Topaz Goldsmiths and Gallery

Topaz Goldsmiths and Gallery

Articles in February 2021

February 1st, 2021
For the fifth year in a row, Valentine shoppers will be spending more on jewelry than any other category, according to a survey just released by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics.



The NRF is estimating that jewelry gifts will account for $4.1 billion, or 18.8% of the overall Valentine's Day spending total of $21.8 billion. Both spending figures for 2021 are a bit higher than the very strong totals achieved in 2019, but significantly down from 2020's record highs.

For example, jewelry spending was $5.8 billion in 2020, which represented a huge 48% gain over 2019's total of $3.9 billion. Overall spending was $27.4 billion in 2020, up 32% from $20.7 billion, which had been a record in 2019.

Pandemic-related shopping and gathering restrictions have negatively affected just about all the gift categories in the NRF survey, but the one most affected is "evening out." That category accounted for $4.3 billion in spending in 2020, but is expected to generate only $2.7 billion in 2021.

Even still, 41% of respondents told the NRF that they will plan a special dinner or celebration in the comfort of their own home.

“There is no question the pandemic has disrupted many aspects of Americans’ daily interactions and activities,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “However, there remains a special significance around Valentine’s Day, and consumers are committed to celebrating with friends and loved ones, even if that means having to alter those traditional holiday celebrations.”

Fifty-two percent of consumers will be celebrating Valentine’s Day in 2021, a slight decrease from the 55% who celebrated in 2020.

According to the NRF, 73% of consumers celebrating Valentine’s Day this year feel it is important to do so given the current state of the pandemic. It is clear the virus is still front and center, with 74% indicating it will directly impact their plans for the holiday.

The average gift-giving Cupid in 2021 has a budget of $164.76, down $32 from 2020's record of $196.31. Spending this year is slightly higher than the $161.96 recorded in 2019. This year, men will outspend women $231 to $101.

As noted earlier, jewelry dominates all categories. Shoppers plan to spend $4.1 billion on jewelry (given by 18%), $2.7 billion on an evening out (24%), $2.7 billion on clothing (19%), $2.1 billion on gift cards (20%), $2.0 billion on candy (54%), $2.0 billion on flowers (36%) and $1.1 billion on greeting cards (44%).

The NRF’s 2021 Valentine’s Day spending survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Valentine’s Day. The survey was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The poll of 7,882 consumers took place from January 4-12, 2021, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

Credit: Image by BigStockPhoto.com.
February 2nd, 2021
A new study reveals that 54% of engaged Americans dropped hints to their partner in an effort to get them to propose.



It's pretty clear that the average suitor was slow on the uptake, according to the survey commissioned by De Beers and conducted by OnePoll. There was an average span of 7.57 months between the dropping of the first hint and the eventual proposal. Over that time, the average partner had dropped 4.69 hints per month — for a total of 35.5.

The most common hint was revealed to be “accidentally” sending texts or emails with advertisements for rings (59%). Another favorite was to spark a conversation about engagements by putting on TV shows (Say Yes to the Dress, for example) or movies about weddings (45%). Respondents also admitted to enlisting friends to begin a conversation about engagements (38%), leaving open tabs/websites about weddings (37%) and casually pointing out rings while shopping together (31%).

Surprisingly, of the survey respondents who proposed, 49% said they got so tired of waiting for their partner to get down on one knee, they decided to turn the tables and propose to their partner themselves.

Despite the struggles of nailing down a commitment, 75% of respondents said there’s nothing in their proposal they would change, and 67% enjoy sharing their “proposal story” with friends and family.

When it comes to the elements of the proposal itself, respondents said the most important piece was the ring (51%), which was even more important than their partner saying “yes” (17%).

In fact, 56% stated the ring is so important that it can’t be a “real” proposal without one.

But, despite the importance of the ring itself, less than half (38%) of those who proposed to their partner knew their ring size ahead of time. Of those who did, the most common way they found their partner’s ring size was by taking another ring to estimate (27%). Twenty-three percent said they measured their partner’s finger with string or something similar and 19% said their partner came shopping with them.

“An engagement ring signifies a huge milestone in a relationship and is a symbol of bringing together the lives of two people. There's a lot of pressure to get it just right,” said Sally Morrison of the De Beers Group. “But the most important thing to keep in mind is the person you’re buying the ring for. Choosing a style they will be proud to wear and one that reflects their personality will ensure that the ring will be worn and cherished for a lifetime.”

Based on the survey results, here's the full list of the most popular ways respondents dropped a hint about becoming engaged…

• 59% “accidentally” sent texts or emails with advertisements for rings
• 45% purposefully put on TV shows or movies about weddings to spark a conversation
• 38% enlisted friends to begin a conversation about engagements
• 37% left open tabs/websites about weddings
• 31% casually pointed out rings when shopping together
• 28% brought up a conversation about engagement rings
• 26% talked about favorite styles of rings
• 18% made clear the ring size that was needed
• 18% outright said they wanted to get engaged
• 11% talked or joked about being married in the future or referred to things that would happen “when we’re married”

The survey was conducted by OnePoll for De Beers Group from December 2020 - January 2021, with a sample of 2,000 engaged Americans.

Credit: Image via BigStockPhoto.com.
February 3rd, 2021
One of the world’s most outstanding examples of February’s birthstone is the 96-carat heart-shaped stunner at the center of the "Amethyst Heart Brooch," an Edwardian-period piece that was donated to the Smithsonian in 1973 by philanthropist Miriam Hubbard Morris.



Exhibiting a deep, rich purple color, the Brazilian-sourced amethyst is surrounded by diamonds in a mounting that is fabricated in platinum with a yellow gold undercarriage. The brooch has a filigree top that imitates the heart shape with pierced work, incorporating a fleur-de-lis motif set with old European cut diamonds.

