Ross Elliott Jewelers Blog

Articles in March 2021

March 1st, 2021
Named after the color of seawater, aquamarine is the stunning cool, blue variety of the mineral beryl and the official birthstone for the month of March.



A museum-worthy example of aquamarine is seen in this Art Deco platinum ring that was once owned by Lady Annie Francis Cullinan (1866-1963), the wife of Thomas Cullinan, who owned the Premier Mine in South Africa when the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond was discovered there in 1905.

Showcasing an intense blue square-cut aquamarine, the ring was later obtained by California jeweler Stephen Silver, who donated it to the Smithsonian in 2017. The piece is now part of the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Aquamarine is one of the most popular varieties of the beryl family, whose members include emerald (intense green), morganite (pink to orange-pink), red beryl (red), heliodor (yellow to greenish yellow), maxixe (pronounced Mah-she-she, deep blue), goshenite (colorless) and green beryl (light green).

Aquamarines can range in color from light blue and pure blue to shades of greenish-blue. The variations in blue color are dependent on trace amounts of iron in the gemstone’s chemical composition.

The name "aquamarine" is a combination of two Latin words, "aqua" for "water" and "marina" meaning "of the sea."

Beryl rates 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it suitable for fine jewelry.

Aquamarine is a symbol of youth, hope, health and fidelity. Legend states that Neptune, the Roman Sea God, gifted aquamarines to the mermaids, thus bringing love to all who have owned it.

The largest gem-quality aquamarine ever mined weighed in at 244 pounds and was sourced from the Minas Gerais region of Brazil in 1910. Aquamarines are mined in many countries, including Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, Mozambique and the U.S., but most of the finest-quality gemstones come from Brazil.

Lady Annie Francis Cullinan, whose aquamarine ring is featured (above), will be forever linked with the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond — the largest rough diamond ever discovered. Her husband, Thomas, sold the diamond to the Transvaal provincial government, which, in turn, presented the stone to Britain's King Edward VII as a birthday gift in 1907.

In its original form, the gem measured 10.1cm x 6.35cm x 5.9 cm, but in February 1908, the Cullinan Diamond was segmented into nine major finished stones, each of which was given the name Cullinan and a Roman numeral. Two of the gems are part of the the British Crown Jewels — the Great Star of Africa (Cullinan I) at 530.4 carats and the Second Star of Africa (Cullinan II) at 317.4 carats. The other seven stones remain in the private collection of Queen Elizabeth II.

Credit: Image by Greg Polley/Smithsonian.
March 2nd, 2021
In honor of its 100th international auction, Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa will be featuring a 242.31-carat, gem-quality crystal at its Dubai event on March 22. The rough diamond is one of the largest gem-quality crystals mined by the group since 2000 and the most significant prize to hit the Alrosa auction block since 2016.



Reuters reported that the bidding for the diamond will start at $2 million, but experts believe it will yield much more. About the size of a golf ball, the crystal has a frosty white appearance and measures 21.7mm x 31.3mm x 41.9mm.

Also included in the sale will be two standout diamonds weighing 190.74 and 136.21 carats, respectively, as well as a range of notable stones weighing 10.8 carats or more.

The diamonds will be on view at Alrosa's Dubai office from March 14 to March 21.

"Rough diamonds, which potentially allow for cutting a diamond larger than 100 carats, are extremely rare in nature," said Evgeny Agureev, Alrosa's head of sales. "Even less often, such gems are traded."



According to Russian law, rough diamonds larger than 50 carats that are mined in Russia are required to undergo a state examination and must be offered to the Gokhran state repository before they can be auctioned.

Agureev added that even when larger diamonds become available to the general market, Alrosa prefers to cut and polish the diamonds in-house.

"Thus, today, we are especially pleased to present this exceptional lot as part of our 100th international auction," he said.

The last time Alrosa introduced such a formidable lineup was in 2016 when the mining company hosted an auction in the picturesque Pacific port city of Vladivostok, Russia. Headlining that event was a diamond that tipped the scales at 401.97 carats.

As the world's leading diamond producer in terms of sheer output, 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, which held its first international auction in Moscow in 2003, generates about 40 million carats of diamonds per year.

Credit: Images courtesy of Alrosa.
March 3rd, 2021
With National Geographic's Mega Gemstone Mine Dig Kit, kids will experience the thrill of digging in a real gem mine as they chip away at a hardened block of sand to reveal 15 crystal treasures.



Designed for kids 8 and older, the product emphasizes fun, exploration and discovery! Amazon.com reviewers awarded the product 4.8 out of 5 stars, and YouTube reviewers, both young and old, gave the dig kit high marks.

Brittany Shifflett, aka TheToyReviewer, couldn't have been more enthusiastic as she methodically cut through the block with the provided plastic chisel to reveal a wide array of colorful stones.



Her review on YouTube takes the viewer on a 19:29, step-by-step dig kit journey — from the unboxing through her 15th, and final, gemstone discovery. We get to share in her excitement as she unearths green fluorite (7:22), blue fluorite (8:23), rose quartz (8:27), amethyst (9:32), snowflake obsidian (10:53), agate (11:15), quartz (11:52), red jasper (12:45), crystal geode (13:52), sodalite (14:15), pyrite (14:51), tiger's eye (15:25), hematite (16:02), aragonite (16:45) and adventurine (17:14).

