12th 100-Plus-Carat Diamond of 2018 Establishes New Record for Letšeng Mine in Lesotho

Back in January, Gem Diamonds announced the discovery of a gem-quality, 910-carat diamond at its Letšeng Mine. The D-color, Type IIa stone — which was later named the Lesotho Legend — was billed as the fifth-largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered. The rough gem sold in March for a whopping $40 million.

Since then, Lesotho’s Letšeng mine has been riding a wave of 100-plus-carat discoveries, the latest of which was a 138-carat, top white color, Type IIa gem (above). It was the 12th 100-plus-carat diamond recovered in 2018, surpassing the previous mark of 11 established in 2017. With four-plus months left in the calendar year, we expect the record will fall again.

The Letšeng mine has earned the reputation for producing large, exceptional white diamonds and generating more dollars per carat than any other kimberlite diamond mine in the world.

Over the past few years, mining companies, such as Gem Diamonds and Lucara, have invested in technology to improve their recovery of extraordinarily large diamonds.

Previously, the mining methods employed to process diamond-bearing rock were not designed to protect the largest finds. The ore was drilled, blasted, hauled and put through crushing machines to get to the gems that may be hiding within. During that process, extremely large diamonds, some weighing hundreds of carats, were often damaged or even pulverized.

Both Gem Diamonds and Lucara recently installed bigger, costlier filters and laser identification technology so huge diamonds can be cherry picked before they go through the crushing process. The investments are clearly paying dividends.

Gem Diamonds maintains a 70% stake in Letšeng mine, with the government of Lesotho holding the remaining 30%. Since Gem Diamonds established a stake in the mine in 2006, the output of 100-plus-carat diamonds has surpassed 60.

Credit: Image courtesy of Gem Diamonds.

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Music Friday Tribute: Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin ‘Wouldn’t Mind a Little Diamond Ring’

In 1964, a 22-year-old Aretha Franklin declared in a song called “One Room Paradise” that she didn’t need to live in a castle or be showered with diamonds and pearls in order to be happy. A little one-room apartment would be totally fine as long as she could be with the man she loved.

But, then, halfway through the tune, Franklin reversed gears and added a telling footnote: “Now, if one day he lucks up on a magic pot of gold (Pot of gold) / I wouldn’t mind a little diamond ring or a fur coat for the cold (Oooh!).”

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

Today’s tribute is dedicated to the Queen of Soul, who passed away yesterday in Detroit at the age of 76.

Written by John Leslie McFarland, “One Room Paradise” first appeared as the final track of Runnin’ Out Of Fools, her seventh studio album.

While the song’s character aspires to own something precious, Franklin — the star — loved her jewelry. She has been photographed throughout her career wearing long strands of cultured pearls, gemstone earrings and diamond rings.

The first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (1987), Franklin has earned 19 Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. She scored 17 top-10 pop singles and 20 #1 R&B hits. She’s sold more than 75 million records worldwide.

In 2008, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Franklin #1 on its list of the Greatest Singers of All Time.

Singer Mary J. Blige commented at the time, “Aretha is a gift from God. When it comes to expressing yourself through song, there is no one who can touch her. She is the reason why women want to sing. Aretha has everything — the power, the technique. She is honest with everything she says.”

Born in Memphis, Tenn., Aretha Louise Franklin honed her singing talent in the choir of her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit. At age 18, in 1960, she was signed by Columbia Records. By the end of that decade, she had cemented her status as the “Queen of Soul.”

Please check out the remastered audio track of Franklin’s “One Room Paradise.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“One Room Paradise”
Written by John Leslie McFarland. Performed by Aretha Franklin.

I don’t need no diamonds (She don’t need)
And I don’t need no money (She don’t need, she don’t)
Some people live in castles with 60 or 70 rooms (She don’t)
Some people dream about a penthouse doll or a mansion on the moon

But I got me a little one room paradise
And the man I love (And the man I love)
And that’s all I need now
And the man I love (And the man I love)

Some girls are crazy about diamonds (Diamonds)
Some go wild about pearls (Go wild)
Some girls go for a lot of loot from a check book that ain’t hers (Sho’ ain’t hers)

But I got me a little one room to paradise
And the man I love (And the man I love)
And that’s all I need now
And the man I love (And the man I love)

Now, if one day he lucks up on a magic pot of gold (Pot of gold)
I wouldn’t mind a little diamond ring or a fur coat for the cold (Oooh!)
But if it meant I had to lose just what I’ve got right now (Right now)
Then I don’t need no gold anyhow (No, no!)

