If Patriots Capture Their Sixth Super Bowl on Sunday, Expect the Championship Rings to Be Huge

If quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots win their sixth Super Bowl this Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., expect their championship rings to be the biggest ever — and we mean BIG.

The National Football League, you see, maintains an unwritten rule that allows teams with multiple Super Bowl victories to design the most extravagant rings. The more Vince Lombardi Trophies, the bigger the ring.

In June 2017, the Patriots commemorated their fifth championship and greatest comeback in Super Bowl history with monumental rings gleaming with 283 diamonds weighing 5.1 carats.

At the time, team owner Robert Kraft said, “It was a historic comeback win and the players deserve to have a ring that represents that accomplishment. So, we created the biggest Super Bowl ring ever made.”

The 283 diamonds were a nod to the score of 28-3, the seemingly unsurmountable deficit the Patriots faced before going on to tally 31 unanswered points in their triumph over the Atlanta Falcons.

Ring manufacturer Jostens didn’t officially announce the gram weight of the 2017 nor the 2015 Super Bowl rings, but they were much larger than the Patriots’ 2004 rings, which reportedly weighed 110 grams (just under one-quarter pound).

Jostens documented the evolution of the Patriots’ championship rings in this amazing photo.

If the Philadelphia Eagles prevail on Sunday, it will be their first Super Bowl victory. We expect their championship rings will be similar in size to the one earned by the first-time Lombardi Trophy winner Seattle Seahawks in 2014. Those rings weighed in at a modest 56 grams, one of the smallest in recent Super Bowl history.

The NFL typically awards 150 rings to the Super Bowl victor and allocates approximately $7,000 per ring — although teams with multiple Super Bowl victories are allotted a higher budget for diamonds. Teams often create “B” and “C” level rings — designs with faux diamonds or fewer diamonds — for distribution to the front office staff. The rings are usually presented to the players some time in June.

The cost of the Patriots’ rings have far exceeded the norm. In 2015, Business Insider reported that the Patriots’ Super Bowl 49 rings were worth $36,500 apiece.

If the favored Patriots win Super Bowl 52, they will tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl victories at six. The Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers each have won five.

Credits: Images by Jostens via patriots.com.

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Los Angeles Man Is Reunited With Heirloom Engagement Ring in an Unlikely Twist of Fate

A Los Angeles man is thanking an honest neighbor, a road not taken and divine intervention for the return of an heirloom engagement ring that went missing during a crosstown move. In the span of just two hours, Nico Bellamy’s emotions would run the gamut from sheer desperation to unbridled elation.

First, a little background on Bellamy, his girlfriend, Caitie Schlisserman, and the ring.

For three years, Bellamy was the custodian of a very special piece of jewelry that had been entrusted to him by Catie’s dad, Stuart. It was the diamond engagement ring once worn and cherished by Catie’s grandmother. The ring, which features a large round center stone and tapered baguette side stones, would remain in a safe deposit box at the bank until Bellamy was ready to pop the question.

This past summer, as the couple prepared to move into a new home together, Bellamy realized that the engagement was imminent and pulled the ring from the safe deposit box. He put the ring in a plastic bag and then in a box. The box would travel to the new home across town in Bellamy’s backpack.

The backpack ended up on the floor in the living room and there it remained — forgotten for about a week.

Then, with Catie’s dad set to arrive at the local airport, Bellamy went to check on the ring. To his horror, the backpack was unzipped and the ring was gone. Bellamy suspected that someone from the moving company may have taken it.

Bellamy got a sick feeling in his stomach and wasn’t sure how he was going to tell Catie’s dad the bad news. Catie could sense that something was wrong, but Bellamy couldn’t tell her. To make matters worse, Catie’s grandmother had passed away only nine months earlier.

Bellamy feared the worse. Although he had a great relationship with Stuart, he wasn’t sure how the dad would react.

“To his credit, he’s a very, very kind person, but I’ve never been in a situation like this,” Bellamy told People magazine. “So I took my glasses off in case I was going to get hit! I was panicking.”

The level-headed dad told Bellamy that they’d “figure it out.”

Driving back to the new home with Stuart and Catie in the car, Bellamy decided to beat the traffic by taking a new route. By chance, as they entered the neighborhood via this “road not taken,” Stuart spotted a sign posted to a tree that read, “Engagement Ring Found.”

