The Jewelry Judge  - Ben Gordon's Blog
October 22nd, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you outstanding songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, red-hot recording artist Dua Lipa channels the synth-pop sound of the 1980s with her 2020 international dance hit, "Physical."

In this song inspired by Olivia Newton-John's 1981 classic of the same name, Lipa uses a gem metaphor to describe the extraordinary feeling of being head-over-heels in love.

She sings, "Common love isn't for us / We created something phenomenal / Don't you agree? / Don't you agree? / You got me feeling diamond rich / Nothing on this planet compares to it / Don't you agree? / Don't you agree?"

Lipa told Billboard magazine that the song she wrote with Jason Evigan, Clarence Coffee Jr. and Sarah Hudson is very '80s inspired.

"It's quite Flashdance-y," she said, referencing the 1983 cult classic. "It's fun, you can dance to it. It's definitely my craziest of high energy songs."

The retro vibe of "Physical" instantly connected with the Brit's international fan base. The song charted in 48 countries, including #1 spots in Croatia, Israel, Lebanon, Poland and Slovakia. The song went platinum in the US, Canada and the UK.

"Physical" earned the critical acclaim of music critics, as well. They called it "this decade's perfect workout song," "a perfect pop song" and "an instant classic." It was also nominated for International Song of the Year at the 2020 NRJ Music Awards and Song of the Year at the 2021 Brit Awards.

Now 26, the London-born model-turned-singer was musically influenced by her father, who was the frontman of the Kosovan rock band, Oda.

At Fitzjohn's Primary School in London, Lipa wasn't disheartened when the teacher heading the school choir told her "she could not sing." Instead, the nine-year-old took weekend singing lessons at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.

As a high-schooler, she uploaded to YouTube videos of herself covering the songs of Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera.

Lipa became a model, which led to a role as the "singer" in and ad for The X Factor music competition show in 2013. A year later, she would ink a deal with Warner Bros. Records.

Please check out the audio track of Lipa performing "Physical." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

Written by Dua Lipa, Jason Evigan, Clarence Coffee Jr. and Sarah Hudson. Performed by Dua Lipa.

Common love isn't for us
We created something phenomenal
Don't you agree?
Don't you agree?
You got me feeling diamond rich
Nothing on this planet compares to it
Don't you agree?
Don't you agree?

Who needs to go to sleep, when I got you next to me?

All night I'll riot with you
I know you got my back and you know I got you
So come on, come on, come on
Let's get physical
Lights out, follow the noise
Baby keep on dancing like you ain't got a choice
So come on, come on, come on
Let's get physical

Adrenaline keeps on rushing in
Love the simulation we're dreaming in
Don't you agree?
Don't you agree?
I don't wanna live another life
Cuz this one's pretty nice
Living it up

Who needs to go to sleep, when I got you next to me?

All night I'll riot with you
I know you got my back and you know I got you
So come on, come on, come on
Let's get physical
Lights out, follow the noise
Baby keep on dancing like you ain't got a choice
So come on, come on, come on
Let's get physical

Hold on just a little tighter
Come on
Hold on, tell me if you're ready
Come on
Baby keep on dancing
Let's get physical
Hold on just a little tighter
Come on
Hold on, tell me if you're ready
Come on
Baby keep on dancing
Let's get physical

All night I'll riot with you
I know you got my back and you know I got you
So come on, come on, come on
Let's get physical
Lights out, follow the noise
Baby keep on dancing like you ain't got a choice
So come on, come on, come on
Let's get physical

Let's get physical
Let's get physical
Come on, physical

Credit: Image by Justin Higuchi from Los Angeles, CA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
October 21st, 2021
The Milwaukee Bucks received their truly innovative 2020-2021 NBA championship ring/pendants during a special on-court ceremony before their season opener Tuesday night against the Brooklyn Nets at Fiserv Forum.

Designed by Jason Arasheben, CEO of Jason of Beverly Hills, the convertible jewelry — which features more than 400 diamonds — addresses the dilemma of today's professional athlete: How to comfortably wear an enormous championship ring.