After washing each stone, Shifflett adds her colorful commentary while rotating each stone so viewers can see all the details. Shifflett was disappointed that her kit did not include a desert rose selenite, which is shown in the learning guide. Other YouTube reviewers did get that specimen in their kits.



Shifflett called the Nat Geo kit "awesome" while adding that the amethyst was her favorite find. Amethyst is her birthstone, and the amethyst crystal formation that emerged from the sand slab was very similar to the amethyst jewelry she regularly wears on a chain.



The kit comes with a chisel, brush, magnifying glass and 16-page full-color learning guide. The illustrated publication helps fledging scientists to identify their newly discovered stones and gives details about how gems are formed and what makes them unique.



In her video, we can see that Shifflett uses a bit of force to extract the embedded stones. Children younger than 8 will certainly love the discovery process but may need a bit of assistance from an older sibling or an adult. Shifflett also recommended adding water to the sand slab to make it softer and more workable.

In her YouTube summary, Shifflett noted that the kit makes an exciting addition to any at-home STEM study program.

The National Geographic Mega Gemstone Mine Dig Kit is available on Amazon for $19.99.

Check out Shifflett's full review, below.


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/TheToyReviewer.
March 4th, 2021
A joyous moment captured by a professional photographer played a critical role in the recovery of a diamond engagement ring that was lost in the sand on Tybee Island, GA, just seconds after Brian Quercia dropped to one knee and popped the question to Anna Davis.



Davis said "Yes" to Quercia's proposal, but then the mood turned very, very dark.

"He stood up to hug her and the ring fell out of the box," photographer Taylor Brown told The Jeweler Blog.

Brown explained that the ring got buried in the wet sand, and although she and the couple spent more than an hour trying to find it on Saturday, they came up empty.

Devastated by the loss of her diamond solitaire ring, Davis turned to the Tybee Island Facebook group for help.

On Sunday, Davis posted the proposal photo with this caption: "LOST ENGAGEMENT RING!! Hey everyone! Yesterday my boy proposed to me right passed the jetties on North Beach. It was magical & I said yes!!! Unfortunately, my beautiful ring somehow fell out of the box when we hugged and the ring is now lost. It was a silver ring with an oval diamond and small diamonds around the band. We are devastated but still hopeful. This is a picture for location reference. If you happen to find it please send me a private message. There will be a reward!"

Her post immediately sparked an outpouring of hopeful sentiments and offers to assist in the search.

Most importantly, the couple's plight caught the attention of a metal detectorist known locally as "Mr. Foy."

Using Brown's photo to pinpoint the location where the proposal took place, Mr. Foy was able to unearth the ring in 20 minutes. It was only about 1 inch below the surface.



Davis posted a photo of her and Mr. Foy on her Facebook page, along with a closeup of her cherished ring — safely on her finger.



Her caption read: "UPDATE!!!!! Thanks to so many sweet people who went and searched for my ring. Sweet Mr. Foy here found my ring within 20 minutes of searching Tybee today! We are so excited and relieved!!! I absolutely love it Brian Quercia."

On Monday, Davis shared some of her engagement photos on Instagram, while adding, "The ring is actually on my finger! I wanna show off my incredible FIANCÉ!!! It’s been a crazy 24 hours. What a story tell our kids & grandkids about this one day! So excited to do life with you."

The couple is reportedly planning a wedding in nearby Savannah.

Credits: Proposal photo courtesy of Taylor Brown Photography (www.taylorbphoto.com). Mr. Foy and ring images via Facebook.com/anna.davis.100.
March 9th, 2021
The University of Arizona's Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum, a brand new 12,000-square-foot facility at the historic Pima County Courthouse in downtown Tucson, is one step closer to opening.



With the buildout and renovation complete, the museum staff is now working on completing exhibits and displays. While an opening date for the museum has not yet been determined, UArizona is working closely with Pima County to be able to safely open to the public this year.

The facility will display more than 2,200 gems and minerals from collections held by the University of Arizona and loan partners. The museum's three main galleries and new showcases will focus on the evolution of minerals, minerals native to Arizona and Mexico, gemstones, jewelry and gem science. Visitors of all ages will be able to take part in hands-on, interactive activities.

"The vision of creating a world-class gem and mineral museum in the heart of Tucson has reached a significant milestone," said Eric Fritz, manager of the museum. Fritz is shown in the photo, above, adding a large specimen to a display case with the assistance of exhibit specialist Elizabeth Gass. Construction on the museum began in 2018.



Tucson is an ideal location for the museum because each year in February the city transforms into the dynamic center of the gem and jewelry world as 65,000 visitors stream in to participate in dozens of trade shows and exhibitions.



In fact, the Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum is named for the late Alfie Norville, a co-founder of the Gem and Jewelry Exchange show that runs during the annual Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. An initial gift by the Norville family made it possible for the renovation and the move of the mineral museum from the UArizona campus to downtown Tucson.

