Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Golden Laurel Leaf Trimmed From Napoleon's Coronation Crown Sells at Auction for $730,000

A golden laurel leaf trimmed from the coronation crown of French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804 sold for a surprising $730,000 at an auction near Paris on Sunday. The hammer price was more than four times the pre-sale high estimate.

Weighing barely 10 grams (.35 ounces), the leaf's precious metal value is less than $500. But Jean-Pierre Osenat of the auction house that bears his family's name told Reuters that the sale price "certainly isn't based on the weight of the gold, but on the weight of history."

Osenat had estimated that the piece would sell in the range of $118,000 to $177,000.

Napoleon famously crowned himself emperor in a lavish event at Notre Dame. A vital part of his regalia was a Julius Caesar-style laurel wreath formed from 44 large gold leaves and 12 smaller ones.

During the fitting, Napoleon complained to jeweler Martin-Guillaume Biennais that the crown was too heavy. The jeweler solved the problem by snipping six large leaves from the crown. Biennais was a proud father of six daughters and gifted each one with a laurel leaf.

The leaf that headlined the Osenat auction in the ritzy Paris suburb of Fontainebleau on Sunday had remained in the Biennais family since the coronation. The whereabouts of the other five leaves are unknown. The auctioned leaf had been preserved in its original red Morocco leather case, signed "Biennais au Singe Violet rue S Honoré No 511."

In fact, the single golden leaf is all that remains of the crown, which was melted down in 1819 — four years after Napoleon fell from power after the Battle of Waterloo.

Credit: Jewelry image courtesy of Osenat Auctions. Napolean portrait by workshop of François Gérard [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Sierra Leone Yields Second Massive Diamond of 2017; This One Weighs 476.7 Carats

It's been a banner year for tiny West African nation of Sierra Leone. The recent discovery of the 476.7-carat "Meya Prosperity" — which followed the March discovery of the even more massive 709.1-carat "Peace Diamond" — gives Sierra Leone the distinction of being the source of the world's two biggest diamond finds of 2017.

The yellow-hued Peace Diamond is believed to be the 14th largest diamond ever discovered, and the colorless Meya Prosperity is being slotted at #29.

The Peace Diamond, which was pulled from a river bed by pastor Emmanuel Momoh, is scheduled to be sold at a New York auction on December 4. Some experts believe the diamond could yield as much as $50 million.

Meya Prosperity will also be sold at international auction, but it's not clear if it will go under the hammer with the Peace Diamond in New York.

In the wild world of fabulously large diamonds, the diminutive Sierra Leone can be considered a powerhouse.

In 1972, the 968.9-carat "Star of Sierra Leone" diamond was discovered by miners in the Koidu area of eastern Sierra Leone. The gem was eventually cut into 17 separate finished diamonds, of which 13 were deemed to be flawless. The Star of Sierra Leone ranks as the fourth-largest gem-quality diamond and the largest alluvial diamond ever discovered.

In 1945, the 770-carat Woyie River Diamond was also found near Koidu. Ranked the 9th-largest diamond ever discovered, the D-flawless rough was cut into 30 gems, including 10 weighing more than 20 carats each. The rough gem earned star status when it was brought to London and viewed by Queen Mary in October 1947.

The 476.7-carat Meya Prosperity is named for Meya Mining, which discovered the stone and maintains an exclusive license to explore a concession spanning 80 square miles of the diamond-rich Kono District. The mining company also noted that two other sizable diamonds — one weighing 19.70 carats and the other weighing 27.93 carats — were discovered only a few hours after unearthing the Meya Prosperity.

"[The latest find] provides a remarkable indication of the potential of the mineral resources in the area," Sahr Wonday, director general of Sierra Leone's National Minerals Agency, told news24.com.

Credit: Photos courtesy of Trustco Resources. Map by Google Maps.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mother Nature Dazzles Us Again: Natural Freshwater Pearl Bears Uncanny Likeness to a Swimming Fish

A natural freshwater pearl bearing an uncanny likeness to a swimming fish proves, once again, that Mother Nature is the world's greatest artist, sculptor and designer.

Measuring a little less than an inch in length, the specimen's shape, color, scale-like texture and seemingly articulated head and body make for a one-of-a-kind masterwork that has the gemological and jewelry communities buzzing.

The Gemological Institute of America’s New York City lab recently completed an examination of the unique fish-shaped brownish orange pearl. Sally Chan Shih and Emiko Yazawa wrote about the interesting find in the Fall 2017 edition of Gems & Gemology.

"One end was wider and more rounded, which bore an uncanny likeness to a fish’s head, with an 'eye' and 'mouth' also discernible," they wrote. "The lustrous orient along the body narrowed to a rounded point, resembling iridescent fish scales on a tail."

The pearl measures 21.34 mm (.84 in.) wide by 6.28 mm (.24 in.) tall by 2.81 mm (.11 inches) thick.

A chemical analysis of the 2.12-carat pearl confirmed high levels of manganese, which proved the natural pearl was formed in a freshwater mollusk. That mollusk was likely harvested from a river in the Mississippi Valley.

What makes the "fish pearl" more extraordinary is the fact that it came to be completely without human intervention.

A natural pearl forms when an irritant, such as a grain of sand, slips in between the mollusk’s shell and its mantle tissue. To protect itself from the irritant, the mollusk secretes layer upon layer of nacre, which is the iridescent material that eventually produces a pearl. Cultured pearls, by comparison, are grown under controlled conditions, where a bead is implanted in the body of the mollusk to stimulate the secretion of nacre.

The authors emphasized that the entire nacreous surface was composed of overlapping platelets.

"We observed no indications of work, such as polishing, that is sometimes performed to improve a pearl’s appearance," they wrote.

Credit: Photo by Sood Oil (Judy) Chia, courtesy of the Gemological Institute of America.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Music Friday: Sonny Turner of The Platters Sings, 'With This Ring I Promise I'll Always Love You'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of "With This Ring," a feel-good sing-along that was a huge hit for The Platters and frontman Sonny Turner.

