A space rock containing over 100 million tons of platinum at its core was seen flying within 1.5 million miles of the Earth this past weekend, sparking interest in the future of space mining.

platinum asteroid

This asteroid “2011 UW-158” flyby was captured by the Slooh online observatory, using a team of telescopes located in the Canary Islands. Two live feeds were provided; one long range that showed the asteroid moving across the viewing field visible as a small white spec, the other a close up centered on the asteroid. Commentary was provided by both Slooh astronomer Bob Berman, and host Eric Edelman.

plat asteroid

A special guest appearance was made by Planetary Resources President Chris Lewicki. Planetary Resources is an asteroid mining venture – that counts Google founders Larry Page and Eric Schmidt among its backers – has its sights set on the 2011 UW-158. Due to the (relatively) close proximity of the asteroid, which is approximately six times farther than the Moon but 60 times closer than the next nearest planet, Venus, it has sparked a renewed interest in the viability of space mining.

The company has calculated the asteroid to contain about 100 million tons of pure platinum, approximately $5.4 trillion dollars’ worth. While they have also been tracking similar asteroids in our solar system, this is the one that has come the closest to the Earth.

Officials from NASA believe that futuristic space mining may be feasible as early as 2025. Asteroids would be “captured” and brought into orbit of our Moon, where space miners would be able to collect resources. NASA states that the elements present in asteroids, such as rocket fuel and water, could be gathered by future generations in the quest to explore more of our solar system.

 

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lady luckA fancy vivid yellow diamond weighing a whopping 77.77 carats is expected to be the top lot at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, with a pre-sale estimate up to $7.7 million.

Clearly the top lot has auspicious ties to the number seven. In the Western world, seven is considered the luckiest of all numbers; many a gambler has dreamed of hitting the 7-7-7 slot machine jackpot. For potential Asian buyers, seven is a lucky number that signifies togetherness, and the yellow hue is also symbolic of royalty and power.

The “Lady Luck Diamond” boasts a VS2 clarity and a pure fancy vivid yellow, the most desirable saturation for colored diamonds. Pure yellow diamonds owe their coloration to nitrogen atoms dispersed throughout the crystal matrix, which is extremely hard to penetrate. The amount of nitrogen present determines a yellow diamond’s saturation level, which is why the more intensely saturated gems are extremely rare and valuable.

Flanked by five-carat heart-shaped diamonds on either side, the “Lady Luck” is presented as the lady luck 2centerpiece of a three-stone ring in rich 18 karat yellow gold. It can also be detached and worn as a pendant on its own.

The “Lady Luck” is sure to appeal to a wide audience of bidders later this month at Sotheby’s “Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Sale” at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. The auction comprises 320 lots in total, including rare colorless and colored diamonds, gemstones, and signed pieces from the Art Deco period. Total sales expected to be generated are over $100 million.

 

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Faberge, one of the world’s most recognized fine artist jewelers, have unveiled a new creation of their iconic Imperial Eggs. The lucky attendees of last week’s Doha Watch and Jewellery Exhibition in Qatar witnessed the first debut of the extraordinary masterpiece: the $2 million Pearl Egg.

Using a combination of white and yellow gold, the meticulously crafted egg features a total of 139 natural white pearls, gleams with a mother-of-pearl finish and adorned with over 3,300 diamonds and hand-carved rock quartz. The centerpiece is an incredibly rare, unique 12.17-carat natural grey pearl sourced from the Arabian Gulf. To reveal it, the outer egg shell is rotated on the base which allows the six sides to flower open simultaneously to reveal the treasure; reminiscent of how an oyster opens to reveal its’ cultured pearl.

The House of Faberge collaborated with the Al-Fardan family to create this egg in honor of the upcoming centenary marking the last Imperial Egg ever made. A renowned pearl collector and connouisseur, Hussain Ibrahim Al-Fardan personally hand-selected each pearl from his family’s collection to be used in making the Pearl Egg.

The Pearl Egg is the first imperial class egg made in almost a century – the last imperial class egg was created in 1917, under the supervision of Peter Carl Faberge himself. The Karelian Birch, also referred to as the “Birch Egg”, was commissioned by the last Tsar of Russia Nicholas II, intended as an Easter gift to his mother, the Empress Maria Feodorovna. The February Revolution began before the egg could be delivered, signalling the end of the imperial era of Russia and subsequently, Faberge’s eggs.

 

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A Kazak herdsman had the luckiest day in his life when he literally stumbled upon a large gold nugget lying on the ground in Xinjiang, a far western region of China.gold nugget

Berek Sawut, the lucky herdsman hailing from Qinghe County in Altay Prefecture, tells China Xinhua News that he was walking around a local mining site when he suddenly spotted a brilliant gold object lying exposed on the ground. Asked about his initial reaction, Sawut responded, “When I walked closer, I was dumbfounded. My god, it was a piece of gold. I was so excited that I started jumping up and down.”

The nugget – approximately 23cm by 18cm long and weighing almost 8kg – was analyzed for composition, confirming that the nugget is about 80% pure gold, with the remaining being quartz, sandstone and other minerals.

