The Jewelry Judge  - Ben Gordon's Blog
February 19th, 2019
Pop star Katy Perry announced her Valentine's Day engagement to Lord of the Rings alum Orlando Bloom with an Instagram selfie showing off a ring with a deep pink center stone in a flower-shaped diamond cluster setting.

Both Perry, 34, and Bloom, 44, featured the photo on their Instagram pages. Perry's was cleverly captioned "full bloom" and Bloom's was titled "Lifetimes."

Bloom picked an unusual, fanciful, Edwardian-inspired ring for Perry, who is famous for her colorful style and sometimes-outrageous fashion choices.

Perry and Bloom have yet to confirm the identity of the oval-shaped center stone. Some pundits believe it's a ruby, while others are calling it a pink sapphire, or a pink diamond.

That's why the same experts have offered a wide range of retail values — from $25,000 to $5 million.

The oval gemstone is estimated to weigh 2 carats, while the eight complementary diamond "petals" are estimated to weigh a total of 2.5 carats.

Antique jewelry expert Stephen Feuerman told that Perry's new engagement ring reflects a cluster style that first became popular at the turn of the last century. Since then, the style has been revived in a number of famous engagement rings, including the blue sapphire and diamond ring that Prince Charles presented to Princess Diana. More recently, Princess Eugenie's engagement ring featured a cluster setting with a padparadscha sapphire at its center.

This will be the second marriage for both Perry and Bloom. The pop star tied the knot with actor Russell Brand in 2010, the same year Bloom married supermodel Miranda Kerr. pointed out that Bloom seems to have a fondness for cluster-style engagement rings. The ring he gave to Kerr was similar to Perry's, except that Kerr's had a diamond center stone and was set in white metal. Perry's has a colorful center stone and is set in yellow gold.

Perry and Bloom began dating in 2016, but broke up briefly in March of 2017. The romance was rekindled in 2018.

Credit: Photo via
February 15th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you classic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, crooner Dean Martin makes a very special purchase at a Naples, Italy, jewelry shop in the 1958 classic, "Buona Sera."

In the song, Martin tells the story of two lovers enjoying a moonlit evening in the picturesque Italian city on the Mediterranean Sea. Although it's late and he must say "goodnight," he promises to buy a ring for her early the next day.

He sings, "In the morning signorina we'll go walking / Where the mountains help the moon come in to sight / And by the little jewelry shop we'll stop and linger / While I buy a wedding ring for your finger / In the meantime let me tell you that I love you / Buona sera signorina kiss me goodnight / Buona sera signorina kiss me goodnight."

Written by the team of Peter De Rose and Carl Sigman, "Buona Sera" — which means "good evening" in Italian — was originally made famous by Louis Prima and His Orchestra in 1956. Two years later, it would be covered by "The King of Cool" and legendary member of the "Rat Pack," Dean Martin.

Although he was born in Steubenville, Ohio, Martin always embraced his family's heritage. His dad was born in Italy and his mother was Italian-American. With its Italian lyrics and descriptions of Napoli (Italian for Naples), "Buona Sera" was a natural fit for his 1958 album, This Is Dean Martin.

Martin became one of the most popular entertainers of his time, churning out dozens of hit songs and appearing on the big screen with his comedy partner, Jerry Lewis. He seemed to exude effortless charisma and self assurance, but his journey to stardom was not a smooth one.

Born Dino Paul Crocetti in 1917, Martin's first language was Italian and he didn't start learning English until he entered school at the age of five. His lack of English skills made him a target of neighborhood bullies. He dropped out of school in 10th grade because he believed he was smarter than his teachers. The teenager made ends meet by bootlegging liquor, working in a steel mill and dealing blackjack at a speakeasy. He also became a welterweight boxer.

Martin moved to New York City, where he worked as a croupier in an illegal casino behind a tobacco shop. He called himself "Dino Martini" and started singing for local bands. He got his first big break working for the Ernie McKay Orchestra.

He would go on to record some of his generation's most memorable tunes, including "Memories Are Made of This," "That's Amore," "Everybody Loves Somebody," "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You," "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?" and "Volare."

Martin passed away on Christmas Day 1995 at the age of 78. In 1996, Ohio's Route 7 through Steubenville was rededicated as Dean Martin Boulevard.

Please check out the audio track of Martin's cover of "Buona Sera." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Buona Sera"
Music by Peter De Rose and lyrics by Carl Sigman. Performed by Dean Martin.

