August 10th, 2022
Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, AR, is celebrating its 50th Anniversary by offering park guests a limited-edition replica of the famous 4.60-carat, D-flawless Esperanza diamond pendant.

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Discovered in 2015 by Bobbie Oskarson, the icicle-shaped Esperanza weighed 8.52 carats uncut and was the fifth-largest diamond ever found at the park. The Coloradan spotted the diamond within 20 minutes of entering “The Pig Pen,” a section of the 37 1/2-acre plowed field that is actually the eroded surface of an extinct, diamond-bearing volcanic pipe.

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A ceremonial shovel affixed to an informative sign now marks the exact spot where the Esperanza diamond was unearthed.

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Later in 2015, the oblong rough was cut into a first-of-its-kind triolette shape by master diamond cutter Mike Botha during a weeklong live-streamed event at Stanley Jewelers Gemologist in North Little Rock, AR.

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Botha’s 147-facet triolette resembles a teardrop and merges the elements of both emerald and trapezoid shapes. The painstaking cutting and polishing process took 130 hours.

Upon completion, the diamond was shipped to the American Gem Society Laboratories, where it was graded as colorless (D) and internally flawless (IF). The Gemological Institute of America later affirmed the D-flawless grading.

Now owned by a team of three investors, the Esperanza (meaning “hope” in Spanish) is said to be worth upwards of $1 million, making it one of the most valuable diamonds ever found in the U.S.

Master jeweler Ian Douglas designed a custom setting for the Esperanza, featuring flowing shapes that complement the diamond’s cut. Jewelry manufacturer Byard Brogan crafted the pendant out of platinum.

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The replicas — in a limited series of 35 units — feature a cubic zirconia faux Esperanza set in sterling silver. Each piece was crafted under the strict supervision of the original team. The photo above shows the actual Esperanza diamond pendant (left) alongside its near-identical replica, minus the diamond accents.

Each replica comes with a certificate of authenticity signed by Mike Botha - Master Diamond Cutter, and may be purchased at the park for $500.

More than 33,100 diamonds have been found by park visitors since the Crater of Diamonds became an Arkansas state park in 1972.

Credits: Images courtesy of Crater of Diamonds State Park; Facebook.com/theesperanza; Laura Stanley.
August 9th, 2022
Spotlighting treasures recovered from the shipwrecked 17th century Spanish galleon the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas, Allen Exploration’s Bahamas Maritime Museum in Freeport, Grand Bahama, opened its doors to the public for the first time on Monday.

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The museum tells the story of The Bahamas’ rich maritime legacy, from the history of Lucayan free-divers and the horrors of the slave trade to the magnificent treasures hidden in the bellies of Spanish fleets and the pirates that lurked nearby.

Often called "The Bahamas’ Sunken Crown Jewel," the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas (Our Lady of Wonders) was lost off the northern islands on January 4, 1656.

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The 891-ton Maravillas was the vice-flagship of the Tierra Firme (mainland) fleet, homeward-bound to Spain from Havana, Cuba, and loaded with royal and private consignments. Also on board was the recovered bounty of a Spanish ship that had wrecked off the coast of Ecuador 18 months earlier.

According to smithsonianmag.com, the Maravillas lost its bearings near midnight and was rammed by its flagship. Thirty minutes later, it violently collided with a reef and sank like a stone, weighed down by its double cargo. Of the 650 crewmen, only 45 survived.

Allen Exploration is currently exploring a debris trail left behind by the Maravillas and uncovering remarkable finds. The wreck is scattered across an area of at least 18 by 8 kilometers.

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Alongside Spanish olive jars, Chinese porcelain, iron rigging, and gold and silver coins, the team has discovered fantastic gemstones and jewelry, including rough emeralds and amethysts, and a pendant featuring a gold Cross of St. James atop a large green oval Colombian emerald. The outer edge is framed by 12 more square emeralds, perhaps symbolizing the 12 apostles.

“When we brought up the oval emerald and gold pendant, my breath caught in my throat,” said Carl Allen, entrepreneur, explorer, philanthropist and the founder of Allen Exploration. “The pendant mesmerizes me when I hold it and think about its history. How these tiny pendants survived in these harsh waters, and how we managed to find them, is the miracle of the Maravillas.”

