Monday, July 16, 2018

3.14-Carat Vivid Purplish-Pink Diamond to Headline Argyle's Annual Tender

A 3.14-carat purplish pink diamond known as "The Argyle Alpha" headlines the 2018 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender – an annual showcase of the rarest pink, red and violet diamonds produced by Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Western Australia.

The emerald-cut Argyle Alpha has the distinction of being the largest vivid pink diamond ever offered in the Argyle Tender's 34-year history.

The 2018 Tender, which is being billed as “Magnificent Argyle,” comprises 63 diamonds weighing a total of 51.48 carats.

Another notable diamond in this year's collection is "The Argyle Muse," a 2.28-carat oval diamond that displays a vibrant purplish-red hue. Rio Tinto described the diamond as having an "unrivaled potency of color." The Argyle Muse was cut from a 7.39-carat rough diamond that yielded a second, smaller purplish-red diamond, which is also included in this year's Tender.

From 2018's curated collection of 63 diamonds, Rio Tinto selected six “hero” diamonds based on their unique beauty. Each was named and trademarked to ensure there is a permanent record of their contribution to the history of the world’s most important diamonds:

Argyle Alpha™ — 3.14-carat emerald-shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond;
Argyle Muse™ — 2.28-carat oval-shaped Fancy Purplish Red diamond;

Argyle Odyssey™ — 2.08-carat round brilliant-shaped Fancy Intense Pink diamond;

Argyle Alchemy™ — 1.57-carat princess-shaped Fancy Dark Gray-Violet diamond;

Argyle Maestro™ — 1.29-carat square radiant-shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond;

Argyle Mira™ — 1.12-carat radiant-shaped Fancy Red diamond.

"Rio Tinto's Argyle mine is the world's only source of these highly coveted pink, red and violet diamonds, and we expect considerable interest in this year’s collection," noted Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques in a statement. "The combination of strong demand and extremely limited world supply continues to support significant value appreciation for Argyle pink diamonds."

Of all diamonds submitted to the Gemological Institute of America each year, less than 0.02% are predominantly pink.

It is believed that pink and red diamonds get their rich color from a molecular structure distortion that occurs as the diamond crystal forms in the earth’s crust. By contrast, other colored diamonds get their color from trace elements, such as boron (yielding a blue diamond) or nitrogen (yielding yellow), in their chemical composition.

The 2018 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender will be showcased in Sydney, Hong Kong and New York with bids closing on October 10, 2018.

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Music Friday: Exactly 50 Years Ago, Desmond of 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' Bought a 20-Carat Golden Ring

Exactly 50 years ago this week, Paul McCartney and the Beatles were in a London recording studio bickering about "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," a song from the Beatles' White Album that features Desmond Jones taking a trolley to a jewelry store to buy a "20-carat golden ring." But more on that later.

As the Beatles experimented with their first reggae-inspired song, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" became a production nightmare. The band couldn't agree on the tempo or style that would work best. They spent a great deal of time recording and overdubbing, but after 60 takes, the band members were exhausted and the song still wasn't right. McCartney continued to make adjustments on his own, while the rest of the Beatles — George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon — took a break and continued to listen to McCartney's tweaks that seemed to be going nowhere.

Finally, a frustrated Lennon stormed back into the studio, pushed McCartney aside at the piano and banged out the opening chords of a louder, faster version. That rendition became the fourth track of Side 1 of The Beatles (also known as The White Album), a classic work that would spend 155 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart and sell more than 9.5 million copies in the U.S. alone.

In the part of the song directly associated with our Music Friday theme, McCartney writes about a pushcart vendor named Desmond Jones, who visits a jewelry store to buy a "20-carat golden ring" for Molly, a singer in a band.

Here we wonder out loud if McCartney might have intended to write karat with a "k" instead of carat with a "c." With a "c," McCartney was referring to a 20-carat gem in a gold setting. With a "k," he would be describing a simpler ring — perhaps without a precious stone — made of 20-karat gold.

McCartney became familiar with the phrase "Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on" through an acquaintance, Jimmy Scott-Emuakpor, a Nigerian conga player. Scott filed suit against McCartney claiming he deserved a writer’s credit for the lyric, but Scott and McCartney came to terms out of court and the case was dropped.

Beatles Trivia: In the second verse, McCartney mistakenly sang, "Desmond stays at home and does his pretty face." Clearly, it was intended to be "Molly," but McCartney and the Beatles decided to leave it in.

The Beatles went on to become what many agree is the greatest and most influential act of the rock era. The Beatles are the best-selling band in history, with 178 million certified records in the U.S. and 800 million physical and digital albums worldwide.

We invite you to enjoy the audio track of the Beatles performing “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along...

"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Performed by The Beatles.

Desmond has a barrow in the market place,
Molly is the singer in a band.
Desmond says to Molly, "Girl, I like your face,"
And Molly says this as she takes him by the hand:

Obladi, Oblada, life goes on, bra,
Lala how their life goes on.
Obladi, Oblada, life goes on, bra,
Lala how their life goes on.

Desmond takes a trolley to the jeweler's store,
Buys a twenty carat golden ring.
Takes it back to Molly waiting at the door,
And as he gives it to her she begins to sing:

Obladi, Oblada, life goes on, bra,
Lala how their life goes on.
Obladi, Oblada, life goes on, bra,
Lala how their life goes on.

In a couple of years,
They have built a home sweet home.
With a couple of kids running in the yard
Of Desmond and Molly Jones.

Happy ever after in the market place,
Desmond lets the children lend a hand.
Molly stays at home and does her pretty face,
and in the evening she still sings it with the band.

Obladi, Oblada, life goes on, bra,
Lala how their life goes on.
Obladi, Oblada, life goes on, bra,
Lala how their life goes on.

In a couple of years,
They have built a home sweet home.
With a couple of kids running in the yard
of Desmond and Molly Jones.

Happy ever after in the market place,
Molly lets the children lend a hand.
Desmond stays at home and does his pretty face,
And in the evening she's a singer with the band.

Obladi, Oblada, life goes on, bra,
Lala how their life goes on.
Obladi, Oblada, life goes on, bra,
Lala how their life goes on.

And if you want some fun, take obladiblada.