Credits: Images courtesy of the Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum.
March 10th, 2021
A radiant, powerful "dragon stone" plays a central role in the newly released — and critically acclaimed — Disney fantasy film, Raya and the Last Dragon.



The stone is a symbol of power and peace in the mythical land of Kumandra. When the stone is fractured, its powers dissipate and the peaceful land becomes vulnerable to the nasty Druun (amorphous, dark purple and black clouds) that have the power to turn their enemies into statues.

In the mythical land of Kumandra, 500 years ago, humans and dragons lived peacefully, but when their land is invaded by the Druun, the dragons sacrifice themselves to save the land and their two-legged friends. The dragons leave behind a glowing, orb-like stone that has the power to keep the Druun at bay. They also leave behind a single dragon named Sisu, who hides away.

Five centuries later, we find the land of Kumandra in turmoil. The divided territory is now run by rival factions. Benja guards the precious dragon stone, but his rivals believe incorrectly that his control of the stone has delivered great wealth. Benja teaches his young daughter, Raya, how to protect the stone. But the youngster is tricked by Namaari, the daughter of the powerful rival, Virana.

The orb is compromised and fractures into several pieces, ruining its ability to hold back the lurking Druun.

The beautifully animated and skillfully voiced movie follows a grown-up Raya and the last dragon (Sisu) as they try to reunite the pieces of the dragon stone while being chased by Virana and Namaari.

As each fragment is collected, Sisu gains the power of one of her fellow dragons and becomes more confident in her abilities. The overall messaging is that of trust, cooperation and compromise for the greater good.

The PG film earned a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It runs 1 hour 54 minutes and can be seen in theaters and on Disney+.

Credit: Image courtesy of Disney Animation Studios.
March 11th, 2021
The 299.3-carat diamond recovered in January at the iconic Cullinan mine in South Africa has been sold to Stargems for $12.18 million, according to Petra Diamonds. The impressive per-carat price of $40,701 is equivalent to the MSRP for a 2021 Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan.



Imagine, a precious stone weighing in at just over 2 ounces has approximately the same value as 300 luxury cars.

The price achieved for the exceptional Type IIa, white, gem-quality stone exceeded the $34,386 per carat earned by the 424.89-carat “Legacy of the Cullinan Diamond Mine” in May 2019.

“This is another significant sale for Petra Diamonds and a further endorsement of the quality of the Cullinan orebody, which is known for its exceptional stones,” commented Petra CEO Richard Duffy.



Located at the foothills of the Magaliesberg mountain range, 37 km northeast of Pretoria, the 119-year-old Cullinan Mine has been a prolific source of large, high-quality gem diamonds. It is also one of the world’s most important sources of rare, blue diamonds.

Among the largest diamonds ever recovered at the Cullinan mine are the Cullinan Heritage (ranked #30, 507 carats, 2009), Centenary (#25, 599 carats, 1986), The Golden Jubilee (#13, 755 carats, 1985) and the granddaddy of them all — the Cullinan Diamond (#1, 3,106-carats, 1905).

Another famous gem sourced at the Cullinan mine is “The Blue Moon of Josephine,” which achieved the highest per-carat price for any diamond sold at auction. When the hammer went down at $48.5 million in 2015 at Sotheby's Geneva, the 12.03-carat, cushion-shaped gem's per-carat price had topped out at $4.03 million.

Petra Diamonds operates three underground mines in South Africa (Finsch, Cullinan and Koffiefontein) and one open pit mine in Tanzania (Williamson).

Credits: Images courtesy of Petra Diamonds.
March 12th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you groovy songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, 25-year-old Tom Misch and hundreds of his fans perform "South of the River," his tribute to South London where the "loving is gold."



For those of you unfamiliar with the geography of London, the city is split horizontally by the Thames River. Historically, South London conjured images of heavy industry and hardscrabble existences, while North London carried an air of posh lifestyles and sophistication. Well, times have changed and South London has undergone a renaissance. It is now widely acknowledged as an artistic and cultural hub.

In his 2017 release, "South of the River," Misch presents his case for why his part of London is the place to be.

He sings, "Watching the sunshine blaze the gray / I don't know why you wouldn't stay / You should come south of the river / Where the loving is gold."

"South of the River" appeared as the third track of Misch's debut studio album, Geography. The album charted in eight countries, including a #2 position on the US Billboard Top Jazz Albums chart and a #8 slot on the UK Albums chart. Interestingly, the young artist released the album through his own label, Beyond the Groove.

The official video is a compilation of clips contributed by Misch's fanbase.

He told The FADER, "When it came to the video, I thought it would be cool to include my fans, so we asked everyone to send in their submissions of their own videos. Nothing too serious, just messing around, miming, dancing etc. I didn't expect such a crazy response! It was a lot of fun piecing them all together, big up to everyone that submitted!"

Thomas Abraham Misch was born in London in 1995. He began learning to play the violin at age 4 and studied music technology at Langley Park School for Boys. In 2014, at the age of 21, he dropped out of a jazz guitar course at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance to pursue his music career.

The video of Misch and his fans performing "South of the River" has been viewed on YouTube 1.1 million times. Both the video and the lyrics are below…

"South of the River"
Written by Tom Misch, Ed Thomas, Carmody Nathan and Tobie Tripp. Performed by Tom Misch.

