Topaz Goldsmiths and Gallery

Topaz Goldsmiths and Gallery

Articles in September 2021

September 1st, 2021
About a century ago, the swashbuckling silent film star Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., gifted a 182-carat star sapphire to his equally famous wife, Mary Pickford. The violet-blue sapphire was a prized possession of "America's Sweetheart" until her death in 1979 at the age of 87.




Upon her passing, a representative of the Smithsonian was invited by the Mary Pickford Foundation to examine the stone. According the Los Angeles Times, the rep was immediately impressed, stating, “We want this sapphire. It is much brighter than our others.”

This impressive example of September's official birthstone was soon bequeathed to the Smithsonian and became a permanent resident of the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals.



Pickford and Fairbanks were motion picture pioneers. They formed Pickford–Fairbanks Studios in 1919, which was renamed United Artists Studio in 1928. The power couple tied the knot in 1920, a marriage that would last 16 years. Pickford is also credited with being one of the 36 founding members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the first actress to sign a $1 million contract.

Displaying an impressive six-rayed asterism when viewed under direct light, Pickford's cabochon-cut star sapphire owes its intense color to trace amounts of titanium, iron and vanadium in its chemical composition. The vanadium provides the violet undertones. All sapphires are made of the mineral corundum (crystalline aluminum oxide). In its pure state, the corundum is colorless, but when trace elements are naturally introduced to the chemical composition all the magic happens.

Interestingly, the "Star of Bombay" was not from Bombay at all. It originated in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). Jewelry-industry scholars have a few thoughts on how the gem was misnamed. The most plausible is that the stone was mined in Sri Lanka, but then sold to a western buyer through the trading center of Bombay (now called Mumbai). The 563-carat "Star of India" is another famous star sapphire that was misnamed. It, too, originated in Sri Lanka.

Historically, the finest and most vibrant gem-quality sapphires have come from Sri Lanka, Burma and the Kashmir region of India. According to the Smithsonian, sapphires from Sri Lanka are typically light to medium blue and are commonly referred to as “Ceylon Sapphires.”

Sapphires are seen in many colors, including pink, purple, green, orange and yellow. Ruby is the red variety of corundum.

Credits: "Star of Bombay" photo by Chip Clark / Smithsonian, and digitally enhanced by SquareMoose. Mary Pickford photo by Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
September 2nd, 2021
Mothballed since 2015, the Ellendale mine in Western Australia's Kimberley region could be producing its famous fancy yellow diamonds as early as this month. Ellendale diamonds possess a signature pure yellow color and are regarded as the highest quality in the world.



At one time, Ellendale produced about 50% of the world’s entire supply of fancy yellow diamonds, with Tiffany & Co. holding the exclusive rights to buy 100% of the Ellendale Fancy Yellow diamond production.

Now, two mining companies — India Bore Diamond Holdings (IBDH) and Burgundy Diamond Mines (BDM) — have been given the green light by the Aussie authorities to restart operations.

IBDH previously reported that it had discovered a large alluvial deposit of rare diamonds near the Ellendale mine. The miner said the L-Channel deposit was estimated to contain 1.3 million carats of gem-quality diamonds, including the world renowned Ellendale fancy yellows.

An IBDH spokesperson told Rapaport News that the mining company had discovered an ancient hidden river system flowing in a southward direction through the Ellendale diamond field.

“Until we discovered the channel, the idea of a south-flowing drainage system ran against many years of collective wisdom that the natural alluvial drainage systems at Ellendale flowed only to the north [or] northwest,” said an IBDH spokesperson. “In short, we looked where nobody had before.”

IBDH believes that 11% of all annual output will consist of fancy-yellow diamonds. The rest will include colorless diamonds, as well as a rainbow of colors, including green, red, pink, brown, blue, grey, purple and violet.

Peter McNally, managing director of IBDH, told Australia's ABC network that he hoped to be mining diamonds at Ellendale some time this month.

Meanwhile, Burgundy Diamond Mines was also preparing to return to commercial mining of the old Ellendale diamond project. BDM managing director Peter Ravenscroft told the news agency that his company was in the process of building a bulk sampling plant and was confident production would start up by the fourth quarter of 2022.

The former Rio Tinto executive is hoping to replicate the successes of the Argyle Pink Diamonds brand.

"Those fancy yellow diamonds from Ellendale are really sought after and highly prized," he told the ABC network.

Having exhausted its reserves, Rio Tinto shuttered its Argyle mining operations in November of 2020. During its 37 years of production, the Argyle mine generated more than 865 million carats of rough diamonds and become the world’s largest producer of colored diamonds.

The Ellendale mining area is located 120 km east of Derby in Western Australia.

Credit: Image courtesy of IBDH.
September 3rd, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we love to revitalize long-forgotten tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. In Elvis Costello’s “The Element Within Her,” the singer-songwriter-poet uses precious gems to describe a girl who is radiant on the inside and out.



He sings, “It’s the element within her / Something under her skin / That is shining out through the face of the girl / Two sapphires and a couple of rows of pearls.”

Taken literally, the two sapphires likely represent sparkling blues eyes, while the rows of pearls symbolize the brilliant white teeth of a dazzling smile. (Yes, the timing of this song is perfect because sapphire is September’s official birthstone.)

Elvis Costello and the Attractions released “The Elements Within Her” in 1983 as the fourth track of their album, Punch the Clock. The album met with moderate success as it reached #24 on the U.S. Billboard Pop Albums chart.

Even though “The Elements Within Her” never charted as a single, the song has been included on many of Costello’s set lists. According to a Costello fan site, “Elements” was first performed live in London in 1983, and the last time fans enjoyed it live was in Chicago in 2011.

Born in London in 1954, Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus became Elvis Costello when his manager, Jake Riviera, suggested that he merge Elvis Presley’s first name with Costello, which was his dad’s stage name (Day Costello).

