Domino’s in the UK Just Gave Away a 22K Pizza-Slice Engagement Ring Topped with Diamond Pepperoni

Domino’s in the UK just celebrated Valentine’s Day by giving away a one-of-kind, 22-karat pizza-slice engagement ring topped with diamond pepperoni.

pizzaring3

The fast-food chain delivered nearly a half-million pizzas throughout the UK yesterday, and the company was certain that a significant portion of those dining in would be proposing to their significant others on the most romantic day of the year. Domino’s own study revealed that 72% of Brits were planning to eat in on Valentine’s Day, with 6% of men planning to pop the question during the meal.

pizzaring1

The unusual ring was introduced on Domino’s Facebook page under the title “DOUGH-MANTIC ANNOUNCEMENT.”

The company posted a series of pizza-ring photos along with this teaser: “Fancy popping the BIG question to your pizza lover while you #ValenDineIn this year? Comment below for your chance to win our one-off, unique pizza engagement ring. Probably the most taste-ful way to seal the deal, ever!”

Contestants were required to comment on the post between noon and 10 p.m. on February 13. The company promised to pick a winner and deliver the engagement ring on Valentine’s Day.

pizzaring2

The yellow gold ring is designed to look like a lifelike slice of pizza topped with four round diamonds that are made to appear as if they are pepperoni slices.

Domino’s did not reveal the individual diamond sizes nor their quality characteristics. Still, this item was a must-have for the 500-plus participants who left clever comments on the Domino’s Facebook post. Here’s a sampling of what they wrote…

Penned Kate Smith, “My fella has just proposed to me, but this would be a true symbol of our love. Our first Valentine’s Day was actually spent with a Domino’s pizza and watching football on TV nearly five years ago now. This would be the topping on the pizza if I had this ring.”

Added Shannon Wilmot, “I just showed my husband this ring and his response was “WHY ARE WE MARRIED ALREADY!?” When I then explained [the contest is] open to everyone, he told me I had to enter. I think he’d probably end up wearing it more than me or we could share if it fit both of us.”

Founded in 1960, Domino’s Pizza has 11,000 stores in 75 countries. The company employs 260,000 and generates annual sales of $2.2 billion. That’s a lot of pizza.

Credits: Photos courtesy of Domino’s.

Advertisements

‘Ring Melt’ Ceremony Reaffirms Bond Between West Point’s Newest Cadets and Their Esteemed Predecessors

On February 27, cadets from West Point’s Class of 2018 will honor the families of U.S. Military Academy graduates dating back to 1924 as part of a symbolic and solemn ceremony called the “Ring Melt.”

ringmelt1

During the event at Pease & Curren’s headquarters in Warwick, R.I., the donated class rings of 41 West Point graduates — many of whom have passed away — will be dropped in a crucible along with a “legacy sample” of gold from the 410 previously donated rings.

ringmelt3

The resulting ingot will be merged with new gold to create the class rings for the current cadets, symbolically and physically reaffirming the bond between the West Point Class of 2018 and the Long Gray Line of West Point graduates. The U.S. Military Academy was founded in 1802, and the legacy sample contains precious metal from rings spanning the classes of 1896 to 1997.

ringmelt2

This is the 17th consecutive year that cadets have been invited to the Pease & Curren refinery to witness the Ring Melt.

ringmelt4

Many of the families of the donors will be on hand to present the rings for melting. Before the rings are melted, each one will be displayed along with a bio of the donor. Then, one by one, the names of all 41 donors will be read aloud and a member of the donor’s family will take the ring and place it in the crucible. The rings are then melted in a furnace and the liquid metal is poured into the form, creating an ingot.

ringmelt6

The cleaned and cooled ingot is then passed around from cadet to cadet, further demonstrating continuity of the current class with the ones that came before it.

Pease & Curren reports that one of the rings donated this year belonged to Lt. Gen. James M. Gavin, Class of 1929. Nicknamed “Jumpin’ Jim,” Gavin was the third Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II and was the only American general officer to make four combat jumps in the war.

Another ring in the melt was donated by Thomas H. Paprocki, USMA Class of 1954. Paprocki’s granddaughter, Cadet Amy Johnston, is a member of the Class of 2018.

