carat weight

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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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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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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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nizamThe Duchess of Cambridge stepped out on her first official event of the year in great style, with an elegant navy Jenny Packham evening gown and her signature wavy locks. But what stole the show was what she was wearing on her neck, a priceless diamond necklace known as the Nizam of Hyderabad.

Named after the man who bestowed this extravagant gift, it has been a part of the Royal Collection of Jewels since 1947 when the Nizam of Hyderabad gave it to Queen Elizabeth II as a wedding gift. At the time, the Nizam was one of the richest men in India, and he governed over an area that indisputably is the origin of the most valuable diamonds in the world. The Golconda region, located just west of the Hyderabad district has produced large diamonds of such purity and quality that many are located in museums and royal collections to this day. The Hope diamond (Smithsonian Natural History Museum), Daria-i-Noor (Central Bank of Iran), Koh-i-Noor (British Crown Jewels), and the Archduke Joseph (recently sold at auction for a record-breaking price) are some famous diamonds with Golcandan provenance.nizam

This is the first time where the Duchess has stepped out in jewels from the royal vault, and she chose the fundraising gala at the National Portrait Gallery in London.  Despite the host of celebrities also attending and the priceless paintings themselves, all eyes were on the Duchess’ neckline. Media reports speculate that Kate will be undergoing a change in wardrobe to look more regal in the coming months.

The Nizam of Hyderabad is constructed of colorless diamonds and platinum, featuring a double drop pear-shaped pendant and thirteen emerald cut diamonds. It is seen worn by the Queen in many official portraits, and like other priceless jewelry pieces is unlikely ever to leave the British Crown’s possession.

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wreathWe’ve seen many seemingly ordinary items bedazzled into creations of jewelry art: diamond studded shoes by Stuart Weitzman, Victoria’s Secret Fantasy Bras, and even Lady Gaga’s golden wheelchair chariot… but this is the first time expensive jewels are combined with Finnish flora to create a Christmas wreath.

Created by floral designer Pasi Jokinen-Carter, it takes the place as the most expensive wreath ever designed. With 32 diamonds and 16 rubies totalling 138 carats, the creation is priced at $4.6 million. Resting among the elaborate and rare greenery that includes Helleborus flower buds, hand-curled eucalyptus leaves, and blue Hedera berries, the gems add an unmistakable luxurious touch without overwhelming – they create a nice visual contrast with a little pop of color. Twenty-two loose round brilliant hellediamonds are nestled in the petals of one of the Helleborus flowers, and another cradles a 3.03 carat fancy yellow diamond. The largest gem in the wreath is a 17.49 carat ruby.

“I am passionate about my craft and this recent invitation to create an exclusive wreath, using natural materials and diamonds, has been an exciting and exceptional project,” says Jokinen-Carter. The wreath takes about a week to create, with most of the greenery and flowers sourced from his own backyard. All of the gems can be easily dismantled after the holidays, where they may find new (more permanent!) homes in jewelry pieces.

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CitrineWith its range in color from sunny yellow to bronze deep orange hues, what better stone to represent the falling leaves of autumn than citrine? One of the official birthstones of November, citrine is a member of the mineral family quartz.

Currently the world’s largest faceted citrine resides in the “Special Exhibit Gems” of the Art Natura museum in Spain, a natural science museum that is home to an extensive collection of colored gemstones. Known as “The Malaga” in tribute of its host city, this oval shaped gem is an enormous 20,200 carats – equivalent to 4 kilos! It neighbors another gemstone of gigantic proportions: the “Eldorado”, a 31,000 carat imperial topaz which also happens to be the other birthstone of November.

Despite its size, “Malaga” has very minor imperfections and is considered nearly flawless. Along with its exceptional color, even distribution, transparency and purity, “Malaga” is truly a world-class gem. Citrine crystals that are found usually measure only a few cm across, and the ones that are larger in size generally lack in quality and are used for decorative purposes rather than jewelry.

The rough that formed “Malaga” was originally discovered in 1990 in Brazil. Due to the complications of the process of cutting and polishing a stone this large, the rough was left untouched for nearly two decades until 2009 when a team of gem cutters took on the challenge. With all of the special considerations needed for a stone of this size, it took over a year to bring to its polished form.

Brazil is the largest producer of the world’s supply of citrines; other important sources include Bolivia, United States, and Madagascar.

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Lead-glass filled rubies have been creeping slowly into the jewelry market, and are now the most abundant ruby material used.  Even from the wholesale level they are sometimes undisclosed, making their way to retailers as loose stones or finished jewelry; which should be a widespread concern for jewelers and buyers alike.

What exactly are lead-glass filled rubies and why is this a big deal?

