The Jewelry Judge  - Ben Gordon's Blog
December 6th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we kick off the season of giving with this little ditty by Andy Williams called "Christmas Holiday."



In the song, Williams describes a picturesque Yuletide scene: A turkey cooking in the oven, fresh snow on the ground and our hero about to surprise the love of his life with a very special gift of fine jewelry.

He sings, "This year, we shall know a wonderful Christmas / And the glow of candlelight / Let's have a fling! / I'll give you my present, a wedding ring! / Hear me sing."

Written by Craig Vincent Smith, "Christmas Holiday" appeared as the sixth track of Williams' popular Merry Christmas album, which was released in 1965 and charted for six consecutive years on the Billboard Christmas Albums list. The album earned a platinum certification, with more than one million copies sold.

Long before he became a star, Williams and his three older brothers performed in a children's choir at the local Presbyterian church in Cincinnati. They formed the Williams Brothers quartet in 1938 when Andy was just 11 years old and made their mark by doing live performances on local radio stations.

After moving to Los Angeles in 1943, the brothers got their big break when Bing Crosby asked them to sing on his hit record "Swinging on a Star." Soon after, the Williams boys got to perform together in a number of musical films.

The youngest Williams brother began his solo career in 1953 and became a regular guest on the Tonight Show Starring Steve Allen.

From 1962 to 1972, Williams was considered one of the most popular vocalists in the U.S. Some of his biggest hits included "Moon River," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and the holiday song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

During the peak of his career, Williams had recorded more gold albums than any solo performer except for Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis and Elvis Presley. He also hosted his own TV show, which earned three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety Series.

Williams, whose voice was described by President Ronald Reagan as a "national treasure," passed away in Branson, Mo., in 2012 at the age of 84.

Please check out the video of Williams' performance of "Christmas Holiday." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Christmas Holiday"
Written by Craig Vincent Smith. Performed by Andy Williams.

Hear the bells ringing
Their ting-a-ling sound.
See the fresh snow,
It's white on the ground.
Hang up the stockings and
Let's have a holiday, today.

Bring out the holly, we mustn't delay!
'Cause all of our friends will be stopping today.
Warm the hot chocolate
And bring out the marshmallow tray.

This year, we shall know a wonderful Christmas
And the glow of candlelight
Let's have a fling!
I'll give you my present, a wedding ring!
Hear me sing.

Turkey's a-cookin' and candy cane sticks,
With reindeer and sleigh bells and good old Saint Nick
Two kids sneakin' kisses beneath all the mistletoe,
As if we didn't know!

This year, we shall know a wonderful Christmas
And the glow of candlelight
Let's have a fling!
I'll give you my present, a wedding ring!
Hear me sing.

Yuletide, good cheer!
Christmas is here.
This one, we'll share,
We haven't a care.

It's Christmas!
Such a very Merry Christmas!
Extraordinary Christmastime is here!


Credits: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
December 5th, 2019
An extraordinary ruby and emerald once owned by philanthropist Jessie Ball du Pont, the wife of American industrialist Alfred Irénée du Pont, highlight two high-profile lots at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale in New York on December 11.



"The Du Pont Ruby" is set in an elaborate platinum and 18-karat gold brooch that's expected to sell in the range of $3.5 million and $5.5 million. The cushion mixed-cut Burmese ruby weighing 11.20 carats is mounted in the center of a heart formed by rectangular and trapezoid-shaped emeralds, as well as French, old and marquise-cut diamonds. Dangling at the sides and bottom of the brooch are five natural saltwater pearls.



"The Du Pont Emerald" weighs 9.11 carats and is adorned with old-cut diamonds in a platinum ring designed by Tiffany & Co. circa 1920. The rectangular step-cut emerald was sourced in Colombia and the ring is expected to fetch $500,000 to $700,000.

Both pieces had been donated to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts by Mrs. du Pont's estate after her death in 1970. The proceeds from the sale of these items will be used by the museum to facilitate future acquisitions.

Mrs. du Pont had been born into Virginia's respected Ball family, with family roots that extended to Mary Ball, the mother of George Washington. Jessie had met Alfred du Pont in 1898 when she was just 14 years old. Twenty-three years later, she would become his third wife.

