February 21st, 2018
Resourceful neighbors in the community of Alamo, Calif., pooled their limited plumbing skills to reunite a future bride with the $10,000 diamond engagement ring she had accidentally flushed down the toilet.



Only 48 hours earlier, the world was filled with nothing but despair for Haleigh Morrissey and her fiancé Dean Booras.

Morrissey had been in her bathroom applying suntan lotion when she grew concerned that the ring might get stained. She asked Booras to remove it from her finger and rinse it off.



He cleaned the ring and placed it on a tissue, neatly folding the ends together to create a little ring package. And he left it there on the bathroom sink.

Later in the day, Morrissey returned to tidy up the bathroom and instinctively scooped up the folded tissue and flushed it down the toilet.

“I got to the bathroom and then I was like here’s some trash… throw it in the toilet,” Morrissey told a reporter from Fox affiliate KTVU.

Morrissey was devastated when she realized what she'd done.

"I thought there is no chance in the world that we were ever going to see it again," Booras told the local ABC affiliate.

The panicked couple recruited a bunch of neighbors from this close-knit community 28 miles east of San Francisco. Together, they pooled their marginal plumbing experience to noodle out the best way to find a flushed engagement ring.



After watching a bunch of YouTube videos, neighbor Brett Gunari rented a plumber's snake equipped with a camera. When that method failed to turn up the ring, fellow neighbor and building inspector Ken Gunari recommended that they flood the system and try to snag the ring further down the sewer line.

His method: "Turn on the bathtub, flush the toilet, dump the two five-gallon buckets of water into the toilet all at once," he said.

About 200 feet from the house, the neighbors had unearthed the sewer line and rigged it with a screen to catch the ring.

Within a few minutes of the water rush, the neighbors at the site of the trap could be heard yelling, "Oh man, look at that."

The plan worked. The ring emerged from the screen a bit mucky, but not damaged.

We're guessing that Morrissey and Booras — who have their wedding planned for this May — will be adding a bunch of well-deserving neighbors to their guest list.

Credits: Screen captures via abc7news.com.
February 20th, 2018
Identical twins Brittany and Briana Deane shouted "Yes" as identical twins Josh and Jeremy Salyers popped the question at Twin Lakes State Park in Virginia on February 2 (2/2/18). The simultaneous surprise marriage proposals — complete with "twinfinity" rings for both brides-to-be — were featured on the Valentine's Day installment of Inside Edition.



The gals from Virginia and the guys from Tennessee had met last August at The Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio. The 31-year-old Deane twins and the 34-year-old Salyers twins admit that it was love at first sight.

"It was one of the most magical moments," Briana told DelawareOnline.com. "For me, it went in slow motion, like a movie. We all believe in soulmates and we all felt that instant connection."

Interestingly, older siblings Jeremy and Briana established an immediate bond, as did younger siblings Brittany and Josh.



When they got home from the festival, the girls had a message waiting for them. The boys said they couldn’t wait to see them again and the girls responded, “Why wait until next year?” That next weekend, Josh and Jeremy drove from Tennessee to Virginia to see the girls.

"The rest," the girls wrote on HowHeAsked.com, "is (a double) history."

"Ever since we were little girls, we have always known that there were identical twin boys who were going to marry us one day," Briana said.

As part of the surprise proposal, the Salyers brothers convinced the Deane sisters that all four were hired to participate in a commercial for the catering facility at Twin Lakes State Park (This was also the site of their first date). The ruse was that the venue wanted to use twins as a fun tie-in to the park's name. Actually, the film crew was from the staff of Inside Edition. Josh and Jeremy had orchestrated the whole thing.



With the boys decked out in matching suits with blue ties and the girls wearing matching blue gowns, the film crew led them to a picturesque pavilion decorated with rose petals and candles. When the producer yelled, "Action," Josh and Jeremy dropped to one knee, pulled out their matching "double infinity" diamond rings and asked their girlfriends to marry them. Brittany and Briana simultaneously said, "Yes."

