Laura Diamonds Blog
September 13th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, Barbadian singer Rihanna compares herself and her boyfriend to yellow diamonds in the very first line of her blockbuster 2011 hit, "We Found Love."



She sings, "Yellow diamonds in the light / And we're standing side by side / As your shadow crosses mine / What it takes to come alive / It's the way I'm feeling I just can't deny / But I've gotta let it go."

in 2009, Rihanna and singer Chris Brown were precious and rare diamond-grade performers on the verge of superstardom. They were an A-list couple enjoying the glow of the media spotlight, but what most fans didn't know was that Brown had an abusive dark side — a side Rihanna describes in the song as his "shadow crossing mine."

She finally comes to the realization that no matter how much she loves him, she can't be with him anymore. She's got to "let it go."

Written by Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, "We Found Love" appeared on Rihanna's sixth studio album, Talk That Talk, and rapidly ascended the charts in 25 countries. It topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks and went on to sell more than 20 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.

"We Found Love" is described as an electro house song with elements of Europop, pop, techno, trance and Euro disco.

Interestingly, the song's composer, Calvin Harris, cautioned a Q magazine writer against reading too much into the song's hook phrase, "We found love in a hopeless place."

While some believe that it represents two people finding each other when both are down on their luck, Harris described the origins of the phrase this way: "I don't know exactly what I was thinking about. I was just playing the song and doing nonsense singing to see if the syllables fitted the song. It was like that. I was singing nonsense and that's how the lyrics happened."

Robyn Rihanna Fenty was born in Saint Michael, Barbados, in 1988. She grew up listing to reggae music and, as a 15-year-old, dropped out of high school to form a musical trio. The girls were lucky enough to land an audition with American record producer Evan Rogers, who recognized Rihanna's talent and invited her to record some demo tapes. The tapes landed at the studios of Def Jam Recordings, where she was signed to a record deal by singer Jay-Z, who was also a record company exec.

Please check out the audio clip of Rihanna singing "We Found Love." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"We Found Love"
Written by Calvin Harris. Performed by Rihanna, featuring Calvin Harris.

Yellow diamonds in the light
And we're standing side by side
As your shadow crosses mine
What it takes to come alive

It's the way I'm feeling I just can't deny
But I've gotta let it go

We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place

Shine a light through an open door
Love and life I will divide
Turn away 'cause I need you more
Feel the heartbeat in my mind

It's the way I'm feeling I just can't deny
But I've gotta let it go

We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place

Yellow diamonds in the light
And we're standing side by side
As your shadow crosses mine (mine, mine, mine)

We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place

We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place
We found love in a hopeless place


Credit: Image by Sam Collart [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
September 12th, 2019
Archaeologists exploring Russia's "Atlantis" have discovered a gem-adorned 2,137-year-old "iPhone case" buried in the grave of a young fashionista who scientists have nicknamed Natasha.



The unusual rectangular object is made from the black gemstone jet and is inlaid with an array of contrasting precious gemstones, including turquoise, carnelian and mother-of-pearl. It is also decorated with ancient Chinese wuzhu coins, which helped the dating process.



Natasha's remains and her blinged-out accessory were excavated from the Ala-Tey Necropolis in the so-called Sayan Sea. Located in the Russian Republic of Tuva, the man-made reservoir is usually 56-feet-deep, but was drained over the summer, giving archaeologists rare access to the site.

Although the seven-inch by three-inch object discovered with Nastasha looks very much like an iPhone case, scientists believe it's a very ornate belt buckle.



“Natasha’s’ burial with a Hunnu-era 'iPhone' remains one of the most interesting at this site,” noted archaeologist Dr. Pavel Leus.

Nastasha lived during a time when a nation of nomads ruled ancient Mongolia from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD.

"This site is a scientific sensation," Dr. Marina Kilunovskaya of the St Petersburg Institute of Material History Culture told labible.com. "We are incredibly lucky to have found these burials of rich Hun nomads that were not disturbed by [ancient] grave robbers."

The gemstone jet is considered to be a mineraloid — a naturally occurring mineral-like substance. Some examples of mineraloids are jet, amber and lapis lazuli. Jet, specifically, is derived from wood that has decomposed under high pressure. The term "jet black" means the darkest black possible.

In the U.S. during the Roaring Twenties, young flappers would wear multiple strands of jet beads reaching from their necklines to their waists.

Credits: Images courtesy of IHMC RAS/Pavel Leus.
September 11th, 2019
An exceptional 10.64-carat flawless vivid purplish-pink diamond is expected to sell for as much as $26 million when it hits the auction block at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale on October 7 in Hong Kong.