Buona sera signorina buona sera
It is time to say goodnight to Napoli
Though it's hard for us to whisper buona sera
With that old moon above the Mediterranean sea
In the morning signorina we'll go walking
Where the mountains help the moon come in to sight
And by the little jewelry shop we'll stop and linger
While I buy a wedding ring for your finger
In the meantime let me tell you that I love you
Buona sera signorina kiss me goodnight
Buona sera signorina kiss me goodnight

(Buona sera signorina buona sera)
(It is time to say goodnight to Napoli)
Though it's hard for us to whisper buona sera
With that old moon above the Mediterranean sea

In the morning signorina we'll go walking
Where the mountains help the moon come in to sight
And by the little jewelry shop we'll stop and linger
While I buy a wedding ring for your finger
In the meantime let me tell you that I love you
Buona sera signorina kiss me goodnight
Buona sera signorina kiss me goodnight

Credit: Photo by MGM [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
February 14th, 2019
"Supergirl" actress Melissa Benoist announced her engagement to co-star Chris Wood and unveiled her brand new oval-shaped diamond engagement ring on her Instagram page Sunday.

The intimate photo shows the romantic couple canoodling in front of a crackling fire, with Benoist beaming and her beau kissing her cheek. Of course, her engagement ring is front and center. The 30-year-old actress, who has 3.3 million Instagram followers, captioned the photo, “Yes yes yes it will always be yes.” The post generated 923,000 Likes.

On his Instagram page, Wood posted the same photo and captioned it, “The happiest.”

The white-metal ring, which is likely platinum, is highlighted by an oval diamond in a halo setting, complemented by a pavé diamond band. An industry insider told that the center stone appeared to be 3 carats and estimated the ring's value in the range of $100,000 and $200,000.

California-based jeweler Jennifer Meyer revealed on Instagram that the 30-year-old Wood played a big role in helping to design the ring. She wrote, "Chris, when you designed this ring with me, you made some girls on the JM team wish you had a brother. Wishing you both a lifetime of love, happiness and lots of babies!”

Benoist and Wood met in 2016 on the set of the CW series "Supergirl," with Benoist in the title role and Wood playing her on-screen love interest and fellow superhero Mon-El.

While both characters enjoyed super strength and a slew of other extraordinary powers, each had one major weakness. Green kryptonite would make Supergirl painfully ill and Mon-El would collapse in agony when exposed to lead. We're wondering... If a dastardly villain posed as a fine jeweler, might he recommend an engagement ring with a green kryptonite center stone set in lead?

Fortunately, the real-life couple clearly shows no vulnerability to the diamonds and noble metal glistening in their new ring.

Credits: Images via
February 13th, 2019
Looking to make a big splash for its 10th anniversary, Dutch Diamond Technologies (DD) took on the challenge of crafting an all-diamond ring from a 155-carat plate of lab-grown material.

Dubbed "Project D," the ring was polished using both laser cutting and traditional techniques. The end product boasts 133-facets and a total weight of 3.86 carats.

HRD Antwerp, Europe's leading authority in diamond grading, determined that the ring has a clarity grade of VVS2 and a color grade of E, with excellent symmetry and very good polish.

The Netherlands-based Dutch Diamond Technologies is best known for its high-tech, industrial applications of both lab-grown and natural diamonds, so its foray into the jewelry sector came as a bit of a surprise, especially to the executives at HRD Antwerp.

“DD might be relatively new to cut diamonds for the jewelry market,” noted Michel Janssens, CEO of HRD Antwerp, “but they have created an impressive ring for their 10th anniversary. The outstanding cutting and polish work has resulted in a brilliant light reflection which emphasizes the beauty of the ring.”

“For our 10th anniversary we wanted to create something stunning that would highlight our innovative and high-tech techniques,” said Ton Janssen, CEO of Dutch Diamond Technologies. “I think we’ve more than succeeded with the one-off "Project D" ring. It’s a true 'European' ring: Grown in Germany, cut in the Netherlands and graded by HRD Antwerp in Belgium."

DD noted that until a few years ago, the technology didn't exist to create a lab-grown diamond plate suitable for "Project D." The quality and carat weight of CVD synthetic diamonds has increased drastically over the past 10 years. DD reported that the 155-carat plate from which "Project D" was carved took five weeks to grow in its laboratory.

Dutch Diamond Technologies is not the first company to fabricate an all-diamond ring.

Shawish Geneva was the first company to form a ring from a single natural diamond. Shawish unveiled the innovative ring to the public during the 2012 Baselworld Watch and Jewelry Show. That ring was laser-cut from a 150-carat rough diamond.