Elvis Costello is credited with being a pioneer of the British punk and new wave movements in the mid-to-late 1970s. Costello and The Attractions were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Costello #80 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

We hope you enjoy the audio track of Costello and the Attractions performing “The Elements Within Her.” The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

“The Element Within Her”
Written by Elvis Costello. Performed by Elvis Costello and the Attractions.

It’s the element within her
Something under her skin
That is shining out through the face of the girl
Two sapphires and a couple of rows of pearls

It’s just a part of it
Like your fine tresses
You know what my guess is
La la la la la la la la la la la

It’s the element within her
Something under her skin
That is shining out through the face of the girl
Two sapphires and a couple of rows of pearls

And he was a playboy
Could charm the birds right out of the trees
Now he says, “What do I do with these?”
La la la la la la la la la la la

This love in my heart
Let no one set asunder
Sometimes I wonder
La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la

But back in the bedroom
With her electric heater
He says, “Are you cold?”
She says, “No, but you are la…”
La la la la la la la, la la la la la la la la la

It’s the element within her
La la la la la la la la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la

It’s the element within her
La la la la la la la la la

It’s the element within her
La la la la la la la la la

It’s the element within her
La la la la la la la la la

Oh, it’s the element within… 



Credit: Photo by David Kabot, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
September 7th, 2021
The Miami Hurricanes unwrapped the 2021 edition of their famous "turnover chain" during the team's season opener against the #1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon.



Despite being behind at the time by 27 points, the defensive unit celebrated when Kamren Kinchens forced a fumble during the second quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. As part of a tradition started in 2017, any Hurricanes player who creates a turnover gets to wear a massive, gem-encrusted pendant to celebrate his accomplishment. This year's design is in the shape of a Miami Hurricanes helmet and is emblazoned with 2,754 sapphires.



The pendant is set with 2,245 white sapphires, 366 orange sapphires and 143 green sapphires to mimic the helmet colors. The pendant is fabricated from 1,000 grams (2.2 pounds) of gold and dangles from a massive Cuban-link chain that weighs 3,500 grams (7.7 pounds) and is roughly 34 inches long. The university reported that the piece took three months to complete.

After the fumble, Kinchens bounded to the Hurricanes' bench, where he posed for the fans and TV cameras with the over-the-top jewelry hanging from his neck.

Unfortunately, officials on the field were reviewing a video of the play and decided that the offensive player had recovered his own fumble. The decision on the field was reversed and Kinchens quickly removed the jewelry and ran back on to the field. TV cameras followed the path of the bling as coaches returned it to a secured case.

During the third quarter, Hurricanes lineman Chantz Williams stripped the ball from Alabama's quarterback and fellow defensive lineman Jordan Miller jumped on the loose ball, netting the defensive unit's first official turnover of the season. Finally, the players got to show off the 2021 version of the turnover chain.

The celebratory turnover chain is the team’s fifth design in five years. The first incarnation of that chain, in 2017, featured a diamond-encrusted “U” hanging from a Cuban link chain. The 2018 edition highlighted a jeweled Sebastian the Ibis, the team’s mascot, but no “U” logo. The 2019 version was a diamond-adorned “305,” a number that refers to the South Florida area code. In 2020, the university rolled out a Florida-shaped pendant that weighed 300 grams and was dotted with 4,000 sapphires set in 10-karat yellow gold.

The Miami Herald reported that since the chain's creation in 2017, the Hurricanes have forced 92 turnovers, which is third among the "Power 5" teams. Only Clemson (97) and Alabama (95) have had more. The Power 5 conferences are the highest rated in the country and include the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC.

The #15-ranked Hurricanes were defeated by the Crimson Tide 44-13, but return to Miami's Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, September 11, to face the Appalachian State Mountaineers in their home opener.

Credits: Images courtesy of Miami Athletics.
September 8th, 2021
A core sample extracted on Monday from a flat, briefcase-size Mars rock nicknamed “Rochette” could hold the answer to the ever-vexing question of whether there has ever been life on the Red Planet.



In February, the unmanned 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.



On Monday, NASA’s engineers celebrated as the Perseverance rover collected the first sample of Martian rock. The core sample — just slightly thicker than a pencil — was enclosed in an airtight titanium sample tube, making it available for retrieval in the future.

“With over 3,000 parts, the Sampling and Caching System is the most complex mechanism ever sent into space,” said Larry D. James, interim director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Through the Mars Sample Return campaign, NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) are planning a series of future missions to return the rover’s sample tubes to Earth for closer study. These samples would be the first set of scientifically identified and selected materials returned to our planet from another.

"Using the most sophisticated science instruments on Earth, we expect jaw-dropping discoveries across a broad set of science areas, including exploration into the question of whether life once existed on Mars,” commented Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

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. As part of its two-year mission, Perseverance has begun exploring an ancient river delta that once flowed into the basin. Jezero means “lake” in many Slavic languages.

Credits: Images courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.
September 9th, 2021
Cuban-Spanish actress Ana de Armas is reprising her starring role in a series of visually striking ads for the Natural Diamond Council. Called “For Moments Like No Other,” the campaign embraces a brilliant, energetic return to adventure, wanderlust, new connections and romance while highlighting the integral role natural diamonds play in how we "Love Life."



Mallorca, Spain, provides the spectacular backdrop for a series of vignettes showcasing the bedazzled actress in various social settings. In each scene, natural diamonds are in focus as de Armas generates new memories.

"Diamond jewelry sales have seen record-breaking growth as we emerge from the pandemic," said David Kellie, CEO of Natural Diamond Council (NDC). "Consumers are eager to create new memories, and natural diamonds are synonymous with celebrating life's moments. This campaign emanates the 'Love Life' manifesto to the core. We're thrilled to have Ana de Armas back with us for another year to share the magic of natural diamonds with a global audience."

