Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Will Go Down in History as a Banner Year for Magnificent Gemstones

Fans of magnificent gemstones will be talking about 2015 for a long time. It was the year that produced a cavalcade of record-breakers, including the world's most expensive gemstone and an amazing rough diamond that weighed a staggering 1,111 carats.

Here's our review of the gemstones that lit up 2015...


• In November, the much-ballyhooed Blue Moon diamond set an all-time record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a gemstone when Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau captured the coveted 12.03-carat gem for a jaw-dropping $48.5 million at Sotheby’s Geneva. He renamed the stone “The Blue Moon of Josephine” in honor of his young daughter.


• Only one day earlier, Lau was at rival Christie’s Geneva bidding on a rare cushion-shaped 16.08-carat pink diamond. He eventually purchased the gem for $28.5 million ($1.7 million per carat), setting an auction record for any vivid pink diamond. Lau named the stone, you guessed it, "Josephine."


• Also in November, Lucara announced the discovery of a 1,111-carat rough diamond — the largest gem-quality diamond recovered in more than 100 years. Second in size only to the Cullinan diamond, which was unearthed in 1905 and weighed 3,106.75 carats, the 1,111-carat Type IIa diamond extracted from Lucara’s Karowe Mine in Botswana is about the size of a tennis ball and weighs nearly a half pound.


• In December, the Crimson Flame, a 15-carat pigeon’s blood Burmese ruby, set a new record when it sold for $18 million at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale in Hong Kong. The gem established a new per-carat price record for a ruby at $1.2 million. The gem was billed as "the most important pigeon’s-blood ruby to come to auction in Asia.”


• In May, the Sunrise Ruby obliterated two auction records at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva. With a hammer price of $30.4 million, the 25.59-carat, pigeon’s-blood Sunrise Ruby set a new auction mark for the highest price ever paid for a ruby. It also had established a new high water mark for the highest price-per-carat ever paid at auction for a ruby, a record that was broken seven months later by the Crimson Flame.


• Also in May, a 35.09-carat Kashmir sapphire set a new record at Christie’s Geneva when it fetched $7.4 million — crushing the pre-sale high estimate of $4.3 million. Displaying the velvety blue hue of a peacock’s neck feathers, the gem’s per-carat selling price of $209,689 established a new record for a Kashmir sapphire.

Credits: Sotheby's; Christie's; Lucara.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

LeAnn Rimes' 'Blingtastic' Diamond Ring Celebrates Five-Year Anniversary of Engagement

LeAnn Rimes received a "blingtastic" diamond ring from hubby Eddie Cibrian on Christmas Eve, which also marked the fifth anniversary of their engagement in 2010.


The country singer posted a photo of the new stunner on Instagram, along with this caption: "Celebrating 5 years since we got engaged! #christmaseve #thecibs #husbandandwife."

The ring seems to feature a large oval diamond center stone accented by a delicate pavé diamond band. The new ring will replace Rimes' original engagement ring, which had a 5-carat oval center stone framed by a diamond halo.

Rimes explained to a fan on Instagram that the new ring will share the same finger with the three rose gold diamond bands she's been wearing since 2011. The bands symbolize Cibrian and his two sons, Mason and Jake.

In describing her new jewelry, she wrote, "It's a long story. Different stone, new setting. Yes, I still wear 3 bands and I play around with those depending on my mood. I LOVE my ring. I've loved all of them. This one won't be worn much on stage so I don't destroy it. I really get into it, and precious metals don't do well being banged against a mic over and over. Lol."


A short time later, the 33-year-old returned to Instagram to post a romantic selfie of her and her husband, along with a note wishing her fans a happy Christmas Eve.

Rimes and her 42-year-old actor husband began dating in 2009 and tied the knot in Malibu in April 2011. The couple renewed their vows in a private ceremony a year later.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Thanks to GPS, Diver Recovers Newlywed's Tungsten Wedding Band From Ocean Floor

Newlywed Jay Bradford was working on his friend's charter boat off the coast of New Jersey when his tungsten wedding band slipped off his finger and disappeared into the Atlantic Ocean. But thanks to the accuracy of GPS tracking and the skills of a seasoned salvage diver, the ring was found on the ocean floor four days later. Bradford's wife, Meagan, is calling the recovery "a Christmas miracle."


Meagan had picked a tungsten carbide wedding band for her seafaring husband because her local jeweler told her the metal was extremely durable and resistant to scratches. After their June wedding, Jay wore it everyday and never took it off — until Saturday, December 12.


Jay had been helping out on his friend's charter boat, the Lock-N-Load, when he was asked to pull up the anchor so they could find a better fishing spot. In an interview with the Asbury Park Press, Jay described how he hit the boat's bow rail with his hands and the wedding band rode up over his knuckle. When he tried to secure it, the ring jumped off his hand, rebounded off the boat's toe rail and plunked into the 33-foot-deep water.