“We wanted to once again rewrite the rules of what a championship ring should be,” said Arasheben. “We sought to create something that had a bit more versatility than rings of the past. As championship rings have gotten bigger, they have become less and less practical to wear."

The jeweler and his team developed a push-button system that allows the players to remove the top of the ring and wear it as a pendant. In the video below, the animation shows how the top spins off to reveal a hidden bail that swings out to accept a chain.

With the top off, the lower portion of the ring, reveals a QR code that, when scanned with a smartphone, plays a highlight video of the Bucks' championship season.

The ring vividly tells the story of the Bucks' history and championship season. It also features many symbolic references baked into the choices of stones and precious metals used.

For instance, the Milwaukee Bucks championship ring has 360 diamonds on the top to represent the total wins since the current ownership purchased the team.

The 16 emerald-shaped diamonds on the left side of the ring represent the 16 playoff wins during the 2021 NBA Playoffs, while another 16 emerald-shaped diamonds on the right side of the ring represent the 16 division titles in team history.

In total, there are approximately 4.14 carats of emeralds in the design, representing the 414 Milwaukee area code. The 50 round stones on the inner bezel stand for the 50 years since the team’s last championship win.

There are two trophies on the inside shank to represent the two franchise championships, and Fiserv Forum’s brick-themed architecture is also prominent on the side of the ring.

The NBA Larry O’Brien Trophy on the face of the ring is made up of a signature batch of 65.3-karat yellow gold, which represents the team's winning percentage during the championship season.

Even the carat weight of the stones has meaning. Approximately 3 carats of diamonds on the shank represent the three conference championships in Bucks history.

The left side of the ring includes the team's rallying cry, "Fear the Deer," as well as the player's name, uniform number and the team name, "BUCKS."

The right side of the ring carries the phrase "BUCKS IN 6," which is the number of games it took the champions to beat the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals. Also noted are the win-loss records for the four playoff series, the city name Milwaukee, the year 2021, the Larry O'Brien Trophy, and the score of the deciding game in the championship series, 105-98.

Check out the video showing how the ring transforms into a pendant…

Credits: Images courtesy of Jason of Beverly Hills.
October 20th, 2021
Carrying a pre-sale high estimate of $10.8 million, a 6.75-carat fancy vivid purple-pink heart-shaped diamond set in a platinum ring with yellow gold prongs has the honor of being the top lot at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Sale in Geneva on November 9.

The gorgeous ring is one of five diamond lots with high estimates surpassing $4 million. Here's a look at the head-turners that will be up for grabs at the Geneva Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues.

-- Exceptional Colored Diamond Ring (Lot 77). The purple-pink diamond mentioned previously is flanked by colorless tapered baguettes and features a hidden — but beautifully finished — yellow gold gallery in a shape that mirrors the center stone. The diamond's shape is officially classified as a heart modified brilliant-cut. Estimated price range: $7.5 million to $10.8 million.

-- Exceptional Unmounted Diamond (Lot 11). This pear modified brilliant-cut diamond weighs an astounding 55.50 carats and is the largest of all the diamonds being offered at the Christie's sale. It earned a color rating of D and a clarity rating of VVS2. This is a Type IIa diamond, which means that it is colorless and chemically pure with no traces of nitrogen or boron. Estimated price range: $4.3 million to $5.4 million.

-- Important Diamond Ring (Lot 52). Also a Type IIa diamond, this 43.19 carat oval brilliant-cut diamond is flanked by baguettes and set in a platinum ring. The D-flawless diamond is secured with four claw prongs. Estimated price range: $3.2 million to $4.3 million.

-- Exceptional Colored Diamond and Diamond Ring (Lot 71). A fancy vivid yellow rectangular cut-cornered diamond of 42.98 carats is complemented by a pair of kite-shaped diamonds with 1.70 and 1.69 carats, respectively, in this stunning platinum and yellow gold ring. The yellow diamond carries a clarity rating of VVS1. Estimated price range: $2.1 million to $4.3 million.