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Allen explained how the Maravillas has had a tough history. It was heavily salvaged by Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Bahamian and American expeditions in the 17th and 18th centuries, and blitzed by salvors from the 1970s to early 1990s.

“Some say the remains were ground to dust," Allen said. "[But] using modern technology and hard science, we’re now tracking a long and winding debris trail of finds. We’re delighted to be licensed by the Bahamian government to explore the Maravillas scientifically and share its wonders with everyone in the first maritime museum in The Bahamas.”

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A stunning AllenX discovery is an 887-gram gold filigree chain, 176 centimeters long, made up of 80 alternating circular links. They are decorated with four-lobed rosette motifs.

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Unlike former projects that had a commercial focus, Allen Exploration is committed to keeping its entire collection together for public display in The Bahamas Maritime Museum.

Nothing is being sold. In fact, Allen is buying back past shipwreck material to return it to The Bahamas.

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“For a nation built from the ocean, it’s astonishing how little is understood about The Bahamas’ maritime links,” said Dr. Michael Pateman, director of The Bahamas Maritime Museum. “Few know that the indigenous Lucayan peoples, for instance, settled here 1,300 years ago. Or that the whole population, up to 50,000 people, was forced out by Spanish guns, made to dive for pearls off Venezuela, and killed off in less than three decades. There was a dazzling Old World culture in The Bahamas long before European ships thought they found a New World. The Lucayans, slave trade, pirates and the Maravillas are core stories we’re sharing in the museum.”

While searching for the missing Maravillas, Allen Exploration has so far discovered approximately 18 other wrecks. There are hundreds more on the Little Bahama Bank and thousands spread across The Bahamas, according to Allen.

Credits: High-status personal belongings. © Brendan Chavez - Allen Exploration. Ship photo © Allen Exploration. Gold and emerald pendant. © Nathaniel Harrington - Allen Exploration. Carl Allen holds an amethyst on the Maravillas site. © Matthew Rissell - Allen Exploration. Golden filigree chain. © Nathaniel Harrington - Allen Exploration. Gold and pearl ring. © Nathaniel Harrington - Allen Exploration. Maravillas exhibit at the Bahamas Maritime Museum. ©Matthew Lowe – Bahamas Maritime Museum.
August 8th, 2022
Legend has it that in the year 41 BC Cleopatra gulped down a pearl-infused cocktail to demonstrate to her lover — the Roman leader Marc Antony — her immense wealth and power.

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Roman naturalist and philosopher Pliny the Elder (23 - 79 AD) offered a detailed account of the event in his book, Natural History. It's been called one of the most celebrated banquets in literature and here's how it went down.

Pliny the Elder wrote, "There were formerly two pearls, the largest that had been ever seen in the whole world: Cleopatra, the last of the queens of Egypt, was in possession of them both, they having come to her by descent from the kings of the East."

The 28-year-old Cleopatra (69 - 30 BC) was Egypt's hostess with the mostest, and with Antony (83 – 30 BC) as her guest, she spared no expense to impress him. The meals she presented were so extravagant that the Roman politician and general wondered out loud if it was even possible to make the banquets more magnificent.

Cleopatra responded that she could spend 10 million sesterces on a single dinner. (Scholars believe the equivalent value in today's dollars might be $25 million or more).

Pliny the Elder explained, "Antony was extremely desirous to learn how that could be done, but looked upon it as a thing quite impossible; and a wager was the result."

On the following day, Cleopatra — her face set alight by her priceless pearl earrings — hosted another spectacular banquet, but it was no better than what Antony had experienced before.

When the second course was served, Antony curiously looked on as a single vessel filled with vinegar was placed before the queen.

According to Plany the Elder, the liquid possessed the sharpness and strength to dissolve pearls.

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"At this moment she was wearing in her ears those choicest and most rare and unique productions of Nature," he wrote, "and while Antony was waiting to see what she was going to do, taking one of them from out of her ear, she threw it into the vinegar, and directly it was melted, swallowed it."

Lucius Plancus, who had been named umpire in the wager, placed his hand upon the other pearl at the very instant Cleopatra was making preparations to dissolve it in a similar manner, and declared that Antony had lost the bet.

Pliny the Elder's accounting of this story has sparked the imagination of scientists and gemologists, who wondered if melting a pearl in vinegar is really a thing.