The Ring Melt was conceived by retired Lt. Col. Ron Turner, Class of 1958. He proposed that donations of class rings would be collected from West Point alumni and their descendants.

“We all were proud to receive our ring, the symbol of membership in the Long Gray Line,” Turner wrote. “Perhaps we would have been even prouder had our new class rings included traces of the gold from rings of past graduates — some of whom served many years before we, our parents, or even our grandparents were born.”

West Point is credited with originating the concept of the class ring in 1835, as West Point became the first American university to honor its senior class with a treasured keepsake of gold.

Credits: Cadets class ring photo via Flickr by John Pellino/USMA DPTMS VI Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0; Screen captures via YouTube.com.

Showing Your Love by Literally ‘Giving Her the Moon’ May Be a Reality Sooner Than You Think

Moon Express, a private company charged with unlocking the immense potential of the moon’s valuable resources, has gotten approval from the U.S. government to begin lunar exploration before the end of this year. The company will be looking to mine gold, platinum, moon rocks and other materials with an estimated potential value of $16 quadrillion. (One thousand trillion is a quadrillion.)

moon3

Before long, it’s conceivable that the center stone of your engagement ring could be a moon rock instead of a diamond and that the precious metal used for that ring may have originated on the lunar surface.

moon2

Moon Express co-founder and chairman Naveen Jain sees it this way: “Today, people look at diamonds as this rare thing on Earth,” he said. “Imagine telling someone you love her by giving her the moon.”

Jain expressed two major goals of moon exploration. On one hand, he recognizes the huge commercial upside, and on the other, he sees the settlement of the Moon as a way to ensure the continuation of the human race in the event of a cataclysmic disaster on Earth.

moon1

“In the immediate future, we envision bringing precious resources, metals and Moon rocks back to Earth,” the billionaire entrepreneur noted. “The sky is not the limit for Moon Express — it is the launchpad. This breakthrough ruling is another giant leap for humanity. Space travel is our only path forward to ensure our survival and create a limitless future for our children.”

Far from being made from green cheese, the moon is rich in gold, cobalt, iron, palladium, platinum, tungsten and Helium-3, a gas that could be used in fusion reactors, providing nuclear power without radioactive waste.

“We shouldn’t only be mining the Earth,” he said. “We should be thinking of the moon as our eighth continent.”

Getting the green light to explore the moon was no easy task for the Moon Express team. It required in-depth consultations with the FAA, the White House, the State Department, NASA and other federal agencies. The group also had to demonstrate to NASA experts at Kennedy Space Center in Florida how its robotic spacecraft would operate on the moon’s surface. Moon Express is the only private firm to have been granted permission to leave the Earth and land on the moon.

Moon Express, which is based in Cape Canaveral, Fla., is competing for Google’s Lunar XPRIZE, a $20 million award for the first team to put a robotic spacecraft on the moon and deliver data, images and video from the landing site and from 500 meters away. The Moon Express lander is named MX-1 and is about the size of a washing machine.

Within 10 years, Moon Express expects to offer a whole new category of tourism — holidays to the moon. Jain also noted that the moon could act as a fueling station, enabling easier travel for exploration to and from other planets.

“We went to the moon 50 years ago, yet today we have more computing power with our iPhones than the computers that sent men into space,” Jain told CNBC.com. “That type of exponential technological growth is allowing things to happen that [were] never possible before.”

Credits: Renderings courtesy of Moon Express; Screen capture via cnbc.com.

Music Friday: Glen Hansard Wonders If a Little Band of Gold Can Keep Her Love From Going Cold

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Oscar-winning Irish singer-songwriter-actor-musician Glen Hansard wonders if a simple wedding band has the power to save his marriage in the 2015 folk song “Wedding Ring.”

hansard1

Written by Hansard, “Wedding Ring” is about a man who loves his wife but has doubts about her fidelity. He describes her as a “wildcat on the prowl” and fears he may be losing her.

In the catchy refrain, Hansard asks, “Wedding ring, wedding ring / Little band of gold / Will you be strong enough to keep her / Keep her love from going cold?”

“Wedding Ring” appears as the second track of his second studio album Didn’t He Ramble. The 2015 LP scored a nomination for Best Folk Album at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. It also performed well on the charts, rising to #5 on the U.S. Billboard Folk Albums chart and #16 on the U.S. Billboard Top Alternative Albums chart.