It has a precious metal estimated value of $255,000 at the current spot gold price, but experts believe that the piece could fetch over three times as much due to the specimen’s rarity and uniqueness. It is the largest gold nugget to china nuggetcome out of the Altay region, a mountainous territory that hugs the border of Russia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. This region has long been known for its’ gold mining, in fact “altay” is “gold” in Mongolian. Not to mention, most curiously of all, the large nugget is naturally shaped resembling the map of China.

Whether or not Sawut will get to keep or sell his find is yet to be determined. According to Chinese law, mineral resources that are found on or below the surface in this region is deemed as property of the state. However, given that his story has gone viral on Chinese media and that other mineral finds in the area were not confiscated, it is likely he will be allowed to keep it.

 

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Last Sunday’s NFC Championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers will probably go down as one of the most incredible comebacks in pro football history.

If you were also following the pre-game show on FOX Sports, you would have been shocked by the NFL’s threat to bench the Seahawks star running back, Marshawn Lynch, for his intention to wear his own 24 karat gold cleats.

The controversial pair in question is the $1100 Nike Vapor Speed Mid TD shoes customized by Soles by Sir. Reminiscent of the Greek messenger god Hermes’ golden footwear, the top is gilded over entirely by reflective 24 karat flake paint, with the sole and cleats also gold-plated. Bright green laces were the only contrast on the shoe, a nod to the Seahawks’ official colors of lime green and blue.

TMZ reported that the shoes were made especially for his return to the Super Bowl, but Lynch was so pleased with how they turned out that he decided to wear them to the NFC Championship game. Unfortunately for him, NFL officials were not so pleased. The league requires each player to wear officially sanctioned footwear – for the Seahawks, they are only allowed black, white, or the official colors of blue or green. Metallic gold does not qualify.

Just before game time, FOX reported the crisis averted – Lynch had reached a compromise with the NFL. He sported green and blue topped shoes, albeit with gold-plated soles and cleats.

lynch1

Lynch and his gold-soled shoes carried the Seahawks to a showstopping victory that night. He would not be denied as he barreled down 155 yards on 25 carries for a touchdown. After being down 19-7 with only three minutes left in the game, the Seahawks led an unrelenting comeback – including a recovered onside kick and a successful two-point conversion – carrying them into overtime. Only a few minutes into the extra period, quarterback Russell Wilson completed a 35-yard pass to receiver Kearse in the endzone for the game winning touchdown. They ended the game at 28-22, earning them a ticket to the Superbowl and thus making themselves the first defending champions in over 10 years.

 

 

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The Letseng mine in the small Kingdom of Lesotho, South Africa has just uncovered another massive diamond rough: a 198-carat stone, roughly the size of a large letseng 198 caratstrawberry.

A diamond over 100 carats is rare enough – with only about 10 to 15 found each year worldwide – but a rough that is nearly 200 carats is an exceedingly rare find. A stone of this size is expected to yield a polished diamond around 100 carats, or half the weight of the rough it originated from.

Even though the stone’s size is impressive, it is not even close to being the largest ever uncovered from the Letseng mine. In fact, the Letseng mine is well-known for churning out large, quality rough over the years, and has the highest price per carat production of all the mines in the world. Some of the largest include the Letseng mineLesotho Promise, the 15th largest diamond in the world at 603 carats; the Letseng Legacy at 493 carats, and the Leseli La Letseng at 478 carats which are 18th and 20th largest respectively.

What makes this rough even more valuable is its’ designation of Type IIa, which constitutes less than 2% of all natural diamonds. Type IIa diamonds have no measurable nitrogen impurities, making them chemically pure. This not only gives them exceptional optical transparency, but also a high likelihood of achieving a colorless (D-E-F) grade and a high clarity grade. Officials from Gem Diamonds Ltd, which own the majority stake in the Letseng mine, confirmed this after inspection of the stone noting it as “an exceptional white, high-quality diamond that displays no fluorescence”.

Martin Potts, a London-based mining analyst has estimated the 198 carat stone to fetch somewhere between $12 to $15 million.

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After one month and 64 soccer matches played, and it is Germany who achieves the coveted title of FIFA 2014 World Champions. Coming into the tournament as #2 ranked in the world, they captured the World Cup Trophy after scoring 1-0 in overtime in the exciting final game with Argentina.jules rimet trophy

The trophy comes as the second redesign in all of FIFA’s history. The original trophy – named the Jules Rimet Cup after the former FIFA president – was a miniature statue of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. The body was forged in sterling silver and plated over in pure 24K gold, which stood on a base of carved blue lapis lazuli. FIFA regulations at that time stipulated that any country that wins three times would be awarded the Cup permanently; just that happened in 1970, the year that Brazil won their 3rd championship and took the cup home. Unfortunately, in 1983 the cup was stolen in Rio de Janeiro and has never been seen again.

The current trophy has thus been used since 1974, but no longer carries the possibility of being owned by any one country as it remains the permanent possession of FIFA.

fifa trophySilvio Gazzaniga, the Italian creator of the current trophy, describes the depiction as thus: “The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory.”