In November 2018, Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, and renowned industrial designer Marc Newson, introduced the concept of an all-diamond ring custom crafted from a single rough lab-grown gem. The ring fetched $265,250 when Sotheby’s presented it December 5 at the third (RED) Auction in Miami. Proceeds from the sale supported HIV/AIDS programs in Africa.

The ring is in production and is expected to be delivered to the anonymous buyer this June, according to

Credits: Image of "Project D" ring courtesy of Dutch Diamond Technologies. Image of (RED) Auction ring courtesy of Sotheby's.
February 12th, 2019
Tipping the scales at 54.21 carats, the recently unveiled "Mouawad Dragon" is being billed as the largest round brilliant-cut fancy vivid yellow diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America.

The luxury diamond house chose the name "Mouawad Dragon" because the vibrant color beaming from every facet of the diamond showcases the power, wisdom and good fortune of the mystical serpent, the company stated in a press release. The yellow color, Mouawad added, is also reminiscent of a dragon's magical powers and fiery eye.

The rough stone was discovered in an alluvial deposit in South Africa, and it took Mouawad's master cutters more than six months to transform it into the "Mouawad Dragon" — a precious gem that certainly rates as one of the most revered yellow diamonds of all time.

The company's next task is to design a necklace that will showcase the 54.21-carat stone.

"We're thrilled to have had the opportunity to craft this extraordinary diamond from the rough," said 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."

The necklace will be part of an ensemble that Mouawad will unveil next month, according to Rapaport News.

The "Mouawad Dragon" joins the ever-growing Mouawad collection, which includes the 51.12-carat D-flawless Dynasty diamond, the 245.35-carat Jubilee Diamond, the 135.92-carat Queen of Holland diamond, the famous 69.42-carat Taylor-Burton Diamond and a yet-to-be named 218.08-carat D-color marvel, which is said to be the largest internally flawless cushion-shaped diamond in the world.

Credit: Image courtesy of PRNewsfoto/Mouawad.
February 11th, 2019
It was a starburst seen from coast to coast on Wednesday night's edition of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The burst emanating from Miley Cyrus' new wedding ring was so big and so bright that new spouse Liam Hemsworth joked that the visual effect might have been a product of CGI (computer-generated imagery).

But first, a little background...

Acclaimed Australian actor Hemsworth, 29, and pop star Cyrus, 26, tied the knot in a low-key ceremony at their home in Franklin, Tenn., in December. And when Hemsworth was awarded the G'Day USA Excellence in Film award in Los Angeles on January 26, the actor was sure to thank his new bride.

"Thank you to my beautiful wife," he said during his acceptance speech. "You're a sweet, sweet angel."

At that point, viewers were treated to a reaction shot of Cyrus in the audience. Beaming with a wide smile and her head tilted in an adorable pose, the singer raised her diamond-adorned fingers up to her chin. She was wearing multiple bracelets, necklaces and rings on every finger. One of those rings was her brand new diamond wedding band.

As she moved her hands ever so slightly, the diamonds on her left hand caught the light and generated a bright starburst, the kind photographers covet when shooting fine jewelry.

On Wednesday night, Cyrus' ring and the giant burst were the subjects of a fun exchange between Hemsworth and Fallon on The Tonight Show.

"People love you and Miley together," Fallon said, "but I saw a clip of you from the G'Day USA Awards."

"When I was on the stage and I referred to her as my wife?" Hemsworth acknowledged. "Yeah, people liked that. Big, big cheer."

"She was kind of heckling you from the crowd," said Fallon.

Hemsworth explained, "Yeah, I started saying nice things about her and then she wanted more, obviously. I said, 'I'll tell you when I get home.'"

"There was this one picture as they were cutting to her where [there was] this bling from her ring. And I was like, 'What kind of rock did you get her, man? Holy moly.'"

At that point, Fallon displayed to the studio audience a still shot of Cyrus at the awards show and the very obvious six-pointed starburst.

"There are a few different rocks on there, not to brag," said Hemsworth, "but there [are] a couple of different ones."

"Well done, buddy," Fallon said. "Oh my."

"I thought it was CGI when I first saw that," Hemsworth joked. "I was convinced it was CGI because if did a full-on b-i-i-i-i-n-g."

"It was a real b-o-o-i-n-g," Fallon said, trying to imitate Hemsworth's take on what a starburst sounds like.

"B-i-i-i-i-n-g," Hemsworth repeated.

"Just perfect," Fallon said. "I was like, 'Well, maybe she has magical powers, too. And she was zapping something from her ring to you.'"

"Yes, she's brainwashed me," Hemsworth concluded.

