Flushed Engagement Ring Saved From ‘The Abyss’ by High-Tech Plumbing Crew in Memphis

A Memphis plumbing crew required a high-tech camera and a little bit of luck to successfully rescue a diamond engagement ring that a bride-to-be accidentally flushed down a second-floor toilet. The ring had traveled 21 feet through the waste line and was just 12 inches from dropping into what plumbers call “The Abyss” when it was recovered.

Last Tuesday morning at 5 a.m., Courtnee Ivy had just used the restroom when she realized her brand new, but loose-fitting, engagement ring had been flushed down the toilet.

Ivy’s first instinct was to reach in.

“I freaked out. I put my hand as far into the toilet as I could,” Ivy told Memphis CBS affiliate WREG.

When that strategy proved fruitless, she called her fiancé, Chris Beveridge, to tell him what happened. The crack-of-dawn call caught the young man by surprise and he sensed that something was seriously wrong.

Ivy told her fiancé that her next strategy was to use a plunger.

His response was, “No, no, no, no, no, no,” explaining that the plunger would simply push the ring farther down the waste line.

After doing a bit of Google-based research, Beveridge arrived at the house with plumbing supplies from Home Depot. He was determined to remove the toilet and use a flashlight to see down the PVC pipe.

When that didn’t work, the couple called in the experts at Patton Plumbing, Heating and AC.

Owner Shawn Patton immediately sent over a team equipped with a high-tech camera rig that can snake through waste pipes.

Exactly 21 feet into the line, the camera was focused on the diamond-and-precious metal treasure.

Had the ring traveled another 12 inches, it would have descended into “The Abyss,” the vertical pipe that dumps directly into the main sewage pipes. Essentially, the ring was a mere foot away from being lost forever.

By mapping the distance the ring had traveled, the plumbers were able to pinpoint where the ring had settled in the home’s plumbing system. It was in a pipe below the hallway of the second floor. Patton’s team sawed an access hole in the ceiling of the first floor and dissected the pipe.

Ivy could hardly contain her emotions.

“I had to leave just cause I couldn’t sit here anymore, I kept crying,” she told WREG.

After what seemed to be an eternity, Patton and his crew finally snagged the ring from the pipe.

Beveridge and Ivy were thrilled to get the ring back and praised the plumbers for their technical expertise, as well as going above and beyond the call of duty.

Patton was excited, as well.

“I probably have done one of these in the last 10 years and, so, when we get it, we’re excited,” he told WREG. “If there is a chance to get it out, we are going to get it out. It’s a chance to do something really fun and good for the customer, and you’re hoping for the best.”

Probably the most important takeaway from this story is to always have your engagement ring properly sized by a professional jeweler.

Credits: Screen captures via wreg.com.

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Pitcher Joe Kelly Finds Tony La Russa’s World Series Ring in His Glove, Demands $1 Trillion Ransom

Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly said it was one of the “funniest, coolest and randomest” baseball stories he’s ever been part of. It all went down at Boston’s Fenway Park last week, and this is what happened…

Tony La Russa, who owns three World Series rings and happened to be wearing one of them during Thursday night’s Red Sox game, was asked to catch the ceremonial first pitch.

The Hall of Fame manager is now a special assistant with the Red Sox and was ill-prepared to catch the toss from his former boss, the 88-year-old Roland Hemond. All La Russa had available, according to Kelly, was an old pancake glove with no pocket. It looked like a vintage mitt from 1905.

So La Russa, now 73, asked the 30-year-old Kelly if he could borrow a mitt for the ceremony. Kelly agreed, the ceremony went off without a hitch and, soon after, the Red Sox pitcher noticed that his glove was returned to his locker.

What Kelly didn’t know was that La Russa was in a panic. Somehow, he had misplaced his 2011 World Series ring and had no idea where it could have fallen off. He told the clubhouse attendants to keep their eyes peeled.

The next day, during a pre-game warmup, Kelly grabbed the glove that La Russa had borrowed and ran out to the field to loosen up his arm.

“I stuck my hand it in and my [pinky] got stuck,” the right-handed reliever told WEEIradio.com. “It jammed my pinky. I pulled it out right away because it hurt. I thought someone put seeds in my glove to mess with me. But then I looked and I was like, ‘What the [heck] is this?’ I spread my glove open and there it was: Tony’s World Series ring. At first I thought it was a joke, but then 10 seconds later I realized you don’t joke around with something like that. It probably means a lot to him so I don’t think he would joke with something that was [worth] $50,000.”

