but it is possible that the ring, due to its beauty and prestige, had been handed down from generation to generation over the centuries. Gold rings inlaid with amethyst stone are known in the Roman world, and it is possible that the ring had belonged to the elites who lived in the city as early as the 3rd century AD.

“The small, everyday finds that are discovered in our excavations tell us human stories and connect us directly to the past," said Eli Eskozido, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “It is exciting to imagine that the man or woman to whom the ring belonged, walked right here, in a different reality to what we know in today's city of Yavne.”

Credit: Image courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority/Dafna Gazit.
November 16th, 2021
Weighing in at 277.9 carats, this yellow-orange citrine from the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection is a head-turning, sun-kissed example of November's alternative birthstone.

Sourced in Brazil, the round modified brilliant-cut citrine seen here is currently displayed in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Citrine gets its name from "citron," the French word for lemon, and can range in color from the warm hues of golden champagne to the deep oranges of Madeira wine. Most gem-quality citrine is mined from Brazil, but other important sources include Spain, Bolivia, France, Russia, Madagascar and the U.S. (Colorado, North Carolina and California).

Citrine is the golden-yellow-to-orange variety of quartz and gets its color from trace amounts of iron in the gem’s chemical makeup. Quartz, which is composed of silicon and oxygen, is colorless in its pure state. The Greeks referred to the material as “krystallos,” or “ice.”

But when trace amounts of impurities invade its chemical structure, nature yields a wide range of vivid hues. Citrine, for example, is a near-cousin chemically to February’s purple birthstone, the amethyst.

In fact, some quartz specimens display a fascinating transition from yellow to purple and nature's mashup is aptly called ametrine. The gems in the photo, above, were sourced in Bolivia and weigh 55.68 and 24.15 carats, respectively.

National Museum of Natural History is the most-visited natural history museum in the world and the National Gem Collection consists of approximately 350,000 mineral specimens and 10,000 gems.

Citrine is a relative newcomer to the official birthstone list. The National Association of Jewelers added it in 1952 as an alternative to topaz.

Credits: Photos by Chip Clark / Smithsonian.
November 15th, 2021
An unstable, deep-Earth mineral that shouldn't be able to exist on the surface has been found inside a diamond.

“It’s the strength of the diamond that keeps the inclusions at high pressure,” Oliver Tschauner, a geochemist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told Live Science.

Before the discovery, davemaoite existed theoretically.

Under extreme pressure and heat, it presents as calcium silicate perovskite, but degrades into other minerals when it moves toward the surface and pressure decreases.

The tiny spec of davemaoite was able to make to 400-plus-mile journey to the surface — and stay intact — because it was trapped within a diamond.

As diamonds form hundreds of miles beneath the Earth’s crust, tiny bits of their surrounding environment can be trapped inside. What’s particularly unique about diamonds is that the inclusions will remain under the same pressure as they were during the time they were encapsulated.

Diamonds can be blasted hundreds of miles to the surface during volcanic eruptions. The vertical superhighways that take the diamonds on their journey are called kimberlite pipes.

“Diamond is a remarkable vessel for sampling the geochemistry of the deep mantle,” Steven Jacobsen, a mineral physicist at Northwestern University, told in 2018, “because of its ability to seal off trapped inclusions from the reactive environment during ascent, like a tiny indestructible spaceship.”

Named after scientist Ho-kwang ‘Dave’ Mao, davemaoite was approved as a new mineral by the International Mineralogical Association. Mao is famous for his pioneering discoveries in the field of high-pressure geochemistry and geophysics.

Scientists confirmed the presence of davemaoite in the diamond by using a technique known as synchrotron X-ray diffraction. The researchers focused a high-energy beam of X-rays on the inclusions within the diamond and then measured the angle and intensity of the returning light. Those results revealed a distinctive chemical signature of what was inside. The davemaoite inclusions measured just a few micrometers (millionths of a meter) in size.

While most diamonds are formed under intense pressure and heat at a depth of 93 to 124 miles, the diamond encasing the davemaoite material was likely formed 400-plus miles below the surface. The greenish, octahedral-shaped deep-Earth diamond samples studied by Tschauner and his team had been unearthed at the Orapa mine in Botswana.

Scientists believe that davemaoite is one of three main minerals in Earth’s lower mantle and makes up 5% to 7% of the material in the mantle. Davemaoite is believed to be part of the group of minerals that helps manage how heat moves and cycles through the deep Earth.

Credit: Image by Aaron Celestian, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
November 12th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you outstanding songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the multitalented Andra Day performs "Gold," a bluesy ballad framed as a heartfelt apology to a former lover.

