The Jewelry Judge  - Ben Gordon's Blog
July 29th, 2021
We think it's fair to say that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is VERY good at finding loose diamonds.

Last week, we recounted the story of how the TSA reunited distraught newlyweds with a diamond lost at a security checkpoint at JFK International Airport in New York City. Today, we tell the story of how a former Mrs. Alaska was reunited with a very sentimental diamond that popped out of her ring in the baggage claim area of Ketchikan Airport 3,400 miles away in Alaska.

Danielle Wakefield, Mrs. Alaska 2017 and assistant coach for the Anchorage-based Nunaka Valley Little League softball team, flew to Ketchikan to participate in a state softball youth tournament last week. Wakefield exited the airport without realizing that the center diamond of her engagement ring — a diamond given to her by her late father — somehow got dislodged.

Wakefield's trip to the tournament required a ferry ride, and that's when she noticed her diamond was missing.

“By the time I had gotten off the ferry, I felt my ring — and my diamond was gone,” she told the Ketchikan Daily News. “I couldn’t go back.”

On the suggestion of her mother, Wakefield turned to Facebook to get the message out about her lost diamond.

In a post punctuated by two blue heart emojis and a sobbing face emoji, Wakefield wrote, "I lost my diamond in Ketchikan, Alaska between Alaska Airlines flight 64 and the ferry drop off on the other side of the channel between 4:45 pm and 5:15 pm on July 15, 2021. It would not be that big of a deal but this is the only thing I have from my late father and I’m really upset. I know it’s a long shot but I thought I would post and see if it could make it far enough to get to the person who who might find my diamond. If you found a diamond in this area, please return it to me. If you are my friend in Alaska please share! You might know someone who knows someone."

The post was widely shared by Facebook users in Ketchikan and soon caught the eye of Ketchikan Lead TSA Officer Destiny Madewell, who immediately shared the post so her friends who work at the airport would see it, and increase the chances of them finding the missing diamond.

“Looking for a lost diamond at the airport was the proverbial ‘needle in a haystack,’ but I knew from the Facebook post that the diamond had sentimental value to the owner. It had been given to her by her late father,” said Madewell. “I wanted to help in any way I could, to get the word out among the Ketchikan airport community.”

According to the TSA, later that same day as Madewell was wrapping up her shift, she went downstairs to confirm the checked baggage screening area was secured for the evening. While returning to the security checkpoint upstairs, she walked through the baggage claim area.

Something sparkling on the floor caught her eye. She took a closer look and was shocked it was the diamond described in the Facebook post.

Wakefield had been at the baggage claim about 24 hours earlier. Remarkably, the diamond had remained on the floor, undisturbed — and unnoticed — by an estimated 500 people who had been through that area of the airport after since the previous evening.

“I took the diamond upstairs and showed it to my supervisor who was aware of the Facebook post,” said Madewell. “We immediately reached out to the traveler to begin the process of reuniting her with the diamond.”

Wakefield got her diamond back in time for her to catch her flight back to Anchorage.

Returning to Facebook to update her friends about her good fortune, Wakefield also related how the spirit of her late father may have influenced the outcome.

"Thank you to everyone who shared my post!!" she wrote. "My diamond was FOUND and returned to me today by a complete stranger who saw my post shared (Destiny Madewell) and found it right before it got vacuumed up. Immediately after it was returned to me 2 Bald Eagles flew over my head. Bald Eagles are a sign of my dad - they always come at important moments."

Wakefield wrote that she was "beyond thankful."

"I can’t believe it," she continued. "Grateful doesn’t even cover it."

“We train our employees to be alert in all situations and in all aspects of their job," said Federal Security Director for Alaska Pete Duffy. "This training paid off! I am so proud of the KTN (Ketchikan Airport) TSA team, their integrity and ongoing commitment to the community. They make a positive difference in so many ways, every single day.”

Credits: Ring photo via Facebook / Danielle Wakefield. Destiny Madewell and diamond images courtesy of TSA.
July 27th, 2021
Vanderpump Rules star Scheana Shay delighted her 1.3 million Instagram followers on Friday with a surprise announcement of her engagement to long-time boyfriend Brock Davies and a peek at her non-traditional engagement ring highlighted by a 12.74-carat pink morganite.