The girls called their diamond bling "twinfinity" rings.

The couples are planning a dual wedding ceremony during The Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg this August. After the wedding, the foursome will be sharing a home.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.
February 19th, 2018
Olympic athletes are visually and emotionally linked to diamonds in a trio of compelling ads now airing during the coverage of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.



Conceived by the Diamond Producer's Association's 'Real is a Diamond' platform in partnership with The NBCU Content Studio, “The Making of a Gem” commercials tell the story of young athletes on the rise. In their own words, athletes representing the sports of snowboarding, women’s ice hockey and pairs figure skating speak of their journeys to achieve greatness.

Each of their narratives include words and phrases commonly associated with diamonds. In fact, one can easily imagine the story being told from the diamond's point of view.

Here's an example from the snowboarding script...

"I can do this. I can handle intense pressure. I can stand up against unimaginable heat. That makes me strong. Gives me an edge. And even when I'm rough, unpolished, with all my imperfections, I'm still flawless. That's what makes me unique. What about you?"



And the hockey script...

"We were made this way. We were made strong. Commitment helped us dig deeper. Focus sharpened our edge. And even when we were vulnerable... we never stopped being invincible. They tried to crush us. But our bond is unbreakable."



And the figure skating script...

"I've spent most of my life in the dark, unseen by the world. The longer I waited, the more intense the pressure became. Until, like a force of nature, I finally broke free. And where before I was hidden, today I have the support of the world who never lets me forget that with love, might and a little polish... I shine."

“The breadth of common themes was surprisingly rich and made for seamless and layered storytelling,” said Deborah Marquardt, Chief Marketing Officer for the Diamond Producer’s Association.

Stylist Tanya Dukes chose the featured jewelry, explaining, “In each film, we styled the athletes in realistic, current diamond jewelry that they’d actually wear, including some of their own pieces. The jewelry was an authentic part of their personal style.”

The snowboarding ad, for instance, shows the male athlete wearing a princess-cut stud earring and a spider-shaped diamond pendant. The hockey-themed ad shows twin diamond stud earrings on the female athlete and a diamond wedding band on her male coach. In the pairs figure skating ad, the female athlete is wearing twin diamond stud earrings and a diamond engagement ring. Her partner (presumably her husband) is wearing a wedding band.

Of the three ads, the women's hockey version is getting the highest engagement (7.9), according to ad tracking service Ispot.tv. The snowboarding ad is second with a 7.7 and the figure skating ad is third at 7.0.

“The Making of a Gem” series is being distributed through NBCUniversal’s portfolio-wide platform across social media, video programming and the company’s strategic partnerships with Apple News and Vox Media. Videos and supplemental content will also run on Real is a Diamond-owned and -operated channels, as well as in cinema.

Each of the videos is below...

Snowboarding


Women's Hockey


Pairs Figure Skating


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/Real is a Diamond.
February 16th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great, new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we shine the spotlight on country singer Kelsea Ballerini and her current hit, "Legends," a song that uses a gilded phrase to illustrate an epic romance.



In the song's first line, she sings, "We were golden, we were fire, we were magic / Yeah, and they all knew our names all over town / We had it made in the middle of the madness / We were neon in a grey crowd."

The 24-year-old newlywed said "Legends" was originally a breakup song, but now she views it as a love song. She penned it when a previous relationship was on the rocks. Ironically, the song hit the airwaves two years later while she was planning her wedding to Australian country singer Morgan Evans. The couple tied the knot in December.

"I wrote it when I was going through a breakup, so that was the heart and the perspective that it came from," the Grammy-nominated "Best New Artist" for 2017 told The Boot. "But as I've lived with it, it's kind of changed meanings. It's a chameleon song for me. It's still a story about heartbreak, but now I'm in a very good place in my life and I sing it as a love song."