I can’t make love with no diamonds (Diamonds)
Give them all to somebody else (Anybody)
And what good is one hundred rooms if you’re debtor by yourself (Yes, you)

So I’ll take me my little one room paradise
And the man I love (And the man I love)
Well, that’s all I need now
And the man I love (And the man I love)

I don’t need no diamonds (She don’t need no diamonds)
Said I don’t need no money (She don’t need no money, she don’t)

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Giddy Rob Gronkowski Dishes About His Brand New Diamond Chain: ‘I Love This Puppy’

Despite being one of the highest-paid players in the NFL, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski says he lives an “easy” and “normal” life. Gronk is famously frugal and claims he has never treated himself to a guilty pleasure — until now.

While appearing on the internet show Kneading Dough, the 6′ 6″ 265-pound powerhouse gushed about his very first luxury purchase — a diamond-studded necklace.

“I love this puppy,” he said with a giddy grin.

During the 10-minute interview, the 29-year-old Gronkowski spoke about his life experiences as they relate to finance. When host Maverick Carter asked the five-time Pro Bowl tight end to dish about his guilty pleasures, Gronkowski told the story about how he used his incentive bonuses to justify a purchase of a very special piece of jewelry.

“When I signed my incentive deal last year, my friend had a chain, and I was like, ‘Dang, man, that’s a nice chain.’ I’ve never had jewelry in my life,” Gronkowski admitted. “He let me wear it last year at a party, and I was like ‘Dang.’”

Carter asked him how the jewelry made him feel.

“It made me feel good,” said the two-time Super Bowl champ. “So then in the back of my head, I said if I hit all my incentives, if I do everything I need to do, get all my bonuses, put all the work in, I gotta finally treat myself.”

He explained that for the previous eight years (during which he earned more than $44 million), he had never purchased a luxury item.

“So last week, I finally went out and bought myself a chain,” he beamed.

“Is that the one you’ve got on?” asked Carter. “Let’s see it.”

At this point of the interview, Gronkowski pulled out a diamond line necklace that had been mostly hidden by his T-shirt.

“It’s right here, baby,” he said, as he showed off his scintillating new bling to the studio audience. “I finally got one, and I love this puppy.”

“It looks good, too,” added Carter.

“This is my first thing I’ve ever gotten, and I love it. It feels good,” Gronkowski said. “Now I know why people got jewelry. Now I understand why.”

The internet show Kneading Dough is sponsored by Chase and is produced by LeBron James’ video company UNINTERRUPTED. See the full video, below. The jewelry conversation starts at the five-minute mark.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/UNINTERRUPTED.

San Diego City Workers Help Couple Rescue $30K Diamond Ring From Landfill — in 4 Minutes

San Diego city workers helped a couple rescue an accidentally trashed $30,000 engagement ring from the Miramar Landfill — and the whole operation took just four minutes.

Typically, the nasty process of digging through mountains of stinky trash bags in a hazmat suit could take many hours, and there’s never a guarantee that the jewelry will be found at all. But, the staffers of the San Diego Environmental Services Department (ESD) implemented a clever plan that yielded a ring recovery in about the time it will take you to read this story.

Early last week, a San Diego family mistakenly discarded a valuable emerald-cut diamond ring during a summer cleaning spree. By the time they realized the ring was gone, their trash already had been carted away. They immediately contacted the San Diego ESD, which used GPS tracking to locate the truck that served their neighborhood. The officials determined that the truck had just arrived at the city landfill.

The driver was ordered to drop the load in a specific location that would isolate it from other trash at the facility.

The ring’s owner and her husband rushed to the Miramar Landfill, where their search was assisted by San Diego ESD employees. Within four minutes, the job was done.

“Sometimes it takes three, four hours for them to find it,” city spokesman Jose Ysea told ABC-affiliate KGTV. “Sometimes they don’t find it at all. So to have them find something… in under four minutes, that was pretty good.”