In a post punctuated by a ring emoji, Shay wrote, “I SAID YES!!!!! We are engaged!!! Thank you to @brock__davies for making me the happiest girl in the world and to @kylechandesign for making me the most gorgeous ring ever!!”

The photo shows Shay and her muscle-bound personal trainer fiancé sharing a kiss on a balcony decorated with rose petals, balloons and a sign that reads "Marry Me." Davies leans Shay backwards in a deep dip while she stretches her ring hand out to the camera.

Shay told People magazine that Davies gave her a love letter and bouquet of flowers before proposing on one knee.

On his own Instagram page, designer Kyle Chan, posted detailed photos of the 14-karat white gold ring. He described the center stone as a "perfect rectangular cushion" that possesses a "rare pink reflect and insane fire." He added that morganite is about Divine Love.

"Pure and simple, it is representative of unconditional love," he wrote.

To add a little dazzle to the piece, the designer set the band with 12 round diamonds.

Over the past 10 years, morganite has emerged from obscurity to become a popular alternative engagement gemstone.

In The Knot’s 2019 Jewelry and Engagement Study, morganite was mentioned as a colored stone favorite. While 83% of those surveyed said they preferred a traditional diamond center stone, 10% chose “other precious stones.” Of that group, morganite was preferred by 12% of respondents, just behind sapphire at 18%.

Morganite is a member of the beryl family of gemstones, which includes emerald and aquamarine. Once known simply as pink beryl, the gemstone got its current name in 1911 when the famous New York gemologist G. F. Kunz recommended that the pretty pink stone be named for banker and mineral collector John Pierpont Morgan. The New York Academy of Sciences agreed and the pink variety of beryl was officially designated as “morganite.”

Shay and Davies started dating in late 2019 and share a daughter, Summer Moon, who was born in April of this year. Shay reportedly wants to celebrate her nuptials in Bali, although no date has been set. Shay will return for Season 9 of Vanderpump Rules, which premieres this fall on Bravo.

Credits: Couple photo via Instagram / scheana. Ring photos via Instagram / kylechandesign.
July 26th, 2021
Seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady couldn't be more impressed with his brand new Tampa Bay Buccaneers championship ring — a spectacular, commemorative piece featuring 319 diamonds and an innovative twist-off top.

“They’re not so much rings, they’re more like trophies that you wear on your finger,” the age-defying quarterback said in a video posted by the Buccaneers. “This is by far the most incredible ring that’s ever been made.”

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' players, coaches and staff received their championship rings during a private ceremony in Tampa on Thursday. The next day, Brady turned to Twitter to show off his growing collection of Super Bowl bling and captioned his photo, "How it started vs How it’s going."

Now entering his 22nd NFL season, Brady won his first six Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots. Brady will turn 44 on August 3.

The most surprising element of the Buccaneers' Super Bowl LV ring is a twist-off top that reveals a hand-engraved, three-dimensional replica of Raymond James Stadium. According to the team, those two features – the removable top and the stadium tableau – have never before been included in a Super Bowl ring. Both are meant to celebrate the 2020 Buccaneers becoming the first team ever to win the Super Bowl at their own home stadium.

(Unlike most other sports, the NFL picks its Super Bowl host cities years in advance. For instance, 2022 Super Bowl will take place at the Rams' home stadium in Inglewood, CA, and the 2023 Super Bowl is set for Cardinals' home stadium in Glendale, AZ)

The twist-off top has a number of neat elements. When the top is flipped upside down, the players can read a laser-etched inscription titled "HISTORIC," along with a description of the unusual home-field Super Bowl victory. In the interior of the ring, a single diamond is set on the handcrafted replica of Raymond James Stadium. That diamond represents the tunnel where Buccaneers players entered during Super Bowl LV. Around the top of the stadium on each of the four sides are displays of the four game scores from Tampa Bay’s postseason run – victories against the Washington Football Team, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs.