Kelly has his own theory on how the World Series ring got stuck in the pinky slot of his mitt. He believes that La Russa switched the ring from his ring finger to his pinky finger prior to catching the ceremonial first pitch because the massive World Series bling wouldn’t fit in the ring finger slot of his glove. Baseball mitts are designed with a bigger pinky slot, which gave him just enough room to fit the ring.

When La Russa pulled off the mitt, the ring stayed where it was.

With the World Series ring in his possession, Kelly decided to have some fun on social media, hinting with a hashtag that he intended to demand a $1 trillion ransom.

He posted a series of photos to Twitter, along with this caption: “Hey @TonyLaRussa I might have something you are looking for… thanks for using my glove during the first pitch ceremony #finderskeepers #findersfee #trilliondollars @RedSox @Cardinals

Kelly, who has a reputation for being a jokester, called the La Russa incident “one of funniest, coolest and randomest baseball stories I’ve ever been a part of.”

Credits: Images via Twitter.com/JosephKellyJr.

New Study: Blue Diamonds Form 400 Miles Below the Surface, Far Deeper Than All Others

By studying minute inclusions trapped within blue diamonds, scientists have been able to determine that their origin is far deeper in the Earth than other diamond varieties.

The journal Nature recently revealed that blue diamonds form about 400 miles below the surface, four times deeper than about 99 percent of all other diamonds.

“We knew essentially absolutely nothing about where they grow,” said geologist Evan M. Smith, a lead author of the Nature report and a research scientist at the Gemological Institute of America in New York (GIA). Smith and his colleagues investigated this question by reviewing 46 blue diamonds that were submitted to the GIA. The team focused specifically on other minerals trapped within the blue diamonds.

To gem cutters, inclusions are flaws, but to geologists, they are clues. “If you had to design the perfect capsule to bring something from below, a diamond would be it,” said geologist Jeffrey E. Post, curator of the mineral collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, who was not involved with the Nature report.

The creation of a blue diamond requires a complex geologic sequence. Geologists determined that trace impurities and contamination with the element boron, turn diamonds blue. A boron atom can replace a carbon atom in the crystal structure. A loose electron from boron absorbs red light, giving the diamond its blue hue.

Because boron exists in seawater, Post hypothesized that the rocks in descending crust carried the boron below, as if the element were on a boat ride to the lower mantle.

“That is a good circumstantial bit of evidence, at least,” he said.

Within the inclusions, Smith identified remnants of calcium silicates and other minerals that form only at extreme high pressure. He noted that as the diamonds worked their way back toward the surface, the high-pressure minerals within became unstable and shattered, leaving fragments stuck in the diamonds. An analysis of these ruptures, plus the list of minerals found in the inclusions, pointed to a very unusual birthplace.

Smith explained that it required the union of two rocks: oceanic crust from the surface and the underlying ocean mantle. That is a match made in the abyss — where the motion of tectonic plates forces a slab of ocean crust to descend like a conveyor belt for hundreds of miles.

Appearing in nearly every color of the rainbow, colored diamonds are extremely rare, but blue diamonds are considered the rarest. Recent survey research indicates that of 13.8 million diamonds found, only 0.02 percent were blue.

Perhaps the most famous blue diamond in the world is the legendary Hope Diamond, which resides at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The fancy dark greyish-blue diamond weighs 45.52 carats and is estimated to be worth more than $250 million.

Blue diamond discoveries are still very sporadic and are considered astonishing occurrences. And they still make headlines. In November 2015, Hong Kong businessman Joseph Lau purchased “The Blue Moon of Josephine,” a 12.03 carat blue diamond, for $48.4 million. The gem was named after Lau’s seven-year-old daughter. In May 2016, the world’s largest blue diamond, “The Oppenheimer Blue,” a 14.62 carat gem, won the title of the world’s most expensive blue diamond ever, selling for a jaw-dropping $57.5 million.

Photo Credit: The Hope Diamond, Smithsonian Institution.

Music Friday: Her Thai Nickname Means ‘Pink Sapphire,’ But Jannine Is Singing About ‘Diamonds’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Thai-German pop star Jannine Weigel performs “Diamonds,” a tune about a boyfriend who gives her the confidence to shine like a precious stone.

