Unmanned Sub Positively IDs 300-Year-Old Spanish Wreck Laden With $17B in Gold and Emeralds

Utilizing an unmanned submersible vehicle at a depth of 600 meters, researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) positively ID’d the San José — a 62-gun, three-masted Spanish galleon that has been called the “Holy Grail of Shipwrecks.” The ill-fated ship had been en route to Spain in 1708 laden with a cargo of emeralds, precious-metal coins and jewelry estimated to be worth $17 billion.

A quartet of British warships sank the galleon near Colombia’s port city of Cartagena, and for hundreds of years, treasure hunters speculated about the exact location of the wreck and the untold riches it contained.

WHOI researchers maneuvered the REMUS 6000 robotic submarine to within 30 feet of the wreck — close enough for cameras to capture images of the distinctive dolphins engraved on the ship’s massive bronze cannons.

When they are finally recovered, the gold coins of the Galleon San José are likely to look similar to these specimens salvaged from a 1715 Plate Fleet wreck off the coast of Florida.

“The wreck was partially sediment-covered, but with the camera images from the lower altitude missions, we were able to see new details in the wreckage and the resolution was good enough to make out the decorative carving on the cannons,” said exhibition leader Mike Purcell in a statement.

This is not the first time the REMUS 6000 has been called on for a high-profile assignment. In 2010, it assisted in mapping and photographing the Titanic wreck site in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Researchers believe that all the San José’s treasures remain intact. The Colombian government is currently raising funds for the recovery effort that should yield millions of gold and silver coins, as well as fine jewelry and a bounty of Peruvian-mined emeralds. It also plans to build a museum and world-class conservation laboratory to preserve and publicly display the wreck’s contents.

The San José discovery carries considerable cultural and historical significance because the artifacts may provide a clearer picture of Europe’s economic, social and political climate in the early 18th century.

Although the exact location of the wreck remains a Colombian state secret, the Associated Press previously reported that the ship was believed to have sunk along the coral reefs near Colombia’s Baru peninsula, about 16 miles south of Cartagena. The San José was part of Spain’s royal convoy taking colonial riches to King Philip V during the War of Spanish Succession (1701–1714). Of the 600 people aboard the doomed San José, only 11 survived.

Credits: San José battle painting [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Coin photo via Facebook/1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, LLC; REMUS image by Mike Purcell, courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Ocean floor images courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Advertisements

Once Owned by Catherine the Great, ‘The Sleeping Lion’ Pearl Hits Auction Block This Week

Once owned by Catherine the Great, the world’s largest known freshwater blister pearl is expected to fetch more than $600,000 when it hits the auction block in The Netherlands this Thursday.

Dubbed “The Sleeping Lion” due to its unusual shape, the extraordinary quarter-pound natural pearl is more than 2.7 inches long and was likely formed in China between 1700 and 1760.

For approximately 250 years, the pearl has traveled the world as it changed hands among global merchants, noble jewelers and European royals.

According to the Venduehuis auction house, The Sleeping Lion was found in southeastern China — perhaps in the Pearl River — during the Qing dynasty. And even though Chinese Emperor Qianlong enforced a ban on exporting large pearls, The Sleeping Lion was moved by Dutch merchants to Batavia and then to Europe.

In 1765, Hendrik Coenraad Sander, the accountant for the Dutch East India Company, became the first European owner of The Sleeping Lion. After his death, the pearl was auctioned off in Amsterdam in 1778 and acquired by Catherine the Great. The Empress of Russia placed the piece in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, where it was on public display until 1796.

In 1865, Lodewijk Willem van Kooten, a goldsmith working for the Italian court jeweler, Catellani, purchased The Sleeping Lion and brought it to Amsterdam two years later. For the next four generations, the pearl would remain in the possession of the prestigious Dutch jewelry family.

The Amsterdam Pearl Society purchased the pearl in 1979 with the goal of researching The Sleeping Lion’s composition and history. On Thursday, the Society will be offering the pearl for sale during the Venduehuis auction in The Hague. The Venduehuis der Notarissen is the oldest Dutch auction house, founded in 1812.

The Sleeping Lion is considered a blister pearl, which means that it formed while attached to the inside surface of a mollusk’s shell. This causes blister pearls to be flat on one side.

Coming off a three-day viewing in The Hague, The Sleeping Lion will be Lot 1778 at Thursday’s auction. Venduehuis estimated the piece would sell in the range of $395,000 to $628,000. The pearl is being offered along with its original custom-made brass case.

Credits: Images courtesy of Venduehuis.

Music Friday: The Rolling Stones Release Kaleidoscopic Lyric Video of 1967’s ‘Ruby Tuesday’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we present The Rolling Stones’ newly released, kaleidoscopic lyric video of their 1967 smash hit, “Ruby Tuesday.” The video premiered on Tuesday, of course, to promote the group’s 2018 European tour, which kicks off tonight in London.

