The Jewelry Judge  - Ben Gordon's Blog
July 19th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you terrific tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country star Dwight Yoakam performs "If Teardrops Were Diamonds," a song that uses precious gemstones to illustrate the magnitude of his heartache.

Written by Yoakam and sung as a duet with music-industry legend Willie Nelson, the song paints a vivid picture of highways paved with diamonds, mountains formed by rubies and the whole world colored by emeralds.

Yoakam's diamond verse goes like this: "If teardrops were diamonds / And only mine were used / They could pave every highway / Coast to coast / And not be close to through / If teardrops were diamonds / Cold blue."

In the second verse, Nelson sings about rubies: "If heartaches were rubies / Stacked up just like stones / There would be a mountain / Ten miles high / Built by mine alone/ If heartaches were rubies / Mine alone."

Yoakam and Nelson share the third verse about emeralds: "If sad thoughts were emeralds / And with not counting / In between / Just half the ones / I've had today / Could turn / The whole world green."

"If Teardrops Were Diamonds" appeared as the eighth track on Yoakam's 13th studio album, Population Me. Although the song was never released as a single, the album did well, reaching #8 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

Born in Pikesville, Ky., in 1956, to a key-punch operator mom and a gas station owner dad, Dwight David Yoakam was raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he sang and played guitar with local garage bands. He attended Ohio State University, but dropped out to pursue a music career in Los Angeles.

Today, Yoakam can claim 16-time Grammy nominations, 12 gold albums, nine platinum albums and more than 25 million records sold. He also has the distinction of being the most frequent musical guest in the history of The Tonight Show.

Yoakam is touring this summer, with stops in California, Nevada, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Please check out the audio clip of Yoakam and Nelson performing "If Teardrops Were Diamonds." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"If Teardrops Were Diamonds"
Written by Dwight Yoakam. Performed by Dwight Yoakam, featuring Willie Nelson.

If teardrops were diamonds
And only mine were used
They could pave every highway
Coast to coast

And not be close to through
If teardrops were diamonds
Cold blue
If heartaches were rubies
Stacked up just like stones
There would be a mountain
Ten miles high
Built by mine alone
If heartaches were rubies
Mine alone
You might begin to understand
The price that love has to pay
For being wrong

If sad thoughts were emeralds
And with not counting
In between
Just half the ones
I've had today
Could turn
The whole world green
If sad thoughts were emeralds
And the world turned green

You might just
Get the message that
There's more to loneliness
Than can be seen
If teardrops were diamonds
And only mine were used...

Credit: Image by dirkhansen [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
July 18th, 2019
Modern Family star Sarah Hyland took to Instagram Tuesday afternoon to post a series of photos affirming her engagement to Bachelor in Paradise personality Wells Adams. Hyland's eye-catching oval-cut diamond engagement ring is front-and-center in a number of the shots taken during the couple's romantic beach vacation.

Celebrity and style websites are reporting that the oval-cut stone weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 to 8 carats, with a retail value of $80,000 to $200,000, depending on its color, cut and clarity.

Without the benefit of a detailed closeup shot of the ring, jewelry-industry insiders were hard pressed to describe the setting. One expert called it a delicate gold solitaire setting, while another said it might be a diamond-accented setting. The white metal is likely platinum.

The 28-year-old actress, who has played Haley Dunphy on ABC's Modern Family since 2009, was head-over-heels excited to report the change in her relationship status. She captioned her Instagram engagement photos with the phrase: "That can't eat, can't sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, world series kind of stuff."

On his Instagram, the 35-year-old DJ posted a behind-the-scenes video of the proposal, along with this caption: "I'll be Johnny, you be June. But forever."

Hyland was quick to comment, "I love you to Pluto and back FIANCÉ. When we get married will I automatically acquire your talent for making everyone cry with a homemade video?"

Hyland and Adams first connected a few years ago when the reality star sent the actress a direct message on Instagram. She told late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel that the message read: “The next time you’re in L.A., I’m taking you out for drinks and tacos.”

That friendship blossomed into true love during a traumatic time for the actress in 2017. She was suffering from health-related issues and was undergoing a second kidney transplant.

“He’s seen me at my worst. I think that’s why I feel the most beautiful in his eyes, because he still finds me beautiful after seeing all that,” she told Self.

Adams rose to fame as a contestant on the 12th season of ABC's The Bachelorette. He later appeared on the third season of ABC's Bachelor in Paradise.

Credits: Images via Instagram/Sarah Hyland.
July 17th, 2019
Bill Wadel, now retired and living in Spotsylvania County, Va., was spectacularly reunited with his high school class ring — a ring that had been lost at the bottom of a pond for nearly 60 years. "What are the odds?" he said.

