Spring Into May Auctions

A peek into the treasures to be found in the May auctions.

CHRITIE'S AUCTION HOUSE

Magnificent Jewels May 17, 207 Geneva

Magnificent Jewels May 17, 207 Geneva


In the culmination of Geneva Luxury Week, the Magnificent Jewels auction features a fantastic 92 carat D Flawless heart-shaped diamond pendant, named ‘La Légende’, and a pair of chandelier earrings, named ‘La Vie Bohème’,  both by Boehmer et Bassenge. With a thematic section dedicated to the Dolce Vita era along with pieces formerly owned by Doris Duke and Elizabeth Taylor, the sale embraces distinguished provenance and jewellery with a storied past. Signed pieces from Bulgari and Cartier, Kashmir sapphires, Burmese rubies and Columbian emeralds round out an exceptional sale this season.

Magnificent Jewels May 30, 2017 Hong Kong

Magnificent Jewels May 30, 2017 Hong Kong

The Magnificent Jewels Hong Kong auction features an assortment of natural gemstones including pearls, jadeite, and diamonds of various colors. 


SOTHEBY'S AUCTION HOUSE

Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels, Sessions 1, 2, and 3MAY 16, 2017 GENEVA

Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels, Sessions 1, 2, and 3MAY 16, 2017 GENEVA

Sotheby’s spring sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels at Mandarin Oriental, Geneva will be led by the ‘Apollo and Artemis Diamonds’. Individually, these captivating diamonds – one Fancy Vivid Blue, one Fancy Intense Pink – are truly exceptional stones and when considered as a pair, they enter a class of their own: the most important earrings ever to appear at auction. Offered separately as individual lots, ‘The Apollo Blue’ will be presented with an estimate of CHF 38,125,000–50,160,000 ($38,000,000–50,000,000) and ‘The Artemis Pink’ is estimated between CHF 12,545,000–18,060,000 ($12,500,000–18,000,000). The sale features jewellery from different collections comprising signed jewels and superb gemstones. Gems from Kashmir, Burma, Colombia rub shoulders with signed jewels from the most iconic and well-known jewellery houses, such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Lacloche, Bulgari, Schlumberger and Tiffany.


BONHAM'S AUCTION HOUSE

Bonham's Jewelry May 24, 2017 Edinburgh 

Bonham's Jewelry May 24, 2017 Edinburgh 

Bonham's Rare Jewels and Jadeite May 31, 2017 Hong Kong

Bonham's Rare Jewels and Jadeite May 31, 2017 Hong Kong


DOYLE'S FINE JEWELRY AUCTION

Doyle's Auction House May 22, 2017 Beverly Hills

Doyle's Auction House May 22, 2017 Beverly Hills

Doyle will hold the Spring 2017 sale of Fine Jewelry at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills on Monday, May 22, 2017 at 10am (Pacific). Our West Coast sales of Fine Jewelry attract hundreds of bidders vying for exquisite designs consigned from prominent private collections and estates. The range of offerings includes stylish jewelry for garden lunches to glittering statement pieces perfect for the red carpet!


The Pink Star Diamond Breaks Auction Records

The Pink Star: 59.6 carat pink diamond. Photo from Sotheby's auction house. 

The Pink Star: 59.6 carat pink diamond. Photo from Sotheby's auction house. 

The previous world record for a pink diamond was set in 2010 by the 24.79 carat Graff Pink which was sold for $46.2 million. The Pink Star diamond also broke the record for all diamonds, a title previously held by the Oppenheimer Blue diamond, sold at a Christie’s auction in May for $58 million.

The previous world record for a pink diamond was set in 2010 by the 24.79 carat Graff Pink which was sold for $46.2 million. The Pink Star diamond also broke the record for all diamonds, a title previously held by the Oppenheimer Blue diamond, sold at a Christie’s auction in May for $58 million.

Sotheby's broke records on Tuesday at their Hong Kong auction house with the sale of "The Pink Star" for an astounding $71.2 million. The 59.6 carat pink diamond, was won by Hong Kong-based jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook after a five-minute bidding war.  