Ysea added that the employees who helped the couple look through the load were just ecstatic that they were able to find it, especially so quickly.

Proud City of San Diego officials teased the story on both Twitter and Facebook. Accompanying two photos of the owner reuniting with her recovered ring was this caption: “What happens when a $30K ring gets accidentally tossed in the trash? You hope City staff can track it down! Luckily, @SanDiegoESD found the truck and helped find the precious ring. True story!”

City officials said these types of incidents occur several times per year.

Credits: Ring images via Twitter/City of San Diego; Screen capture via ABC7.com.

Wildfire Reduces His Family’s Home to Rubble, But His Grandma’s Ring Rises From the Ashes

With their family’s home reduced to ashes in the aftermath of the deadly Carr wildfire, Jerry Ogle and his dad returned to their property off Iron Mountain Road in Redding, Calif., with the hopes of finding a very special heirloom amidst the devastation. It was Ogle’s grandmother’s engagement ring — a precious gift given to him by his grandfather just before he passed away.

More than 1,000 homes were completely destroyed and nearly 40,000 people were forced to evacuate when the wildfire tore through the Northern California city earlier this month.

“My only real hope was that I would miraculously find the diamond in the ash,” Ogle wrote on Facebook.

Based on the footprint of where the house had been, Ogle knew approximately where to look for the ring. But after a half-hour of searching, he had still come up empty.

But, then, Ogle turned to the heavens.

“I looked to the sky and asked my grandfather for help,” Ogle recounted in his Facebook post. “Not 30 seconds later I found the box — the same box that [the ring] was given to me in. And inside the box, amongst the ash, there it was. My grandmother’s ring. God is good. Thank you for the help granddad!”

A wildfire can reach a temperature of about 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, but that inferno was still no match for his grandma’s ring, photos of which Ogle proudly posted on Facebook. The center stone looked perfect and the precious metal was just a bit charred. The ring box didn’t fare as well, but could be responsible for adding a layer a protection that helped the ring survive the fire.

Ogle has established a GoFundMe page to help his dad rebuild a home that carried 17 years of memories. Sadly, this is the second home his dad has lost to a fire. The first one was destroyed 25 years ago. As of yesterday, the GoFundMe page had generated contributions totaling more than $8,000.

Wrote Ogle, “All gone in a matter of days. Not to mention all of our other family and close friends in the neighborhood who lost their memories as well. We will stay strong and we will rebuild. If you can help or share we would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!”

Credits: Images via Facebook.com/Jerry Ogle.

This Is How Fashionable Jerusalemites Were Accessorizing 2,200 Years Ago

A team of archeologists from Tel Aviv University and the Israel Antiquities Authority unearthed an elaborately worked 2,200-year-old golden earring bearing the likeness of a horned animal. The hoop earring was discovered during excavations just outside Jerusalem’s walled Old City and was likely worn by a member of the elite class during a period of Greek influence.

The earring is 4 centimeters long (about 1.5 inches) and reflects a crafting technique called “filigree,” in which fine threads of precious metal and tiny beads are used to create delicate and complex patterns — in this case, the head of a ram, antelope or deer with large eyes and other distinctive facial features.

According to the directors of the excavation, Professor Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Yiftah Shalev of the Antiquities Authority, this type of jewelry first appeared in Greece during the Hellenistic period and have been found across the Mediterranean basin. It is extremely rare to find this style of jewelry in Israel.

”The jewelry was found inside a building that was unearthed during the excavation, dating to the early Hellenistic period—a fascinating era about which we know very little when it comes to Jerusalem.”

The archeologists dated the earring to the 3rd or early 2nd centuries BCE.

Based on the material and fine workmanship, the earrings were likely possessed by a person of high status living just 200 meters south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The researchers could not be sure whether they were worn by a woman or a man.

“We also learned from this excavation that the residents of this area were not peasants who settled in empty areas on the periphery of the central area, but rather the opposite—they were well-off people,” they said.

Also recovered nearby was a decorative gold bead featuring an intricately embroidered ornamentation resembling a thin rope pattern, which visually divides the beads into two parts with six spirals on each hemisphere.

