Thursday, March 28, 2019

Boyfriend Surprises 'American Idol' Contestant With On-Stage Proposal, Tears Flow

In the lead-up to her performance on Monday night's edition of American Idol, contestant Johanna Jones said she wished her boyfriend, Matt Zavoral, could have been there. He was buried in final exams at Brigham Young University, and couldn't get from Provo, Utah, to Hollywood in time for the taping — or so she thought.

"I don't want to get ahead myself, but he's probably the one," she said in a wonderful foreshadowing of what happened next.

Jones, a 23-year-old fast food cook from Las Vegas, earned a standing ovation for her unique and soulful interpretation of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game."

While judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan applauded the young singer, Zavoral emerged from backstage and joined his girlfriend in the spotlight.

With his hands gripping a ring box hidden behind his back, Zavoral said, "I couldn't be here this week because of exams, but I couldn't wait another day."

Then he went down on one knee and said, "Johanna, you are the love of my life. Will you marry me?"

Johanna said, "Yes," and Zavoral placed a halo-style diamond ring on his girlfriend's finger.

Jones' dad, who was watching with his wife from the audience, shouted, "He did ask me first. He got the thumbs up!"

Meanwhile, Perry was crying buckets of happy tears, collapsing to the floor behind the judge's table.

"Why won't someone love me like that," she weeped.

The comment seemed odd because Perry accepted an equally romantic proposal from actor Orlando Bloom on Valentine's Day. What we didn't realize is that the taping of the show predated her proposal. Perry cleared up the details in a Twitter post.

The cameras followed Jones and Zavoral backstage where the couple continued their celebration.

Zavoral explained that he had taken six exams the day before and then traveled 11 hours starting at the crack of dawn to make it to Hollywood just in time for his girlfriend's performance.

"Matt is the most amazing man I've ever met," said Jones. "No matter what happens, I'm going to go home smiling."

Jones certainly has a few busy months ahead of her and she advances to the next round of Idol, while preparing for a June 2019 wedding.

Check out Jones' performance and the romantic aftermath in the video below. The proposal starts at the 2:15 mark.

Credits: Screen captures via Idol.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Exceptional Pink and White Diamonds Put Letšeng Mine Back in the News

The Letšeng Mine in the tiny African country of Lesotho is back in the news after luxury jeweler Laurence Graff paid $8.8 million, or $656,933 per carat, for a 13.33-carat pink diamond sourced there. The per-carat price was a record for any Letšeng diamond.

“This is the most vivid pink rough diamond I have ever seen, and it is an exceptionally rare treasure,” said Graff. “I am sure the polished diamond that comes from this rough will be an auspicious addition to our roll call of famous gems. It is an enormous privilege to own this natural miracle. We may never see anything like it again.”

Hot on the heels of that first announcement, Gem Diamonds — a 70% stakeholder in Letšeng — disclosed that the prolific mine had yielded a 161-carat, white color, Type IIa gem.

If you're a fan of fabulous diamonds, you may already know that the Letšeng Mine is famous for producing large, exceptional diamonds and generating more dollars per carat than any other kimberlite diamond mine in the world.

In fact, a little over a year ago, Letšeng made headlines when it revealed an amazing 910-carat D-color, Type IIa diamond. As the fifth-largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered, the Lesotho Legend was eventually sold for a whopping $40 million.

(Type IIa represents the most chemically pure classification of diamonds. They display exceptional optical transparency and make up less than 2% of all gem-quality diamonds.)

Gem Diamonds reported that Letšeng in 2018 yielded 15 stones weighing more than 100 carats, a record for the company. By comparison, it produced seven diamonds larger than 100 carats in 2017. And while the mine is best known for its flawless white diamonds, Letšeng is starting to make its mark in the world of fancy-colored diamonds, as well.

Despite its diminutive size (it's about the size of Maryland), the landlocked country of Lesotho at the southern tip of Africa is a powerhouse in the diamond world. Miners at Letšeng recovered 126,875 carats in 2018, up from 11,811 in 2017. The average per-carat value of the rough material rose over that same period from $1,930 to $2,131.

Letšeng has the distinction of being one of the world's highest diamond mines. Its average elevation is 10,000 feet (nearly two miles) above sea level.

Images: Courtesy of Gem Diamonds..

Monday, March 25, 2019

93-Year-Old Gets Her Ring Back After 4 Months Missing: 'It Was My Life'

At 93 years young, Marie Gladman has lived a wonderful life — a life symbolized by a custom floral-motif ring made with the diamonds harvested from four rings gifted to her by her beloved late husband, Wally.

When Marie lost her ring on a shopping trip in early December, her world was turned upside down.

At the time, a news crew from WCVB Channel 5 Boston caught up with Marie, who explained that the ring told the story of her 55-year marriage to the love of her life.

Staring at the bare ring finger on her left hand, the Waltham, Mass., native said, "That's where all my special memories are. [The ring] was my life. It never came off."

The first ring Marie got from Wally was a promise ring on her 19th birthday. He followed that up with an engagement ring, wedding band and, 50 years later, an anniversary ring.

"I wanted all the stones in one ring," Marie told WCVB, "because I couldn't wear all the rings on one hand."

The resulting keepsake has a floral motif, with a large diamond blooming from each stem. To Marie, the ring was priceless.

But then on that fateful day in December, Marie looked down at her left hand and noticed the ring wasn't there.

She knew she dropped it somewhere near the Shaw's supermarket.

Her family retraced Marie's steps that day. The family also alerted the local police department, but the ring could not be found.

With Marie set to celebrate her 93rd birthday in January of 2019, a reporter asked her what would be the best thing someone could get for her.

"It would be the ring or my husband," she said.

More than four months later, on Tuesday, March 19, a little girl found Marie's ring at Shaw's supermarket. She turned it over to a clerk, and by 10:30 the same evening, Marie's relatives decided to wake up the nonagenerian to give her the good news.

Marie was speechless as she received an envelope containing her ring.

The next day, a reporter asked Marie if she thought the return of her ring was a miracle.

"For me, it is a miracle," she confirmed, adding that from now on she's going to be more cautious with her ring.

"I'm always looking at it to make sure it is there," she said.

Marie's family would like to reward the little girl who found the ring. As of this writing, the girl's identity remains a mystery.

Credits: Screen captures via Channel 5 Boston.