Australian Mining Company Unearths Five Ultra-Rare Green Diamonds

The Merlin Diamond Mine in Australia’s Northern Territory has yielded not one — but five — ultra-rare green diamonds, the largest of which weighs 1.42 carats. The discoveries are noteworthy because barely a handful of green diamonds are introduced to the market each year and the finest-quality ones can fetch upwards of $3 million per carat.

Mining company Merlin Diamonds Ltd. announced that the five diamonds — some described as intense green — were all discovered at the Kaye Pit, about 80km south of Borroloola near the Gulf of Carpentaria. Additional green gems were also pulled from the mine and were being validated as diamonds by independent gemological experts, according to the company.

The green diamond revelations are the latest in a string of good news for the mining operation. Merlin, which was already known for its high-quality, large, super-white gems, discovered a rare blue diamond in December and a 35.26-carat brown diamond in January. Australia’s largest diamond, a 104.73-carat stone, also originated at the Merlin Diamond Mine, which was purchased from Rio Tinto in 2004.

When it comes to fancy-colored diamonds, the two rarest colors are red and green. Green diamonds owe their color to the natural radiation present during their formation inside the earth. Green diamonds can range from light mint green to vivid grass green. The value increases with the intensity of the color.

An excellent example of a fancy vivid green diamond is the 5.03-carat “Aurora Green,” which sold for $16.82 million at Christie’s Hong Kong in May of 2016. It is the most expensive green diamond ever sold at auction and the largest natural fancy, vivid green diamond known to exist.

Credits: Rough diamond image courtesy of Merlin Diamonds Ltd.; Map by Googlemaps; Aurora Green image courtesy of Christie’s.

Back on the Block: 59.60-Carat ‘Pink Star’ Looks to Regain the Title of Priciest Diamond Ever

All eyes will be on the stunning 59.60-carat “Pink Star” diamond when it returns to the big stage at Sotheby’s Hong Kong on April 4. If all goes as planned, the largest internally flawless, fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) will regain its title as the world’s most valuable gem. The hammer price is expected to exceed $60 million.

Back in November of 2013, the same gem stunned the jewelry world when it fetched $83 million at Sotheby’s Geneva. The winning bid had surpassed the pre-show estimate by $23 million. But, in February of 2014, Sotheby’s announced that the sale was canceled. The auction house paid the guaranteed minimum of $60 million and took ownership of the gem. In 2016, the auction house reported that two firms — Diacore and Mellen Inc. — had purchased an interest in the remarkable Pink Star, with the third partner being Sotheby’s.

Diacore (formerly Steinmetz Diamond Group), incidentally, has an intimate connection to the Pink Star. It’s the company responsible for taking the original 132.5-carat rough diamond and fashioning it into the flawless 59.60-carat masterpiece — a process that would take two years.

“I am delighted to be bringing this magnificent stone back to the market,” noted David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry division. “The extraordinary size of this 59.60-carat diamond, paired with its richness of color, surpasses any known pink diamond recorded in history.”

A monograph of the Pink Star authored by GIA waxed poetic, characterizing it as a “true masterpiece of nature, beyond characterization with human vocabulary.”

Only one diamond in the world currently stands in the way of the Pink Star becoming the priciest gemstone ever sold at auction, and that is the 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue, an emerald-cut, VVS1, fancy vivid blue diamond, which sold at Christie’s Geneva in May of 2016 for $57.5 million.

The Pink Star is more than twice the weight of the “Graff Pink,” which currently holds the auction record for a pink diamond. The 24.78-carat, emerald-cut Graff Pink fetched $46.2 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2010.

The per-carat auction record of $4.1 million is still held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine. That gem sold for $48.5 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November of 2015.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby’s.

‘Bachelor’ Nick Viall Proposes to Vanessa Grimaldi With 3.75-Carat Diamond Ring Worth $100K

Season 21’s Bachelor Nick Viall popped the question Monday night to finalist Vanessa Grimaldi with a diamond-and-platinum engagement ring valued at $100,000. Featuring a round, brilliant-cut center diamond accented with baguette diamonds and 164 smaller round diamonds, the ring boasts a diamond total weight of 3.75 carats.

Viall chose a ring with a classic round center diamond after considering princess-cut and cushion-cut options.

“It’s a traditional ring with an old-fashioned feel,” a jewelry-industry source told E! News. “It’s got an old soul. It’s classic and elegant. [Viall] chose it because that’s what he thinks of her.”