Youtubers have tried to duplicate the feat, and scholars have written about it in professional journals. The bottom line is that, yes, pearls can be dissolved in vinegar but, no, they don't dissolve instantly, as Pliny described.

Pearls consist of calcium carbonate. Vinegar is acetic acid. When combined, there is a chemical reaction that initiates the breakdown of the pearl into calcium acetate, water and carbon dioxide.

In the Youtube experiments, pearls can be seen losing their form and turning into a gel-like substance within a few days of vinegar submersion.

Tip: In addition to vinegar, pearls shouldn't be exposed to chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, hairspray, perfume, cosmetics or any harsh chemicals.

It is plausible that Cleopatra crushed the pearl before immersing it in vinegar and swallowing it down. Many recent accounts of the Cleopatra-Antony banquet wager attempt to correct Pliny the Elder's apparent scientific inaccuracies by describing the pearl as crushed or pulverized.

Credit: Painting by Andrea Casali (1705-1784). Andrea Casali, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
August 5th, 2022
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fabulous songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, rock legend Paul Simon tells the story of an unlikely romance between a poor boy and a rich girl in New York City. Simon says the boy is as "empty as a pocket" and she's got "diamonds on the soles of her shoes."

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The meaning behind the gem-embellished footwear has been hotly debated since Simon first performed "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" on Saturday Night Live in 1986. Do the diamonds simply symbolize conspicuous consumption or is there something much deeper that the singer-songwriter wanted to convey?

Simon sings, "People say she’s crazy / She’s got diamonds on the soles of her shoes / Well, that’s one way to lose these / Walking blues / Diamonds on the soles of her shoes."

Some critics see the girl in Simon's story as an unlikeable character who is so rich she can afford to set diamonds into the bottoms of her shoes. Others believe she is metaphorically hiding her wealth.

But, perhaps Simon has created an enchanting character who sees the best in everything. One contributor to songmeanings.com compared wearing diamonds on the soles of one's shoes to looking at the world through rose-colored glasses.

"Everywhere you go, your interaction is done through the diamonds on your shoes," he wrote, "and diamonds as a symbol of wealth, happiness and love mean you are interacting with your world through a constant 'happy' filter, you have a skip to your step, you are happy."

The same writer believes the poor boy may have not been poor in the literal sense of the word. He wears ordinary shoes, which may mean he's just poor in spirit.

After a night of dancing, the couple falls asleep in a doorway on Upper Broadway in Manhattan. At that point, the lyrics change. They're now wearing diamonds on the soles of "their" shoes. The poor boy has finally discovered love and true happiness.

"Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes," which features guest vocals by a South African group called Ladysmith Black Mambazo, was released as the fifth track on Simon's wildly successful Graceland album. Frequently cited as one of the best albums of all time, Graceland sold more than 14 million copies and won the 1987 Grammy for Album of the Year.

Born in Newark, NJ, and raised in Queens, NY, the 80-year-old Simon is one of the world's most accomplished singer/songwriters. He’s won 12 Grammy Awards and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice (once as a solo artist and the other time as half of Simon & Garfunkel). He also was named by Time Magazine as one of the “100 People Who Shaped the World.”

Trivia: The brainy Simon attended Brooklyn Law School for one semester in 1963.

Please check out the video of Simon's live performance of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" at The African Concert in 1987. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

"Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes"
Written by Paul Simon and Joseph Shabalala. Performed by Paul Simon with Ladysmith Black Mambazo singing group.

(a-wa) O kod wa u zo-nge li-sa namhlange
(a-wa a-wa) Si-bona kwenze ka kanjani
(a-wa a-wa) Amanto mbazane ayeza

She’s a rich girl
She don’t try to hide it
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

He’s a poor boy
Empty as a pocket
Empty as a pocket with nothing to lose
Sing, Ta na na
Ta na na na
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Ta na na
Ta na na na
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
People say she’s crazy
She’s got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Well, that’s one way to lose these
Walking blues
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes

She was physically forgotten
Then she slipped into my pocket
With my car keys
She said, “You’ve taken me for granted
Because I please you
Wearing these diamonds”

And I could say, Oo oo oo
As if everybody knows
What I’m talking about
As if everybody here would know
What I was talking about
Talking about diamonds on the soles of her shoes

She makes the sign of a teaspoon
He makes the sign of a wave
The poor boy changes clothes
And puts on aftershave
To compensate for his ordinary shoes

