Mills Jewelers Notebook
September 22nd, 2021
The 1,175-carat rough diamond unearthed in June at Botswana's Karowe Mine made its Big Apple debut on Monday as the owners of the stone — mining company Lucara Diamond Corp and manufacturer HB Antwerp — revealed it to the press at the Whitby Hotel in upper midtown Manhattan.

Billed as the largest uncut diamond to ever visit the U.S., the massive stone will be the focus of a full week of viewings by New York diamantaires and other strategic partners.

“We’ve been in the business for many years, for quite some time, and these types of things do get us excited because of the sheer size,” HB Antwerp CEO Oded Mansori told Reuters.

The high-profile visit is also intended to raise the awareness and desirability of mined diamonds.

HB Antwerp has yet to determine whether the rough diamond will be left in its natural state or cut into a series of polished stones.

About the size of a baseball, the rough diamond measures 77mm (3.03in) long, 55mm (2.17in) wide and 33mm (1.3in) thick. The gem exhibits variable quality with significant domains of high-quality white gem material, according to Lucara.

Still unnamed, the 1,175-carat diamond ranks #3 on the list of the largest rough diamonds of all time, unseating the 1,109-carat Lesedi la Rona, which was discovered at the same Karowe Mine in 2015. Only two rough diamonds have ever tipped the scales at a higher weight, the 1,758-carat Sewelô (#2, Karowe Mine, 2019) and the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond (#1, Premier Mine, 1905).

When the Lucara's mammoth stone was unveiled in June, the mining company hinted that the 1,175-carat specimen was actually the largest fragment from a rough diamond that weighed more than 2,000 carats. Several other similar-color, sharp-edged chunks — weighing 471 carats, 218 carats and 159 carats — were all pulled during the same sorting process.

The gems were recovered by Lucara’s MDR (Mega Diamond Recovery) XRT circuit, a system that uses advanced technology to identify 100-carat-plus diamonds. By monitoring the rocky material for X-ray luminescence, atomic density and transparency, the technology can identify and isolate large diamonds before they go through the destructive crushing process. However, in this case, the system was not calibrated to identify a 2,000-plus-carat diamond. It got mashed by the primary crusher, one step ahead of the MDR.

"We do expect that we will recover more exceptional diamonds in excess of a thousand carats in size," Lucara's chief executive, Eira Thomas, told Reuters, "but on a global basis, this is still an extremely rare and unusual event.”

Back in April, HB Antwerp and Lucara signed a 12-month agreement in which the manufacturer committed to purchasing all of the rough diamonds larger than 10.8 carats extracted from the Karowe mine.

Credit: Images courtesy of Lucara Diamond Corp.
September 21st, 2021
A devastating fire completely destroyed a North Carolina couple's dream house early this month, reducing all their possessions to a pile of ashes. But, despite the heart-breaking tragedy, the couple would have reason to celebrate.

Just a short distance from the smoldering rubble, Sean Matthews went down on one knee and proposed to Kellie Stanley with a princess-cut diamond that survived the ordeal.

You see, Matthews had been planning to propose to Stanley and had already purchased the ring. He was just waiting for the right time to pop the question. Matthews had hidden the ring in a fireproof box, alongside the family Bible.

Matthews was able to find the box amidst the ashes and decided there was no better time to propose.

“We’re going to get through this as a fiancé or more," Matthews told Stanley. "And it’s just a house. It’s our house, but we’ll have another one. So what do you think?"

Stanley answered with an enthusiastic "Yes."

The couple had been enjoying a romantic dinner at a restaurant near of Raleigh when the fire broke out.

The flames and smoke were first noticed by a neighbor, who rushed to the scene and activated a "Ring" doorbell camera to alert the couple.

Stanley answered right away, and was most concerned for their dog, Memphis, who was still in the house. Stanley instructed the neighbor to enter through the garage so the dog could be rescued.

“It definitely puts your life in perspective," Stanley told Inside Edition, "especially at the end of the night when we were driving away from our home with nothing but the clothes on our back and our dog.”

A GoFundMe page has been established to help the couple recover from their losses. See Inside Edition's full report here

Credits: Screen captures via
September 20th, 2021
Two entirely unique pairs of 17th century spectacles — one with lenses carved from an emerald and the other with lenses carved from a diamond — made their public debuts at Sotheby's New York showroom this past Friday.

