Thursday, September 20, 2018

5-Carat Fancy Vivid Blue 'Ai' (Love) Diamond Could Fetch $15 Million at Sotheby's Hong Kong

A 5-carat fancy vivid blue diamond named "Ai" — the Chinese word for love — will be flirting with a world record when it hits the auction block at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite event in Hong Kong on October 3.

The auction house is estimating that the richly colored step-cut gem will sell in the range of $12.4 million to $15.2 million, potentially putting the per-carat price at $3 million or more. If The Ai Diamond outperforms Sotheby's estimate, it will be ascending into the rarefied air occupied by two of the most famous blue diamonds of all time.

Back in May of 2017, the “Oppenheimer Blue” — a 14.62-carat fancy vivid blue diamond — fetched an astounding $57.5 million at Christie’s Geneva. The Oppenheimer Blue’s per-carat price of $3.93 million came up just shy of the record of $4.03 million held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine, another magnificent blue diamond that sold for $48.5 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November of 2015. It was the highest price per carat ever paid for a diamond or gemstone.

“Fancy Vivid” is the ultimate color classification for blue diamonds. Those displaying lower levels of color saturation may be rated “Fancy Intense,” “Fancy,” “Fancy Light” or “Light,” according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Blue diamonds owe their color to the presence of boron in the chemical makeup of the gem.

The Ai Diamond, which earned a VS2 clarity rating from the GIA, is framed by white baguette diamonds and set in 18-karat white gold.

Other top lots at the Sotheby's auction include the following stunners...

• A Spectacular Pair of Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond and Diamond Pendant Earrings Estimated to fetch between $4.8 million and $6.1 million, these earrings are designed as double gourds and vines, each suspending four old European brilliant-cut fancy vivid yellow diamonds weighing 51.17 carats in total. The earrings are embellished with pink and yellow diamonds mounted in 18-karat pink and yellow gold.

• An Impressive Ruby and Diamond Ring, Bulgari Set with an oval Burmese ruby weighing approximately 31.40 carats, this impressive ring by Bulgari is embellished with custom calibré-cut rubies and brilliant-cut diamonds on the shoulders. The setting is fabricated in 20-karat yellow gold. Sotheby's is estimating that the piece will sell in the range of $2 million to $2.5 million.

• A Unique Pair of Sapphire, Pearl and Diamond Pendant Earrings Drop-shaped Kashmir sapphires weighing 17.70 and 17.47 carats, respectively, dangle from these platinum and 18-karat white gold earrings. The earrings also feature button-shaped pearls and diamond beads, decorated with brilliant-cut diamonds. Estimated selling price: $1.6 million to $2.1 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Emmy Winner Proposes During Live Broadcast With a Ring 'More Valuable Than The Hope Diamond'

To director Glenn Weiss, the simple gold wedding band his dad placed on his mom's finger 67 years ago is "more valuable than The Hope Diamond" — a fact that grew ever more significant when the Emmy winner proposed to his girlfriend Jan Svendsen on stage while accepting his award for "Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special."

Weiss earned his Primetime Emmy for directing the Oscars ceremony on ABC, but what should have been a joyful speech started off as a melancholy acknowledgement of his mom's passing only two weeks ago.

“Part of my heart is broken," he said. "I don’t think it will ever be repaired. But she’s in me and she always will be.”

But, then Weiss told the audience and millions of viewers at home that his mom always believed in finding the sunshine, and that Svendsen was the sunshine of his life.

“And Mom was right. Don’t ever let go of your sunshine," he said, spying Svendsen in the crowd. "You wonder why I don’t like to call you my girlfriend? Because I want to call you my wife.”

Cameras zoomed in on Svendsen's priceless reaction as the word "wife" left his lips.

Attendees of the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles could sense something momentous was about to happen. And they were right.

Svendsen was ushered up to the stage, where Weiss started his marriage proposal by describing the significance of the ring.

“Jan, I want to put this ring that my mom wore on your finger in front of all these people and in front of my mom and your parents watching from above," he said. "Will you marry me?”

Of course, she said, "Yes."

In a backstage interview, Weiss described the ring in more detail and the sensation of having it in his pocket in the lead-up to the awards ceremony.

"It's not a diamond ring," Weiss clarified. "It's my mom's wedding ring, which, to me, is more valuable than The Hope Diamond."

"Walking around on the red carpet like nothing's happening with this thing sitting in my pocket was a nerve-racking experience," he continued. "It was such a valuable thing sitting right here, but now it's where it belongs."