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Here's Compelling Evidence That Mother Nature May Be a World Cup Soccer Fan

We've all witnessed how Mother Nature works in mysterious ways, but who knew she was a World Cup soccer fan?

Just three days prior to the Russian national soccer team's exciting quarterfinal match against Croatia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, Russian mining giant Alrosa discovered a diamond that looks amazingly like a soccer ball.

"Nature creates a variety of bizarre forms, but for the first time we've found a diamond in the shape of a soccer ball," Alrosa general director Sergey Ivanov said in a press release. "We hope that this is a good sign on the eve of the performance of the Russian national team in the quarterfinals.”

Igor Orlov, the governor of the Arkhangelsk region where the diamond was mined, recommended that the diamond be named "Igor Akinfeev" to honor Russia's star goalkeeper, who saved two penalty kicks in Russia's overtime win against Spain.

"It is noteworthy that the diamond was discovered on the eve of the quarterfinals, where our team made its way thanks in part to the brilliant game of Igor Akinfeev," Orlov said.

The host Russian team nearly pulled off a stunning upset in the quarterfinals, but lost to Croatia in a penalty shootout.

The half-carat diamond — which displays a similar shape and black-and-white coloration of a standard soccer ball — was plucked from Alrosa's Karpinskaya-1 pipe in Russia's Arkhangelsk region on Wednesday, July 4.

With more than $5 billion in sales annually, Alrosa has maximized its exposure as one of the main sponsors of the FIFA World Cup 2018™. Prior to the tournament, which will crown a victor this Sunday, the mining company introduced its "football" collection of 32 round polished diamonds. Each diamond weighs 0.3 carats and represents one of the teams of the international tournament. The collection will be sold at an auction in Moscow with the results being announced on July 30.

Headlining the football collection is a special unpolished stone weighing 76.53 carats. Alrosa encouraged fans to name the super-sized diamond via an online contest.

The French national team will challenge the winner of today's match between England and Croatia for the championship on Sunday.

Credits: Diamond photos courtesy of Alrosa. Soccer ball image by By Pumbaa80 (Self-published work by Pumbaa80) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Adventurer Josh Gates Hunts for Ruby Slippers Stolen From Judy Garland Museum

Adventurer Josh Gates investigates the 2005 theft of one of the most iconic pieces of Hollywood memorabilia of all time — the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz — during Tuesday night's episode of "Expedition Unknown" on the Discovery Channel.

Following the biggest lead in more than a decade, Gates dons his scuba gear and dives into an abandoned iron ore pit near Grand Rapids, Minn., with the hopes of finding the elusive slippers.

On August 28, 2005, a pair of ruby slippers that had been on loan to the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids were stolen in the dead of night. During Gates' investigation, he discovers that the heist has all the earmarks of an inside job. The alarm on the museum's emergency exit door had been deactivated. The access door to the exhibit area had been left unlocked and the security camera that had been aimed at the ruby slippers was turned off.

Via smoky re-enactments, the viewer learns that the thieves broke the glass of the emergency exit door, strolled into the exhibit hall, smashed the glass enclosure of the display and dashed off with the slippers. It all took less than 45 seconds.

Over the years, there had been rumors that teenage pranksters had stolen the slippers, loaded them into a can and then into a duffle bag. Apparently, they weighted the duffle bag and then dumped it into a flooded mining pit.

Reportedly insured for $1 million, the stolen slippers had been owned by California collector Michael Shaw and were among the five pairs designed by MGM’s chief costume designer Gilbert Adrian for the 1939 blockbuster. Dorothy's ruby slippers have been called “the most famous pair of shoes in the world” and “the Holy Grail of movie memorabilia.”

Recently, one of the remaining pairs was offered for sale by auction house Moments in Time for $6 million. Another pair is undergoing extensive conservation care and will be returning to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History on October 19.

In Grand Rapids, at the Judy Garland Museum, visitors can purchase ruby slipper memorabilia, including a T-shirt with the slogan, “Who Stole The Ruby Slippers?”

Find out if Gates can solve the mystery on tomorrow night's episode of "Expedition Unknown."

Check out the Discovery Channel's two-minute teaser below...

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com; Ruby slippers image via Smithsonian.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Music Friday: Elton John Suffers From a Broken Heart in 2001's 'Dark Diamond'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Elton John sings about suffering from a broken heart in 2001's "Dark Diamond."

In the song composed by John with lyrics by long-time collaborator Bernie Taupin, the term "dark diamond" is used to describe a person who once flourished as a "jewel" with a fire in his soul, but is now "hard and cold."

His beloved was the one star he could count on, the only one who could show him the true meaning of love. But his inability to "break through" caused him to lose his true love and now he has only himself to blame.

John sings, "Oh, I'm a dark diamond / I've turned hard and cold / Once was a jewel with fire in my soul / There's two sides of a mirror / One I couldn't break through / Stayed trapped on the inside, wound up losing you."

"Dark Diamond," which incorporates elements of blues, pop and R&B, appeared as the second track of Songs from the West Coast, John's 26th studio album. Listen carefully and you can hear music legend Stevie Wonder making a guest appearance on the harmonica.

Although the song was never released as a single, "Dark Diamond" still gets airplay in Scandinavia and Continental Europe. The album charted in 19 countries, including #15 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and #9 on the Canadian Albums chart.

Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, the 71-year-old John is one of the best-selling music artists in the world. In a career that has spanned five decades, John has sold more than 300 million records. John and Taupin have collaborated on 30-plus albums and are credited with more than 50 Top 40 hits.

His single in honor of Princess Diana, “Candle in the Wind 1997,” sold more than 33 million copies worldwide, making it best-selling single in the history of the U.K. and U.S. singles charts.

Please check out the audio track of John performing "Dark Diamond." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Dark Diamond"
Written by Bernie Taupin and Elton John. Performed by Elton John.