“We knew that this ring had to be completely unique and representative of the special journey this team took to the championship,” said Buccaneers Co-owner Darcie Glazer Kassewitz. “We know it will be an emotional touchstone for everyone involved for many, many years to come.”

On the top of the 14-karat yellow and white gold ring are two Lombardi Trophies – representing the franchise’s two Super Bowl Championships – and the team’s signature flag logo, carved from a red stone. The 319 diamonds represent the 31-9 final score in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl LV victory. The total weight of the diamonds is 15 carats.

Above and below the trophies are the words “World Champions,” which are diamond encrusted. Those two words are connected along the edge of each side by eight baguette-shaped diamonds, representing the franchise-record eight-game winning streak to end the season.

The Buccaneers chose celebrity jeweler Jason of Beverly Hills to design the Super Bowl rings.

“Super Bowl rings are known for being the biggest and having the most carat weight, but eventually you can’t go bigger, and you have to go better,” said Jason Arasheben, CEO of Jason of Beverly Hills. “Defying NFL tradition, the Buccaneers commissioned us to redefine what an NFL Super Bowl ring looks like. Our team did a tremendous job pushing the limits of design and incorporating several key storylines from the season into this ring. I am beyond proud.”

The left side of the ring displays each individual’s name, the jersey number and the team’s motto, “One Team, One Cause.”

The right side features the Buccaneers logo and the Super Bowl LV logo, flanked by the score of the game, with 2020 – representing the season – listed below. The four diamonds on the Super Bowl Trophy represent the team’s four playoff wins. The final feature is found inside the band, where the phrase “Trust, Loyalty, Respect” is inscribed.

Credits: Ring images courtesy of Jason of Beverly Hills. Tom Brady image via Twitter / TomBrady.
July 23rd, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, Grammy Award-winning Shawn Colvin overcomes self-doubt and finds her voice in the 1989 autobiographical release, "Diamond in the Rough."

Colvin uses jewelry and diamond imagery to describe an epiphany moment when she regained the confidence to pursue a music career.

Colvin begins the song by describing herself as an upbeat, self-assured, ambitious youngster.

She sings, "As a little girl I came down to the water / With a little stone in my hand / It would shimmer and sing / And we knew everything / As a little girl I came down."

But then self-doubt set in and Colvin's dreams became shrouded in darkness and despair.

She sings, "Heaven only knows what went wrong / There is nothing so cruel than / to bury that jewel / When it was mine all along / I'm gonna find it."

In the end, she finds her voice and achieves her dream of becoming a successful singer/songwriter. She compares that dream to a diamond in the rough: "You're shining I can see you / You're smiling that's enough / I'm holding on to you / Like a diamond in the rough"

Written by Colvin and John Leventhal, "Diamond in the Rough" appeared at the second track of Colvin's debut studio album, Steady On.

"Diamond in the Rough" also became the title of the artist's painfully honest 2012 memoir, in which she recounts her bouts of self-doubt and depression.

Born in Vermillion, SD, in 1956, Colvin learned to play the guitar at the age of 10 and honed her vocal skills as a member of her church's choir. She performed in all of her school's musicals and started singing in clubs as an 18 year old. As a college student performing at bars near Southern Illinois University, Colvin would earn $30 for four 45-minute sets.

After moving to New York City and performing in off-Broadway shows, Colvin was featured in Fast Folk magazine, which led to a gig singing backup on the song "Luka" by Suzanne Vega. Colvin toured with Vega, opening the door for a contract with Columbia Records.

Colvin is best known for her 1997 smash hit, "Sunny Came Home," which won the 1998 Grammy Awards for both Song and Record of the Year.

The artist will be starting a coast-to-coast, eight-month tour on September 29, with appearances in 25 states.

Please check out Colvin's live performance of "Diamond in the Rough." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

"Diamond in the Rough"
Written by Shawn Colvin and John Leventhal. Performed by Shawn Colvin.

