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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.