And she said, “Honey take me dancing”
But they ended up by sleeping
In a doorway
By the bodegas and the lights on
Upper Broadway
Wearing diamonds on the soles of their shoes

And I could say Oo oo oo
And everybody here would know
What I was talking about
I mean, everybody here would know exactly
What I was talking about
Talking about diamonds

People say I’m crazy
I got diamonds on the soles of my shoes
Well, that’s one way to lose
These walking blues
Diamonds on the soles of your shoes



Credit: Photo by Matthew Straubmuller (imatty35), CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
August 4th, 2022
Did you know that olivine, the non-precious variety of August's birthstone — peridot — could play a key role in the global effort to reverse the effects of climate change?

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According to scientists at the Project Vesta, olivine's chemical makeup is perfectly suited to counter ocean acidification and permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

They've calculated that a billion tons of olivine sand distributed over 28,000 miles of coastline annually will result in the capture of 1 gigaton of CO2. The wave action of beaches on crushed olivine allows for more rapid weathering than other natural deposits of olivine.

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"Olivine absorbs carbon dioxide through a chemical reaction similar to the rusting of iron metals," explained The Daily Beast, "except that instead of iron + water + oxygen = rust, the reaction goes olivine + carbon dioxide + water = silicate + calcium carbonate + magnesium ions."

Olivine is nature's air purifier, sucking carbon dioxide out of the sky and ocean and locking it up in harmless products that can form things like coral reefs, noted The Daily Beast.

“If we spread olivine over 2% of the world’s shelf sea, then that will be enough to capture 100% of human emissions,” Tom Green, executive director of Project Vesta, told fastcompany.com.

The scientists at the Vesta Project emphasized that olivine is globally abundant and accessible. It makes up more than 50% of the Earth's upper mantle and more than a trillion tons can be collected easily.

At full scale, they claim, the distribution of olivine will cost less than 10% of the price of other carbon capture technologies.

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If, and when, the Vesta Project gets off the ground, beaches around the globe will start looking a lot like Hawaii’s Mahana Beach.

Today, that's the most popular of only four “green” beaches in the world. The others are Talofofo Beach on Guam, Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island in the Galapagos Islands and Hornindalsvatnet in Norway.

These beaches owe their astounding color to olivine crystals eroded from the belly of ancient volcanoes and delivered to the shore by ocean waves.

Hawaiians refer to peridot as the “Hawaiian Diamond,” and small peridot stones are sold as “Pele’s tears” in honor of Pele, the goddess of volcanoes.

In addition to being the official birthstone of August, peridot is also the 16th anniversary gemstone. Colors range from pure green to yellowish-green to greenish-yellow, but the finest hue is green without any hint of yellow or brown, according to the Gemological Institute of America.

Peridot is currently sourced in Burma, the US, Norway, Brazil, China, Australia and Pakistan. The world’s largest faceted peridot weighs 310 carats and is part of the Smithsonian’s National Gem and Mineral Collection.

Credit: Peridot photo by Chip Clark / Smithsonian. Beach image by Wasif Malik, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Closeup of beach sand by Tom Trower, NASA Ames Research Center, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
August 3rd, 2022
Remember the name "Lulo Rose" because this 170-carat rough pink diamond has the potential to become one of the most celebrated gemstones of all time.

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Discovered by Lucapa Diamond Company at its Lulo alluvial diamond mine in Angola, the Type IIa, chemically pure specimen is believed to be the largest pink diamond discovered anywhere in the world during the past 300 years. Only the 182-carat Daria-i-Noor, unearthed in India during the 17th century, weighs more.

At this juncture, there's no telling exactly what type of finished stone will emerge at the cutting wheel but, historically, rough diamonds will lose about 40% to 60% of their original carat weight during the cutting and polishing process. If that turns out to be true, the finished pink diamond could weigh upwards of 70 carats and establish a new the record for the highest price ever paid for a pink diamond, or any gemstone for that matter.

In 2017, Hong Kong-based jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group paid a record $71 million for the 59.6-carat Pink Star. The stone was later renamed the CTF Pink Star and remains the priciest gem of all time.

The Lulo Rose is unique because it is an alluvial diamond — a diamond eroded over eons from its primary source and discovered in a secondary location. Since the discovery of alluvial diamonds at Lulo in 2015, geologists have continued to seek the kimberlite pipes that would have been the primary source of these spectacular stones.

