April 12th, 2021
Radiating with 232 diamonds and 53 sapphires, the Los Angeles Dodgers' 2020 World Series ring is a fitting tribute to a franchise celebrating its seventh world title. Coaches and players were presented with their rings on the field at Dodger Stadium prior to the team's home opener on Friday. The total weight of all the gemstones is exactly 11 carats.



Steeped in intricate storytelling and artful details, the 14-karat white and yellow gold rings tell the story of the team's march to the 2020 championship, while also paying homage to the storied franchise that began calling Los Angeles its home in 1958.

What instantly stands out in the championship ring are the 17 custom-cut Dodger blue sapphires that make up the "LA" symbol. That symbol is layered atop a baseball "diamond" illustrated with pavé-set gems and punctuated at the bases with princess-cut diamonds. In total, the interior of the baseball diamond is set with 29 diamonds symbolizing the number of Dodgers home runs hit in the Arlington, Texas, Postseason Bubble.

Layered below the LA logo and baseball diamond is a ground of 16 intricately set genuine custom-cut sapphires. The blue gems are encircled by a halo of 44 diamonds. Above and below the halo are the words WORLD and CHAMPIONS set in raised white-gold lettering on a black ground.

Enhancing the edges of the ring face are six princess-cut diamonds set in stylized pennants, which honor the Dodgers' previous six World Series titles. Cascading down the sides of the ring top are 96 diamonds.

Combined on both edges of the ring are 12 princess-cut sapphires representing the 12 home runs hit by the Dodgers in the 2020 World Series, a feat that contributed heavily to the team's 4-2 series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.



The left side of the ring features the recipient’s name in raised white gold lettering. Below the name is the player's number set in diamonds. Below and to the right of the number is the Dodgers logo rendered in custom blue and red ceramic. Completing the left side of the ring is the logo of Major League Baseball.

The right side of the ring features the Dodgers home town, spelled out in raised white gold lettering. Below the words Los Angeles is the year 2020 set with 36 round diamonds. Splitting the 20s in the year 2020 is the coveted Commissioner's Trophy illustrated in contrasting yellow gold. The trophy is punctuated by a single diamond.

On either side of the trophy are four round sapphires. The eight sapphires and the text NL WEST below are symbolic of the eight straight NL West Division titles held by the Dodgers. Los Angeles palm trees are the finishing detail on the right side of the ring.

The LA logo crafted in blue enamel is at the center of the inside of the ring. On either side of the "LA" symbol are the logos of the teams the Dodgers faced in the run up to the World Series. Also shown are the series results.

The rings were presented to the players and coaches in an elaborate ring box that featured a rotating platform, interior light and an LCD screen that automatically plays a four-minute highlight film each time the box is opened. Jostens called it the most elaborate ring box ever created by the company.

“For 32 years Los Angeles waited for this moment, this team and this ring – and all that it represents. Jostens did a spectacular job designing these rings, which represent the sacrifice, determination and fortitude demonstrated by our players, coaches and entire organization to win a championship while overcoming unprecedented challenges,” said Stan Kasten, Dodgers President and CEO. “We are so proud of this team and thrilled to have presented them with their rings today in front of the best fans in baseball.”

Credits: Images courtesy of Jostens.
April 9th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you sensational songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today India.Arie delivers a message of inspiration and empowerment in her 2008 Grammy-nominated “Beautiful Flower.” In the song, she tells young women struggling with self-worth issues that they are beautiful, brilliant, powerful, resilient and “more valuable than a diamond.”

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Written to support Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, “Beautiful Flower” delivers the motivational message that young South African girls have the talent, intelligence and drive to become a new generation of leaders.

India.Arie sings, “‘Cause you’re beautiful like a flower / More valuable than a diamond / You are powerful like a fire / You will heal the world with your mind, and / There is nothing in the world that you cannot do / When you believe in you.”

Born India Arie Simpson, India.Arie (punctuation intended) is a talented singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. She’s also an activist for global health and human dignity. India.Aire was named an Ambassador for UNICEF and traveled to Africa extensively to address the AIDS crisis.

Oprah Winfrey became an avid fan of India.Arie’s music and invited her to appear on her TV show to discuss her music and activism. In 2007, she appeared in Winfrey’s documentary, “Building a Dream: The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy.” The documentary chronicled Winfrey’s five-year mission to create an academy for disadvantaged girls in South Africa.

“Putting spiritual and empowerment ideals into music concepts… that’s always been the core message of my music—and it seemed I was talking to others…” India.Arie told chopra.com. “But the truth is that it was my message to myself because I was yearning to know the peace of a self-defined life.”

The daughter of a Motown songstress and a former NBA basketball player, the 45-year-old Denver native has won four Grammy Awards from her 23 nominations, and has sold more than 10 million records worldwide.