The 36-year-old Viall, a runner-up on Andi Dorfman and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s seasons of The Bachelorette, as well as a fan-favorite on Bachelor in Paradise, took one more chance at finding true love during this season of The Bachelor. Viewers followed the entrepreneur’s international journey, which culminated with him on bended knee, choosing Grimaldi over fan favorite, Raven Gates.

“So much about me being here has to do with the past,” he told Grimaldi in the prelude to his proposal, “but when I look at you, all I see is my future.”

“It’s always exciting to work with these guys to select a ring for the love of their lives, but it was maybe even a little more gratifying this time given Nick’s journey,” noted designer Neil Lane in statement. “He was very thoughtful in selecting the perfect ring and that’s obviously a reflection of the love he has for Vanessa.”

Viall and special-education teacher Grimaldi, 29, were excited to share a series of post-engagement selfies on Instagram. He has 1.2 million followers and she has 752,000.

Despite its impressive specifications, Grimaldi’s new engagement bling is slightly smaller than that of last season’s Bachelorette, JoJo Fletcher. Fans may remember that former NFL player Aaron Rodgers proposed with a platinum ring highlighted by a 3.5-carat oval-cut center stone. The band was encrusted with diamond pavé for a total weight of 4.5 carats. That ring was valued at $85,000.

The two-hour season finale of The Bachelor was Monday’s #1 most social program with 1.2 million interactions on Twitter and Facebook, according to Nielsen figures provided by ABC. The Bachelor has been drawing more than 7 million viewers each week and ratings were up 11% from last season among adults 18-49 and up 15% in adults 18-34.

Each engagement ring on The Bachelor contractually belongs to the show, according to Radar Online. If the engagement doesn’t work out, the ring may be claimed by the show’s producers.

Credits: Proposal and rose ceremony screen captures via ABC; Ring photo courtesy of Neil Lane; Selfie via Instagram/Nick Viall.

Photographer Delivers Spectacular Northern Lights Marriage Proposal — on His Second Try

Nine months ago, Australian landscape photographer Dale Sharpe planned to pop the question to his photographer girlfriend, Karlie Russell, under the Northern Lights in Iceland. Together, they had shot the colorful Aurora borealis more than 30 times, so Sharpe decided that the Lights would be the perfect backdrop for a surprise marriage proposal.

To maintain the element of surprise, Sharpe cleverly hid a $4,000 diamond engagement ring in a lotion bottle on their trip northward. While making a connecting flight from the Faroe Islands, the couple was forced to cut weight and Russell unknowingly discarded the lotion bottle and her engagement ring.

When Russell told her boyfriend that she offloaded the lotion bottle, he didn’t let on that the ring was inside.

“I politely said, ‘That’s OK,’ while internally screaming,” Dale told the Huffington Post. “I couldn’t really tell her and ruin my proposal plan.”

On Monday, March 6, Sharpe and Russell, partners at DK Photography on Australia’s picturesque Gold Coast in Queensland, were back on the Arctic Circle, not in Iceland, but in the Lofoten Islands of Norway. Sharpe had saved up to purchase a new ring and the Aurora, it seemed, was ready to reward his persistence.

“It was the most amazing display of color in the Aurora that we’ve ever seen,” Sharpe told the Daily Mail Australia.

“I tricked Karlie into believing we were shooting a selfie & used a torch to light us up for the image,” Sharpe noted on the DK Photography Facebook page. “Much to her shock, it wasn’t any normal selfie, and much to my shock, she said yes!”

The resulting shot of Sharpe on bended knee popping the question to Russell is breathtaking, so much so that it has caught the attention of high-profile websites, such as Huffington Post, Daily Mail, ABC News and Brides.com.

Sharpe and Russell, who have been dating for seven years, have amassed a gorgeous portfolio. They share a strong passion for landscape, seascape and astrophotography. Their adventures have taken them throughout Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the USA, Asia and multiple sites along the Arctic Circle.

Their work — some of it bordering on the surreal — can be seen on Instagram, Facebook, and at their website. The couple has no immediate wedding plans.

Credits: Images via Facebook.com/DK.Photography.com.au; dk-photography.com.au.

Legendary Jonker V Diamond Expected to Sell for $3 Million-Plus at Christie’s Hong Kong

The Jonker V diamond, one of 13 magnificent diamonds cleaved from the famous 726-carat Jonker rough more than 80 years ago, will go under the hammer on May 30 at Christie’s Hong Kong. The 25.27-carat emerald-cut gem is expected to fetch upwards of $3.6 million.