Day admits she betrayed him even though he treated her “like a precious gift.” She suffers a hard lesson when she learns that her new lover is a cheater.

Day describes her remorse with a line that repeats throughout the song: “I gave up gold / For grains of sand / Slipping through my hand.”

In an NPR interview, Day explained how “Gold” was born.

“I was with someone that I was not good to, and wasn’t faithful to,” she said. “I used to be ashamed to talk about it, and ‘Gold’ was really my moment to say, ‘I’m going to talk about it. I’m going to purge because other people experience this.'”

She continued, “So, it’s basically a letter to him apologizing for what I had done. Sort of spelling out my experience and heartbreak after that — having someone betray me and what it felt like. And then letting him know that I now understand what [he] went through… It’s a whole candid story told from beginning to end.”

“Gold” is featured on Day’s 2015 debut album, Forever Mine. That same year, Rolling Stone magazine named Andra Day one of the “10 New Artists You Need to Know.”

The publication was right on the mark, as Day would score a 2021 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in the biopic The United States vs. Billie Holiday.

Born Cassandra Monique Batie in Edmonds, WA, in 1984, the artist's stage name was inspired by Holiday’s nickname, "Lady Day."

Day got her first break in 2012 when a series of her popular song covers went viral on YouTube. Those videos caught the attention of numerous record labels, which courted the future star. Eventually, she signed with Warner Bros. Records.

The photo, above, also reveals that Day is a big fan of gold jewelry. She wears two gold rings on each finger, bold gold cuffs on her wrists, large gold hoop earrings and two gold chain necklaces.

Please check out the video of Andra Day performing "Gold" live at the SiriusXM studios in June of 2016. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

Written and performed by Andra Day.

He don’t know I call him the teacher
He had a hard lesson for the kid
I get I put you through hell
He put me under the same spell
He lied man, he stressed me out
You loved me like a precious gift
And he loved me like a sloppy kiss
You would tell me your heartaches
Now I understand the pain
Oh why did I let you drown

Baby would you believe
That I’ve been broken
You say memories
Play again and again
I see the reel now it’s real to me
I gave up gold
For grains of sand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand

You had no problems with commitment
Like a king is loyal to what’s his
You looked for a ring to fit
While I played wifey with a kid
Oh the irony makes me sick

He tried to make me look crazy
Nothing new about his kind of scheme
I laugh when I think about
His face when truth nearly spilled out
He looked like me I get that now

Baby would you believe
That I’ve been broken
You say memories
Play again and again
I see the reel, now it’s real to me
I gave up gold
For grains of sand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand

Baby would you believe
That I’ve been broken
You say memories
Play again and again
I see the reel, now it’s real to me
I gave up gold
For grains of sand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand
Slipping through my hand

Credit: Screen capture via / SiriusXM.
November 11th, 2021
Gemfields just unveiled the largest emerald ever discovered at its Kagem mine in Zambia. Named “Chipembele,” which means "rhino" in the local indigenous dialect of Bemba, the 7,525-carat hexagonal crystal displays a rich, golden green hue and "gemmy" nature suitable for cutting and polishing.

The crystal was unearthed in July by geologist Manas Banerjee and veteran miner Richard Kapeta, who were also responsible for finding the 5,655-carat "Inkalamu" (meaning “lion”) at the Kagem mine in 2018.

According to Gemfields, when Kapeta encountered the crystal, he shouted in joy, “Look at this rhino horn!” And hence, the gemstone got its name.

“Chipembele" unseated the 6,225-carat "Insofu" as the largest emerald ever found at the mine. Meaning “elephant,” "Insofu" had been discovered in 2010.

All three massive emerald crystals were within relatively close proximity at Kagem, the world’s largest and most productive emerald mine. Kagem is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% owned by the Government of the Republic of Zambia.

“Chipembele" is due to be sold at the next Gemfields emerald auction, with 10% of the proceeds supporting the North Luangwa Conservation Program in Zambia to aid critical black rhinoceros conservation efforts.

“A key Gemfields tenet is that Africa’s gemstone wealth must contribute meaningfully not only to host-country economies, but also to conservation efforts, host communities and the next generation by way of education, healthcare and livelihoods projects,” noted Jackson Mtonga, Kagem Sort House Assistant Manager, in a press release.

The winning bidder for "Chipembele" will be given the option of a unique DNA nano-tag identity, developed by Gübelin, ensuring that the cut and polished gems that it yields can be identified and certified as having originated from this extraordinary gemstone.

Gübelin's "provenance proof" service embeds within the gemstone nanoparticles coded with information about the gemstone’s origin.

Credits: Images courtesy of Gemfields.