When Wadel was a student at Gate of Heaven High School in South Boston, he had purchased a Class of 1960 class ring adorned with a blue stone and a gold crest. Instead of wearing it himself, he chose to give it to his high school sweetheart. Within a short time, the ring had vanished.

“She somehow lost it, but wasn’t sure where,” Wadel told “After that happened, I figured it was gone forever.”

Fast-forward to June 2019 and treasure hunter Luke Berube is trolling a shallow pond about an hour from his home near Cape Cod, Mass. He gets a strong signal on his metal detector and descends 10 feet to the bottom to take a closer look. With the location pinpointed, he pushes his hand about five inches into the muck and pulls out a Gate of Heaven class ring etched with the initials WJW.

During his 13 years of scuba diving, the 29-year-old metal detector enthusiast has located more than 400 items. He's found rare coins, precious jewelry and historical artifacts. He also unearths a lot of junky items, such as old beer cans, pop tops and chunks of metal.

Often, Berube is not able to identify the owner of an item because the jewelry does not provide enough clues. But, in the case of the Gate of Heaven class ring, he had sufficient info to do some sleuthing. Berube soon learned that the Gate of Heaven school in South Boston had closed in 2009, but there was still an active alumni page on Facebook.

On the Gate of Heaven Facebook page, Berube posted three photos of the ring and wrote, "Hello everyone. I'm curious to know if there is anyone on here from the class of 1960 or at least 59-61 who may know of someone from the class with the initials WJW. Saturday morning I was scuba diving with my metal detector and I just happened to come across a class ring with Gate of Heaven on the crest with WJW as the inscription. If you happen to know who this may be, please reach out to me through FB or by phone."

According to, the Facebook strategy worked exactly as planned. Within hours, Berube received a text message from Christine Wadel of North Attleboro, Mass. The daughter of Bill confirmed that her dad was, indeed, a 1960 Gate of Heaven graduate. The WJW initials were his: William Joseph Wadel.

“It’s unbelievable to think that my old ring was sitting in a pond for six decades and Luke found it,” Wadel told “What are the odds?”

Christine placed the class ring in a decorative box and presented it to her dad. He sported an ear-to-ear grin as he tried it on for the first time in 60 years. It barely fit on his pinky.

Then Bill brought the story full circle by giving the ring to his current sweetheart, Pam, his wife of nearly 50 years.

“I looked at my wife and said, ‘You want it?’ and she put it on her pinkie finger,” he said.

"Every ring has a story attached to it,” Berube said. “The truth is, I just enjoy looking for them."

Berube is a member of The Ring Finders, a group of metal-detector enthusiasts located throughout the U.S. and Canada. To date, the group that prides itself on reuniting precious keepsakes with their rightful owners has claimed 5,543 recoveries valued at $7.5 million.

Credit: Image by Luke Berube.
July 16th, 2019
A Japanese cosmetics firm is preserving the memory of deceased pets by turning them into pearls.

The loss of a pet can be overwhelming for bereaved owners, but now the Nagasaki-based WBE company is offering a way to immortalize furry companions in a very unusual way.

For about $4,000, the firm will take a bone fragment from a deceased pet and surgically embed it in an oyster. If all goes well, after one year the bone will be at the core of a cultured pearl — a precious keepsake that could be worn close to the heart.

"If we can soothe the grief of the owners who have lost their pets, we will be glad," WBE head Tomoe Masuda told the Japanese publication Yomiuri Shimbun.

The method for growing a pearl from a bone fragment was developed for WBE by Yoshiki Matsushita, a professor at Nagasaki University's graduate school of fisheries and environmental sciences. He came up with the concept after his 10-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Ran passed away.

According to The Daily Mail, Matsushita discovered that if the bone fragment was encased in a ball of resin it was less likely to be rejected by the oyster.

"Each pearl has its own character, as my dog Ran had his own character," Matsushita told The Daily Mail. "He has become a unique treasure."

The process of producing a conventional cultured pearl starts off with a small white bead made from a Pig Toe clam shell. That bead, along with a piece of mantle tissue from another mollusk, is implanted into an oyster.

The oyster protects itself from the irritant by secreting layer upon layer of iridescent nacre. Over time, the bead transforms into a lustrous cultured pearl, which could be round or baroque, depending on how the nacre is layered.

Credit: Image by Hannes Grobe/AWI [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
July 15th, 2019
Rio Tinto just unveiled six super-rare "hero" diamonds from its 2019 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, an annual presentation of the finest production from the famous Australian mine. The 2019 tender could be the last for Rio Tinto, as the mining company will shutter its flagship Argyle mine in 2020 after 37 years of operation.

