Jewelry Judge Blog

Articles in July 2019

July 2nd, 2019
Back in 1961, the Smithsonian received an extraordinary ruby-and-diamond bracelet from an anonymous donor. Fifty-eight years later, The Burmese Ruby Bracelet continues to be a star at the Gem Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History because it contains 31 highly prized pigeon's blood rubies from the Mogok region of Burma (Myanmar). Ruby is July's official birthstone.

Weighing a total of 60 carats, the rubies display a slightly purplish-red color that is medium-dark in tone and enhanced by a red fluorescence. The rubies were taken from another piece of jewelry and reset by Harry Winston, Inc., in 1950.

According to the Smithsonian, the original cuts were retained and the stones were reset in platinum in a three-row design with 107 pear, marquise and round brilliant cut diamonds totaling 27 carats.

Since the late 15th century, Burma, particularly the region around Mogok, has been a vital source for high-quality rubies. Mogok is a city founded more than 800 years ago in the Pyin Oo Lwin District of the Mandalay Region. Mogok and other villages nearby have been famous for their gemstones, especially rubies and sapphires. The mountainous Mogok area, known as the "Valley of Rubies,” is regarded as the original source of pigeon's blood rubies as well as the world's most beautiful royal blue sapphires.

Ruby is a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide). Gemstone-quality corundum in all shades of red are generally called rubies. Corundum is other colors are called sapphires.

The word "ruby" comes from "ruber," Latin for red. Rubies gets their color from the element chromium and boast a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs scale. Only diamonds are rated higher at 10.0.

Legend tells us that rubies were revered as a mystical gem representing love, health and wisdom. It was a long-held belief that wearing a ruby brought good fortune to its owner. The value of a ruby increases based on its color, cut, clarity and carat weight.

While Burma has earned the reputation of producing the finest rubies, the coveted red gems have also been mined in Thailand, Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, India, Namibia, Japan and Scotland. After World War II, ruby deposits were discovered in Madagascar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Tanzania and Vietnam. In the U.S., rubies have been found in Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wyoming.

Credit: Photo by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.
July 3rd, 2019
White Castle, America's first fast-food hamburger chain, is ringing in the summer with a sweepstakes highlighting new value deals on its distinctively shaped Chicken Rings. The Grand Prize is a $5,000 halo-style diamond ring whose key design element — a hollow center — is reminiscent of White Castle's bite-sized crispy chicken treat.

Nine round diamonds encircle the top of the ring in a configuration that could be mistaken for a contemporary halo-style engagement ring, except for the void where the center stone would be. In addition, the halo's side profile is dotted with smaller diamond accents, as is the white metal band.

White Castle's symmetrical Chicken Rings stand apart from its many competitors' "unshapely nuggets."

"Although we've been known as America's slider provider for more than 98 years, our Original Chicken Rings have rung up a significant following with their crispy, dippable flavor," said White Castle VP Jamie Richardson. "We recognize it's time to treat these Chicken Ring lovers by offering a chance at more than a thousand prizes..."

The company, in coordination with Dr. Pepper, will be giving away 100 pairs of limited-edition Chicken Ring Earrings. Other prizes include 200 coupons redeemable for a Crave Case filled with 30 Original Sliders, 400 coupons redeemable for a sack of 10 Original Sliders and 400 limited-edition Chicken Ring Pop Socket grips.

White Castle is accepting entries two ways. The first requires the customer to visit the prize website, fill out a short form and upload a picture of a White Castle receipt that includes the purchase of Chicken Rings and at least one small soft drink. Online entrants will receive a coupon redeemable for one small order of french fries.

There is also a mail-in option that requires no purchase. Click this link for more info.

Formally known as the "Dr Pepper Ring Thing Giveaway," the contest launched on June 27 and runs through August 31. The Grand Prize winner will be drawn randomly on September 12, according to the official rules. Each entrant must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years of age.

A regional hamburger chain with 599 locations in 13 states, the 98-year-old brand earned worldwide attention after the release of the 2004 flick Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.

Credit: Images courtesy of White Castle.
July 5th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Nelly wears his heartbreak on his sleeve in the 2010 blockbuster hit, "Just a Dream." Nelly's true love is gone and he knows he's only got himself to blame. He didn't give her all his love and he failed to offer the ultimate symbol of his devotion.

He sings, "Now you ain't around, baby I can't think / I should have put it down, should have got that ring."