The Pink Star diamond was the largest internally flawless, fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America, according to Sotheby’s

The Pink Star diamond was originally mined in Botswana, Africa, by De Beers in 1999. The stone came from a 132.5 carat rough diamond. The cutting and polishing took two years of work.

The gem was previously auctioned off in 2014. Isaac Wolf, a diamond cutter, purchased the stone for $93 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva. The diamond was then reclaimed by the auction house after Wolf failed to pay for it. Tuesday's winning bidder Chow Tai Fook has renamed it the CTF Pink Star after it purchased the diamond in honor of the late father of the jeweler retailer’s current chairman.

7.44-carat Diamond Found by Teen

Kalel Langford, 14, of Centerton, Arkansas, found the 7th-largest diamond ever discovered in Crater of Diamonds State Park

A teen named Kalel Langford just found a 7.44-carat diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Kalel, 14, named it “Superman’s Diamond” after the comic book hero Superman whose real name is also Kal-El. It’s the seventh-largest diamond ever found in the park. The brown diamond is coffee-colored and about the size of a pinto bean. Kalel found it within his first 20 minutes at the park without even looking that hard, his mother said. 
The overjoyed Kalel plans to keep the diamond as a special souvenir, but will possibly spend it wisely in the future. “For now he plans on keeping it until he has a chance to let it all sink in, and over time we’ll plan to make a decision,” said his mother. “He told us, ‘That’s what I’ll plan to use for college if I don’t get enough scholarships. And if I get enough scholarships then it can be a down payment for a house.’
“He’s a very good kid,” she added. “He is very much into science. He loves rocks and loves minerals.”

For more information on Crater of Diamonds State Park please visit http://www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com/

The Foxfire Diamond Bedazzles as Smithsonian's Newest Rock Star

187.63 carat Foxfire diamond is the largest gem quality diamond found in North America (PHOTO BY DONNY BAJOHR)

The largest gem-quality diamond ever found in North America is on display at the Smithsonian for three months in its rough, uncut state. 

It's a really unusual chance for people to see this rare diamond,” says Jeffrey Post, curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. “It isn't something that happens very often. This may be the only chance in your life to see such a thing.”

Diamonds tend to be highly concentrated in small areas underground where ancient volcanic eruptions pushed magma upward through tubes. The magma solidified into an igneous rock called kimberlite. Scattered through the kimberlite left within the tube are diamonds that were pushed upwards with the magma.

The 187.63 carat Foxfire diamond was almost discarded when it was unearthed in August 2015 at the Diavik diamond mine, above the Arctic Circle in Canada's Northwest Territories. The mine was not known for large diamonds like the Foxfire, but rather much smaller stones. The chances of a large diamond coming through the sorting system were believed to be so slim that all large stones were assumed to be kimberlite, thus filtered and crushed. The Foxfire diamond could have been crushed, but because of its somewhat elongated shape, it slipped through the sifting screen. 

The name Foxfire pays homage to the aboriginal name for the aurora borealis, which Post says looks like "foxtails swishing away in the sky.” 

In June 2016, Deepak Sheth of Amadena Investments, who trades in historic or unique stones, purchased the uncut diamond at auction (the exact price has not been publicly disclosed) and then did an unusual thing. He allowed the Smithsonian's scientists to borrow it. 

“In some way, it's like diamonds are like meteorites from deep in the earth,” Post says.

Most diamonds appear to have been created between one and three billion years ago roughly a hundred miles beneath the surface of the Earth. Diamonds can help geologists understand Earth's history, says Post.

During past volcanic eruptions, “diamonds were brought to the surface, giving us a glimpse into a part of the Earth we can't otherwise study,” Post says.

In order to find out more about the Foxfire diamond's composition, Post exposed the uncut gemstone to different types of light and used a spectrograph to see how the various elements in the diamond were reflecting the light. A funny thing was discovered along the way.

“One of the interesting properties of this diamond is that if you go in a dark room and turn on a black light, it glows bright blue. It lights up the room,” Post says. “There are a number of diamonds that do this, but this does so quite a lot. This happens through trace amounts of nitrogen. By doing spectral analysis of that light, we can tell how much nitrogen might be there.”