In Sotheby's auction catalog, the top lot is described as a cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut diamond, but it also can be described as a radiant cut, which incorporates the shape of an emerald cut with the faceting array of a round brilliant. The stone is set in an 18-karat white and pink gold ring and is flanked by trapeze-cut white diamonds.

Sotheby's established a pre-sale estimate for the headliner at $20 million to $26 million. If it achieves the high estimate, the diamond's price per carat would be $2.44 million — a number on par with some of the most famous pink diamonds in the world.

For instance, in November 2018, the 18.96-carat “Pink Legacy” was purchased by Harry Winston for $50.3 million, establishing a record price-per-carat for a fancy vivid pink diamond at $2.7 million per carat. The previous record holder was the 14.93-carat "Pink Promise," which sold at a 2017 auction for $2.2 million per carat.

In April of 2017, the 59.6-carat Pink Star — a flawless, fancy vivid pink diamond — shattered the world record for the highest price ever paid for any gem at auction. The Pink Star’s hammer price of $71.2 million at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite sale in Hong Kong.

It is believed that pink and red diamonds get their rich color from a molecular structure distortion that occurs as the diamond crystal forms in the earth’s crust. By contrast, other colored diamonds get their color from trace elements, such as boron (yielding a blue diamond) or nitrogen (yielding yellow), in their chemical composition. Pink diamonds larger than five carats are rarely encountered. In fact, fewer than 10% of pink diamonds weigh more than one-fifth of a carat.

Other top lots at Sotheby's Hong Kong auction will include a spectacular ruby ring and a super-size flawless diamond, both of which feature the number "88" in their carat weights. The number 8 is the luckiest number in Chinese culture and is believed to bring good luck and prosperity. With each hundredth of a carat equally 0.002 grams, precision cutting and care was required to finish the polishing of both gems at just the right moment to achieve double eights in the final weight.



Superb Ruby and Diamond Ring. This ring by designer Raymond Yard features an oval Burmese ruby weighing 11.88 carats. The ruby is set in platinum and is accented by various shaped diamonds. The pre-sale estimate is $5.6 to $8.1 million.



A Magnificent Unmounted Diamond. Weighing 80.88 carats, this unmounted D-flawless emerald-cut diamond has excellent polish and symmetry. It is reportedly one of only five emerald-cut diamonds larger than 80 carats to have come up for auction. The gem is graded Type IIa, the most chemically pure of all diamonds. It is expected to sell in the range of $9.9 million to $12.7 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.
September 10th, 2019
Each week during the NFL season, Snickers will be presenting a blinged-out "S" pendant to the league's "Hungriest Player." The chain will pass from one top performer to the next, based on their successes both on and off the gridiron.



The "S" is actually the first letter of the iconic Snickers logo beautifully rendered in 47 carats of brilliant-cut blue sapphires, white diamonds and red rubies. The pendant dangles from a thick Cuban link chain.

As Snickers' social media campaign explains, "Only the hungry can storm the gridiron, but only the hungriest will wear the chain. Follow this season @snickers."



As the end of the season nears, Snickers will be inviting fans to weigh in on which of the weekly honorees was the hungriest. Snickers will then offer the jewelry for sale with the proceeds going to the hungriest player's favorite charity.

"When Snickers hit me up about collaborating on a chain to honor the hungriest players in the NFL this season, I was immediately all in," said Los-Angeles-based jewelry designer Ben Baller. "The idea of passing this Snickers chain to a different player each week is just crazy, so I knew we'd have to come up with something next level to make sure it served as the ultimate reward for hustle and success."

The familiar Snickers candy bar features the product name spelled out in capital blue letters against a white ground and bordered in red. Baller reinterpreted the logo as a single letter "S" rendered in blue sapphires set in yellow gold against a ground of white diamonds and bordered in rubies. Mimicking the candy bar, the border is rounded on the upper-left and bottom-right corners and pointed on the other two.

Established in 1930, Snickers continues to thrive with annual worldwide sales of more than $2 billion. The brand got a boost in 2012 with its wildly popular "You're not you when you're hungry" ad campaign. After its first full year, the clever ad series helped increase the global sales of Snickers by 15.9%.

Fans can follow the #SNICKERSchain journey this season on social media via @SNICKERS to see which player receives the chain each week. For more information, visit www.snickers.com.

Credits: Images courtesy of PRNewsPhoto/Mars, Incorporated.
September 9th, 2019
Last November, Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, and renowned industrial designer Marc Newson, collaborated on "The (Red) Diamond Ring" — an all-diamond ring that would be honed from a 45-carat rough gem.



