Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Alrosa Unveils Massive 236-Carat Fancy Intense Yellow-Brown Diamond

Russian mining giant Alrosa recently unearthed a massive 236-carat fancy intense yellow-brown diamond at its Ebelyakh mine in Yakutia. It's the largest natural color rough diamond ever found in Russia.

The beautiful specimen, which seems to display a surreal inner glow, measures 47mm x 24mm x 22mm (slightly wider than a golf ball). Its "fancy intense" color is one grade below the highest classification of "fancy vivid."

The stone is currently being evaluated by specialists at Alrosa’s United Selling Organization.

"After that, we will decide whether to give it to our manufacturers for cutting or sell it as a rough," said Pavel Vinikhin, the head of diamonds for Alrosa's cutting and polishing division. "Of course, cutters in any country will be interested in such a [specimen], as it has the potential to [yield] several high-quality polished diamonds.”

The Ebelyakh alluvial diamond deposit is located on the Anabar River, which runs through the Central Siberian Plateau. The remote area is 3,800 km northeast of Moscow, near the Arctic Ocean.

The mine was previously in the news for yielding a number of high-profile fancy color diamonds. In the summer of 2017, Alrosa mined three unique fancy color diamonds within a single month: a yellow, pink and purple-pink. All three stones were cut by the Diamonds of Alrosa division and presented as polished diamonds to the public.

At the end of 2019, a polished 20.69-carat fancy vivid yellow diamond called Firebird was sold by Alrosa to luxury jeweler Graff Diamonds.

Already the world’s leading diamond producer in terms of sheer output, Alrosa is looking to become a bigger player in a segment of the industry that had been dominated by Rio Tinto and Anglo American’s De Beers — gem-quality colored diamonds.

Alrosa’s push is coming at a time when Rio Tinto’s Argyle Mine in Western Australia — the world’s primary source for pink, red and blue diamonds — is just about tapped out. The mine is scheduled to close at the end of 2020.

Credits: Images courtesy of Alrosa.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Metal Detectorist Reunites LI Man With Locket Containing His Brother's Ashes

A young Long Island man got the best birthday gift he could have ever asked for when a thumbprint locket containing his brother's ashes was returned to him by a Good Samaritan with a metal detector. 

Fiction writer and avid metal detectorist Danny McAleese discovered the precious keepsake at Smith Point County Park beach in New York's Suffolk County this past Wednesday.

The father of four said he's had a metal detector for a long time. He's found gold items and silver items, but this recent discovery was the most unusual.

"I was sweeping the beach for about two hours and I was just about to quit and I got a really nice hit," he said. "It was 8 or 10 inches down. Right where the water meets the sand. It popped out, this thumbprint. It looked really strange to me."

The oval locket measured 1 1/2 inches tall and was inscribed with this message: "Joseph I will carry you with me until I see you again."

McAleese thought the inscription might be a prayer, but his wife, Aurelia, correctly identified it as a deeply personal sentiment. The locket was a cremation pendant.

Aurelia told her husband, "We have to find who owns this."

McAleese and his wife posted pics of the thumbprint pendant to Facebook, where is was quickly shared by more than 1,000 users.

Within a few hours, the message had made its was to Hershey Park, Pa., where Dylan Miller was celebrating his birthday with his family.

Miller posted his response: "Wow today's my birthday and that's my necklace with my brother's ashes that I lost last week -- thank you so much I didn't think anyone would ever find that."

Dylan's old brother and role model, Joseph, had passed away two years ago. The younger Miller lost the pendant while tossing a football around at the beach.

"For three hours I was basically crawling on the sand, moving my hands around trying to find it," Miller told News12.

With Miller still in Hershey, Pa., a News12 reporter was able set up a video conference to connect the young man with the husband-and-wife team responsible for finding the cherished pendant and locating him on social media.

"Thank you so much. I can't put into words how grateful I am that you found it," Miller said.

"I can't put into words how happy I am that you're going to get your brother back. That's awesome," Danny McAleese responded.

"Thanks. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday gift," the young man said.

Credits: Screen captures via

Friday, August 07, 2020

Music Friday: Jake Owen's ‘Days of Gold’ Celebrates a Sensational Southern Summer

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, country star Jake Owen celebrates a sensational Southern summer in his 2013 release, "Days of Gold."