It gets weirder.

Trace amounts of nitrogen cause the DIAMOND to glow bright blue under a black light.  (Photo by Donny Bajohr)

“What is unusual, is that when you turn the light off [the diamond] continues to glow. First a deep orange color and then it fades to a creamy white glow. So that phosphorescence can tell us something about how that diamond was formed. . . . It gives us this interesting insight into its history that we wouldn't get just by looking at it.”

Larger diamonds have been found elsewhere in the world. South Africa's enormous Cullinan diamond weighed 3,106.75 carats before it was cut into numerous stones. But diamonds from North America are particularly valued because of their relatively clean provenance. Unlike many African diamonds, the stones that come from Canada's mines are not associated with conflicts or wars. Environmental protection standards are high. The microscopic maple leaves and polar bears etched into each diamond helps ensure that buyers know what they are getting.

This geology allows diamond mines to be relatively compact mining operations that can be restored to a healthy wild condition after mining operations are completed. The Canadian government requires that plans for restoration be made before mining even begins.

“With a diamond mine, it's not like oil where you have to pump it some place,” Post says. “You've got one hole in the ground that is a very well defined area, but the area around it can be pretty well returned [as habitat for wildlife]. This one mine, they are literally mining through a lake. In the end, this thing might very well fill up with water again and just be a deeper lake.”

With the passage of time, the Diavik mine will eventually become that deeper lake and for a brief period, the Foxfire diamond is available for anyone who wants to see it.

“It's a one time opportunity,” Post says.

The Foxfire diamond will be on view in the Harry Winston Gallery next to the Smithsonian's famous Hope Diamond at the National Museum of Natural History through February 16, 2017.

Source
: Foxfire Diamond

Giant Jade Stone Unearthed in Myanmar

The state of Kachin produces some of the best jade in the world

A giant jade stone weighing 175 tonnes has been uncovered by miners in Myanmar. The stone is 4.3m (14ft) high and 5.8m (19ft) long, and is reportedly worth an estimated $170m. It was found in a mine in the jade-producing Kachin state, in the north of the country.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, is the source of nearly all of the world's finest jadeite. The jade industry is responsible for nearly half of the country's GDP. 
One of the biggest markets for jade is in neighboring China, where it is known as the "stone of heaven".

Burmese Ruby, Jade Ban Officially Ended

The Jubilee Ruby: a 15.99-karat Burmese ruby and diamond ring by Verdura. Courtesy of Christie’s

Reported by JCK Magazine.


The 8-year-old sanctions on Burmese ruby and jade coming into the United States were officially lifted by an executive order dated Oct. 7.

President Obama signaled his intention to lift the ban last month.

The timing was auspicious—leaders of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) and Jewelers of America were on a trade mission to Myanmar (formerly Burma) when the sanctions were lifted.

“We have had an amazing reaction from the top down,” says Jeffrey Bilgore, AGTA president. “This is a country coming out of the darkness of 50 years of military rule and eager to participate in the new order. We have met everyone from the smallest artisanal miner to the members of parliament. And they are really excited to be part of the gem community. It’s a big relief and a long time coming.”

Jewelers and their customers will benefit from greater access to choice gems, he says.

“Customers are still asking for Burma rubies,” Bilgore says. “After eight years of no longer being able to import, it will have an impact.”

The leaders acknowledged that the Burmese jade sector remains problematic, and they were mostly focused on reestablishing ties with the gem business. (In addition to rubies, Myanmar produces sapphires, topaz, and other gems.)

“The gem sector has always operated in a very different way than the jade sector,” Bilgore says. “There is still an awful lot of work to do there. The gemstone sector can be a model to the jade sector in helping to modify their practices.”

Another mission participant, AGTA CEO Doug Hucker, says that local miners were eager to do business responsibly.

“We have made recommendations to them,” he says. “Across the board they have been receptive. Everyone wants to do business in the right way. It’s ingrained in their philosophy, their religion.”

Jewelers of America president and CEO David Bonaparte, also on the mission, says that his members were anxious to “get the ball rolling” and “reintroduce gems from Burma in their stores.”

