Friday, November 18, 2016

Music Friday: The Voice's Darby Walker Delivers a Throwback Interpretation of 'Ruby Tuesday'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fabulous songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, 18-year-old Darby Walker — a self-styled hippy songstress — delivers an emotional, throwback interpretation of The Rolling Stones' classic hit, "Ruby Tuesday." The song is celebrating its 50th anniversary.


Walker, who is a Season 11 contestant on The Voice and a member of Team Miley, sang "Ruby Tuesday" in front of a live studio audience on Monday night and cemented her position among the top 11 finalists.

While this song written by Keith Richards and Brian Jones is about a lost love and not about a gemstone, we still rate it as our favorite "ruby" song of all time. (The official writing credit went to Richards and Mick Jagger.)

The famous reprise goes like this... "Goodbye Ruby Tuesday / Who could hang a name on you? / When you change with every new day / Still I'm gonna miss you."


Walker, who moved with her family from Atlanta to Los Angeles eight years ago so she could pursue a singing career, looks like she stepped out of 1960s time capsule. The hippy vibe permeates her "Ruby Tuesday" performance.

Interestingly, The Rolling Stones recorded "Ruby Tuesday" exactly 50 years ago, in 1966. It was released in January of 1967 and immediately ascended to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song #310 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Ironically, the song was originally intended as the B side of “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” another Stones hit, but radio deejays at the time were uncomfortable with the adult theme of the A side, and chose to play the flip.

The Rolling Stones are credited with more than 250 million album sales. They are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and were ranked fourth on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”

Please check out Walker's performance from Monday night's episode of The Voice. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Ruby Tuesday"
Written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. Performed by Darby Walker.

She would never say where she came from
Yesterday don't matter if it's gone
While the sun is bright
Or in the darkest night
No one knows, she comes and goes

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you

Don't question why she needs to be so free
She'll tell you it's the only way to be
She just can't be chained
To a life where nothing's gained
And nothing's lost, at such a cost

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you

"There's no time to lose," I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind
Ain't life unkind?

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you

Credit: Screen captures via

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Auction Headliner 'The Sky Blue Diamond' Fetches $17.1M at Sotheby's Geneva

"The Sky Blue Diamond" — the highly touted headliner of Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale — fetched $17.1 million in Geneva yesterday. The hammer price was in the lower range of the pre-sale estimate of $15 million to $25 million.


At $2.13 million per carat, the performance of the square-cut, 8.01-carat Sky Blue Diamond was lukewarm compared to other high-profile blue diamonds that have captivated gem lovers over the past year.


“The Blue Moon of Josephine,” for example, established a new record for the highest price paid per carat for any gemstone when the hammer went down at Sotheby’s Geneva exactly 12 months ago. The internally flawless, 12.03-carat, cushion-shaped, fancy vivid blue diamond sold for $48.5 million, or $4.03 million per carat.

In May of this year, “The Oppenheimer Blue” became the most expensive gem ever auctioned when it sold for $57.5 million at Christie’s Geneva. The fancy vivid blue, step-cut, rectangular-shaped diamond weighed 14.62 carats and earned a clarity rating of VVS1. Its price per carat was $3.96 million.

Sotheby's had high hopes for The Sky Blue Diamond due to its mesmerizing Fancy Vivid Blue color. Had it sold at the top of the estimated range, it would have yielded $3.12 million per carat and earned a place among the finest fancy vivid blue diamonds of all time.

David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, offered this pre-sale description of the stone: “The Sky Blue Diamond is of a wonderfully clear celestial blue, presented in an extremely elegant square emerald cut – in my view, the most flattering of all the cuts for a colored diamond. This important gem will, I am sure, captivate all collectors of exceptional gemstones.”


The Sky Blue Diamond, which has a clarity rating of VVS1 and a purity rating of Type IIb, is set in a ring by Cartier. The geometric design is accented with brilliant-cut and baguette diamonds.

Its Fancy Vivid Blue designation by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the highest possible color grading — a distinction awarded to fewer than 1% of all blue diamonds submitted to the GIA.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

North America's Largest Uncut, Gem-Quality Diamond — The Foxfire — Makes Its Smithsonian Debut

North America's largest known uncut, gem-quality diamond — The Foxfire — begins a three-month engagement this Thursday at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The diamond weighs more than 187 carats and will be presented alongside the renowned Hope Diamond in the Harry Winston Gallery.


The Foxfire was unearthed in August 2015 at Rio Tinto's Diavik Diamond Mine in the Barren Lands of Canada’s Northwest Territories, about 130 miles from the Arctic Circle.

Extraordinarily large, gem-quality diamonds are an extreme rarity in Canada's Northwest Territories. In fact, the sorting machines that process the ore at the Diavik Diamond Mine had been calibrated to capture rough diamonds of 6 carats and smaller. Everything larger was supposed to be pulverized. Just by chance, Foxfire's uncommonly flattened shape allowed it to pass safely through the filters.