Owen reminisces about the days of yesteryear when he could hang out with good friends, drive his long-bed truck, sip ice-cold beer and feel the sun beating down on his skin.

He sings, "Beers ice cold and got a pretty little lady to hold / Southern summer and that sun shining down like Daddy’s silver dollar / Gotta hop on the old dirt road to the days of gold."

The 38-year-old Owen explained to that "the days of gold are the good times… the times we remember, the times we reflect on. I'll always look back on my life and remember these days... the days of gold!"

"Days of Gold" was written and released in 2012 by Jaren Johnston and Neil Mason of the music group, The Cadillac Three. Owen liked the song so much, he asked the writers if he could cover it for his next album. Owen's rendition quickly climbed to #19 on Billboard’s U.S. Hot Country Songs chart and #28 on the Canada Country chart. Its instant success was helped along by the singer’s appearance on NBC’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, where he performed the song live.

"Growing up in Florida and being someone who was used to always living in the sunshine… I thought it was really important to have a song that personified that," Owen told "[And] just with the melodic structure and the tempo of that song, it seemed very conducive for the kind of atmosphere I want to have at my concerts."

The title track from Owen’s fourth studio album, “Days of Gold” has earned critical acclaim. Taste of Country music reviewer Billy Dukes wrote that “Days of Gold” isn’t a song, it’s a statement. “Words like ‘uptempo’ or ‘rockin’ don’t even begin to describe the pace the singer keeps up for over three spellbinding minutes,” he wrote.

The Vero Beach, Fla., native first captured the national spotlight with his hits “Startin’ With Me,” “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” and “Eight Second Ride.” He earned a Grammy nomination in 2008 and was named the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Vocalist in 2009.

Owen has toured with chart-topping country artists Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Little Big Town, Sugarland, Keith Urban and Jason Aldean.

Trivia: Owen's dream of becoming a professional golfer was sidelined when he was injured in a wakeboarding accident. During his recovery from reconstructive surgery, he borrowed a neighbor's guitar and taught himself how to play. The rest is history.

Please check out the video of Owen's rendition of “Days of Gold.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Days of Gold”
Written by Jaren Johnston and Neil Mason. Performed by Jake Owen.

Long truck bed hop in it, fire engine red like her lipstick
Out here we can let it go
But just me and my good friends
Jug of wine, a little sip
Out here baby you just never know

Yeah, these are the days of gold
Well it’s a Southern summer, whiskey's in the air, dogs on the burner
Beer's ice cold and got a pretty little lady to hold
Southern summer and that sun shining down like Daddy’s silver dollar
Gotta hop on the old dirt road to the days of gold

A little July sky so high, moon shine by the riverside
Stealing hearts and running wild
Yeah our own world, Tennessee boys and girls running free out here it’s good times for miles
Yeah, these are the days of gold

Well it’s a Southern summer, whiskey's in the air, dogs on the burner
Beer's ice cold and got a pretty little lady to hold
Southern summer and that sun shining down like Daddy’s silver dollar
Gotta hop on the old dirt road to the days of gold

A little bit of you, a little bit of me
What you wanna do, what’s it’s gonna be
We can get wild, we can live free
Or you can shake it for me baby like a tambourine
Slice of watermelon and you spit the seeds

Sweat on your back stickin' to the seats
We can take off and beat the heat
I'll be buzzin' on you honey like a bumblebee

Yeah it’s a Southern summer, whiskey's in the air dogs on the burner
Beer's ice cold and got a pretty little lady to hold
Southern summer and that sun shining down like Daddy’s silver dollar
Gotta hop on the old dirt road to the days of gold

Credit: Photo by Lunchbox LP / CC BY.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

HGTV Star Tarek El Moussa Thrills Heather Rae Young With Lucky 8-Carat Diamond

Heather Rae Young told her 932,000 Instagram followers that she is "absolutely obsessed" with her new 8.08-carat emerald-cut diamond and that she can't stop staring at it.

The 32-year-old former model and Selling Sunset reality TV star received the gorgeous ring during a romantic beachfront proposal orchestrated by Tarek El Moussa, who is best known for his hit HGTV show, Flip or Flop. In the lead-up to the proposal, which was filmed by HGTV, Young was led down a sandy pathway lined with candles and flowers.

El Moussa recruited jewelry designer Benny Hayoun of Los Angeles-based Benny and the Gems to help him source the perfect stone. Emerald is her favorite diamond cut and the carat weight of 8.08 is significant because "8" is Young's lucky number. (Eight is also said to be the luckiest number in Chinese culture, as it represents prosperity and happiness.)