As a little girl I came down to the water
With a little stone in my hand
It would shimmer and sing
And we knew everything
As a little girl I came down

But in a little while I got steeped in authority
Heaven only knows what went wrong
There is nothing so cruel than
to bury that jewel
When it was mine all along
I'm gonna find it

You're shining I can see you
You're smiling that's enough
I'm holding on to you
Like a diamond in the rough

Every now and then
I can see that I'm getting somewhere
Where I have to go is so deep
I was angry back then and you
know I still am
I have lost too much sleep
But I'm gonna find it

You're shining I can see you
You're smiling that's enough
I'm holding on to you
Like a diamond in the rough
Like a diamond in the rough

In my dreams I go down by the water
With a little girl in my arms
And we shimmer and sing
And we know everything
In my dreams I go down

You're shining I can see you
You're smiling that's enough
I'm holding on to you
Like a diamond in the rough
Like a diamond in the rough

Credit: Screen capture via / eTown.
July 22nd, 2021
A gem-quality, flawless diamond is made from pure lattices of carbon. This elemental purity contributes to a diamond's unrivaled brilliance when set in fine jewelry, but offers little information about its age or origin.

Imperfect diamonds, on the other hand, can harbor tiny pockets of complex fluids that reveal the history of how they evolved. So, when Yaakov Weiss, an adjunct scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, needed 10 diamonds to study, he asked De Beers for some sad-looking specimens. The uglier, the better.

"We like the ones that no one else really wants," said Weiss.

Specifically, he was looking for fibrous, dirty-looking specimens containing solid or liquid impurities that disqualify them as jewelry, but provide a trove of valuable chemical information for scientists.

By studying the ugly diamonds, Weiss and his team have devised a way to solve two longstanding puzzles: the ages of individual fluid-bearing diamonds, and the chemistry of their parent material.

"It opens a window, well, let's say, even a door, to some of the really big questions" about the evolution of the deep earth and the continents, said Weiss, the lead author of the study and senior lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "This is the first time we can get reliable ages for these fluids."

The findings were recently published in the journal Nature Communications.

It is generally believed that most diamonds form 150 to 200 kilometers (93 to 124 miles) under the surface and are carried upwards by powerful volcanic eruptions called kimberlites.

Until now, most researchers have tried to determine the age of diamonds by concentrating on solid inclusions, such as tiny bits of garnet. But using solid inclusions as an indicator of age can be inaccurate because the inclusions may or may not have formed at the same time as the diamond itself.

Encapsulated fluids, on the other hand, are the "real thing," according to the study — the stuff from which the diamond itself formed.

Weiss and his colleagues found a way to date the fluids by measuring traces of radioactive thorium and uranium, and their ratios to helium-4, a rare isotope that results from their decay.

Based on this method, the team identified three distinct periods of diamond formation in South Africa, where all 10 specimens originated.

The team believes that the oldest specimens took form between 2.6 billion and 700 million years ago. Fluid inclusions from that time show a distinct composition extremely rich in carbonate minerals.

The next diamond-formation phase spanned a timeframe of 550 million to 300 million years ago. The liquid in these inclusions was high in silica minerals.

The most recent known phase took place between 130 million years and 85 million years ago, according to the researchers. The fluid composition in these specimens was high in saline compounds containing sodium and potassium.

This suggests that the carbon from which these diamonds formed did not come directly from the deep earth, but rather from an ocean floor that was dragged under a continental mass by subduction.

The scientists highlighted another intriguing find: At least one diamond encapsulated fluid from both the oldest and youngest eras. This shows that new layers can be added to old crystals, allowing individual diamonds to evolve over vast periods of time.

Weiss noted that his team's methods could be applied to specimens unearthed in other diamond-producing areas of the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada and Russia. He said that the goal is to disentangle the deep histories of those regions and develop new insights into how continents evolve.

Credit: Image by Yaakov Weiss.
July 21st, 2021
A long-delayed honeymoon to an exotic destination got off to a rocky start when a young couple lost their engagement diamond while going through security at JFK International Airport in New York City.

The Queens, NY, couple was excited to finally take off on their tropical honeymoon to Guam — a trip that had to be rebooked due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The Durranis successfully passed through Terminal 7's security checkpoint and then stopped to get coffee on the way to their gate when the new bride realized her brand new diamond was missing from its setting.