Born in Dublin in 1970, Hansard dropped out of school as a 13-year-old and eked out a living as a street performer. At the age of 20, he formed a band called The Frames and later became one half of the folk rock duo The Swell Season.

He showed off is acting chops in The Commitments (1991) and starred in the musical Once (2007). In that role, he performed the lead ballad “Falling Slowly” with co-star Markéta Irglová. The tune netted him an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

According to Allmusic.com, Hansard is an artist who is not afraid to lay bare his soul for his audience to see. Hansard claims his music inspiration comes from three world-class artists.

Says Hansard, “In my house, when I was a kid, there was the holy trinity, which was Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan — with Bob sitting center.”

Please check out the video of Hansard’s live performance of “Wedding Ring.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Wedding Ring”
Written and performed by Glen Hansard.

Where you running to now, baby
Running all the time
Where you running to now, darlin’
Running to all the time
Well, I sure hope it’s to your sister
And not that mean brother of mine

I’ve been trying to reach you, darlin’
I try, I try in vain
I’ve been trying to reach you, darlin’
Though I try, I try in vain
I always end up losing you
And walking home in the rain

Wedding ring, wedding ring
Little band of gold
Wedding ring, wedding ring
Little band of gold
Will you be strong enough to keep her
Keep her love from going cold?

There’s a wildcat in you, woman
A wildcat on the prowl
There’s a wildcat in you, woman
A wildcat on the prowl
Every time I put my arms around you
I can hear that wildcat growl

I remember when I met you
There was something about the moon
I remember the night I met you
There was something about the moon
I don’t know if it was waxing or waning
But I knew that you’d be leaving soon

Wedding ring, wedding ring
Little band of gold
Wedding ring, wedding ring
Little band of gold
Will you be strong enough to keep her
To keep her love from getting old?

Wedding ring, wedding ring
Little band of gold
Wedding ring, wedding ring
Little band of gold
Will you be strong enough to keep her
To keep her love from going cold?

Will you be strong enough to keep her
To keep her love from getting old
Will you be strong enough to keep her
To keep her love from going cold?

Credit: Image capture via YouTube.com.

NRF: Jewelry Overtakes ‘A Night Out’ as Top Valentine’s Day Gift-Giving Category; Consumers Set to Spend $4.3B

Jewelry is expected to be the strongest Valentine’s Day gift-giving category in 2017, with romantic consumers set to spend $4.3 billion on necklaces, rings, earrings, pendants and other jewels for their loved ones.

The survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics shows the jewelry category taking the top slot from 2016’s frontrunner “an evening out,” which is expected to underperform this year at $3.8 billion. One year ago, “an evening out” generated $4.49 billion, narrowly beating out the jewelry category at $4.45 billion.

Jewelry will be the gift of choice for 19% of shoppers, while “an evening out” will be preferred by 37%. Valentine consumers are also expected to spend $2 billion on flowers (to be gifted by 35%), $1.9 billion on clothing (19%), $1.7 billion on candy (50%), $1.4 billion on gift cards/gift certificates (16%) and $1 billion on greeting cards (47%).

The jewelry figure of $4.3 billion reflected a slight softening in consumer’s overall enthusiasm for the day dedicated to Cupid. Overall spending for Valentine’s Day is expected to be $18.2 billion, down from a survey high of $19.7 billion a year ago.

“Valentine’s Day continues to be a popular gift-giving occasion even if consumers are being more frugal this year,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “This is one day of the year when millions find a way to show their loved ones they care regardless of their budget.”

The average consumer is expected to spend $136.57 on Valentine’s Day gifts this year, compared to the $146.84 recorded in 2016. Gift-givers will spend an average of $85.21 on their significant other/spouse, $26.59 on other family members, such as children or parents, $6.56 on children’s classmates/teachers, $6.51 on friends, $4.27 on co-workers, and $4.44 on pets.

Despite the huge numbers expected at retail, statistical evidence reveals that the appeal of Valentine’s Day has been slowly fading over the past decade. Exactly 54% of respondents said they will celebrate on February 14, down from 63.4% in 2007.