“I’m happy that the people who inspired me like my music,” she told The Atlanta Constitution. “When Elton John said I was one of his favorite artists — now, that was success.”

Please check out the video of India.Arie’s enchanting live performance of “Beautiful Flower.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Beautiful Flower”
Written by India Arie Simpson and Joyce Anne Simpson. Performed by India.Arie.

This is a song for every girl who’s
Ever been through something she thought she couldn’t make it through, yeah<
I sing these words because
I was that girl, too
Wanting something better than this
But who do I turn to

Now we’re moving from the darkness into the light, yeah
This is the defining moment of our lives

‘Cause you’re beautiful like a flower
More valuable than a diamond
You are powerful like a fire
You will heal the world with your mind, and

There is nothing in the world that you cannot do
When you believe in you, who are beautiful
Yeah, you, who are brilliant
Yeah, you, who are powerful
Yeah, you, who are resilient

This is a song for every girl who
Who’s ever been through something she thought she couldn’t make it through
Girl, you can make it through
I sing these words because I know you’re the one who
Knows there’s something better than this
And you’re gonna define it, yeah

Now we’re moving from the darkness into the light
This is the defining moment of our lives

‘Cause you’re beautiful like a flower
More valuable than a diamond
You are powerful like a fire
You will heal the world with your mind, and

There is nothing in the world that you cannot do
When you believe in you, who are beautiful
Yeah, you, who are brilliant
Yeah, you, who are powerful
Yeah, you, who are resilient

Yeah, you, who are beautiful
Yeah, you, who are brilliant
Yeah, you, who are powerful
Yeah, you, who are resilient

Yeah, you, yeah, you
Hey, yeah, you
Yeah, you, yeah, you
Yeah, you, yeah, you
Yeah, you, yeah, you
Yeah, you, yeah, you
Yeah, you, yeah, you



Credit: Photo by Chris Hakkens, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
April 8th, 2021
By blasting a dime-sized graphite disk at a wall at 15,000 mph (24,100 km/h), scientists were able to emulate the high-energy impact that can turn carbon-based material into super-strong hexagonal diamonds — a variety of the gem that is stiffer and stronger than the diamonds in your jewelry box. That's saying a lot, because the diamonds you own happen to rate a perfect 10 on the Mohs hardness scale.



The researchers at Washington State University's Institute for Shock Physics were looking to mimic the energy of a meteorite striking the Earth because hexagonal diamonds — also known as Lonsdaleite diamonds — have been found in trace amounts at meteorite impact sites, such as Canyon Diablo in Arizona.

Scientists had long theorized that Lonsdaleite diamonds were stronger than conventional cubic diamonds, but the samples were either too small or had too short of an existence to be measured.

During their experiment, the carbon-based disk crashed into a barrier and was rapidly transformed into a hexagonal diamond. Immediately after impact, but before the material was obliterated, the researchers produced a small sound wave and used lasers to measure its movement through the hexagonal diamond. As a rule, sound moves fastest through stiffer materials, such as cubic diamonds. In this latest experiment, sound moved even faster through the lab-created hexagonal diamonds.

Based on that result, the scientist surmised that the hexagonal diamonds were stiffer than cubic diamonds. Stiffness is defined as a material's ability to resist deformation under a force or pressure.

So far, the scientists haven't been able to conduct a scratch test to determine how the Lonsdaleite diamonds stack up against natural cubic diamonds, which are the hardest natural material known to man. The scientists believe, however, the lab-created hexagonal diamonds will prove to be significantly harder than their cubic-shaped cousins.

If these findings are backed up and Lonsdaleite diamonds can be turned out commercially, these super-hard materials will likely find their way quickly into industrial applications, such as drill bits and other cutting devices. Might they also find their way into engagement rings and eternity bands? Only time will tell.

Credit: Image courtesy of ALROSA.
April 7th, 2021
Model and actress Emily Ratajkowski gave birth to her first child, Sylvester Apollo Bear, on March 8 and took to Instagram this past Sunday to show off two gold necklaces to commemorate the momentous event.



In a post that was liked by more than 939,000 Instagrammers, the 29-year-old Ratajkowski modeled a fashionable "mama" nameplate flanked by two princess-cut diamonds on a delicate gold chain, as well as a diamond-pavé "Sylvester" nameplate affixed to a bold curb chain.

Exactly three years ago, Ratajkowski made news when she told The Tonight Show‘s audience how she accepted a paper clip engagement ring from beau Sebastian Bear-McClard when he popped the question at the Minetta Tavern in New York City.

“He didn’t have a ring, so I was like, ‘Hmmm, nah,'” Ratajkowski explained to host Jimmy Fallon. “And then he took the paper clip that the bill was paid with and made me a ring, which I actually thought was really romantic.”