The Argyle Enigma™, a 1.75-carat modified radiant-cut Fancy Red diamond, is the most noteworthy of the hero stones because it has the distinction of being one of only three fancy reds weighing more than 1.5 carats to be produced by the Argyle mine.

“Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine is the first and only ongoing source of rare pink diamonds in history," said Rio Tinto Copper & Diamonds chief executive Arnaud Soirat. "With the lifecycle of this extraordinary mine approaching its end, we have seen, and continue to see, unstoppable demand for these truly limited-edition diamonds and strong value appreciation.”

In addition to pink diamonds, the Argyle mine, in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia, is also known for producing red, purple and blue specimens.

The six hero diamonds are part of a larger tender collection titled “The Quest for the Absolute.” It includes 64 diamonds weighing a total of 56.28 carats.

Here's a closeup look at the six hero diamonds...

• Lot 1: Argyle Enigma™, 1.75-carat modified radiant Fancy Red diamond;

• Lot 2: Argyle Amari™, 1.48-carat heart-shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond;

• Lot 3: Argyle Elysian™, 1.20-carat modified cushion-shaped Fancy Vivid Pink diamond;

• Lot 4: Argyle Verity™, 1.37-carat oval-shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond;

• Lot 5: Argyle Opus™, 2.01-carat round-shaped Fancy Intense Pink diamond;

• Lot 6: Argyle Avenoir™, 1.07-carat oval-shaped Fancy Red diamond.

These diamonds, each a natural treasure, are a testament to the enormous range and depth of offering from the Argyle ore body, nearly four decades from when production commenced, noted Soirat.

Soirat also paid tribute to “the bold and innovative spirit of employees, communities, customers, suppliers and all those who have contributed to one of the great diamond mines of the world.”

The 2019 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is being showcased in Perth, Hong Kong and New York, with bids closing on October 9, 2019. Over the past 20 years, the value of Argyle pink diamonds sold at the tender have appreciated 500%, according to Rio Tinto.

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto.
July 12th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, rising star Bailey Hefley mends a broken heart and regains her sparkle in the 2019 release, "Dust on a Diamond."

When the song begins, the 27-year-old Little Rock native is looking into a mirror "crying black mascara rain." A failed relationship has her feeling defeated and questioning her self-worth, but then she gathers the strength to fight back and affirm that she was always "good enough." Her former boyfriend's actions can not define her. She's a diamond. He was just the dust that kept her from shining.

She sings, "You’re a diamond / You were trying to shine for a blind man / Wasting all your pretty and your tears on a man who was picking up pennies / With a dime in his hand baby don’t spend any more / Time on tryna figure out whatcha did wrong / I know you thought it was love / But it was lying, that boy was dust / Dust on a diamond."

On her official website, Hefley described the events that led her to co-write "Dust on a Diamond" with Marti Dodson and Linda Greene.

“I went through a really difficult breakup with a guy that I think a lot of girls can relate to,” noted Hefley. “It totally tore me apart. I was in school and I was trying to study and I can remember taking my notebook and just trying to write in the margin little notes to myself. I was so distracted by the fact that I couldn’t move on from this guy. I was so broken and I didn’t believe in myself. I would write little positive notes to myself in the margin and then stand up and go look in the mirror in my bathroom and just cry. As embarrassing as that is, I would just cry and with tears streaming down my face, red eyes, looking in the mirror, saying, ‘You are gonna be okay. You’re good enough. This doesn’t define you.’"

Shortly after going through this emotional trauma, Hefley had a friend who was experiencing a very similar situation. She remembered thinking, "Maybe that’s why God put me through all that pain. I kept wondering why I had to go through it. And then the thought dawned on me that maybe I can help more than just this other girl. Maybe I can write a song about it and help a lot of girls. Maybe I can write the song I wish I had when I was in that place.”

"Dust on a Diamond" is the lead single from Hefley's six-song, soon-to-be-released EP titled Hopeful Romantic.

Her diary-style storytelling was influenced by a childhood marred by debilitating seizures. The powerful medication that kept her alive also left her in a state of perpetual lethargy. As a teenager, she overcame her condition and felt awake for the first time.

"I spent eight years of my life standing back and observing people and watching life from the outside because I was so medicated," Hefley said. "Naturally, I’m a very extroverted person, but during those eight years, I developed a quality of seeing what’s around me. I think it gave me depth and made me a much stronger person."

Hefley's mentor, singer-songwriter Bobby Pinson, helped teach her to channel those experiences into her music.