The NRF’s 2017 Valentine’s Day spending survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Valentine’s Day. The survey was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The poll of 7,591 consumers was conducted from January 4-11, 2017, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

Image: BigStockPhoto.com

Buckingham Palace Releases a Sapphire Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II to Mark Her Sapphire Anniversary

On Monday, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 65th year on the British throne. Buckingham Palace commemorated the sapphire anniversary by re-releasing a portrait of the 90-year-old Queen bedecked in a suite of glittering sapphire jewelry her father, King George VI, gave her as a wedding day gift nearly 70 years ago.

sapphirequeen1

Snapped by British photographer David Bailey in 2014, the portrait shows Her Royal Highness in a beaded sky blue gown accessorized by an elaborate sapphire necklace and matching earrings. The Royal Family’s official Twitter account posted the portrait with the caption “Today marks 65 years since Her Majesty The Queen acceded to the throne #SapphireJubilee.”

The mid-19th century necklace has 14 stations of large emerald-cut sapphires framed by round diamonds. Separating each cluster is an individual diamond.

The necklace was originally designed with 18 sapphire clusters, but was shortened by four links in 1952, according to the blog titled “From Her Majesty’s Jewel Vault.” Seven years later, the Queen took the largest cluster and had it transformed into a hanging pendant, which doubles as a brooch. Each pendant earring highlights a large teardrop-shaped sapphire surrounded by smaller round diamonds. All the gemstones are set in gold.

The Queen broke the record as the longest-reigning British monarch in September 2015. She had ascended the throne on February 6, 1952, upon the death of her father, King George VI at age 56. The Queen received the sapphire suite in November of 1947, when she wed Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The Prince will be 96 in June.

Bailey’s image of the Queen was originally used to illustrate England’s 2014 “Great” campaign, which promoted the UK as a great place to visit, study and do business.

Credit: Image by David Bailey via Twitter/The Royal Family.

4,990-Carat ‘Fire of Australia’ Opal Valued at $686,000 Illuminates South Australian Museum’s Front Foyer

The Fire of Australia, known as the world’s most valuable piece of rough opal, has taken up permanent residence in the South Australian Museum’s Opal Collection. Valued at $686,000 (AU$900,000), the opal was purchased for AU$500,000 through the generosity of a private donor and AU$455,000 in funding from the Australian government’s National Cultural Heritage Account. The uncut, 4,990-carat opal is now on public display in the front foyer of the Adelaide-based museum.

fireopal1

Nicknamed “The Monster,” the unique gem comes with an equally unique history. In 1946, prospector Walter Bartram was working his dusty terrain at the prolific Eight Mile field in Coober Pedy, South Australia, about 466 miles north of Adelaide, when he staked a claim to what became known as the Fire of Australia.

“At the end of the war all of the sons and siblings and greater families were all invited to come and join in this prolific field, which was absolutely exceptional and not very deep so they could do it with hand mining,” said Alan Bartram, Walter’s son. “Everybody that was there was successful, some to a huge extent.”

fireopal3

The brilliant, 998-gram (2.2 pound) opal has been in Bertram’s family for more than 60 years. According to the BBC, the opal has mostly been kept in a safe deposit box since being unearthed with a pick and shovel more than 70 years ago.

“After loaning the Fire of Australia to the Museum for its Opals exhibition, we made the decision to place this family heirloom in its safe hands,” said Bartram. “It seems fitting that it should be passed onto the people of South Australia to enjoy.”

fireopal2

Though still in its rough condition, two faces of the Fire of Australia have been polished, revealing the rare gem’s exceptional quality. Its kaleidoscope of colors transition from deep green to bright yellow to dark red, depending on the viewing angle.

“The Fire of Australia is the largest piece of high-quality light opal rough in existence,” Collection Manager Ben McHenry McHenry said. “Ordinarily, it would have been cut up for the jewelry trade. Keeping it in its current form gives the museum the opportunity to display to its visitors just how magnificent opal in the rough can be.”

Museum Director Brian Oldman also praised the rare and unique quality of the stone.

“Opal of this quality can only be created under certain climate conditions,” Oldman told ABC. “When our state’s inland sea evaporated millions of years ago, it provided a unique silica-rich environment for the creation of precious opal. It is these exceptional conditions that created the Fire of Australia.” The opal’s rarity should not be underestimated, he noted.