In this song, Turner is about to marry the girl of his dreams. He admits to having been a "wanderer," but now he's ready to settle down. The ring represents his promise to be faithful and to always love her.

He sings, "With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you."

Later in the song, he adds, "Baby, I never thought so much love could fit in a little band of gold."

"With This Ring" appeared as the first track from the band's Going Back to Detroit album and was released as the album's only single. The song ascended to #14 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and #12 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart. The song represented an uptempo, stylistic shift for the group, which was famous for its moody R&B hits, such as "Only You," "The Great Pretender," "My Prayer," "Twilight Time" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."

The Platters, which was formed in Los Angeles in 1952, charted 40 singles between 1955 and 1967, including four Billboard #1s. Turner joined the band in 1959 as a fresh-faced, 19-year-old tenor. He was chosen from 100 hopefuls who were auditioning to replace The Platters' original lead singer, Tony Williams. Turner remained with The Platters until 1970, when he left to pursue a solo career.

The group has endured numerous lineup changes and name variations throughout its history. Fans have been coming out to see The Platters for the better part of 65 years, and the group continues to tour. According to songkick.com, the group has appeared in Las Vegas 1,171 times, and most frequently shared the billing with The Marvelettes (866 times).

Please check out the video of Turner and The Platters performing "With This Ring." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"With This Ring"
Written by Richard Wylie, Luther Dixon and Anthony Hester. Performed by The Platters.

With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you
With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you

They used to call me the wanderer
Who never wanted to settle down, yeah
But I'll tell you, baby
I wander no more, got to stay around 'cause

With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you
With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you

Got nothing but this old heart of mine
Baby, please, believe in me
Girl, you know, sweet heart
I'll always try to keep you satisfied, 'cause

With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you
With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you

With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you
With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you

Baby, I never thought so much love
Could fit in a little band of gold
But I'm telling you, darling
I feel it in my heart, got it in my soul

With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you
With this ring I promise I'll always love you, always love you

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Largest D-Flawless Diamond Ever to Appear at Auction Fetches $33.7 Million at Christie's Geneva

The largest D-flawless diamond ever offered at auction — a 163-carat emerald-cut stunner set in an emerald and diamond necklace by de Grisogono — fetched $33.7 million at Christie's Geneva yesterday. The piece was purchased by an anonymous bidder and the hammer price exceeded the pre-sale estimate by about 10%.

The extraordinary diamond, which was cut from a 404.20-carat Angola-sourced rough named “4 de Fevereiro,” had been billed as "the most beautiful diamond in the world." The necklace attained celebrity status as it toured Hong Kong, London, Dubai and New York before returning to Geneva for the high-profile sale at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues.

The asymmetrical necklace designed by Swiss jewelry house de Grisogono features cascading pear-shaped emeralds on the left side and cool, white emerald-cut diamonds down the right. The company chose to use emeralds in the design because the green color symbolizes good luck.

The final concept, named “The Art of de Grisogono,” was one of 50 proposed by the firm’s design team and took more than 1,700 hours to complete. The 163-carat diamond may be detached from the necklace and incorporated into other jewels.

The oddly shaped rough diamond was cut in New York, where a team of 10 diamond-cutting specialists pooled their talents to map, plot, cleave, laser-cut and polish the gem into a stunning 163.41 carat emerald-cut stone.

The gem earned a D-flawless, Type IIa grade from the Gemological Institute of America. Type IIa diamonds are the purest of all diamonds because they are composed solely of carbon with virtually no trace elements in the crystal lattice. The 404.20-carat rough is the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered in Angola.

“Over our 251-year history, Christie’s has had the privilege of handling the world’s rarest and most historic diamonds," noted Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Christie’s Jewels. "The sensational 163.41-carat perfect diamond suspended from an elegant emerald and diamond necklace propels de Grisogono into a class of their own.”

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie’s.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Intricately Carved Agate Detailing a Battle Scene Is Called a Bronze-Age 'Masterpiece'

Measuring barely 1.5 inches across and carved with astonishing skill, this 3,500-year-old sealstone is considered one of the finest works of prehistoric Greek art ever discovered.

Emerging from the surface of the agate is a finely detailed battle scene showing a victorious warrior who, having already vanquished one unfortunate opponent sprawled at his feet, now turns his attention to another much more formidable foe. Some of the elements are so incomprehensibly small that they must be viewed with a magnifying glass or via photomicroscopy to be truly appreciated.

The agate masterpiece had been unearthed from the burial site of a Bronze Age Greek warrior near the ancient city of Pylos more than two years ago by University of Cincinnati researchers. At the time, the treasure-laden tomb of the "Griffin Warrior" was hailed as the most spectacular archaeological discovery in Greece in more than half a century.

Recovered from the grave were more than 3,000 items, including four solid gold rings, silver cups, precious stone beads, fine-toothed ivory combs and an intricately built sword, among other weapons.

The agate had been put aside for later review because it was caked with limestone and looked like an average bead. But, when researchers finally completed the task of removing 3,500 years of sediment, what was emerged was so amazing that many team members were overcome with emotion.

"Looking at the image for the first time was a very moving experience, and it still is," said Shari Stocker, a senior research associate in UC's Department of Classics. "It's brought some people to tears."

A sketch of the artwork offers a clearer picture of the characters depicted in the carving.

Researchers believe the "Pylos Combat Agate" was a sealstone that the Griffin Warrior wore as a bracelet around 1450 BC. He likely pressed the raised image into clay or wax. He was dubbed the Griffin Warrior because he was buried with an ivory plaque depicting a griffin — a mythical beast with the body of a lion and head and wings of an eagle.

"What is fascinating is that the representation of the human body is at a level of detail and musculature that one doesn't find again until the classical period of Greek art 1,000 years later," explained UC archaeologist Jack Davis. "It's a spectacular find."

Stocker and Davis noted that the skill and sophistication reflected in the Pylos Combat Agate is unparalleled by anything uncovered before from the Minoan-Mycenaean world.