In the song's official video, Nelly is standing on the beach at Playa del Rey, Calif. Floating high above his head — symbolically out of reach — are his dream home, his custom-made Ford Mustang GT and an enormous — yes, we mean enormous — gold wedding band. Later in the dream sequence, all three symbols of his perfect life burst into flames and fall in fragments to the beach below.

Many Nelly fans speculated that the song was actually a commentary on Nelly's breakup with recording artist Ashanti.

In an interview with That Grape Juice, Nelly attempted to set the record straight: "No it's not about Ashanti. It's just a song that I and my man [Rico] came up with. It's a song that's just relatable on all levels – rich, poor, black, white, child, adult – whatever level it is. If [thinking it’s about Ashanti] is what helps people to go out and support it then so be it (giggles)."

"Just a Dream" was released as the lead single from Nelly's 2010 album 5.0. The song zoomed all the way to #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the Canadian Hot 100. It charted in 21 countries and was named the "Top Streaming Song" at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards.

Cornell Iral Haynes Jr., known professionally as Nelly, was born in Austin, Texas, in 1974, and grew up in St. Louis. While in high school, he formed a band called the St. Lunatics. As an independent artist, Nelly blossomed into a world-class rapper, earning Grammy Awards in 2003 and 2004. With 21 million albums sold, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) ranks Nelly #4 on the list of the best-selling rap artists in American music history.

Please check out the official video of Nelly performing "Just a Dream." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Just a Dream"
Written by Mitch J, Nelly, Rico Love, Jim Jonsin and Frank Romano. Performed by Nelly.

I was thinking bout
her, thinkin' bout me
Thinkin' bout us, what we gonna be
Open my eyes yeah,
it was only just a dream
So I traveled back, down that road
Will she'd come back, no one knows
I realize yeah,
it was only just a dream

I was at the top and now it's
like I'm in the basement
Number one spot and now
she's findin a replacement
I swear now I can't take it,
knowing somebody's got my baby
And now you ain't around
baby I can't think
I should've put it down,
should've got the ring
Cause I can still feel it in the air
See her pretty face run my
fingers through her hair
My lover, my life, my sharty, my wife
She left me, I'm tied
Cause I knew that it just ain't right

I was thinking bout
her, thinkin' bout me
Thinkin' bout us, what we gonna be
Open my eyes yeah, it
was only just a dream
So I traveled back, down that road
Will she come back, no one knows
I realize yeah, it was only just a dream

When I be ridin' I swear
I see your face at every turn
Tryna get my Usher on
but I can't let it burn
And I just hopes he knows that
she the only one I yearn for
More and more I miss
her, when will I learn
Didn't give all my love,
I guess now I got my payback
Now I'm in the club
thinking all about my baby
Hey, it's was so easy to love
But wait, I guess that
love wasn't enough
I'm going through it
every time that I'm alone
And now I'm missing, wishing
he'll pick up the phone
But she made the decision
that she wanted to move on
Cause I was wrong

I was thinking bout
her, thinkin' bout me
Thinkin' bout us, what we gonnna be
Open my eyes yeah, it
was only just a dream
So I traveled back, down that road
Will come back, no one knows
I realize yeah, it was only just a dream

If you ever loved somebody
put your hands up
If you ever loved somebody
put your hands up
And now they're gone and you're
wishing you could give them everything
Said if you ever loved
somebody put your hands up
If you ever loved somebody
put your hands up
Now they're gone and you're wishing
you could give them

I was thinking bout
her, thinkin' bout me
Thinkin' bout us, what we gonna be
Open my eyes yeah, it
was only just a dream
So I traveled back, down that road
Will she come back, no one knows
I realize yeah, it was only just a dream

I was thinking bout
her, thinkin' bout me
Thinkin' bout us, what we gonna be
Open my eyes yeah, it
was only just a dream
So I traveled back, down that road
Will she come back, no one knows
I realize yeah, it was only just a dream

Credits: Screen captures via
July 8th, 2019
Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman gave the four million viewers of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert a close-up look at his three championship rings in a light-hearted segment that nearly resulted in the host keeping the one that got hung up on the knuckle of his left middle finger.

The New England Patriots' wide receiver — looking relaxed minus his signature caveman beard — was all set to talk about a brand new Showtime documentary about his life called 100%: Julian Edelman, but of primary interest to Colbert was the bounty of Super Bowl jewelry Edelman had brought along.

"We have a heavy satchel," said Colbert as he revealed a leather bag that had been hidden behind his desk. He gingerly opened the bag, extracted three ginormous diamond-embellished rings and then stood them up vertically so the TV cameras could focus on them.