Released in June of 2017, "Legends" is the lead single from Ballerini's second studio album, Unapologetically. The song ascended to #11 this week on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It also hit #3 on Billboard's Canada Country chart.

Ballerini was raised in Knoxville, Tenn., and wrote her first song at the age of 12. She went to college in Nashville, but left school after two years to pursue a music career. At the age of 19, she signed a record deal with Black River Entertainment. She released her debut single "Love Me Like You Mean It" in 2014 and was named one of CMT's Next Women of Country that same year.

Ballerina's career got a big boost when superstar Taylor Swift tweeted about how much she enjoyed Ballerini's self-titled EP.

"To have someone that you've looked up to for a long time admire your stuff and admire what you do is just a really big deal," she told TasteofCountry.com.

Please check out the video of Ballerini's acoustic version of "Legends," which she performed for Radio Disney. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Legends"
Written by Kelsea Ballerini, Forest Glen Whitehead and Hillary Lee Lindsey. Performed by Kelsea Ballerini.

We were golden, we were fire, we were magic
Yeah, and they all knew our names all over town
We had it made in the middle of the madness
We were neon in a grey crowd
Yeah, we wrote our own story
Full of blood sweat and heartbeats
We didn’t do it for the fame or the glory
And but we went down in history

Yeah, we were legends
Loving you, baby, it was heaven
What everyone wondered, we’d never question
Close our eyes and took on the world together
Do you remember?
We were crazy
Tragic and epic and so amazing
I’ll always wear the crown that you gave me
We will always stay lost in forever
And they’ll remember
We were legends

Like we were written down in permanent marker
Not even the brightest sun could ever fade
Come whichever hell or high water
It was always me and you either way
Hey, we wrote our own story
Full of blood sweat and heartbeats
We didn’t do it for the fame or the glory
We just did it for you and me

And that’s why we were legends
Loving you, baby, it was heaven
What everyone wondered, we’d never question
Close our eyes and took on the world together
Do you remember?
We were crazy
Tragic and epic and so amazing
I’ll always wear the crown that you gave me
We will always stay lost in forever
And they’ll remember
We were legends

We were legends
Loving you, baby, it was heaven
What everyone wondered, we’d never question
Close our eyes and took on the world together
Do you remember, baby?
We were crazy
Tragic and epic and so amazing
I'll always wear the crown that you gave me
We will always stay lost in forever
And they’ll remember
We were legends
We were, yeah, we were legends
Yeah, we wrote our own story


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
February 15th, 2018
Inspired by the majestic characteristics of the largest gem-quality diamond ever mined, Rolls-Royce announced Tuesday that its first-ever all-terrain SUV will be called "Cullinan" — a name the company deems "perfect and brilliant.”



The 3,106.75-carat Cullinan Diamond was discovered at South Africa's Premier Mine in 1905. Three years later, the rough gem was cut into nine magnificent finished stones, including the 530.40-carat Cullinan I (also known as the Great Star of Africa) and the 317.40-carat Cullinan II (Second Star of Africa). Both diamonds are now part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.



“It is the most fitting name for our extraordinary new product," commented Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce. "Cullinan is a motor car of such clarity of purpose, such flawless quality and preciousness, and such presence that it recalibrates the scale and possibility of true luxury. Just like the Cullinan Diamond, the largest flawless diamond ever found, it emerges when it is perfect and exists above all others.”



Ötvös said that the designers of Roll-Royce's new "high-bodied" luxury car were "inspired by the epic processes, over many millennia, which went into the creation of the Cullinan Diamond."



Like its namesake, Rolls-Royce's Cullinan undertook a perilous and fascinating journey to get to where it is today. From the searing deserts of Africa and the Middle East to the freezing snows of the Arctic Circle; from the grassy glens of the Scottish Highlands to the towering canyons of North America, the designers, engineers, craftspeople and artisans of the House of Rolls-Royce have shaped, tested and polished this unique motor car to eliminate any flaws. The rigorous testing lasted three years.

