Former Reporter Uses Sleuthing Skills to Solve the Mystery of the ‘Airbag Diamond’

Eileen Korey, a former reporter, used her sleuthing skills to solve the mystery of a diamond engagement ring that unexpectedly appeared in the tray of her Subaru after a technician replaced the car’s airbag.

“I literally got in the car and there was this tiny little diamond ring sitting on the tray by the cupholders,” the Lake Oswego, Ore., resident told KOIN 6 News. “It looked real, beautifully set, so I took it inside thinking maybe the service technician had lost it.”

The technician told Korey that it was not his ring, but described how it fell from behind the steering column while he was servicing the airbag recall.

Korey immediately called her son-in-law, who had purchased the Subaru as a used vehicle in 2015. The ring wasn’t his.

Then she texted her daughter. Nope, not hers either.

The former reporter took the ring to a jeweler to determine if it was, in fact, a genuine diamond ring. Her hunch was confirmed as the jeweler placed the value at about $1,200.

Now she was determined to find the car’s previous owner.

Korey dug through the glove box and learned from some sales paperwork that the car, when new, was purchased from a dealership in Beaverton. Korey called the dealer and enlisted their help to contact the Subaru’s original owner.

Daniel Hannah recounted to KOIN 6 News how he got a “weird phone call from the dealership.” Had someone in Hannah’s family lost a diamond ring?

“They said, ‘We think we know someone who found it.’ So they gave me Eileen’s number,” Hannah explained.

Hannah picked up the ring from Korey on May 6, but decided to keep the exciting news a secret from his wife until Mother’s Day, six days later. Finally, on May 12, Hannah enlisted his five-year-old son to give the long-lost ring to his mom, Ashleigh.

At first, Ashleigh was surprised that her family gave her a diamond ring for Mother’s Day, but then she was overwhelmed with joy when she realized it was her original engagement ring.

Ashleigh told KOIN 6 News how devastated she was when she lost the ring in August 2014. She was riding in the passenger seat as they drove through an ATM with the windows down. She remembered flinging her arms out while telling a story and both her wedding band and engagement ring flew off her finger.

She and Daniel searched the car and the parking lot, but were able to find only the wedding band. She assumed the engagement ring would never be seen again.

Ashleigh told KOIN 6 News that the return of her ring was unbelievable. After five years and two cars “and everything [Korey] went through to find us, yeah, it’s pretty incredible.”

Two years ago, Ashleigh got a new bridal set — an engagement ring and wedding band that are soldered together, which makes the ring a bit bigger and harder to lose.

But, now that she has her original engagement ring back she wants to do something special with it.

“You know, maybe make a necklace out of it, like a pendant,” she said.

Said Korey, “Starting with an airbag recall, an honest service technician and a little mystery that needed to be solved, that was great. Warmed my heart. It was wonderful.”

Credits: Screen captures via


Swiss Lab Employs Cutting-Edge Science to Affirm Age, Provenance of Historic Pearl

A Swiss gem lab used radiocarbon age-dating to affirm the 16th century origins of a 30.24-carat natural saltwater pearl once owned by a Spanish princess. It was the first time such a procedure had been conducted on a natural pearl.

The Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF) used the cutting-edge science to date the historic “Ana Maria Pearl,” which was worn by Ana María de Sevilla y Villanueva, XIV Marquise of Camarasa (1828-1861). The natural pearl was presumed to have been discovered during the Spanish conquest of the Americas in the 16th century. The test confirmed that the historic formation age for the natural pearl was between the 16th and mid-17th century.

“The Ana Maria Pearl is a perfect example to show how scientific analyses can add supporting evidence to a documented historical provenance of a jewel,” SSEF director Michael Krzemnicki told “The SSEF offers radiocarbon age dating of pearls as a new service to our clients in collaboration with the Federal Institute of Technology. This method uses the slow decay of radiocarbon in biogenic materials (e.g. pearl) as a physical clock, by which its age can be calculated.”