Composed by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, the hauntingly beautiful ballad is our pick for the most popular “ruby” song of all time — even though it’s about a lost love and not about the coveted scarlet gemstone.

The famous reprise goes like this… “Goodbye Ruby Tuesday / Who could hang a name on you? / When you change with every new day / Still I’m gonna miss you.”

The lyric video delivers a throwback vibe on a number of levels. The producers used the original mono recording and illustrated the lyrics with brightly colored floral and paisley graphics reminiscent of the 1960s hippie era. The choruses cut to kaleidoscopic patterns set against a bright ruby red backdrop, ensuring a big hit of color in contrast to the verses.

In his autobiography, Richards noted that “Ruby Tuesday” was inspired by an emotionally devastating breakup with his girlfriend, Linda Keith, who left him for a poet.

“That’s the first time I felt the deep cut,” he explained. “The thing about being a songwriter is… you can find consolation in writing about it, and pour it out… It becomes an experience, a feeling, or a conglomeration of experiences. Basically, Linda is ‘Ruby Tuesday.’”

The Rolling Stones released the original 45 of “Ruby Tuesday” in January of 1967 and the song immediately ascended to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song #310 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

“Ruby Tuesday” had been intended as the B side of “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” another Stones hit, but radio deejays at the time were uncomfortable with the adult theme of the A side, and chose to play the flip. Today, the 45 is referred to as a double-A-sided record.

The Rolling Stones are credited with more than 250 million album sales. They are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and were ranked fourth on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”

Septuagenarian rockers Jagger, Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood will be performing “Ruby Tuesday” on their “No Filter” tour, which runs through July 8 and will take the band throughout Europe.

Please check out the new video of “Ruby Tuesday.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Ruby Tuesday”
Written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. Performed by The Rolling Stones.

She would never say where she came from
Yesterday don’t matter if it’s gone
While the sun is bright
Or in the darkest night
No one knows, she comes and goes

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you

Don’t question why she needs to be so free
She’ll tell you it’s the only way to be
She just can’t be chained
To a life where nothings gained
And nothings lost, at such a cost

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you

“There’s no time to lose,” I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind
Ain’t life unkind?

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you

Credits: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Dancer Cheryl Burke Reveals Sentimental Story Behind Her Dazzling New Engagement Ring

Dancing With the Stars pro Cheryl Burke got engaged to Boy Meets World alum Matthew Lawrence in early May, but took to her Instagram just last week to reveal the sweet and sentimental elements that make her double halo engagement ring truly special.

“While, obviously, I absolutely love the look of my engagement ring (come on who doesn’t love a little bling), the story behind it makes it even more special,” Burke wrote on Instagram.

The 34-year-old professional dancer, model and TV host explained that the round center diamond of her new ring holds an extra special place in her heart because it is the same diamond her recently deceased father, Steve Burke, had given to her mother, Sherri, when they were engaged. Her dad passed away on March 9 at the age of 67.

“Matt worked with my mom to get the original diamond that my late father had given her, and designed a new ring around that,” she wrote. “It has two intertwined circles to represent our two lives coming together and has the words he used to propose, ‘Love you always & forever,’ engraved inside.”

Along with a selfie of the new ring, Burke included a second shot of what the center stone looked like in its original yellow gold setting.

“It couldn’t be more perfect. Swipe to see a throwback of what the original ring looked like! #tbt,” she noted.

According to people.com, Lawrence recruited his future mother-in-law and his own mom, Donna, to assist with the redesign. Together, they worked with a jeweler to come up with the current look, which required additional accent diamonds.

Burke accepted Lawrence’s surprise proposal and the beautiful new ring on May 3, the dancer’s 34th birthday.

Burke posted to Instagram a romantic pic of the couple with the following caption: “OMG! So far so good for 34! #amilliontimesyes #imengaged #herecomesthebride.”

Later, she was back on Instagram with this comment: “I’ve taken more selfies in the last 48 hours than I have in my entire life! (Or since whenever selfies started to be a thing) #fiancestatus #futuremrslawrence.”

Burke and Lawrence had dated back in 2007, but separated for more than a decade before getting back together in 2017. The couple has yet to announce a wedding date.

Credits: Images via Instagram/cherylburke.

Floyd Mayweather Gives Daughter 18-Carat Canary Diamond Ring for Her 18th Birthday

Boxing great Floyd Mayweather — a man with a well-documented passion for fine jewelry and one of the wealthiest athletes in the world — gave his daughter Iyanna an 18-carat canary diamond ring for her 18th birthday.

The platinum ring, which was designed by New York’s Pristine Jewelers, features a modified radiant-cut yellow center stone surrounded by a halo of 36 small, round colorless diamonds. The dazzling band is adorned with eight 1.5-carat round colorless diamonds, bringing the total diamond weight to more than 30 carats.

The birthday girl took to Instagram on Sunday to show off the ring. The first snapshot was captioned, “First bday gift I’m soo in love. Thank you so much Dad.” For the second, she wrote, “I just can’t stop staring at it.”