In the ads, de Armas wears an 11-piece diamond jewelry collection that was custom designed for the campaign by the Brooklyn-based Malyia McNaughton, an active participant in NDC's Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative with Lorraine Schwartz. The collection is being interpreted by jewelry retailers globally for the holiday season.

"It was a privilege to work alongside Malyia and see how she applied her unique sensibility in interpreting the confluence of the season's most prevailing diamond jewelry trends — gender fluidity, heavy metal chains and the marquise cut — with the essence of 'Love Life,'" said Kristina Buckley Kayel, Managing Director of Natural Diamond Council.

The collection and the campaign launched together on Wednesday. Details were showcased in an immersive look book on a dedicated campaign website. The site has received more than 100 million unique visitors since its launch in June 2020.

"I hope this campaign brings joy and hope to everyone," said de Armas, who is a Golden Globe nominee for her performance in Knives Out. "I hope that it inspires people to love stronger, to enjoy every minute and cherish the moments of happiness with their loved ones. It was an amazing experience working with this incredible team and I couldn't be happier to be working again with the Natural Diamond Council."

The NDC represents seven of the world’s leading diamond producers. Together, they account for 75% of the global rough diamond production, operating in eight countries on four continents.

Credit: Image courtesy of the Natural Diamond Council.
September 10th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you sensational songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today we feature Corinne Bailey Rae’s quintessential summer singalong, “Put Your Records On,” a tune that urges the listener to “let your hair down” and references the September birthstone — sapphire.



In this song about casting away worries, taking time to relax and embracing one’s inner beauty, Rae repeats the catchy phrase, “Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams / Just go ahead, let your hair down.”

Although the “sapphire” in the verse is likely referring to a particular shade of blue jeans, we’re still excited to feature this song because Rae’s message and performance are so uplifting.

The 42-year-old British singer-songwriter and guitarist scored a huge hit with “Put Your Records On” in 2006 when it was released as the second single from her self-titled debut album. The song charted in 17 countries, sold nearly two million copies and was nominated at the 2007 Grammy Awards for “Record of the Year” and “Song of the Year.” She also received a third nomination that year for "Best New Artist."

Incidentally, the song’s opening lines, “Three little birds sat on my window / And they tell me I don’t need to worry,” is a reference to Bob Marley & The Wailers’ 1977 hit song, “Three Little Birds.”

“Put Your Records On” returned to music charts in 2020, when it was covered by indie rock performer Ritt Momney. His version charted in 15 countries and peaked in the top 10 in Australia and New Zealand.

Born Corinne Jacqueline Bailey in Leeds, England, in 1979, the multi-talented artist was inspired as a teenager by the music of Lenny Kravitz, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.

Please check out Rae’s live performance of “Put Your Records On.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Put Your Records On”
Written by Corinne Bailey Rae, John Beck and Steve Chrisanthou. Performed by Corinne Bailey Rae.

Three little birds, sat on my window.
And they told me I don’t need to worry.
Summer came like cinnamon
So sweet,
Little girls double-dutch on the concrete.

Maybe sometimes, we’ve got it wrong, but it’s alright
The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same
Oh, don’t you hesitate.

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favorite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

You’re gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow.

Blue as the sky, sunburnt and lonely,
Sipping tea in the bar by the roadside,
(just relax, just relax)
Don’t you let those other boys fool you,
Got to love that afro hair do.

Maybe sometimes, we feel afraid, but it’s alright
The more you stay the same, the more they seem to change.
Don’t you think it’s strange?

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favorite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

You’re gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow.

‘Twas more than I could take, pity for pity’s sake
Some nights kept me awake, I thought that I was stronger
When you gonna realize, that you don’t even have to try any longer?
Do what you want to.

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favorite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favorite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

Oh, you’re gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow



Credit: Screen capture via Youtube.com.
September 13th, 2021
A woman who lost her diamond ring in the bathroom of a Hawaiian Hotel — and ended up with two — said she is determined to locate the rightful owners of the second ring because "their love story doesn’t belong to me.”



"If you think this is your ring, don't lose hope," Paula Ribeiro told the viewers of Hawaii News Now. "It's not lost anymore because I found it."

The strange series of events took place during Ribeiro's romantic Labor Day weekend getaway with her husband, David.

The couple booked a Polynesian-style bungalow at the Hotel Molokai, an exotic venue billed as a "genuine hideaway from all things mainstream." Molokai, which is 35 minutes from Honolulu by plane, is adjacent to Hawaii’s only barrier reef and is said to be the birthplace of the hula.

After checking in, Ribeiro had taken off her own solitaire engagement ring to wash her face, but accidentally bumped it into the gap between the sink and the wall.

Unable to reach the ring, Ribeiro panicked at first, but the hotel staff told her not to worry.

Paula and David went on a hike, and when they came back later that afternoon, a pretty floral-motif diamond cluster ring was on the sink.



“Oh my God, this is not my ring," Ribeiro remembered saying. "Oh my God, what’s going on?”

Clearly, this was not the first time the void behind the sink had consumed a guest's ring.

The hotel staff returned to the room and managed to retrieve Ribeiro's ring, as well.

“Next thing you know, mine was in the same hole," she said. "So come to find out, now I have two rings!”

The hotel's manager told Ribeiro that nobody had reported a diamond ring missing during the 14 years he's been with the hotel, so the ring may have been lost at an earlier date. The hotel has been booking bungalows for more than 50 years.

Robeiro took the mystery ring to a local jeweler, who confirmed the diamonds were real.

She also joked that her hand looks so much better with it on.

Still, she acknowledged that the ring needs to be returned to its rightful owner.

"I feel so bad for the person who lost it," she said. “Two people fell in love sometime in their life and they made a promise to each other with that ring. Their love story doesn’t belong to me.”