According to the Smithsonian, the brooch was likely crafted between 1901 and 1915, when jewelry of the time featured lacy filigree designs that were light and delicate like the clothing at the time, with a sense of refined elegance and luxury.

Interestingly, amethyst was often included in jewelry of this era because it was a favorite stone of Alexandra, the wife of British King Edward VII, who passed away in 1910. Edward's mother was Queen Victoria, whose refined tastes were reflected in the Victorian era.

Morris, the wife of Washington, DC, lawyer George M. Morris, passed away in 1982 at the age of 90. Her husband died in 1954 at the age of 65.

For the past 48 years, her generous donation of the "Amethyst Heart Brooch" has been a permanent resident of the National Gem Collection at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Amethyst is the most coveted variety of quartz, which is clear in its pure state. Amethyst owes its purple color to a few atoms of iron displacing some of the silicon in the gem’s molecular structure. These traces of iron can give amethyst a wide range of colors, from almost white to deep purple.

Amethyst has been treasured for thousands of years and is one of the oldest recorded gemstones. Amethysts have been recovered from ancient Egyptian tombs and were prized by the Greeks, Romans, Babylonians and Hebrews.

The ancient Greeks believed amethyst could reverse the effects of drunkenness. In fact, amethyst gets its name from the Greek word “amethystos,” which literally means “not to intoxicate.”

The color rating of an amethyst is determined by hue, tone and saturation. Hue is the color; tone is relative lightness or darkness of the color; and saturation relates to the color’s intensity, from dull to vivid.

Credit: Photo by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.
February 4th, 2021
High in the hills overlooking the Uruguayan city of Artigas, miners scored a "once-in-a-lifetime" geode containing amethyst crystals in the shape of a heart. When the miners split the 80kg (176 lb) rock, mirror-image amethyst hearts appeared on each side.



Uruguay Minerals director Marcos Lorenzelli told The Jeweler Blog that the geode — which he calls "The New Treasure" — was discovered in November and has a value of at least $100,000. He said he would not consider selling the two pieces separately.



Due to its obvious ties to Valentine's Day and February's official birthstone, The New Treasure has recently gotten a lot of attention on social media.

Lorenzelli said that in all his years of working with amethyst geodes, he's never seen anything like this.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime piece," he said.



The director noted that the geode was sourced at the company's new Santa Rosa mine in Artigas, which is in northwest Uruguay, just over the border from Brazil. Incidentally, both Brazil and Uruguay are leading producers of fine amethyst, but according to the American Gem Trade Association, many dealers consider Uruguayan amethyst to be superior due to its clarity and rich, dark color.

Lorenzelli told mymodernmet.com that back in November his team had been struggling to get the excavation started at the Santa Rosa mine.

“We were opening the mine to work normally,” explained Lorenzelli, “but the land was difficult to work and our employees said, ‘We have to find something really nice due to the hard work we are doing.’”

The team was soon rewarded with The New Treasure.

In addition to amethyst, fine agate is also mined in the hills near Artigas. The region's rich, gem-related history dates back to 1860.

If you're a big fan of amethyst geodes, please check out the miner's website here, as well as its Instagram here…

Credits: Images courtesy of Uruguay Minerals.
February 5th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you sensational songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, Christian pop artist Britt Nicole delivers an inspirational message about empowerment, tolerance, confidence and self-love in her 2012 mainstream hit, "Gold."



In the catchy chorus, Nicole compares her youthful fans to everyone's favorite precious metal.

She sings, "This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world / Whatever you've been told, you're worth more than gold / So hold your head up high, it's your time to shine / From the inside it shows, you're worth more than gold."

Later in the song, she emphasizes that it's OK to make mistakes and employs the most precious of gemstones to make her point: "Yeah, there are days that we all feel like we are messed up / but the truth is that we're all diamonds in the rough / So don't be ashamed to wear your crown."

Fans have embraced Nicole's message and frequently show up at her concerts wearing gold crowns.

The artist told Radio.com that she wrote "Gold" to address the feelings she was experiencing on a particularly bad day.

"I wasn't feeling confident in who I was," she said. "You know those days when you listen to all the negative kind of thoughts about yourself… Not only was I feeling that way, I was getting a lot of messages from fans who were writing letters and coming up to me at the shows saying, 'I'm being bullied in school. My parents are walking through a divorce. I'm struggling with cutting or an eating disorder.'"

"Gold" is the title track from Nicole's third studio album. The song hit #1 on the Billboard US Christian Digital Songs list and ascended to #28 on the Billboard US Mainstream Top 40 list. The album, Gold, was nominated in the category of Best Contemporary Christian Music Album at the 55th Grammy Awards.

Brittany Nicole Waddell was born in Salisbury, NC, in 1984. She began singing at her church at the age of 3 and performed at New York's Carnegie Hall with her high school's advanced choir group. She eventually turned down a scholarship from Belmont University in Nashville to pursue a music career.

Please check out the video of Nicole performing "Gold" to a packed crowd at the 44th edition of the EO Youth Day, which took place in the 41,000-seat Gelredome Stadium in Arnhem, The Netherlands, in 2018. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

“Gold”
Written by Jess Cates, Dan Muckala and Britt Nicole. Performed by Britt Nicole.