Once they arrived at the house, Bellamy made an excuse to rush back out, saying he had to walk the dog. Actually, he zoomed back to the sign. He contacted the family that posted the sign and described the ring he had lost. It was a perfect match.

Bellamy had his ring back within an hour. Apparently, the family had found the ring box in a nearby alleyway— close to where the moving trucks were a week earlier. Bellamy believes the movers took the box, but threw it away when they failed to notice that the crumpled plastic within it was hiding a priceless keepsake.

“I didn’t even know the ring was missing until that morning,” Bellamy told People. “This all happened in the span of like two hours. I found out the ring had been stolen, I drove to pick up her dad and told him about it. The movers had to have seen it and thrown it away. Then my neighbors found it and almost threw it away, and then kept it. Then they put up this one sign, and it was the only sign they put up, on a street that I never go on.”

Bellamy proposed to Catie on New Year’s Eve using Catie’s grandmother’s ring. At that time, he was finally able to tell her of the crazy twist of fate that returned the ring to their family.

The couple wonders if the happy ending was the work of her grandmother helping the family out.

Credit: Images courtesy of Nico Bellamy.

UK Airport’s ‘Secret Code’ Allows You to Slip a Surprise Engagement Ring Through Security

What could be more disheartening than having a surprise marriage proposal scuttled by airport security during a routine bag search? Acting on this problem, a romance-minded airport in the UK has devised a special way for a suitor to slip the ring through security without alerting his soon-to-be fiancée.

“It would put a big damper on someone’s meticulously planned romantic trip if their big surprise was revealed even before they’ve boarded the plane,” noted East Midlands Airport’s head of security, Matthew Quinney. “Arguably, there are more romantic places to be proposed to than in our security hall.”

Out of courtesy to those who have been planning this moment for weeks or months, the airport has put in measures to ensure its security procedures are not the cause of a failed marriage proposal.

During the week of February 12 — to align with romantic Valentine’s Day getaways — the East Midlands Airport will offer up a “secret code” to those who plan to pop the question during their trip. Valentine’s Day is the second-most-popular day of the year to get engaged, according to WeddingWire.com. Christmas Day ranks first.

To obtain the code, the suitor simply emails a request to love@eastmidlandsairport.com or sends a direct message via Twitter to @EMA_Airport. The suitor then receives a secret code that he will reveal to security staff at the airport. That code will alert the staff to divert the ring carrier to a separate lane from his partner, so that his bag search remains away from her view.

The airport has been promoting its innovative “secret code” via Facebook and Twitter. It is also encouraging social sharing using the hashtag #LoveIsInTheAirport.

East Midlands Airport, which is located in Leicestershire about 120 miles north of London, expects to handle 60,000 passengers during Valentine’s Day week. The airport serves a number of romantic destinations, including Dublin, Belfast, Brussels, Malaga, Amsterdam and Gran Canaria.

It’s still not clear if other international airports will take East Midlands’ lead and offer their own “secret codes” during the year’s most romantic travel periods.

Credits: Engagement ring image via Twitter.com/EMA_Airport. CC0 Creative Commons. Airport security screen capture via TSA.gov.

Music Friday: Neil Diamond Retires Due to Parkinson’s Diagnosis; Ride Has Been ‘So Good, So Good, So Good’

Welcome to Music Friday when we normally bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today we bend the rules just a bit to pay tribute to the incomparable Neil Diamond, who was forced to cancel the third leg of his year-long, worldwide golden anniversary tour due to a Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Diamond made the announcement on Monday, just two days short of his 77th birthday.

“It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring,” said the Brooklyn native. “I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My thanks go out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”

Diamond’s “so good” comment is a nod to his timeless 1969 hit, “Sweet Caroline,” a song that has been woven into the fabric of American culture. Played at sporting events from coast to coast, when Diamond sings the line, “Good times never seemed so good,” the crowd chants back, “So good, so good, so good.”

Originally believed to be an ode to Caroline Kennedy, the then-11-year-old daughter of late President John F. Kennedy, “Sweet Caroline” was actually written for Diamond’s second wife, Marcia.

Diamond revealed the truth during a 2014 appearance on the Today show.

“I was writing a song in Memphis, Tenn., for a session. I needed a three-syllable name,” Diamond said. “The song was about my wife at the time — her name was Marcia — and I couldn’t get a ‘Marcia’ rhyme.”