Oh, I'm a dark diamond
I've turned hard and cold
Once was a jewel with fire in my soul
There's two sides of a mirror
One I couldn't break through
Stayed trapped on the inside, wound up losing you

Tell me how does it work
How do you make things fit
Spent all my life trying to get it right
I've put it together and it falls apart
I thought to myself I might understand
But when the wall's built
And the heart hardens
You get a dark diamond
Dark diamond

Oh, I'm a dark diamond
But you're something else
You read me more than I read myself
The one star I could count on
Only comet I could trust
You burnt through my life to the true meaning of love

[Chorus 2X]

Credit: Image by Richard Mushet on Flickr (Elton John on Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

'Lotus Ring' Smashes Guinness World Record for the Most Diamonds Set in a Ring

The "Lotus Ring" has just smashed the Guinness World Record for the most diamonds set in a single ring. By employing an ingenious design featuring 48 individual diamond-encrusted "petals," Indian jewelers Vishal and Khushbu Agarwal were able to set a staggering 6,690 diamonds into an 18-karat rose gold structure.

The intricately detailed ring, which took more than six months to design and craft, is valued at $4.1 million and is heavier than a golf ball at 58 grams (2.05 ounces).

Over the past seven years, the "Most Diamonds Set in a Single Ring" record has changed hands three times.

The Lotus Ring captured the record previously held by Savio Jewellery's "Peacock Ring," which had established it own record in 2015, with 3,827 ideal-cut diamonds set in 18-karat gold. That ring had an estimated value of $2.7 million.

At the time, a spokesperson for the India-based Savio Jewellery company had told JCK magazine that the manufacturing process took three years to complete, with individual diamonds ranging in weight from 0.003 carats to .01 carats. The Peacock Ring's diamond count was 51% greater than that of the previous record holder, the "Tsarvena Swan," which held its title since 2011.

Vishal Agarwal is credited with coming up with the Lotus Ring design, while Khushbu Agarwal, the owner of Hanumant Diamonds, funded the project and provided the artisans to complete the fabrication.

The Agarwals are hoping that the Lotus Ring will help raise awareness about the importance of water conservation. As the national flower of India, the lotus depicts "the beauty growing in the water-world," according to Vishal and Khushbu, who are both based in Surat, India.

"As fame is so much attached to a Guinness World Records title, we can put it to good use by bringing together like-minded people to work towards a beautiful world," they said in a statement.

Please check out the video, below, which offers an insider's view at how the Lotus Ring was manufactured.

Screen captures via Instagram/guinnessworldrecords. Peacock Ring by Savio Jewellery.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

For $145 Million, You Can Pop the Question While Orbiting the Dark Side of the Moon

Starting in 2022, the French ApoteoSurprise agency will be offering a week-long "Marriage Proposal Around the Moon," which will literally launch couples into space on a 500,000-kilometer journey to the moon and back.

Priced at $145 million, the proposal package includes all the requisite training and a few romantic touches along the way. The self-flying spacecraft, which will take off from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., will allow the lovers to travel without a pilot.

As their autonomous spacecraft accelerates off the launch pad, the couples will experience 3G forces. But, soon the agitation will give way to calm, according to ApoteoSurprise, as the first effects of weightlessness are felt. At that moment, Richard Strauss’s “Thus spoke Zarathustra, Op.30” (Theme from 2001 Space Odyssey) will be relayed to the space lovers' helmets.

With a top speed of 38,000 kmph (23,612 mph), the spacecraft will reach the moon in about three days. The flight plan will mirror that of the famous Apollo 8 mission of 1968.

The craft will survey the surface of the moon at an altitude of only 200 to 300 kilometers and then the spaceship will slow down and disappear behind the hidden face of the moon. For about 30 minutes, all communication with the Earth will become impossible, and now alone in space, the suitor will be ready to propose to his beloved as nobody has done before.

"Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra will be played in the couples' headsets, as the future groom pulls the engagement ring out of the box that he secretly hid in his spacesuit.

Sinatra will be singing, "Fly me to the moon / Let me play among the stars / Let me see what spring is like / On a, Jupiter and Mars / In other words, hold my hand / In other words, baby, kiss me."

Once the craft emerges from the dark side of the moon, planet Earth will be rising on the horizon and communications with the Space Center will be re-established.

When the spacecraft approaches the Earth's atmosphere, the temperature of the heat shield will increase considerably, so that a bright plasma trail will be visible through the portholes, according to ApoteoSurprise. Halfway to the stratosphere, deceleration will get close to 5G, but then a few minutes later, the parachutes will be deployed and retro-rockets will allow the space capsule to land smoothly. Eight cameras will immortalize the trip from every angle.

The training component of this adventure is no walk in the park. It demands three months of intense preparations, including cardio training sessions, high-G training in a centrifuge, acclimation to microgravity through a series of parabolic flights on board a Boeing 727, acclimation to high accelerations and speed changes on board a fighter jet flying over Mach 2, complete presentation of the spaceship and of the flight schedule, stress management strategies and emergency simulations.

Founded in 2006 by aeronautical engineer Nicolas Garreau, ApoteoSurprise offers 30 all-inclusive proposal packages, including the surprise appearance of Cinderella’s carriage with its magical glass slipper, 1,000 roses raining down on a yacht during a dinner cruise, a carrier dove sent to the beloved’s home, a limousine ride to see a giant love message light up at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, or even the deployment of an aerobatic display team to draw a huge heart in the sky.

Credit: Image via ApoteoSurprise.

Monday, July 02, 2018

July Birthstone: TV Ad Pioneer Nearly Lost His 138-Carat 'Good Luck' Ruby in NYC Taxicab

Back in the late 1950s, TV advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves purchased an unmounted star ruby and carried it in his pocket for good luck.

This was no ordinary ruby. With its rich red color and well-defined star, the 138.72-carat ruby was said to be the largest and finest star ruby the world has ever known.

He called the stone "my baby" and protected it in a small velvet pouch. Today, we call it the "Rosser Reeves Star Ruby."

The advertising executive, who penned the M&Ms slogan, “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand,” was one of the most successful admen of his day. And he attributed much of his good luck to the beautiful scarlet stone.

One day in the early 1960s, Reeves took a taxi to New York's JFK Airport to connect with a flight to London. When Reeves arrived at Heathrow Airport, he realized that his "good luck" ruby had been left behind in the cab.

"He called the taxi company, and luckily, the driver had turned in the pouch," recounted Brendan Reeves, the advertising giant's great-grandson, at geogallery.si.edu. "After that harrowing experience, Reeves donated the ruby to the Smithsonian Institution."