The piece — which has no precious metal components — was specially designed to benefit the third (RED) Auction in Miami, a charity supporting AIDS research. An anonymous bidder purchased the ring for $256,250, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation matched 90% of the bid, nearly doubling the total donation.



At the time of the auction, the ring did not exist in real life. However, Ive and Newson promised to custom make an actual ring for the winning bidder in any ring size up to 5. This past Friday, the ring was finally revealed.



The Diamond Foundry, which supplied the lab-grown diamond for the project, announced on Twitter that the ring was completed, and released a video showing how it was meticulously carved and faceted using laser beam and water jet technology. The ring was created by removing material rather than adding it. The original blueprint boasted 2,000 to 3,000 individual facets. A typical round brilliant-cut diamond has 58 facets.

According to the company, the shape and model of the finished stone are revolutionary since there were no guidelines. The Antwerp-based cutters had to create it from scratch using custom tools that had to be ordered from a specialized diamond tools supplier in Belgium.

Ive is reportedly leaving Apple this year to form a new design company called LoveFrom. He has been with Apple for 30 years.

Shawish Geneva was the first company to form a ring from a single diamond. Shawish unveiled the innovative ring to the public during the 2012 Baseworld Watch and Jewelry Show. That ring was laser-cut from a 150-carat rough diamond. While the Shawish ring was groundbreaking, the Ive-Newson design is said to be more wearable.

Credits: Screen captures from Diamond Foundry video.
September 6th, 2019
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you hit songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Spin Doctors frontman Chris Barron portrays one of the title characters of the group's 1993 smash hit, "Two Princes."



In the song, Barron and a rival prince are vying for the affection of the same woman. Barron finds himself outmatched by a prince that has diamonds in his pockets. Barron, who claims to have no future or family tree, can only buy her rockets. It's not clear if the rockets refer to fireworks or the figurative idea of an exciting, intense relationship.

He sings, "One, two princes kneel before you / That's what I said now / Princes, princes who adore you / Just go ahead now / One has diamonds in his pockets / That's some bread, now / This one said he wants to buy you rockets / Ain't in his head, now."

Adding to the drama is Barron's impression that if she marries the rich prince her father will condone her. If she marries him, her father will disown her.

Interestingly, Barron wrote the song as a 19-year-old, in 1987, after leaving Bennington College as a freshman. He returned to his hometown of Princeton, N.J., where he worked in a restaurant and started to hone his writing talent. Sitting at the top of the stairs near his rented room, the young man — a fan of wizards, kings and fantasy fiction — jotted down the first lines of the song on a yellow legal pad: "One, two princes kneel before you / Princes, princes who adore you."

At first blush, he felt the lines were stupid. But then he had second thoughts. He was developing a daily writing technique that allowed for the separation between his creative voice and his editing voice.

"The creative voice is just this toddler, who’s running around finger-painting and sticking his finger in an electric socket," he told insidehook.com, "and the editing voice is the bouncer at the bar who throws everybody out at the end of the night." In the beginning, he explained, you want to turn the volume down on the editing voice.

He decided to keep the odd lyrics and his hunch was right. People "went nuts" for the song, according to Barron.

Six years later, "Two Princes" would become the Spin Doctors' biggest hit, reaching #7 in the US, #2 in Canada and #3 in the UK. It also earned the band a Grammy for "Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group."

The Spin Doctors have been together for more than 30 years and continue to tour. The band members estimate that they've performed nearly 2,000 shows. A seventh studio album is in the works.

Trivia: In 1988, Barron and Spin Doctors guitarist Eric Schenkman originally teamed with John Popper (Blues Traveler) and called themselves the Trucking Company. When Popper left his part-time gig with the band to focus on Blues Traveler, the remaining band members rebranded themselves as the Spin Doctors, adding Aaron Comess (drums) and Mark White (bass guitar) by the spring of 1989.

Please check out the video of Chris Barron and the Spin Doctors performing "Two Princes." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Two Princes"
Written by Chris Barron, Mark White, Eric Schenkman and Aaron Comess. Performed by Spin Doctors.