Alfred was 20 years her senior and rose to prominence through his work in the Du Pont family's gunpowder manufacturing plant. Later, he would amass a fortune through his investments in land and banking. He passed away in 1935.

In the years that followed, Mrs. du Pont became a founding member and original trustee of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Through her influence and generosity, the museum's largest gallery would be named for her distant relative, Mary Ball.



Another top lot at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale is a 30.14-carat Belle Époque sapphire and diamond ring. Designed circa 1915, the ring features a Kashmir sapphire and a platinum band studded with old-cut diamonds. The piece is expected to sell in the range of $3.5 million to $5.5 million.



Auction bidders will also have their eyes on a 3.07-carat fancy vivid blue diamond ring. It features a round-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut center stone boasting a clarity of VVS1. The estimated selling price is $3 million to $4 million.



Rounding out the top lots at the auction is a diamond ring of 24.13 carats. The rectangular-cut center stone is rated D-flawless and is accented with trapezoid-shaped side stones. It is expected to fetch $2 million to $3 million.

An auction preview will be held at Christie’s Galleries at 20 Rockefeller Center in New York City from December 6 to December 10.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.
December 4th, 2019
Adorned with three million Swarovski crystals, the 900-pound star atop the 77-foot-tall Norway spruce at New York's Rockefeller Center will come to life tonight during the tree-lighting ceremony that will be broadcast on NBC.



The mammoth star, which has a diameter of 9 feet 4 inches, was lifted to the top of the tree by crane operators on November 13, just three days after the tree arrived from Orange County, N.Y. Each of the 70 rays of the Swarovski Star is designed to glow from within, with the light refracted by the crystal surface, creating a sparkling effect.

The tree was a donated by Carol Schultz, who said it originally lived in a pot on her coffee table before it was big enough to be planted in her garden in 1959.

Holiday season 2019 marks the second time the current star has ascended to the top of the Rockefeller Center tree. The new star made its debut exactly one year ago, replacing a Swarovski Star that had been in service since 2004. That star weighed 550 pounds and was studded with 25,000 crystals, barely 8% of the tally of the current star.



The new star was designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, who created the master plan for the reconstruction of New York’s World Trade Center site. Libeskind said that his Swarovski Star is inspired by the beauty of starlight — something that radiates meaning and mystery into the world.

“The Star is a symbol that represents our greatest ambitions for hope, unity and peace,” he said in 2018. “I am tremendously honored to collaborate with Swarovski on the Star, and with the entire design team, to bring cutting-edge innovation and design to crystal technology.”



The tree will remain lit and on display on the plaza between West 48th and 51st Streets and Fifth and Sixth Avenues through Friday, January 17, 2020. More than half a million people will pass by the tree every day, making Rockefeller Center the epicenter of New York City’s holiday celebrations.

Rockefeller Center officially began its tree-lighting tradition in 1933, when a Christmas tree was erected in front of the then-RCA Building and covered with 700 lights. The lighting ceremony has been broadcast live since 1951.

Tonight's two-hour show starts at 8 p.m. EST and will feature performances by Idina Menzel, Gwen Stefani, John Legend and Lea Michele. The event will be hosted by TODAY show anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker and Craig Melvin.

Credits: Photo of Daniel Libeskind and the Swarovski Star via Twitter.com/Swarovski. Rockefeller Center celebration 2018 by MBurch [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
December 3rd, 2019
"The Indian Blue," a 7.55-carat fancy deep grayish-blue diamond, will be the top lot at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels sale in New York City on December 10.



Described as the "property of a distinguished lady," the cushion-cut center stone has a SI2 clarity and is flanked by two shield-shaped diamonds in a ring that carries a pre-sale estimate of $6 million to $8 million.

Trace amounts of the chemical element boron are responsible for causing the coloration of natural blue diamonds. According to the Museum of Natural History, “less than one boron atom per million carbon atoms is sufficient to produce the blue coloration.”



Another highlight of the New York auction is "The Majestic Pink," a highly flexible bracelet comprised of 204 radiant and marquise-shaped diamonds of various fancy pink and red hues bordered by similar-cut, near-colorless diamonds. The total weight of the colored diamonds, which range in size from 0.10 carats to 0.47 carats, is 43.34 carats. The bracelet bears the maker's mark, Carvin French, and is expected to sell for about $3 million.