Since 1965, the cabochon-cut Rosser Reeves Star Ruby has been one of the most prized possessions of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. It can be seen near the Hope Diamond and Logan Sapphire at the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals.

The famous ruby has an origin of Sri Lanka although it’s not clear when it was mined. According to published reports, gem dealer Robert Fisher purchased the stone at a London auction in 1953. At the time, it weighed 140 carats, but the asterism in the stone was slightly off center and the surface had abrasions.

It was subsequently cut down to 138.72 carats to give it a prettier appearance and bring the “star” closer to the center. The ruby had become so famous in its own right that it had been the subject of stories in the New York World-Telegram and The Sun as early as 1953.

Although Reeves — who passed away in 1984 at the age of 74 — often stated that he bought the stone at an auction in Istanbul in the mid-1950s, he actually purchased the recut stone from Fisher’s son, Paul, in the late 1950s.

The asterism is caused by titanium trapped in the corundum while the crystal is forming. As the crystal cools, the titanium orients itself as needle-like structures in three directions. A cabochon cut, with a smooth, rounded surface, allows the light to reflect off the titanium and give the appearance of a six-legged star.

Ruby is the official birthstone for the month of July.

Photo: Smithsonian Institution/Chip Clark.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Music Friday: Supergroup Member Taylor Goldsmith Channels Dylan in 'Diamond Ring' Bonus Track

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Taylor Goldsmith of the folk-rock supergroup The New Basement Tapes channels Bob Dylan in "Diamond Ring," a nearly forgotten song about second chances.

In the tune, the song's protagonist is heading back to St. Louis, where he's hoping to reconnect with his old flame, Alice. And this time he's willing to make a life-long commitment.

He sings, "That old organ grinder's gonna wind his box / And the knife sharpener's gonna sing / When I get back to St. Louis again / I'm gonna buy that diamond ring / Diamond ring / Diamond ring / Shine like gold / Behold that diamond ring."

"Diamond Ring" is one of more than 100 songs Dylan wrote in 1967 while recovering from a near-fatal motorcycle accident in his Big Pink home near Woodstock, N.Y. While 16 of those works went on to be included in Dylan's highly regarded 1975 album, The Basement Tapes, many of the other songs, including "Diamond Ring," remained forgotten — until recently.

With a nod from Dylan himself, producer T Bone Burnett assembled a supergroup of "musical archaeologists" — including Goldsmith, Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Jim James and Rhiannon Giddens — to re-imagine many of Dylan's "lost" works.

The all-stars recorded more than 40 Dylan songs during a two-week session, according to music.avclub.com. The creative process saw members of the group swapping instrumental and vocal roles on the different album tracks.

The group eventually released two versions of Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes in November of 2014. "Diamond Ring" appears as a bonus track in the deluxe 20-song version.

Goldsmith, who is best-known as a member of the Los Angeles-based folk rock band Dawes, has collaborated with Dylan before. His band toured with the legendary singer-songwriter in 2013.

Please check out the audio track of Goldsmith and The New Basement Tapes all-stars performing "Diamond Ring." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Diamond Ring"
Written by Bob Dylan and Taylor Goldsmith. Performed by The New Basement Tapes.

If I ever get back to St. Louis again
There's gonna be some changes made
I'm gonna find old Alice and right away where I left off
It's gonna be just as if I'd stayed

That old organ grinder's gonna wind his box
And the knife sharpener's gonna sing
When I get back to St. Louis again
I'm gonna buy that diamond ring

Diamond ring
Diamond ring
Shine like gold
Behold that diamond ring

If I ever get back to St. Louis again
Everybody's gonna smile
One of the Mack girls dragged me up to Washington
I got stuck there for a while

She gave me more misery than a man can hold
And I took her bad advice
Now I don't aim to bother anyone
I have paid that awful price

Diamond ring
Diamond ring
Shine like gold
Behold that diamond ring

If ever I get back to St. Louis again
That diamond ring is gonna shine
That old burlesque dancer is gonna bum around
And everything's gonna be fine

I'm gonna settle up my accounts with lead
And leave the rest up to the law
Then I'm gonna marry the one I love
And head out for Wichita

Diamond ring
Diamond ring
Shine like gold
Behold that diamond ring

Credit: Screen capture via universal-music.de.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

All-Star Cast of 10 Super-Size Diamonds From Prolific Karowe Mine Yields $32.5 Million

An all-star cast of 10 diamonds weighing a total of 1,453.06 carats yielded $32.5 million at Lucara Diamond Corp.'s "12th Exceptional Stone Tender" last week. The diamonds, which ranged from 40.4 carats to 472.37 carats, were all sourced in 2018 at the famous Karowe Mine in Botswana.

The top performer was a 327.48-carat white diamond, which sold for $10.1 million, or $30,900 per carat.

The largest gem in the group was a 472.37-carat “top light brown” rough diamond that rates as the third-largest ever discovered at the mine.

While Lucara did not reveal the purchase price of the light brown gem, it did note that each stone in the tender was sold for more than $1 million and that four rough diamonds garnered more than $3 million apiece.

Karowe continues to produce the world’s largest fine diamonds. The 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona and the 813-carat Constellation were both mined there in November 2015. Interestingly, Lesedi La Rona was the larger portion of a broken diamond. The other part weighed 373 carats.

Lesedi La Rona was eventually sold for $53 million; Constellation earned $63 million; and the chunk that broke off Lesedi La Rona delivered $17.5 million.

The recent proliferation of massive stones at Karowe can be attributed to Lucara’s investment in X-ray transmission (XRT) imaging technology. The new machines are calibrated to extract 100-carat-plus diamonds by monitoring X-ray luminescence, atomic density and transparency. Previously, large diamonds might have been mistaken as worthless ore and pulverized by a crushing device.

“The early sampling work [at] Karowe was done with equipment that really was not optimal and they ended up breaking a lot of diamonds,” Lucara President and Chief Executive Officer Eira Thomas told Bloomberg.com earlier this year. “When we went into commercial production we expected to do better, but we had no idea that the diamonds that were being broken were so much larger. ”

In all, 29 diamantaires attended the "12th Exceptional Stone Tender," but only eight of them came away with at least one of the highly coveted lots.