Svendsen said that she had no idea that a marriage proposal was about to go down.

She stated: “I really hoped he was going to dedicate the award to his mother, and he did, and then some.”

Weiss and Svendsen met in 2001 and have worked on awards shows together for about 10 years.

Check out the clip of Weiss's proposal. The action starts at the 1:30 mark.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/Television Academy, YouTube.com/Variety.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

33-Carat Diamond and Platinum Tiara With Ties to Spanish Royalty Comes to Auction at Bonhams

On Wednesday of next week, a very rare and cleverly crafted platinum tiara with ties to Spanish royalty will be offered for sale at Bonhams, London.

Reflecting the refined aesthetics of the Belle Époque period — the "beautiful era" of relative peace and prosperity prior to World War I — this 33.5-carat diamond tiara was designed by Spanish royal jeweler Ansorena and owned by Spanish countess Esperanza Chávarri Aldecoa, a former lady-in-waiting to Spanish Queen Victoria Eugenia, the wife of Alfonso XIII.

Dated to the turn of the last century, the platinum "Meander" tiara is designed as a double diadem that can be detached to form two separate tiaras, one of which may be flipped and worn as a choker.

The upper band of meandering Greek key motifs, forget-me-not flowers and trailing laurel leaves represent true love and the triumph of love, according to Bonhams, while the lower band is designed as a delicate lacework lattice with central handkerchief motif, set throughout with old brilliant, single and rose-cut diamonds. The lower tiara features delicate milgrain detail and architectural knifewire tracery throughout.

Bonhams is estimating that the tiara will sell in the range of $103,000 to $160,000.

"This tiara is of impeccable workmanship, and the elegant Louis XVI design of diamond wreaths and flowers has a lightness and lace-like quality made possible by the technical freedom and innovation of working in platinum," noted Emily Barber, director of jewelry at Bonhams. "Jewelers only began to understand how truly to exploit platinum from around 1900, so it is particularly interesting that this tiara is noted in Ansorena's archives as being conceived as early as 1890."

Bonhams reports that the tiara remained in the countess's family for more than 110 years.

During the Belle Époque period, which is conventionally dated from the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914, women of high society enjoyed an opulent lifestyle, which included the practice of wearing tiara's to formal festivities.

According to Bonhams, the tiara was a fashion staple and a symbol of rank. It would be worn to private dinners, balls and the opera. What's more, the tiara was a symbol of betrothal. A new bride often received a tiara as a wedding gift to be worn later when she took her place in society.

The "Meander" tiara is currently completing a promotional tour, which saw stops in Hong Kong, Geneva and New York. The final leg will be London, where it will be offered for sale on September 26.

Credits: Images courtesy of Bonhams.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Italian Archaeologists Discover Hundreds of Roman Gold Coins Dating Back 1,500 Years

Archaeologists working in the basement of a demolished theater in Northern Italy recently unearthed a soapstone jar literally bursting with Roman gold coins dating back to the 4th and 5th centuries AD. The pristine coins were pulled from the site of the former Cressoni theater, which is located in Como, near the Swiss border.

Hundreds of coins bearing the engravings of emperors Honorius, Valentinian III, Leon I, Antonio and Libio Severo were found stacked neatly in the two-handled jar called an amphora. The newest of the coins was minted in 474 AD.

"We are talking about an exceptional discovery," local archaeology superintendent Luca Rinaldi told the Times of London. The superintendent couldn't guess what the coins might be worth, stating, instead, that their value was "inestimable."

The coins were sent to a restoration laboratory in Milan, where archaeologists, restorers and numismatists will try to piece together the story behind the exciting discovery.

For now, archaeologists believe the jar of gold coins had been hidden for safekeeping.

The jar was "buried it in such a way that in case of danger they could go and retrieve it," Maria Grazia Facchinetti, an expert in rare coins, told CNN. "They were stacked in rolls similar to those seen in the bank today."

Due to the orderly way in which the coins were placed in the jar, Facchinetti believes the owner of the hoard was not a private person.

"Rather it could be a public bank or deposit," she said.

The Cressoni theater had been shuttered in 1997, and the recent coin discovery took place while the property was being developed into residential apartments, according to Newsweek.

"We do not yet know in detail the historical and cultural significance of the find," Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli said in a press release. "But that area is proving to be a real treasure for our archaeology. This discovery fills me with pride."

Credits: Photos courtesy of MiBAC (Italy's Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities).