-- Harry Winston Colored Diamond and Diamond Brooch (Lot 76). A fancy light pink marquise brilliant-cut diamond of 7.37 carats adds a bloom of color to this floral-motif diamond brooch. The pink diamond is surrounded by a colorless 10.31-carat marquise pear brilliant-cut diamond and colorless pear brilliant-cut diamonds weighing 9.59, 9.38 and 4.87 carats. Eight smaller colorless marquise-shaped diamonds fill out the stem. The piece carries the maker's mark Jacques Timey and is displayed in a black Harry Winston case. Estimated price range: $2.1 million to $4.3 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.
October 19th, 2021
Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker surprised reality star Kourtney Kardashian with a massive, oval-cut diamond engagement ring on Sunday. The proposal took place within a heart of red roses at the beachfront Rosewood Miramar Hotel in Montecito, CA.

Based on photos of the ring that began flooding Instagram on Monday, the oval diamond could be as large as 15 carats with a value upwards of $1 million. The ring design is a simple platinum solitaire with a pavé diamond band.

Kardashian shared two proposal pics with her 147 million Instagram followers. Her simple caption read, "forever."

Sister Kim Kardashian later posted a video to Instagram of her sister and Barker enjoying a celebratory dinner with their families. During the clip, Kim zooms in on the oval diamond on her sister's finger. Using a fun mashup of the new engaged couple's names, she wrote, "KRAVIS FOREVER."

Also on Monday, Atiana De La Hoya, the daughter of Barker's ex, Shanna Moakler, posted a clear shot of Kourney's ring to her Instagram Story.

An eyewitness to the proposal told E! News, "It looked very romantic. I could see Kourtney smiling from ear to ear and put her hand over her mouth looking surprised. The family cheered for them and went back into the hotel."

It's also being reported that the romantic moment was filmed for the Kardashian's upcoming, still-untitled Hulu series.

Celebrity jewelers are generally placing the weight of the diamond in the range of 8 to 15 carats and the value in the range of $350,000 to $1 million, depending on the actual size and quality of the diamond.

Barker, 45, and Kardashian, 42, went public with their relationship in January of 2021. Throughout this year, they've been hinting on social media that their relationship was evolving into a lifelong commitment.

This will be the first marriage for Kardashian, although the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star has three children with former boyfriend and fellow TV personality Scott Disick. The upcoming nuptials will be the third for Barker, who was formerly married Melissa Kennedy (2001 to 2002) and Moakler and (2004 to 2008). He shares two children with the latter.

Credits: Screen capture of beach proposal via / kourtneykardash; Screen capture of dinner celebraton via / kimkardashian; Screen capture of ring closeup via / atianadelahoya.
October 18th, 2021
A rare 93-carat natural black diamond — one of the largest in the world — recently made its debut at the Natural History Museum in London. The limited engagement will run for 12 months.

The “Anastacia Diamond” was cut from a rough gem weighing just over 300 carats, which likely originated from Brazil. The rough diamond was acquired by the owner's family during the late 1800s in Goa, India, which was well known as a gem-cutting center at the time. The gemstone has remained with the family since. More recently, the stone was named for the owner's daughter.

The diamond was set into a pendant that features a large crescent moon and three yellow-diamond stars on the front and a depiction of the constellation Al-Dubb al-Akbar (a.k.a Ursa Major) rendered in diamonds on the back. The pendant, which includes 41 colorless diamonds and 26 yellow diamonds, was designed specifically for the diamond's namesake.

The “Anastacia Diamond” is now the largest diamond of any color on display at the museum. It can be see in "The Vault," alongside other impressive gems and minerals, including the Aurora Pyramid of Hope (the largest collection of fancy colored diamonds currently on display in the world), the 1,384 carat Devonshire Emerald and the recently discovered Winchcombe Meteor.

Black diamonds are different from other colored diamonds because they do not get their color from chemical impurities, such as nitrogen, hydrogen or boron, in the diamond’s makeup. Instead, black diamonds owe their color to numerous dark inclusions (mostly graphite). Their opaqueness is caused by a “polycrystalline” structure that inhibits the reflection of light.