As more artifacts are recovered from the site, the archeological team is confident that they will gain a clearer picture of how Hellenistic influences shaped life in Jerusalem during this time.

The archeological dig that yielded the golden earring is being conducted at the site of the Givati Parking Lot in the City of David National Park.

The special find will be on public display during the City of David’s 17th Annual Archaeological Conference scheduled for September 8.

Credits: Photos by Clara Amit / Israel Antiquities Authority; Screen captures via YouTube.com/Israel Antiquities Authority Official Channel.

Music Friday: Kids of the ‘One Voice’ Choir Inspire Their Peers to ‘Shine Bright Like a Diamond’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you exceptional songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the talented members of the One Voice Children’s Choir will dazzle you with their interpretation of Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” Their video at the end of this post has been viewed on YouTube nearly 24 million times.

In the song, the youngsters inspire their peers to “shine bright like a diamond” and embrace the wonders that life has to offer.

They sing, “Find light in the beautiful sea, I choose to be happy / You and I, you and I, we’re like diamonds in the sky / You’re a shooting star I see, a vision of ecstasy / When you hold me, I’m alive / We’re like diamonds in the sky.”

Ranging in age from four to 17, the One Voice singers are directed by Masa Fukuda. The group was originally assembled by Fukuda to perform at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah, but remained together after the sporting event. The group has about 140 members and performs 50 to 70 times each year.

Their reputation as a top-flight choral group earned them an invitation to compete during Season 9 of NBC’s America’s Got Talent in 2014. The group reached the quarter finals and produced the “Diamonds” video in preparation for moving on to the final rounds. Earlier in the competition, judge Howard Stern told the young contestants that they were gold, but Howie Mandel was not as impressed.

“They are gold,” Mandel stated. “I’m looking for a diamond.”

Despite Mandel’s thumbs-down verdict, Stern, Mel B and Heidi Klum voted in favor of the group and they moved on in the competition. The choir director’s decision to perform “Diamonds” was in direct response to Mandel’s criticism.

Rihanna scored her 12th #1 single with “Diamonds” in 2012. In fact, the song topped the charts in 20 countries and sold more than 7.5 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles in music history.

Rihanna characterized the song as “happy and hippie.”

“It’s hopeful. It gives me a great feeling when I listen to it,” she said during an iHeartRadio festival in Las Vegas. “The lyrics are hopeful and positive. It’s about love and the gears are different than what people will expect.”

The song was written by Sia Furler with Benjamin Levin, Mikkel S. Eriksen and Tor Erik Hermansen. Sia told New York Times Magazine that she came up with the lyrics for “Diamonds” in just 14 minutes.

According to SongFacts.com, “Diamonds” is the third diamond-titled song to score a #1 chart appearance. The others were Gary Lewis and the Playboys’ “This Diamond Ring” (1965) and Elton John’s “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” (1974).

Please check out the video of the One Voice Children’s Choir performing “Diamonds.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Diamonds”
Written by Sia Furler, Benjamin Levin, Mikkel S. Eriksen and Tor Erik Hermansen. Performed by the One Voice Children’s Choir.

Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond

Find light in the beautiful sea, I choose to be happy
You and I, you and I, we’re like diamonds in the sky
You’re a shooting star I see, a vision of ecstasy
When you hold me, I’m alive
We’re like diamonds in the sky

I knew that we’d become one right away
Oh, right away
At first sight I felt the energy of sun rays
I saw the life inside your eyes

So shine bright tonight,
You and I
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky
Eye to eye,
So alive
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond
Shining bright like a diamond
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond
Shining bright like a diamond
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

Palms rise to the universe, as we moonshine and molly
Feel the warmth, we’ll never die
We’re like diamonds in the sky

You’re a shooting star I see, a vision of ecstasy
When you hold me, I’m alive
We’re like diamonds in the sky
At first sight I felt the energy of sun rays
I saw the life inside your eyes

So shine bright
Tonight,
You and I
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky
Eye to eye,
So alive
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond
Shining bright like a diamond
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond
Shining bright like a diamond
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond

So shine bright
Tonight,
You and I
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky
Eye to eye,
So alive
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond

Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond
Shine bright like a diamond

Shine bright like a diamond

Credit: Screen captures via YouTube.com.