The largest of the three rings features 422 diamonds weighing 8.25 carats and 20 blue sapphires totaling 1.60 carats. Edelman and the rest of the New England Patriots were awarded their Super Bowl LIII rings last month during a private ceremony at the home of Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The newest rings have the distinction of being the biggest and blingiest ever created for any team of any sport.

Colbert couldn't resist trying on the rings that represent Patriots' victories in Super Bowls XLIX, LI and LIII.

"I could wear these around my neck," the host joked, implying that they were the size of necklaces, not rings.

Running with the same theme, Colbert asked Edelman, "Do you need to go to the gym? Or do you just curl with these on?"

Then Colbert asked the fearless clutch receiver if he had a favorite of the three.

"Yeah, the next one," Edelman said half-jokingly. The Patriots have earned six Super Bowl titles, a record the team shares with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Colbert easily slipped the oversized rings off his right hand, but the one on the middle finger of his left hand wouldn't budge. Colbert pulled it and twisted it, but it wouldn't come off.

"Sorry, it's mine now," the host joked. Eventually, he managed to get it loose.

Colbert's final question about the rings was a simple one.

"Where do you keep them?" asked the host.

"I have a couple of secret stashes. Pretty much like Fort Knox," said Edelman, comparing the amount of security needed to keep his Super Bowl bounty safe to the depository in Kentucky where the bulk of the nation's gold bullion is kept.

The Showtime documentary 100%: Julian Edelman explores how the undersized, underdog receiver overcame a major injury and other setbacks to become a Super Bowl MVP.

Check out the full segment by clicking the video below...

Credits: Screen captures via Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
July 9th, 2019
The world's biggest, heaviest and most valuable coin will make its U.S. debut at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) next Tuesday, July 16.

For only 12 hours — 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — the "1 Tonne Australian Kangaroo" gold coin will be on public display in Experience Square, just outside the NYSE on Broad Street.

Made from 99.99% pure gold, the coin measures 80 cm (31.5 inches) wide and 12 cm (4.5 inches) thick. It weighs one metric ton, which is equivalent to 2,200 pounds or 35,274 ounces. The coin has a face value of $1 million, but at today's gold price, the precious metal alone is worth $49.3 million.

The Perth Mint created the "1 Tonne Australian Kangaroo" in 2011 to bring worldwide attention to its popular annual Australian Kangaroo Gold Bullion Coin Series. A year later, Guinness World Records affirmed its status as the world's largest coin.

The reverse design depicts a bounding red kangaroo surrounded by stylized rays of sunlight. The coin is bordered by the inscription AUSTRALIAN KANGAROO 1 TONNE 9999 GOLD and the year 2012.

The obverse of the coin portrays the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the inscriptions ELIZABETH II, AUSTRALIA and the monetary denomination of 1 MILLION DOLLARS.

The enormous gold coin has rarely left its permanent display at The Perth Mint’s Gold Exhibition in the Land Down Under. It did embark on a promotional tour across Asia and Europe in 2014, and now it is traveling halfway around the world for the one-day New York exhibition.

The Australian coin is 10 times heavier than the previous record-holder, a 100 kg (220 pound) coin designed by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Credits: Images courtesy of The Perth Mint.
July 10th, 2019
NASA is gearing up for a 2022 mission to "Psyche 16," an asteroid containing enough precious metal to make everyone on Earth a billionaire. Located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, Psyche 16's natural resources, which include gold, platinum, iron and nickel, are estimated to be worth $10,000 quadrillion. Written out, that number is $10,000 followed by 15 zeros.

Before you start wondering what you might do with your billion-dollar bounty, consider the fact that NASA's mission to Psyche 16 is strictly scientific. The space agency has no immediate plans to do any mining and the asteroid is way too large to tow back to Earth.

The traditional earth-bound mining community is wondering out loud what would happen to commodity prices if a huge influx of space gold and platinum suddenly hit the market?

It's also hard to imagine how $10,000 quadrillion in new wealth would merge into a world economy that's estimated to be worth a mere $75.5 trillion.

The space agency and its university partners are excited to explore Psyche 16 because it appears to be stripped to its core — a core made of solid metal. Scientists wonder whether Psyche could be the exposed core of an early planet, perhaps the size of Mars, that lost its rocky outer layers due to violent collisions that occurred while the solar system was forming.

Measuring about 140 miles (226 km) in diameter, Psyche 16 is named after the nymph Psyche, who, according to Roman mythology, married Cupid but was put to death by Venus. At Cupid's request, Jupiter — the king of the Gods — made Psyche immortal. The unique metal asteroid was discovered in 1852 by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis.