On January 17, 1934, a rough diamond the size of a hen’s egg was pulled from a bucket of gravel at the Elandsfontein claim, 4.8 kilometers south of the Premier Mine in South Africa. The massive 726-carat rough diamond with a frosty ice-white color would take on the surname of the 62-year-old digger who owned the claim. His name was Jacob Jonker.

At the time, the Jonker was the fourth-largest gem-quality rough diamond ever unearthed. Diamond experts speculated whether the 63.5mm-by-31.75mm Jonker and the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond had once been conjoined, as their respective cleaved faces seemed to match up perfectly. The Cullinan Diamond had been discovered at the nearby Premier Mine 19 years earlier.

The Jonker rough was acquired by De Beers chairman Sir Ernest Oppenheimer and subsequently caught the attention of diamond dealer Harry Winston, who purchased the stone in 1935 for £75,000, the equivalent of £9 million ($11 million) today. The Jonker rough diamond earned celebrity status when it was displayed during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary in May of that same year.

The next year, Winston contracted Lazare Kaplan to cut 13 finished gems from the original rough. The Jonker finished diamonds were each named with a Roman numeral, in size order. The largest was the Jonker I at 142.90 carats and the smallest was the Jonker XIII at 3.53 carats. According to a May 1954 article in The New Yorker, Kaplan was paid $30,000 for his work.

Before cutting, the Jonker V rough weighed 54.19 carats, more than twice its finished weight. The beautiful emerald-cut gem boasts a D-color and a VVS2 clarity grading. Christie’s posted a pre-sale estimate of $2.2 million to $3.6 million, but some industry experts are expecting the Jonker V to sell for much more.

Credit: Images courtesy of Christie’s.

Nicole Kidman Reveals She Clapped Like a Seal at the Oscars to Protect Huge Diamond Rings

Beleaguered actress Nicole Kidman finally revealed why she clapped like a seal at the 89th Academy Awards. It was all about the rings.

In the two weeks since the broadcast, social media has exploded with memes trying to explain Kidman’s strange clapping behavior where she essentially slapped the bottom of her palms together while splaying her hands apart. Critics wondered why she had such a hard time bringing her unusually long hands together, sparking comparisons to a seal and The Grinch.

If Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway hadn’t incorrectly named La La Land, instead of Moonlight, as the Best Picture winner, the lead story of the night would have been about Kidman’s clapping disorder.

But this past Wednesday on the Australian “Kyle and Jackie O” radio show, the actress confirmed that the expensive jewelry she was wearing was to blame.

“It’s because of the rings you idiots,” Kyle told his radio audience. “That’s why she’s clapping like that. She doesn’t want to damage the jewels!”

Kidman chimed in, “Yes, Yes! I’m so glad you clarified that because it was really awkward! I was like, ‘Gosh, I want to clap. I don’t want to not be clapping.’ Which would be worse. Right? ‘Why isn’t Nicole clapping?'”

Specifically, Kidman was worried about the safety of a 13.58-carat pear-shaped diamond ring that had been lent to her by Harry Winston. It was part of a larger diamond ensemble that weighed in at 119 carats. Red carpet photos taken before the ceremony showed Kidman wearing two large rings, one on the index finger of her right hand and another on the ring finger of her left hand.

“So, therefore I’m clapping, but it was really difficult because I had a huge ring on that was not my own, but it was absolutely gorgeous, and I was terrified of damaging it!” she said.

Kidman was a little taken aback by the viral reaction to her clapping display.

“It’s like, [are] there not more important things to be focused on than the seal clap?” she asked.

Kidman’s role in Lion had earned her an Oscar nomination for Actress in a Supporting Role. The Oscar eventually went to Naomie Harris for her role in Moonlight.

See the Entertainment Tonight report below…

Credits: Screen captures via Eonline.com., YouTube.com/Entertainment Tonight.

Music Friday: Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger Sings, ‘You Can’t Give Up When You’re Lookin’ for a Diamond in the Rough’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger sings about finding the perfect love in the group’s 2008 hit, “Gotta Be Somebody.”

In Kroeger’s view, we all dream about the love of a lifetime, the perfect soulmate. The challenge is having the patience and fortitude to keep searching for that person — no matter how long it takes.