One, two princes kneel before you
That's what I said now
Princes, princes who adore you
Just go ahead now
One has diamonds in his pockets
That's some bread, now
This one said he wants to buy you rockets
Ain't in his head, now

This one he got a princely racket
That's what I said now
Got some Big Seal upon his jacket
Ain't in his head now
You marry him, your father will condone you
How 'bout that now
You marry me, your father will disown you
He'll eat his hat, now

Marry him or marry me
I'm the one that loved you baby can't you see?
Ain't got no future or family tree
But I know what a prince and lover ought to be
I know what a prince and lover ought to be

Said if you want to call me baby
Just go ahead now
And if you like to tell me maybe
Just go ahead now
And if you want to buy me flowers
Just go ahead now
And if you like to talk for hours
Just go ahead now

Said one, two princes kneel before you
That's what I said now
Princes, princes who adore you
Just go ahead now
One has diamonds in his pockets
And that's some bread, now
This one who wants to buy you rockets
Ain't in his head, now

Marry him or marry me
I'm the one that loved you baby can't you see?
Ain't got no future or family tree
But I know what a prince and lover ought to be
I know what a prince and lover ought to be

Said if you want to call me baby
Just go ahead now
And if you like to tell me maybe
Just go ahead now
And if you want to buy me flowers
Just go ahead now
And if you like to talk for hours
Just go ahead now
And if you want to call me baby
Just go ahead now
And if you like to tell me maybe
Just go ahead now
And if you like to buy me flowers
Just go ahead now
And if you like to talk for hours
Just go ahead now
If you want to call me baby
Just go ahead now
And if you like to tell me maybe
Just go ahead now
If you want to buy me flowers
Just go ahead now
And if you like to talk for hours
Just go ahead now
Oh Baby!
Just go ahead now
Oh!
Just just go ahead now
Oh, your majesty!
Just go ahead now
Come on forget the King who... marry me!
Just go ahead now
Come on, come on, come on
Just go ahead now
Go ahead now
Just go ahead now


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
September 5th, 2019
Russia's Alrosa diamond mining company may have discovered a diamond in a diamond.



Alrosa's Instagram page features a video of a 0.62-carat rough diamond with a curious void in its center. Rattling around in that cavity seems to be another rough diamond.

In a caption accompanying the video, Alrosa wrote, "A diamond in a diamond? We couldn't help but share this very special find with you."

Alrosa goes on to describe how the smaller crystal seems to move freely within the larger one. The curious gem was discovered in Yakutsk, Russia.

"We are not sure if the smaller one is a diamond," wrote Alrosa. "Our scientists are looking forward to studying the crystal. It will be researched with non-destructive methods."

Please check out Alrosa's video here...

In an unrelated Instagram post, Alrosa honored the 115th anniversary of Russia's TASS news agency with what the mining company is calling "the world's most expensive diamond hashtag."



Alrosa created a mural with the hashtag "TASS115" rendered in natural white diamonds. The precious stones weigh 4,000 carats and are valued at $350,000.

The mural is being displayed at Alrosa's diamond sorting center in the Siberian town of Mirny.



In its congratulatory message, Alrosa wrote, "On [the] occasion of the 115th anniversary of the legendary TASS, we [are] giving our friends the most expensive hashtag in history as a present."

Alrosa unveiled the mural on its Facebook and Instagram pages.

The TASS news agency was founded on September 1, 1904, as the St. Petersburg Telegraph Agency (SPTA). It was renamed the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA) in 1918. Seven years later, the agency would become TASS (the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union). Today, it boasts 63 bureaus in 60 countries.

Alrosa is the world’s leading diamond producer in terms of volume, accounting for nearly a third of global rough diamond production. The company manages mines in Russia's Yakutia and Arkhangelsk regions, as well as Africa.

Credits: Screen captures via Instagram/alrosadiamonds.
September 4th, 2019
Characterized as “a true Rembrandt among gemstones,” the pinkish-orange padparadscha is the rarest and most valuable variety of September's birthstone — sapphire.



Padparadscha belongs to the corundum family of gemstones, which includes rubies and sapphires. The presence of trace elements determines the color of each gemstone. While blue sapphires are naturally colored with iron and rubies with chromium, padparadschas are colored by the presence of both. The delicate interplay of pink and orange hues make this gem one of nature’s greatest achievements.



The gem’s name is derived from “padma raga,” which literally means “the color of the lotus flower” in Sanskrit.

The specimen, above, is the largest and finest example of padparadscha in the National Gem Collection at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Weighing 5.51 carats, the gem was a gift from Pasha and Laney Thornton and has been part of the collection since 2002.

According to the Smithsonian, when a sapphire is not blue it is considered "fancy color." Some of the most common fancy-colored sapphires are yellow, pink and purple. The most coveted is the pinkish-orange padparadscha.