In order to help identify the owner, the Hawaii News Now team purposely left out critical details from their story. These included the particular bungalow where the ring was found, the ring size and any inscription that may have been on the band. Viewers were encouraged to email their inquiries to news@hawaiinewsnow.com.

Credits: Screen captures via hawaiinewsnow.com.
September 14th, 2021
Back in February of 2016, the Gemological Institute of America identified a brand new variety of chalcedony — a fascinating gem that incorporated the colors of the sky, the sea and the earth. Dubbed “Aquaprase” by Greek gem explorer Yianni Melas, the translucent bluish-green specimens have been compared to the Aegean Sea when viewed from an airplane.



Billed as the 21st century's first gem discovery, the unique chalcedony caught the attention of luxury brand Le Vian, which has since trademarked the superior selections of the gem as Le Vian Peacock Aquaprase™.

Recently, Le Vian donated to New York City's American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) a selection of rough and polished Aquaprase gemstones, as well as Le Vian Couture jewels featuring the stone.



The donation was timed to coincide with the reopening of the completely redesigned and reinstalled Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals. The 11,000-square-foot facility within the AMNH features more than 5,000 specimens sourced from 95 countries.

The Aquaprase selections will share the spotlight with other notable specimens, such as the legendary 563-carat Star of India sapphire, the 632-carat Patricia Emerald and the 9-pound almandine Subway Garnet that had been discovered under Manhattan’s 35th Street in 1885.

Melas first encountered Aquaprase in an undisclosed African country in 2013. He told JCK magazine in 2016 that he saw a sample of this unusual gem while visiting a friend’s hut. The specimen was displayed on a shelf and was in poor condition.

“I couldn’t explain why I thought it was different,” he told JCK. “It is like a third eye. I have seen thousands of stones and you get that feeling. When I picked up the stone, I had the chills, a funny feeling. That feeling is something you have to follow.”

He did some exploring to find more examples of this type of gem, but he wasn’t sure what it was, exactly.

Some associates guessed it was chrysocolla. Others said is was blue-green opal. Most thought it was chrysoprase.

To get a conclusive answer, he sent a sample to GIA.

“I heard nothing for three months,” he told JCK. “Then I got a phone call that said we found something incredible. It’s not a chrysoprase. It is not a chrysocolla. It’s a chalcedony that has never been discovered.”

The GIA reported that the new bluish-green variety of chalcedony gets its unique color from traces of chromium and nickel within the chemical makeup of the quartz stone. Previously identified varieties of chalcedony occurred in yellowish-green and greenish-blue colors.

Melas came up with the name “Aquaprase” by combining the word “aqua” (for the blue sea) with “prase” (meaning leek-green in Greek).

Although the rough material is available in “clean” varieties that are either vibrant blue-green or baby blue “with clouds,” Melas said he prefers the material with matrix, which is part of the surrounding rock.

Melas told JCK that the matrix looks more natural and gives the finished piece more character.

Credits: Aquaprase image courtesy of Le Vian. Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals image by D. Finnin/© American Museum of Natural History.
September 15th, 2021
Three stonemasons working on the restoration of an old mansion in northwestern France discovered a cache of 239 gold coins dating back to the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV.



Minted from 1638 to 1692, the coins will hit the auction block at Ivoire Angers/Deloyes in Angers, France, on September 29. The proceeds, which are expected to eclipse €300,000 ($354,000), will be split between the craftsmen and the homeowners, with each group getting half of the tally.

The masons had been contracted in 2019 to join two buildings on the property — a barn and a nursery. During the construction project, they found a metal box filled with gold coins hidden inside a wall. A few days later, they found a purse above a beam, also filled with gold coins.

According to the auction house's press release, the coastal region of northwest France was very prosperous during the 17th century due to the transport of Bordeaux wines to England and cereals to northern Europe. It is likely that the mansion in Plozévet, Brittany, had belonged to a family of wealthy traders or farmers. The oldest part of the mansion actually dates back to the 13th century.

The area went into a decline between 1750 and 1850, but then rebounded strongly due to a boom in the sardine canning industry.

The Regional Preventive Archaeology Service in France authenticated, analyzed and researched each of the 239 coins. Twenty-three were issued under Louis XIII and 216 under Louis XIV. It is assumed that the treasure represented the savings the family accumulated over a long period of time. The coins were minted in 19 different cities and span 54 years.

The collection's standouts include the Golden Louis with Templar Cross, Golden Louis with a long curl and Louis XIV by the Atelier de Dijon. The third coin is so rare, noted the auction house, that it doesn't appear in the Gadoury reference book.

Credit: Image by Ivoire Angers/Deloyes.
September 16th, 2021
The third, and final, installment in Gemfields' series of coffee-table books dedicated to the "big three" gemstones, is scheduled to be released on October 5. Titled Sapphire: A Celebration of Color, the lavishly illustrated, 328-page book by Joanna Hardy takes the reader on a journey from early trade along the Silk Route to the jewelry collections of the great royal houses of Europe and the finest designers at work today.



As in her previous two books — Emerald: Twenty-One Centuries of Jeweled Opulence (2014) and Ruby: The King of Gems (2017) — the gemologist and jewelry historian leaves no stones unturned.

“Few things on our planet blend wonder, magic and mysticism quite like the ‘Holy Trinity’ of colored gemstones," noted Gemfields CEO Sean Gilbertson. “They chart the history, heritage and legacy of humankind across millennia in a unique and captivating manner. Ten minutes spent browsing the marvelous photos on these pages will cheer any soul. Gemfields is truly honored to have played a small role in bringing these three works to life in a project that has now spanned almost a decade.”



In Sapphire, Hardy charts the enduring popularity of this mesmerizing blue gem, from the 4th century BCE to the present day. She also explores sapphire's spiritual connection with the planet Saturn in Hindu astrology and its imputed ability to protect against disease and impart friendship, peace and wisdom.