Bilgore says that the local reaction to the sanctions’ lifting was ecstatic.

“This is the proudest gem valley in the world,” he says. “It goes back 1,000 years. America is the largest gem-consuming market in the world and [the country hasn’t] been able to sell us rubies for eight years. They are happy to come out from the darkness, come out from the cloud.”

Also on the trade mission: James Shigley from the Gemological Institute of America; Timothy Haake of Haake Fetzer, senior counsel to JA; and a representative of the Inle Advisory Group, a Myanmar-centric business consulting firm.

The ban on the importation of rubies and jade into the United States came into effect with the passage of the JADE Act in 2008. When that law expired in 2013, President Obama issued an executive order that year keeping the ruby and jade ban in place.

75 Pound "Good Luck Charm" May Be The World's Largest Pearl

The pearl is believed to be the biggest ever found. The authenticity of the pearl still must be verified by a gemologist for it to be named the world's largest.

Yesterday, mollusk mania took hold of the internet when reports surfaced of a massive pearl discovered in the Philippines. The 75-pound pearl was reportedly discovered by a fisherman about a decade ago when his anchor accidentally snagged a giant clam, G. Clay Whittaker reports for Popular Science. When he reeled it in, he was surprised to find a pearl nearly as big as the clam itself and kept it for years as a good luck charm.

While the pearl’s size may be stunning, the process that made it is more or less the same as the tiny ones worn on a string. When an object like a grain of sand gets stuck inside a mollusk’s shell, it can irritate the soft-bodied animal, which prompts it to start forming layers of calcium carbonate around the annoyance, according to Ellen Strong, a research zoologist at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

“It’s a natural process,” Strong tells Smithsonian.com. “The process of making a pearl is the outcome of making its shell.”

Though pearls are rarely found in clams, in theory it’s possible for nearly any shelled mollusk to make a pearl. All of these creatures harvest calcium carbonate from the water around them, which they use to form their hard, protective shells. Making a pearl is similar to creating the shell, but the layers of calcium carbonate encapsulate a foreign object instead of the mollusk’s own body.

“It’s like getting a splinter,” Strong says. “You don’t want to leave it in there. But unlike us, they don’t have opposable thumbs to help them pull it out.”

The pearl-making process isn’t just used to give the mollusk some relief from an abrasive object poking it in the soft parts—it can help fend off parasites as well. Mollusks are often the targets of parasites that bore into their shells in order to munch on the soft meat inside, but the same reaction that creates a pearl can also seal off these invaders and patch up the shell.

“It’s a defense mechanism like an immune response in humans,” Strong says. “It’s one of the options that it has to handle something that causes problems.”

The “Pearl of Puerto,” as local officials refer to the massive Philippine pearl, is certainly notable for its unusual size. While it still has to be confirmed by a gemologist, if it is a true pearl it could be the largest ever found, the BBC reports. By using x-rays to peer inside to its center, experts can count the gem’s growth rings, which are similar to those in a tree and can be used to estimate how long the giant clam worked to make this gigantic gem.

Pearls that are farmed, or cultured, grow to around a centimeter wide within a year, says Strong. Considering the size of the Pearl of Puerto, the giant clam had been worrying at it for quite some time.

Originally Reported by Smithsonian Magazine

Shirley Temple's Blue Diamond

ShirleyTemple1

The blue diamond ring that belonged to child-star-turned-diplomat Shirley Temple is going up for auction at Sotheby’s next month.
The 9.54 carat stone was bought by the former Hollywood actress’s father around her 12th birthday for $7,210 in 1940 and it became a favored piece of jewelry. 
Shirley Temple Temple began her film career in 1932 at the age of three and in 1934 she found international fame in Bright Eyes. She was well known for her bouncy curls and outgoing personality (she was cute as a button!). From 1935 through 1938 she was Hollywood’s biggest box office star. 
As Shirley Temple Black, she had a long career in public service and was the US ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She was also appointed as Chief of Protocol by President Gerald Ford in 1976 and was involved in preparations for President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration. 
She died in February 2014 at the age of 85 at home in Woodside, California.