You were walking on the moon, now you're feeling low -ow-ow
What they said wasn't true, you're beautiful ul-ul
Sticks and stones break your bones, I know what you're feeling
Words like those won't steal your glow, you're one in a million

This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
Whatever you've been told, you're worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it's your time to shine
From the inside it shows, you're worth more than gold
(gold gold, you're gold)
You're worth more than gold
(gold gold you're gold)

Well everybody keeps score, afraid you're gonna lose
Just ignore they don't know the real you
All the rain in the sky can't put out your fire
Of all the stars out tonight, you shine brighter

This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
Whatever you've been told, you're worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it's your time to shine
From the inside it shows, you're worth more than gold
(gold gold, you're gold)
You're worth more than gold
(gold gold you're gold)

So don't let anybody tell you that you're not loved
and don't let anybody tell you that you're not enough
Yeah, there are days that we all feel like we are messed up
But the truth is that we're all diamonds in the rough
So don't be ashamed to wear your crown
You're a king you're a queen inside and out
You glow like the moon, you shine like the stars
This is for you, wherever you are

Oh, oh, yeah, yeah, oh, oh
You're gold

This, this is for all the girls, and boys all over the world
Whatever you've been told, you're worth more than gold
(so hold your head up high) so hold your head up high
It's your time to shine
From the inside it shows, you're worth more than gold
(gold gold, you're gold)
You're worth more than gold
(gold gold you're gold)
So don't be ashamed to wear your crown
You're a king you're a queen inside and out


Credit: Image capture via YouTube.com.
February 9th, 2021
Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady got to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy overhead for an unprecedented seventh time after he led his Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an impressive 31-9 win over the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. It was the quarterback’s 10th Super Bowl appearance in 21 NFL seasons.



The Super Bowl is traditionally the most-watched television show of the year, boasting more than 100 million viewers. During a spirited and emotional post-game awards ceremony, the trophy was passed from the owners to the players. Even Brady’s adorable 8-year-old daughter, Vivian, got into the act, at first, assisted by her dad, and then alone as she snuggled it like a teddy bear.



As one of the most recognizable and coveted awards in professional sports, the sterling silver Vince Lombardi Trophy stands 22 inches tall and weighs 7 pounds. The trophy has been awarded annually since 1967 and took on its official name in 1970 to honor the Green Bay Packer’s legendary football coach, who led his team to victory in the first two Super Bowls.



The trophy depicts a football in a kicking position on a tapered three-sided stand. The words “Vince Lombardi Trophy” along with the “LV” Roman numerals of this year’s Super Bowl are engraved on the piece. Also on the base is the emblem of the National Football League.

The trophy is awarded right after the big game, but it eventually makes its way back to Tiffany’s hollowware shop in Parsippany, N.J., to be engraved with the names of the participating teams, the date, location of the Super Bowl game and the game’s final score. The winning team gets to keep the trophy.

Tiffany reports that it takes four months to process and create each Vince Lombardi Trophy, as its craftsmen employ four legacy silversmith techniques, including hand soldering, spinning, chasing (hammering) and polishing.

The trophy’s unique design is credited to Tiffany & Co.’s former design chief Oscar Riedener.

According to the official Pro Football Hall of Fame website, then-commissioner Pete Rozelle was tasked with coming up with a trophy for the first-ever AFL-NFL Championship Game, which would take place in January of 1967. Former NFL Executive Director Don Weiss, in his book The Making of the Super Bowl, said Rozelle wanted the trophy to be aligned with his vision of everything about the game being first class.

Rozelle contacted Tiffany & Co., which arranged a meeting with Riedener. Ironically, the designer was a native of Switzerland and knew nothing about American football. After the meeting with Rozelle, Reidener visited the New York headquarters of the famous toy store FAO Schwartz and bought a football. The next morning he put the ball on his kitchen table, opened a box of cornflakes and stared at the football while eating his breakfast.

Upon finishing his cornflakes, he used a pair of scissors to cut up the empty box, transforming it into a three-sided trophy base atop which the football could sit. At lunch a few of days later with Rozelle and a delegation from Tiffany’s, Riedener drew a sketch of his design on a cocktail napkin. Rozelle liked it and the rest is history.

Credits: Screen capture of Tom Brady raising Lombardi Trophy via Youtube.com/NFL. Lombardi Trophy images courtesy of BusinessWire.
February 10th, 2021
The internet has been buzzing about Martha Stewart's blinged-out French Bulldogs. Crème Brûlée and Bête Noire recently wore what appeared to be diamond collars to their owner's online press conference to launch a new line of CBD-infused, soft-baked treats — for dogs.



The high-profile queen of cooking and crafts is said to have a net worth of $400 million, so it is not too far fetched to believe that the pampered pooches were wearing actual diamonds.

Stewart shared snaps of the event with her Instagram fans, who were quick to comment about the canine collars.



“Where did those beautiful jeweled collars for the girls come from?” inquired dogmama52.

“Van Cleef or Cartier. I cannot remember!!” Stewart replied.

Commenting on the same post, a wave of Stewart's Instagram followers praised the domestic diva for how she treats her pups.

"All good dogs get Martha as their dog mom in their next life!" commented mazygillis.

"In my next life, I am going to be Martha’s dog!" added hollydanyliw.

Meanwhile, various online celebrity outlets attempted to confirm whether the diamond dog collars were, indeed, purchased from Van Cleef or Cartier.

"I can confirm these are not Van Cleef pieces and the Maison does not make any dog collars or do any special orders," a Van Cleef spokesperson told insider.com.

Cartier has yet to respond to insider.com's inquiry.



While Crème Brûlée's collar is dripping with stones that look very much like diamonds, the stones in Bête Noire's collar display a rainbow of colors — a characteristic of cubic zirconia, not diamonds.

So, are the doggies wearing diamonds? Only Stewart knows for sure.

While the 79-year-old Stewart is best known for her culinary and craft skills, she's also a devoted dog mom. According to woofrepublic.com, the French Bulldogs share Stewart's home with two Chow Chows, Emperor Han and Empress Qin.