I want to stay south of the river
With the chains and the gold
We could be out here together
But, you have places to go

Watching the sunshine blaze the gray
I don't know why you wouldn't stay
You should come south of the river
Where the loving is gold

You should come south of the river
This is where it all starts
I think that we could stay here forever
Lie on the roof 'til it's dark

And when the last bus pulls away
I swear that I almost heard you say
"I should move south of the river."
I want to get to know
I want to get to know, oh

I want to stay South of the River…


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
March 15th, 2021
To mark the 100th anniversary of its Chanel No. 5 perfume, the French luxury house unveiled last week a 55.55-carat, octagonal, D-flawless diamond at the center of a commemorative necklace. The center diamond is framed by 104 round diamonds and 42 baguette diamonds, and when viewed from the side resembles the profile of the perfume bottle's stopper.



Exactly 100 years ago, a 37-year-old Coco Chanel commissioned renowned Russian perfumer Ernest Beaux to create a special scent that she would gift to the regular clientele of her Paris-based fashion boutique. The perfume proved to be so popular with The House of Chanel's customers that Coco decided to offer it for sale in 1922. Since then, Chanel No. 5 in its distinctive rectangular bottle has become the world's bestselling perfume.

The center diamond in the commemorative piece was meticulously cut to weigh exactly 55.55-carats because the number 5 was very special to Coco Chanel.

When Beaux presented her with choices for a signature fragrance, they were numbered 1 through 5 and 20 through 24.

"Number five. Yes," Chanel reportedly said. "That is what I was waiting for. A perfume like nothing else. A woman's perfume, with the scent of a woman."

She added, "I present my dress collections on the fifth of May, the fifth month of the year and so we will let this sample number five keep the name it has already, it will bring good luck."

Some believe that Beaux's winning formula was actually the result of a laboratory mishap. Apparently, Beaux's assistant mistakenly added to the concoction an unusually high dose of aldehyde (a chemical that mimics a soapy-lemony-floral scent).

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel became the face of the fragrance and was featured in magazine advertisements. The fashion icon passed away in 1971 at the age of 87. In 2020, the brand she created carried a valuation of $13.7 billion.

Credits: Diamond jewelry images by Chanel. Chanel No. 5 bottle image by arz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
March 16th, 2021
An asteroid about twice the size of New York's Empire State Building will be zooming past the Earth at 77,000 mph (124,000 kph) on Sunday, giving scientists a rare opportunity to learn whether it contains precious metals, such as silver, gold and platinum.



The asteroid named "2001 FO32" will come within 1.25 million miles of Earth, which is equivalent to 5.25 times the distance from the Earth to the moon.

Back in April of 2017, a slightly smaller, platinum-rich asteroid came within 1.09 million miles of the Earth, prompting speculation about the feasibility of space mining.

At the time, analyst Noah Poponak and his Goldman Sachs team argued in a 98-page report that platinum mining in space is getting cheaper and easier, and the rewards are becoming greater as time goes by. The global investment company talked up the feasibility of an “asteroid-grabbing spacecraft” that could extract upwards of $50 billion in platinum.

In 2022, Arizona State University and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory will launch a spaceship in the direction of 16 Psyche, a unique metal asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. After a 1.5-billion-mile, 3 1/2-year journey, the NASA spacecraft will have a close encounter with the 120-mile-wide (200km) asteroid that is estimated to contain $10,000 quadrillion worth of valuable metals.

According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the March 21 encounter will give astronomers a chance to study the asteroid’s size and albedo (how bright, or reflective, its surface is), and offer a clearer picture of its composition.



This will be achieved, in part, with the use of NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF), a 3.2-meter (10.5-foot) telescope atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea that will observe the asteroid in the days leading up to close approach using its workhorse infrared spectrograph, SpeX.

“We’re trying to do geology with a telescope,” said Vishnu Reddy, associate professor at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson.

When sunlight hits an asteroid’s surface, minerals in the rock absorb some wavelengths while they reflect others. By studying the spectrum of light reflecting off the surface, astronomers can measure the chemical “fingerprints” of the minerals on the asteroid.

“We’re going to use the IRTF to get the infrared spectrum to see its chemical makeup,” Reddy explained. “Once we know that, we can make comparisons with meteorites on Earth to find out what minerals 2001 FO32 contains.”

The year 2052 is the next time the 2001 FO32 asteroid will be this close to the Earth. Amateur astronomers in the southern hemisphere and low northern latitudes should be able to witness the 2021 encounter with a moderate-size telescope equipped with apertures of at least 8 inches.

Credit: Asteroid-grabbing spacecraft illustration by NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Photo from inside the dome of NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, courtesy of UH/IfA.
March 17th, 2021
Apple, the tech giant that changed your world with the introduction of the iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac, AirPods and Apple Watch, just filed a patent for a unique ring that has the ability to interpret hand gestures and interact with other devices.



Technically, Apple describes the ring as "a self-mixing interferometry (SMI) sensor-based gesture input system."

According to pymnts.com, SMI technology sends laser beam pulses out into the world and then, by measuring how long it takes for those beams to return, measures its own orientation in space.