After studying voice at Nashville’s Belmont University from 2009–2010 and continuing her degree at the University of Arkansas from 2010–2012, Bailey moved to Music City for good in 2012.

Please check out the video of Hefley's acoustic version of "Dust on a Diamond." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

“Dust on a Diamond”
Written by Bailey Hefley, Marti Dodson and Linda Greene. Performed by Bailey Hefley.

All the pretty girls looking in the mirror
Crying black mascara rain
Cause of some pretty boy’s sweet words
That don’t mean anything
Girl you thought you were the only one
Gave your heart up to a hit and run
Now you’re thinking you’re not good enough
But you’re good enough
You were good enough

You’re a diamond
You were trying to shine for a blind man
Wasting all your pretty and your tears on a man who was picking up pennies
With a dime in his hand baby don’t spend any more
Time on tryna figure out whatcha did wrong
I know you thought it was love
But it was lying, that boy was dust
Dust on a diamond

All the broken girls picking up the pieces
From the mess he left you in
Trying to stop your heart from beating so you never fall again
He ain’t gonna be the end of you
He’s just something that you’re going through
One day you’re gonna know that it’s true
That you’re good enough
He wasn’t good enough

You’re a diamond
You were trying to shine for a blind man
Wasting all your pretty and your tears on a man who was picking up pennies
With a dime in his hand baby don’t spend any more
Time on tryna figure out whatcha did wrong
I know you thought it was love
But it was lying, that boy was dust
Dust on a diamond

Get up stand up shake the dust right off your shoulders
Hold head your head up girl you’re better off it’s over (woah)

You’re a diamond
You were trying to shine for a blind man
Wasting all your pretty and your tears on a man who was picking up pennies
With a dime in his hand baby don’t spend any more
Time on tryna figure out whatcha did wrong
I know you thought it was love
But it was lying, that boy was dust
Dust on a diamond

Oh you were dust
Yeah you were
You were

Credit: Screen capture via
July 11th, 2019
Back in February, we got our first peek at the 54.21-carat “Mouawad Dragon" — a fiery gemstone billed as the largest round brilliant-cut fancy vivid yellow diamond in the world. At the time, the Dubai-based luxury diamond house known as Mouawad promised to design a piece of jewelry worthy of its stunning headliner.

“We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to craft this extraordinary diamond from the rough," noted 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.”

On Monday, the luxury diamond house reintroduced the Mouawad Dragon as the centerpiece of a majestic necklace adorned with pear, round and marquise-shaped colorless diamonds. The Mouawad Dragon is framed by a geometric double-row sunburst of colorless diamonds.

The spectacular yellow diamond is part of a four-piece ensemble, which includes a bracelet, earrings, ring and necklace. Called the "Mouawad Dragon Suite," the pieces sparkle with five fancy vivid and deep yellow diamonds totaling more than 153 carats and 432 colorless diamonds totaling more than 272 carats.

The Mouawad Dragon was cut from a rough gem discovered in an alluvial deposit in South Africa. Mouawad’s master cutters painstakingly worked on the stone for more than six months. Their hard work paid off, as the finished piece is now one of the most revered yellow diamonds of all time.

A spokesperson for the luxury jeweler noted the name “Mouawad Dragon” reflects the vibrant color beaming from every facet of the diamond and showcases the power, wisdom and good fortune of the mystical serpent. The yellow color is also reminiscent of a dragon’s magical powers and fiery eye.

How was the Dragon Diamond Suite created? Check out this one-minute video to find out...

Credit: Images courtesy of Mouawad.
July 10th, 2019
NASA is gearing up for a 2022 mission to "Psyche 16," an asteroid containing enough precious metal to make everyone on Earth a billionaire. Located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, Psyche 16's natural resources, which include gold, platinum, iron and nickel, are estimated to be worth $10,000 quadrillion. Written out, that number is $10,000 followed by 15 zeros.

Before you start wondering what you might do with your billion-dollar bounty, consider the fact that NASA's mission to Psyche 16 is strictly scientific. The space agency has no immediate plans to do any mining and the asteroid is way too large to tow back to Earth.

The traditional earth-bound mining community is wondering out loud what would happen to commodity prices if a huge influx of space gold and platinum suddenly hit the market?

It's also hard to imagine how $10,000 quadrillion in new wealth would merge into a world economy that's estimated to be worth a mere $75.5 trillion.

The space agency and its university partners are excited to explore Psyche 16 because it appears to be stripped to its core — a core made of solid metal. Scientists wonder whether Psyche could be the exposed core of an early planet, perhaps the size of Mars, that lost its rocky outer layers due to violent collisions that occurred while the solar system was forming.