"It seems that the Minoans were producing art of the sort that no one ever imagined they were capable of producing," explained Davis. "It shows that their ability and interest in representational art, particularly movement and human anatomy, is beyond what it was imagined to be."

The Pylos Combat Agate is the subject of a paper to be published later this month in the peer-reviewed journal Hesperia.

Credit: Images courtesy of University of Cincinnati.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Music Friday: After Sad Breakup, Vance Joy Reminisces in His New Release How We Were 'Like Gold'

Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you fresh, new tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we feature a nostalgic ballad from Aussie singer-songwriter Vance Joy. Introduced via Joy's Twitter account on November 2, "Like Gold" tells the story of a perfect love, a painful breakup and the promise of a second chance.

As many authors and lyricists have done in the past, Joy uses "gold" to symbolize something pure and ideal.

He sings, "Closing my eyes, remember how we were like / Gold, when you see me / Hi, if you need me / Babe, that's the way it was / That's the history / Blue, how we used to roar / Like an open fire / That's the way it was / But that's history."

"I wrote 'Like Gold' after coming off the road at the start of 2016," Joy said. "It started with a simple melody I was humming and the idea of looking back at a relationship."

"Like Gold" is the second single from Joy's upcoming album, Nation of Two, which is set to be released in February of 2018. The first single was titled "Lay It On Me."

"Like Gold" has already found its way onto Apple Music's "Best of the Week" list and netted a bunch of positive reviews.

Baeblemusic.com wrote, "Vance Joy lets his mellow tunes blossom once again in his new single 'Like Gold.' Joy literally brings joy to our ears with this new track. His unique ability to turn the pain of a past relationship into something hopeful gives this song the flavor we desperately crave."

"The alternative-folk-meets-pop track hears him reminiscing on a failed relationship with painful imagery of having to let go but not being ready to," wrote thomasbleach.com. "It’s going to emotionally connect with anyone who’s had to learn to let go in the past with a few touching lyrics that offer a rare sense of calm."

Born James Keough in Melbourne, Australia, in 1987, Joy took his stage name from a character in the 1981 Peter Carey novel, Bliss. He told Australian radio station Triple J, "The main character's name is Harry Joy and his grandfather is Vance Joy. He's the storyteller and a crazy old man. Plus, I thought it was a cool name."

The strapping 6' 3" Joy was an Australian rules football player and pursued a law degree before trying his luck on the Melbourne open-mic scene at the end of the 2000s. His folk-pop single "Riptide" caught the attention of Atlantic Records, which signed him to a five-album deal in 2013.

The artist tours internationally. He will be performing in Australia through the end of November, and then heads to Florida, Oregon, California, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Ireland.

Please check out the audio track of Joy performing "Like Gold." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Like Gold"
Written and performed by Vance Joy.

Time to let it go
It won't let go of me
Hanging by a thread
Cutting the cord and then falling back into the
Black 'cause if I don't
If I wait 'til it feels right
I'll be waiting my whole life
Closing my eyes, remember how we were like

Gold, when you see me
Hi, if you need me
Babe, that's the way it was
That's the history
Blue, how we used to roar
Like an open fire
That's the way it was
But that's history

O-o-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
That's the way it was
But that's history
O-o-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
That's the way it was
But that's history

I have a memory
You're visiting me at night
Climbing in my bed
You were so quiet that you never woke me
I love the way you could
See the good in everything
But, do we fuel the fire?
Closing my eyes, remember how we were like

Gold, when you see me
Hi, if you need me
Babe, that's the way it was
That's the history
Blue, how we used to roar
Like an open fire
That's the way it was
But that's history

Started with a word
Now, look at where we are
Everything we've done
It's there on our faces for anyone willing to
Read between the lines
Now, look at where we are
Everything we've done
It's there on our faces for anyone willing to

O-o-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
That's the way it was
But that's history
O-o-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
That's the way it was
But that's history

Well, I got a feeling
Darling, it's possible
'Cause love's got no ceiling
Now, that it's just so strong
And I got a feeling
Like everything is possible
I'm trying to change
M-m-m-m-m

Gold, when you see me
Hi, if you need me
Babe, that's the way it was
That's the history
Blue, how we used to roar
Like an open fire
That's the way it was
But that's history

Started with a word
Now, look at where we are
Everything we've done
It's there on our faces for anyone willing to
Read between the lines
Now, look at where we are
Everything we've done
Started out with just one

O-o-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o-o
O-o-o-o

Gold, when you see me
Hi, if you need me
Babe, that's the way it was
But that's history

Credit: Photo by Ralph Arvesen from Round Mountain, Texas [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Kit Kat’s Japanese Chocolatory Unveils Birthstone Series Embellished With Edible 'Jewels'

Now, here's a novel idea. For the next 12 months, Kit Kat’s Japanese Chocolatory will release limited-edition gourmet wafers that correspond with the month's birthstone. Each bar is highlighted by two edible "jewels" and sports a color scheme/flavor profile inspired by the birthstone.

For instance, November's birthstone is topaz, so Kit Kat's confectioners came up with an amber-colored, chestnut-flavored bar. At the far end of the wafer is a dollop of chocolate embedded with two sparkly sugar candies that mimic the color of topaz.

The jewel is technically a "dragée" — a tiny, bead-like candy used for decorating baked goods.

Kit Kat will introduce a new birthstone flavor at the beginning of each month. On December 1, Kit Kat will give a nod to tanzanite with a wafer that tastes like a purple yam. On New Year's Day, Kit Kat will release a garnet-inspired wafer that will smack of raspberry.

The taste of February's purple amethyst bar will be reminiscent of honeysuckle and March's aquamarine bar will have a hint of grapefruit mint.

The most bizarre flavor will appear in July, when the ruby wafer will taste like tomato. Yikes.