Blue Diamond Ring being Auctioned by Sotheby's in April

Blue Diamond Ring being Auctioned by Sotheby's in April

BLUE DIAMOND RING On a Model's hand

BLUE DIAMOND RING On a Model's hand

Shirley Temple Black as US Ambassador 

Shirley Temple Black as US Ambassador 

The stone has a pre-sale estimate of between $25 million and $35 million and is scheduled to go under the hammer on April 19. 
According to Frank Everett, sales director for Sotheby’s jewelry department in New York the ring had been sold by her estate to a private buyer and that buyer was now putting it up for auction. The stone is in its original platinum and diamond setting. A gold setting that Temple had made for it will also be included.

Largest Blue HPHT Synthetic Diamond in GIA Lab

A 5.03 ct Fancy Deep blue HPHT synthetic diamond was examined by GIA (left). Faint but sharp color zoning was observed (middle, field of view 4.77 mm) along with small metallic inclusions and a cavity at the girdle (right, field of view 2.19 mm). Photos by Sood (Oil) Judy Chia (left) and Kyaw Soe Moe (center and right)

A 5.03 ct Fancy Deep blue HPHT synthetic diamond was examined by GIA (left). Faint but sharp color zoning was observed (middle, field of view 4.77 mm) along with small metallic inclusions and a cavity at the girdle (right, field of view 2.19 mm). Photos by Sood (Oil) Judy Chia (left) and Kyaw Soe Moe (center and right)

The largest faceted colorless HPHT-grown synthetic diamond reported to date is a 10.02 ct E-color, VS1-clarity specimen, cut from a 32.26-carat piece of rough, was reported by IGI Hong Kong in 2015. The diamond was grown by NDT, or New Diamond Technology, is one of the founding members of the new International Grown Diamond Association. Recently, large colorless and near-colorless HPHT-grown diamonds by the Russian company have been investigated by GIA laboratories. The sizes ranged up to up to 5.11 ct. In January 2016, GIA’s New York laboratory examined a 5.03 ct fancy-color HPHT-grown type IIb synthetic diamond produced by NDT. this is the largest faceted blue laboratory-grown diamond studied so far. 

The notes from GIA's lab report stated that the 5.03-carat diamond exhibited a number of traits characteristic of diamonds grown using the high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) process, including color zoning and a cuboctahedral growth pattern. The stone was graded a VS1, fancy deep blue. 

"This emerald-cut synthetic diamond was color graded as Fancy Deep blue. This is a very attractive color with no other color component, a prized rarity among natural type IIb diamonds (the Blue Moon, for instance, was graded as Fancy Vivid blue). When viewed under a microscope, faint but sharp color zoning could be seen, indicative of the uneven impurity incorporation of HPHT synthetic diamonds. No strain was observed under crossed polarizers, indicating a very low dislocation density, which is also characteristic of HPHT-grown diamonds. It had VS1 clarity, with only very small metallic inclusions and a cavity observed at the girdle. Fluorescence and phosphorescence images collected using a DiamondView instrument revealed the sample’s cuboctahedral growth pattern, another feature of HPHT synthetics. The long-lasting chalky blue phosphorescence was further analyzed using spectroscopy, and the emission was found to originate from two broad bands centered at approximately 500 and 575 nm (figure 2, right). These bands have previously been reported in NDT’s type IIa and IIb HPHT synthetic diamonds (D’Haenens-Johansson et al., 2015). "

The evaluation of a lab-grown blue diamond of this size is considered by the researchers to be so significant that they opted to publish Lab Notes online ahead of the next quarterly edition of Gems & Gemology.  

To read Lab Notes GIA.edu

Hemmerle Exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial

Hemmerle earrings, amber, patinated bronze, iron, pink gold, red gold: Photo Courtesy of HEMMERLE

Hemmerle earrings, amber, patinated bronze, iron, pink gold, red gold: Photo Courtesy of HEMMERLE

Hemmerle will be participating in Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York from 12 February – 21 August 2016.
The bold, unostentatious creations included in the exhibition demonstrate Hemmerle’s dedication to craftsmanship, exceptional quality and innovative material combinations.