The conditions were far too dangerous for captain Nick Barsa and his crew to try to recover the ring at that moment, so they locked in the boat's GPS coordinates just in case they decided to tackle the problem with a professional diver at a later date.

Even though the tungsten ring could easily have been replaced, the Point Pleasant couple was steadfast in their commitment to do everything possible to recover the original.

I wasn't worried about the cost of the ring," Meagan told the Asbury Park Press. "I was more concerned with what it meant and what it symbolized."

“We knew it was a 50-50 shot and [Jay] asked me if I though it was worth it,” Meagan added. “I told him we would either have a really good story to tell or be back at square one.”


After four days of bad weather, and with the seas still churning, captain Barsa, Jay and a professional salvage diver returned to the exact GPS coordinates, east of Long Branch, N.J. To have a fighting chance of finding the ring, the boat had to be placed in the exact same spot, a task made very difficult by the 35 MPH westerly winds and a big southeast swell. Captain Barsa had to circle the boat several times to hit the mark.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system that provides accurate position fixes 24 hours a day, on land, sea and air, in any weather, with no subscription or fee. Originally built between 1978 and 1994 for the U.S. Department of Defense with 24 satellites in orbit 12,000 miles above the Earth, this multi-billion dollar system is available for all users.

And, amazingly, it's often accurate to within 3.5 meters.

The diver, Mark Thompson, stood in the same position on the boat where Jay had lost his ring and dropped a handful of metal washers into the water to determine where the current was likely to take them. Then, the diver followed the popcorn trail to the spot where the tungsten ring was likely to be. Amazingly, the strategy worked to perfection. Despite only one-foot of visibility at the bottom, it took barely 10 minutes for Thompson to find the black tungsten ring resting near the washers on the rocky bottom.

“I gave [the diver] the biggest hug I could,” Meagan said.


Jay promised his wife that he wouldn't wear his tungsten wedding band to work anymore. Instead, he'll wear a cheap imitation or rubber ring. Meagan joked that Jay wants to tattoo his finger with the ring's GPS coordinates so he won't ever "have to go through this again."

Meagan called the experience a "Christmas miracle," and nicknamed the Lock-N-Load's skipper "Captain St. Nicholas" in honor of his holiday season efforts to recover her husband's wedding band.

Credits: Video screen captures via Asbury Park Press (, Google Maps.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Canadian Sends Engagement Ring Into Stratosphere to Make It Truly Unique — Just Like His Fiancée

Shawn Wright says his girlfriend Maylynn Stephenson is "out of this world," so the romantic Canadian devised a way to launch her engagement ring into the stratosphere.


Mounted on a wooden spatula, attached to a high-altitude weather balloon, monitored by a GPS unit and filmed with a GoPro, the engagement ring lifted off from Calgary just before dawn. In a fascinating three-minute video, the ring is shown rising above the earth with a gorgeous sunrise in the background.


The ring ascended 110,000 feet (about 20 miles), which is considered near-space. Propelled by a jet-stream, the weather balloon and its payload eventually parachuted safely more 200 miles away in Taber, Alberta.


"I thought, 'How could I make this special? I can't just hand it to her,'" he told HLN. "I thought for a split second that it would be cool to send it into space. Kind of enchanting the ring for her."


Armed with surreal footage of the ring floating high above the Earth at sunrise, Wright produced a video chronicling the journey. The video ends with the question, "Maylynn. Will you marry me?"

After viewing the video and accepting the "enchanted" engagement ring, Stephenson couldn't have been more impressed by her fiancé's romantic proposal, although she did admit that she would have "freaked out a bit" if she knew in advance that her ring was being launched into space.


"It was definitely fantastic. Mind blowing. Completely off my radar," Stephenson told The Calgary Eyeopener. "I didn't see it coming at all."

Wright was confident he wouldn't lose the ring because he was able to track it in real time using both a radio transmitter and a GPS devise. At one point in the flight, the weather balloon was heading toward the U.S. border, but a fortunate change in the jet stream kept the ring in Canada.

The 29-year-old Wright had originally proposed to Stephenson with a faux diamond ring a year ago while they were on holiday in Barcelona, Spain. Over the past year, he saved up enough money to buy the actual ring and to assemble the components for his elaborate, high-flying video.

Wright uploaded his amazing footage to YouTube and included this funny and heartwarming caption... "To my fiancée. This is my way of showing you how much you mean to me. I have been working on this project in secret. I hope you think it is as out of this world as you are. I love you! PS... I owe you a kitchen spatula."

Wright and Stephenson have known each other since they were pre-teens. About six years ago, they started dating after reconnecting via Facebook.

Check out Wright's video, below...

Images: Screen captures via YouTube; Shawn Wright/Facebook.