The space agency is set to launch the Psyche spacecraft in 2022 from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. It will arrive at the asteroid in 2026.

While NASA is not looking to capitalize on the precious metal bounty that Psyche 16 could yield, two space mining companies — Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources — are both looking at smaller, nearby asteroids that could be rich in precious metals.

Credits: Renderings courtesy of SSL/ASU/P. Rubin/NASA/JPL-Caltech.
July 11th, 2019
Back in February, we got our first peek at the 54.21-carat “Mouawad Dragon" — a fiery gemstone billed as the largest round brilliant-cut fancy vivid yellow diamond in the world. At the time, the Dubai-based luxury diamond house known as Mouawad promised to design a piece of jewelry worthy of its stunning headliner.

“We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to craft this extraordinary diamond from the rough," noted Fred Mouawad, Co-Guardian of Mouawad’s Diamond Division. "And we will soon continue the creative process by designing a masterpiece that befits its dazzling beauty.”

On Monday, the luxury diamond house reintroduced the Mouawad Dragon as the centerpiece of a majestic necklace adorned with pear, round and marquise-shaped colorless diamonds. The Mouawad Dragon is framed by a geometric double-row sunburst of colorless diamonds.

The spectacular yellow diamond is part of a four-piece ensemble, which includes a bracelet, earrings, ring and necklace. Called the "Mouawad Dragon Suite," the pieces sparkle with five fancy vivid and deep yellow diamonds totaling more than 153 carats and 432 colorless diamonds totaling more than 272 carats.

The Mouawad Dragon was cut from a rough gem discovered in an alluvial deposit in South Africa. Mouawad’s master cutters painstakingly worked on the stone for more than six months. Their hard work paid off, as the finished piece is now one of the most revered yellow diamonds of all time.

A spokesperson for the luxury jeweler noted the name “Mouawad Dragon” reflects the vibrant color beaming from every facet of the diamond and showcases the power, wisdom and good fortune of the mystical serpent. The yellow color is also reminiscent of a dragon’s magical powers and fiery eye.

How was the Dragon Diamond Suite created? Check out this one-minute video to find out...

Credit: Images courtesy of Mouawad.
July 12th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, rising star Bailey Hefley mends a broken heart and regains her sparkle in the 2019 release, "Dust on a Diamond."

When the song begins, the 27-year-old Little Rock native is looking into a mirror "crying black mascara rain." A failed relationship has her feeling defeated and questioning her self-worth, but then she gathers the strength to fight back and affirm that she was always "good enough." Her former boyfriend's actions can not define her. She's a diamond. He was just the dust that kept her from shining.

She sings, "You’re a diamond / You were trying to shine for a blind man / Wasting all your pretty and your tears on a man who was picking up pennies / With a dime in his hand baby don’t spend any more / Time on tryna figure out whatcha did wrong / I know you thought it was love / But it was lying, that boy was dust / Dust on a diamond."

On her official website, Hefley described the events that led her to co-write "Dust on a Diamond" with Marti Dodson and Linda Greene.

“I went through a really difficult breakup with a guy that I think a lot of girls can relate to,” noted Hefley. “It totally tore me apart. I was in school and I was trying to study and I can remember taking my notebook and just trying to write in the margin little notes to myself. I was so distracted by the fact that I couldn’t move on from this guy. I was so broken and I didn’t believe in myself. I would write little positive notes to myself in the margin and then stand up and go look in the mirror in my bathroom and just cry. As embarrassing as that is, I would just cry and with tears streaming down my face, red eyes, looking in the mirror, saying, ‘You are gonna be okay. You’re good enough. This doesn’t define you.’"

Shortly after going through this emotional trauma, Hefley had a friend who was experiencing a very similar situation. She remembered thinking, "Maybe that’s why God put me through all that pain. I kept wondering why I had to go through it. And then the thought dawned on me that maybe I can help more than just this other girl. Maybe I can write a song about it and help a lot of girls. Maybe I can write the song I wish I had when I was in that place.”

"Dust on a Diamond" is the lead single from Hefley's six-song, soon-to-be-released EP titled Hopeful Romantic.

Her diary-style storytelling was influenced by a childhood marred by debilitating seizures. The powerful medication that kept her alive also left her in a state of perpetual lethargy. As a teenager, she overcame her condition and felt awake for the first time.