Credits: Images via Facebook.com/LucaraDiamond.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Long Island Police Officers Reunite Pennsylvania Bride-to-Be With Her $20,000 Lost Treasure

An eagle-eyed Long Island police officer with a metal detector and his quick-thinking colleague are being hailed as heroes after reuniting a Pennsylvania woman with the $20,000 engagement ring she lost last weekend on a Fire Island beach.

What started out as a celebratory bachelorette weekend turned into a harrowing episode for a Pennsylvania woman last weekend. According to news sources, the woman and her friends were staying on Fire Island for her bachelorette party. On Saturday, after spending time on Atlantique Beach, she reported her diamond engagement ring missing. With her upcoming nuptials only a week away, the frantic bride-to-be was especially desperate to get the $20,000 ring back.

Atlantique is a boater’s paradise located on the narrowest part of New York's bucolic Fire Island National Seashore. Boasting pristine beaches, quaint villages and an historic lighthouse, Fire Island is a popular tourist destination for families, daytrippers and sun worshippers. Covering 9.6 square miles, it is the large center island of the outer barrier islands parallel to the south shore of Long Island, N.Y., and about two hours east of New York City. The permanent population of just under 300 swells to thousands of residents and tourists during the summer.

Marine Bureau Police Officer Robert Warrington responded to the call and set up a search of the home where the woman was staying. When nothing turned up, he called his colleague, fellow Bureau Officer Edmund McDowell, and suggested he bring his metal detector to Atlantique Beach the next day. Officer McDowell, who was assisted by the woman's friend, set up a grid pattern around where the woman was sitting at the beach. After about 10 minutes of carefully combing the sand, the large, round-cut diamond was found — along with a dime, a quarter and a rusty screw.

When McDowell snapped up the ring and placed it on his own pinkie finger for safekeeping, the beachgoers cheered.

“We called her up and she was crying and crying,” McDowell told Newsday. McDowell gave the ring along with the other items he found on the beach to the bride’s friend, who had stayed behind to lend a hand in the search.

Each year, thousands of pieces of jewelry are lost at beaches from coast to coast.

"If you have people who are swimming, you're going to have gold in the water," explained Dan Berg, an avid metal detectorist and author. Beachgoers cover themselves with suntan lotion and then sit in the sun, so their hands swell. Later, in the cool water, their fingers shrink and rings can slide off.

According to Suffolk County police, this is the second time Warrington and McDowell teamed up to find lost treasure. About eight years ago, McDowell got a similar call from Warrington asking if he could use his personal metal detector to help find a $30,000 platinum and diamond wedding band that was lost in the sand by a man playing volleyball.

“He’s such a nice guy and always goes above and beyond — and I like to help too — so between the two of us, I think we make a pretty good team,” McDowell told Newsday.

Credits: Ring photo courtesy of Suffolk County Police Department. Fire Island Lighthouse by Mark Rosengarten [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons. Fire Island map by U.S. Department of the Interior / National Park Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

3.3-Carat Diamond Pinned Inside Donated Sweater Finds Its Way Back to Relieved Owner

Workers at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop in Derby, Conn., went above and beyond the call of duty to reunite a woman with the 3.3-carat loose diamond she forgot she had pinned to the inside of a donated sweater.

The store's Facebook page explained how one of the thrift shop's trusted sorters was carefully folding the grey sweater when she felt an unusual bump in the fabric. She turned the garment inside out and noticed a little black bag safety-pinned inside. She opened the bag to find another bag, and inside of that, a piece of thick blue parcel paper that is commonly used by diamond traders.

Tucked inside the folded paper was a round 3.3-carat diamond. Hand-written notes on the paper revealed the exact carat weight (3.31), clarity (VS2) and color grade (M-N). Diamonds with these characteristics typically sell for $30,000 or more.

"We were in such disbelief that this could have occurred on our sorting table," shop director Remy Kocurek told ABC affiliate WTNH.

The next task was to find the woman who had donated the sweater. They knew what she looked like, but they didn't have her name.

The thrift shop workers reviewed their security videos and were able to glean the license plate number of the woman's car. The workers sought the help of the local police department, which was able to ID the car's owner and request that she return to the store.

She complied with the police department's request, but was curious to know why she was summoned.

The rest of the story is recounted on the store's Facebook page...

"We asked her if she recalled donating the grey sweater and she said that she did. Very quickly, the color drained from her face as she realized what she had done. Collapsing into a chair, she shook her head and almost started crying. She hugged us and expressed her gratitude over and over at the return of a very valuable family heirloom. An exciting day at the best little thrift shop around!"

"It just felt wonderful to do that for her," Kocurek told WTNH.

It's still not clear why the woman had pinned an unmounted $30,000 diamond inside an old sweater. A safety deposit box may have been a better bet.

Credits: Screen captures via wtnh.com.

FIFA World Cup Trophy Is Made of 11 Pounds of 18-Karat Gold Worth $168,000

On July 15, after a full month of heart-thumping competition, the members of a single national team will emerge as champions and experience one of the ultimate thrills in professional sports — raising aloft the 18-karat gold FIFA World Cup Trophy. Four years ago in Brazil, that honor went to the soccer team from Germany. This year in Russia, 31 teams will be vying to unseat the defending champs.

The coveted trophy, which is 14.5 inches tall and depicts two human figures holding up the earth, is made of 11 pounds of 18-karat gold and features two rows of green malachite at the base. USA Today reported that the trophy is estimated to be worth $20 million, although the actual precious metal value is closer to $168,000.

For years, FIFA, the governing body of soccer, had said the trophy was made of solid gold, but that claim hasn't held up to scrutiny and it's very likely that it has a hollow center.

Martyn Poliakoff of the United Kingdom's Nottingham University did the math and determined that, based on its dimensions, a FIFA trophy made of solid gold would weigh an unwieldy 154 pounds. Gold is nearly 20 times as dense as water, and to get some perspective on just how heavy that is, consider this... A standard gold bar measures just 7 x 3 5/8 x 1 3/4 inches, but weighs more than 27 pounds.

The winning team will be taking home a gold-plated replica of the actual trophy. The real one will remain in the possession of FIFA. The bottom of the base bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974. The names are not visible when the cup is standing upright.

The tournament takes place every four years, and FIFA announced recently that the North American triumvirate of the U.S., Canada and Mexico will co-host the games in 2026.