The carbon dating was conducted in the lead-up to the pearl’s appearance at a Christie’s auction in Geneva on May 15. Slightly baroque in shape, the Ana Maria Pearl is currently set as a detachable drop hanging from of an emerald brooch. The flip side of the carved brooch contains an “invisible” watch designed by Audemars Piguet in the 1960s.

Christie’s Geneva estimated that the Ana Maria Pearl would sell in the range of $800,000 to $1.2 million. On auction day, the highly touted Lot 264 didn’t find a buyer and was withdrawn.

Despite that disappointment, the Ana Maria has had an enormous impact on the verification process itself, Krzemnicki told

“This is especially true with natural pearls, where the origin is not clear to the naked eye, or behind the loop—or even under a microscope,” he said.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie’s.

De Beers, Namibia to Partner on New $468 Million Diamond-Recovery Vessel

Debmarine announced it will be investing $468 million on the world’s first-ever custom-built diamond recovery vessel. When it joins the Debmarine fleet in 2022, the new ship will have the capacity to extract 500,000 carats annually from the coastal waters off Namibia — boosting the country’s annual diamond output by 35%.

Debmarine is a 50/50 joint venture between the Republic of Namibia and the De Beers Group, and each partner will contribute $234 million to the project.

The new ship, which will be the seventh in Debmarine’s fleet, will comb the ocean floor at a depth of 400 feet using advanced drilling technology, supported with tracking, positioning and surveying equipment. Dredged gravel will be sifted at treatment plants onboard the ship.

Sophisticated X-ray machines and other diamond-sorting devices separate the gems from the gravel, and leftover material is returned to the sea bed. Recovered diamonds are securely sealed in containers, loaded into steel briefcases and flown by helicopter to shore.

“Some of the highest-quality diamonds in the world are found at sea, off the Namibian coast,” said De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver. “With this investment, we will be able to optimize new technology to find and recover diamonds more efficiently and meet growing consumer demand across the globe.”

According to De Beers, 95% of the diamonds pulled from the seabed near Namibia are of gem-quality. This compares to just 20% of gem-quality diamonds coming from De Beers’s top mine in Botswana. Some experts surmise that the diamonds in the ocean have endured such a pounding for so long that only the gem-quality ones could remain intact.

Namibia has more than 3,700 square miles of marine diamond concessions along its southwest coast, which is expected to support the industry for the next 50 years. Debmarine has a license to operate off the coast of the African country until 2035 within a 2,316-square mile area.

Credit: Image courtesy of Debmarine-Namibia.

Music Friday: ‘If Pressure Makes Diamonds, Our Love Is a Diamond by Now’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country star Don Williams sings about how marital stress can be a good thing in his 1983 tune, “Pressure Makes Diamonds.”

In the song, Williams admits that he and his wife have endured plenty of hard times over the years, but despite those pressures, their love has only gotten stronger. He compares the evolution of their relationship to the formation of diamonds deep within the Earth.

He sings, “Pressure makes diamonds much harder than stone / And they only get finer as each day goes on / We’ve been through some bad times / But we made it somehow / ‘Cause if pressure makes diamonds / Our love’s a diamond by now.”

(Just for the record, diamonds form under intense pressure and heat about 100 miles below the earth’s surface.)

Written by Bob McDill and John Schweers, “Pressure Makes Diamonds” appeared as the seventh track on Williams’ album, Yellow Moon. The album topped out at #12 on the U.S. Billboard Country Albums chart.

Over the course of a career that spanned six decades, Williams scored 17 #1 country hits. The singer’s imposing stature, paired with a soft, smooth bass-baritone voice, earned him the nickname the “Gentle Giant” of country music. In 2010, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Donald Ray Williams was born in Floydada, Texas, in 1939. After graduating from high school, Williams served two years in the U.S. Army Security Agency and then formed a folk-pop group called the Pozo-Seco Singers. The group disbanded in 1969 and Williams worked outside the music business for a short time. In 1971, he landed a songwriting job for Jack Music Inc. Soon after, he signed as a solo artist with JMI Records.