This fifth instalment of the Triennial exhibition series is dedicated to beauty and celebrates design as an endeavour that engages our full senses. Featuring work from over sixty voices in the global design scene, Beauty expands the discourse around the power of aesthetic innovation. The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated publication.

Hemmerle is a fourth generation, family run house at the vanguard of jewellery design. Each jewel is unique and as original as a work of art. Today, Christian Hemmerle runs the business with his wife Yasmin and parents Stefan and Sylveli Hemmerle. The family travel across the world treasure hunting for rare materials from Mughal-era brown diamonds to found materials like ancient carved jade.

Hemmerle’s creativity is driven by materials and the design process begins with a particular stone or object. The family then work around it, impeccably matching gems for colour and building up unusual textures and form. Hemmerle is drawn to experimenting with new materials; in a pair of earrings included in the exhibition, jasper and aquamarines are paired with concrete. Hemmerle worked with cement for days, experimenting to get the perfect shade of grey and a brushed texture on the concrete.  In a ring, bright orange topaz has been set in pink gold, the metal corroded with chemicals to create holes in the surface.

Nature is an endless source of inspiration to Hemmerle and included in the exhibition is a eucalyptus brooch from Nature’s Jewels, a nature inspired jewellery collection and accompanying book published in 2014. Exquisitely modelled in brass, bronze and gold, glistening spiky diamonds inventively add to the realism of the eucalyptus. A pair of real shells are used in charming snail brooches, the bodies of the creatures crafted in white gold and yellow-brown diamonds. In another pair of earrings, a bee rests on intricately layered piece of honeycomb made from amber and patinated bronze.
 

Hemmerle bangle, garnets, white gold, silver: Photo courtesy of hemmerle

Hemmerle earrings, tourmaline, rubellite, spinels, sapphires, white gold, copper: Photo Courtesy of Hemmerle

A dedication to colour has defined Hemmerle’s work over the decades and included in the exhibition is a pair of mismatched earrings; one made from rubellite and pink sapphires and one from tourmaline and orange sapphires. Both are intricately engineered and balanced to contain movement through the copper and white gold framework. An open-ended Harmony Bangle with its seamless closure is made from purple garnets carefully colour-matched. A Harmony Bangle inspired by Egypt joined the permanent collection of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in 2014.

Found materials create a dramatic back drop for rare stones and are worked into a contemporary design. In earrings, two mismatched cameos face each other swinging in white gold frames set with diamonds. A necklace strap is created by knitting hand hewn agate beads in the round over silk and hung with a luxurious piece of ancient carved jade.     

With Beauty, Cooper Hewitt shows that aesthetic innovations exist in our experience of an object. The exhibition celebrates objects and practices that are exuberant, ethereal, intricate, or even sublime. Objects of beauty provoke immediate reactions and demand judgment to exalt experience as a living, unfolding exchange between people and things.

Beauty — Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial
Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
2 East 91st Street, New York
Exhibit Dates: 12 February – 21 August 2016

Hemmerle's Website

Hemmerle ring, topaz, pink gold, copper: Photo Courtesy of HEMMERLE

The Victoria's Secret Fireworks Fantasy Bra

Yesterday, Lily Aldridge was revealed as the wearer of Victoria’s Secret 2015 Fantasy Bra. And that same day, the Angel was at a Victoria’s Secret store in Los Angeles to unveil the bra and belt designed by renowned jeweler Mouawad. Valued at over $2 million, the Fireworks Fantasy Bra is certainly a sight to see!

The bra and detachable belt are adorned with more than 6,500 gemstones, including diamonds, blue topaz, yellow sapphires and pink quartz, all set in 18-karat gold. Vogue reported the bra’s total weight is just under 1,364 carats, with diamonds comprising 375 of those carats.

 



An 8.52-carat diamond was discovered in Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park

An 8.52-carat diamond was discovered in Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park on Wednesday.

An 8.52-carat diamond was discovered in Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park on Wednesday.