For the past 88 years, there have been only two designs for the FIFA trophy. The current one was conceived by Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga and presented for the first time in 1974.

In describing his design, Gazzaniga said, “The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory.”

In 1970, the Brazilians got to keep the previous version of the trophy — the Jules Rimet Cup — when the team captured its third world title.

Rimet, the founding father of the FIFA World Cup, had stipulated 40 years earlier that any team that won three titles could have the cup permanently. FIFA made good on that promise in 1970, but in 1983 the cup was stolen in Rio de Janeiro and never seen again.

The Jules Rimet Cup, which was originally called “Coupe du Monde,” was designed by French sculptor Abel Lafleur and depicted the goddess of victory holding an octagonal vessel above her. It was 13.7 inches tall and weighed 8.4 pounds. It was made of gold-plated sterling silver, with a base of lapis lazuli.

In 1966, an earlier version of the Jules Rimet Cup was stolen from a public display in London just before the Brits were about to host the World Cup. It was discovered seven days later at the bottom of a suburban garden hedge by a clever canine named Pickles.

During World War II, the Jules Rimet Cup spent some time in a shoebox under the bed of FIFA vice president Dr. Ottorino Barassi, who feared it might fall into the hands of the Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

Brazil currently holds the record for the most FIFA World Cup victories (5), followed by Italy and Germany with four wins each. Favored teams in the current tournament include Brazil, Germany, Spain, France, Argentina, Belgium and England.

Credits: German team celebration in 2014. Screen capture via YouTube.com. FIFA World Cup by Biser Todorov [CC BY 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons. La Coupe Jules Rimet by Español: El Grafico del 12 de Julio de 1966. Edicion 2440 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Philadelphia Eagles' First-Ever Super Bowl Rings Soar With 219 Diamonds and 17 Green Sapphires

The Philadelphia Eagles marked their historic 2017 season and epic Super Bowl triumph over the New England Patriots with championship rings emblazoned with 219 diamonds and 17 green sapphires. Each ring boasts a gemstone total weight of 9.15 carats.

The 10-karat gold rings are teeming with symbols on every surface to tell the story of an underdog team that overcame all obstacles to roll through the playoffs and eventually defeat the Tom Brady-led Patriots by a score of 41-33 in Super Bowl LII. It was the first time the Eagles raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy aloft in their 85-year history.

The top of the ring features the iconic eagle head logo rendered with 52 pavé-set diamonds to signify Super Bowl LII (52). The eagle head is set atop the Lombardi Trophy, which is, in turn, layered over a series of tapered-baguette green sapphires, fanned out in a circle. Ring manufacturer and designer Jostens noted that the rare green sapphires were specially sourced to match the official team color. The 13 sapphires represent the Eagles' 13 regular season victories, which tied a franchise record.

The top of the trophy is adorned with three diamonds, representing the number of times the Eagles were deemed underdogs, and also the number of post-season victories it took to be crowned World Champions.

A large marquise-cut diamond sits majestically at the top of the Lombardi Trophy to represent the first Super Bowl Championship in the Eagles' franchise history. Bordering the top and bottom of the top of the ring are the words “WORLD" and "CHAMPIONS” in raised white-gold lettering against a black enamel ground.

The ring's bezel is adorned with a waterfall of 127 diamonds, a number that pays tribute to one of the most exciting and memorable moments in the team's history. "The Philly Special" was a trick play that resulted in a touchdown on a fourth-down-and-goal situation at the opponent's 1-yard line. Three key Eagles were involved in the memorable play, and the number 127 is the sum of their jersey numbers — Corey Clement (30), Trey Burton (88) and Nick Foles (9).

Four round, genuine green sapphires adorn the corners of the base of the ring and symbolize the team’s four NFL Championships – three World Championships (1948, 1949, 1960) and one Super Bowl Championship (2017).

The left side of the ring prominently shows the player’s name set above an end zone view of Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Eagles. The stadium graphic pays tribute to the passionate and dedicated fan base that has supported the team since its formation. The player’s number is studded with pavé-set diamonds and set in the middle of the rendered football field.

The right side of the ring features the score from Super Bowl LII (PHI 41 – NE 33), and one of the team’s messages of unity throughout the season, "We All We Got, We All We Need,” is set above the Super Bowl LII logo. The word “FAMILY” sits below the logo and serves as a reminder of the team’s commitment and dedication to each other.

The words from the team’s fight song, “Fly Eagles Fly” are written on the bottom of the outer band. The top of the inside arbor of the ring is inscribed with the scores from the team’s three postseason victories and an image of an underdog mask, an acknowledgement of how the Eagles embraced their underdog role to galvanize the team, the fans and the entire city of Philadelphia. The bottom of the inside arbor is inscribed with each player’s signature – the first time championship rings have ever featured engraved signatures.

Eagles chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie admitted that he didn't realize the level of consideration that goes into the design of a Super Bowl ring.

“I thought, ‘You know, you just sort of come up with some ring, and you make many, and you have a party,’ Luria said in a statement. "I never really thought of the details that were required. You go through so much during a season. What are the statements that you want to make about the team, about the season, about the kinds of players and coaches that we had? It’s kind of like, how do you want to be remembered 20 years from now?”

The Eagles players and coaches received their rings during a special ceremony last week. In all, more than 400 rings were distributed to key personnel at every level of the Eagles organization.

Credit: Image courtesy of Jostens.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Music Friday: Country Stars Sing the Praises of a Gold Ring, 'Size Seven, Round'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you the sweetest songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country stars George Jones and Lacy J. Dalton sing the praises of a very special ring in their 1984 ditty, "Size Seven Round (And Made of Gold)."

The song chronicles the love story of a couple, from their wedding day through their golden years. Even as they grow old together, her size-seven wedding band remains a shining symbol of their enduring relationship.

They sing, "Size seven, round and made of gold / This circle joins us heart and soul / And it won't let our love grow cold / Size seven, round and made of gold."

"Size Seven Round (And Made of Gold)" appeared as the seventh track of George Jones's 1984 album, Ladies' Choice, which was composed mostly of duets with female country artists. Twenty-one years later, the song returned on the 2005 reissue of the country legend's LP, My Very Special Guests.