Hardy also dives into sapphire's famous associations, from Elizabeth Taylor, who wore sapphires copiously, to Queen Victoria, who was given one by Prince Albert on the eve of their wedding.

“Sapphire is an unassuming gem,” stated the author. “It has been overshadowed by diamonds, rubies and emeralds for decades, but ignore it at your peril, for sapphire is a titan of the gemstone world.”

Featuring a rich, royal-blue silk cover with gold-foil blocking, Sapphire: A Celebration of Color will be published by Thames & Hudson in association with Violette Editions. The cover price is £85 ($125).

Credits: Images courtesy of Gemfields.
September 17th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. In 1966's "Colour My World," Petula Clark sings about how much her life has changed since she's finally found her true love.



She sings, "You'll never see a dark cloud hanging round me / Now there is only blue sky to surround me / There's never been a gray day since you found me / Everything I touch is turning to gold."

The last phrase is actually a nod to King Midas, who is remembered from Greek mythology for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold.

In Clark's world, the positivity generated by her new relationship is having a golden effect on every aspect of her life.

Written by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent, "Colour My World" borrows from the formula established by Hatch for Clark's 1964 #1 hit, "Downtown." While not as successful as the 1964 chart topper, "Colour My World" reached Top 20 status in the US, Australia and New Zealand. Curiously, it failed to reach the Top 50 in Clark's home country — England.

While the UK failed to embrace the song upon its release in December 1966, BBC Television gave the song a boost when it chose "Colour My World" as the theme song to announce BBC2's upgraded TV service from black-and-white to color in July 1967.

Born in Surrey, England, in 1939, Clark got her start in the music business as a child performer on BBC Radio. Starting in late 1964, Clark released a series of hits that earned her worldwide fame. Among the songs were "Downtown," "I Know a Place," "My Love," "A Sign of the Times," "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love," "Who Am I," "This Is My Song," "Don't Sleep in the Subway," "The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener" and "Kiss Me Goodbye."

Over the course of her career, Clark has sold more than 68 million records and has starred on both stage and screen. Clark is still performing at the age of 81.

Please check out the video of Clark performing "Colour My World" on The Ed Sullivan Show on January 15, 1967. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

"Color My World"
Written by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent. Performed by Petula Clark.

You'll never see a dark cloud hanging round me.
Now there is only blue sky to surround me.
There's never been a gray day since you found me.
Everything I touch is turning to gold.

So you can colour my world with sunshine yellow each day!
Oh, you can colour my world with happiness all the way!
Just take the green from the grass and the blue from the sky up above!
And if you colour my world just paint it with your love!
Just colour my world.

Just as long as I know you're thinking of me,
there'll be a rainbow always up above me.
Since I found the one who really loves me,
everything I touch is turning to gold.

So you can colour my world with sunshine yellow each day!
Oh, you can colour my world with happiness all the way!
Just take the green from the grass and the blue from the sky up above!
And if you colour my world just paint it with your love!
Just colour my world.
Um.

Sunshine yellow.
Orange blossums.
Laughing faces
everywhere!
Yeah!
So you can colour my world with sunshine yellow each day!
Oh, you can colour my world with happiness all the way!
Just take the green from the grass and the blue from the sky up above!
And if you colour my world just paint it with your love.
Just colour my world.
Colour my world.
Oh, colour my world.
Colour my world.



Credit: Screen capture via Youtube.com.
September 20th, 2021
Two entirely unique pairs of 17th century spectacles — one with lenses carved from an emerald and the other with lenses carved from a diamond — made their public debuts at Sotheby's New York showroom this past Friday.



Believed to have belonged to royals of the Mughal Empire, the eyewear tells the story of royal patronage, luxury, science, faith and beauty all in one moment, according to a Sotheby's Instagram post.

"The quality and purity of the gemstones is itself extraordinary, cleaved from a single natural Indian diamond weighing over 200 carats, and a brilliant Colombian emerald weighing at least 300 carats," noted Sotheby's.

Edward Gibbs, chairman of Sotheby's Middle East and India, told CNN.com that gemstone-lens eyewear is truly unique.

"As far as we know, there are no others like them," he said, adding that the gemstones required to make them would have surely belonged to a person of high social status, such as the emperor, a member of his inner circle, or high-ranking courtier.

The emerald pair is called the "Gate of Paradise," while the diamond pair is called the "Halo of Light." The auction house is estimating that each pair will sell in the range of $2.1 to $3.5 million.

While the phrase "viewing the world through rose-color glasses" means that one is overly optimistic, the concept of viewing the world through emerald lenses may have some spiritual connections.

Gibbs told CNN that in the Islamic religion practiced by the Mughal rulers, green was closely linked to paradise, salvation and eternal life. He said that the emerald glasses may have given the wearer the experience of being led "through the gateway into paradise."

The optical properties of emeralds were also recorded by Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD), who described how Roman Emperor Nero watched gladiatorial fights through a pair of concave emeralds. There is some debate as to whether the emeralds helped to correct the Emperor's severe near-sightedness or just eliminated glare from the sun. Others believe the emeralds may have soothed his eyes from the sight of blood.

Sotheby's featured glasses will be touring New York, Hong Kong and London before hitting the auction block on October 27.

Credit: Image via Instagram.com/sothebysjewels.
September 21st, 2021
A devastating fire completely destroyed a North Carolina couple's dream house early this month, reducing all their possessions to a pile of ashes. But, despite the heart-breaking tragedy, the couple would have reason to celebrate.



Just a short distance from the smoldering rubble, Sean Matthews went down on one knee and proposed to Kellie Stanley with a princess-cut diamond that survived the ordeal.

You see, Matthews had been planning to propose to Stanley and had already purchased the ring. He was just waiting for the right time to pop the question. Matthews had hidden the ring in a fireproof box, alongside the family Bible.