Here's the 12-month lineup...
• November, Topaz, Chestnut
• December, Tanzanite, Purple Yam
• January, Garnet, Raspberry
• February, Amethyst, Honeysuckle
• March, Aquamarine, Grapefruit Mint
• April, Diamond, Rum Raisin
• May, Emerald, Pistachio
• June, Blue Moonstone, Coconut
• July, Ruby, Tomato
• August, Peridot, Lemon
• September, Sapphire, Blueberry
• October, Tourmaline, Peach

This will not be the first time Kit Kat has introduced unexpected flavors to its devoted fan base. According to foodandwine.com, parent company Nestlé Japan famously went to market with Kit Kats that tasted like cough drops and sake. If you were wondering, the sake Kit Kats contained 0.8% alcohol.

Kit Kat is positioning the Birthstone Series as a limited-edition, premium confection, and a package of three wafers costs 1,485 Yen (about $13). Currently, the treat is available exclusively in Japan.

Credits: Images via Flickr/Nestlé Japan.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Houston Astros' Carlos Correa Proposes on National TV Minutes After His Team Wins World Series

Minutes after winning the World Series, Houston Astros star shortstop Carlos Correa shocked his girlfriend, Daniella Rodriguez, and a national TV audience when he pulled a ring box from his back pocket, dropped to one knee and proposed to the former Miss Texas USA during a post-game interview.

A Fox Sports reporter had asked Correa if winning the World Series was everything he thought it would be. His answer caught everyone by surprise...

"It's everything and more. It's one of the biggest steps of my life, one of the biggest accomplishments of my life, and right now I'm about to take another big step in my life," the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year said.

Then — with a ring box in hand — he turned to the first row of the stands, where his girlfriend was watching the interview, and said, "Daniella Rodriguez. You make me the happiest man in the world. Will you marry me?”

Without saying a word, the 21-year-old Rodriguez opened the field-level gate and joined her boyfriend on the playing field, embracing and kissing him to the delight of the fans.

“Oh my God. Oh my God,” she screamed.

A few seconds went by and Rodriguez had not given her answer.

"Yes?" Correa asked.

"Yes!" she affirmed.

Then the 23-year-old shortstop slid the ring on his new fiancée's finger. Featuring a pear-shaped center stone, halo-setting and split-shank diamond band, the gorgeous ring had been picked out with the assistance of Carlos Beltran, the Astros' 40-year-old slugger.

Correa and Rodriguez appeared on NBC's Today Show on Friday, where they offered more details on how the marriage proposal went down.

We learned that Correa had been planning the proposal for more than a month.

"I knew we had championship potential in our team, so I was waiting it out," he said.

And if the Astros lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the epic series?

"There was really no Plan B," he said.

Correa revealed that the ring box he pulled from his pocket had not been hidden there all game.

"It would have been a good story if I said I had it through the whole game," Correa said. "Way too big for the pocket. And I wouldn't have been able to slide."

The ring was safely in the possession of the clubhouse attendant.

"In the 9th inning, I went to the clubhouse and told [the attendant] that I didn't want to jinx anything, but if we got three outs, he should bring out my ring," he said.

Correa explained why the proposal caught Rodriguez totally off guard.

"The only thing I was telling her about during those days was baseball, baseball, baseball. It was Game 7," he explained. "I was laser-focused on just playing baseball that she would have never thought I was going to propose at that point."

On Instagram, Rodriguez summed up her special day with a video clip of the proposal from Fox Sports and the following caption: "We both came out of game 7 with a ring. God blessed me with such an incredible man! Can't wait to spend the rest of my life with my soulmate/best friend!!! #2Rings1Night"

Credits: Proposal screen captures via Fox Sports. Close-up ring pic screen capture via today.com. Parade photo via Instagram.com/daniellardzz.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Music Friday: Drawing by 3-Year-Old Julian Lennon Inspires The Beatles' 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fantastic throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we deliver the inside scoop on one of the most famous — and controversial — diamond songs of all time. It's been 50 years since The Beatles released "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," a psychedelic song that stirred a media frenzy over what appeared to be a not-so-subtle reference to drugs. The evidence: the first letter of each of the title nouns spells "LSD."

Even though the LSD debate persists today, the song's co-writer John Lennon had debunked the drug ties to Lucy and her diamonds during a 1971 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show. The song, it turns out, was innocently inspired by a kid's drawing.

Lennon told the host, "My son came home with a drawing of a strange-looking woman flying around. He said, 'It's Lucy in the sky with diamonds.' I thought, 'That's beautiful.' I immediately wrote the song about it."

Lucy, it turns out, was a classmate of three-year-old Julian Lennon at the private Heath House School in the UK. Lucy O'Donnell (later Lucy Vodden) told the BBC in 2007 that she remembered "doing pictures on a double-sided easel, throwing paint at each other, much to the horror of the classroom attendant."

Noted Julian, "I don't know why I called it [Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds] or why it stood out from all my other drawings, but I obviously had an affection for Lucy at that age. I used to show Dad everything I'd built or painted at school, and this one sparked off the idea."

Co-writer Paul McCartney said the song's fantastical imagery is a nod to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland books.

McCartney told an interviewer, "We did the whole thing like an Alice In Wonderland idea, being in a boat on the river... Every so often it broke off and you saw Lucy in the sky with diamonds all over the sky. This Lucy was God, the Big Figure, the White Rabbit."

"Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" was released as the third track from wildly successful Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, which spent 15 weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart and eventually sold more than 32 million copies worldwide. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album #1 on its list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time."

The Beatles remain the best selling band in history with an estimated 800 million albums sold worldwide.

Trivia: In 2004, astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics named a white dwarf star "Lucy" as a nod to The Beatles' song because they believe the super-dense star is made primarily of diamond. Previously known as BPM 37093, the star is said to be a chunk of crystallized carbon (diamond), weighing 10 billion trillion trillion carats.

Please check out the audio track of The Beatles performing "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Performed by The Beatles.