The song peaked at #19 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and #11 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart.

Born in a log cabin in the small town of Saratoga, Texas, Jones got his first guitar at the age of nine. By 1955, at the age of 24, Jones had already served in the Marines, was married twice and recorded his first hit song, “Why Baby Why.” In 1969, he married Tammy Wynette. They were divorced six years later, although they continued to perform together after the breakup.

Jones told Billboard in 2006 that when it comes to his music, “It’s never been for the love of money. I thank God for it because it makes me a living. But I sing because I love it, not because of the dollar signs.”

Over a career that spanned seven decades, Jones is credited with charting 168 country songs. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. Jones passed away in 2013 at the age of 81.

Born Jill Lynne Byrem in Bloomsburg, Pa., Lacy J. Dalton scored a number of hits songs in the 1980s, including "Takin' It Easy," "Crazy Blue Eyes" and "16th Avenue." She's still actively touring at the age of 71.

Please check out the audio track of the Jones/Dalton duet of "Size Seven Round (And Made of Gold)." The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

"Size Seven Round (And Made of Gold)"
Written by Monroe Fields and Gary Lumpkin. Performed by George Jones and Lacy J. Dalton.

With all my love, my dreams and plans
I placed a ring upon your hand
To tell the endless love we found
Love's golden band, size seven, round

Size seven, round and made of gold
This circle joins us heart and soul
And it won't let our love grow cold
Size seven, round and made of gold

The years have passed, our ring is old
But time can't tarnish pure love's gold
Each day our love is young and new
There's just no end to love that's true.

Size seven, round and made of gold
This circle joins us heart and soul
And it won't let our love grow cold
Size seven, round and made of gold.

Size seven, round and made of gold
This circle joins us heart and soul
And it won't let our love grow cold
Size seven, round and made of gold.

Size seven, round and made of gold.

Credit:Credit: George Jones photo by BstarXO Chester L. Roberts (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Rockefeller Jewelry Collection Far Outperforms Pre-Sale Estimates at Christie's New York

In 1940, billionaire banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller married Margaret "Peggy" McGrath, and during their 56-year marriage the couple collected magnificent works of art and fine jewelry. Yesterday, 19 jewelry items from their massive collection hit the auction block at Christie's New York, with most far outperforming pre-sale estimates.

An aquamarine and diamond “Leaves and Flowers” bracelet (circa 1960) designed by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., for example, was estimated to sell for $40,000 to $60,000. When the hammer went down, the bracelet had fetched $250,000 — more than four times the high estimate.

Schlumberger designed the bracelet as a series of five rectangular-cut aquamarines weighing from 14.80 to 28.77 carats, within circular-cut diamond leaf surrounds, joined by circular-cut diamonds and polished gold links.

The jewelry offerings at Christie's represented the continuation of the auction house's mammoth Rockefeller family estate sale of some 1,550 lots across six auctions. The proceeds of the sales — a tally that is likely to exceed $1 billion — will be used to support 11 philanthropies.

Before David Rockefeller died in March of 2017 at the age of 101, he ordered that the bulk of his estate — including three homes, and a collection of museum-quality paintings, tapestries, furniture and fine jewelry — would be used to fund bequests to his favorite charities. His beloved wife had passed away in 1996.

Peggy and David Rockefeller's purchases reflected a high level of refinement. They owned impressionist and modern art from Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Juan Gris and Paul Gauguin, for example. Their sophisticated taste expanded into the realm of fine jewelry, with more of the finest examples shown, below...

• Also designed by Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., circa 1958, is this sapphire, diamond and emerald "Sea Shells" bracelet. Christie's set the pre-sale estimate at $50,000 to $70,000, but the realized price was $250,000. The pear-shaped sapphire and circular-cut emerald openwork band is set with six diamond-embellished sculpted gold shells.

• This ruby and diamond bracelet by Raymond Yard, Rockefeller's personal jeweler, is designed as three articulated circular and fancy-cut diamond panels, each centering upon an oval-cut Burmese ruby. The pre-sale estimate was $40,000 to $60,000, but the selling price climbed all the way to $348,500.

• Another Yard piece (circa 1944) — a sapphire and diamond ring — was one of the auction's top lots. Originally expected to sell in the range of $150,000 to $200,000, the platinum ring set with a 5-carat oval-cut Kashmir sapphire and surrounded by circular, baguette and half moon-shaped diamonds sold for $372,500.

• Lot 174 of the auction included a suite of peridot and diamond jewelry by Van Cleef & Arpels. When the hammer went down at Christie's, the sale price of $348,000 had surpassed the pre-sale high estimate by $228,000. Suspended from the peridot necklace is a detachable pear- and oval-cut peridot pendant-brooch. Also included in the suite are peridot earrings, bracelet and ring.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Woman Is on a Mission to Identify Six-Year-Old Who Returned Her Lost Engagement Ring

Former nurse and Jupiter, Fla., resident Carol Winig is on a mission to identify the honest little girl who found her engagement ring in a supermarket parking lot and turned it over to the store's management. Winig wants to give the youngster a reward and a big hug.

The six-year-old had spotted the diamond solitaire ring in the parking lot of a Publix supermarket on May 14 and promptly turned it in. The girl didn't give her name and her identity remains a mystery.

Earlier that day, Winig had been shopping at the same Publix and stopped into the bathroom to wash her hands. She removed three rings from her hand — her engagement ring, a platinum wedding band and an antique wedding band that once belonged to her husband's grandmother — and slipped them into her back pocket.

“As I did it, I put the rings in my back pocket and I said to myself, ‘This is probably not one of your better moves, putting them there. Just remember to take them out,’” she told local ABC affiliate WPBF.

Winig forgot to take them out, and that's where her story takes a turn for the worse. Standing near her car with a cart of groceries, she reached into her pocket to pull out her receipt. Just then she heard a "ting, ting, ting" as her receipt dropped to the ground in the parking lot.

“All I could find was the receipt,” Winig said. “So even though it made no sense, I thought, ‘Well, if that’s all I’m seeing, then I didn’t lose anything.’”

What she failed to realize was that all three precious rings had fallen from her pocket and were left behind in the parking lot as she drove away.