Also scheduled to hit the auction block at Sotheby's on December 10 is a ring featuring an ultra-rare 1.38-carat fancy red diamond. Fancy reds so rare that a typical Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender releases only four, or so, per year. Rio Tinto's Argyle Mine in Western Australia — the primary source of red and pink diamonds — is scheduled to cease operations in 2020, so supplies of these beautiful stones are expected to become even more scarce.

It is believed that red diamonds get their rich color from a molecular structure distortion that occurs as the jewel forms in the earth’s crust. By contrast, other colored diamonds get their color from trace elements, such as boron (yielding a blue diamond) or nitrogen (yielding yellow).

The cushion-cut red diamond is framed by round pink-hued diamonds and square-cut colorless diamonds. The estimated selling price is $1.8 million to $2.8 million.



Highlighted by a 14.37-carat fancy vivid yellow diamond, this brooch by Verdura is expected to fetch $1.6 million to $2.4 million. Resembling a delicate iris, the brooch is centered by the round-cornered, square-cut yellow center stone and accented with petals formed by cabochon sapphires and round colorless diamonds.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.
December 2nd, 2019
It was in the late 1960s when the marketing team at Tiffany & Co. got its first peek at a stunning new gemstone. The intense blue-violet gem had been discovered in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania by a Maasai tribesman named Jumanne Ngoma. At first glance, the specimens appeared to be sapphires, but the Gemological Institute of America revealed that the crystals were a never-before-seen variety of zoisite.



Tiffany wanted to feature the gemstone in a broad-based advertising campaign, but the marketing team had to overcome a huge hurdle. The name “blue zoisite” sounded very much like “blue suicide” — and that alone could have tanked the campaign. So, the team at Tiffany decided to promote the gems as “tanzanite,” a name that would honor their country of origin.

Tiffany’s marketing campaign succeeded in making tanzanite a household name and earned it the title of “Gem of the 20th Century.”

In 2002, the American Gem Trade Association added tanzanite to the jewelry industry’s official birthstone list. Tanzanite joined turquoise and zircon as the official birthstones for December.

Tanzanite is said to be 1,000 times more rare than diamonds due the fact that tanzanite is mined in only one location on earth. The area measures 2km wide by 4km long and the remaining lifespan of the mine is less than 30 years.

Despite tanzanite’s commercial success, Ngoma had never reaped any financial gains from his discovery.

In 2018, Asha Ngoma made a desperate plea to Tanzanian President John Magufuli on behalf of her nearly 80-year-old dad, who was ill and partially paralyzed. The President responded with a reward and well deserved words of praise.

“Mr. Ngoma is a veritable Tanzanian hero,” Magufuli told The Citizen. “But what did he get after discovering tanzanite about 50 years ago? Nothing. Nothing at all. In fact, it is people from other countries who have benefited more from this unique gemstone.”

Magufuli announced that Ngoma would be receiving 100 million shillings (about $44,000) from the Tanzanian government. That amount is nearly twice the average annual salary for a Tanzanian.

Tanzanite’s color is an intoxicating mix of blue and purple, unlike any other gemstone. The mineral comes in a wide range of hues, from light blues or lilacs, to deep indigos and violets. The most valuable tanzanite gemstones display a deep sapphire blue color with highlights of intense violet. The Smithsonian’s website explains that tanzanite exhibits the optical phenomenon of pleochroism, appearing intense blue, violet or red, depending on the direction through which the crystal is viewed.

A Maasai folktale recounts how tanzanite came to be. Once upon a time, the story goes, lightning struck the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, scorching the land. In the aftermath, a spectacular blue crystal was left shimmering in the ashes.

Tanzanite rates a 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. By comparison, diamond rates a 10 and sapphire rates a 9.

Illustrating this story is a beautiful 12.11-carat, trillion-cut tanzanite set in an award-winning platinum ring by Mark Schneider. The designer and his wife, Nancy, gifted the piece to the Smithsonian in 2001, making it the first tanzanite jewelry accessioned into the National Gem Collection.

Credit: Photo by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.
November 27th, 2019
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., the start of a five-day retail feeding frenzy that will see 165.3 million shoppers doing their very best to score great deals and check off as many items as possible on their holiday lists. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the jewelry category is a top-six pick for 2019.