"It’s perfect for me in every way!," Young exclaimed on Instagram. "Thank you Mr. El Moussa for making me the happiest!"

Young posted a series of proposal photos and asked her Instagram followers for feedback about the ring.

"Do you guys love it??? Tell me tell me!!" she wrote.

Comments were unanimously positive, with @gemmaleefarrell stating, "Literally insane," @southern.with.sass adding, "Gorgeous! Emerald cut is my absolute FAVE. Classic and timeless," and @brittanymasonofficial exclaiming, "Incredible!!!! GORGEOUS emeralds are the best! Well done."

Within four days, the post had earned more than 111,000 likes.

Young shared the inside story of how she almost got a peek of the diamond prematurely while El Moussa was filming an episode of Flip or Flop. Young was visiting the set, hanging out in a luxury van, when her boyfriend approached her and said that under no circumstances should she come outside the van or open the blinds.

"I asked him for days 'What were you doing? When can you tell me?' He wouldn’t budge. It was a hard no! Well turns out he was meeting with Benny to look at the diamond. They had it shipped in from Europe."

On his Instagram page, the 38-year-old El Moussa proudly posted pics of the emerald-cut diamond ring, adding the caption, "After receiving hundreds of messages, here it is...the RING!! My good buddy and jeweler @bennyandthegems searched all over the world for this stone!. I went with an 8.08 Carat Emerald cut diamond for my love @heatherraeyoung. So...How did I do!? Hope you like it!"

El Moussa hinted that the ring is actually a work in progress.

"Right now, I just got her the main stone, but what I want to do is design the rest of the ring together," he said. "I provide the stone, and now we actually build the ring.”

The couple told a celebrity website that they won't officially tie the knot until things are "back to normal." They're hoping that health risks related to the coronavirus pandemic will subside so they can tie the knot in about 12 months.

Credits: Images via

Monday, August 03, 2020

World's Largest Faceted Peridot and the Brooklyn Bridge Have This in Common

Here's a birthstone riddle for the month of August: What do the world's largest faceted peridot and the Brooklyn Bridge have in common?

If you're stumped, a little background may help...

About the Peridot
The 311-carat faceted peridot (shown in the grouping, above) is currently part of the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection in Washington, DC, but originated on Egypt's Saint John's Island in the Red Sea.

As early as 1500 B.C., ancient Egyptians mined peridot on that same island (then known as Topazios) and anointed the vibrant green stone as the “gem of the sun.”

Legend has it that miners on the island worked day and night to collect the green gems for the Pharaoh. Nighttime mining was possible because of the way the gems reacted to lamp light in the darkness. It is also believed that many, if not all, of Cleopatra's emeralds were actually deep green peridot stones from the Topazios mines.

While nearly all of the peridot that you see in your jeweler’s showcase was born deep within the Earth’s mantel, it's also first gem to be discovered on another planet. The Mars landing of 2003 revealed that green peridot crystals — in the form of the gem’s less-precious cousin, olivine — cover about 19,000 square miles of the Red Planet’s surface.

About the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge was one of the most impressive engineering feats of the 19th century. Designed by John A. Roebling, the world's largest suspension bride at that time would span 1,595.5 feet, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan. The 14-year project was started in 1869, the same year Roebling would pass away at the age of 63.

Roebling's son, Washington, supervised the construction of his dad's vision, with the assistance of his wife, Emily. On May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was unveiled to the world during a celebration attended by President Chester A. Arthur, Gov. Grover Cleveland of New York and hundreds of thousands of curious onlookers. Circus promoter P.T. Barnum famously displayed the strength of the bridge by leading 21 elephants across it.

What's in Common?
What few people know about Washington Roebling was that the world famous civil engineer was an avid collector of rocks and minerals. Upon his death in 1926, Roebling's collection of 16,000 specimens and an endowment of $150,000 for its maintenance were donated by his son, John A. Roebling II, to the Smithsonian Institution. The collection, which included the world's largest faceted peridot, would became an integral part of the National Gem Collection.

So, what connects the famous peridot with the famous bridge? Washington Roebling.

Credits: Image of peridot grouping by Chip Clark/Smithsonian. Brooklyn Bridge by Suiseiseki / CC BY-SA.