He sings, “You can’t give up / When you’re lookin’ for a diamond in the rough / Because you never know when it shows up / Make sure you’re holdin’ on / ‘Cause it could be the one, the one you’re waiting on.”

Kroeger told MTV News that “Gotta Be Somebody” contains a universal theme that rings true with single people as well as those in a relationship who are questioning that “this may not be the one.”

“[They will say] to themselves, ‘There’s got to be that perfect somebody for me out there.’ And that’s what the song is about,” he said.

“Gotta Be Somebody” was released as the first single from Nickelback’s sixth studio album, Dark Horse. The song reached #10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and #4 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart. It was also an international hit, charting in 15 countries. The album was a huge commercial success, spending 125 consecutive weeks on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart. In all, the album sold more than five million copies worldwide.

Formed in Hanna, Alberta, Canada, in 1995, Nickelback is composed of guitarist and lead vocalist Chad Kroeger, guitarist, keyboardist and backing vocalist Ryan Peake, bassist Mike Kroeger, and drummer Daniel Adair. Nickelback is one of Canada’s most successful musical groups, having sold more than 50 million albums worldwide.

Music legend states that Mike Kroeger’s experience working for Starbucks provided the impetus for the band’s unusual name. Apparently, some of the products at the popular chain cost $1.95 CAD, so when the customers handed over $2, he would make the change and say, “Here’s your nickel back.”

Please check out the video of Nickelback’s live performance of “Gotta Be Somebody.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Gotta Be Somebody”
Written by Chad Kroeger, Ryan Peake, Mike Kroeger and Daniel Adar. Performed by Nickelback.

This time I wonder what it feels like
To find the one in this life
The one we all dream of
But dreams just aren’t enough
So I’ll be waiting for the real thing
I’ll know it by the feeling
The moment when we’re meeting
Will play out like a scene straight off the silver screen
So I’ll be holdin’ my breath
Right up to the end
Until that moment when
I find the one that I’ll spend forever with

‘Cause nobody wants to be the last one there.
‘Cause everyone wants to feel like someone cares.
Someone to love with my life in their hands.
There’s gotta be somebody for me like that.
‘Cause nobody wants to go it on their own
And everyone wants to know they’re not alone.
Somebody else that feels the same somewhere.
There’s gotta be somebody for me out there.

Tonight, out on the street out in the moonlight
And damn it this feels too right
It’s just like deja vu
Me standin’ here with you
So I’ll be holdin’ my breath
Could this be the end?
Is it that moment when
I find the one that I’ll spend forever with?

‘Cause nobody wants to be the last one there.
‘Cause everyone wants to feel like someone cares.
Someone to love with my life in their hands.
There’s gotta be somebody for me like that.
‘Cause nobody wants to go it on their own
And everyone wants to know they’re not alone.
Somebody else that feels the same somewhere.
There’s gotta be somebody for me out there.

You can’t give up
When you’re lookin’ for a diamond in the rough
Because you never know when it shows up
Make sure you’re holdin’ on
‘Cause it could be the one, the one you’re waiting on

‘Cause nobody wants to be the last one there.
And everyone wants to feel like someone cares.
Someone to love with my life in their hands.
There’s gotta be somebody for me.

Oh, nobody wants to go it on their own
And everyone wants to know they’re not alone.
Somebody else that feels the same somewhere.
There’s gotta be somebody for me out there.

Nobody wants to be the last one there
And everyone wants to feel like someone cares.
Somebody else that feels the same somewhere.
There’s gotta be somebody for me out there.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.

Named After a Perfume, 1,000-Carat ‘Most Precious’ Aquamarine Resides at the Smithsonian

“Most Precious” is one of the world’s most beautiful examples of March’s official birthstone. Presented as part of the National Gem and Mineral collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., the rectangular-cut aquamarine from Brazil weighs a startling 1,000-carats and evokes the clear blue hue of a tranquil sea.

A gift of Dr. W. Langer and Evyan Perfumes, Inc., “Most Precious” takes its name from the perfume that was launched by the design house of Evyan in 1958.

The colossal aquamarine has some handsome company in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals. Among her neighbors are a pantheon of world-famous gems, including the Hope Diamond, Logan Sapphire and Rosser Reeves Star Ruby.

Aquamarine is the sea-blue variety of the mineral beryl, whose family members include emerald (intense green) and morganite (pink to orange-pink). Aquamarines can range in color from light blue to pure blue to shades of greenish-blue. The variations in blue color are dependent on trace amounts of iron in the gemstone’s chemical composition.