For the 13th year in a row, "gift cards" ranked as the most popular wish list category (requested by 59% of those surveyed), followed by "clothing and accessories" (52%), "books/movies/music/video games" (35%), "electronics" (29%), "home décor" (24%), "jewelry" (23%), "personal care or beauty items" (21%), "sporting goods" (18%) and "home improvement items" (17%).

The NRF also reported that retail sales are expected to climb between 3.8% and 4.2% to $730.7 billion this holiday season, with the average consumer spending $1,047.

According to the NRF, 39.6 million consumers are expecting to shop on Thanksgiving Day, 114.6 million on Black Friday, 66.6 million on Small Business Saturday and 33.3 million on Sunday. The shopping weekend will wrap up on Cyber Monday, when 68.7 million are expected to take advantage of online bargains.

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said younger consumers are significantly more likely to shop over the Thanksgiving weekend. Among those ages 18 to 24, 88% say they are likely to shop and particularly enjoy the social aspect. Similarly, 84% of those ages 25 to 34 plan to shop. That compares with 69% of holiday shoppers overall.

Of those planning to shop, there is an almost even split of people who plan to start their shopping in-store (47%) compared with those who plan to start online (41%). Interestingly, those under 25 are even more likely to say they expect to start shopping in-store (52%).

The NRF asked those intending to shop Thanksgiving weekend what they like about the experience...

• The deals are too good to pass up (65%)
• Tradition (28%)
• It's when they like to start their holiday shopping (22%)
• It's something to do over the holiday (21%)
• It's a group activity with friends/family (17%)

For consumers who did not plan to shop in-store or online this Thanksgiving weekend, more than half (53%) said that there are some things that could change their minds...

• A sale or discount on an item they want (26%)
• If a family member or friend invites them to shop (12%)
• If they could be sure the items they want are available (11%)
• A free shipping offer (11%).

Due to quirks in this year's calendar, there are only 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, down six days from 2018 and the shortest number possible, but the NRF statistics show that overall spending will not be affected due to the number of consumers who got their shopping started earlier in 2019.

The survey, which asked 7,917 consumers about their Thanksgiving weekend plans, was conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics from October 31 through November 6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

Credit: Image by BigStockPhoto.com.
November 26th, 2019
Alrosa is using advanced mapping technology to take the guesswork out of the risky, high-stakes business of rough-diamond buying. During its October 2019 trading period, the Russian diamond mining company tested Digital Tenders, a program that provided buyers with a three-dimensional scan and detailed analysis of each rough diamond.



The technology behind Digital Tenders is Sarine's Galaxy inclusion mapping and DiaExpert planning. The scan of the rough diamond represents its detailed external shape, internal inclusions and anticipated color and fluorescence. What's more, the mapping system can evaluate the optimum size and shape of the resulting polished diamond.

“Digital Tenders for rough diamonds allow us to improve our customers’ experience by reducing the risk associated with their purchasing decisions," said Evgeny Agureev, Deputy CEO of Alrosa. "This ensures their long-term sustainable profitability as well as streamlines manufacturing processes after procurement of the stones."



Agureev added that Digital Tenders gives his company the ability to show products to a large variety of clients within a short timeframe.

"This is a very good example where digital technology enables the parties to end up in a win-win situation," he said.

Before the introduction of Digital Tenders, rough diamond buyers were required to visit a designated Alrosa office, where the variety of goods could be examined by only a limited number of experts. According to Alrosa, Digital Tenders allow the procurement experts to share the scan with their full planning team, including the cutters at their polishing factory.

Though this is still a pilot project, Alrosa reports that the sales results from October reflect its clients interest in the new offering.

"The diamond industry is evolving," said David Block, CEO of Sarine Technologie, "and rough diamond buyers are seeking ever more information in order to ensure decisions that are the most effective."

Credits: Images of Sarine's DiaExpert device via Instagram/AlrosaDiamonds.
November 25th, 2019
Russia’s Alrosa diamond mining company announced Thursday that the curious "diamond in a diamond" revealed on social media in early September has been added to its collection of rare finds — and is not for sale.



In early September, Alrosa surprised its Instagram followers with a video that seemed to show a tiny rough diamond moving freely in the cavity of a larger one. The caption read, “A diamond in a diamond? We couldn’t help but share this very special find with you.”