According to the South Australian Museum, opals are the most visited exhibition in the Museum’s history, resulting in donations of $3 million+ in precious opals, including the Fire of Australia.

Bartram remarked to ABC News that while he could have raised a much higher price for the Fire of Australia at international auction, it was important to him that it remained in South Australia. “It is such a piece, so outstanding that it would have been a sheer misery to see it go to another destination and be cut up for watch faces or something like that,” he said.

The mining town of Coober Pedy still draws crowds enticed by the fantasy of striking it rich.

“South Australia supplies about 90% of the world’s quality opals, so there may be more major finds,” Bartram said.

The Museum will proudly display the Fire of Australia opal in its front foyer until February 28, 2017.

Credits: Images courtesy of South Australian Museum.

Music Friday: More Than Three Words and a Diamond Ring, Trisha Yearwood’s Love Is a ‘Powerful Thing’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you uplifting songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Grammy Award winner Trisha Yearwood tells the story of couple ready to take their relationship to the next level in her 1998 country hit, “Powerful Thing.”

yearwood1

Although they started out as “strangers on a two way street” and neither one was looking to fall in love, there’s no denying the amazing chemistry between them. The force of the attraction is beyond their control, stronger than a driving wind and hotter than a forest fire. Yearwood believes it’s time for them to jump right in and get over their fear of falling.

She sings, “It’s a powerful thing / It’s a powerful thing / More than three words / And a diamond ring / It can open up the heavens / Make the angels sing / Our love, baby, is a powerful thing.”

Written by Al Anderson and Sharon Vaughn, “Powerful Thing” was released as the third single from Yearwood’s album Where Your Road Leads. The song ascended to #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks and scored the #1 spot on Canada’s RPM Country Tracks chart. Billboard critic Deborah Evans Price called the song “perky and playful,” pointing to Yearwood’s “incredible voice and tons of personality.”

“Powerful Thing” also appears as the 14th track of the artist’s 2007 album Trisha Yearwood: Greatest Hits.

Patricia Lynn “Trisha” Yearwood was born in 1964 in Monticello, Ga., to a school teacher mom and a banker dad. She got her big break as a 21-year-old when she interned for — and was then hired by — MTM Records, which was founded by the recently departed Mary Tyler Moore. While working for MTM, Yearwood sang background vocals for new artists, including Garth Brooks.

“I got work based on the fact that I showed up on time, I worked cheap, I knew the songs when I got there and I sang on pitch,” Yearwood told People magazine in 2015.

The 52-year-old Yearwood is a member of the Grand Ole Opry and has won three Grammy Awards, three Country Music Association Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards and an American Music Award. She has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.

In 2005, she married Brooks, her longtime friend and collaborator. Brooks admitted on Ellen that there had always been an undeniable chemistry between the pair. It was likely “a powerful thing.”

Please check out Yearwood’s live performance of “Powerful Thing.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Powerful Thing”
Written by Al Anderson and Sharon Vaughn. Performed by Trisha Yearwood.

I’ve never seen two people in my life
More determined to ignore the obvious
We better stop thinking
Let our hearts start doing the talking

You’d have to be stone deaf dumb and blind
Not to see what’s going on with us
So let’s jump in
And get over our fear of fallin’
‘Cause what we got here

Is a powerful thing
It’s a powerful thing
More than three words
And a diamond ring
It can open up the heavens
Make the angels sing
Our love, baby, is a powerful thing

We started out strangers on a two-way street
Neither one of us lookin’ to fall in love
But we don’t need us a map
To know we’re headed in that direction

Well, it’s out of our hands
And over our heads
It’s something that’s bigger than both of us
Turnin’ back now’s completely out of the question
‘Cause what we got here

Is a powerful thing
It’s a powerful thing
More than three words
And a diamond ring
It can open up the heavens
Make the angels sing
Our love, baby, is a powerful thing

Stronger than the force of a driving wind
Hotter than a forest fire
There never has been and there never will be
Nothing like the power of you and me, yeah

It’s a powerful thing
It’s a powerful thing
More than three words
And a diamond ring
It can open up the heavens
Make the angels sing
Our love, baby, is a powerful thing