See the entire exchange below...

Credits: Screen captures via Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon;'Day USA
February 8th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you popular tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Swedish pop group Ace of Base sings about turning tears into pearls in the 1995 love song, "Experience Pearls."

In this song about mending a broken heart, vocalists Linn and Jenny Berggren tell the story of a woman who is willing to do anything in her power to eliminate her lover's pain.

They sing, "Give me all your tears / Let me turn them into pearls / Let me turn all the tears / That you've cried into pearls / Hand them to me, I'm gonna keep / Keep them for you / I want to hold you / I want to kiss you / I want to mend what is broken."

Later in the song, songwriter Jenny Berggren uses the term "experience pearls" to describe the transference of pain from him to her. She vows to wear his tears — in the form of pearls — close to her skin.

The last verse goes like this... "I'll wear your pearls more precious than silver / I'll wear your pearls so close to my skin / I'd tear myself apart just to get you / And so I've made up my mind / And so I've made up my mind."

"Experience Pearls" appeared as the 16th track of Ace of Base's wildly successful second album, The Bridge, which charted in 19 countries. More than eight million copies of the album were sold worldwide.

According to the band's official site, the Ace of Base story started in the early 1990s when the three Berggren siblings (Jonas, Malin and Jenny) formed the techno band Tech Noir. Next to their rehearsal room, Ulf Ekberg played in another band. Soon, Jonas and Ulf hit it off, started to write and produce together, and Ace of Base was formed.

After recording a demo tape of original songs, including the future blockbuster hit ”All That She Wants,” the band went to Stockholm where the members pitched all the major record companies. None showed any interest. The common critique was that their songs were "too obvious" and "too simple."

Undaunted, the band's next stop was Copenhagen, where executives at Mega Records immediately saw the band’s potential and loved their positive, uncomplicated and slightly reggae-tinged pop music.

Ace of Base’s very first single was ”Wheel Of Fortune,” followed by the major worldwide hits ”All That She Wants,” ”The Sign” and ”Don’t Turn Around.”

Trivia: The group's debut album, Happy Nation (released as The Sign in the U.S.), sold 25 million copies and remains in the Guinness record book as the best-selling debut album ever.

Please check out the audio track of "Experience Pearls." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Experience Pearls"
Written by Jenny Berggren. Performed by Ace of Base.

Give me all your tears
Let me turn them into pearls
Let me turn all the tears
That you've cried into pearls
Hand them to me, I'm gonna keep

Keep them for you
I want to hold you,
I want to kiss you
I want to mend what is broken.

Love me the way that you loved her, please
Cause now I'm giving it all,
And so I've made up my mind, I'm gonna be
Yours this time, I'm gonna give what I've got,
And get your love in return.
And so I've made up my mind, I'm gonna be
Yours this time, I'm gonna teach you to trust
And learn how to burn,
Experience pearls
Pearls of experience
When sand strikes up in your eyes
I will cover your face.

I'll plant your desert with roses,
And I'm gonna keep, keep them for you.
And so I've made up my mind

I'll wear your pearls more precious than silver
I'll wear your pearls so close to my skin.
I'd tear myself apart just to get you,
And so I've made up my mind
And so I've made up my mind

Credit: Screen capture via
February 7th, 2019
Even though the calendar shows we're just a week from the end of "engagement season" — the magical time of the year when nearly 40% of all marriage proposals take place — a pair of Top-10 pop-the-question days remains on the board.

For those of you keeping score, the 10th-most-popular day to deliver a marriage proposal takes place this weekend, and the second-most-popular day hits next Thursday.

Believe it or not, the Saturday before Valentine’s Day is rated #10 on WeddingWire's list of most popular days to pop the question. The editor's at WeddingWire believe that a Saturday proposal may reflect the couple’s desire to celebrate their engagement over a weekend and not necessarily on Valentine’s Day, which often comes up during the week (February 14 is on a Thursday) and is certainly not a day when most people have off. Popping the question on the weekend prior to Valentine’s Day also preserves the element of surprise.

Rated #2 on WeddingWire's list is none other than Valentine's Day itself. Cupid’s special day is all about love and expressing to that special someone just how much you care. We reported yesterday that more than half of the U.S. population will be exchanging gifts on Valentine's Day, with jewelry purchases expected to reach $3.9 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. A special subset of that number will reflect the purchases of millions of romantic suitors who are planning to propose with a diamond ring.

Back in 2014, American Express' Spending & Saving Tracker estimated that six million American couples expected to receive or deliver a marriage proposal on Valentine’s Day.