"I spent eight years of my life standing back and observing people and watching life from the outside because I was so medicated," Hefley said. "Naturally, I’m a very extroverted person, but during those eight years, I developed a quality of seeing what’s around me. I think it gave me depth and made me a much stronger person."

Hefley's mentor, singer-songwriter Bobby Pinson, helped teach her to channel those experiences into her music.

After studying voice at Nashville’s Belmont University from 2009–2010 and continuing her degree at the University of Arkansas from 2010–2012, Bailey moved to Music City for good in 2012.

Please check out the video of Hefley's acoustic version of "Dust on a Diamond." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

“Dust on a Diamond”
Written by Bailey Hefley, Marti Dodson and Linda Greene. Performed by Bailey Hefley.

All the pretty girls looking in the mirror
Crying black mascara rain
Cause of some pretty boy’s sweet words
That don’t mean anything
Girl you thought you were the only one
Gave your heart up to a hit and run
Now you’re thinking you’re not good enough
But you’re good enough
You were good enough

You’re a diamond
You were trying to shine for a blind man
Wasting all your pretty and your tears on a man who was picking up pennies
With a dime in his hand baby don’t spend any more
Time on tryna figure out whatcha did wrong
I know you thought it was love
But it was lying, that boy was dust
Dust on a diamond

All the broken girls picking up the pieces
From the mess he left you in
Trying to stop your heart from beating so you never fall again
He ain’t gonna be the end of you
He’s just something that you’re going through
One day you’re gonna know that it’s true
That you’re good enough
He wasn’t good enough

You’re a diamond
You were trying to shine for a blind man
Wasting all your pretty and your tears on a man who was picking up pennies
With a dime in his hand baby don’t spend any more
Time on tryna figure out whatcha did wrong
I know you thought it was love
But it was lying, that boy was dust
Dust on a diamond

Get up stand up shake the dust right off your shoulders
Hold head your head up girl you’re better off it’s over (woah)

You’re a diamond
You were trying to shine for a blind man
Wasting all your pretty and your tears on a man who was picking up pennies
With a dime in his hand baby don’t spend any more
Time on tryna figure out whatcha did wrong
I know you thought it was love
But it was lying, that boy was dust
Dust on a diamond

Oh you were dust
Yeah you were
You were

Credit: Screen capture via
July 15th, 2019
Rio Tinto just unveiled six super-rare "hero" diamonds from its 2019 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, an annual presentation of the finest production from the famous Australian mine. The 2019 tender could be the last for Rio Tinto, as the mining company will shutter its flagship Argyle mine in 2020 after 37 years of operation.

The Argyle Enigma™, a 1.75-carat modified radiant-cut Fancy Red diamond, is the most noteworthy of the hero stones because it has the distinction of being one of only three fancy reds weighing more than 1.5 carats to be produced by the Argyle mine.

“Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine is the first and only ongoing source of rare pink diamonds in history," said Rio Tinto Copper & Diamonds chief executive Arnaud Soirat. "With the lifecycle of this extraordinary mine approaching its end, we have seen, and continue to see, unstoppable demand for these truly limited-edition diamonds and strong value appreciation.”

In addition to pink diamonds, the Argyle mine, in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia, is also known for producing red, purple and blue specimens.

The six hero diamonds are part of a larger tender collection titled “The Quest for the Absolute.” It includes 64 diamonds weighing a total of 56.28 carats.

Here's a closeup look at the six hero diamonds...

• Lot 1: Argyle Enigma™, 1.75-carat modified radiant Fancy Red diamond;

• Lot 2: Argyle Amari™, 1.48-carat heart-shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond;

• Lot 3: Argyle Elysian™, 1.20-carat modified cushion-shaped Fancy Vivid Pink diamond;

• Lot 4: Argyle Verity™, 1.37-carat oval-shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond;

• Lot 5: Argyle Opus™, 2.01-carat round-shaped Fancy Intense Pink diamond;

• Lot 6: Argyle Avenoir™, 1.07-carat oval-shaped Fancy Red diamond.

These diamonds, each a natural treasure, are a testament to the enormous range and depth of offering from the Argyle ore body, nearly four decades from when production commenced, noted Soirat.

Soirat also paid tribute to “the bold and innovative spirit of employees, communities, customers, suppliers and all those who have contributed to one of the great diamond mines of the world.”

The 2019 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is being showcased in Perth, Hong Kong and New York, with bids closing on October 9, 2019. Over the past 20 years, the value of Argyle pink diamonds sold at the tender have appreciated 500%, according to Rio Tinto.

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto.
July 16th, 2019
A Japanese cosmetics firm is preserving the memory of deceased pets by turning them into pearls.