Stewart claims that her new line of CBD-infused dog treats supports mental and physical well-being, reduces the effects of everyday stress and helps to maintain joint health and mobility. CBD is the active ingredient in cannabis.

Credits: Photos via Instagram / MarthaStewart48.
February 11th, 2021
This past August, the newly engaged Heather Rae Young told her Instagram followers that she was “absolutely obsessed” with the 8.08-carat emerald-cut diamond she received from fellow reality TV star Tarek El Moussa.



“It’s perfect for me in every way!,” the Selling Sunset host exclaimed on Instagram. “Thank you Mr. El Moussa for making me the happiest!”

She said that emerald was her favorite diamond cut. What's more, the carat weight of 8.08 was significant because Young’s lucky number is "8."



But, despite the perfection of the diamond, El Moussa, who is best known for his show, Flip or Flop, explained at the time that the ring was still a work in progress.

“Right now, I just got her the main stone, but what I want to do is design the rest of the ring together,” he said. “I provide the stone, and now we actually build the ring.”



The 39-year-old El Moussa made good on the promise and his 33-year-old fianceé revealed the results in a video posted to her Instagram Story this past week. It was titled “Breathtaking.”

In the video, Young is modeling the newly restyled engagement ring. Instead of a simple band of yellow gold, the ring now features emerald-cut diamonds all the way around. The prong-set diamonds perfectly complement the much larger center stone.

“I never planned my ‘dream wedding’ but I saved rings I loved for the past 10 years,” Young wrote. “Gold with emerald cut was always my dream ring.” Young also added a note to her fiancé: “My love, future hubby, you have my whole heart.”

El Moussa recruited jewelry designer Benny Hayoun of Newport Beach-based Benny and the Gems to assist with the original and improved versions of the ring.

The jeweler shared Young's video and offered his take on the project: “We did the upgrade for the ring and it came out perfect. A touch of sparkle, not too much, just enough to make the center look even better. What [do] you guys think about the new ring?”

Young and El Moussa are planning to tie the knot some time later this year.

Credits: Redesigned ring screen capture via Instagram / bennyandthegems. Original ring image via Instagram / heatherraeyoung. Couple image via Instagram / therealtarekelmoussa.
February 12th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you hit songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Pink demonstrates how women can be feminine and tough as nails at the same time in her 2004 release, “Trouble.”



In the first verse, we learn that — despite being decked out in her finest jewelry — she's prepared to slap-down her enemies.

She sings, “No attorneys / To plead my case / No orbits / To send me into outta space / And my fingers / Are bejeweled / With diamonds and gold / But that ain’t gonna help me now.”

Co-written by Pink and Tim Armstrong, “Trouble” was the lead single from Pink’s third studio album, Try This. The song peaked at #68 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and earned a #2 placement on the Canadian Singles Chart. Overall, the song charted in 18 countries. In the official video, she rides into a one-horse town and ignites a bar brawl. That video landed Pink a 2004 Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

”Trouble” has been featured in many popular films, including White Chicks (2004), The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004), Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005), as well as Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011).

Alecia Beth Moore (better known as Pink) was born in Doylestown, PA, in 1979. The artist earned her colorful nickname as a child. Apparently, whenever she got embarrassed her face would turn bright pink. By age 13, she was participating in the Philadelphia club scene and, at 14, she began writing her own songs.

Originally a member of the girl group Choice, Pink launched her solo career in 2000 with the single, “There You Go.” She has since gone on to become one of the most successful and influential artists of her generation. She has sold more than 90 million records worldwide and has earned three Grammy Awards and seven MTV Video Music Awards. In 2009, Billboard named Pink the Pop Songs Artist of the Decade and VH1 ranked her number 10 on its list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music.

“When Alecia Moore debuted in 2000, pop was dominated by long-locked blonds like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson,” wrote Glamour Magazine. “Pink changed the game.”

Trivia: Pink trained as a competitive gymnast between the ages 4 and 12.

Please check out the live performance of Pink singing “Trouble” at Wembley Arena, London, in December of 2006. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Trouble”
Written by Tim Armstrong and Pink. Performed by Pink.

No attorneys
To plead my case
No orbits
To send me into outta space
And my fingers
Are bejeweled
With diamonds and gold
But that ain’t gonna help me now

I’m trouble
Yeah trouble now
I’m trouble y’all
I disturb my town
I’m trouble
Yeah trouble now
I’m trouble y’all
I got trouble in my town

You think your right
But you were wrong
You tried to take me
But I knew all along
You can't take me
For a ride
I’m not a fool now
So you better run and hide

I’m trouble
Yeah trouble now
I’m trouble y’all
I disturb my town
I’m trouble
Yeah trouble now
I’m trouble y’all
I got trouble in my town

If you see me coming
Down the street then
You know it’s time to
Go (and you know it’s time to go
cause here comes trouble)

No attorneys
To plead my case
No orbits
To send me into outta space
And my fingers
Are bejeweled
With diamonds and gold
But that ain’t gonna help me now

You think your right
But you were wrong
You tried to take me
But I knew all along
You can't take me
For a ride
I’m not a fool now
So you'd better run and hide

I’m trouble
Yeah trouble now
I’m trouble y’all
I disturb my town
I’m trouble
Yeah trouble now
I’m trouble y’all
I got trouble in my town

So if you see me coming
Down the street then
You know it’s time to
Go (go-oh-oh, I got)

I’m trouble
Yeah trouble now
I’m trouble y’all

I’m trouble
Yeah trouble now
I’m trouble y’all
I got trouble in my town

I’m trouble
Yeah trouble now
I’m trouble y’all
I disturb my town
I’m trouble
Yeah trouble now
I’m trouble y’all
I got trouble in my town

Trouble in my town, yeah
Trouble in my town, yeah, yeah


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com/P!NK.
February 16th, 2021
As part of a special Valentine edition of Good Morning America, weekend hosts Whit Johnson, Dan Harris and Eva Pilgrim helped medical resident Steven Bean deliver a surprise marriage proposal to fellow doc Raaga Vemula. Not only was the proposal broadcast live, it was also shared in real time on the massive 3,685-square-foot ABC Supersign high above Times Square in New York City.