Matthews was able to find the box amidst the ashes and decided there was no better time to propose.

“We’re going to get through this as a fiancé or more," Matthews told Stanley. "And it’s just a house. It’s our house, but we’ll have another one. So what do you think?"



Stanley answered with an enthusiastic "Yes."

The couple had been enjoying a romantic dinner at a restaurant near of Raleigh when the fire broke out.



The flames and smoke were first noticed by a neighbor, who rushed to the scene and activated a "Ring" doorbell camera to alert the couple.

Stanley answered right away, and was most concerned for their dog, Memphis, who was still in the house. Stanley instructed the neighbor to enter through the garage so the dog could be rescued.



“It definitely puts your life in perspective," Stanley told Inside Edition, "especially at the end of the night when we were driving away from our home with nothing but the clothes on our back and our dog.”

A GoFundMe page has been established to help the couple recover from their losses. See Inside Edition's full report here

Credits: Screen captures via InsideEdition.com.
September 22nd, 2021
The 1,175-carat rough diamond unearthed in June at Botswana's Karowe Mine made its Big Apple debut on Monday as the owners of the stone — mining company Lucara Diamond Corp and manufacturer HB Antwerp — revealed it to the press at the Whitby Hotel in upper midtown Manhattan.



Billed as the largest uncut diamond to ever visit the U.S., the massive stone will be the focus of a full week of viewings by New York diamantaires and other strategic partners.

“We’ve been in the business for many years, for quite some time, and these types of things do get us excited because of the sheer size,” HB Antwerp CEO Oded Mansori told Reuters.

The high-profile visit is also intended to raise the awareness and desirability of mined diamonds.



HB Antwerp has yet to determine whether the rough diamond will be left in its natural state or cut into a series of polished stones.

About the size of a baseball, the rough diamond measures 77mm (3.03in) long, 55mm (2.17in) wide and 33mm (1.3in) thick. The gem exhibits variable quality with significant domains of high-quality white gem material, according to Lucara.

Still unnamed, the 1,175-carat diamond ranks #3 on the list of the largest rough diamonds of all time, unseating the 1,109-carat Lesedi la Rona, which was discovered at the same Karowe Mine in 2015. Only two rough diamonds have ever tipped the scales at a higher weight, the 1,758-carat Sewelô (#2, Karowe Mine, 2019) and the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond (#1, Premier Mine, 1905).

When the Lucara's mammoth stone was unveiled in June, the mining company hinted that the 1,175-carat specimen was actually the largest fragment from a rough diamond that weighed more than 2,000 carats. Several other similar-color, sharp-edged chunks — weighing 471 carats, 218 carats and 159 carats — were all pulled during the same sorting process.

The gems were recovered by Lucara’s MDR (Mega Diamond Recovery) XRT circuit, a system that uses advanced technology to identify 100-carat-plus diamonds. By monitoring the rocky material for X-ray luminescence, atomic density and transparency, the technology can identify and isolate large diamonds before they go through the destructive crushing process. However, in this case, the system was not calibrated to identify a 2,000-plus-carat diamond. It got mashed by the primary crusher, one step ahead of the MDR.

"We do expect that we will recover more exceptional diamonds in excess of a thousand carats in size," Lucara's chief executive, Eira Thomas, told Reuters, "but on a global basis, this is still an extremely rare and unusual event.”

Back in April, HB Antwerp and Lucara signed a 12-month agreement in which the manufacturer committed to purchasing all of the rough diamonds larger than 10.8 carats extracted from the Karowe mine.

Credit: Images courtesy of Lucara Diamond Corp.
September 23rd, 2021
Flip or Flop star Christina Haack is rockin' a 5-carat, radiant-cut diamond engagement ring given to her by Austin-based realtor Joshua Hall during their romantic Mexican getaway.



The 38-year-old TV personality announced the engagement to her 1.7 Instagram followers on Monday via a series of romantic photos and a minimalist caption comprising five emojis — a red heart, infinity sign, padlock, skeleton key and diamond ring. In two of the photos, an engagement ring can be seen on her hand. She also added "Josh Hall" and an engagement ring emoji to her Instagram bio.



If fans still weren't 100% sure that those clues signaled she was engaged, Haack added a captioned closeup of her new ring to her Instagram Story. On the photo, which shows her caressing her new fiancé's tattooed wrist, she thanked the Los Angeles jeweler who designed the ring.

Jeweler Benny Hayoun of Benny and the Gems told PageSix.com that Hall had a very clear idea of the type of engagement ring Haack would prefer. He insisted that the jeweler fabricate the platinum piece by hand. Hall didn't want anything "too flashy." The stone had to be proportional to Haack's finger.

“He had in his brain all of what he wanted to do,” Hayoun said. “It took me four or five days to make it happen because he insisted on making it by hand, meaning there’s no wax, no computer programming involved.”

The result was a rectangular, radiant-cut diamond set upon a delicate, diamond-adorned band.

“She absolutely loved it,” the jeweler told PageSix.com.

The proposal took place in Los Cabos, Mexico, where the couple had been celebrating Haack's birthday. According to an earlier Instagram post by Haack, the couple met this past spring.

"The synchronicities hit us so hard and fast they were impossible to ignore," she wrote.

This will be Haack's third marriage. Her first was to Flip or Flop costar Tarek El Moussa from 2009 to 2018. Her second marriage was to TV host Ant Anstead from 2018 to 2021.

In addition to continuing her gig on Flip or Flop, the popular HGTV series that launched in 2013, the bride-to-be now has her own HGTV series called Christina on the Coast.

Credits: Images via Instagram.com / christinahaack.
September 24th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today we feature The Band Perry performing “Postcard From Paris,” a song that uses jewelry metaphors to compare a new boyfriend to the one that got away.