The song was released in the summer of 1969 and zoomed to #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Over the course of his 56-year career as a singer-songwriter-musician, Diamond has sold more than 130 million albums worldwide and placed 38 singles in the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. None has been more enduring than “Sweet Caroline.” The song has been covered by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Roy Orbison, Julio Iglesias and many more.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Diamond was a member of Erasmus Hall High School’s Chorus and Choral Club along with close friend Barbara Streisand. Diamond got his first inspiration to write his own songs when folk singer Pete Seeger visited a summer camp he was attending as a teenager.

“And the next thing, I got a guitar when we got back to Brooklyn, started to take lessons and almost immediately began to write songs,” he told Rolling Stone.

Just 10 credits short of an undergraduate degree from New York University, Diamond dropped out of college to take a 16-week assignment writing songs for Sunbeam Music Publishing. The job paid $50 per week. Later in his career, he would joke, “If this darn songwriting thing hadn’t come up, I would have been a doctor now.”

Please check out the rare video of a 33-year-old Diamond singing “Sweet Caroline” on the Shirley Bassey Show in 1974. The lyrics are below, but you probably already know the words…

“Sweet Caroline”
Written and performed by Neil Diamond.

Where it began, I can’t begin to knowing
But then I know it’s growing strong
Was in the spring
Then spring became the summer
Who’d have believed you’d come along

Hands, touching hands
Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I’d be inclined
To believe they never would
But now I

Look at the night and it don’t seem so lonely
We filled it up with only two
And when I hurt
Hurting runs off my shoulders
How can I hurt when I’m holding you

One, touching one
Reaching out, touching me, touching you

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
I’d be inclined
To believe they never would
Oh no, no

Sweet Caroline
Good times never seemed so good
Sweet Caroline
I believe they never could

Sweet Caroline

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Gem-Related Baby Names Symbolize Peace, Passion, Power and Much, Much More

In 2016, the most popular baby names in the U.S. were Emma, Olivia and Ava for girls, and Noah, Liam and William for boys. With traditional names making a comeback, expectant parents may consider taking a closer look at the symbolic and beautiful baby girl names associated with precious stones.

At the beginning of the 20th century, it was not unusual for a one-room schoolhouse to be filled with young ladies named Pearl, Opal, Coral and Beryl. Parents believed that children named for precious stones might assume the gems’ mystical attributes.

Now, more than 100 years later, seven gem-inspired names are ranked in the Social Security Administration’s official list of the Top 1000 Baby Names.

Here’s a countdown of the top names, along with their symbolic meaning and comparative rankings from the year 2000. Incidentally, the name Diamond dropped off the Top 1000 list in 2016 after ranking 162 only six years earlier.

• Pearl and Perla. Said to symbolize the purity, generosity, integrity and loyalty of its wearer, Pearl (or Perla in Spanish) was one of the top girl’s names in 1880. It slowly faded from favor over the next 100 years, but resurfaced recently. Pearl ranked #567 in 2016 and its Spanish variant, Perla, ranked #701. Actress/comedian Maya Rudolph named her daughter Pearl Minnie Anderson in 2005.

• Esmeralda. The Spanish word for emerald, Esmeralda ranked #377 in 2016, down from #195 in 2000. The name Emerald made a brief appearance on the Top 1000 list from 2000 (#966) to 2002 (#995) before falling off in 2003. Emerald symbolizes growth, reflection, peace and balance. Actor Ryan Gosling’s daughter is named Esmeralda.

• Jade and Jada. This deep green gemstone, which is revered in the Orient for its mystical and healing properties, arrived on the U.S. top names chart in 1980 and has been in the Top 200 since 1992. In 2016, it ranked #117, down a tick from #116 in 2000. Jada, a slight variation of the name, was also highly ranked at #397 in 2016. TV chef Giada De Laurentiis named her daughter Jade in 2008. Giada happens to be the Italian word for Jade.

• Amber. This beautiful deep yellow gemstone is made from fossilized tree resin. It was also a marginally popular girl’s name in the late 1800s (ranking between 800 and 1000). The name Amber zoomed to the very top of the list in 1980 and has steadily slid down the list over the past 37 years. Amber ranked #375 in 2016, down from #47 in 2000. Actresses Amber Heard and Amber Rose share this gem’s name.