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
And she's gone

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Ah

Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers
That grow so incredibly high

Newspaper taxis appear on the shore
Waiting to take you away
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds
And you're gone

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Ah

Picture yourself on a train in a station
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile
The girl with the kaleidoscope eyes

Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Ah Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Ah Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds

Credit: Image by Parlophone Music Sweden [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Namibia's 'Forbidden' Diamond-Mining Town Is Open to the Public for the First Time in Its 81-Year History

For the first time in its 81-year history, the Namibian town of Oranjemund, which lies in a diamond-rich region called the Sperrgebiet ("prohibited area" in German), is open to the public.

The town was established in 1936, following the discovery by Hans Merensky of gem-quality alluvial diamonds on the north bank of the Orange River. For more than eight decades, the area around Oranjemund has been producing a staggering 2 million carats per year.

Due to its vast riches, the town has been locked away, behind strict access control and permit requirements, for most of its history. Consolidated Diamond Mines (CDM) and later, Namdeb Diamond Corporation (Pty) Ltd., a joint venture of the Government of the Republic of Namibia and the De Beers Group, have been the guardians and caretakers of the area. Settlement in Oranjemund had been restricted to mining-industry employees and their relatives.

On October 21, all that changed with a gala celebration that announced to the world that Oranjemund was open to the public. The diamond-mining town is hoping to boost eco-tourism and diversify its economy. Oranjemund is promoting itself as a unique location at the confluence of river, ocean, desert and diamonds. The town council revealed a marketing campaign called OMD 2030, which aims to transform the once-forbidden city into a multi-faceted thriving town by 2030.

Tourists will be treated to guided tours through the Sperrgebiet, while learning about the history of diamonds and mining in the town.

The new openness coincides with Namdeb's announcement that it will be winding down its land-based operations and focusing more heavily on offshore mining.

In 2016, Debmarine Namibia, also a 50/50 joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Namibia and the De Beers Group, mined more than 1.2 million carats of high-quality diamonds off the shore of the southwestern edge of the African continent. This past June, we reported on the launch of the mv SS Nujoma, a state-of-the-art ship capable of probing the ocean floor for diamond deposits. It’s the sixth and most advanced vessel in De Beers’s growing fleet.

Credits: Mining image via debeersgroup.com; Oranjemund images via www.oranjemund-tc.com and twitter.com/OMD_2030; Map by Google Maps.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Historic Donnersmarck Diamonds Expected to Fetch Up to $13.7 Million at Sotheby's Geneva

A pair of fancy intense yellow diamonds steeped in history and weighing 82.47 carats and 102.54 carats, respectively, is expected to fetch up to $13.7 million at Sotheby's Geneva next month. "The Donnersmarck Diamonds" were famously owned by La Païva, a Russian-born courtesan who ascended into French high society in the mid-1800s, eventually marrying Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck, one of Europe's wealthiest men.

Sotheby's announced that the two diamonds will be sold as a single lot. The larger of the two diamonds is cushion shaped and carries an SI1 clarity grade. The smaller one is pear shaped and boasts a VS2 clarity.

La Païva, also known as Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck (1819–1884), was said to be so enchanted by her diamonds that she insisted that the central staircase of her mansion in Paris — Hôtel de la Païva — be made of Algerian yellow marble to match their hue.

Noted David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division: “These stunning diamonds carry with them a fascinating story, full of romance and determination over adversity, which could have inspired some of the greatest novels and operas, from Manon Lescaut to La Traviata."

Born Esther Lachman of a Russian family of modest means, La Païva arrived in Paris at the age of 18 to pursue her dreams. She was rapidly introduced to the city's cultural and artistic circles by her lover, piano composer and pianist, Henri Herz. Among her close friends were composer Richard Wagner, conductor Hans von Bülow, poet Théophile Gautier and journalist Emile de Girardin.

In 1851, she married the Portuguese Marquis Albino Francisco de Araújo de Païva, an heir to two important Macao wholesale fortunes. That marriage would last only one day, but her nickname, La Païva, would last her lifetime.

A year later, she crossed paths with a 22-year-old Prussian industrialist and mining magnate, Count Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck. According to one account, she pursued him across Europe, pretending not to be interested in him, but always being at the same social events. A relationship ensued, and 19 years later, in 1871, the 42-year-old La Païva would receive an annulment from her one-day marriage and tie the knot with von Donnersmarck.

Among her wedding gifts was a triple-strand diamond necklace formerly owned by the deposed French empress, Eugénie. He also gifted her the twin baubles that would be known as The Donnersmarck Diamonds.

La Païva’s died in 1884 and The Donnersmarck Diamonds would remain in the Donnersmarck family for more than a century. They first appeared at a public auction in 2007, where the pair earned slightly less than $8 million at Sotheby's. Now, 10 years later, Sotheby's has the good fortune of presenting them once again. They will be previewed during a five-city tour, which started in Singapore and includes stops in Hong Kong, Taiwan, New York and Geneva.

The Donnersmarck Diamonds will be a featured lot at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva on November 15.

Credits: Image of The Donnersmarck Diamonds courtesy of Sotheby's. La Païva image [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Music Friday: A Heartbroken Gary Lewis Laments, 'Who Wants to Buy This Diamond Ring?'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you golden oldies with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Gary Lewis & the Playboys perform "This Diamond Ring," a 1965 chart topper about a heartbroken young man desperate to sell a piece of precious jewelry that doesn't shine for him anymore.

In the song, Lewis is stunned when his girlfriend returns her engagement ring and admits she's been untrue. For him, the stone had symbolized something genuine, "like love should be," and the ring reflected dreams that were coming true.

Lewis sings, "Who wants to buy this diamond ring? / She took it off her finger, now it doesn't mean a thing / This diamond ring doesn't shine for me anymore / And this diamond ring doesn't mean what it meant before / So if you've got someone whose love is true / Let it shine for you."

"This Diamond Ring" was released as the group's first single in January of 1965 and quickly ascended to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The popularity of the song helped Gary Lewis & the Playboys to land a high-profile appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and a touring gig with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars. By the end of 1965, Gary Lewis was named Cash Box magazine's "Male Vocalist of the Year," beating out nominees Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. The group would go on to score seven Top-10 hits.