Williams stopped touring in 2016 and passed away a year later at the age of 78.

Trivia: Williams appeared as himself and played a number of songs in Smokey and the Bandit II (1980).

Please check out the audio track of Williams performing “Pressure Makes Diamonds.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Pressure Makes Diamonds”
Written by Bob McDill and John Schweers. Performed by Don Williams.

Well, we’ve had our troubles, we’ve had our hard times
Where some might have stumbled, we’ve always survived
Sometimes love weakens, when the chips are all down
But what we’ve got together gets stronger somehow.

Pressure makes diamonds much harder than stone
And they only get finer as each day goes on
We’ve been through some bad times
But we made it somehow
‘Cause if pressure makes diamonds,
Our love’s a diamond by now.

Well, we know the feelin’ when the world closes in
We’ve been there before, love, and we might go again
The road may get rocky, life may get hard
But the whole world together can’t tear us apart.

Pressure makes diamonds much harder than stone
And they only get finer as each day goes on
We’ve been through some bad times
But we made it somehow
‘Cause if pressure makes diamonds,
Our love’s a diamond by now.

Pressure makes diamonds much harder than stone
And they only get finer as each day goes on
We’ve been through some bad times
But we made it somehow
‘Cause if pressure makes diamonds,
Our love’s a diamond by now…

Credit: Screen capture via

Petra Sells 425-Carat ‘Legacy of the Cullinan Diamond Mine’ for $15 Million

The massive 425-carat gem-quality diamond discovered in March at the Cullinan mine in South Africa has a new name and new owners. Petra Diamonds announced that it sold the D-color rough stone to Dubai-based Stargems Group and Belgium-based Choron for just under $15 million.

Before it was sold, Petra named the gem “Legacy of the Cullinan Diamond Mine” to honor its connection to one of the world’s oldest and most prolific sources of majestic diamonds.

“The Cullinan Diamond Mine has produced some of the most iconic diamonds the world has ever seen and, as a key client of Petra Diamonds, we are honored to have the opportunity to polish the Legacy of the Cullian Diamond Mine,” said Shailesh Javeri, chairman of Stargems.

The 117-year-old Cullinan Diamond Mine (originally known as the Premier Mine) is credited with producing seven of the world’s largest 50 rough diamonds based on carat weight. These include the Cullinan Heritage (#27, 507 carats, 2009), Centenary (#23, 599 carats, 1986), The Golden Jubilee (#11, 755 carats, 1985) and the granddaddy of them all — the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond (#1).

Discovered in 1905, the Cullinan Diamond was segmented into nine major finished stones, each of which was given the name Cullinan 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.

None of the parties involved in the sale of the Legacy of the Cullinan Diamond Mine offered a prediction as to what the 425-carat diamond might yield in terms of polished gemstones. Currently, the Legacy ranks 38th on Wikipedia’s list of the Largest Rough Diamonds of All Time.

Commented Petra Chief Executive Officer Richard Duffy, “This is a significant sale for Petra Diamonds and an endorsement of the quality not only of the Legacy diamond, but also the Cullinan ore body itself, which is known for its exceptional stones.”

The D-color, Type IIa diamond was mined from the Cullinan C-Cut. Type II gems are the purest of all diamonds because they are composed solely of carbon with virtually no trace elements in the crystal lattice.

The months of March and April were memorable for Petra as it boasted back-to-back finds that tipped the scales at 425 carats and 209 carats, respectively.

Credits: Images courtesy of Petra Diamonds.

Socialite’s Emerald Necklace, 36-Carat Diamond Share Spotlight at Sotheby’s Geneva

An art deco-style emerald necklace from the collection of American socialite Helene Beaumont and a 36.57-carat near-flawless diamond shared the spotlight at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva yesterday. These top two items sold for $3.6 million and $5 million, respectively, accounting for more than 20% of the auction’s total sales of $41.8 million. In all, 448 lots were offered.