Vemula believed that she was being interviewed about the challenges of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. What Vemula didn't realize was that her boyfriend of six years was standing directly behind her in the hospital corridor while she answered the anchor's questions.



Vemula and Bean are both medical residents, but are serving in hospitals nearly two hours apart. He works for UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and Vemula works at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Tyler.

"She was amazing and beautiful and then, finally, I worked up the courage to talk to her," Bean explained in the lead-up to the segment. "She is literally the most pure-hearted person I've met in my life. I literally think she's an angel."

Bean had purchased a round diamond solitaire engagement ring back in October, but couldn't find the right time to pop the question due to their grueling schedules.

When asked by Johnson what it's been like to be on the front lines during a pandemic, Vemula told him that it was scary coming in as an intern fresh out of medical school.

"We didn't want to have you on GMA without having a big surprise for you, as well," Johnson added. "As much as we were trying to concentrate on what you were saying, turn around for a moment. Take a look behind you."

Vemula nearly jumped off the ground when she recognized that it was her boyfriend. Then she gave him a big hug.

"Steven, I know you've got something to say here," Johnson said, queuing up Bean's big moment. "Why don't you take it away."

"So Raaga, one of the things I love about you the most is that you're so selfless," he began. "You're always putting into consideration others before yourself, so I thought, 'I want to especially consider what you like,' and I know you love surprises…"

Bean told Vemula that he loves her and he thinks she is beautiful.

"I followed you to med school in a completely different state and I'll follow you anywhere to be by your side," he continued, "so with that being said, I do have a question for you…"



At that moment, he opened a white ring box, and went down on bended knee.

Vemula shrieked, "Oh, my God," when she saw the ring for the first time.

"Would you marry me?" asked Bean.

"Yes," Vemula responded. He placed the ring on her finger, and they embraced.



Back in the GMA studio, the hosts celebrated by popping mini confetti cannons.



In addition to the thrill of sharing their love story on national television, the couple learned The Knot had given them $5,000 to spend on their big day.

Credits: Screen captures via 6abc.com.
February 17th, 2021
Fans of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City are anxiously awaiting the Spring 2021 reopening of the completely reimagined Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals.



The 11,000-square-foot halls will feature some remarkable new attractions, including two amethyst geodes that are among the world’s largest on public display. Sourced in Uruguay, the geodes tower to a height of 12 feet and 9 feet, respectively.

Other high-profile specimens include the legendary 563-carat “Star of India” sapphire, 632-carat Patricia emerald, a 3,000-pound block of iridescent green and blue labradorite and the 9-pound almandine “subway” garnet that was discovered under Manhattan’s 35th Street in 1885.

Titled "Beautiful Creatures," the renovated hall's first temporary exhibition gallery celebrates historic and contemporary jewelry inspired by animals. The gallery will include pieces by Cartier, Bulgari and Tiffany & Co., as well as by contemporary designers, such as Bina Goenka.

“When I first started as a curator at the Museum over 40 years ago, the most recent version of these galleries had just opened. Science has progressed significantly in that time, such as with the concept of mineral evolution,” said George E. Harlow, curator of the new halls. “These new exhibits will present our current scientific understanding of gems and minerals, present the environments in which they form, and focus on the intimate relationship between minerals and life.”

The section of the museum that will house the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals had long been a cul-de-sac, which could be entered and exited only from the south end. In the new configuration, the halls will be linked to the new Gilder Center, allowing visitors to circulate with greater ease and less congestion.

With interactive displays, touchable specimens and media, the halls’ redesigned exhibits will tell the fascinating story of how the vast diversity of mineral types arose on Earth, how scientists classify them and how humans have used them throughout the millennia for personal adornment, tools and technology. Exhibits will showcase about 5,000 specimens from 95 countries.

The new Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals were designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates together with the American Museum of Natural History’s award-winning Exhibition Department under the direction of Lauri Halderman, vice president for exhibition. The halls are named for Roberto and Allison Mignone, longtime AMNH supporters and volunteers. Roberto is a Museum Trustee and Allison is vice chair of the Museum’s Campaign.

Credit: Image by D. Finnin/© AMNH.
February 18th, 2021
The largest diamond ever recovered from the Gahcho Kué diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories has been named "Polaris" to honor its Arctic origins. Polaris is the astrological name for the North Star, which is the outermost star in the handle of the Little Dipper.



According to the mine's co-owner, Mountain Province Diamonds, the gem-quality, 157.38-carat diamond exhibits a rare natural blue fluorescence that echoes its origins at the edge of Canada's Arctic Circle.

(According to the Gemological Association of America, approximately 25% to 35% of diamonds will fluoresce when examined with a standard long-wave UV lamp. The vast majority will display blue fluorescence, although diamonds can fluoresce in a variety of other colors, including orangy yellow, yellow, orange, red, white and green.)

Polaris will be offered for sale during the mining company's second tender of the year at Bonas Group's offices in Antwerp. Included in the offering are more than 30 high-quality rough diamonds weighing 10.8 carats or more. Viewings will begin on February 22 and the sale will close on March 5. Diamonds will be awarded to the highest online bidders.