Lewis, who is still performing with his band at the age of 71, told songfacts.com that his biggest hit is often misinterpreted.

"A lot of people love 'This Diamond Ring,' but they think it's a getting-together song," he recounted. "They say to me, 'Hey, we got married because of 'This Diamond Ring.' I say, 'Really?' I mean, it's a breakup song."

Despite the success of "This Diamond Ring," songwriters Al Kooper, Bob Brass and Irwin Levine were unhappy with the uptempo arrangement of what was supposed to be an R&B song, claiming Gary Lewis & the Playboys removed the soul and "made a teenage milkshake out of it." The song had been written for The Drifters, who passed on the opportunity to record it.

Quick trivia: Gary Lewis is the son of the comedian Jerry Lewis, who passed away in August at the age of 91.

Please check out the video of Gary Lewis & the Playboys performing "This Diamond Ring." The clip is introduced by TV's Batman, Adam West, who also died this year at the age of 88. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"This Diamond Ring"
Written by Al Kooper, Bob Brass and Irwin Levine. Performed by Gary Lewis & the Playboys.

Who wants to buy this diamond ring?
She took it off her finger, now it doesn't mean a thing
This diamond ring doesn't shine for me anymore
And this diamond ring doesn't mean what it meant before
So if you've got someone whose love is true
Let it shine for you

This stone is genuine like love should be
And if your baby's truer than my baby was to me
This diamond ring can mean something beautiful
And this diamond ring can mean dreams that are coming true
And then your heart won't have to break like mine did
If there's love behind it

This diamond ring can mean something beautiful
And this diamond ring can mean dreams that are coming true
And then your heart won't have to break like mine did
If there's love behind it

This diamond ring doesn't shine for me anymore
And this diamond ring doesn't mean what it meant before
So then your heart won't have to break like mine did
If there's love behind it

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Glistening With 4,517 Diamonds, World's Most Valuable Handbag Is Up for Grabs

Reflecting 8,800 hours of meticulous craftsmanship by 10 artisans, "The Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse" incorporates 4,517 diamonds with a total weight of 381.92 carats. The one-of-a-kind masterpiece, which Guinness World Records certified in 2010 as the most valuable handbag in the world, will be offered by Christie's via its "Private Sales" service.

In 2010, the bag was valued at $3.8 million. For this transaction, Christie's will be brokering a deal between the seller and prospective high-net-worth buyers outside of the auction room.

Internationally acclaimed jeweler Robert Mouawad took his design inspiration from One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, a collection of the world’s most epic tales of romance, intrigue and fantasy. The resulting purse is a visual feast of white, yellow and pink diamonds set in 18-karat white and yellow gold.

The focal point of the heart-shaped bag is a 5.04-carat heart-shaped white diamond, framed by white tapered baguettes and accented by a burst of 15 pear-shaped fancy vivid pink diamonds.

Overall, The Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse boasts 333.84 carats of white round diamonds, 27.51 carats of white baguette diamonds, 7.66 carats of fancy vivid yellow diamonds and 7.89 carats of fancy vivid pink diamonds.

The bag just completed a four-day appearance at Christie's Hong Kong. The tour will continue at Christie's Geneva from November 9 -13 before returning to London.

Besides owning the record for the world's most expensive handbag, Mouawad also created the world's priciest bra. The "Very Sexy Fantasy Bra," which was first revealed at a Victoria's Secret fashion show in 2003, was blinged out with 2,800 gemstones, including diamonds, sapphires and amethysts. The total weight of the gems was 2,200 carats and the value of the bra was said to be $11 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.

Monday, October 23, 2017

17th Century Pink Diamond From the French Crown Jewels Hits the Auction Block at Christie's Geneva in November

"Le Grand Mazarin," the legendary 19.07-carat pink diamond that was once part of the French Crown Jewels, is expected to fetch between $6 million and $9 million at Christie's Geneva on November 14.

The magnificent square-cut stone has been in the collection of four kings, four queens, two emperors and two empresses, starting with the Sun King, Louis XIV, in 1661. Le Grand Mazarin was one of the many treasures sold at the famous auction of the French Crown Jewels in 1887.

Christie’s Europe and Asia Chairman Francois Curiel called Le Grand Mazarin “the diamond with the most prestigious and historic provenance still to be in private hands.”

Sourced at the Golconda mines, on India’s Deccan plateau, Le Grand Mazarin is named for Cardinal Jules Mazarin, who served as the Chief Minister to Kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV. Toward the end of his life, Mazarin assembled a collection of 18 exceptional gems that were said to be among the most beautiful jewels on the continent. Many were purchased from the royal families of Europe.

Of the 18 gems, eight were square-cut diamonds, the largest of which was named Le Grand Mazarin. Mazarin's collection became part of the French Crown Jewels and would remain in the possession of the French royal family for more than 225 years. Upon the cardinal's death in 1661, Le Grand Mazarin was bequeathed to King Louis XIV. At the time, the French ruler was just 23 years old.

The first person to wear Le Grand Mazarin was likely Louis’ wife, Maria Theresa of Austria. According to Christie's, after Maria Theresa’s death, Louis XIV added the Grand Mazarin to his "chain of diamonds," set in descending size order, on which it remained for many years.

In the late 1700s, 30 men broke into the royal treasury at the Garde-Meuble in Paris and stole the French Crown Jewels, including Le Grand Mazarin. Most of the thieves were eventually caught and sentenced to death, but their spoils were never recovered. One thief, however, begged to be spared. His portion of the spoils included Le Grand Mazarin and, in exchange for his life, he promised to return Le Grand Mazarin to the French authorities.

In 1810, Emperor Napoleon ordered jeweler François-Regnault Nitot to create a magnificent set of diamond jewelry for his wife, Marie-Louise. The set included a crown, diadem, necklace, comb, earrings, bracelets, belt and more. The diadem was set with the most beautiful of the crown diamonds, including Le Grand Mazarin.

Prestigious French jeweler Frédéric BoucheronIn purchased Le Grand Mazarin during the famous sale of the French Crown Jewels in May of 1887.