“My wife was crying hysterically as we did not know what happened, nor did we know how to approach the situation,” Amir Khan Durrani wrote in an email to TSA.

Amir ran back to the security checkpoint and alerted the TSA officers of the missing diamond.

“Everyone was extremely kind and helped me as much as they could to locate the lost diamond,” he said. “Everyone present helped look for the diamond to no avail.”

The heartbroken couple boarded their international flight, wondering if they would ever see their engagement diamond again.

Long before they landed in Guam, an eagle-eyed TSA supervisor had already saved the day.

Standing at his supervisory podium at the Terminal 7 checkpoint, TSA Officer John Killian was surveying the flow of travelers moving through security when something caught his eye.

“That’s when I spotted the sparkle and thought to myself, ‘No way that could really be it.’ I walked over and picked it up.”

The stone was on the floor between the metal detector and the X-ray machine.

“The shine caught my eye,” he said. “I was like, ‘Wow, I just found this diamond!’”

By the time the Durranis landed (the flight to Guam requires a stop-over and takes nearly 24 hours), there was a text message and voice mail from the TSA.

The Durranis forwarded a photo of the engagement ring to the TSA at JFK, and the center stone matched the recovered diamond exactly.

“Our trip went from a chaotic moment to one at peace,” Durrani wrote in an email thanking the TSA team for their honesty and professionalism. “I would like to commend everyone and their efforts for finding our diamond and safekeeping it before our return back to New York. I want to mention deep down in my heart, that this moment put us in relief. I hope everyone understands how much this meant to my wife and me.”

Durrani specifically singled out Officer Killian.

“Thank you so much to all the staff present and especially to officer John Killian,” he wrote. “I might not ever meet you, but you had an impact on us at that moment and I will never forget it. I wish you all the best for your efforts and honesty.”

John Bambury, TSA’s Federal Security Director at JFK, noted that travelers often leave items behind at the security checkpoint, but this situation was much different.

“We frequently return a jacket, a Teddy bear or a set of keys that have been left at one of our checkpoints,” he said. “But returning a lost diamond will certainly be one we will always remember.”

Credits: Images courtesy of the TSA.
July 16th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you spectacular songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we feature the silky, soaring vocals of Grammy-award-winning Helen Folasade Adu, better known as Sade. In the original version of her 1984 hit, “Smooth Operator,” she employs all three Music Friday qualifiers to tell the story of a globetrotting playboy.

The original, longer version of the song features a spoken-word intro that includes the phrase, “Jewel box life, diamond nights and ruby lights.” Because the song ran about five minutes, many radio DJs chose to use the abbreviated version (about a minute shorter) that deletes the spoken lead-in and starts, instead, with the familiar instrumental saxophone solo and line, “Diamond life, lover boy.”

Later in the song, Sade uses a precious-metal metaphor: “A license to love, insurance to hold. Melts all your memories, change into gold.”

As the second single from Sade's debut studio album, Diamond Life, “Smooth Operator” became her biggest U.S. hit, topping out at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #1 on the Billboard US Adult Contemporary chart. It was also an international sensation, charting in 14 countries. Diamond Life would go on to sell more than 10 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of the 1980s.

Born in Ibadan, Nigeria, Sade moved to Essex, England, to live with her grandmother after her parents separated when she was four years old. She took a three-year course in fashion design at London's Saint Martin's School of Art and modeled briefly before joining a band called Pride as a backup singer.

Within a short time, she was offered the opportunity to perform her song, "Smooth Operator," which attracted the attention of record companies. She formed her own band called Sade and, in 1983, scored a recording contract with Epic Records. Just one year later, she would become an international sensation with the release of Diamond Life.

The 62-year-old singer-songwriter is one of the most successful female solo artists in British history, having sold more than 110 million albums worldwide. In 1986, Sade earned a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. In 2012, she took the 30th spot on VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music.

Please check out the video of Sade's live performance of “Smooth Operator.” (Yes, it’s the preferred long version). The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Smooth Operator”
Written by Sade Adu and Ray St. John. Performed by Sade.