Since production began in 2003, Diavik has produced more than 100 million carats of diamonds.

The Foxfire is named after the aboriginal description of the resplendent Northern Lights that brighten the Arctic sky like a brush of undulating fox tails.

Deepak Sheth of New York-based Amadena Investments LLC/Excellent Facets Inc. acquired the diamond at auction in June of 2016. According to the Smithsonian, Sheth has elected to keep the rough diamond intact, preserving the diamond’s dazzling physical characteristics and its unique story.

“The Foxfire is truly exceptional, one of the great treasures of the Earth,” said Jeffrey Post, curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection. “We are delighted that our visitors will have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view North America’s largest gem-quality diamond in its natural form.”

The Foxfire will be on display from November 17 through February 16, 2017. Admission is free.

Credits: Foxfire diamond photo courtesy of Amadena Investments LLC; Mining photo courtesy of Rio Tinto.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

President-Elect Donald J. Trump Is Immortalized in Sapphire

Only one week removed from his startling Election Day triumph, President-elect Donald J. Trump already has been immortalized in sapphire.


London-based Vip Art Ltd., which is known for its extraordinary dimensional gemstone portraits, just released a likeness of Trump carved into a dark blue sapphire weighing 698 grams, or 3,490 carats. Despite the singular dark blue hue of the sapphire, the carving displays a surprising range of overtones.

Vip Art Ltd. employs a unique technology that allows 3D images to be carved into gemstones of any hardness, including diamonds. This technique was developed by Viktor Petrik, an eccentric Russian-born inventor who has been called a “modern-day Thomas Edison” by his admirers.


Petrik’s Trump sapphire is just one of 90 such portraits rendered in 3D on rubies, sapphires, topazes and other natural and synthetic gems. Previous subjects have included President George H. W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, Mahatma Gandhi, Pope John Paul II and Jesus Christ.


Former President Bush received his sapphire portrait in December of 2004.

In preparing Trump's portrait, Petrik noted that he spoke with the real-estate-mogul-turned-presidential-candidate to get a better understanding of his character.

"I try to convey the similarity with nature, not by copying external features, but identifying and reflecting basic psychological characteristics of the person," noted Petrik in a statement. "During the design process, the more Donald Trump's personality became revealed, the more in love I became with this man. Of course, he sees a world further and deeper, of greater value than most people."

The portrait starts off as a traditional putty or wax carving, but how the art transfers to the gemstone is still a bit of a mystery. Petrik noted in a 2015 press release that laser and ultrasound technologies are not used.

Vip Art Ltd. maintains a very exclusive clientele. Despite the fact that gem carvings can cost from $2.5 million to $5 million, Vip Art limits its subjects to dignitaries and world leaders.

"Unfortunately, in many cases we will have to refuse a potential customer," noted Petrik. "We carry only the portraits of great men whose lives have impacted world culture and history."

Credits: Images courtesy of PRNewsFoto/Vip Art Ltd., PRNewsFoto/Soli Art Limited, UK.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Israeli High-Tech Company Reveals Revolutionary Diamond Grading Machine

Israeli high-tech company Sarine Technologies unveiled a revolutionary device that automatically grades the color and clarity of polished diamonds.


The Ramat Gan-based company believes the new system will fundamentally change the grading and sorting process, bringing objective, measurable standards to a process that has been susceptible to human error and the subjectivity of appraisers.

"Once again, Sarine introduces groundbreaking technological innovation into the global diamond industry," said Sarine CEO Uzi Levami in a statement. "Technological standardization translates into greater credibility for the industry and increased trust for the diamond consumer."


Sarine claims that the new Sarine Clarity™ product will offer definitive, science-based clarity grading and accurate mapping of inclusions and flaws. The system can accurate analyze diamonds from 2 points to 10 carats in size.

Sarine Color™ delivers automated optic analysis of diamond color and precision grading based on global standards. The initial release of the color system can handle diamonds starting at 20 points in size. The company noted that future releases will accommodate a broader range of stone sizes, starting at 2 points.

Sarine Clarity™ and Sarine Color™ are the results of the company's $10 million annual R&D expenditures. Both products are being testing in India and are expected to be ready for commercial release in the middle of 2017.

The clarity and color components build on an existing Sarine technology, DiaMension™, which analyzes and grades a diamond's cut. Together, the three products solve the daunting challenge of quantifying the 4Cs of diamond grading — clarity, color, cut and carat weight.

One critic of Sarine's new offerings told the Associated Press that humans are superior to machines when it comes to grading a diamond because of all the tiny details that need to be analyzed.

"You need the brain of a person to identify what is more, what is better to see, what do you prefer to see," said Roland Lorie, chief executive of the International Gemological Institute. "I think it will take a long, long time for a machine to be able to replace a human being."

Credits: Images courtesy of Sarine Technologies.