In its patent application, Apple noted that the ring might be used alone or in pairs for AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality) and MR (mixed reality) applications.

By wearing two Apple rings — one on the index finger and another on the thumb, the user might move her fingers in the air to imitate the pinching, zooming or swiping action used on actual devices. The ring might also detect an Apple Pencil in the user's hand and be able alter the writing tool's functionality with a flick of the wrist.

Another unique feature of the Apple ring is its ability to sense its position in relation to other devices.

The website ubergizmo.com speculated that the ring could also be used to help tell another device — like a pair of smart glasses — exactly "where" the Apple Pencil is in relation to the glasses so that users could draw virtually in the air.

This is not Apple's first patent for a smart ring, according to pymnts.com. The company filed a patent for a ring with an embedded touchscreen in 2019 and, four years earlier, filed a patent for a ring with a touch display that would be worn on the index finger and controlled with the thumb.

Clearly, Apple has ring-based technology on its radar and its only a matter of time before something very cool is released to the public. We're guessing that a future line of Apple rings will be offered in white, yellow and rose gold. Stay tuned.

Credit: Illustration via United States Patent and Trademark Office.
March 18th, 2021
The Pantone Color Institute recently revealed its top 10 colors for Autumn/Winter 2021/2022. Described as "heartening hues reflective of our natural environment," the Pantone standouts were widely seen in February's multi-media, digital-only installment of London Fashion Week.



Green Bee / Tomato Cream / Ibiza Blue / Illuminating / Winery

According to Pantone, the autumn/winter picks effectively mix playful with practical, while reflecting the reinvigorated desire to create — whether injecting a contemporary view into heritage or imposing an urban style on nature and the great outdoors.

Pantone’s 2021/2022 Autumn/Winter selections lead off with Green Bee, a grassy green that perpetuates nature; Tomato Cream, a buttery brown that warms the heart; Ibiza Blue, a stirring island blue hue that rouses our interest; Illuminating, a friendly, joyful and optimistic yellow that offers the promise of a sunny day; and Winery, a robust color that implies poise and finesse.



First Blush / Downtown Brown / Daylily / Clear Sky / Red Alert

The next grouping includes First Blush, a delicate and tender pink; Downtown Brown, a metropolitan brown with a bit of swagger; Daylily, an uplifting, orange-infused yellow with perennial appeal; Clear Sky, a color redolent of the cool blue of a cloudless day; and Red Alert, an impactful red with a suggestive presence.

Gem lovers looking to accessorize a Pantone-color-inspired ensemble should be pleased to learn that there are colored stones to coordinate with each of the top picks. A Green Bee outfit, for example, would look great with emerald or green tourmaline accessories. Winery apparel would match up perfectly with garnet or spinel jewelry.



Perfectly Pale / Ultimate Gray / Olive Branch / After Midnight

In additional to the 10 dominant colors, Pantone revealed four classic core hues whose versatility transcends the seasons. They are Perfectly Pale, a color reminiscent of a sandy beach; Ultimate Gray, a quietly assuring and reliable gray encouraging composure; Olive Branch, a tasteful green that is symbolic of growth; and After Midnight, an invulnerable black-infused blue.



Back in December, we revealed Pantone’s Colors of the Year for 2021. At the time, Pantone described Ultimate Gray and Illuminating as two independent colors that highlight how different elements come together to support one another. Pantone added that twin winners told a story of color that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise that everything is going to get brighter. Interestingly, Illuminating and Ultimate Gray are included on the Autumn/Winter 2021/2022 palette.

Previous Pantone Colors of the Year have included Classic Blue (2020), Living Coral (2019), Ultra Violet (2018), Greenery (2017), Rose Quartz/Serenity Blue (co-winners for 2016), Marsala (2015), Radiant Orchid (2014), Emerald (2013) and Tangerine Tango (2012).

Pantone, the global color authority, publishes its Fashion Color Trend Report to give consumers and retailers a sneak peek at the color stories that will emerge in all areas of design and fashion.

Credits: Images courtesy of Pantone.
March 19th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you sensational songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we present the soulful Anita Baker singing her biggest hit, “Giving You the Best That I Got.”



In this entrancing love song, the eight-time Grammy Award winner tells her husband how much she loves him, how she feels at home in his arms, and how, together, they can calm a stormy sea. Others believe the relationship will fail, but she's convinced that it will stand the test of time. In the last verse, she makes a solemn vow: “I bet everything on my wedding ring / I’m giving you the best that I got.”

Released in September 1988, the song was both a commercial and critical success. The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard R&B chart, #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and an impressive #3 on the broad-based Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“Giving You the Best That I Got” appeared as the third track on Baker’s 3x platinum album of the same name. The song, which was co-written by Baker, Randy Holland and Skip Scarborough, yielded a whopping five Grammy nominations and three Grammy Awards — two in the exact same category in back-to-back years (We’ll explain).

In 1989, Baker won Grammys for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song, and earned nominations that year for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

In 1990, she won another Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Because the single was released in September 1988 (just before the cutoff for 1989 Grammy eligibility) and the album was released in October 1988 (just after the 1989 award cutoff), Baker was able to take home the Vocal Performance Grammy twice for the same song.