About 20 minutes later, at about 7 p.m., the mystery youngster found the most precious of the three rings — Winig's engagement ring — lying on the pavement. It was the ring Winig's husband gave her when he first proposed.

The next morning, Winig realized that all three rings were missing, so she scampered back to Publix to try to find them. After searching the parking lot unsuccessfully, she entered the store and asked if any rings had been turned in.

Management handed her an envelope with the engagement ring inside.

“That’s my ring! That’s my ring!” Winig remembered saying to the staff. And then she cried as she placed it back on her finger.

"For me, that was the most incredible gift to have been able to get the ring back," she told WPBF.

Now, Winig is trying to find the honest, heroic young lady responsible for returning her ring. The staff at Publix did not get her name, just the fact that was six years old.

“This little girl needs to be hugged and rewarded," Winig told WPBF.

Winig's story has gotten a fair amount of media attention. It was covered by local ABC affiliate WPBF and was a featured on the website mypalmbeachpost.com, but the little hero has yet to come forward.

Winig still holds out hope that the other two lost rings may eventually be found, but "that would be a miracle," she said.

Credits: Screen captures via wpbf.com.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Music Friday: Ryan Adams Likens Glorious, Sunny Day to 'Pearls on a String'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you uplifting songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, alt-country rocker Ryan Adams compares a glorious, sunny day to June's official birthstone in his 2007 ditty, "Pearls on a String."

The song, which appeared as the ninth track on the artist's ninth studio album Easy Tiger, is a celebration of all the wonderful things life has to offer — with a special emphasis on nature's beauty and the joy of music.

He sings, "Blue eyes for miles / Pretty as a peach / Glorious kind and always on time / Never far outta reach / Tomorrow's on it's way / And there's always new songs to sing / Glorious kind, always on time / Pearls on a string."

In an interview with Australia's Herald Sun, Adams explained that the songs featured on Easy Tiger are "strays" that arose from a writing project that was originally intended to go in a different direction.

"They are very, very simple, very easy songs that, in my opinion, were written on the periphery of some more complex work," he said. "These were the tunes around them that just kind of happened. It's shocking to me how they happened."

Easy Tiger made its debut at #7 on the U.S. Billboard 200 list and charted in 14 countries. The 43-year-old Adams has released 16 albums as a solo artist and three with his former band, Whiskeytown.

Born in Jacksonville, N.C., Adams described his childhood as "dysfunctional." His father left the family when Adams was five, so he, his mom and siblings had to move in with his grandparents. At age eight, Adams began writing short stories and was inspired by the work of Edgar Allan Poe. At 14, he got his first electric guitar and soon joined a local band named Black Label.

Adams dropped out of high school as a 16-year-old and performed with a number of local bands. He eventually earned his GED and built his reputation as a singer-songwriter, musician, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and poet. He's been called a "new Dylan" and "the Kurt Cobain of alt-country."

In 2009, he famously married singer-actress Mandy Moore in a secret ceremony. They were divorced in 2015.

Please check out the audio track of "Pearls on a String." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Pearls On A String"
Written by Bradley Smith Pemberton, Jonathan Graboff, Neal Graeme Casal and Ryan Adams. Performed by Ryan Adams.

One, two, three
Blue eyes for miles
Pretty as a peach
Glorious kind and always on time
Never far outta reach
Tomorrow's on it's way
And there's always new songs to sing
Glorious kind, always on time
Pearls on a string

Soft, precious and easy
Under the sea
If you dive down far enough to the bottom
Look around and you will see
Tomorrow's on it's way
And there's always new songs to sing

Glorious kind, always on time
Pearls on a string
Glorious kind, and always on time
Pearls on a string

The sun shinin' down
The children laugh and play
Glorious kind, and always on time
Out there in the day
Tomorrow's on it's way
And there's always new songs to sing

Glorious kind, and always on time
Pearls on a string
Glorious kind, always on time
Pearls on a string
Glorious kind, always on time
Pearls on a string

Glorious kind, always on time
Pearls on a string

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Dance Superstar tWitch Helps 'Ellen' Fan With Flash Mob Surprise Marriage Proposal

Dance superstar Stephen "tWitch" Boss helped choreograph an elaborate flash mob marriage proposal that Austin natives Patrick Barker and Johanna Alvarado will never forget.

Barker had met tWitch on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where the former So You Think You Can Dance alum has become the resident DJ. The break dance and hip-hop specialist just launched a new web series called "tWitch, Please... Help Me Dance!" — so when Barker hinted that he was planning to propose to his girlfriend, tWitch had the perfect plan.

tWitch's ultimate surprise proposal takes place on the back lot of Warner Bros. studios. Alvarado believes she's taking a standard studio tour, but the scene quickly morphs into an elaborately choreographed flash mob — starring her boyfriend, tWitch and a troop of professional dancers.

The "tWitch, Please... Help Me Dance!" video shows Barker working on his dance moves under tWitch's tutelage. tWitch tells the groom-to-be that learning the moves will not be easy, but the end result will be well worth it.

"After this work, they'll be stories you can tell for years and years to come," tWitch says.

As the couple rides onto the Warner lot in a tour cart, the guide tells them and the other passengers that they need to be extremely quiet because they are about to witness the taping of a commercial.

Just then, she hears the opening refrain from Bleachers' "Let's Get Married" and the other passengers — actually professional dancers — take their places on the set.

Barker hands Alvarado of sunflower and joins the dance troop.

Alvarado is overwhelmed as a storybook flash mob marriage proposal plays out in front of her eyes.

The future bride gets even more emotional when her parents and Barker's parents make a surprise appearance.

In the final scene, the bride is led from the tour cart to a gazebo, where her boyfriend has completed a costume change and is ready to propose.

Says Barker, "This is for you. This is for us. I love you so much and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"

"Yes, of course," she answers.

Alvarado is so excited, bouncing up and down, that Barker has a hard time trying to get the diamond ring on her finger. Finally, with the ring securely in place, the couple embraces, the music resumes and the dancers celebrate by doing what they do best.

When asked by an interviewer how she felt about the flash mob proposal, Alvarado commented that she was "beyond happy."

"It was magic," she said.

Check out the full segment of "tWitch, Please... Help Me Dance!" (Episode 2) at this link...

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/TheEllenShow.