As the wife of Louis Dudley Beaumont, one of the founders of the May Company department store chain, Helene was a renowned collector of fine jewelry from the most prominent design houses. The magnificent emerald necklace in yesterday’s auction is believed to have been designed by Van Cleef & Arpels, circa 1935.

The front of the necklace is set with a line of 11 graduated sugarloaf cabochon emeralds, ranging in size from 3.27 carats to 18.09 carats. The necklace front may be detached and worn as a bracelet, and the two segments in the back can be combined to form a single necklace. A grading report states that the emeralds are of Colombian origin.

Sotheby’s pre-sale estimate for the decadent piece was $2.9 million to $3.9 million.

The second headliner from yesterday’s auction was a magnificent 36.57-carat diamond ring that was put up for sale by a private collector.

The D-color round diamond displays excellent cut, polish and symmetry, according to a grading report by the Gemological Association of America. It carries a clarity rating of VVS1, but could advance to “flawless” after minor replacing, noted the report.

The impressive diamond is claw-set between tapered baguette diamond shoulders.

Sotheby’s spot-on pre-sale estimate was $4.4 million to $5.4 million.

Yesterday’s sale also yielded a number of surprising overachievers.

One of those pieces was a fancy intense blue diamond ring, which sold for $853,799 — more than three times the pre-sale high estimate of $250,000. Designed by Tiffany and Co., the ring features a 1.01-carat step-cut blue diamond framed by baguette diamond shoulders. The diamond earned a clarity rating of VS1.

The performance of this emerald and diamond bracelet also impressed auction watchers, as the beautiful piece designed by Van Cleef & Arpels sold for $285,427, nearly six times the pre-sale high estimate of $49,640.

The bracelet is composed of clusters set with oval and circular-cut emeralds each within a frame of brilliant-cut diamonds.

Also beating the Sotheby’s pre-sale high by nearly six times was a pair of turquoise and diamond earrings that sold for $136,509. Signed by Van Clef & Arpels, the earrings are set with cabochon turquoise entwined in brilliant-cut diamonds.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Hilary Duff Shows Off Her New Cushion-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring on Instagram

Actress Hilary Duff earned 1.9 million likes after revealing her stunning cushion-cut diamond engagement ring on Instagram this past Thursday. The 31-year-old star of the TV Land series Younger had just accepted a marriage proposal from singer-songwriter Matthew Koma and decided to broadcast the big news with a pair of sweet snaps for her 12 million followers.

Punctuating an Instagram caption with a red heart emoji, Duff gushed, “He asked me to be his wife.” Duff’s new fiancé shared the same images on his Instagram page and added the caption, “I asked my best friend to marry me… @hilaryduff.”

Lacking an extreme close-up of the ring, jewelry experts interviewed by Town and Country, Pop Sugar, Bustle and Business Insider were only able to offer their best guesses about its shape, size, quality and value.

The general consensus is that the diamond is an elongated cushion cut — the popular pillow shape with rounded corners. Size estimates ranged from 3 to 4 carats. The clarity is assumed to be VS1 or higher with a G color grading. The minimalist white gold or platinum setting sports a split shank, and all these characteristics combine to put the ring’s value somewhere in the range of $40,000 to $100,000.

A cavalcade of young actresses were quick to congratulate their colleague on Instagram.

Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame commented, “Awww congratulations love.”

While fellow Disney alum Ashley Tisdale wrote: “OMG my fave couple.”

Glee actress Lea Michele wrote, “So happy for you babe!!!

Although it’s unclear when they started dating, Duff and Koma made their first red-carpet appearance together in January 2017. E! News reported that they broke up in March 2017 and reunited shortly thereafter.

Duff currently portrays Kelsey Peters on Younger, the hit series that’s about to return for its sixth season. Koma, 31, is a member of the band Winnetka Bowling League.

In October 2018, Duff and Koma welcomed their first child together, Banks Violet Blair. The couple has yet to set a wedding date.

Credits: Images via Duff.