He's laughing with another girl
And playing with another heart
Placing high stakes, making hearts ache
He's loved in seven languages
Jewel box life, diamond nights and ruby lights, high in the sky
Heaven help him, when he falls

Diamond life, lover boy
He move in space with minimum waste and maximum joy
City lights and business nights
When you require streetcar desire for higher heights

No place for beginners or sensitive hearts
When sentiment is left to chance
No place to be ending but somewhere to start

No need to ask
He's a smooth operator
Smooth operator, smooth operator
Smooth operator

Coast to coast, LA to Chicago, western male
Across the north and south, to Key Largo, love for sale

Face to face, each classic case
We shadow box and double cross
Yet need the chase

A license to love, insurance to hold
Melts all your memories and change into gold
His eyes are like angels but his heart is cold

No need to ask
He's a smooth operator
Smooth operator, smooth operator
Smooth operator

Coast to coast, LA to Chicago, western male
Across the north and south, to Key Largo, love for sale

Smooth operator, smooth operator
Smooth operator, smooth operator
Smooth operator, smooth operator
Smooth operator, smooth operator
Smooth operator, smooth operator

Credit: Photo by Thilo Parg, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
July 15th, 2021
The Botswana diamond mine that introduced the world to the 1,758-carat Sewelô (2019), the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona (2015), the 813-carat Constellation (2015) and other massive finds just unveiled a colorful, new arrival: the fancy pink, 62.7-carat "Boitumelo."

Meaning "joy" in Setswana, Boitumelo was recovered from the South Lobe of Lucara's famous Karowe Diamond Mine. Lucara described the stone as a high-quality, fancy pink, Type IIa gem measuring 26mm x 17mm x 16mm (about 1 inch tall).

Interestingly, three other superb, fancy pink rough gems were recovered during the same production period. They weighed 22.21 carats, 11.17 carats and 5.05 carats, respectively, and are likely fragments of the main stone. Had the main stone survived intact, it would have weighed at least 101.13 carats.

Boitumelo represents the largest fancy pink diamond ever recovered in Botswana and one of the world's largest rough pink diamonds on record. Looking forward, the 62.7-carat rough diamond might become a finished gem weighing 25 carats or more.

Fancy pink diamonds of these sizes are extremely rare. According to Christie’s, fewer than 10% of pink diamonds weigh more than 1/5 of a carat.

Adding to the importance of these finds is the fact that the world's main source of pink diamonds — the Argyle Mine in Australia — was shuttered in 2020. For 37 years, that mine had accounted for more than 90% of the world's supply.

"Lucara is delighted to announce another historic diamond with the recovery of the Boitumelo," said Lucara CEO Eira Thomas. "[We are] very pleased to demonstrate the continued potential for large, colored diamonds from the South Lobe production."

Boitumelo is a Type IIa diamond, which means that it has exceptional optical transparency and is chemically pure. Unlike yellow or blue diamonds that owe their color to the presence of nitrogen or boron in their chemical makeup, pink diamonds owe their color to the effects of intense pressure and heat while they were still deep within the Earth. These factors caused distortions in the diamond’s crystal lattice that influence the way the gem absorbs green light, thus reflecting a pink hue.

In March, Lucara announced a plan to extend the lifespan of the Karowe mine by moving mining operations underground.

At a cost of more than $500 million, the open pit mine at a depth of 324 meters will transition to an underground mine at a depth of 750 meters. The expansion will take five years and promises to extend the life of the mine by 20 years.

The 59.6-carat, flawless, oval mixed-cut, fancy vivid pink diamond called the "CTF Pink Star” holds the record for the highest price paid at auction for a pink diamond. That stone was purchased by Hong Kong luxury jeweler Chow Tai Fook for $71.2 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2017. It was the highest price ever paid for any gem at auction.

Credits: Images courtesy of Lucara.
July 14th, 2021
De Beers and Diacore just jointly acquired an exceptional 39.34-carat blue rough diamond sourced at South Africa's iconic Cullinan Mine for $40.1 million, or just over $1 million per carat.