According to the Natural History Museum, the inclusions made the cutting and polishing of the gemstone much more challenging. The tiny interlocking grains can be seen as lines on the surface of the polished faces. The diamond is translucent rather than opaque, and the inclusions can be seen as scattered "glitter" within.

The “Anastacia Diamond” is 25.5 carats larger than the world-famous Black Orlov diamond, which was discovered in the early 1800s in India and weighs 67.50 carats. That gem had been previously displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Natural History Museum, London.

The London museum is recognized as a leading science research center and the most-visited natural history museum in Europe. The Natural History Museum in London welcomes more than five million visitors each year, while its digital content reaches hundreds of thousands of people in more than 200 countries each month. Touring exhibitions hosted by the museum have been seen by approximately 30 million people in the past 10 years.

The museum is also the custodian of one of the world’s most important scientific collections, comprising more than 80 million specimens. The museum’s 300 scientists continue to represent one of the largest groups in the world studying and enabling research into every aspect of the natural world.

Credits: Jewelry images © Trustees of the Natural History Museum London, used with permission. Museum image by Chiuchihmin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
October 15th, 2021
Eddie Murphy's movies have earned more than $6 billion at the box office, but did you know that the actor-comedian-writer-producer also came thisclose to topping the Billboard music charts in 1985 with his hit song, “Party All the Time”?

The synth-pop ditty penned by Rick James is about a heartbroken lover who is clueless about why his girlfriend likes to party without him even though he lavishes her with expensive gifts, including diamond rings.

He sings, “I buy you champagne and roses and diamonds on your finger (Diamonds on your finger) / Still you hang out all night / What am I to do?”

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun — and often nostalgic — songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title.

Coming off a successful run on NBC’s Saturday Night Live and a Golden Globe nomination for his role as Axel Foley in the movie Beverly Hills Cop, Murphy found himself in an exciting, but strange, new venue — James’s home-based recording studio in Buffalo, NY.

Besides writing “Party All the Time,” the famed “Super Freak” artist produced and arranged the song, provided backup vocals and even appeared in the music video.

The catchy hook, “My girl wants to party all the time, party all the time, party all the time,” proved irresistible to the masses and the song quickly ascended to #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, helped along by MTV, which put the song in heavy rotation.

"Party All the Time" may have been a #1 tune had it not been for Lionel Richie’s “Say You, Say Me," which wouldn't budge out of the top spot in the fall of 1985.

Now, more than 35 years after its release, “Party All the Time” is trying to find its rightful place in music history. The official Youtube video has been viewed more than 64 million times since being posted in 2014. The song accumulated 529,000 likes compared to only 19,000 dislikes.

Despite the overwhelmingly positive reaction of the masses, VH-1, Blender and AOL Radio all ranked "Party All the Time" on their lists of the “Worst Songs Ever.”

Trivia: It's rumored that Murphy recorded "Party All the Time" to settle a $100,000 wager with fellow comedian Richard Pryor, who claimed Murphy had no singing talent.

Please check out the official music video of Murphy performing “Party All the Time.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

Party All the Time”
Written by Rick James. Performed by Eddie Murphy.

I can’t understand it why you want to hurt me
After all the things I’ve done for you.
I buy you champagne and roses and diamonds on your finger –
Diamonds on your finger –
Still you hang out all night
what am I to do?

My girl wants to party all the time

Party all the time
party all the time.
My girl wants to party all the time
party all the time.

She parties all the time party all the time
She likes to party all the time party all the time
Party all the time she likes to party all the time
Party all the time.

I’ve seen you in clubs just hanging out and dancing.
You give your number to every man you see.
You never come home at night because you’re out romancing
I wish you bring some of your love home to me.

But my girl wants to party all the time
My girl wants to party all the time

party she likes to party all the time.
She likes to party all the time
She lets her hair down
she lets her body down,
She lets her body
She lets her body down.
Party all the time do you want to get any party
Party all the time party all the time.

Credit: Screen capture via / Eddie Murphy.
October 14th, 2021
"What gemstone is found in Utah that is rarer than diamond and more valuable than gold?"