Believed to have belonged to royals of the Mughal Empire, the eyewear tells the story of royal patronage, luxury, science, faith and beauty all in one moment, according to a Sotheby's Instagram post.

"The quality and purity of the gemstones is itself extraordinary, cleaved from a single natural Indian diamond weighing over 200 carats, and a brilliant Colombian emerald weighing at least 300 carats," noted Sotheby's.

Edward Gibbs, chairman of Sotheby's Middle East and India, told that gemstone-lens eyewear is truly unique.

"As far as we know, there are no others like them," he said, adding that the gemstones required to make them would have surely belonged to a person of high social status, such as the emperor, a member of his inner circle, or high-ranking courtier.

The emerald pair is called the "Gate of Paradise," while the diamond pair is called the "Halo of Light." The auction house is estimating that each pair will sell in the range of $2.1 to $3.5 million.

While the phrase "viewing the world through rose-color glasses" means that one is overly optimistic, the concept of viewing the world through emerald lenses may have some spiritual connections.

Gibbs told CNN that in the Islamic religion practiced by the Mughal rulers, green was closely linked to paradise, salvation and eternal life. He said that the emerald glasses may have given the wearer the experience of being led "through the gateway into paradise."

The optical properties of emeralds were also recorded by Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD), who described how Roman Emperor Nero watched gladiatorial fights through a pair of concave emeralds. There is some debate as to whether the emeralds helped to correct the Emperor's severe near-sightedness or just eliminated glare from the sun. Others believe the emeralds may have soothed his eyes from the sight of blood.

Sotheby's featured glasses will be touring New York, Hong Kong and London before hitting the auction block on October 27.

Credit: Image via
September 17th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. In 1966's "Colour My World," Petula Clark sings about how much her life has changed since she's finally found her true love.

She sings, "You'll never see a dark cloud hanging round me / Now there is only blue sky to surround me / There's never been a gray day since you found me / Everything I touch is turning to gold."

The last phrase is actually a nod to King Midas, who is remembered from Greek mythology for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold.

In Clark's world, the positivity generated by her new relationship is having a golden effect on every aspect of her life.

Written by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent, "Colour My World" borrows from the formula established by Hatch for Clark's 1964 #1 hit, "Downtown." While not as successful as the 1964 chart topper, "Colour My World" reached Top 20 status in the US, Australia and New Zealand. Curiously, it failed to reach the Top 50 in Clark's home country — England.

While the UK failed to embrace the song upon its release in December 1966, BBC Television gave the song a boost when it chose "Colour My World" as the theme song to announce BBC2's upgraded TV service from black-and-white to color in July 1967.

Born in Surrey, England, in 1939, Clark got her start in the music business as a child performer on BBC Radio. Starting in late 1964, Clark released a series of hits that earned her worldwide fame. Among the songs were "Downtown," "I Know a Place," "My Love," "A Sign of the Times," "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love," "Who Am I," "This Is My Song," "Don't Sleep in the Subway," "The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener" and "Kiss Me Goodbye."

Over the course of her career, Clark has sold more than 68 million records and has starred on both stage and screen. Clark is still performing at the age of 81.

Please check out the video of Clark performing "Colour My World" on The Ed Sullivan Show on January 15, 1967. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

"Color My World"
Written by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent. Performed by Petula Clark.

You'll never see a dark cloud hanging round me.
Now there is only blue sky to surround me.
There's never been a gray day since you found me.
Everything I touch is turning to gold.

So you can colour my world with sunshine yellow each day!
Oh, you can colour my world with happiness all the way!
Just take the green from the grass and the blue from the sky up above!
And if you colour my world just paint it with your love!
Just colour my world.

Just as long as I know you're thinking of me,
there'll be a rainbow always up above me.
Since I found the one who really loves me,
everything I touch is turning to gold.

So you can colour my world with sunshine yellow each day!
Oh, you can colour my world with happiness all the way!
Just take the green from the grass and the blue from the sky up above!
And if you colour my world just paint it with your love!
Just colour my world.

Sunshine yellow.
Orange blossums.
Laughing faces
So you can colour my world with sunshine yellow each day!
Oh, you can colour my world with happiness all the way!
Just take the green from the grass and the blue from the sky up above!
And if you colour my world just paint it with your love.
Just colour my world.
Colour my world.
Oh, colour my world.
Colour my world.