In the song, the multi-talented 18-year-old — whose Thai nickname “Ploychompoo” happens to mean “pink sapphire” — uses diamond terminology to tell her love story. She admits that she doesn’t always “wake up feeling flawless,” but her boyfriend recognizes that beauty is only skin deep. He’s the only one who’s been able to discover her true essence, and his love has transformed her. She describes her new self as a faceted diamond.

She sings, “All of the stars are aligning / My heart, it beats like a lion / ‘Cause every time you hold me / And tell me that you love me / You got me cut like a diamond.”

In his interpretation of the song, co-writer and producer Gabriel Alberto Azucena, also known as Gawvi, references the immense pressure that is needed for a beautiful diamond to form.

“The song is simply about understanding that we all at some point have struggled with doubts,” he said. “Sometimes we can find ourselves questioning our identities and purpose, but we have to remember that the pressure and tough times we experience are simply ingredients to allow for our inner true beauty to shine.”

Weigel was born in Steinfurt, Germany, in 2000, to a German father and a Thai mother. She and her family moved to Thailand in 2010, where the youngster started working as a model. After just three months of training, at the age of 11, she earned third place in a national singing contest for children. In 2013, she started her own YouTube channel which now has 2.9 million subscribers. By 2015, she had released her first single and shortly thereafter earned movie and television roles.

Please check out the lyric video of Weigel performing “Diamonds.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Diamonds”
Written by Gabriel Alberto Azucena, Jannine Weigel and Jordan Adelberger. Performed by Jannine Weigel.

I may not wake up feeling flawless
And my emotions can be reckless, yeah
And I know, yeah I know, yeah I know
Yeah I know I ain’t perfect
But I glow, yeah I glow, yeah I glow
You say that I’m worth it

You’re the only one who saw beyond my skin deep
And into my heart completely
You got me cut like a diamond

All of the stars are aligning
My heart, it beats like a lion
‘Cause every time you hold me
And tell me that you love me
You got me cut like a diamond

The difference in me is so drastic
From day to night it’s automatic
I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know
Who’d I be without ya
But I glow, yeah I glow, yeah I glow
It’s not a question

You’re the only one who saw beyond my skin deep
And into my heart completely
You got me cut like a diamond

All of the stars are aligning
My heart, it beats like a lion
‘Cause every time you hold me
And tell me that you love me
You got me cut like a diamond
You got me cut like a diamond
You got me cut like a diamond
‘Cause every time you hold me
And tell me that you love me
You got me cut like a diamond

You’re the only one who saw beyond my skin deep
And into my heart completely
You’re the only one who saw beyond my skin deep
And into my heart completely
You got me cut like a diamond

All of the stars are aligning
My heart, it beats like a lion
‘Cause every time you hold me
And tell me that you love me
You got me cut like a diamond
You got me cut like a diamond
You got me cut like a diamond
‘Cause every time you hold me
And tell me that you love me
You got me cut like a diamond

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Sotheby’s Introduces ‘The Midas Touch,’ Its First-Ever Auction Dedicated Entirely to Gold

This October, Sotheby’s London will host its first-ever auction dedicated entirely to gold. Titled “The Midas Touch,” the sale will feature unusual golden artifacts cherry-picked from a wide range of Sotheby’s departments.

According to the auction house, the various offerings will take collectors on a journey through the great civilizations of the world. The Midas Touch will put artists next to artisans, sculptures next to sacred objects and contemporary painting next to ancient jewelry to present an unrivaled history of nature’s most bewitching creation — gold.

“Every department is contributing so we are going to get a real variety of items,” Sotheby’s senior director and head of sale Constantine Frangos told The Telegraph.

Sotheby’s is still assembling the lots for the October event, but among the most noteworthy items, so far, is a ceremonial gilded wood chair from Napoleon’s throne room and a 17.6-pound, 18-karat gold casting in the likeness of supermodel Kate Moss’ head.

Clients from around the world — especially in markets such as Asia, Russia and the Middle East — have been clamoring for collectible gold items, so Sotheby’s responded with this first-ever, all-gold auction.

Noted Sotheby’s in its preview of the sale, “Gold has endured where other fashions faded. In a world that speaks over 6,900 languages, the language of gold remains universal.”

These are a few of the items we will be watching closely…

• Imperial carved giltwood ceremonial armchair, 1804. Estimate $262,500 – $393,700.
• “Song of the Siren” likeness of supermodel Kate Moss in 18-karat gold. Estimate $393,700 – $525,000.
• Gem-set gold necklace, Morocco, 18th century. Estimate $32,800 – $45,900.
• Gold-mounted dagger and scabbard, Malaysia, 19th century. Estimate $15,750 – $23,600.