"It is an extraordinary stone, recovered at the end of an extraordinary year," said Reid Mackie, the company's vice president of diamond marketing. "Polaris, the North Star, is an enduring touch point of light for those navigating under northern skies. It remains a celestial constant as the earth rotates and the seasons change. We take inspiration from this stone and the beautiful light suspended within it as we, our customers and, indeed, the world navigate forward to more positive times."



From the start of production in late 2016, the Gahcho Kué mine has established itself as a regular source of exceptional, large, gem-quality diamonds. In 2020 alone, Mountain Province sold more than 400 individual rough diamonds larger than 10.8 carats.

The Gahcho Kué mine is a remote fly-in/fly-out location 280km (174 miles) northeast of Yellowknife. De Beers has a 51% stake in the mine. The property consists of several kimberlites that are actively being mined, developed and explored for future development. It is said to be one of the 10 biggest diamond mines in the world.



While Polaris is an impressive find, the 157.4-carat rough gem is less than a third of the weight of the largest rough diamond ever recovered in Canada. The Canadian record-setter weighed 552 carats and was sourced by Dominion Diamonds at the nearby Diavik mine in 2018. It was appropriately named “552.”

The 552 was the star of a highly publicized exhibition at Phillips auction house in New York City in February of 2019.

Credits: Gahcho Kué diamond photo and mine photo courtesy of CNW Group/Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. Photo of “552” by The Jeweler Blog.
February 19th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you new tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Justin Bieber tells his wife, Hailey, that she is the only one he'll ever love in his 2021 hit, "Anyone."



In the very first verse, Bieber sets the romantic scene with references to gems and precious metals.

He sings, "Dance with me under the diamonds / See me like breath in the cold / Sleep with me here in the silence / Come kiss me, silver and gold."

"Under the diamonds" is Bieber's poetic way of describing the starlit sky, while "come kiss me, silver and gold" conveys how much he cherishes the relationship.

In the official video, Bieber portrays a 1960s boxer who gets a shot at the title. Actress Zoey Deutch provides Bieber's inspiration as he trains — Rocky-style — in the lead-up to the fight. In the climactic final scene, Bieber recovers from a near-knockout to triumph in the end.

Since its release on New Year's Day 2021, "Anyone" has been viewed on YouTube more than 53 million times.

"'Anyone' is such a special, hopeful, anthemic song," he said in a statement. "It sets the tone for a brighter new year full of hope and possibility."

"Anyone" charted in 21 countries, including a #6 placement on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #2 position on the Canadian Hot 100.

Interestingly, "Anyone" was originally intended for Camila Cabello's sophomore studio album, Romance. The song didn't make the final cut and was offered to Bieber, instead. "Anyone" was co-written by Andrew Watt, who famously co-wrote Cabello's smash hit, "Havana."

Born in London, Ontario, Canada, in 1994, Justin Drew Bieber loved to perform as a kid. In early 2007, he placed second in a local singing competition. Bieber’s mom, Pattie, posted a video of his performance on YouTube, and then added videos of her precocious son singing covers of various R&B songs. It's been reported that music executive Scooter Braun accidentally clicked on one of Bieber’s videos — thinking he was watching a 20-year-old doing a cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” The impressive performer was, in fact, the 12-year-old Bieber.

Braun tracked down the youngster in Canada, and with the permission of Bieber’s mom, introduced him to singer-songwriter Usher, who soon became his mentor. Bieber was then signed by record executive L.A. Reid and the rest is Bieber history.

Bieber has sold an estimated 150 million records, making him the best-selling male Canadian artist and one of the world’s best-selling music artists. He's earned one Grammy Award, 18 American Music Awards, 20 Billboard Music Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards and a record 21 MTV Europe Music Awards.

Please check out the Bieber performing "Anyone" in the official video. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

"Anyone"
Written by Justin Bieber, Michael Pollack, Raul Cubina, Andrew Watt, Jon Bellion and The Monsters & Strangerz. Performed by Justin Bieber.

Dance with me under the diamonds
See me like breath in the cold
Sleep with me here in the silence
Come kiss me, silver and gold

They say that I won't lose you
But you can't predict the future
So just hold on like you will never let go
Yeah, if you ever move on without me
I need to make sure you know

That you are the only one I'll ever love
(I gotta tell ya, gotta tell ya)
Yeah, you, if it's not you, it's not anyone
(I gotta tell ya, gotta tell ya)
Looking back on my life you're the only good I've ever done
(Ever done)
Yeah, you, if it's not you, it's not anyone
(Anyone)
Not anyone

Forever is not enough time to (No)
Love you the way that I want (Love you the way that I want)
'Cause every morning I find you
I fear the day that I don't

They say that I won't lose you
But you can't predict the future
So just hold on like you will never let go
Yeah, if you ever move on without me
I need to make sure you know

That you are the only one I'll ever love
(I gotta tell ya, gotta tell ya)
Yeah, you, if it's not you, it's not anyone
(I gotta tell ya, gotta tell ya)
Looking back on my life you're the only good I've ever done
(Ever done)
Yeah, you, if it's not you, it's not anyone
(Anyone)
Not anyone

Oh, oh, oh, oh
If it's not you, it's not anyone
Oh, oh, oh yeah, woah

Yeah, you are the only one I'll ever love
(I gotta tell ya, gotta tell ya)
Yeah, you, if it's not you, it's not anyone
(I gotta tell ya, gotta tell ya)
Looking back on my life you're the only good I've ever done
(Ever done)
Yeah, you, if it's not you, it's not anyone
(Anyone)
Not anyone

Looking back on my life you're the only good I've ever done
(Ever done)
Yeah, you, if it's not you, it's not anyone
(Anyone)
Not anyone


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com/Justin Bieber.
February 22nd, 2021
Paris Hilton may have finally found her Prince Charming. Venture capitalist Carter Reum proposed to the heiress/entrepreneur over Valentine weekend with an emerald-cut diamond engagement ring fit for royalty.