Credit: Screen capture via
September 16th, 2021
The third, and final, installment in Gemfields' series of coffee-table books dedicated to the "big three" gemstones, is scheduled to be released on October 5. Titled Sapphire: A Celebration of Color, the lavishly illustrated, 328-page book by Joanna Hardy takes the reader on a journey from early trade along the Silk Route to the jewelry collections of the great royal houses of Europe and the finest designers at work today.

As in her previous two books — Emerald: Twenty-One Centuries of Jeweled Opulence (2014) and Ruby: The King of Gems (2017) — the gemologist and jewelry historian leaves no stones unturned.

“Few things on our planet blend wonder, magic and mysticism quite like the ‘Holy Trinity’ of colored gemstones," noted Gemfields CEO Sean Gilbertson. “They chart the history, heritage and legacy of humankind across millennia in a unique and captivating manner. Ten minutes spent browsing the marvelous photos on these pages will cheer any soul. Gemfields is truly honored to have played a small role in bringing these three works to life in a project that has now spanned almost a decade.”

In Sapphire, Hardy charts the enduring popularity of this mesmerizing blue gem, from the 4th century BCE to the present day. She also explores sapphire's spiritual connection with the planet Saturn in Hindu astrology and its imputed ability to protect against disease and impart friendship, peace and wisdom.

Hardy also dives into sapphire's famous associations, from Elizabeth Taylor, who wore sapphires copiously, to Queen Victoria, who was given one by Prince Albert on the eve of their wedding.

“Sapphire is an unassuming gem,” stated the author. “It has been overshadowed by diamonds, rubies and emeralds for decades, but ignore it at your peril, for sapphire is a titan of the gemstone world.”

Featuring a rich, royal-blue silk cover with gold-foil blocking, Sapphire: A Celebration of Color will be published by Thames & Hudson in association with Violette Editions. The cover price is £85 ($125).

Credits: Images courtesy of Gemfields.
September 15th, 2021
Three stonemasons working on the restoration of an old mansion in northwestern France discovered a cache of 239 gold coins dating back to the reigns of Louis XIII and Louis XIV.

Minted from 1638 to 1692, the coins will hit the auction block at Ivoire Angers/Deloyes in Angers, France, on September 29. The proceeds, which are expected to eclipse €300,000 ($354,000), will be split between the craftsmen and the homeowners, with each group getting half of the tally.

The masons had been contracted in 2019 to join two buildings on the property — a barn and a nursery. During the construction project, they found a metal box filled with gold coins hidden inside a wall. A few days later, they found a purse above a beam, also filled with gold coins.

According to the auction house's press release, the coastal region of northwest France was very prosperous during the 17th century due to the transport of Bordeaux wines to England and cereals to northern Europe. It is likely that the mansion in Plozévet, Brittany, had belonged to a family of wealthy traders or farmers. The oldest part of the mansion actually dates back to the 13th century.

The area went into a decline between 1750 and 1850, but then rebounded strongly due to a boom in the sardine canning industry.

The Regional Preventive Archaeology Service in France authenticated, analyzed and researched each of the 239 coins. Twenty-three were issued under Louis XIII and 216 under Louis XIV. It is assumed that the treasure represented the savings the family accumulated over a long period of time. The coins were minted in 19 different cities and span 54 years.

The collection's standouts include the Golden Louis with Templar Cross, Golden Louis with a long curl and Louis XIV by the Atelier de Dijon. The third coin is so rare, noted the auction house, that it doesn't appear in the Gadoury reference book.

Credit: Image by Ivoire Angers/Deloyes.
September 14th, 2021
Back in February of 2016, the Gemological Institute of America identified a brand new variety of chalcedony — a fascinating gem that incorporated the colors of the sky, the sea and the earth. Dubbed “Aquaprase” by Greek gem explorer Yianni Melas, the translucent bluish-green specimens have been compared to the Aegean Sea when viewed from an airplane.

Billed as the 21st century's first gem discovery, the unique chalcedony caught the attention of luxury brand Le Vian, which has since trademarked the superior selections of the gem as Le Vian Peacock Aquaprase™.

Recently, Le Vian donated to New York City's American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) a selection of rough and polished Aquaprase gemstones, as well as Le Vian Couture jewels featuring the stone.

The donation was timed to coincide with the reopening of the completely redesigned and reinstalled Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals. The 11,000-square-foot facility within the AMNH features more than 5,000 specimens sourced from 95 countries.