And our top-rated gem name is…

• Ruby. Fiery and captivating, the rich red ruby is known as the stone of nobility and is considered a symbol of passion and power. For the past 137 years, the name Ruby has never placed lower than #400. It was near the top of the list in 1910, reached its low point in 1980 and has been making a rapid ascent ever since. Rated #258 in 2000, Ruby zoomed to #71 in 2016. Ruby Stewart is the daughter of rocker Rod Stewart and model Kelly Emberg.

Credits: Baby by BigstockPhoto.com. Pearls by By Hannes Grobe/AWI (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Emeralds by By Paweł Maliszczak [hardleo.com] (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Jade by Manfredwinslow (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Amber by Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Carmen Lucia Ruby courtesy of Smithsonian/Chip Clark.

Princess Eugenie’s Engagement Announcement Sparks the Question, ‘What’s a Padparadscha?’

Princess Eugenie’s official engagement announcement on Monday has the world asking, “What’s a padparadscha?”

You see, the 27-year-old granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II received an oval padparadscha engagement ring from her long-time boyfriend Jack Brooksbank. In the official photos released by Buckingham Palace and during a subsequent interview with the BBC, Eugenie proudly showed off her beautiful — but unusual — orange/pink stone. In an instant, the padparadscha had spawned its own storyline.

In the BBC interview, Brooksbank, 31, waxed poetic about the gem.

“What’s amazing about it and why I love it so much is that it changes color from every different angle that you look at it,” he said. “And that’s what I think of Eugenie. That she changes color.”

Eugenie’s oval padparadscha is surrounded by a halo of white diamonds and is set in yellow gold. The engagement ring design is strikingly similar to that of her mother, Sarah, Duchess of York, whose ruby center stone complemented her red hair.

Called “a true Rembrandt among gemstones,” natural padparadscha is one of the rarest and most valuable varieties of sapphire.

Unlike its blue brethren, padparadscha boasts a salmon color reminiscent of the most delicate orange/pink sunset. The gem’s name is derived from “padma raga,” which literally means “the color of the lotus flower” in Sanskrit.

Padparadscha belongs to the corundum family of gemstones, which includes rubies and sapphires. The presence of trace elements determines the color of each gemstone. While blue sapphires are naturally colored with iron and rubies with chromium, padparadschas are colored by the presence of both. The delicate interplay of pink and orange hues make this gem one of nature’s greatest marvels.

An excellent example of this strikingly beautiful gemstone hit the auction block at Christie’s Hong Kong in May of 2013. The oval padparadscha weighed 73.98 carats and was framed with brilliant-cut diamonds mounted in 18-karat rose gold. The ring carried a pre-sale high estimate of $1.55 million.

Princess Eugenie and Brooksbank are expected to get married later this year and the Queen is reportedly delighted.

Credits: Interview screen captures via YouTube.com/The Royal Family Channel; Auction ring photo courtesy of Christie’s.

Farmer’s Lost Wedding Ring Recovered on Dirt Road 45 Years Later

A Saskatchewan man was reunited with his long-lost wedding ring after it flew off his finger while driving down a dirt road in a small farming community in the early 1970s.

Bill Wilson blamed the loss on a spunky grasshopper that had leaped into the farmer’s work truck and landed on his chest. Wilson quickly reacted by capturing the small creature and flipping it out the window, along with his gold wedding band. He realized it was gone shortly after, but he was hauling a full load and could not turn back.

“We looked off and on for years, even bringing in a metal detector on several occasions. Every time I drove by there, I drove with my head out the window,” Wilson said. He noted that if the ring landed on cultivated soil, it would be like “finding a needle in a haystack.”

More than four decades later, neighbor Carlee Goodwin was taking a walk along the very same dirt road. It had rained the day before and the bright afternoon sun reflected on something shiny that caught her eye.

“I was thinking it was a piece of metal off a tractor, but soon realized it was a ring and dug it out,” Goodwin told CTV Regina. She tried it on and noticed it was styled for a man. She wondered how and when it got there. She also wondered about the owner.

“A ring isn’t something you just throw out the window,” Goodwin told CTV Regina.

Intrigued, Goodwin called her grandmother, who suggested that the owner might be impossible to find. After all, the only building on the desolate road was a school that had been closed for nearly five decades.

Ironically, Wilson ran into Goodwin’s grandmother at a local auction. She mentioned the ring while making small talk and asked him if he knew anyone who had lost a ring in the area. Stunned, Wilson immediately said yes, noting the design and what was engraved on the inside.