Five months after the proposal, the paper clip ring was replaced with a more suitable double-stone engagement ring stunner — pear-shaped and princess-cut diamonds nestled side by side on a simple yellow-gold band. Ratajkowski said that she and Bear-McClard took an active role in the engagement ring’s design. Vogue.com reported that the end result was a labor of love, as the couple worked on more than 50 sketches before agreeing on the final look.

That ring made a return engagement in Ratajkowski's Sunday Instagram post. You can see it peeking in at the lower-right portion of the photo, at top. Also seen is a wide yellow-gold wedding band that has a story of its own.

During that same Tonight Show interview, Ratajkowski recounted how she and her fiancé were looking to get married at City Hall soon after the proposal and had little time to pick out wedding bands.

Said Ratajkowski: “So then we walked into Chinatown and bought an ounce of gold, and he was like, ‘We’ll melt down the gold and make the rings.’

“So I was like, ‘I just don’t see us melting down gold, like that just seems kind of difficult,’ but then he ended up going to some store in Midtown and met this nice man— this is the night before our wedding, by the way— and this very nice Israeli man was like, ‘I know how to do that.’

“So we came into his studio after hours and then we actually hammered them out, the whole thing, used a little blow torch. And they were supposed to be temporary rings, but now I’m very attached and I really don’t want to get rid of it.”

Three years later, it looks like the hammered wedding band has found a permanent home on the model's finger.

Credits: Images via Instagram/emrata.
April 6th, 2021
A diamond battery that can last 28,000 years? Yup, it's about to happen because the concept floated five years ago has evolved into a commercial product.



Back in 2016, scientists from the University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute developed an ingenious means of pairing the unique characteristics of nuclear waste and microscopic diamonds to create a battery with a lifespan of more than 5,000 years.

They suggested that these super-long-lasting diamond batteries might be used in satellites, spacecraft and pacemakers.

Now, five years later, California-based Nano Diamond Battery (NDB) is on the cusp of releasing a commercial product that builds on the work of the Institute and extends the battery's capabilities even further.

NDB claims that its diamond battery will run for 28,000 years without needing to be recharged or replaced. Its initial release could come as early as 2023.

The brilliance behind these long-lasting power sources lies in the physics of how diamonds and radioactive isotopes react to one another. Micro-sized single crystal diamonds do a great job of moving heat away from the radioactive isotope materials. The diamonds move the heat so fast that the transaction generates electricity.

When layers of nano diamonds are stacked in battery cells, the power is multiplied and becomes sufficient to run consumer electronics, medical devices or even electric vehicles.

The Nano Diamond Battery is friendly to the environment in a number of ways. It converts nuclear waste into useful material and batteries never have to be changed.

The revolutionary product also has the potential to bring essential power to people who live in remote areas or in hostile environments.

The idea of a battery powered by nuclear waste may sound a bit dangerous, but the principals at NDB explained that the radioactive materials are coated with a layer of poly-crystalline diamond, which makes them safe and tamper proof. The coating is said to be up to 12 times tougher than stainless steel.

Credit: Image by BigStockPhoto.com.
April 5th, 2021
Exactly 140 years ago, a dangerous landslide led to the discovery of the most beautiful and coveted sapphires known to man. High above the nearly inaccessible Himalayan village of Soomjam, the serendipitous event exposed a sheer wall pocked with cornflower blue corundum crystals — gems that would soon be known as Kashmir sapphires.



At first, the locals traded the gem crystals — one for one — for salt. But soon the word got out, merchants recognized their true value and their popularity grew.

Despite the extremely limited three-month mining window due to rough terrain and inhospitable weather, the Kashmir sapphire supply at the original "Old Mine" was completely exhausted by 1887.

The six years of production at the "Old Mine" yielded some of the largest, most beautiful and valuable sapphires the world had ever seen or will ever see. Some of the rough gems were rumored to be as large as 3 x 5 inches. Indian traders referred to their richly saturated blue color as "peacock's neck."



After the initial find was depleted, prospectors attempted to continue their good fortunes at the "New Mine," just south of the original. But those attempts were scrapped because of harsh weather conditions and limited production.

Today, the legacy of the "Old Mine" lies in the valuable stones that were sourced in Kashmir between 1881 and 1887. Two of those stones are headlining Sotheby's Geneva auction on May 11. The 55.19-carat oval-cut Kashmir sapphire, seen above, is being billed as the largest of its kind ever to appear at auction.



The 55.19-carat sapphire is set in a stylized ribbon brooch alongside a cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphire weighing 25.97 carats. The jewelry, which is dated to the 1930s and designed by Cartier, and was once owned by Maureen Constance Guinness, the heiress to the Guinness beer fortune.

“Kashmir sapphires of over 30 carats are a very rare occurrence, so the appearance of a gem of 55.19 carats — the largest ever to come at auction — is an important event,” said Benoit Repellin, head of Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction.