The Midas Touch will have two components, a live auction that will take place in London on October 17, and an online auction that will begin on October 9 and end on October 19. Each of the lots will be on display prior to the sale at Sotheby’s London galleries.

Sotheby’s will be testing the results of the all-gold concept before rolling out other similar events at its auction houses outside of London.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Mined in Ancient Times on the Island of Topazios, Peridot Was Originally Called ‘Topazion’

Here’s a fun piece of trivia regarding peridot, August’s popular yellowish-green birthstone. According to the Smithsonian, peridot was first discovered on the Egyptian island of Topazios around 300 BC. The ancients anointed the vibrant green stone as the “gem of the sun” and appropriately named it “topazion” to honor its place of origin. Eventually, the name was shortened to “topaz.”

The gem we know as peridot happily existed as “topaz” for about 2,000 years before something bizarre happened…

The Smithsonian noted that, for reasons that still remain unclear, the name topaz was hijacked during the 18th century and assigned to the gem we call topaz today. The vibrant yellowish-green stone was given a new name — peridot, derived from “faridat,” the Arabic word for gem.

To this day, topaz continues to be the oddball namesake of an island that never produced topaz. Geography fans should note that the ancient island of Topazios is now called Zabargad or St. John’s Island.

Peridot has the distinction of being one of only two gems that form in the Earth’s mantle. The other is diamond. Most other gems form in the Earth’s crust, three to 18 miles below the surface. Peridot forms 20 to 55 miles deep, while diamonds form 100 to 150 miles below the surface.

The non-gem variety of peridot is called olivine, a mineral component of Hawaiian lava and one of the first crystals to form as magma cools. Mahana Beach on Hawaii’s Papakolea coast is one of only three green sand beaches in the world. The sand owes its astounding color to olivine crystals eroded from an ancient volcanic formation and delivered to the shore by ocean waves.

While most peridot originates deep in the Earth’s mantle, scientists have also proven that August’s birthstone is truly extraterrestrial. It has been found embedded within meteorites and scattered across the surface of Mars.

The finest peridot hue is a saturated green to slightly yellowish green — and free from brown tints, according to the Gemological Institute of America.

Peridot can be found on five continents. The gems represented in the photo, above, are from the U.S. (Arizona), Egypt, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Pakistan, Antarctica and Norway. They range in size from 8.9 carats to 311.8 carats and are residents of the Smithsonian’s Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals in Washington, D.C.

Credit: Photo by Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution.

Brooke Shields Reveals How Her Deceased Dad’s Signet Ring Comforted Her During Childbirth

Actress Brooke Shields told InStyle magazine how she made a secret pact with a delivery-room nurse so she could wear her father’s signet ring — on a chain — when she went into labor with her first daughter, Rowan. Shields’ beloved dad, Francis, had passed away only a few weeks earlier, so the ring provided her with the comfort that her dad was in the room.

A towering figure at 6’7″ tall, Francis wore his signet ring everywhere, according to Shields. The ring, which was engraved with an octagonal crest and topped with an eagle, had been a gift from Francis’ mother, who was the daughter of an Italian prince and an American socialite. Throughout the years, the ring served as a reminder of the family’s rich lineage that included noble families throughout Italy.

As a child, Shields remembered looking up at his pinky and admiring the family crest.

“He kept it on until his health took a turn for the worse in 2003,” Shields told InStyle. “I was about to give birth to my first daughter when he passed away. When I went into labor a few weeks later, I asked my stepsister to bring my dad’s ring to me in the hospital.”

Jewelry was not allowed in the delivery room, but Shields convinced one of the nurses how important it was to have her dad’s ring with her while going through labor.

“I wasn’t allowed to put it on my finger because I was going into surgery, but the loveliest nurse found a chain so that I could have it around my neck,” Shields said. “It was still against the rules, but she said it was ‘our little secret.’ I was so comforted because it was as if he were in the room with me.”

The 53-year-old actress and former model has two daughters with her husband Chris Hency, 15-year-old Rowan Francis (named after Shields’ dad) and 12-year-old Grier.

“I still wear the ring often and think about my dad every time I do,” she told InStyle. “I love its role in our family history.”

Credit: Video screen capture via Instagram/brookeshields.