In 1962, the Louvre sponsored a presentation of the most important jewels ever produced in France. Listed as item #22 of the exhibition was Le Grand Mazarin. The gem would remain out of the public spotlight for the next 55 years.

Le Grand Mazarin just completed a two-day exhibition at Christie's London and will be seen next at Christie's New York on November 6 and 7. The gem returns to Geneva for a pre-sale exhibition starting November 9 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. Le Grand Mazarin will be offered for sale during Christie's Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva on the evening of November 14.

Credits: Gem images courtesy of Christie's. Portrait of Cardinal Jules Mazarin by Pierre Mignard [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Music Friday: 'Diamond Ring' Tells the World 'I'm Your Only Man,' Sings Jon Bon Jovi

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you outstanding songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora perform a beautiful acoustic version of "Diamond Ring," a ballad they co-wrote with Desmond Child in 1988.

Featuring romantic lyrics, soaring harmonies and a memorable acoustic guitar solo by Sambora, "Diamond Ring" tells the story of a man who is head-over-heels in love and wants the world to know. The song's title symbolizes the ultimate commitment from a man who wants to be her "everything."

They sing, "Diamond ring, wear it on your hand / It's gonna tell the world, I'm your only man / Diamond ring, diamond ring / Baby, you're my everything, diamond ring."

During a 1995 concert, Bon Jovi told fans that "Diamond Ring" was one of his favorite collaborations with Sambora, but also recounted how it was the only song the duo ever "rewrote and rewrote and rewrote." "Diamond Ring" was originally intended to be released on the group's 1988 album New Jersey, but didn't quite make it. Then it was reworked and recorded to appear on 1992's Keep the Faith. Again, it didn't quite make it. Finally, the song was perfected and released as the 14th track of 1995's These Days.

Despite its official release in 1995, "Diamond Ring" was played live six times during Bon Jovi's "New Jersey Syndicate Tour," which ran from October 1988 to February 1990.

Many critics and fans believe These Days is Bon Jovi's best album. It charted in 21 countries, including #1 spots in Australia, Austria, Canada, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The album sold more than one million copies in the U.S., peaking at #9 on the Billboard 200 album chart.

Bon Jovi formed the group that bears his name in 1983. Over the past 34-plus years, Bon Jovi has sold more than 100 million records and performed more than 2,700 concerts in 50 countries. Bon Jovi and Sambora were inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009.

Please check out Bon Jovi and Sambora wowing a live audience during an inspired performance of "Diamond Ring." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Diamond Ring"
Written by Jon Bon Jovi, Desmond Child and Richard Sambora. Performed by Jon Bon Jovi and Richard Sambora.

Diamond ring, wear it on your hand
It's gonna tell the world, I'm your only man
Diamond ring, diamond ring
Baby, you're my everything, diamond ring

Red, red rose brought it home to you
Blood red rose, tells me that you're true
Red, red rose, blood-red rose
Like a fire inside that grows, blood-red rose

When you're hungry, I will fill you up
When you're thirsty, drink out of my loving cup
When you're crying, I'll be the tears for you
There's nothing that I wouldn't do for you

When you're hungry, I will fill you up
When you're thirsty, drink out of my loving cup
When you're crying, I'll be the tears for you
There's nothing that I wouldn't do for you

You know, I bleed every night you sleep
'Cause I don't know if I'm in your dreams
I want to be your everything...

Diamond ring, wear it on your hand
It's gonna tell the world, I'm your only man
Diamond ring, diamond ring
Baby, you're my everything, diamond ring
Darling, you're my everything, diamond ring
Now, you've got me on your string... Diamond ring

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Astronomers Witness the Birth of $100 Octillion Worth of Gold as Neutron Stars Collide in Space

Thousands of astronomers from around the globe joined together on Monday to confirm the first-ever sighting of two neutron stars colliding in space. In just one second, the "kilonova" generated the equivalent of 50 Earth masses of silver, 100 Earth masses of gold and 500 Earth masses of platinum.

The gold alone is estimated to be worth more than $100 octillion. That's $100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1 followed by 29 zeroes).

The collision, which was detected on August 17, settles the long-standing mystery of how rare precious metals and other “heavy” elements are formed.

“We already knew that iron came from a stellar explosion, the calcium in your bones came from stars, and now we know the gold in your wedding ring came from merging neutron stars,” University of California Santa Cruz’s Ryan Foley told the Associated Press.

Scientists described a scenario in which two ultra-dense neutron stars spiral around each other, moving closer and closer, until they eventually merge in a violent eruption. The material blasted into space contains a variety of heavy elements that are formed through a chain of nuclear reactions know as the "r-process."

After the first detection, astronomers from around the world were alerted and each of them pointed telescopes at the scene to record the visible light, radio waves, X-rays and gamma rays. Their equipment identified massive amounts of platinum, gold and silver.

"You smash these two things together at one-third the speed of light, and that's how you make gold," Duncan Brown, an astronomer at Syracuse University and a member of the research collaboration, told Business Insider.

The smashup took place 130 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Hydra.

Scientists had postulated for years that precious metals were likely forged by the clash of neutron stars, which are the ultra-dense cores of aged stars. A single teaspoon of this neutron-rich material is estimated to weigh roughly one billion tons.

In the two months following the neutron star collision, astronomers from around the world teamed up to make sense of the event, which some have called the "discovery of the century." The resulting research study lists 4,000 authors representing 910 institutions.

Scientists believe that neutron star mergers in our galaxy take place about once every 100,000 years. Because astronomers worldwide are listening to millions of galaxies, they expect to identify a few spectacular collisions per year.

Credit: Image by Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science.

Monday, October 16, 2017

World's Largest Fancy Intense Pink Diamond Hits the Auction Block in Geneva Next Month

All eyes will be on the "Raj Pink," the world's largest known fancy intense pink diamond, when it hits the auction block at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva on November 15. The exceptional 37.30-carat, cushion-modified, brilliant-cut gem is estimated to fetch between $20 million and $30 million — but could yield much more.