According to FIFA’s official website, the trophy stands at over 36cm tall and made of a whopping 6.175kg of 18 karat yellow gold, which is worth approximately $175,000. The German team will be taking home a gold-plated replica of the trophy, while the actual trophy will remain at FIFA headquarters to only be used at the official ceremonies.

 

 

 

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christies green diamond

christies green diamond

A 6.13-carat fancy intense green diamond set a new per-carat record when it sold at Christie’s on May 27 for a whopping $3.6 million, or $594,510 per carat. The square cushion cut diamond is the center of a rose gold halo style ring, accentuated by natural pink diamonds.

Next to red, green is the rarest of colors found in natural diamonds. For most colored diamonds, the color comes from trace amounts of mineral impurities or extreme pressure conditions while the diamond was forming. The tight chemical structure makes it very difficult for any impurities to enter, which is why colored diamonds are exceedingly rare. Small amounts of boron in the crystal lattice structure of a diamond, for example, will impart a blue hue; same goes with nitrogen for yellow, and hydrogen for violet. What gives a diamond a green hue however, is the presence of natural radiation over millions of years. Because the radiation exposure is an external force rather than internal force (such as mineral impurities and lattice defects), it acts on the surface only. As a result, green diamonds are not green all the way through; the color is concentrated on the outer layers and tends to be weakly saturated. That is why a fancy intense green diamond, especially one of a size like this one, is almost a once-in-a-lifetime find.

This spectacular diamond joins the ranks of other recently sold, record-breaking gems at Christie’s. At their Geneva auction just last month, there were three record-breakers alone. They include ‘The Blue’, a fancy vivid blue pear shaped diamond weighing over 13 carats, a 76.5 carat light pink square-cut diamond that sold for $10.2 million, and the ‘Ocean Dream’ – a 5.5 carat, vivid blue-green diamond that went for $8.8million.

 

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jennymcJenny McCarthy is definitely not one to shy away from media! She shocked over 3 million viewers last Wednesday on live television via her morning talk show, The View by showing off a huge yellow sapphire and diamond ring and announcing her recent engagement to singer Donnie Wahlberg.

The former model, actress, one-time author and current co-host of The View was immeasurably ecstatic, jumping up and hugging co-hosts Barbara Walters and Sherri Shepherd. A slideshow of pictures of the happy couple played across the screen as Wahlberg made a surprise appearance from backstage, coming up to hug his sweetheart.

McCarthy’s bubbly and vivacious personality seems to match her engagement ring perfectly: a square brilliant cut yellow sapphire, surrounded by a halo of white diamonds set in a split shank pave white gold band. Known to be a spiritual person, she may have chosen a bright yellow stone to elicit inspiration, creativity, and optimism.jennymc

The actress and TV personality describes how Wahlberg had enlisted the help of her 11-year-old son, Evan, with the proposal. While sitting on the couch at their shared home, Evan brought out a card that said “Will” and handed it to her. He walked back into the other room, coming back with “You”. He returned a third time with a card meant to say “Marry” but spelled “Mary”. McCarthy was in laughter and tears before Donnie came out the last time, wearing a shirt imprinted, “Me?” and got down on one knee.

“Of course, I said ‘Yes,'” she related. “In that moment Evan yelled, ‘I have another dad!’ and it made all of us cry.”

McCarthy began dating the New Kids on The Block singer in May of last year. The pair plan to tie the knot sometime in August 2015.

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sunset proposalMarch 20th marks Proposal Day, the day on which an estimated 50,000 couples will get engaged!

Is March 20th the day to pop the big question? Possibly, but this lesser known holiday was initially started for the purpose of giving a nudge to couples who have not yet taken the ultimate step of commitment. Interestingly enough, it was a man by the name of John Michael O’Laughlin who founded Proposal Day. After seeing his cousin being strung along for years by a boyfriend who wouldn’t commit, O’Laughlin decided enough was enough and decided to dedicate one day out of the year just for the act of proposing.

Proposal Day falls on the Vernal Equinox, one out of two days of the year on which the Earth’s North and South poles are both perpendicular to the Sun’s rays. This means that the Sun appears approximately an equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on Earth, so that day and night are equal lengths. O’Laughlin specifically chose the day of an equinox because he believed the equal day and night symbolized “the equal efforts of the two required to comprise a successful marriage.” The Autumnal Equinox falls about six months after March 20th, and is considered by some to be a second Proposal Day for that reason.vernal equinox

The holiday is an opportunity to start a conversation about the possibility of a future proposal, according to ProposalDay.com. Besides, nowadays couples wait longer before tying the knot; a recent poll found that roughly 27 per cent of women whose partners had popped the question dated their partner for three to five years. As an added benefit, talking to your partner about the proposal beforehand means that you can go engagement ring shopping together, which takes some pressure off of finding the perfect engagement ring!

Although it’s certainly not as widely recognized as Valentine’s Day, there are signs that Proposal Day is gaining traction. It has been creating a buzz in numerous social media outlets like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter and has even been featured in the national news media.

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