Lead-glass filled rubies, also known as composite rubies, typically start out as very included, dark ruby rough that would otherwise be unworkable. The rough or polished stone is then treated multiple times by being exposed to high heat while submerged in a lead-glass solution, which is a permanent fusion process of the ruby material with the lead-glass filler. The result is a gemstone far better in appearance of the rough it came from, but at a cost of the stability and durability of the stone. Due to a significant portion of the gem being composed of glass, these stones are sensitive to high temperatures, many cleaning solutions, and exposure to direct sunlight. A simple jewelry repair or maintenance process such as resizing or polishing can be detrimental to a lead-glass filled ruby.

ruby

If the end result from this enhancement has a completely different chemical makeup, is considerably more vulnerable to damage, and contains more filler than corundum – how can you still call it a natural ruby? It is more accurate to describe these gems as composite, reconstituted, or even man-made rubies. The lead-glass serves as the “glue” that holds together the skeleton of the actual ruby.

Lead-glass rubies should not be confused with “treated” rubies.

As this type of treatment is relatively new to the industry, many market these rubies as being “treated” when it should be directly listed as lead-glass filled. Other traditional and widely accepted enhancement procedures (mainly heat-treatment and fillers) do not affect day-to-day handling of the stone.

ruby

Why use lead-glass?

The reason lead-glass is used is because it can be formulated so that its refractive index (R.I.) is the same as ruby’s. The refractive index of a stone relates to the way light moves through it. The greater the difference between the R.I. of each substance, the more easily you can see the different components; the closer the R.I., the more difficult it is to see them. If the R.I. is the same for both substances, you cannot distinguish where one ends and the other begins.

What is the difference between lead-glass in composite rubies and the silica glass fillers in “treated” rubies?

  1. Silica glass is more durable than lead-glass
  2. Rubies that are treated with silica glass use much less of it than composite rubies use lead-glass
  3. The lead-glass cannot be separated from a composite ruby without causing irreparable damage; silica glass filler can be safely removed from a treated ruby to return to its original state, and after it can be refilled
  4. Because lead-glass cannot be safely removed, composite rubies cannot be accurately graded for clarity or color. It is possible to grade for color and clarity with silica glass rubies (after removal of the filler)
  5. Carat weight – the representative carat weight of composite rubies is misleading because it accounts for the combined weight of the lead-glass and ruby material. What makes it even worse is that lead-glass is 50% heavier! Since traditionally glass-treated rubies use very little silica glass, it has very little, if any, impact on the carat weight.
  6. Value – all composite rubies are very inexpensive, at the wholesale level they only go for a few dollars per carat; treated/natural rubies start at 20 times the value and up, depending on quality
  7. Detectability – silica glass filled rubies is easier to spot with the naked eye, as there is an R.I. difference between materials. Most lead-glass filled rubies are difficult to identify by the naked eye because the R.I. of lead-glass and ruby is the same, but close up under a jeweler’s microscope the tell-tale air bubbles and flashes of blue are a dead giveaway.

 ruby

The bottom line for a buyer would be to find a retailer who has someone who can identify any treatments made to a stone, a Graduate Gemologist or similar who has undergone formal gemological training. At the very least, do not buy any rubies without an official gemological certification stating its treatments (if any). You pay for what you get. There are no discounts for quality rubies, they are very rare and in high demand. Use common sense, get a stone with a lab certificate or have it certified, and buy from a knowledgeable jeweler.

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KidArkansas Crater of Diamonds State park has been a great place to find diamonds. Just this year alone the diamonds found at the park are about 327. In 2012 a total of 530 diamonds were found, 131 of them brown and 100 of them yellow. The lucky one this time to find the 27th largest diamond ever found in the park would go to 12 year old Michael Dettlaff, of Apex, N.C. He was searching for less than 10 minutes when he saw something shinier than a rock and picked it up. It had been raining that morning and the family almost didn’t go. The rain helps to sink the dirt down and allow the stone to rise to the surface more.  He named it “God’s Glory Diamond.” The gem is honey brown and the size of a jelly bean, it has a beautiful metallic luster and interesting notches says park interpreter Waymon Cox.

Another  lucky man is named Steve Vehige, him and his 17 year old son, had come to the site four times before being rewarded with such a find. Both of them spent 3 days digging a 37 and half acre search area.  He stumbled upon the brown diamond while mumbling aloud to another park visitor about what a rough diamond would look like. Lo and behold he was holding one in his hand at the same moment he was inquiring about it. He has called his discovery the “Flint Hill Special” in respect to his hometown.

A park interpreter, Margi Jenks, said that rain increases your chances of surface finds and that year in July the rainfall in the park reached 10 inches. “Diamonds … stay put when it rains and the dirt surrounding and covering the diamonds washes away. I knew from past experience that Saturday’s sunny skies would probably result in some nice diamond finds,” she said.

FindOther semi-precious stones and minerals found in the park are amethyst, peridot, garnet, jasper, agate, berite, calcite, and quartz. Around 40 different rocks and minerals are found in the Arkansas Crater making it a great treasure hunt for those who visit. A total of 75, 000 diamonds have been unearthed from the site since the first was found back in 1906. The largest diamond to be discovered in the US was at the Arkansas Park its name is Uncle Sam, a white diamond with pink cast weighing at 40 carats.

The Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas is the world’s only diamond producing site that is open to the public. An average of two diamonds are found per day in the park. Whatever kind of gem the visitor finds it gets to keep and the park provides free identification and registration.

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