According to songfacts.com, Holland originally wrote the song as a personal commentary about his struggles breaking into the music business. It wasn't a love song at all. He was simply giving the best that he got to get his career off the ground. When Baker heard the song, she immediately felt a connection because she had just become engaged to be married. She asked to record it as long as she could speed up the tempo and add some personal touches to the lyrics.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, and abandoned at the age of two, Baker was raised by a foster family in Detroit until she was 12. Sadly, both her foster parents died and Baker went through her adolescence in the custody of her foster sister.

By the age of 16, Baker was singing R&B at Detroit nightclubs, where bandleader David Washington recognized her talent. He encouraged her to audition for the band, Chapter 8, and she soon landed a job as the group’s lead singer.

When Chapter 8 was dropped by Arista in 1979, Baker headed back to Detroit, where she worked as a receptionist and a waitress. Three years later, based on the encouragement of record executive Otis Smith, Baker embarked on a solo career. In June 2018, Baker accepted BET’s coveted Lifetime Achievement Award.

Baker, who turned 63 on January 26, continues to have an active career.

Please check out the official video of Anita Baker’s “Giving You the Best That I Got.” It's been viewed on Youtube 21 million times and the lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along...

“Giving You the Best That I Got”
Written by Anita Baker, Randy Holland and Skip Scarborough. Performed by Anita Baker.

Ain’t there something I can give you
In exchange for everything you give to me
Read my mind and make me feel just fine
When I think my peace of mind is out of reach

The scales are sometimes unbalanced
And you bear the weight of all that has to be
I hope you see that you can lean on me
And together we can calm a stormy sea

We love so strong and so unselfishly
And I tell you now that I made a vow
I’m giving you the best that I got, baby
Yes, I tell you now, that I made a vow
I’m giving you the best that I got, honey

Everybody’s got opinions
‘Bout the way they think our story’s gonna end
Some folks feel it’s just a superficial thrill
Everybody’s gonna have to think again

We love so strong and so unselfishly
They don’t bother me so I’m gonna keep on
Giving you the best that I got, baby
They don’t bother me, said I’m gonna keep on
Giving you the best that I got, listen baby

Somebody understands me
Somebody gave his heart to me
I stumbled my whole life long
Always on my own, now I’m home

My weary mind is rested
And I feel as if my home is in your arms
Fears are all gone, I like the sound of your song
And I think I wanna sing it forever

We love so strong and so unselfishly
And I made a vow so I tell you now
I’m giving you the best that I got, listen baby
I bet everything on my wedding ring
I’m giving you the best that I got
Givin’ it to you baby

Giving you the best that I got
Giving you the best that I got
Giving you the best that I got



Credit: Photo by MC2 Erica R. Gardner, USN, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
March 22nd, 2021
Aussie authorities urged the residents of Sapphire to move to higher ground last Wednesday when violent thunderstorms dropped 215mm (8.5 inches) of rain on one of the largest precious gem-bearing areas in the world.



While most residents scrambled their way to safety, others characterized the raging flood waters as liquid gold.

“There are already people out in the sapphire fields looking for sapphires,” Victoria Bentham, the co-owner of Sapphire Caravan and Cabin Park, told the Guardian. “Sapphires are in the ground there, and when it floods, the flood waters wash them down the creek beds and they get stuck behind billy boulders.”

Bentham reported that fossickers were heading downstream to seek their future fortunes. The last time Sapphire flooded was about a decade ago.

“It just goes to show that even in tough times there is always a glimmer of light,” she added.



Sapphire is located in the sparsely populated Central Highlands region of Queensland, just 50km (31mi) west of Emerald. During an average year, the region receives 628mm of rain. On Wednesday alone, the area collected more than one-third the yearly total. The local Retreat Creek rose nearly 10 meters in a few hours and roadways became impassable.

Comprising the townships of Rubyvale, Sapphire Central, Anakie Siding and Willows Gemfields, the Sapphire Gemfields have a large commercial mining presence, but also attract fossickers from around the world.

Fossicking is the term Aussies use to describe amateur prospecting, especially when carried out as a recreational activity. The Queensland Government is promoting fossicking as a popular outdoor activity the whole family can enjoy.

Sapphires and rubies are mined in all eastern Australian states, including Tasmania. According to The Natural Sapphire Company, the mines of Australia have produced more commercial-grade blue sapphire than any other source in history.

To learn more about sapphire mining in Australia, check out the video, below, titled "GIA's Australia 2015 Field Expedition."



Credits: Screen capture of GIA video via YouTube.com/didier gruel. Map by Google Maps.
March 23rd, 2021
Reflecting nearly 2,000 hours of hand fabrication, this diamond and rock crystal bangle bracelet will headline Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels sale in Hong Kong on April 20. The bracelet by Cartier features a D-flawless, 63.66-carat, pear-shaped white diamond set among smaller white diamonds and rock crystal. The architectural masterpiece carries a pre-auction high estimate of $8.4 million.



Rock crystal is a type of quartz that has an icy appearance. The origin of its use in fine jewelry dates back to the 1920s, when Louis Cartier began working with the material. According to Sotheby's, the bracelet pays homage to the maker's iconic Art Deco roots.