Back in 2013, a gemstone dealer told author and gemstone expert David Federman, “Fine padparadscha is far rarer than either fine Kashmir sapphire or Burma ruby. We’re talking about a true Rembrandt among gemstones.”

Padparadscha earned a splash of attention in January of 2018 when Princess Eugenie, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, received an oval padparadscha engagement ring from her long-time boyfriend Jack Brooksbank.

In a BBC interview, Brooksbank, explained what led him to this unconventional choice.

“What’s amazing about it and why I love it so much is that it changes color from every different angle that you look at it,” he said. “And that’s what I think of Eugenie. That she changes color.”

Credit: Padparadscha by Greg Polley / Smithsonian. Lotus flower by Greg Peterson [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
September 3rd, 2019
Utilizing state-of-the-art technology that mimics the visual effects of a black hole, artist Diemut Strebe plans to make a $2 million, 16.78-carat yellow diamond disappear at the New York Stock Exchange on September 13.



The normally colorful and reflective diamond will be reduced to a flat black spot.

To pull off her stunning illusion, Strebe has teamed up with scientist Brian Wardle of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Strebe is the artist-in-residence. Wardle is credited with developing a substance made of carbon nanotubes that absorbs 99.965% of light, creating the blackest black material on earth.



With the diamond shrouded in this material, it will cast no shadows and lose dimensionality — rendering it virtually invisible to the naked eye. It's the closest thing to experiencing a black hole on earth. With no light reflected back from the object, one's brain paints it as pure black.

Interestingly, the diamond and its nanotube shroud are both composed of the same element — carbon — but present the opposite extremes when exposed to light. Diamonds are extraordinarily reflective, while the carbon nanotubes are unusually light-absorptive.

A few years ago, "Vantablack" made news when it was introduced as a carbon nanotube-based material that absorbed 99.6% of light.



The sole right to use Vantablack was acquired by British sculptor Anish Kapoor, which sparked a controversy among other artists who wished to work with it. Since then, Wardle developed a different composition of carbon nanotubes, which will be available for any artist to use.



Strebe's art installation, called "The Redemption of Vanity," will be on view at the New York Stock Exchange from September 13 to November 25. It will be presented in coordination with the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST), the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the MIT necstlab.

See CNN's November 2017 coverage of the "darkest thing on Earth" at this link...


Credits: Yellow diamond by MJT Symbolic [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Screen captures via YouTube.com/CNN. NYSE by Kamel15 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
August 30th, 2019
Welcome to a Music Friday when we bring you classic hits with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we present Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons singing the original 1965 version of “Bye, Bye, Baby,” a tune that includes a very important line about a wedding ring.



In this song, Valli tells his love interest that she's the one girl in town that he would want to marry — except for the fact that he's not "free." In the last verse, we learn that he's already married. Yikes.

The last verse goes like this: “Should have told her that I can’t linger. There’s a wedding ring on my finger. She’s got me but I’m not free. Bye bye baby, baby goodbye / Bye baby, baby bye bye.”

Written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, the keyboardist for The Four Seasons, “Bye, Bye, Baby” topped out at #12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. Ten years later, the Bay City Rollers released their version, which charted in 11 countries, Including a #1 spot in the UK. It was Britain's top-selling single of 1975.

Trivia: "Bye, Bye, Baby" is played twice during the 2003 film Love Actually — once by Daniel (Liam Neeson) at his wife's funeral, and again by the DJ (Junior Simpson) at the wedding reception of Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

Born Francesco Stephen Castelluccio in Newark, N.J., Valli became the frontman for The Four Seasons in 1960. Amazingly, Valli is still touring at the age of 85. He will be appearing in Hawaii, Minnesota and Illinois in September.

With an estimated 100 million records sold, The Four Seasons is one of the best-selling musical acts of all time. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

We hope you enjoy the audio clip of Valli and The Four Seasons performing “Bye, Bye, Baby.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby Goodbye)”
Written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio. Performed by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

If you hate me after what I say
Can’t put it off any longer
I just gotta tell you anyway

[Chorus]
Bye bye baby, baby goodbye
Bye baby, baby bye bye
Bye bye baby, don’t make me cry
Bye baby, baby bye bye

You’re the one girl in town I’d marry
Girl, I’d marry you now if I were free
I wish it could be

I could love you but why begin it
Cause there ain’t any future in it
She’s got me and I’m not free so

[Chorus]

Yes I never will know you better
Wish I knew you before I met her
Gee, how good it would be for me

Should have told her that I can’t linger
There’s a wedding ring on my finger
She’s got me and I’m not free so

[Chorus]


Credit: Photo by East Ham Bull [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.