Apparently, Rolls-Royce is showing the car in camouflage-style paint to hide some of its design details until is officially delivered to the public later this year.
In its original rough form, the Cullinan Diamond measured approximately 10.1 cm (4.0 in) long, 6.35 cm (2.50 in) wide, 5.9 cm (2.3 in) deep, and weighed 621.2 grams (1.37 lbs). It was discovered by Frederick Wells and named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the mine's chairman. The colonial government of South Africa bought the Cullinan Diamond in 1907 and presented it to King Edward VII on his 66th birthday.

Not only was the stone massive, but it was also of superb quality. Both the Cullinans I and II were graded as colorless Type IIa, a coveted subgroup of diamonds that are chemically pure and show extraordinary optical transparency.



King Edward VII entrusted the cleaving of the massive rough stone to the Asscher Brothers of Amsterdam. The stone was sliced in half on February 10, 1908 — nearly exactly 110 years ago — and the rest of the splitting and cutting would proceed for the next eight months, with three cutters working 14 hours per day. The final yield was nine major stones, weighing a total of 1,055.89 carats.

To this day, no other gem-quality rough diamond has come close to the size of the Cullinan Diamond. Currently in second place is the 1,111-carat Lesedi La Rona, which was discovered in the Karowe Mine in Botswana in 2015.

Credits: Car images courtesy of Rolls-Royce. Cullinan Diamond images via Wikimedia Commons [Public domain].
February 14th, 2018
"The Jewelled Phoenix," a remarkable three-dimensional gold coin hand set with 89 ultra-rare pink diamonds, was unveiled last week by mining company Rio Tinto and The Perth Mint at the 47th World Money Fair in Berlin. The delicately sculpted two-tone coin carries a price tag of $147,835 and will have a limited mintage of eight pieces.



“Inspired by ancient Chinese legend, the fine detail and artistry of The Jewelled Phoenix has taken our craftsmanship to the next level,” said Perth Mint chief executive officer Richard Hayes.



Embellished with plumage rendered in pink and purplish-pink diamonds, the 18-karat rose gold phoenix appears to be landing on the fabled paulownia tree, which has three of its flowers hand set with pink diamonds. Each coin will showcase 1.22 carats of colored diamonds sourced from Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia.



Each coin measures 60.6mm (2.39 inches) in diameter and contains more than 10 troy ounces of 99.99 fineness yellow gold and .45 troy ounces of 18-karat rose gold. The extraordinary three-dimensional rendering of the phoenix brings the thickness of the coin to 12.8mm (0.5 inches).

The phoenix is a mystical bird associated with ancient Greek and Asian cultures. The mystical Chinese phoenix is a symbol of happiness and prosperity.

The paulownia tree also has a special place in Chinese culture. An old custom was to plant a paulownia tree (also known as the "princess or empress tree") when a girl was born. The fast-growing tree matured quickly, so when the girl was ready to marry, the tree was cut down and carved into wooden articles for her dowry.

Legend also states that the phoenix will land only on the empress tree — and only when a good ruler is in power. The mintage of eight coins is also significant, because the number eight is considered extremely lucky in Chinese culture.

Credits: Images courtesy of The Perth Mint and Rio Tinto. Screen capture via YouTube/Perth Mint.
February 13th, 2018
Sotheby's London Salon is offering for sale the world's largest D-flawless round brilliant-cut diamond. At 102.34 carats, the impeccable stone is being hailed as the rarest white diamond ever to come to market, and Sotheby's is confident it will break a world record for the highest price ever paid for a D-flawless. The diamond is expected to fetch more than $34 million.



Sotheby's emphasized that while only seven D-flawless diamonds weighing more than 100 carats have ever sold at auction, none were round brilliant cuts. The lack of rounds is really a matter of dollars and cents. When working with extraordinarily large rough stones, cutters generally opt for elongated cushions, emerald cuts and pear shapes, which allow them to keep the maximum carat weight.