The loss of a pet can be overwhelming for bereaved owners, but now the Nagasaki-based WBE company is offering a way to immortalize furry companions in a very unusual way.

For about $4,000, the firm will take a bone fragment from a deceased pet and surgically embed it in an oyster. If all goes well, after one year the bone will be at the core of a cultured pearl — a precious keepsake that could be worn close to the heart.

"If we can soothe the grief of the owners who have lost their pets, we will be glad," WBE head Tomoe Masuda told the Japanese publication Yomiuri Shimbun.

The method for growing a pearl from a bone fragment was developed for WBE by Yoshiki Matsushita, a professor at Nagasaki University's graduate school of fisheries and environmental sciences. He came up with the concept after his 10-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Ran passed away.

According to The Daily Mail, Matsushita discovered that if the bone fragment was encased in a ball of resin it was less likely to be rejected by the oyster.

"Each pearl has its own character, as my dog Ran had his own character," Matsushita told The Daily Mail. "He has become a unique treasure."

The process of producing a conventional cultured pearl starts off with a small white bead made from a Pig Toe clam shell. That bead, along with a piece of mantle tissue from another mollusk, is implanted into an oyster.

The oyster protects itself from the irritant by secreting layer upon layer of iridescent nacre. Over time, the bead transforms into a lustrous cultured pearl, which could be round or baroque, depending on how the nacre is layered.

Credit: Image by Hannes Grobe/AWI [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
July 17th, 2019
Bill Wadel, now retired and living in Spotsylvania County, Va., was spectacularly reunited with his high school class ring — a ring that had been lost at the bottom of a pond for nearly 60 years. "What are the odds?" he said.

When Wadel was a student at Gate of Heaven High School in South Boston, he had purchased a Class of 1960 class ring adorned with a blue stone and a gold crest. Instead of wearing it himself, he chose to give it to his high school sweetheart. Within a short time, the ring had vanished.

“She somehow lost it, but wasn’t sure where,” Wadel told “After that happened, I figured it was gone forever.”

Fast-forward to June 2019 and treasure hunter Luke Berube is trolling a shallow pond about an hour from his home near Cape Cod, Mass. He gets a strong signal on his metal detector and descends 10 feet to the bottom to take a closer look. With the location pinpointed, he pushes his hand about five inches into the muck and pulls out a Gate of Heaven class ring etched with the initials WJW.

During his 13 years of scuba diving, the 29-year-old metal detector enthusiast has located more than 400 items. He's found rare coins, precious jewelry and historical artifacts. He also unearths a lot of junky items, such as old beer cans, pop tops and chunks of metal.

Often, Berube is not able to identify the owner of an item because the jewelry does not provide enough clues. But, in the case of the Gate of Heaven class ring, he had sufficient info to do some sleuthing. Berube soon learned that the Gate of Heaven school in South Boston had closed in 2009, but there was still an active alumni page on Facebook.

On the Gate of Heaven Facebook page, Berube posted three photos of the ring and wrote, "Hello everyone. I'm curious to know if there is anyone on here from the class of 1960 or at least 59-61 who may know of someone from the class with the initials WJW. Saturday morning I was scuba diving with my metal detector and I just happened to come across a class ring with Gate of Heaven on the crest with WJW as the inscription. If you happen to know who this may be, please reach out to me through FB or by phone."

According to, the Facebook strategy worked exactly as planned. Within hours, Berube received a text message from Christine Wadel of North Attleboro, Mass. The daughter of Bill confirmed that her dad was, indeed, a 1960 Gate of Heaven graduate. The WJW initials were his: William Joseph Wadel.

“It’s unbelievable to think that my old ring was sitting in a pond for six decades and Luke found it,” Wadel told “What are the odds?”

Christine placed the class ring in a decorative box and presented it to her dad. He sported an ear-to-ear grin as he tried it on for the first time in 60 years. It barely fit on his pinky.

Then Bill brought the story full circle by giving the ring to his current sweetheart, Pam, his wife of nearly 50 years.

“I looked at my wife and said, ‘You want it?’ and she put it on her pinkie finger,” he said.

"Every ring has a story attached to it,” Berube said. “The truth is, I just enjoy looking for them."

Berube is a member of The Ring Finders, a group of metal-detector enthusiasts located throughout the U.S. and Canada. To date, the group that prides itself on reuniting precious keepsakes with their rightful owners has claimed 5,543 recoveries valued at $7.5 million.

Credit: Image by Luke Berube.