That was the compelling headline penned in 2002 by the Utah Geological Survey to introduce its readers to red beryl, a little known gemstone found primarily in the state's Wah Wah Mountains.

Discovered in 1904 by Maynard Bixby, this raspberry-red gem had the bookkeeper-turned-miner scratching his head. He had a hunch that the stunning crystals represented a variety of beryl, but the red color didn't correlate with any beryl known to exist at the time.

Today, the best-known varieties of beryl include emerald (green), aquamarine (blue), morganite (pink) and heliodor (yellow).

One year after Bixby's discovery, W.F. Hillebrand, a geochemist from the National College in Washington, D.C., confirmed that Bixby's find was a new type of beryl. In 1912, Dr. A. Eppler named the fiery gem "bixbite" in his honor.

Over time, bixbite assumed several names, including "red emerald" and the more proper "red beryl." The name bixbite fell out of favor because it was often confused with bixbyite, a black manganese iron oxide also discovered by Bixby, in 1897.

Even though more than 100 years have passed since Bixby first encountered the curious red variety of beryl, the mineral has been unearthed in just a few locations — Utah's Thomas Range, Utah's Wah Wah Mountains and New Mexico's Black Range.

Of the three, only the Wah Wah Mountains have produced gem-grade crystals that are large enough to be faceted. The gems are primarily sourced at the Ruby-Violet Claim in Beaver County, Utah. The best specimens of red beryl display a raspberry-pink to slightly purplish-red color.

Writing for the Utah Geological Survey, Carl Ege noted that red beryl was worth 1,000 times more than gold and was so rare that one red beryl crystal is found for every 150,000 diamonds. Because red beryl is rarely found in large sizes, the Gemmological Association of Great Britain estimated that a 2-carat beryl has the same rarity as a 40 carat diamond.

The British gem association reported that the largest known faceted red beryl weighs in at 8 carats. wrote that most fine red beryl crystal specimens are "zealously guarded by mineral collectors and never faceted." The one shown, above, is part of the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection in Washington, DC.

Credits: Faceted red beryl photo by DonGuennie (G-Empire The World Of Gems), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Red beryl crystal photo by Chip Clark / Smithsonian.
October 13th, 2021
A colorful array of 355 gemstones imitate embroidered fabric in a Fabergé brooch that will be auctioned by Christie's London on November 29. The auction house set the presale high estimate at $122,000.

Christie's noted that the "incredibly delicate and rare brooch is one of the most imaginative and recognizable designs produced by Fabergé."

Peter Carl Fabergé and his company famously designed a series of 50 bejeweled eggs for the Russian Imperial Family from 1885 to 1917. Alexander III and Nicholas II commissioned many of the “Imperial” eggs as Easter gifts for their wives and mothers. The meticulously crafted objets d’art were produced up until the Russian Revolution, when the Fabergé family fled Russia.

Designed in St. Petersburg circa 1913, the piece seen above measures only 4.3 cm across (about 1 5/8 inches). Despite its small size, the platinum trellis-work panel contains 640 holes — 40 across and 16 down. More than half of them are set with diamonds, rubies, topaz, sapphires, demantoids, garnets and emeralds in a Russian-influenced floral motif. The perimeter of the brooch is framed by diamonds, but many of the holes just inside the perimeter are left empty to create a sense of dimension and negative space.

Fabergé artisans cut each of the square holes by hand and each gemstone had to be calibré-cut in such a way that it would perfectly fit into its designated space of approximately 1mm x 1mm.

According to Christie's, the same technique was employed for the Imperial Mosaic Egg presented by Nicholas II to his wife Alexandra Feodorovna in 1914. That egg is now part of the Royal Collection.

The Mosaic Egg was designed by Alma Pihl (1888-1976), who had deep ties with the Fabergé organization. Her father, Oscar Pihl, was head of Fabergé’s jewelry workshop in Moscow and her grandfather, August Holmström, was a Fabergé workmaster. According to jewelry-industry lore, Alma Pihl was inspired to produce the floral embroidery motif after watching her mother-in-law do needlework by the fireside.