According to Sotheby's, the innovative marriage of diamond and rock crystal creates a dialog between two colorless stones complementing one another in a subtle, yet palpable, manner. They give the design a stylistic feature full of imaginative flair and immeasurable character.

Sotheby's reported that Louis Cartier utilized a polishing technique from the Renaissance period to give a soft shine to rock crystal which, when paired with a diamond, created an intriguing light effect, working in harmony, yet providing texturized depth and modern contrast.

The auction house estimated that the piece will sell in the range of $5.1 million to $8.4 million.

"The appetite for high-quality jewels has never been stronger in Asia with discerning collectors looking for rare diamonds and gemstones, as well as unique and iconic designs," commented Wenhao You, Deputy Chairman, Jewelry, for Sotheby's Asia. "The star lot of the sale — the unique diamond and rock crystal bangle-bracelet by Cartier — combines a phenomenal diamond, mesmerizing design and impeccable craftsmanship, and represents a high jewelry collectible that will shine through time."

Other items that are expected to turn heads during Sotheby's auction include the following:



• A jadeite bracelet called the “Circle of Happiness.” Considered “a true treasure of nature” by the Swiss Gemmological Institute, the bangle weighs an impressive 277.673 carats and carries a subtle range of green to vivid green colors that is characteristic of the finest green jadeite-jade from Burma (Myanmar). The bracelet boasts outstanding translucency that, when illuminated by a light source, results in a glowing effect. Sotheby's will provide an estimate upon request.

• The 7-carat fancy intense purplish-pink, internally flawless diamond at the center of a ring by Sotheby's Diamonds. The piece carries a pre-sale estimate of $5.8 million to $7.1 million.



Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.
March 24th, 2021
Archeologists in Sweden recently unearthed a cache of wisp-thin gold foil figures at the Aska archeological site in Hagebyhöga. The delicate specimens, which depict embracing couples and date back about 1,300 years, were found at the bottom of post holes in the remains of a great hall at this historic site.



The foil shown, above, was completely unharmed after being buried for more than a millennium. Some foils were badly fragmented. Others were folded with their edges pointed toward the center. Archeologist from the University of Lodz in Poland sought the assistance of a goldsmith to unfold the delicate parcels.

"Our best estimate is that we have 22 foil figures. The exact number is not quite clear because most are fragmented, and there is some uncertainty as to which fragments go together," Martin Rundkvist, an archaeology professor at the University of Lodz, wrote in a report recently uploaded to academia.edu.

Amazingly, the combined weight of all the recovered foils was 0.76 grams (about 0.026 ounces).



According to Rundkvist, 15 of the foils have been returned to the full original dimensions. Every one of them depicts an embracing couple. The team believes that the foils were once affixed to the upright posts that supported the great hall. Many of the foils were found at the bottom of seven post holes.

There are a number of theories regarding the identities of the couples stamped into the foil. Some believe the couples are gods or goddesses.

"We do know that kings at the time claimed divine descent," Rundkvist noted. He also speculated that they may depict princes and princesses who were about to get married.

Other scholars believe that the embracing couples may represent the mythological union of the god Freyr and the giantess Gerdr from Norse mythology.

In addition to the gold foils, the archaeologists recovered from the Aska site three spiral “omega” pendants made of iron and two game pieces made of whale bone.

Credits: Complete foil image by Björn Falkevik via Academia.edu. Folded foil images by Björn Falkevik - Cheyenne Olander via Academia.edu.
March 25th, 2021
Since the late 1800s, platinum has maintained its stature as the ultimate precious metal due to its rarity, beauty, strength and durability. But it's amazing to imagine that a precious metal that is prominently featured in the world's finest jewelry was once belittled and cast aside by the Spanish conquistadors who encountered the material while mining for silver in Rio Pinto, Colombia. In the 1500s, they named the curious metal "platina" or "little silver." In one version of the story, the conquistadors threw the platinum nuggets back into the river hoping they would ripen into silver.

platinum1

Today, silver is priced at about $25 per ounce, or 2% of the value of platinum.

Throughout history, platinum has been a curiosity. Julius Caesar Scaliger wrote in 1557 that it was a metal which “no fire nor any Spanish artifice has yet been able to liquefy.” In 1748, Spanish scientist Antonio de Ulloa published a scholarly paper that concluded that platinum was unworkable and unmeltable.

It wasn't until the invention of the oxyhydrogen torch in the mid 1800s that jewelers could finally achieve a temperature of 3190 F or 1755 C to melt and work with the noble metal.

By the late 19th century, French jeweler Louis Cartier had catapulted platinum into worldwide prominence by incorporating the precious metal into the designs of his finely crafted, regal creations.

Platinum was loved by a cavalcade of kings and queens. Before long, the most valuable and famous gemstones in the world — including the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond (seen above)— would be set in platinum.

Here are bunch of other fun facts about platinum...

• Platinum is 30 times more rare than gold. If all the platinum ever mined were melted and poured into an Olympic-sized pool, the platinum would barely reach your ankles. Gold, however, would fill three Olympic-sized pools.