In the photo above, “Most Precious” is shown alongside a near-perfect aquamarine crystal that weighs 15,256 carats (6.7 lbs).

Beryl rates 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it suitable for fine jewelry.

Aquamarine is a symbol of youth, hope, health and fidelity. Legend states that Neptune, the Roman Sea God, gifted aquamarines to the mermaids, thus bringing love to all who have owned it.

Aquamarines are mined in many countries, including Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, Mozambique and the U.S., but most of the finest-quality gemstones still come from Brazil.

Credits: Photos by Minor/Smithsonian, Chip Clark/Smithsonian.

Arkansas-Sourced ‘Esperanza’ Diamond Heads to the Auction Block March 21

Here’s your chance to own a piece of Americana. The 4.64-carat D-flawless “Esperanza” diamond, which was found by Bobbie Oskarson in 2015 at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Ark., will be offered for sale at Skinner’s fine jewelry auction in Boston on March 21.

Esperanza carries a pre-sale estimate of $100,000 to $150,000 and is the top lot in a show that will include more than 500 items.

What’s amazing about “Esperanza” is that it was picked out of the soil by Oskarson, a visiting Coloradan, who paid a mere $8 to dig for riches at the only diamond site in the world where amateur prospectors of all ages get to keep what they find. She made her spectacular discovery within 20 minutes of entering “The Pig Pen,” the 37 1/2-acre plowed field that is actually the eroded surface of the eighth-largest, diamond-bearing deposit in the world.

Originally 8.52 carats in weight and the shape of an icicle, “Esperanza” was transformed by Master Diamond Cutter Mike Botha into a unique 4.64-carat teardrop “triolette.” Botha’s 147-facet triolette is a shape of his own design. It resembles a teardrop and merges the elements of both emerald and trapezoid shapes. The painstaking cutting and polishing process took 130 hours.

“Esperanza” (meaning “hope” in Spanish) was then set vertically in a platinum mounting designed by jeweler Ian Douglas of The Inspired Collection, Wellington, New Zealand. The unique mounting is intended to emphasize the triolette shape.

The fifth-largest diamond ever found at Crater of Diamonds State Park, the “Esperanza” is, by far, the most perfect in terms of color and clarity. It even has its own Facebook page with more than 1,000 followers.

Credits: Crater of Diamonds State Park; Stanley Jewelers; Facebook.com/theesperanza.

NASA Captures Image of Giant ‘Ice Diamond’ Floating in Caspian Sea

NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite spotted a glistening diamond-shaped ice jewel while orbiting above the cold, 600-mile northern region of the Caspian Sea — the world’s largest inland body of water — stretching from Kazakhstan to Iran. The image of Ice Diamond was captured on February 4 by NASA’s Operational Land Imager (OLI), a high-tech camera attached to the satellite.

IFL Science reported that the Ice Diamond likely had been chipped off from the larger sea ice and then became grounded to the seabed. Northern areas are more prone to freezing in wintertime than southern parts. NASA noted that the wind is pushing thinner darker pieces of ice called “nilas” around the diamond, leaving a shadow of open water where currents can move around it.

According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, which published the image, the northern part of the Caspian Sea is less saline and shallower than the southern part. Lower temperatures and higher latitudes make it more prone to freezing than the southern areas.

NASA noted to Daily Mail that the ice captured in the images from OLI in February is all known as first-year ice and will not make it through the summer. The images from warmer months often reveal a series of “scour marks” left behind on the seafloor by the jagged edges of the grounded ice that stuck around all winter.

“This ‘island’ of white ice is most probably a piece that detached from the ice field,” explained Alexei Kouraev, a scientist at the Laboratory of Geophysical and Oceanographic Studies in France who spoke to the NASA Earth Observatory. “With the advance of spring and rising temperatures, ice on the Caspian will soon disappear. All of the ice is first-year ice, meaning that it should not survive the summer.”

Next to the Ice Diamond “hummocking” can be seen — weak, thin ice formed over the sea and then broken up by currents, waves and wind. When the pieces pile up on top of each other and then get locked back into an ice floe, they form hummocks that extend down several meters.

NASA also released an image of the area with thermal data, noting that the image will turn more orange as the weather warms. The sparkling diamond-shaped ice jewel will then disappear back into the sea forever.

Credits: Images via NASA.