The Aquaprase selections will share the spotlight with other notable specimens, such as the legendary 563-carat Star of India sapphire, the 632-carat Patricia Emerald and the 9-pound almandine Subway Garnet that had been discovered under Manhattan’s 35th Street in 1885.

Melas first encountered Aquaprase in an undisclosed African country in 2013. He told JCK magazine in 2016 that he saw a sample of this unusual gem while visiting a friend’s hut. The specimen was displayed on a shelf and was in poor condition.

“I couldn’t explain why I thought it was different,” he told JCK. “It is like a third eye. I have seen thousands of stones and you get that feeling. When I picked up the stone, I had the chills, a funny feeling. That feeling is something you have to follow.”

He did some exploring to find more examples of this type of gem, but he wasn’t sure what it was, exactly.

Some associates guessed it was chrysocolla. Others said is was blue-green opal. Most thought it was chrysoprase.

To get a conclusive answer, he sent a sample to GIA.

“I heard nothing for three months,” he told JCK. “Then I got a phone call that said we found something incredible. It’s not a chrysoprase. It is not a chrysocolla. It’s a chalcedony that has never been discovered.”

The GIA reported that the new bluish-green variety of chalcedony gets its unique color from traces of chromium and nickel within the chemical makeup of the quartz stone. Previously identified varieties of chalcedony occurred in yellowish-green and greenish-blue colors.

Melas came up with the name “Aquaprase” by combining the word “aqua” (for the blue sea) with “prase” (meaning leek-green in Greek).

Although the rough material is available in “clean” varieties that are either vibrant blue-green or baby blue “with clouds,” Melas said he prefers the material with matrix, which is part of the surrounding rock.

Melas told JCK that the matrix looks more natural and gives the finished piece more character.

Credits: Aquaprase image courtesy of Le Vian. Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals image by D. Finnin/© American Museum of Natural History.
September 13th, 2021
A woman who lost her diamond ring in the bathroom of a Hawaiian Hotel — and ended up with two — said she is determined to locate the rightful owners of the second ring because "their love story doesn’t belong to me.”

"If you think this is your ring, don't lose hope," Paula Ribeiro told the viewers of Hawaii News Now. "It's not lost anymore because I found it."

The strange series of events took place during Ribeiro's romantic Labor Day weekend getaway with her husband, David.

The couple booked a Polynesian-style bungalow at the Hotel Molokai, an exotic venue billed as a "genuine hideaway from all things mainstream." Molokai, which is 35 minutes from Honolulu by plane, is adjacent to Hawaii’s only barrier reef and is said to be the birthplace of the hula.

After checking in, Ribeiro had taken off her own solitaire engagement ring to wash her face, but accidentally bumped it into the gap between the sink and the wall.

Unable to reach the ring, Ribeiro panicked at first, but the hotel staff told her not to worry.

Paula and David went on a hike, and when they came back later that afternoon, a pretty floral-motif diamond cluster ring was on the sink.

“Oh my God, this is not my ring," Ribeiro remembered saying. "Oh my God, what’s going on?”

Clearly, this was not the first time the void behind the sink had consumed a guest's ring.

The hotel staff returned to the room and managed to retrieve Ribeiro's ring, as well.

“Next thing you know, mine was in the same hole," she said. "So come to find out, now I have two rings!”

The hotel's manager told Ribeiro that nobody had reported a diamond ring missing during the 14 years he's been with the hotel, so the ring may have been lost at an earlier date. The hotel has been booking bungalows for more than 50 years.

Robeiro took the mystery ring to a local jeweler, who confirmed the diamonds were real.

She also joked that her hand looks so much better with it on.

Still, she acknowledged that the ring needs to be returned to its rightful owner.

"I feel so bad for the person who lost it," she said. “Two people fell in love sometime in their life and they made a promise to each other with that ring. Their love story doesn’t belong to me.”

In order to help identify the owner, the Hawaii News Now team purposely left out critical details from their story. These included the particular bungalow where the ring was found, the ring size and any inscription that may have been on the band. Viewers were encouraged to email their inquiries to

Credits: Screen captures via
September 10th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you sensational songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today we feature Corinne Bailey Rae’s quintessential summer singalong, “Put Your Records On,” a tune that urges the listener to “let your hair down” and references the September birthstone — sapphire.

In this song about casting away worries, taking time to relax and embracing one’s inner beauty, Rae repeats the catchy phrase, “Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams / Just go ahead, let your hair down.”