The 41-year-old Mayweather retired from the ring with a pristine record of 50-0 and career earnings of more than $1 billion. Yes, that’s billion with a “B.”

Conflicting reports place the value of Iyanna’s canary diamond ring somewhere between the “high six figures” and $5 million.

Avi of Pristine Jewelers told PageSix.com that the champ wanted “something different” because his daughter already owned a lot of white diamond rings.

“He wanted something to pop out and stand out,” the jeweler noted.

Mayweather ordered the ring in early May and the jeweler delivered it two and a half weeks later.

Mayweather has always treated his daughter like a queen. He reportedly spent seven figures on her 16th birthday bash, which included live performances by Drake and Future.

Credits: Images via Instagram/Pristine_Jewelers; Instagram.com/moneyyaya.

Ceremonial First Pitch Lands Wide Left, But Miami Marlins Marriage Proposal Hits the Mark

Marlyn Sanchez is well known at Marlins Park in Miami because she’s frequently called on to sing the national anthem. So, when her boyfriend, Ralph Cabrera, arranged for her to throw out the first pitch before Wednesday’s contest between the Marlins and the Dodgers, Sanchez didn’t have a clue that he had plotted the perfect marriage proposal.

Dressed like a Marlins player and masked in full catcher’s gear, Cabrera crouched behind the plate as his girlfriend stepped on the pitcher’s mound, wound up and spiked the pitch — wide to the left. Her boyfriend scooped up the wild toss and hustled to the mound to give her the ceremonial ball.

Sanchez’s embarrassment at throwing such an off-target pitch quickly turned to elation when Cabrera unmasked himself, dropped to one knee and opened a custom ring box that happened to be in the shape of a baseball. Slotted in the box was a diamond engagement ring.

In front of the Marlins’ hometown fans, Cabrera asked Sanchez to marry him and she instantly nodded yes.

Miami Marlins broadcasters, who were covering the ceremonial first pitch and proposal in real time, suspected that something was awry. Typically, the person receiving the game’s first pitch doesn’t come out in full catcher’s gear.

Also, the masked catcher was wearing a #1 jersey with the name “RAMAR” on the back. Sanchez revealed in a pregame Twitter video that the name represented a combination of the first letters in the names Ralph and Marlyn. The #1 symbolized that the couple would soon be united as one.

“I found a diamond in the rough,” Cabrera said on the Miami Marlins Twitter page. “And now I’m going to give her a diamond on the diamond.”

During a post-proposal TV interview, the newly engaged Sanchez revealed how she was feeling just before her boyfriend unmasked himself.

“I was so busy concentrating on trying to throw the ball – it was horrible,” she said. “I apologized to him when he came over and he took off his mask.”

Sanchez and Cabrera, both of whom are die-hard Marlins fans, will always remember an unforgettable marriage proposal — and an exciting Marlins victory over the Dodgers, 6-5.

Their story was picked up by Yahoo, USA Today, Sun Sentinel and Inside Edition, among many other outlets.

Credits: Screen captures via mlb.com; Twitter/Miami Marlins.

Royal Wedding Report: All Eyes Were on Meghan Markle’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara

An estimated 3 billion people worldwide tuned in Saturday to see American Meghan Markle tie the knot with Prince Harry of Wales, and much of the buzz about the romantic royal nuptials was focused squarely upon the bride’s diamond tiara.

Holding Markle’s veil in place was the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau Tiara — a stunning piece lent to the young bride by 92-year-old Queen Elizabeth II. The platinum tiara was originally made for Queen Mary in 1932 and incorporates a removable center brooch that dates back to 1893.

The platinum tiara is formed as a flexible band of 11 sections, each glittering with large and small brilliant-cut diamonds. The tiara was specifically designed to accommodate the center brooch, which is set with 10 diamonds, according to an official press release.

The brooch had been gifted to then-Princess Mary in 1893 by the County of Lincoln on the occasion of her marriage to Prince George, Duke of York. The bandeau and the brooch were bequeathed by Queen Mary to Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Queen Elizabeth is the longest-reigning British monarch.

Prior to Saturday’s royal wedding, there was some speculation that the bride might forgo tradition and have a new tiara designed for the occasion. In the end, Markle decided to pay homage to her new family by wearing an accessory from the Queen’s jewelry collection.

The bride’s Welch gold wedding band also reflects a long-standing royal tradition. For the past century, royal wedding bands have been crafted from rare Welsh gold, sourced at the Clogau mine in Bontddu, Wales. The mine dates back to the Bronze Age, and commercial mining began there in the mid-1880s, according to a report by CBS News.

The mine was closed in the 1990s, but Queen Elizabeth II had received a kilogram of the rare gold for her 60th birthday in 1986. CBS reported that the Queen’s reserves have been the source of royal wedding bands ever since. While the bride will be wearing a gold wedding band, Prince Harry opted for a platinum band with a textured finish.

Screen captures via YouTube.com/Today; YouTube.com/BBC.