The current record holder for a fancy intense pink diamond is the 24.78-carat “Graff Pink,” which sold for more than $46.1 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November of 2010. The rectangular-cut Graff Pink, which carries a clarity grade of VVS2, netted $1.86 million per carat.

The Raj Pink has a slightly lower clarity grade of VS1, but weighs 12.52 carats more than the Graff Pink. Sotheby's high estimate for the Raj Pink sets the per-carat price at $804,000, or less than half of what the Graff Pink earned per carat.

Auction watchers believe that the Raj Pink has the potential to crush the pre-sale estimates. The owner of the Raj Pink has chosen to remain anonymous.

“The discovery of any pink diamond is exceptional," noted David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, "but the Raj Pink's remarkable size and intensity of color places it in the rarefied company of the most important pink diamonds known.”

Discovered in 2015, the rough diamond that yielded the Raj Pink was studied for more than a year. It was then entrusted to a master cutter, who crafted it into an exceptional cushion-modified, brilliant-cut polished diamond.

The Gemological Institute of America characterized the Raj Pink as an “astonishing stone” and described its hue as “a very bright and ravishing fancy intense pink color.” The GIA also noted that it is rare for a diamond of such considerable weight to display such a "strong, unmodified pink color."

Of all diamonds submitted to the GIA each year, less than 0.02% are predominantly pink.

The Raj Pink will be on tour — along with other highlighted lots — during the weeks leading up to the November 15 auction. The exhibition will make stops in London (Oct. 13-17), Singapore (Oct. 20-21), Hong Kong (Oct. 23-24), Taiwan (Oct. 26-27), New York (Nov. 3-4) and Geneva (Nov. 11-15).

Credit: Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Music Friday: Styx Frontman Dennis DeYoung Seeks a Pot of Gold in the 1977 Power Ballad 'Come Sail Away'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you classic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Styx lead singer Dennis DeYoung searches for a pot of gold in the classic 1977 hit, "Come Sail Away."

An inspirational song about following one's dreams no matter how challenging the journey may be, "Come Sail Away" starts as a sweet ballad and then transitions into a powerful rock and roll anthem.

DeYoung sings, "We live happily forever so the story goes / But somehow we missed out on that pot of gold / But we'll try best that we can to carry on."

The lead singer revealed years later that he wrote the song to provide some inspiration to "carry on" during a down time in his life. Styx had achieved commercial success with 1973's "Lady," but then fell flat with its next two albums, Equinox (1975) and Crystal Ball (1976). He was hoping that "Come Sail Away" and the Grand Illusion album would turn their luck around. Up until that point, the band was an opening act, never the headliner.

Powered by the tremendous success of "Come Sail Away," Grand Illusion became the band's breakthrough album. It sold more than three million copies and set the stage for a run of four consecutive multi-platinum albums and 16 top-40 singles in the US. "Come Sail Away" charted at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and, 40 years later, is still one of the band's signature songs.

Formed in Chicago in 1972, Styx borrows its name from a mythological river that forms the boundary between Earth and the underworld. DeYoung revealed that after debating hundreds of options, the band members agreed on "Styx," because it was the only name no one in the group hated.

Styx continues to "carry on" with an active tour schedule that will see the band appearing over the next few months in Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and Ontario.

Please check out the video of Styx performing "Come Sail Away." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Come Sail Away"
Written by Dennis DeYoung. Performed by Styx.

I'm sailing away set an open course for the virgin sea
I've got to be free free to face the life that's ahead of me
On board I'm the captain so climb aboard
We'll search for tomorrow on every shore
And I'll try oh Lord I'll try to carry on

I look to the sea reflections in the waves spark my memory
Some happy some sad
I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had
We live happily forever so the story goes
But somehow we missed out on that pot of gold
But we'll try best that we can to carry on

A gathering of angels appeared above my head
They sang to me this song of hope and this is what they said
They said come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me

I thought that they were angels but to my surprise
They climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies
Singing, come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
Come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me

Credit: Image by Ralph Arvesen [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Gem-Filled Pods Make These Reusable Water Bottles Truly Unique

The practice of using gemstones to vitalize water dates back to ancient Greece. The energy emitted from opals, garnets, emeralds, amethysts, quartz or even diamond slivers can boost water's alkalinity and oxygenation, and some believe the gems have the ability to infuse H2O with their own unique properties and characteristics. 

Because of the impractical nature of dropping loose stones into a water glass or other container, Germany-based VitaJuwel devised an elegantly designed water bottle that contains a removable glass pod filled with an assortment of gemstones.

According to the company, "the gems inside VitaJuwel vials transfer their energy to the water that surrounds the vial improving the water’s vitalization level."

Interestingly, the gem-filled glass pods are completely sealed and the gems never come in contact with the water. The benefits come from the subtle radiation of the gems, according to the company's website. The effect is similar to that of sun rays, magnetic rays or microwaves — radiation waves that can pass through glass. The company points to scientific evidence that the pods do, in fact, add alkalinity and oxygenation to the water in which they are submerged.

Each of the 18 interchangeable pods contains a unique combinations of gems, and each has a name that gives a clue to its potential health benefit.

For instance, "Wellness" contains a mix of amethyst, rose quartz and clear quartz. VitaJuwel claims that this blend aims to stimulate and soothe the mind and emotions, foster tranquility and support healthy and radiant skin.

"Fitness," which contains red jasper, magnesite and clear quartz, is said to promote physical endurance, detoxify and distribute energy throughout the body.

"Sunny Morning" has a bright mix of orange calcite and clear quartz. This blend promises to alleviate chronic fatigue and supports healthy hair, skin and nails, according the company.

Even if you're skeptical about the feel-good effects of gemstone-infused water, there is no denying that the gem-adorned VitaJuwel water bottles offer a beautiful and unique way to stay hydrated.

They are sold and distributed in the U.S. by Gem-Water.com and range in price from $78 to $340. Other products in the line include glass decanters, droplets and wands.

Credits: Images via gem-water.com.