Frontwoman Kimberly Perry opens the song by describing a scene where she's enjoying a summer evening out with her “sweet” new beau. But then she catches a glimpse of her old flame and a flood of emotions overwhelms her.

She sings, “Like a postcard from Paris / When I’ve seen the real thing / It’s like finding out your diamond / Is from her old promise ring.”

She concedes that she should have never let him leave. She's lost her chance to be with her true love and she knows that no other boyfriends will ever ignite the fever in her heart.

"Postcard From Paris" was composed by Kimberly Perry and her younger brothers, Neil and Reid, during a 90-minute writing session with former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi.

"The funny thing about writing relationships is you don't really know how it's going to turn out," Kimberly Perry told Nu Country TV. "You could write a song or you could end up going to get a coffee together. Luckily, it worked and we wrote 'Postcard From Paris.'"

Today's featured song ascended to #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and got as high as #60 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was the fifth single from the band’s blockbuster self-titled debut album, which has sold more than 1.6 million copies.

Founded in 2005, The Band Perry notched a string of hit singles, including the quadruple-platinum “If I Die Young,” the platinum “You Lie,” and the gold-certified country #1 “All Your Life.”

Trivia: In July 2016, Kimberly Perry scored a phenomenal 196 points in the Fast Money round of Celebrity Family Feud. All host Steve Harvey could say at the time was, "Wow, wow, wow."

We hope you enjoy the video of The Band Perry’s live performance of “Postcard From Paris.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along. We've also included a bonus clip from Celebrity Family Feud.

Postcard From Paris”
Written by Kara Dioguardi, Jeffrey Cohen, Kimberly Perry, Neil Perry and Reid Perry. Performed by The Band Perry.

I remember when my heart caught the fever
You were standing all alone in the summer heat
I was with my boyfriend, my new boyfriend
He was as sweet as he could be

One look at you and I was through
My heart switched up on me

Like a postcard from Paris
When I’ve seen the real thing
It’s like finding out your diamond is
From her old promise ring

A call back from your fortune teller
She read your cards upside down
The meanest thing you ever did is
Come around

And now I’m ruined, yeah
I’m ruined

In the evening you can catch me daydreaming
Did that moment send you reeling just like me
I should have gone over, right over
I should have never let you leave

But it’s the never knowing that keeps
This going and drives me crazy

Like a postcard from Paris
When I’ve seen the real thing
It’s like finding out your diamond is
From her old promise ring

A call back from your fortune teller
She read your cards upside down
The meanest thing you ever did is
Come around

Just when I thought things were alright
My eyes played tricks on my mind
Will I ever be satisfied
‘Cause all I ever seem to find, is a

Postcard from Paris
When I need the real thing
It’s like finding out your diamond is
From her old promise ring

A call back from your fortune teller
She read your cards upside down
The meanest thing you ever did
The cruelest thing you ever did
The meanest thing you ever did
Is come around

I am ruined, yeah
I’m ruined
Now I am ruined, yeah
I’m ruined

The Band Perry on The Late Show With Letterman



The Band Perry on Celebrity Family Feud



Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
September 27th, 2021
An international team of archaeologists believe the 33 shell beads recovered from a cave in western Morocco represent the earliest known evidence of a widespread form of nonverbal communication among humans.



Measuring about a half-inch across and drilled to be hung on a necklace, the beads made from sea snail shells have been dated at 142,000 to 150,000 years old.

"We don't know what they meant, but they're clearly symbolic objects that were deployed in a way that other people could see them," said Steven L. Kuhn, a professor of anthropology in the University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.



The professor believes the beads were part of the way people expressed their identity with their clothing.



"They're the tip of the iceberg for that kind of human trait," he added. "They show that it was present even hundreds of thousands of years ago, and that humans were interested in communicating to bigger groups of people than their immediate friends and family."

Kuhn and an international team of archaeologists recovered the 33 beads from the Bizmoune Cave between 2014 and 2018. Their findings were detailed this past Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

Kuhn co-directs archaeological research at the cave with Abdeljalil Bouzouggar, a professor at the National Institute of Archaeological Sciences and Heritage in Rabat, Morocco, and Phillipe Fernandez, from the University Aix-Marseille in France, who are also authors on the study.

El Mehdi Sehasseh, a graduate student at the National Institute of Archaeological Sciences and Heritage, who did the detailed study of the beads, is the study's lead author.

The archaeologists noted that other, similar beads have been found at sites in northern and southern Africa, but previous samples date back to no older than 130,000 years.

The beads found in western Morocco are linked to the Aterian people of the Middle Stone Age. They were known for their distinctive stemmed spear points, with which they hunted gazelles, wildebeest, warthogs and rhinoceros, among other animals.

The scientists believe the beads may have served as a lasting form of communication, unlike the practice of painting their bodies or faces with charcoal or ochre. One theory involves how the Aterian people may have reacted to a growing population. As more people began occupying North Africa, they may have needed new ways to identify themselves with jewelry.

"It's one thing to know that people were capable of making [the shell jewelry]," Kuhn said, "but then the question becomes, 'OK, what stimulated them to do it?'"

Credits: Dig site image courtesy of Steven L. Kuhn. Shells image courtesy of Abdeljalil Bouzouggar. Steven L. Kuhn image / Supplied.
September 28th, 2021
Fueled in part by pent-up demand, pent-up savings and government stimulus, U.S. consumers are heading into the holiday season with the desire and means to purchase luxury items, especially fine jewelry, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse™.



Jewelry sales from November 1 to December 24 are projected to rise 59% in 2021 vs. 2020. And when comparing anticipated jewelry sales with the pre-pandemic holiday season of 2019, the jump is nearly as impressive at 52.9%.