The Lulo Rose will be sold via international tender in what's expected to be a closely followed event conducted by Sodiam E.P, the Angolan State Diamond Marketing Company.

“This record and spectacular pink diamond recovered from Lulo continues to showcase Angola as an important player on the world stage for diamond mining and demonstrates the potential and rewards for commitment and investment in our growing diamond mining industry,” said Diamantino Azevedo, Angola’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas.

According to Lucapa, the historical pink diamond is the fifth largest diamond discovered at Lulo. It's also the 27th 100-plus-carat diamond recovered at the site.

The largest diamond ever recovered in Angola was souped at the Lulo mine. In February of 2016, Lucapa unearthed the 404.20-carat rough named “4 de Fevereiro.” That gem was eventually cut into a 163.41-carat emerald-cut diamond that was sold for $33.7 million at Christie's Geneva in 2017.

Credit: Image courtesy of Lucapa Diamond Co.
July 29th, 2022
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring new brand new tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher laments his recent separation from a long-time love in the 2022 release, "Diamond in the Dark."

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In the song he co-wrote with Michael Tighe and Andrew Wyatt, Gallagher uses gemstone imagery to paint a picture of a forlorn romantic suffering from loneliness, confusion and depression.

He sings, "I’m shining like a diamond in the dark / I’m floating like a lion in the ark / I’m walking round in circles through the park / And no tough talk will erase you."

The diamond in the dark represents something that could be beautiful and brilliant, but has failed to reach its potential. In fact, a diamond in the dark doesn't shine at all, because diamonds can only sparkle in the presence of light.

Released as the fourth single from Gallagher's third solo album, C'mon You Know, "Diamond in the Dark" has met with critical acclaim. Faroutmagazine.co.uk called the song "a top-down, driving anthem while basking in the summer sun with a slice of psychedelia thrown in for good measure." The album charted in 17 countries, including the coveted #1 spot on the UK Albums chart and #16 position on the Billboard US Top Album Sales chart.

Gallagher rose to fame during his successful 18-year run (1991 to 2009) as the frontman for the British rock band, Oasis. The group's biggest hit, "Wonderwall" (1995), sold 2.4 million copies.

The 49-year-old native of Manchester, England, launched his solo career in 2017 and received the MTV Europe Music Award for "Rock Icon" in 2019.

Please check out the video of Gallagher's live performance of "Diamond in the Dark." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

"Diamond in the Dark"
Written by Liam Gallagher, Michael Tighe and Andrew Wyatt. Performed by Liam Gallagher.

I left LA today
I’m on another plane
I spent too much time on the dark side of your door
I spent the night awake
Had all that I could take
I might not see those baby blue eyes anymore

Come on
I’m shining like a diamond in the dark
I’m floating like a lion in the ark
I’m walking round in circles through the park
And no tough talk will erase you
Now I know how many holes it takes, too
And I really don’t know how to shake these memories

And there’s a fire in the sky
And baby there’s red dawn in my eyes
And all the meanings got so twisted since you're gone
And I guess I’ll hope you fine
But really you know I hope you’re crying
And there’s a million things to say since you been gone

Come on
I’m shining like a diamond in the dark
I’m floating like a lion in the ark
I’m walking round in circles through the park
And no tough talk will erase you
Now I know how many holes it takes, too
And I really don’t know how to shake these memories

Desperate eyes
Don’t recognize the warning signs
Alibis
They won’t keep you warm at night

So come on
I’m shining like a diamond in the dark
I’m floating like a lion in the ark
I’m walking round in circles through the park
And no tough talk will erase you
Now I know how many holes it takes, too
And I really don’t know how to shake these memories

Now I know how many holes it takes to
And I really don’t know how to shake these memories



Credit: Photo by Thesupermat, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
July 28th, 2022
A little more than seven months after capturing their first-ever MLS Cup with a thrilling 4-2 shootout win over the Portland Timbers, members of the New York City Football Club finally received their 2021 championship rings during a ceremony last Thursday night.

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Designed by Baron, the rings incorporate gemstone representations of the official team colors — light blue, dark blue and orange.