Friday, September 14, 2018

Music Friday: Jason Mraz Hopes You Win 'Prizes Shining Like Diamonds' in 'Have It All'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you uplifting songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, singer-songwriter Jason Mraz delivers a message of love, hope and infinite possibilities in his 2018 release, "Have It All."

Inspired by a spiritual encounter with a Buddhist monk while visiting Myanmar in 2012, Mraz uses the lyrics of "Have It All" to bestow dozens of heartfelt wishes to his fans, especially the children.

The monk had told Mraz, "Tashi delek," a Tibetan phrase that means, "May you have auspiciousness and causes of success." Mraz adopted that exact phrase for the first line of his song, and then expounded on the theme...

He sings, "May you get a gold star on your next test / May your educated guesses always be correct / And may you win prizes shining like diamonds / May you really own it each moment to the next."

The 41-year-old told Genius.com that "Have It All" carries the same hopeful theme that helped him heal and move forward. He called it "a song with a message of generosity – the antithesis of despondency. It's a blessing disguised as a rap song and it's meant to be paid forward and shared."

"Have It All" appeared as the second track of Mraz's sixth studio album, Know. The album charted in nine countries and peaked at #9 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and #10 on the Canadian Albums chart.

The song's official video features more than 100 performing arts students from Mraz's hometown of Richmond, Va.

"[The] music video was made through a collaborative experience with two nonprofits in Richmond," he told Entertainment Tonight. "It's honestly less about me and more about shining a light on tomorrow's artists."

Although he grew up in Virginia, Mraz got his big break after moving to San Diego as a 22 year old and becoming an audience favorite at the coffee house Java Joe's. In 2002, he signed with Elektra Records.

Mraz has earned two Grammy Awards and sold more than seven million albums worldwide.

Please check out Mraz performing with a crew of talented school kids in his official video for "Have It All." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Have It All"
Written by Becky Gebhardt, Mai Bloomfield, Mona Tavakoli, Chaska Potter, Jacob Kasher, David Hodges and Jason Mraz. Performed by Jason Mraz.

May you have auspiciousness and causes of success
May you have the confidence to always do your best
May you take no effort in your being generous
Sharing what you can, nothing more nothing less
May you know the meaning of the word happiness
May you always lead from the beating in your chest
May you be treated like an esteemed guest
May you get to rest, may you catch your breath

And may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows
And may the road less paved be the road that you follow

Well here's to the hearts that you're gonna break
Here's to the lives that you're gonna change
Here's to the infinite possible ways to love you

I want you to have it
Here's to the good times we're gonna have
You don’t need money, you got a free pass
Here's to the fact that I'll be sad without you
I want you to have it all
Oh! I want you to have it all
I want you to have it
I want you to have it all

May you be as fascinating as a slap bracelet
May you keep the chaos and the clutter off your desk
May you have unquestionable health and less stress
Having no possessions though immeasurable wealth
May you get a gold star on your next test
May your educated guesses always be correct
And may you win prizes shining like diamonds
May you really own it each moment to the next

And may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows
And may the road less paved be the road that you follow

Well here's to the hearts that you're gonna break
Here's to the lives that you're gonna change
Here's to the infinite possible ways to love you

I want you to have it
Here's to the good times we're gonna have
You don’t need money, you got a free pass
Here's to the fact that I'll be sad without you
I want you to have it all

Oh, I want you to have it all
I want you to have it
I want you to have it all

Oh, I want you to have it all
All you can imagine
All, no matter what your path is
If you believe it then anything can happen
Go, go, go raise your glasses
Go, go, go you can have it all
I toast you

Here's to the hearts that you're gonna break
Here's to the lives that you're gonna change
Here's to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it
Here's to the good times we're gonna have
You don’t need money, you got a free pass
Here's to the fact that I'll be sad without you
I want you to have it all

Oh, I want you to have it all
I want you to have it
I want you to have it all

Here's to the good times we're gonna have
Here's to you always making me laugh
Here's to the fact that I'll be sad without you
I want you to have it all

Credits: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Aussie Nickel Miner Hits Golden Mother Lode, Including Two Huge Rocks Worth $5 Million

Until last week, RNC Minerals had been running a ho-hum nickel operation at the Beta Hunt Mine in southwestern Australia. But, when a gold vein was discovered about 1,600 feet underground, the miner decided to do some deeper blasting — and the results were spectacular.

From a single cut, the miner extracted 9,250 ounces of high grade gold, including two huge specimens of gold-bearing quartz. The first weighed 210 pounds and contained 150 pounds of pure gold. The second weighed nearly 140 pounds and contained 100 pounds of gold. It took three men to maneuver the rocks into the back of a utility vehicle.