Sourced in Botswana by De Beers, the 102.34-carat polished gem was cut from a rough diamond weighing 425 carats. The cutting and polishing process was conducted by Diacore's most experienced artisans in Johannesburg and New York, and took six painstaking months to complete. Although 24 other finished gems would be extracted from the rough, the round primary stone accounted for only 24.1% of the total weight.



By comparison, the 163-carat stunner known as “Art of de Grisogono” was honed from an Angolan-sourced rough diamond that weighed 404 carats. The emerald-cut primary gem accounted for 40.3% of the total weight. The D-flawless “Art of de Grisogono” fetched $33.7 million at Christie’s Geneva in November of 2017 and currently holds the record for the most expensive D-flawless diamond.

While a great majority of its high-profile gemstones are offered at auction, Sotheby's will be selling the flawless round through the Sotheby's Diamond retail boutique on New Bond Street in London. The diamond was on public display last week and will be available for private viewings through February 16. A Sotheby's spokesperson told JCKOnline.com that she expects the stone's selling price to "greatly exceed" the current record.

"This stone is over 100 carats of flawless perfection," said Patti Wong, Founder and Chairman of Sotheby’s Diamonds. "In the course of my long career, which has brought me close to some of the greatest stones the earth has ever yielded, I have not encountered anything quite like this.”

Sotheby's noted that beyond the stone's exceptional color, size, clarity, cut and symmetry, it is also rated Type IIa by the Gemological Institute of America. Diamonds in this rare and coveted subgroup are chemically pure and often show extraordinary optical transparency.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.
February 12th, 2018
A seven-tier stackable ring that uses champagne-colored diamonds to represent all-beef patties, tsavorites to depict the lettuce and pickles, and orange sapphires to illustrate the special sauce is the scintillating prize in McDonald's romantic "Bling Mac Ring" competition.



Valued at $12,500, the fanciful ring by New York-based designer Nadine Ghosn will be awarded to the Twitter user who does the best job professing his or her love for any of the three Big Mac sandwiches — Grand Big Mac, Big Mac and Mac Jr. The competition marks both Valentine's Day and the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac.



Just about everybody knows via the famous McDonald's jingle that the Big Mac consists of two beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a (three-part) sesame seed bun. Ghosn's challenge was to reimagine its iconic multi-layered sandwich in 18-karat gold and precious stones. We particularly like the sesame seeds rendered in flush-set round white diamonds.

“They were very adamant about having every burger ingredient represented in the ring,” Ghosn told NationalJeweler.com.



The competition, which started February 7 and will run through Valentine's Day, February 14, is being promoted via McDonald's Twitter page. The instructions: "Tweet @McDonald’s with #BlingMacContest and your funniest, most creative vows of love to the Big Mac burgers to compete to win the Bling Mac Ring." No purchase is necessary to participate.

A panel of experts will rate the entries based on the following criteria: 40% creativity; 30% love and affinity for the Big Mac sandwich; and 30% humor. Judging will take place from February 19 through February 28 and the winner will be announced shortly thereafter. In addition to the ring, the winner will get a check for $4,286 to help pay for the taxes or to be used at the winner's discretion.

The Big Mac was invented in 1967 by Jim Delligatti, a McDonald's franchise owner in Uniontown, Pa. It was an instant success in the Greater Pittsburgh area and added to the McDonald's menus nationwide a year later. It was billed as a "meal disguised as a sandwich."

While the regular Big Mac has been a staple of McDonald's menus for five decades, the company is re-releasing the Grand Mac and Mac Jr. for a limited time.

Credits: Images and screen captures via Twitter.com/McDonalds.
February 9th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals (in this case, medals) in the title or lyrics. Today marks the opening of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, so to get into the spirit of the Games — throwback style — we've searched our attic for an old neon leotard and a long-forgotten 45 of "Reach Out," the go-for-the-gold theme song from the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.