On Wednesday June 24th Crater of Diamonds State Park visitor Bobbie Oskarson of Longmont, Colorado uncovered an 8.25-carat diamond. The stone is the fifth-largest diamond found by a visitor to the state park since the site was established in 1972. 

At first she thought the diamond was a quartz crystal because of its size and shape, but a park staffer confirmed later that it was indeed a diamond.

"Ms. Oskarson and her boyfriend Travis Dillon saw the Crater of Diamonds State Park on an Arkansas highway map while in the nearby town of Hot Springs and decided to visit the park. And what a lucky first visit it was for her!" park interpreter Waymon Cox said in a press release.

Oskarson named her find the Esperanza Diamond, after her niece, and plans to keep the gem.

More than 30 diamonds have been discovered in the park's search area this year. Cox said above-normal rainfall this year is one reason for the frequent finds.

"Rain, plus the regular plowing of the search field by our maintenance staff, increases visitors' chances of finding diamonds in the search area," he said.

More than 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed in the park since the first diamonds were discovered there in 1906.

The largest rough diamond ever discovered in Crater of Diamonds State Park (and the largest ever found in the United States) is the Uncle Sam Diamond, which was found in 1924 and was a hefty 40.23 carats, according to the park website.

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA

Excavation Reveals a 2,000-year-old Natural Pearl Found in Australia

Australian scientists said Wednesday that they have uncovered a "very rare" 2,000-year-old natural sea pearl while excavating a remote coastal Aboriginal site. The pearl is the first found on the continent. 

Australia's University of Wollongong on June 3, 2015: a "very rare" 2,000-year-old natural pearl (the first found on the vast island continent) uncovered while excavating a remote coastal Aboriginal site

Australia's University of Wollongong on June 3, 2015: a "very rare" 2,000-year-old natural pearl (the first found on the vast island continent) uncovered while excavating a remote coastal Aboriginal site

Kat Szabo, an associate professor at the University of Wollongong said that archaeologists came across the pearl while excavating the site on the north Kimberley coast of Western Australia.

"Natural pearls are very rare in nature and we certainly -- despite many, many (oyster) shell middens being found in Australia -- we've never found a natural pearl before," Szabo, who specialises in studying shells at archaeological sites, told AFP.

The discovery's location is particularily significant because "the Kimberley coast of Australia is synonymous with pearling, and has been for the better part of the last century, " says Szabo 

The pink-and-gold-coloured pearl is almost completely spherical, and measures five-millimeters in  diameter. Because the pearl was nearly perfect round researchers were able to use a micro CT scan to test its age as well as prove that is was naturally occurring rather than a modern cultured pearl.

Pearl producing oysters have been used in rainmaking ceremonies in indigenous cultures, and their shells have been found in the central desert more than 930 miles away. Archaeologists have known about the rainmaking rituals but were not aware of how far back in history they had been practiced until now.

"Studying the pearl has led us to the study of the layer in which it's found," Szabo said.

"In indigenous terms, that's telling a really interesting story about a cultural tradition to do with pearl shells which we knew historically but we've never been able to prove that it went back into the past." 

The pearl is set to go on display at the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Perth later this month, with details of the find published in the Australian Archaeology journal.

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA

 

Exceptional 63.05-carat Diamond Found

Lucapa Diamond Company recovered an “exceptional” 63.05-carat, Type IIa diamond from its alluvial mining operations at the Lulo Diamond Concession in Angola. It is the biggest diamond recovered since Lucapa started commercial mining operations at the site in January and the company’s third-largest stone unearthed at Lulo, behind 131.40-carat and 95.45-carat stones (both of which also were Type IIa).

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA

Angola diamond

The “Kimberley Purple"

kimberlypurple

The “Kimberley Purple,” a 30.80-carat rough diamond found in Batla Minerals’ Superkolong diamond tailings plant in Kimberley, South Africa, is on view in New York until April 23, when it will be moved to Antwerp for tender. 
A viewing can be arranged by emailing appts@fusionalternatives.com. Additional information on the tender can be found on the Fusion Alternatives website. 

Kathleen Marino M.A, G.G., AJP, NAJA