The ring design by jeweler Jean Dousset — the great-great-grandson of famed French jeweler Louis Cartier — takes its inspiration from the architectural elements of the iconic Grand Palais, the exhibition hall and museum complex located at the Champs-Élysées.



"Jean Dousset looked to the city of light when designing my one-of-a-kind engagement ring," Hilton explained on her website, parishilton.com. "Influenced by both classical and Art Nouveau motifs, it is framed by forms that resemble the vaulted glass ceiling of the Grand Palais."

Hilton named her ring "Paris" and said that it appears to be lit from within. The large center stone is flanked by two trapezoidal stones and accented with dozens of smaller stones throughout the elaborate setting.

Jewelry-industry pundits had a hard time pegging the exact carat weight of the stone and overall value of the ring. The diamond is estimated to weigh anywhere between 10 and 20 carats, and the ring value is said to be in the range of $1 million to $3 million.



The 39-year-old Reum popped the question while the couple celebrated Hilton's 40th birthday on a private island. It seems as if Hilton might have been aware of Reum's intentions because her beach attire included a Loschy crown and her signature fingerless gloves. The couple's family and friends were also on hand to share in the celebration.

In a series of Instagram posts, Hilton said that her fairytale dream came true and dished the details of the romantic proposal.

She wrote, "When you find your soulmate, you don’t just know it. You feel it. 💫 My love & I have been together since our first date, and for my birthday, he arranged a special trip to tropical paradise. 🏝️ As we walked to dinner along the beach, Carter led us to a cabana adorned with flowers and dropped to one knee. 💍 I said yes, yes to forever ❤️ There’s no one I’d rather spend forever with. ✨ Here's to Love - the Forever Kind 💋 #Engaged #SheSaidYes"

On her YouTube channel, Hilton shared a video of an artist hand painting her namesake ring in Dousset's design studio.



Credits: Ring and engagement images by Paris Hilton. Grand Palais photo by Inocybe at French Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons.
February 23rd, 2021
Mining giant Alrosa recently named a gem-quality, 100.53-carat light yellow diamond after "Sputnik V," the world's first registered vaccine against COVID-19. The vaccine, which is said to be more than 90% effective, was registered in August 2020 and has already been administered to more than 2 million people worldwide.



The Sputnik V vaccine had been named after the world's first satellite, Sputnik, which was launched into low-Earth orbit by the Soviet Union on Oct. 4, 1957. Being first to market with a life-saving vaccine and being first to space with a man-made satellite were both triumphs of innovation and technology.

Likewise, Alrosa named the yellow diamond "Sputnik V" because of its wondrous qualities.

"Rough diamonds of this size and color are true natural wonders," said Alrosa CEO Sergey Ivanov. "Therefore, we decided to name this outstanding crystal after the first Russian coronavirus vaccine, which is also a miracle created by our scientists. The vaccine itself, and the fact that it was developed so fast, are both exceptional. This gives us hope [of] getting back to life as usual in the foreseeable future."



The alluvial diamond was sourced at Alrosa's mine in the frigid, sparsely populated Russian outpost of Yakutia. Shaped like a flattened octahedron, the gem measures 27.15mm х 28.81mm х 29.56 mm (1.16 inches on its longest side).

The alluvial deposits in northwest Yakutia, where Alrosa subsidiary Almazy Anabara operates, provide a rich source of natural colored diamonds, including those with exceptionally rare hues.

Alrosa is looking to become a major player in gem-quality colored diamonds, a segment of the industry once dominated by Rio Tinto and Anglo American’s De Beers. Alrosa's new discoveries of fancy-colored diamonds come at a time when Rio Tinto's exhausted Argyle Mine in Western Australia has officially ceased operations. That mine had been the world’s primary source for pink, red and blue diamonds.

Alrosa accounts for nearly one-third of global rough diamond production. The company manages mines in Russia's Yakutia and Arkhangelsk regions, as well as Africa. The mining company sorts approximately 40 million carats per year.

Credits: Diamond image courtesy of Alrosa. Sputnik V vaccine image by Casa Rosada (Argentina Presidency of the Nation), CC BY 2.5 AR, via Wikimedia Commons.
February 24th, 2021
On Thursday, the Perseverance rover completed its seven-month, 293 million-mile journey to Mars and landed safely in the Jezero crater, which contains fields of opaline silica, better known as opal.



NASA scientists purposely targeted the Jezero crater because it was a rich source of a mineral that was likely to preserve microbial or plant material. During its two year mission, the six-wheeled, SUV-size vehicle with the most sophisticated robotic astrobiology lab ever launched will be collecting opal samples that may prove the existence of extraterrestrial life.

According to NASA, the now dry and dusty 28-mile-wide Jezero crater shows unmistakable signs of having been filled with water billions of years ago. Perseverance will begin its work near an ancient river delta that once flowed into the basin. Jezero means "lake" in many Slavic languages.

"In Jezero, we have one of the most beautifully preserved delta deposits on Mars in that crater," Katie Stack Morgan, the deputy project scientist for the mission, told NPR.

Perseverance project scientist Ken Farley said that billions of years ago, it would have been an ideal place for microorganisms to have lived, "and it is also a wonderful place for those microorganisms to be preserved so that we can find them now."

Perseverance is a significantly upgraded version of its predecessor, Curiosity, which explored Mars in 2012. New instruments include a better drill to secure core samples, instruments to analyze Martian mineralogy, ground-penetrating radar, a weather station, high-res cameras and microphones that have captured the sounds from Mars for the first time. The first audio clips were beamed to the Earth on Saturday, February 20.