At the time, Alrosa wasn’t quite sure what to make of the phenomenon. Nobody at the mining company had ever seen anything like it. Five weeks later, Alrosa scientists confirmed that both the host and smaller crystal were diamonds.

They named the double-diamond “Matryoshka” because its strange configuration is reminiscent of the popular Russian nesting dolls. The specimen, which weighs only 0.62 carats, was discovered in Yakutia at Alrosa's Nyurba mining and processing division.

Matryoshka joins Alrosa's ever-growing collection of diamond wonders. These include crystals that resemble a soccer ball, a Valentine heart, a skull and a fish.

Interestingly, some of Alrosa's most unusually shaped diamonds have come to light at the most opportune times.



For instance, an Alrosa discovery in July of 2018 had us wondering out loud if Mother Nature was a World Cup soccer fan. Just three days prior to the Russian national soccer team’s exciting quarterfinal match against Croatia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, Alrosa discovered a diamond that looks amazingly like a soccer ball.



In February of 2019, Alrosa revealed a 65.7-carat rough diamond that had an uncanny resemblance to a Valentine heart.

“Diamonds of a distinctive shape that resemble some object or symbol are extremely rare in nature," Alrosa's deputy CEO Evgeny Agureev said at the time. "Most rough diamonds are octahedron-shaped or do not have a particular shape at all. The appearance of a heart-shaped rough diamond, especially on the eve of Valentine's Day, seems to be a symbolic gift of nature not only to our company, but also to all loving couples.”



Alrosa noted that a 24-carat, skull-shaped stone was unearthed prior to Halloween in 2018.



In August of 2019, the company posted to Instagram a photo of a rough stone resembling a fish. It had been discovered back in 2002, and was revisited to help promote the firm's ecology efforts, which include releasing hundreds of thousands of fish into the rivers near its mining operation in Yakutia.

Credits: Diamond images courtesy of Alrosa Diamonds and via Alrosa/Instagram. Soccer ball image by Pumbaa80 (Self-published work by Pumbaa80) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons.
November 22nd, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Meat Loaf’s 1978 rock classic happens to qualify in two categories, and “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.”



In his signature song, Meat Loaf has been jettisoned by a girlfriend who demanded — but didn't receive — a “love” commitment. Meat Loaf confesses that he wants her and needs her, but there ain’t no way he’s ever going to love her. “But, don’t be sad,” he sings, “cause two out of three ain’t bad.”

Meat Loaf uses precious metal and gemstone symbolism to define his inadequacies as a partner. He sings, “You’ll never find your gold on a sandy beach / You’ll never drill for oil on a city street / I know you’re looking for a ruby in a mountain of rocks / But there ain’t no Coupe de Ville hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box.”

In the end, we learn that the reason Meat Loaf can't commit to a new relationship is because his heart was broken "so many years ago" by the only woman he ever loved. Not coincidentally, she told him, "I want you, I need you, but there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you."

Composer Jim Steinman wrote this power ballad for Meat Loaf’s iconic Bat Out of Hell album, one of the most successful albums of all time with more than 43 million copies sold worldwide. “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” reached #11 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remains one of Meat Loaf’s most memorable tunes.

In a 2003 interview with VH1, Steinman explained that “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” was spawned when a friend recommended that he try to write an uncomplicated song, similar to Elvis Presley’s “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.”

Meat Loaf’s powerful vocals and three-octave range has helped to propel his stellar career. Born Michael Lee Aday in Dallas in 1947, Meat Loaf is one of the most successful recording artists of all time, having sold more than 80 million records.

Please check out the video of Meat Loaf performing “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”
Written by Jim Steinman. Performed by Meat Loaf.

