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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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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.

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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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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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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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WomenFor the second year in a row, Hearts on Fire has sponsored ELLE Magazine’s Women in Television celebratory dinner. Hosted by Editor-in-chief Robbie Myers, the star-studded event welcomed more than a hundred of the industry’s top talent and executives in an intimate setting, perfect for showcasing the brand’s sparkling diamonds.

The brand is no stranger to Hollywood. Many showstopping Hearts on Fire pieces have been spotted on the red carpet by actresses from several hit shows including Malin Ackerman (Trophy Wife), Emma Roberts (American Horror Story), Maria Menounos (Extra), and Sarah Rafferty (Suits). The most notable actress in attendance was perhaps Morena Baccarin, star of the Emmy award-winning Homeland. She is also the face of the newest Hearts on Fire campaign, the first ever celebrity collaboration. Of the brand she says, “I had the opportunity to wear Hearts On Fire jewelry on the red carpet and just loved the way their diamonds made me look and feel. The quality and sparkle of Hearts On Fire diamonds is truly unmatched, and I am really excited to represent the brand.”

The highlight of the event was over $15 million worth of Hearts on Fire perfectly cut diamonds spread out on the dinner tables, where more stars were able to try on and touch the jewelry pieces.morena b

Hearts on Fire is The World’s Most Perfectly Cut Diamond. Founded in 1996, the brand was built around one simple idea: to create the most beautiful diamonds ever seen. From start to finish, they have always focused on striving for perfection – from the selection of rough, to proprietary cutting and polishing processes. They have since become the fastest-growing diamond brand in the world, and have established a new industry standard for diamond cutting. Visit their website http://www.heartsonfire.com/ to get a peek into what they do and for a list of authorized retailers near you.

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Paul WalkerAlmost ten years ago, in the holiday season of 2004, Paul Walker happened to be in a Santa Barbara jewelry store at the same time as another couple that was browsing. That couple was Kyle and Kristen Upham, who were looking for an engagement ring. They were already secretly married in a private ceremony before his deployment to Iraq, but now he was back and wanted to get her a proper ring.

While they were browsing, the “Fast and Furious” star struck up a conversation with them. Kristen recalls when Walker found out that Kyle had just come back from his first tour in Iraq: “I remember seeing the look in his face. He kind of transformed.”

Kristen was back at the store to look at a ring she really, really liked. It featured a round brilliant center diamond, accented with baguette diamonds in the band set in white gold. At $9,000 though, it was out of her husband’s budget. They left the store empty-handed, but received a call later on from Irene King, the sales associate who had helped them, asking them to return to the store. Waiting for them was her dream ring, wrapped up and paid for in full by a mysterious benefactor. The staff at the store refused to give out any details, as per his wishes. According to King, Walker had pulled aside the store manager in private and asked to put the ring on his tab, walking out shortly after.Paul Walker

The staff kept his secret for nearly a decade, until his recent untimely death sparked the wish to share his random act of kindness in tribute to his outstanding character. A great number of Walker’s colleagues and friends in Hollywood have since spoken out about his fantastic work ethic, talent, polite demeanor and passion for charitable projects. He will always be remembered in the people whose lives he touched, and for Kyle and Kristen Upham, they will always have a reminder and a story to tell when they pass down her ring for future generations.

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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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The most beloved First Lady of Argentina was as well-known for her charitable endeavours as she was her glamorous image. Eva Perón (fondly referred to as Evita), the wifeEva of the former Argentinian president Juan Perón was a charming beauty who created her own legacy. She rose from humble beginnings in the rural town of Los Toldos to become a recognized actress before finally meeting her future husband. Soon after, she established the Eva Perón foundation, which focused on helping the common people and provided services such as healthcare, education, and community development nationwide. Being very hands-on, she made many public appearances in the name of her Evacharity and was always impeccably dressed; often in French couture, fur, and elaborate jewels.

One of Perón’s most memorable pieces has surfaced again to the public: the headliner at the upcoming October 15th Sale of Magnificent Jewels by Christie’s, the historic brooch depicting the Argentine flag. Featuring brilliant colorless and yellow diamonds and “mystery-set” blue sapphires, it was a custom designed piece for the first lady by the house of Van Cleef and Arpels. The last time it was seen in public was in April 1998, where it sold at auction for ten times its estimate at an astounding $992,500!

Another iconic piece worn in her 1947 official portrait (which was also used in Argentinian stamps in that era) is a Victorian-era diamond necklace set with eleven oval Burmese rubies. It was also sold at auction in 2003 at an estimate of about $200,000. What is unusual, according to experts, is that the entire necklace remained intact – it was common during the 19th century for important pieces of jewelry to be dismantled and remade.

Very recently, Spanish police have recovered a hoard of stolen jewels estimated at approximately $6 million euros.  They organized a sting at the hotel the thieves were staying at in Milan, and they recovered a collection of rings, earrings and a Evafantastic diamond tiara believed to have been given to Perón by the Dutch royal family.

Much like her life, there is a lot of mystery of origin surrounding Perón’s many jewels, which may also be why some of her most treasured jewelry pieces have wound up at high-end international auctions, fetching record-breaking prices for fascinated jewelry collectors and historic collectors alike.

 

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