Here on Earth, fine opals are sourced mainly in Australia. Scientists believe that between 100 million and 97 million years ago, Australia’s vast inland sea, which was populated by marine dinosaurs, began retreating. As the sea regressed, a rare episode of acidic weather was taking place, exposing pyrite minerals and releasing sulphuric acid. As the surface of the basin dried further and cracked, silica-rich gel became trapped in the veins of the rock. Over time, the silica solidified to form opals.

In precious opal, the silica spheres are uniform in size and are stacked into an orderly arrangement, which gives the structure the ability to break visible white light into separate colors. An opal’s silica structure contains 3% to 20% water, according to the American Gem Society.

Credit: Perseverance rover image by NASA/JPL-Caltech. Australian opal image by James St. John, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
February 25th, 2021
American diplomat Henry Kissinger once joked that "a diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure." Now, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have taken that notion to the extreme.



Researchers predicted that a diamond crystal would shift to a new, more stable structure when subjected to 2 trillion pascals of pressure. That's equivalent to five times the pressure found at the center of the Earth.

What they discovered, however, was that the diamond crystal remained perfectly stable. In their terminology, the diamond proved to be "metastable" due to the strong chemical bonds that hold its carbon atoms together.



The findings lend credence to the fantastical theory that carbon-rich exoplanets may have diamonds at their core.

During their experiments, physicist Amy Lazicki Jenei and her colleagues modeled high-pressure environments by pummeling the diamond crystal with powerful lasers and then used X-rays to examine the structure.

Scientists had theorized that the carbon-based material would transform again into several new structures, ones we have never seen or achieved before.

"We discovered that, surprisingly, under these conditions carbon does not transform to any of the predicted phases, but retains the diamond structure up to the highest pressure," Jenei said.

What's also super interesting about diamonds is that they form at intense pressures far below the Earth's surface, but retain their structure when relieved of that pressure. Carbon in its most stable state is graphite (the same material you find in a lead pencil). Theoretically, carbon under less pressure would revert to its most stable variant, but it doesn't.

The scientists reported that they are not entirely sure why diamond is metastable across a wide range of pressures and there is much more work ahead.

Jenei and her team published their findings in the January 27 edition of Nature.

In September of 2020, a team of researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Chicago suggested that the key factor in determining whether an exoplanet will be rich in diamonds is the chemical composition of the star that it orbits.

Exoplanets that orbit stars with a high carbon-to-oxygen ratio are more likely to be carbon-rich. Under the right conditions, such as the presence of water, heat and pressure, the highly concentrated carbon at the core of exoplanets could turn into diamonds, they predicted in a study published in The Planetary Science Journal.

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

Credits: Image of 341-carat diamond courtesy of Lucara. Diamond planet illustration courtesy of Shim/ASU/Vecteezy.
February 26th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, the incomparable Stevie Wonder performs “Stay Gold,” a beautiful ballad he co-wrote for the 1983 cult movie classic, The Outsiders.



In the song inspired by Robert Frost’s 1923 poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” Wonder uses the lustrous metal as a metaphor for the precious, yet fleeting, vitality of youth.

“Stay Gold,” which runs during the opening credits of The Outsiders, starts with these memorable lyrics: “Seize upon that moment long ago / One breath away and there you will be / So young and carefree / Again you will see / That place in time… so gold.”

The Outsiders was adapted from a 1967 novel by teenage author S.E. (Susan Eloise) Hinton, who based the story on her own experiences in an Oklahoma high school, which was divided by rival gangs, the hardscrabble Greasers and the wealthier Socs (pronounced “soashes”).

The movie has become a cult favorite, partly because Hinton’s book is required reading in many high schools, but mostly due to the fact that every teenage actor in the cast went on to become a Hollywood A-list heartthrob. The cast included Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon and Tom Cruise.

The Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” plays a vital role in the film. Ponyboy (played by Howell) reads the poem to the injured Johnny (Macchio) while they are in hiding. “Stay gold” are Johnny’s last words before he dies. Later in the film, Ponyboy finds Johnny’s interpretation of the Frost poem: that beauty and innocence are transient and must be guarded like gold.

While Wonder penned the lyrics to “Stay Gold,” the music was composed by Francis Ford Coppola’s father, Carmine, who also contributed the memorable, original music to a number of his son’s other blockbuster films, including The Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now.

Born Stevland Hardaway Morris in inner-city Detroit, Wonder was a child prodigy and musical genius — despite being blind since infancy. His first instrument was a harmonica and he was a skilled musician by the age of eight.

He was discovered by Ronnie White of the Miracles at the age of 11 and was quickly signed to a five-year Motown contract by CEO Berry Gordy. Billed as Little Stevie Wonder, the singer/songwriter/musician was an instant sensation.

Now 70, Wonder has performed for six decades. Over that time, he has amassed 30 U.S. Top-10 hits, received 25 Grammy Awards and has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him ninth on its list of the greatest singers of all time. Wonder is a member of both the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Halls of Fame.

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

“Stay Gold”
Lyrics by Stevie Wonder and music by Carmine Coppola. Performed by Stevie Wonder.

Seize upon that moment long ago
One breath away and there you will be
So young and carefree
Again you will see
That place in time… so gold

Steal away into that way back when
You thought that all would last forever
But like the weather
Nothing can ever… and be in time
Stay gold

But can it be
When we can see
So vividly
A memory
And yes you say
So must the day
Too, fade away
And leave a ray of sun
So gold

Life is but a twinkling of an eye
Yet filled with sorrow and compassion
though not imagined
All things that happen
Will age too old
Though gold


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.