Measuring about 140 miles (226 km) in diameter, Psyche 16 is named after the nymph Psyche, who, according to Roman mythology, married Cupid but was put to death by Venus. At Cupid's request, Jupiter — the king of the Gods — made Psyche immortal. The unique metal asteroid was discovered in 1852 by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis.

The space agency is set to launch the Psyche spacecraft in 2022 from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. It will arrive at the asteroid in 2026.

While NASA is not looking to capitalize on the precious metal bounty that Psyche 16 could yield, two space mining companies — Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources — are both looking at smaller, nearby asteroids that could be rich in precious metals.

Credits: Renderings courtesy of SSL/ASU/P. Rubin/NASA/JPL-Caltech.
July 9th, 2019
The world's biggest, heaviest and most valuable coin will make its U.S. debut at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) next Tuesday, July 16.

For only 12 hours — 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — the "1 Tonne Australian Kangaroo" gold coin will be on public display in Experience Square, just outside the NYSE on Broad Street.

Made from 99.99% pure gold, the coin measures 80 cm (31.5 inches) wide and 12 cm (4.5 inches) thick. It weighs one metric ton, which is equivalent to 2,200 pounds or 35,274 ounces. The coin has a face value of $1 million, but at today's gold price, the precious metal alone is worth $49.3 million.

The Perth Mint created the "1 Tonne Australian Kangaroo" in 2011 to bring worldwide attention to its popular annual Australian Kangaroo Gold Bullion Coin Series. A year later, Guinness World Records affirmed its status as the world's largest coin.

The reverse design depicts a bounding red kangaroo surrounded by stylized rays of sunlight. The coin is bordered by the inscription AUSTRALIAN KANGAROO 1 TONNE 9999 GOLD and the year 2012.

The obverse of the coin portrays the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the inscriptions ELIZABETH II, AUSTRALIA and the monetary denomination of 1 MILLION DOLLARS.

The enormous gold coin has rarely left its permanent display at The Perth Mint’s Gold Exhibition in the Land Down Under. It did embark on a promotional tour across Asia and Europe in 2014, and now it is traveling halfway around the world for the one-day New York exhibition.

The Australian coin is 10 times heavier than the previous record-holder, a 100 kg (220 pound) coin designed by the Royal Canadian Mint.

Credits: Images courtesy of The Perth Mint.
July 8th, 2019
Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman gave the four million viewers of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert a close-up look at his three championship rings in a light-hearted segment that nearly resulted in the host keeping the one that got hung up on the knuckle of his left middle finger.

The New England Patriots' wide receiver — looking relaxed minus his signature caveman beard — was all set to talk about a brand new Showtime documentary about his life called 100%: Julian Edelman, but of primary interest to Colbert was the bounty of Super Bowl jewelry Edelman had brought along.

"We have a heavy satchel," said Colbert as he revealed a leather bag that had been hidden behind his desk. He gingerly opened the bag, extracted three ginormous diamond-embellished rings and then stood them up vertically so the TV cameras could focus on them.

The largest of the three rings features 422 diamonds weighing 8.25 carats and 20 blue sapphires totaling 1.60 carats. Edelman and the rest of the New England Patriots were awarded their Super Bowl LIII rings last month during a private ceremony at the home of Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The newest rings have the distinction of being the biggest and blingiest ever created for any team of any sport.

Colbert couldn't resist trying on the rings that represent Patriots' victories in Super Bowls XLIX, LI and LIII.

"I could wear these around my neck," the host joked, implying that they were the size of necklaces, not rings.

Running with the same theme, Colbert asked Edelman, "Do you need to go to the gym? Or do you just curl with these on?"

Then Colbert asked the fearless clutch receiver if he had a favorite of the three.

"Yeah, the next one," Edelman said half-jokingly. The Patriots have earned six Super Bowl titles, a record the team shares with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Colbert easily slipped the oversized rings off his right hand, but the one on the middle finger of his left hand wouldn't budge. Colbert pulled it and twisted it, but it wouldn't come off.

"Sorry, it's mine now," the host joked. Eventually, he managed to get it loose.

Colbert's final question about the rings was a simple one.

"Where do you keep them?" asked the host.

"I have a couple of secret stashes. Pretty much like Fort Knox," said Edelman, comparing the amount of security needed to keep his Super Bowl bounty safe to the depository in Kentucky where the bulk of the nation's gold bullion is kept.

The Showtime documentary 100%: Julian Edelman explores how the undersized, underdog receiver overcame a major injury and other setbacks to become a Super Bowl MVP.

Check out the full segment by clicking the video below...

Credits: Screen captures via Late Show With Stephen Colbert.