Although the “sapphire” in the verse is likely referring to a particular shade of blue jeans, we’re still excited to feature this song because Rae’s message and performance are so uplifting.

The 42-year-old British singer-songwriter and guitarist scored a huge hit with “Put Your Records On” in 2006 when it was released as the second single from her self-titled debut album. The song charted in 17 countries, sold nearly two million copies and was nominated at the 2007 Grammy Awards for “Record of the Year” and “Song of the Year.” She also received a third nomination that year for "Best New Artist."

Incidentally, the song’s opening lines, “Three little birds sat on my window / And they tell me I don’t need to worry,” is a reference to Bob Marley & The Wailers’ 1977 hit song, “Three Little Birds.”

“Put Your Records On” returned to music charts in 2020, when it was covered by indie rock performer Ritt Momney. His version charted in 15 countries and peaked in the top 10 in Australia and New Zealand.

Born Corinne Jacqueline Bailey in Leeds, England, in 1979, the multi-talented artist was inspired as a teenager by the music of Lenny Kravitz, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.

Please check out Rae’s live performance of “Put Your Records On.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Put Your Records On”
Written by Corinne Bailey Rae, John Beck and Steve Chrisanthou. Performed by Corinne Bailey Rae.

Three little birds, sat on my window.
And they told me I don’t need to worry.
Summer came like cinnamon
So sweet,
Little girls double-dutch on the concrete.

Maybe sometimes, we’ve got it wrong, but it’s alright
The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same
Oh, don’t you hesitate.

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favorite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

You’re gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow.

Blue as the sky, sunburnt and lonely,
Sipping tea in the bar by the roadside,
(just relax, just relax)
Don’t you let those other boys fool you,
Got to love that afro hair do.

Maybe sometimes, we feel afraid, but it’s alright
The more you stay the same, the more they seem to change.
Don’t you think it’s strange?

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favorite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

You’re gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow.

‘Twas more than I could take, pity for pity’s sake
Some nights kept me awake, I thought that I was stronger
When you gonna realize, that you don’t even have to try any longer?
Do what you want to.

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favorite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favorite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

Oh, you’re gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow

Credit: Screen capture via
September 9th, 2021
Cuban-Spanish actress Ana de Armas is reprising her starring role in a series of visually striking ads for the Natural Diamond Council. Called “For Moments Like No Other,” the campaign embraces a brilliant, energetic return to adventure, wanderlust, new connections and romance while highlighting the integral role natural diamonds play in how we "Love Life."

Mallorca, Spain, provides the spectacular backdrop for a series of vignettes showcasing the bedazzled actress in various social settings. In each scene, natural diamonds are in focus as de Armas generates new memories.

"Diamond jewelry sales have seen record-breaking growth as we emerge from the pandemic," said David Kellie, CEO of Natural Diamond Council (NDC). "Consumers are eager to create new memories, and natural diamonds are synonymous with celebrating life's moments. This campaign emanates the 'Love Life' manifesto to the core. We're thrilled to have Ana de Armas back with us for another year to share the magic of natural diamonds with a global audience."

In the ads, de Armas wears an 11-piece diamond jewelry collection that was custom designed for the campaign by the Brooklyn-based Malyia McNaughton, an active participant in NDC's Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative with Lorraine Schwartz. The collection is being interpreted by jewelry retailers globally for the holiday season.

"It was a privilege to work alongside Malyia and see how she applied her unique sensibility in interpreting the confluence of the season's most prevailing diamond jewelry trends — gender fluidity, heavy metal chains and the marquise cut — with the essence of 'Love Life,'" said Kristina Buckley Kayel, Managing Director of Natural Diamond Council.

The collection and the campaign launched together on Wednesday. Details were showcased in an immersive look book on a dedicated campaign website. The site has received more than 100 million unique visitors since its launch in June 2020.

"I hope this campaign brings joy and hope to everyone," said de Armas, who is a Golden Globe nominee for her performance in Knives Out. "I hope that it inspires people to love stronger, to enjoy every minute and cherish the moments of happiness with their loved ones. It was an amazing experience working with this incredible team and I couldn't be happier to be working again with the Natural Diamond Council."

The NDC represents seven of the world’s leading diamond producers. Together, they account for 75% of the global rough diamond production, operating in eight countries on four continents.

Credit: Image courtesy of the Natural Diamond Council.