Engagement season formally runs from Thanksgiving Day to Valentine's Day. The only day to beat out Valentine's Day in popularity is Christmas Day.

Here's the complete Top 10 list, as revealed in WeddingWire’s 2018 Newlywed Report...

#1. Christmas Day
#2. Valentine’s Day
#3. Christmas Eve
#4. New Year's Day
#5. New Year’s Eve
#6. December 23rd (Day Before Christmas Eve)
#7. Two Saturdays Before Christmas Eve
#8. Fourth of July (Independence Day)
#9. Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend
#10. Saturday Before Valentine’s Day

Credit: Image by
February 6th, 2019
For the third consecutive year, U.S. consumers are expected to spend more on jewelry than any other Valentine’s Day gift category, according to an annual report released by the National Retail Federation.

Spending for jewelry-related Valentine's Day gifts is likely to reach $3.9 billion, outpacing "an evening out" ($3.5 billion, given by 34%), clothing ($2.1 billion, 18%), flowers ($1.9 billion, 35%), candy ($1.8 billion, 52%), gift cards ($1.3 billion, 15%) and greeting cards ($933 million, 44%).

Of those surveyed, 26% of men and 9% of women said they would be gifting a special piece of jewelry on February 14.

The NRF reports that overall spending on Valentine’s Day gifts will reach an all-time record of $20.7 billion in 2019, up from $19.6 billion in 2018. Those surveyed said they would spend an average of $161.96. That’s an increase of 13% from last year’s $143.56 and easily tops the previous record of $146.84 set in 2016.

“Those who are participating are spending more than ever and that could be the result of the strong economy," commented NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

Valentine gift givers will spend an average of $93.24 on their significant other/spouse; $29.87 on other family members, such as children or parents, $9.78 on friends, $8.63 on children’s classmates or teachers, $7.78 on co-workers, $6.94 on pets, and $5.72 on others.

On the average, men are budgeting $229.54 for Valentine's Day gifts, an increase of 20% over last year. Women will be spending $97.77, about 1% lower than last year. Among age groups, those 35-44 are the biggest Valentine's Day spenders at $279.14, followed by those 25-34 at $239.07. Both groups typically have more people on their gift lists, including children and children’s classmates or teachers.

Despite the record spending numbers, the portion of Americans celebrating Valentine's Day is expected to decline to 51% in 2019, a drop of 4 percentage points compared to 2018 and more than 12 points down from 2007.

The NRF’s 2019 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 7,384 consumers took place from January 2-9, 2019, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

Credit: Image by
February 5th, 2019
Billed as the first amethyst from Rwanda to join the National Gem Collection, this stunning 78.3-carat Super Trillion™ Cut was faceted by award-winning cutter John Dyer and is a first-rate example of February's birthstone.

Dyer told us yesterday that the original rough amethyst, which weighed 465.5 carats, yielded four finished stones, the largest of which was purchased by the Smithsonian in 2017. The second-largest weighed about 10 carats. The painstaking faceting process took more than three days to complete.

Smithsonian representatives were impressed by the stone's size, unusual origin, unique cut and deep rich purple color with flashes of red.

Based in Edina, Minn., Dyer has notched 54 cutting awards and is famous for his artistic ability and passion for precision. His Super Trillion™ Cut reflects an optimized pattern that adds more facets and other variations to the traditional trillion cut.

Dyer noted that he purchased the rough amethyst through a dealer who had access to a brand new find in Rwanda. Amethysts traditionally have been sourced in Brazil, Uruguay, Zambia, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Canada and the U.S.

Amethyst is the most coveted variety of quartz, which is clear in its pure state. Amethyst gets its purple color from a few atoms of iron displacing some of the silicon in the gem’s molecular structure. These traces of iron can give amethyst a wide range of colors, from almost white to deep purple.

The ancient Greeks believed amethyst could prevent drunkenness. Medieval soldiers wore amethyst to protect themselves in battle. Other cultures believed February’s birthstone would bring good fortune, inspire their intellect, heal their illnesses, or bolster their immune systems.

Amethyst gets its name from the Greek word “amethystos,” which literally means “not to intoxicate.” Apparently, the Greeks believed amethyst could reverse the effects of drunkenness. Other characteristics attributed to amethyst include peace, balance, courage, stability and inner strength.

The color rating of an amethyst is determined by its hue, tone and saturation. Hue is the color; tone is relative lightness or darkness of the color; and saturation relates to the color’s intensity, from dull to vivid.

Credit: Photo by John Dyer & Co, courtesy of the Smithsonian.