Most recently, the piece was owned by Harry Woolf, a London-based businessman, who began to collect Fabergé items in the early 1970s. Christie's November 29 auction is titled "A Selection of Fabergé Masterpieces from the Harry Woolf Collection."

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.
October 12th, 2021
Hailing from San Diego County, CA, and standing 11 inches tall is “The Steamboat” tourmaline — a truly amazing example of October's birthstone.

The specimen’s two parallel crystals — which resemble steamboat stacks — display a range of vibrant colors that start at vivid reddish-pink at the bottom and transition to a bright bluish-green at the top. The tourmaline crystals rise out of a base of Cleavelandite, which is perched atop a large quartz crystal "hull."

Frank Barlow Schuyler is credited with discovering the fascinating formation at the Tourmaline King Mine in 1907. Three years earlier, Schuyler and a partner, D.G. Harrington, literally stumbled upon an enormous pocket of tourmaline crystals while searching for pegmatite in the Pala Chief Mountains.

Schuyler soon discovered that the tourmaline-rich pocket extended 30 feet in length and 10 feet wide, a single zone that would yield about eight tons of beautiful pink tourmaline. Schuyler would eventually sell most of the bounty to the Imperial Chinese government for $187.50 per pound. The $3 million worth of tourmaline that was pulled from the mine more than a century ago would be worth more than $86 million in today's dollars.

By 1915, Schuyler was still riding the wave of his tourmaline-based good fortune. At the Panama Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco, the owner of the Tourmaline King Mine marketed his gems with the slogan, “Wear a tourmaline for luck.”

The “Steamboat” tourmaline was later purchased by master engineer Washington A. Roebling, who included it in his collection of 16,000 mineral specimens. Roebling was most famous for supervising the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Roebling’s son, John A. Roebling II, donated “The Steamboat” to the Smithsonian Institution, where it is has been on permanent display at the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals, which is part of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

According to the Smithsonian, the tourmaline family consists of more than 30 distinct minerals, but only one — elbaite — accounts for nearly all of the tourmaline gemstones. Varieties of gem-quality elbaite include rubellite (red-pink), indicolite (blue), Paraiba (neon greenish-blue) and the multicolored watermelon (pink surrounded by green).

Tourmaline shares the spotlight with opal as the official birthstones for the month of October.

Credits: Photos by Dane A. Penland / Smithsonian.
October 11th, 2021
Monica Puig, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in women's tennis, has a lot to smile about despite having to bow out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to multiple surgeries. The Puerto Rican athlete announced with a series of Instagram photos that she got engaged over the weekend to fellow athlete Nathan Rakitt.

The jagged mountains of Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona served as a majestic backdrop for a romantic proposal that saw Rakitt going down and one knee and presenting his girlfriend with what we believe is a princess-cut diamond ring.

"He said: Ready to jump?! I SAID YES!!!!!!" Puig wrote on Instagram. She punctuated her caption with two emojis: a red heart and a diamond ring.

Rakitt shared the same photos on his Instagram and exclaimed, "SHE SAID YES!!!!!!!"

Puig added a closeup photo on her ring to her Instagram story and captioned it, "Ninety percent sure I'm still dreaming."

A second image on her Instagram story showed the athlete in a workout room. She's grasping her morning coffee and aiming her new ring at the camera. She wrote, “Actin totally different this morning" and added three diamond ring emojis.

The tennis star also cleverly established a catchy wedding hashtag — #RacketsToRakitts — that links her profession to her new fiancé's last name.

Puig has been battling a series of injuries that prevented her from defending her Olympic crown. She had elbow surgery in December of 2020 and went under the knife again in June 2021 to have her rotator cuff and bicep tendon repaired.

Still, the 28-year-old told that her goal is to compete at the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

It's not clear how long the couple has been dating, but reported that Puig began commenting on the 28-year-old Rakitt's Instagram posts in December of 2020.

This past April, the relationship seemed to advance to the next level on Instagram, where the couple traded sweet comments, each punctuated by a red heart emoji. Rakitt posted a photo of him and Puig and captioned it, "This girl." She commented, "I love you."

Credits: Images via Instagram / monicaace93 and Instagram / nrakitt.