The woman’s mouth dropped open and her eyes widened, Wilson said. “I wish I had a picture of her face.”

Goodwin told CBC/Radio-Canada that it was surreal to find a long-lost ring, and then locate the owner.

“I didn’t think I would find the owner. I was blown away,” she said. “It’s almost like the ring wanted to be found.”

After getting the ring back, the couple stared at it in awe. The ring was missing for 45 of their 51-year marriage. In fact, most of his children have never even seen the ring.

“I was very surprised and very grateful,” Wilson said.

Interestingly, Wilson had never purchased a replacement ring. “It’s a little worse for wear, but back on my finger,” he said.

Right where it belongs.

Credits: Screen captures via CTVNews.ca.

Music Friday: Shirley Bassey Nearly Passed Out Holding the Climactic Final Note of ‘Goldfinger’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you classic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we tell the story of how Dame Shirley Bassey nearly passed out while holding the climactic final note to “Goldfinger,” the title song of the 1964 James Bond thriller.

Often cited as the best film of the Bond franchise, Goldfinger borrows its name from Auric Goldfinger, a movie villain with a penchant for gilding his victims. In the theme song, which was used for the opening and closing credits, Bassey describes the man with the Midas touch.

She sings, “Golden words he will pour in your ear / But his lies can’t disguise what you fear / For a golden girl knows when he’s kissed her / It’s the kiss of death from / Mister Goldfinger / Pretty girl beware of this heart of gold / This heart is cold.”

Written by John Barry, Leslie Bricuss and Anthony Newley, “Goldfinger” presented a challenging recording session for the then-27-year-old Bassey. Repeated takes due to musicians’ or technical issues forced the session to extend throughout the night. Bassey remembered how composer Barry demanded that the dramatic final note of the song be held for an extended count — seven seconds to be exact.

“I was holding it and holding it,” Bassey said. “I was looking at John Barry and I was going blue in the face, and he’s going, ‘Hold it just one more second.’ When it finished, I nearly passed out.”

“Goldfinger” was an instant global phenomenon — at the record stores and on the big screen. The single netted Bassey her only Top-10 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song peaked at #8 and charted in seven countries. The movie had a production budget of $3 million and grossed $125 million at the box office.

Bassey’s remarkable rendition of “Goldfinger” has stood the test of time. In 2008, the single was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and in 2013, a 76-year-old Bassey was asked to perform the song during the 2013 Academy Awards as part of a tribute to the James Bond franchise’s 50th anniversary.

A native of Cardiff, Wales, Bassey went on to record the theme songs for two other James Bond films, including Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Moonraker (1979). In 2000, she become a Dame in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. She was honored for her services to the performing arts.

Please check out the video of Bassey’s live performance of “Goldfinger” at the Royal Albert Hall in 1974. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Goldfinger”
Written by John Barry, Leslie Bricuss and Anthony Newley. Performed by Shirley Bassey.

Goldfinger
He’s the man, the man with the Midas touch
A spider’s touch
Such a cold finger
Beckons you to enter his web of sin
But don’t go in

Golden words he will pour in your ear
But his lies can’t disguise what you fear
For a golden girl knows when he’s kissed her
It’s the kiss of death from

Mister Goldfinger
Pretty girl beware of this heart of gold
This heart is cold

Golden words he will pour in your ear
But his lies can’t disguise what you fear
For a golden girl knows when he’s kissed her
It’s the kiss of death from

Mister Goldfinger
Pretty girl beware of this heart of gold
This heart is cold

He loves only gold
Only gold
He loves gold
He loves only gold
Only gold
He loves gold

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

$300,000 Diamond and Sapphire Pumps Entice the Well ‘Heeled’ Women of Dubai

A new collection of gem-spangled footwear has the well “heeled” women of Dubai — and the world over — buzzing with excitement.

Inspired by iconic royal women, from Cleopatra to Princess Diana, the collection by UAE-based luxury brand Jada Dubai is headlined by a one-of-a-kind pump adorned with 54 carats of brilliant-cut white diamonds and 416 carats of rose-cut white sapphires set in platinum and 19-karat gold. They’re simply called “Jada Shoes.”