It’s a powerful thing
It’s a powerful thing
More than three words
And a diamond ring
It can open up the heavens
Make the angels sing
Our love, baby, is a powerful thing

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

German Archaeologists Find a Hoard of 2,600-Year-Old Gold Jewelry in the Tomb of ‘The Lady’

German archaeologists have discovered a hoard of elaborately crafted gold jewelry among other precious items in the 2,600-year-old tomb of a high-ranking Bronze Age woman known as “The Lady.”

burialjewelry2

About 30 years old at the time of her death, the Celtic woman died in 583 B.C. and was buried in a wooden chamber filled with golden brooches, gold strip earrings, bronze and amber jewelry, as well as textiles and furs. The findings are published in the February issue of the journal Antiquity.

burialjewelry1

Archaeologists believe The Lady was likely “a kind of priestess” because other items found with the treasures included a petrified sea urchin and an ammonite. Buried not far from The Lady was a small child that was likely her daughter. The three-year-old girl wore miniature versions of The Lady’s jewelry.

Despite being 2,600 years old, the gold jewelry looks to be in pristine condition and the workmanship is impressive.

Many of The Lady’s jewelry possessions were imported from far-off places. Her bracelets carved of jet probably originated near England and her amber pendant likely came from the Baltic or North Sea. The decorations carved into her gold beads are in the style of the Etruscans, who lived across the Alps in what now is Italy.

burialjewelry3

A group of scientists led by Dirk Krausse, state archaeologist of Baden-Württemberg in Germany, were surprised that the tomb at the site of the ancient hill fort of Heuneburg had not been looted. Heuneburg, which borders the Danube River in what is now southern Germany, covered 250 acres as was considered the first city north of the Alps.

“We were surprised to find the grave goods were still there, even the gold, waiting for us,” Krausse told Live Science.

Credits: Jewelry photos by Yvonne MŸhleis, State Office for Cultural Heritage, Baden-Württemberg, Germany; Heuneburg rendering by Kenny Arne Lang Antonsen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

The Empress of Uruguay Is a Majestic 11-Foot-Tall, 2.5-Ton Example of February’s Birthstone

Standing majestically at nearly 11 feet tall and weighing the same as a Cadillac Escalade, The Empress of Uruguay is billed as the world’s largest amethyst geode.

amethyst1

The exposed interior radiates with tens of thousands of deep purple, gem-quality amethyst crystals and is the top attraction at the Crystal Caves Museum in Atherton, Australia.

Amethyst is the official birthstone for February babies, and there is no example of the gem more impressive than this 5,500-pound geode.

amethyst3

The Empress of Uruguay was discovered in the Artigas region in northern Uruguay, a mining area famous for yielding some of the world’s finest-quality amethysts.

Crystal Caves Museum founders René and Nelleke Boissevain purchased the geode for $75,000 in 2007 and paid an additional $25,000 to transport it to Queensland on Australia’s northeastern coast.

amethyst4

Moving a massive geode 9,100 miles across land and sea was no easy task. The Empress of Uruguay had to be packed into a custom crate at the mine in Uruguay and then secured in a steel container for its sea voyage from Brazil to Brisbane.

Two large cranes were used to place the geode in its current position in the Empress Room at the Crystal Caves Museum.

amethyst2

Visitors are encouraged to touch, feel and take photographs of The Empress of Uruguay. Often they can hardly believe the geode is real and wonder if the seemingly perfect crystals have been enhanced or altered in any way. The answer is that they are completely natural.

The museum’s Q&A page on its official website explains that the original geode traveled to Queensland completely intact. A section of the face was carefully removed to reveal the beautiful crystal structure inside. In addition, the museum staff smoothed some rough exposed edges and added a coat of black paint to the back of the geode, presumably to keep light from coming through.

The museum has reportedly received offers to buy The Empress of Uruguay for as much as 250,000 Australian dollars (about $190,000), but the geode is not for sale.

The Crystal Caves Museum is located just an hour from the Cairns International Airport on the beautiful Atherton Tablelands. The Empress of Uruguay is the largest of a spectacular mineralogical collection that includes more than 600 specimens.

Credits: Images via http://www.crystalcaves.com.au. Map by Googlemaps.com.