The ring top features the club’s “NYC” monogram logo — rendered in bezel-set, custom-cut dark blue gems — surrounded by round colorless diamonds and the "MLS Cup Champions" wordmark.

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The right side of the ring pays homage to the team’s “UNDENYABLE” (the NY purposely outlined) slogan in yellow gold. Positioned above the slogan are the iconic NYCFC smokestacks, which are set off after every goal at home games to animate the crowd. Below the slogan is the date of the championship win — 12-11-21. Along the shoulder of the ring is a row of light blue gems.

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The left side of the ring shows the player's name in raised white gold above the historic MLS Cup trophy embellished in yellow gold and accented with colorless diamonds. Within the trophy is the player's number, also in raised white gold. As with the other side, the shoulder of the ring is adorned with a row of light blue gems.

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On the inside of the ring, an engraving shows the names of NYCFC’s playoff opponents along with the score of each game. The shank is set with seven stones representing the years the club has been in the league. Six are colorless diamonds, but the seventh is an orange stone representing the team's first-ever MLS Cup title.

During the championship game, the Portland Timbers evened the score at 1-1 with a dramatic 94th-minute equalizer at their home field, Providence Park. After a scoreless overtime session, the outcome was finally decided by a suspenseful shootout that saw NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson stopping two Timbers attempts.

Prior to receiving their rings on Thursday, representatives of the team got to ring the Closing Bell at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square.

The 2021 MLS championship marked the first title for a New York sports franchise since the New York Giants won Super Bowl XLVI following the 2011 season. What's more, no New York team had won a soccer championship since the New York Cosmos pulled off the feat in 1982.

Credits: Images courtesy of Baron Championship Rings 2022.
July 27th, 2022
The Infinity Gauntlet featuring the Six Infinity Stones from the Marvel Universe is now a real-life collectible, thanks to a collaboration between Marvel and East Continental Gems. The six precious stones boast a combined total weight of more than 150 carats and are valued at $25 million.

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The one-of-a-kind collectible was unveiled last week at the Marvel booth at San Diego Comic-Con.

Worn by Thanos, one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe, the gauntlet is embedded with colorful gems, each imbued with a unique special power related to Time, Space, Reality, Mind, Power and Soul.

“There has never been anything as exciting and interesting in the Marvel Universe than the prized Infinity Stones, and as a fourth-generation jeweler and fan, I am honored that Marvel entrusted us with the monumental task of curating the Infinity Gem Collection for our universe,” said Adam Mirzoeff, President of East Continental Gems.

Mirzoeff told The Hollywood Reporter that as he watched Avengers: Endgame with his kids he became intrigued by how the gemstones of the gauntlet played such a critical role in the plot line.

“When I saw the Time Stone onscreen and how meaningful it is to the entire narrative of the Marvel universe, for me, it was very meaningful to be watching that with my children,” Mirzoeff told The Hollywood Reporter.

Then he wondered if Marvel had an actual set of Infinity Stones.

When he learned the answer was "No," Mirzoeff got to work assembling the gems that would make up the Infinity Collection, assigning a specific stone to each special power.

He told The Hollywood Reporter, “I had to reach into my safe and our collection and think, ‘Which stone is worthy of the title?'”

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To represent The Time Stone, Mirzoeff selected a Colombian emerald weighing just under 23 carats. The untreated, emerald-cut gem carries documentation from four gem laboratories and was unearthed at the turn of the last century. In the Marvel Universe, The Time Stone has the ability to manipulate time, even in places beyond time.

The Space Stone is a cushion-cut, 30-plus-carat sapphire that was sourced on the island of Madagascar. The Space Stone allows its user to exist in any location, move throughout different realities, warp or rearrange space and teleport across planes regardless of the laws of physics or magical barriers.

The Reality Stone is an oval-shaped, natural ruby from Mozambique that weighs more than 15 carats. Marvel explains that tasks, realities, concepts, visions — things that would normally be impossible to realize — are made possible with the Reality Stone. And they can be done on a universal scale. In other words, aside from the power to will anything in or out of existence, it can retroactively create alternate realities around those changes.

The Power Stone is an oval-shaped, natural amethyst weighing more than 35 carats. The Power Stone allows its users to access and manipulate all forms of energy as well as enhance their own physical strength and durability. This jewel also boosts the effects of the five other stones. The ultimate power behind the Power Stone — and why it sits at a place of honor on the Infinity Gauntlet — does not necessarily come from the stone itself, but from how the it interacts with the others.