Only one pair is available worldwide and it carries a price tag of 1.1 million dirhams, or just under $300,000. Jada Dubai co-founder Majari Maria told GulfNews.com that the pair took one year to produce and demanded the collaboration of precious stone specialists from three countries.

“Jada Shoes” were designed to honor Jada, the Princess of the Desert. According to the legendary love story, a prince fell in love with Jada, whose captivating eyes were as green as jade, but, alas, she was just a beautiful mirage.

Jada Dubai claims that its shoes are the first in the world with both the insole and outsole covered in gold and platinum.

Other shoes in the “The Imperative of Royalty” collection are named for Diana (Princess of Wales), Grace Kelly (Princess of Monaco), Cleopatra (Queen of Egypt) and Josephine (Empress of France). Each is limited to just 10 pairs and range in price from about $5,000 to $7,000. Featured gemstones include citrines, black diamonds, rubies and emeralds.

Carrying a price tag of $6,960, the Princess Diana Shoes are adorned with 2,000 citrines and 10 brilliant-cut white diamonds set in 19-karat yellow gold and platinum. The total weight of the citrines is 315 carats. Jada Dubai notes that the ivory color symbolizes elegance and purity.

The Grace Kelly Shoes feature a crown motif rendered in white and black diamonds, with other gemstones. The gems are set in 19-karat yellow gold and platinum. The crown, notes Jada Dubai, is the ultimate symbol of power and royalty. Price tag: $5,310.

Jada Dubai’s Cleopatra Shoes are adorned with two jewelry snakes glittering with 28 black diamonds, four white diamonds and other stones. The snake is a symbol of protection, royalty and seductive power. The shoes are priced at $5,150.

Rounding out the line are the Josephine Shoes, adorned with eight rubies, six emeralds and other colored gemstones set in 19-karat yellow gold and platinum. Featured on the $4,980 pair is Josephine’s favorite flower, the rose — one of the most enduring symbols of royalty and passion.

Credits: Images via jada-dubai.com.

Tiny African Kingdom of Lesotho Yields 910-Carat, Gem-Quality Diamond; Ranks as 5th Largest Ever

The prolific Letšeng mine in the tiny southern Africa kingdom of Lesotho has produced another mammoth gem-quality diamond. Weighing 910 carats, the D-color, Type IIa stone is the largest ever mined at Letšeng and the fifth-largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered in world history.

The yet-to-be-named gem is probably worth more than $50 million based on recent sales of colossal diamonds exhibiting nearly identical characteristics.

For example, the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona (#2 on the all-time list) was sold in September of 2017 for $53 million. In May of 2016, the 812-carat Constellation (#7 on the all-time list) fetched $63 million. Sourced at Lucara’s Karowe mine in Botswana, both D-color diamonds were rated Type IIa, which means they are chemically pure with no traces of nitrogen or boron impurities.

Despite having a land mass slightly smaller than Maryland, Lesotho is an international powerhouse when it comes to turning out huge, top-quality stones.

“Since Gem Diamonds acquired Letšeng in 2006, the mine has produced some of the world’s most remarkable diamonds, including the 603-carat Lesotho Promise,” noted Gem Diamonds CEO Clifford Elphick. “However, this exceptional top-quality diamond is the largest to be mined to date and highlights the unsurpassed quality of the Letšeng mine.”

Here’s a list of the most newsworthy stones to come from Letšeng, which is billed as the highest dollar-per-carat kimberlite mine in the world.

2006 – Lesotho Promise (603 carats)
2011 – Letšeng Star (550 carats)
2007 – Lesotho Legacy (493 carats)
2008 – Leseli La Letšeng (478 carats)
2015 – Letšeng Dynasty (357 carats)
2015 – Letšeng Destiny (314 carats)
2014 – Unnamed Yellow (299 carats)

The newly unveiled 910-carat rough diamond has an equivalent weight of 182 grams, or 6.41 ounces. A baseball, by comparison, weighs 5.25 ounces.

The fifth-largest gem-quality diamond ever mined is less than one-third the weight of the granddaddy of them all — the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond, which was discovered in South Africa in 1905. Finished gems cut from the Cullinan Diamond include the Cullinan I (530.20 carats) and the Cullinan II (317.4 carats).

The United Kingdom-based Gem Diamonds holds a 70% stake in the Letšeng mine with the government of Lesotho owning the remaining 30%.

Credit: Image via Twitter.com/GemDiamondsLtd.