Sotheby's noted that the Kashmir stones exhibit the deep, velvety blue for which sapphires from these fabled mines are best known, owed to fine clouds of dispersed nanoparticles of iron and titanium, which scatter the light and give the stones a dreamy haziness, quite unlike sapphires from other locations."

Sotheby's is estimating that the brooch will fetch as much as $3 million at its Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale.

Credits: Jewelry image courtesy of Sotheby's. Zanskar range of the Himalayas by Kashmir photographer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Map by Googlemaps.
April 2nd, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we feature classic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today we shine the spotlight on Marc Broussard and Jamie McLean singing Sam Cooke’s 1962 R&B hit “Bring It on Home to Me.”



Honored as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll, “Bring It on Home to Me” is a song about a young man who lets the love of his life slip through his fingers. At first, he doesn't take the break-up seriously, but now he'll do anything to get her back.

Broussard and McLean sing, "I’ll give you jewelry, and money too / And that’s not all, all I’ll do for you / Oh, oh, bring it to me / Bring your sweet loving / Bring it on home to me."

The duo delivers a powerful, soulful rendition of the song that employs a call-and-response format. In the original, Cooke teamed up with none other than Lou Rawls.

The original version of the tune topped out at #2 on the Billboard Hot R&B Sides chart and #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. The 2019 rendition appeared as the first track on the Jamie McLean Band's 2019 album, "New Orleans Session." The band is described as a musical gumbo that incorporates New Orleans soul, middle Americana roots, Delta blues and New York City swagger.

Broussard's style has been described as "Bayou Soul" — a Southern-influenced blend of funk, blues, R&B, rock and pop.

While Broussard and McLean injected their own brand of soul into the song, over the past 55+ years the biggest names from every corner of the music world have gravitated to the song. They include The Animals (1965), Sonny & Cher (1966), Otis Redding and Carla Thomas (1967), Aretha Franklin (1969), Lou Rawls (1970), Rod Stewart (1974), Van Morrison (1974), Mickey Gilley (1976), Paul McCartney (1988) and Mandy Moore with Sam Trammell (2017).

Trivia: "Bring It on Home to Me" was actually the "B" side of Cooke's "Having A Party." Both songs became hits.

Please check out Broussard and McLean's studio performance of “Bring It on Home to Me.” The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

“Bring It on Home to Me”
Written by Sam Cooke. Performed by Marc Broussard & Jamie McLean.

If you ever change your mind
About leaving, leaving me behind
Oh, oh, bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me

You know I laughed when you left
But now I know I’ve only hurt myself
Oh, oh, bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me

I’ll give you jewelry, and money too
And that’s not all, all I’ll do for you
Oh, oh, bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me

You know I’ll always be your slave
Till I’m buried, buried in my grave
Oh, oh, bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me

I tried to treat you right
But you stayed out, stayed day and night
I forgive you, bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me

Yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah)
Yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah)…



Credit: Screen capture via YouTube / Marc Broussard.

April 1st, 2021
In honor of April’s birthstone we offer you a sneak peek at the 15.81-carat internally flawless gem that will make history on May 23 as the largest fancy vivid purple-pink diamond ever to appear at auction. According to Christie's, this diamond weighs almost one carat more than the previous record-holder.



Named "The Sakura Diamond," the cherry-blossom-colored gem is expected to fetch between $25 million and $38 million when it hits the auction block at Christie's Magnificent Jewels sale in Hong Kong on May 23.

The auction house pointed out that unlike yellow and blue diamonds, which owe their color to chemical impurities that were substituted for carbon atoms as the crystal formed deep within the Earth, pink and red diamonds get their rich color from a randomly occurring molecular distortion.

This error of nature ironically yields one of the most beautiful and valuable gems known to man.

"Christie’s has offered some of the largest and the rarest pink diamonds in history across our global sale rooms," noted Vickie Sek, Chairman, Department of Jewellery, Christie’s Asia Pacific. "This season we are very honored to continue this fine tradition by presenting The Sakura Diamond in Hong Kong. This exceptionally rare and magnificent wonder of nature represents a unique expression of identity and mesmerizing beauty through its enthralling purple-pink hue that will undoubtedly capture the hearts of discerning connoisseurs and collectors worldwide.”

According to Christie's, the extreme rarity of the stone is amplified by the fact that fewer than 10% of pink diamonds weigh more than 1/5 of a carat. What's more, only 4% of pink diamonds possess a color deep enough to qualify as "Fancy Vivid," according to the Gemological Institute of America. Pink diamonds fall under the rare Type IIa category of diamonds, which make up less than 2% of all gem diamonds.

The Sakura Diamond will be heading out on a promotional tour, starting April 12 in Shanghai. Other destinations will include Beijing and Taipei before the diamond returns to Hong Kong on May 6, where it will go on exhibit at the Alexandra House. The auction will take place May 23 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Credit: Image 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.
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.