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Faces“Faces of Eternity” is the new exhibition being displayed at the Gemological Institute of America’s headquarters in Carlsbad, California. The exhibition features a collection of 15 carved skulls by a Peruvian artist Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio. The skulls are made from various large gemstone crystals, ornamental rocks and silver and gold vermeil. It’s inspired by the contrast of human mortality and the timelessness of gemstones.

“From fossilized whale bone to rainforest jasper, and from pink opal to peanut wood agate, Aparicio chose materials from a gem lover’s dream. Each skull has a distinctive look and feel to it, making this collection fascinating on both a gemological and artistic level,” said Terri Ottaway, GIA museum curator.

One of the skulls called “Everlasting Youth” was carved from Mozambican aquamarine with rock crystal quartz and gold vermeil.  “Top Hat Gentle-skull” is made in rock crystal quartz from Madagascar with snowflake obsidian and gold vermeil. Another called “Chocolate with Peanut Butter” skull is made with petrified palm  wood agate from Australia with obsidian and gold vermeil.

“The skulls collection was one of my favorite to create. By carving natural gemstones with a combination of lapidary art and metal smith techniques, you can really see how the colors and textures in each stone brings each piece to life,” Aparicio said.Faces

His whole collection is comprised of 26 pieces all made within one year. The other 11 pieces not found in the exhibition are in private collections in the USA, the U.K, France and Russia. He works with his sister Sylvia at their family owned company called Neoart Peru established in 1975. The company specializes in ruby carvings with a focus on wildlife inspired themes using very rare and unusual gemstones.

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RingThe world has set a new record never before has a ring being entirely made of a single diamond. How did they do it? Who had this crazy idea? How many carats is it and the big question is how much does it cost and who will buy it? They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend; well this one ought to provide a lifelong companionship.

The 150 carat all diamond ring was made with laser technology. Multiple tests were done to get the precision of the circle right. Special laser equipment was bought to cut the diamond directly and not alter the colour of it.  It was made by a labor of love and took a couple years in the process for making it.  Mohamed Shawesh, president and CEO of Geneva-based Shawish Jewelry was the genius and passion behind this stunning piece. “A ring made entirely of a faceted diamond has always seemed like a fantasy, It seemed impossible, so we decided to embark on the adventure of creating it. To create the perfect diamond ring is the epitome of art.” Says Mohamed Shawesh. It had been a dream of his from way back. In 2009 he sought to get the copyright to design the ring and in 2010 it was finalized but it still had a lot more time to go.

They had to go through a lengthy process of designs to get the ring to its perfect precision. Shawish speaks of this, “We had to do multiple tests with the design, to get the precision of the circle right. Diamonds are made of carbon and molecules that can change, even the colour can be altered when attempting to cut it. We had to buy special laser equipment, to cut directly into the diamond. The most important aspect is preserving the integrity of the diamond and of course the most difficult phase is precision cutting an entire stone into a ring.”

A couple years later in 2012 all the dreaming, fantasizing, and hard work has paid off. The 150 carat ring now goes for about $70 million.

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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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DiamondThe most flawless, biggest briolette ever to surface at auction weighing at a stunning 75.36ct broke records! This diamond was sold for a world record at $11,145,734 from an anonymous buyer at Christie’s Hong Kong’s Magnificent Jewels sale. This pendant necklace was originally valued at a pre-sale low estimate of $8.5 million, which it easily surpassed.  It did fall short of its high pre-sale estimate of $12.5 million.

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The briolette is a traditional cut popular in the Victorian times but has recently become more popular in precious and semi-precious stones. It is a stone cut into a three-dimensional waterdrop shape.  Its elegant pear shape with cut facets dangles below a marquise-cut purplish-pink diamond. Adorned with stations of smaller briolettes with 18 karat white and rose gold adjustable neck chain, this piece is a classy stunner!

An auction spokesperson said the diamond was “perfect,” and had the proof of an assessment with the Gemological Institute of America. The GIA rated the stone Type IIa, which is the top quality grade.  The diamond is similar to the British Queen Elizabeth’s one she has set in her crown. Christie’s jewellery specialist, Chiang Shui-Fung, says the diamond is extremely rare.

The briolette is special because they have to find a piece rough and big enough to cut into that style. The diamond came to an American dealership named William Goldberg, as a 160.5- carat rough weight and had to be shaped into the now 75.51 carat diamond. To achieve this brilliant rare cut William Goldberg had to sacrifice more than half the stone’s weight in the meticulous cutting process. The diamond is now a stunning piece and will be remembered as a historical record breaking event.

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Earrings

Jewellery is a very personal accessory which can make it hard to choose the right piece when shopping for someone else. The very fact that earrings are worn so close to the face make them even more personal.

Some women wear the same jewellery daily regardless of the occasion, others don’t wear jewellery at all – for these women, it might be best to pick a different gift. Anyone else, though, you can have a good shot at it if you know what to look for.

Colour:

Does she wear only silver and white gold? Only yellow gold? Or both? What colour clothes does she tend to go for? Many women like to wear neutral colours and may be seen with a coloured stone ring, but would not wear the colour more prominently in earrings, for example. If she’s not often seen in colour, stick to neutral coloured stones and detailing for example black onyx, smokey quartz, diamond, pearl. When looking at colours, consider her hair, skin and eyes – different pigmentation suits different colour groups so even if you are attracted to the yellow citrine, your pale skinned brunette girlfriend may not agree.

Size/Shape:

This is especially important for earrings. Consider hair length and style. If she often wears her hair tucked behind her ears or up in a hair piece then studs may look stunning, but if she has a cut that frames her face more then those beautiful diamonds will never be seen! Long faces can benefit from a wider shaped earring whereas wider faces prefer more slender earrings. Long necks look exotic with longer earrings while these are just not going to work on a shorter neck.

Metal and findings (the bit that goes in the ear):

Apart from colour, metal is also important to consider for allergies. Many women have sensitivities to metals used in jewellery findings. It is most common to be allergic to nickel. Therefore look for higher quality findings or when shopping for costume jewellery ask the retailer if any are hypoallergenic. Consider the style of finding too – older women often have stiffness and less dexterity in their fingers so when buying Grandma some new pearl drop earrings, check that there are no complex mechanisms that she might struggle with. A simple sheppard hook would be best for her. If your girlfriend wears scarfs often, however, look for something with a locking mechanism like a closed hoop or screw stud.

Once you have these things figured out, and you have taken note of what she wears most often, then you are ready to go to your local jeweler and check out what they have that fits your criteria. One more thing to consider is matching sets. Many earring designs will have a matching pendant or necklace. Many women like to wear matching sets, and the beauty of these is that they don`t have to be worn together but look amazing when they are. So if you have nailed the style and present her with the full set then its like a 3 in 1! Necklace, earrings and set – how could you go wrong?

Look for a jeweler that you can talk to easily and will help you know what you are looking at. They sell jewellery every day and have a good idea of what different people look for, and if you have already done your homework then together you should find something she will love – maybe even show them a picture of her on your phone? – and always ask for the return policy to cover your back if you are unsure.

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