Baby we can talk all night
But that ain’t gettin' us nowhere
I told you everything I possibly can
There’s nothing left inside of here
And maybe you can cry all night
But that’ll never change the way I feel
The snow is really piling up outside
I wish you wouldn’t make me leave here
I poured it on and I poured it out
I tried to show you just how much I care
I’m tired of words and I’m too hoarse to shout
But you’ve been cold to me so long
I’m crying icicles instead of tears

And all I can do is keep on telling you
I want you, I need you
But there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you
Now don’t be sad
’Cause two out of three ain’t bad
Now don’t be sad
’Cause two out of three ain’t bad
You’ll never find your gold on a sandy beach
You’ll never drill for oil on a city street
I know you’re looking for a ruby in a mountain of rocks
But there ain’t no Coupe de Ville hiding at the bottom
Of a Cracker Jack box

I can’t lie, I can’t tell you that I’m something I’m not
No matter how I try
I’ll never be able to give you something
Something that I just haven’t got
There’s only one girl I’ll ever love
And that was so many years ago
And though I know I’ll never get her out of my heart
She never loved me back
Oh I know

I remember how she left me on a stormy night
She kissed me and got out of our bed
And though I pleaded and I begged her not to walk out that door
She packed her bags and turned right away

And she kept on telling me
She kept on telling me
She kept on telling me
I want you, I need you

But there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you
Now don’t be sad
’Cause two out of three ain’t bad
I want you, I need you
But there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you
Now don’t be sad
’Cause two out of three ain’t bad
Baby we can talk all night
But that ain’t getting us nowhere


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
November 21st, 2019
One of four gold medals won by American Jesse Owens during the 1936 Olympic Games in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany is up for grabs at an online auction taking place now through December 7. The opening bid at GoldinAuctions.com is $250,000, but recent history tells us this very special piece of sports memorabilia could sell for $1 million or more.



Back in 2013, billionaire Ron Burkle plunked down $1.46 million for an Owens gold medal from the same Berlin Olympics. It was the highest price ever paid for a piece of Olympic memorabilia.



Owens’ performance in Berlin was one of the most significant in Olympic history because Hitler was convinced the Games would showcase what he believed was the superiority of the Aryan race. Instead, the 23-year-old son of an Alabama share cropper embarrassed the German dictator by dominating his athletes with decisive wins in the 100- and 200-meter dash, the long jump and as a member of the 4×100 meter relay team.



Of the four gold medals captured by Owens, the whereabouts of two are unknown. The one purchased by Burkle in 2013 had been gifted by Owens to his good friend, entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. The medal came to SCP Auctions via the estate of Robinson’s wife, Elaine Plaines-Robinson.

The Owens medal being offered by Goldin Auctions was most recently owned by the family of John Terpak, Sr., a weightlifter who met Owens during the 1936 Games. Owens apparently gifted the medal to Terpak in appreciation of his generosity and kindness.

Even though Owens was the first athlete in Olympic history to win four gold medals, his hero status was short-lived. According to Goldin Auctions, racial laws and cultural norms kept Owens from capitalizing on his Olympic triumphs. Because of the color of his skin, there were no corporate endorsements, high paying speaking engagements or coaching offers. Friends, such as Terpak, stepped in to ensure Owens would be financially stable.

As early as 1954, Terpak arranged for Owens to appear at speaking events in his native Pennsylvania, and the legendary Olympian was invited back many times over the next decade. Owens passed away in 1980 and Terpak passed away in 1993.

Owens' 55mm medal features Giuseppe Cassioli’s famous “Trionfo” design, which was showcased on the Summer Olympic medals from 1928 through 1968. The obverse depicts Nike, the Greek Winged Goddess of Victory, holding a palm in her left hand and a winner’s crown in her right, with the Colosseum in the background. The reverse shows a jubilant crowd carrying a triumphant athlete.



"No athletic award carries the same historical weight and value as Jesse Owens' gold medal-winning performance at the 1936 Olympics, for no athlete ever achieved nor proved as much as Owens did during those Games," said Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions. "Even though we have offered at auction some of the most iconic sports collectibles, it is the highest honor to share this museum-worthy item with the world."

Interestingly, the last Olympic gold medal made of pure gold was awarded in 1912. Starting in 1916, the gold medals were made from gilded silver (92.5% silver, plated with six grams of gold).

Owens’ 1936 gold medal weighed 71 grams. So, at today’s valuations, the precious metal content would be worth less then $40 in silver and about $309 in gold.

Credits: Gold medals courtesy of Goldin Auctions. Long jump photo by Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R96374 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo of U.S. Olympic team sprinters (from left) Jesse Owens, Ralph Metcalfe and Frank Wykoff on the deck of the S.S. Manhattan before they sailed for Germany to compete in the 1936 Olympics by the Associated Press [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.