Composed by three-time Oscar winner Giorgio Moroder and sung by pop star Paul Engemann, "Reach Out" is a power ballad that includes the inspiring lines, "Reach out / Reach out for the medal / Reach out / Reach out for the gold / Come play to win / Never give in / The time is right for you to come and make your stand / Reach out / Reach out."

The catchy chorus of "Reach Out" will bring back memories of Irene Cara singing "Flashdance... What a Feeling." And that's no coincidence. Only one year earlier, Moroder composed that song for the blockbuster 1983 film Flashdance. It earned Moroder, 77, a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1983 and an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1984. Moroder is frequently credited with pioneering electronic dance music.

Engemann, 60, is best known for his 1983 song "Scarface (Push It to the Limit)." That tune, which was co-written by Moroder, was featured in the famous Tony Montana rise-to-power montage sequence in the motion picture Scarface, starring Al Pacino.

Interestingly, the 1984 Summer Olympics had unique theme songs for individual events. For instance, Quincy Jones wrote "Grace" for the gymnastics competition and Foreigner's "Street Thunder" was played during the marathon. "Reach Out" was the theme of the track and field events. In all, there were 13 songs included in the album titled The Official Music of the 1984 Games.

"Reach Out" was also included in Moroder's 1985 album Innovisions. The song scored a #1 spot on the German singles chart, #2 on the Swiss singles chart and #81 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Please check out the video of Engemann performing "Reach Out." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Reach Out"
Written by Giorgio Moroder, Paul Engemann and Richie Zito. Performed by Engemann.

Reach out
Reach out for the medal

Reach out
Reach out for the gold
Come play to win
Never give in

The time is right for you to come and make your stand
Reach out
Reach out

You now hold the future in your hand
You have come from everywhere across the land
The stars are shining bright
Make it yours tonight

You know every wish you have's at your command
Reach out
Reach out for the medal

Reach out
Reach out

Now's the time to take hold of your dream
You are standing on the edge of history
So let the games begin
May the best man win

Give your all for all the world to see
Reach out
Reach out for the medal

Reach out
Reach out for the medal
Reach out
Reach out for the gold


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
February 8th, 2018
Just two days removed from his team's stunning Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz announced his engagement to Madison Oberg on Twitter and Instagram.



The 25-year-old rising star, who was forced to watch the championship game from the sidelines due to an injury, tweeted, "She said YES! And now Maddie and I both got us a ring... can’t wait to marry my best friend! God is doing some amazing things and I can’t thank him enough!"

Actually, Wentz has yet to receive his Super Bowl ring. They're scheduled to be distributed to the players, coaches, football staff and team executives some time in June.



The tweet was accompanied by four romantic shots of Wentz proposing to Oberg in what seems to be the candle-lit rooftop of a fanciful castle.

Wentz had been leading the Eagles to one of the greatest seasons in the franchise's history when he tore his ACL in Week 14. Up to that point, he had thrown for 3,296 yards and 33 touchdowns.



The former North Dakota State University star underwent surgery in December and was on the sidelines during the Eagles' hard-fought 41-33 victory over the favored Patriots on Sunday. His replacement, Nick Foles, was named the Super Bowl MVP after throwing three TD passes and catching a fourth one. It was the Philadelphia franchise's first-ever championship title.

Wentz' social media followers were introduced to Oberg in a December Instagram post from his hospital bed. The photo showed the quarterback with Oberg at his side giving a thumbs up. He told his 863,000 Instagram followers that “the comeback officially begins now!” and added, “The Lord truly blessed me with this beautiful young lady to walk by my side and support me through all of this!”

Millions of fans are expected to attend the Eagles' parade in Philadelphia today. Fans will line a route from Broad Street and Pattison Avenue to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, hoping to catch a glimpse of Foles, Wentz and the rest of their heroes.

Wentz is expected to regain his starting position when the Eagles return to action later this year. The couple has yet to announce a wedding date.

Credits: Images via Twitter.com/cj_wentz.