Miner Henry Dole, who witnessed the aftermath of the blast, told Australia's ABC News that huge chunks of gold littered the area.

"There was just gold everywhere, as far as you could see," he said. "I nearly fell over looking at it... we were picking it up for hours."

The Canada-based RNC Minerals reported that the total yield was about $11 million worth of material.

"This is a spectacular discovery — possibly the find of the century in the Australian Gold Fields," Ross Large, professor of geology at University of Tasmania, told the Financial Times. "This is the sort of find that you would associate with the 1860s Gold Rush and will probably cause a boom in exploration."

The two huge gold-laden specimens, worth $5 million combined, will go to auction as collector's items, according to RNC Minerals chief executive Mark Selby.

"There's a pretty select group of collectors who this would appeal to," he told the BBC.

"People do still record finding nuggets in the goldfields, but typically they are less than several ounces," Sam Spearing, director of the Western Australia School of Mines at Curtin University, told the BBC. "Very, very seldom do we see results on that level. This is an exceedingly rare find and very exciting."

Miners in Australia often extract as little as 2 grams of gold per ton of rock, Spearing noted. By comparison, RNC Minerals said it had extracted 2,200 grams per ton.

Selby said in a statement that there is still more high-grade gold potential at the Beta Hunt mine, which is near Kambalda in Western Australia. Beta Hunt had been operating as a nickel mine since 1973.

Australia has a long history of yielding massive gold nuggets. One of the largest ever was called the "Welcome Stranger" and weighed 145 pounds. Legend states that it had to be broken on an anvil before it could fit on a bank scale.

Credits: Images courtesy of RNC Minerals.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Empowering Colors, Joyful Hues Dominate Spring/Summer 2019 Palette: Pantone

Empowering colors and joyful hues dominate Pantone’s Fashion Color Trend Report for the Spring/Summer of 2019. According to the Pantone Color Institute’s experts, this new palette of 12 standout colors is illuminating the runways of NY Fashion Week, which runs through Saturday in Manhattan.

Fiesta / Jester Red / Turmeric / Living Coral

The 12 colors share a number of characteristics. For one, they all communicate our desire to face the future with confidence and spirit, says Pantone. They're also joyful hues that lend themselves to playful expressionism and take us down a path of creative and unexpected combinations.

Among 2019’s standout colors are Fiesta, a festive orange-red that radiates energy, passion and excitement; and Jester Red, a rich burgundy-like color that mixes elegance with urbanity. Other favorites include Turmeric, an enlivening orange that infuses a hint of pungency into the palette; and Living Coral, an affable and animating shade whose golden undertone gives it a softer edge.

“The mindset for Spring/Summer 2019 underscores our desire for color that transcends seasonality and brings together high fashion and street style,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Vibrant without being overpowering, highlighted shades for both men’s and women’s fashion illustrate our desire for authenticity and our continued need for creativity and relatable, accessible design.”

Pink Peacock / Pepper Stem / Aspen Gold / Princess Blue

Other colors expected to dominate in the coming year include Pink Peacock, a tantalizingly theatrical hue that's a feast for the eyes; Pepper Stem, a zesty yellow-green tone that encourages our desire for nature’s healthy bounty; Aspen Gold, a sunny color that stimulates feelings of joy and good cheer; and Princess Blue, a majestic royal blue hue that glistens and gleams.

Toffee / Mango Mojito / Terrarium Moss / Sweet Lilac

The final four standout colors include the deliciously irresistible Toffee, the golden yellow Mango Mojito, the earthy green of Terrarium Moss and the endearing pink-infused lavender of Sweet Lilac.

Soybean / Eclipse / Sweet Corn / Brown Granite

In additional to the 12 standout shades, Pantone also revealed four classic neutrals. Pantone noted that there will always be a need for structure in everyday fashion, and the neutrals for 2019 work well on their own or serve as a foundation for distinctive color contrasts. These include the dark beige Soybean, dark blue Eclipse, pale yellow Sweet Corn and earthy Brown Granite.

Pantone, the global color authority, publishes its report to give consumers and retailers a sneak peek at the color stories that will emerge in all areas of design and fashion in the coming year.

In early December, we will announce Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2019. Previous winners have included Ultra Violet (2018), Greenery (2017), Rose Quartz/Serenity Blue (co-winners for 2016), Marsala (2015), Radiant Orchid (2014), Emerald (2013) and Tangerine Tango (2012).

Credits: Images courtesy of Pantone.