Discovered by Petra Diamonds in April and sold to the De Beers/Diacore partnership via a special tender on Monday, the extraordinarily rare stone has the industry buzzing because it is remarkably similar to a blue diamond unearthed at the same mine in 2014.

That 29.6-carat rough stone was subsequently purchased by luxury jeweler Cora International for $25.6 million ($846,000 per carat) and transformed into a 12.03-carat, internally flawless, cushion-cut, fancy vivid blue headliner that would be named The Blue Moon of Josephine.

In 2015, the polished gem was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $48.5 million, or more than $4 million per carat. It was the highest price per carat ever paid for a diamond.

The Blue Moon of Josephine maintained nearly 41% of its total weight during the cutting process. If the same holds true for the 39.34-carat blue diamond, the result would be a 16-carat finished gem. At $4 million per carat, the gem could be worth $64 million.

“This sets a new milestone for Petra in achieving its highest price for a single stone,” commented the mining company's chief executive officer, Richard Duffy.

Tasked with unlocking the hidden beauty in the rough and creating a spectacular polished diamond is Diacore, a specialty cutter that has produced a number of high-profile diamonds, including the 203.04-carat De Beers Millennium Star and the 59.60-carat Pink Star.

The 39.34-carat rough diamond was unearthed in the C-Cut of Cullinan, a mine located at the foothills of the Magaliesberg mountain range, 37 kilometers northeast of Pretoria in South Africa.

In an ironic twist, De Beers sold the Cullinan mine to Petra in 2007.

The Cullinan Mine is arguably the world’s most heralded diamond mine, having produced seven of the world’s 50 largest rough diamonds based on carat weight, including the largest ever found — the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond.

Discovered in 1905, the Cullinan Diamond was divided into nine major finished stones, each of which took the Cullinan name and a Roman numeral. Two of the gems are part of the the British Crown Jewels — the Great Star of Africa (Cullinan I) at 530.4 carats and the Second Star of Africa (Cullinan II) at 317.4 carats.

In addition to producing world-class white diamonds, the Cullinan mine is also the world’s most important source of blue diamonds. Blue diamonds owe their color to the presence of boron in the chemical makeup of the gem.

Scientists believe blue diamonds are among the deepest-formed diamonds ever found, created at depths in excess of 500km (310 miles) below the Earth’s surface.

Credit: Image courtesy of Petra Diamonds.

July 13th, 2021
Russian mining giant Alrosa has just introduced a non-invasive, three-dimensional laser marking technology that will provide detailed information about a diamond's origins.

Unlike common laser inscriptions that are applied near the surface of a diamond, this new marking cannot be destroyed or polished off because the laser nanomark code is imprinted inside the crystal lattice and across the atomic structure of the entire diamond. The code is only visible using a special scanner.

“Guided by growing market demand, we are focusing our efforts on tracing and guaranteeing the origin of our diamonds,” commented Alrosa CEO Sergey Ivanov. “As the world’s largest vertically integrated diamond-mining company, Alrosa is in a unique position. With access to the full cycle of manufacturing, we have all the necessary information about our polished diamonds and the rough diamonds from which they were cut.”

The three-dimensional code, which is linked to Alrosa's Provenance platform, will offer in-depth information about the diamond's origin and characteristics, as well as a unique identification number, photo, video and details about how it has been cut. The digital passport will also include details of the socio-economic benefits associated with the diamond's production.

Scientists believe that, as the technology evolves, it is likely to become an important way of embedding large amounts of data within the diamond, including media files, images and music.

The new technology was developed with the help of scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as Alrosa's Research Geological Enterprise (NIGP) and the Yakutniproalmaz Institute.

According to Oleg Kovalchuk, PhD, who supervises the project at the Yakutniproalmaz Institute, “A nanomark is applied using a laser pulse of a certain wavelength, intensity and duration. This causes nanoregions to form across the entire crystal, which can only be viewed with a scanner created specifically for reading the marks. As such, we have now developed standardized procedures for embedding information and marking a rough diamond with a distributed mark to identify it.”

Credits: Images courtesy of Alrosa.