Over the past six months, the luxury retail and jewelry sectors have been experiencing dramatic growth. During the summer, for instance, Mastercard reported that July 2021 jewelry sales had jumped an impressive 54.2% compared to pre-pandemic July 2019 levels. August 2021 jewelry sales rose 58.9% over the same month in 2019.

Mastercard SpendingPulse™ is able to take a unique picture of the retail landscape because it measures overall sales across all payment types, including credit cards, cash and checks.

“This holiday season will be defined by early shopping, bigger price tags and digital experiences," said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. "Over the past two years, retailers have learned a lot about what shoppers want and need, bringing us into an exciting new age of retail resilience.”



In the chart, above, Mastercard SpendingPulse™ compares the traditional selling season to an extended one that starts October 11 and runs through December 24. The company defines that period as the 75 Days of Christmas.

For the jewelry sector, sales in that extended period closely mirror the impressive stats for the traditional holiday period.

While luxury goods and jewelry will be the hottest categories this holiday season, overall sales (excluding automotive and gas) are predicted to grow at a robust 7.4% compared to 2020, and 11.1% compared with 2019.

“Retailers have been preparing for this moment and will find innovative ways to deliver on what’s bound to be the biggest holiday shopping season yet,” noted Sadove.

Credits: Image by Bigstockphoto.com. Chart by Mastercard SpendingPulse™.
September 29th, 2021
Hot on the heels of her bronze medal performance at Tokyo's Paralympic Games, swimmer Sophia Herzog turned to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to announce her engagement to Para-cyclist boyfriend Nick Gibb.



The 24-year-old athlete posted two photos that prominently displayed her engagement ring, which features a round, brilliant-cut diamond set with four prongs upon a diamond-accented band.



Her caption simply read, "We got some exciting news to announce from this weekend… We are ENGAGED." Of course, she punctuated the post with an engagement ring emoji.



Living by the credo "Tiny but mighty," the 4-foot-tall swimmer competed in the S6 classification.

Her third-place finish in the 100-meter breaststroke earned the Colorado native her second Paralympic medal. She also captured a silver medal in the same event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Ironically, Herzog told her fans on Facebook this past Friday that the biggest 10 days of her life have come and gone and that the transition back to "normalcy" is happening.

Little did she know that the weekend would deliver another life-changing event.

Standing 6 foot 1, the 39-year-old Gibb is a former Para-cycling national champion in the MC5 class. The Colorado native also represented the U.S. at the 2018 Track World Championships in Rio.

According to TeamUSA.org, Herzog announced that her second Games would be her last. She will be pursuing a career that aligns with her degree in business communication.

“In addition, I hope to bring a level of kindness to the world,” Herzog told TeamUSA.org in May. “As a minority in the U.S., I am usually the first to be squeezed out of opportunities. It can be hard at times, but kindness always wins. Plus, the world always needs more kindness.”

Credits: Images via twitter.com / SophiaHerzog.
September 30th, 2021
With a revolution raging in France in March 1791, Queen Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI prepared for their escape. The queen spent an evening carefully wrapping her most precious jewels in cotton and then packed them neatly into a wooden chest. The diamond, ruby and pearl treasures were secretly shipped to Vienna in the care of Count Mercy-Argentau, a loyal retainer to the queen.



While the jewels made it to Austria, the royals did not.

Both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were imprisoned and executed by guillotine in 1793. In February 1794, Emperor Francis II of Austria ordered the chest to be opened in Brussels and an inventory to be made.

Two magnificent bracelets that the Queen had purchased in 1776 were listed as Item No. 6 — "A pair of bracelets where three diamonds, with the biggest set in the middle, form two barrettes; the two barrettes serve as clasps, each comprising four diamonds and 96 collet-set diamonds."



On November 9, 2021, Christie's Geneva will be offering those bracelets — now known as "The Marie Antoinette Diamonds" — as Lot 1 of its Magnificent Jewels Auction to be held at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues.

Over the past 245 years, the ill-fated Queen's bracelets have remained largely unchanged from the time she wore them.

"Of the pieces with a traceable provenance back to the Queen of France," noted Christie's, "these extraordinary bracelets are the only example to include diamonds belonging to her and to retain the exact design described in the Brussels inventory. While it is possible that the bracelets might have been remounted at a later stage, no changes were made to the overall composition and the number of diamonds, except for those on the clasp, were kept identical as per the inventory."

Christie's has set the pre-sale estimate for the bracelets, which include a total of 112 diamonds, at $2 million to $4 million.

According to Christie's, a 21-year-old Marie Antoinette had been Queen of France for only two years but was already recognized as the queen of elegance and style in 1776. She had a particular affection for fine jewelry, especially diamonds.

When she had an opportunity to purchase two diamond bracelets from Boehmer, she arranged for a down payment of 29,000 livres toward the total sum of 250,000 livres, which represented a small fortune at the time. Eventually, the bill was paid partly in gemstones from the Queen’s collection and partly with funds the Queen received from King Louis XVI.

Jewelry historian Vincent Meylan recently discovered a document dated February of 1777 among the personal papers of King Louis XVI. It stated, "To the Queen: down payment of 29,000 livres for the diamond bracelets she bought from Boehmer."

Three years after the Queen's death, the bracelets were claimed by Marie-Thérèse, Madame Royale, the surviving daughter of Marie-Antoinette.



In an 1816 portrait by Antoine-Jean Gros, Madame Royale is wearing a pair of diamond bracelets consistent with the Brussels inventory. Madame Royale died childless in 1851. Her will stated that the entirety of her jewelry collection – including Marie Antoinette's jewels – was to be divided among her nephew and two nieces: Count of Chambord, Countess of Chambord and Duchess of Parma.

The Marie Antoinette bracelets were brought to Christie's by an unnamed royal descendent.

Credits: Jewelry image courtesy of Christie's. Marie Antoinette portrait by Joseph Ducreux, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Marie Therese portrait by Antoine-Jean Gros, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.