The Soul Stone is a cushion-cut spessartite weighing more than 35 carats. The first of all the stones to appear in Marvel lore, The Soul Stone served as inspiration for all the rest. It can manipulate the soul and essence of a person, control life and death and contains a pocket dimension called the Soul World.

The Mind Stone is a high-clarity, intense-color, rectangular brilliant-cut yellow diamond weighing nearly 35 carats. The Mind Stone allows its user to heighten abilities, such as telepathy and telekinesis, and — when combined with the Power Stone — access all minds in existence concurrently.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel teased the fact that East Continental Gems will be issuing a limited-edition Reality Stone in September 2022 as part of a future collection. More details will be announced at a later date.

Credits: Images courtesy of Marvel / East Continental Gems.
July 26th, 2022
Many of the most notable and recognizable items from Queen Elizabeth II's jewelry collection — including the breathtaking and historic Diamond Diadem — are now on public display in Buckingham Palace as part of a 10-week exhibition.

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The special presentation titled "Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession" celebrates the start of the 96-year-old monarch's historic reign and centers upon 24 official portraits of The Queen taken by the photographer Dorothy Wilding, alongside items of jewelry worn by Her Majesty for the portrait sittings. Some of the items are on public display for the first time.

Wilding began taking photographs of members of the Royal Family in the 1920s. In May 1937, she became the first official female royal photographer when she was appointed to take the portraits at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

Ten years later, in July 1947, Wilding was called upon to capture the official engagement portraits for Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, and in February 1952 she was commissioned to take the first official photographs of the new Queen Elizabeth, just 20 days after the Accession.

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The series of photographs that Wilding took during two sessions in 1952 have become some of the most enduring images of Queen Elizabeth II and many have formed the basis for the profiles and silhouettes that we see on stamps and coins to this day.

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Among the amazing jewelry items on display is a sapphire and diamond Cartier bracelet, which was given to Elizabeth by her father, King George VI, on her 18th birthday in 1944.

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Another birthday gift was the South Africa necklace, given to Princess Elizabeth for her 21st birthday by the Government and Union of South Africa. The necklace originally consisted of 21 brilliant-cut diamonds, but in 1952 it was shortened. The six removed stones were made into a matching bracelet, which is also be on display.

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One of Her Majesty’s most recognizable jewels is The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara. The diamond tiara was a gift to the future Queen Mary, on the occasion of her marriage to the future King George V in 1893.

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Queen Mary, in turn, gave the tiara as a wedding present to her granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth, in November 1947, along with the Dorset Bow Brooch and a pair of diamond bangles. The bangles, which are on display for the first time, are thought to have been made in India, where traditionally one would be worn on each wrist to signify matrimony.

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Another wedding gift was the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace. The Nizam (ruler) of Hyderabad had instructed Cartier in London to allow Princess Elizabeth to select a wedding gift herself. This platinum necklace set with approximately 300 diamonds was what she chose. The Queen wore the necklace for her second sitting with Dorothy Wilding in April 1952, and it was these photographs that were chosen to form the basis of Her Majesty’s image on postage stamps from 1953 until 1971.

According to The Royal Collection Trust, the second sitting was coordinated so that additional portraits could be taken of The Queen wearing a coronet, as this was deemed to be more appropriate for official use on coins and postage stamps.

A crown could not be worn because the official Coronation was not to take place until June 2, 1953, so the Diamond Diadem (top photo) was selected. Originally created for George IV’s extravagant coronation in 1821 and set with 1,333 brilliant-cut diamonds, the Diamond Diadem was worn by The Queen on the day of her Coronation and has been worn by Her Majesty on her journey to and from the State Opening of Parliament since the first year of her reign.

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The Queen’s final sitting with Dorothy Wilding took place in May 1956, shortly before Wilding retired. The Queen is shown wearing the Vladimir Tiara, which was made for Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia around 1874 and sold by her daughter to Queen Mary in 1921.

Inherited by The Queen in 1953, the tiara is unusual in that it can be worn in a variety of ways, as its pendant emeralds can be removed or substituted for pearls.

“The Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession” runs through October 2, 2022.

Credits: Images courtesy of Royal Collection Trust / © All Rights Reserved.