• About 80% of the world's platinum is mined in South Africa. The rest is sourced in Russia, as well as North and South America. Platinum is typically the byproduct of mining for other metals, such as copper or nickel.

platinum2

• Platinum typically occurs as small grains and crystals in certain layered igneous rocks. The extraordinarily rare platinum nugget, above, weighs 444.4 grams (just under 1 pound) and is so special that it's on permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

• 30% of the world's platinum is used for fine jewelry. Half is used for industrial applications, such as catalytic converters, which are the devices on automobiles that filter harmful engine emissions.

• About half of all cancer patients receive treatments that include platinum, according to an article published in the technical journal, Chemical Reviews.

• Platinum is stronger and denser than gold. When platinum is scratched, the material moves aside and no platinum is lost. When gold is scratched, tiny bits flake away. This is why gold rings that are worn for a long period of time often need to be re-shanked.

• Platinum jewelry is typically 90% to 95% pure and includes markings in the band that say "PLATINUM, PLAT, PT, PT950, 950PT or 900PT." Canadian quality marks can say ""platinum," "plat." or "platine." In the UK, the platinum marks will say "850," "900," "950" or "999." Gold purity, on the other hand, is measured in karats. Most commonly, 14-karat gold is 14/24th (58.3%) gold and alloyed with other metals. Eighteen-karat gold contains 75% precious metal.

• Platinum is a true white metal. White gold, by comparison, is actually yellow gold that has been mixed with other white metals and then plated with rhodium to give a bright white appearance. That plating does wear off over time and requires re-plating.

• Platinum is hypoallergenic and an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin or allergies to other metals.

• Platinum is 60% heavier than 14-karat gold. It's a difference you can actually feel.

• Platinum is strong and durable, a great choice for jewelry that will be worn every day. Platinum does an excellent job holding gemstones firmly and securely.

Credits: Photos by Chip Clark / Smithsonian.
March 30th, 2021
On April 13, Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale in New York will showcase “The Perfect Palette,” a vibrant trio of colored diamonds that will be sold separately at the auction house's Rockefeller Plaza headquarters.



The most anticipated lot among the three is a 2.13-carat fancy vivid blue diamond that's expected to sell for $2 million to $3 million. The cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut diamond boasts a clarity rating of VS1.

The second headliner is a cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut fancy vivid orange diamond that weighs in at 2.34 carats and has a clarity grade of VS1. This gem is expected to fetch between $1.5 million and $2.5 million.

The third featured colored diamond boasts a fancy vivid purplish-pink hue. The cut-cornered square modified brilliant-cut diamond weighs 2.17 carats, carries a SI1 clarity grade and a pre-sale estimate of $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

While fancy colored diamonds will be taking center stage on April 13, white diamonds will surely draw a lot of attention, as well.



First up is a 38.04-carat pear-shaped, brilliant-cut, D-color, flawless, Type IIa colorless diamond with an estimate of $2.5 million to $3.5 million.



The “Buhl-Mann” diamond ring, featuring a 19.47-carat square emerald-cut center stone, is expected to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000.



Other important colored gemstones in the sale include an oval mixed-cut Burmese ruby ring by F.J. Cooper. The piece is expected to sell for $1.2 million to $2.2 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.
March 31st, 2021
The finest known 1822 Half Eagle gold coin set a new world record when an anonymous bidder snatched it up at a Las Vegas auction last Thursday for $8.4 million.



“The 1822 Half Eagle is now the most valuable gold coin minted by the United States ever sold at auction. It’s also now the third-most valuable coin ever sold at auction,” said Brian Kendrella, the president of Stack's Bowers Galleries.

Exactly 17,796 of these $5 coins were minted, but only three specimens are known to have survived. The record holder is the only one owned by a private individual. The other two are permanent residents of the National Numismatic Collection in the Smithsonian Institution.



The privately owned specimen was first acquired by Virgil Brand in 1899 and remained in his vast collection until it was sold by his heirs in 1945.

At that time, it entered the unparalleled collection of Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., who had the distinction of successfully assembling a complete set of every U.S. coin ever minted.

When the gold coins from the Eliasberg Collection were auctioned in 1982, the successful buyer was the young D. Brent Pogue in the early stages of building what would become the most valuable numismatic collection in history, according to Stack's Bowers Galleries.

Pogue's collection would eventually fetch more than $140 million in a series of sales by Stack's Bowers Galleries from 2015 through 2021.

The newest owner of the 1822 Half Eagle has chosen to remain anonymous.

While the 1822 Half Eagle earned the distinction of being the most expensive GOLD coin ever minted by the U.S, two other coins have sold for more. The 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar — the first dollar coin issued by the United States federal government — realized more than $10 million at an auction at Stack’s Bowers Galleries in January 2013.

The 1787 Brasher Doubloon — a gold coin minted privately by goldsmith and silversmith Ephraim Brasher — earned $9.36 million at Heritage Auctions this past January.

Interestingly, barrons.com reader Stephen Donnelly did the math to determine the compound return for a $5 coin that would eventually sell for $8.4 million. He concluded that the $5 coin returned 7.5% annually over 199 years.

Credits: Images courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries.