24.70-Carat Ruby Ring and 'Circle of Heaven' Jadeite Bracelet Share Top Billing at Sotheby's Auction

A spectacular 24.70-carat cushion-shaped ruby ring will share top billing with "The Circle of Heaven" jadeite bracelet at Sotheby's Hong Kong on April 3. Both items are expected to fetch more than $10 million when they hit the auction block at the Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Spring Sale.

Rubies found in the Mogok region of Myanmar (formerly Burma) are famed for their top-grade pigeon-blood color. The Burmese ruby coming up for bid at Sotheby's Hong Kong will be of particular interest to buyers because Mogok-sourced specimens in excess of 20 carats are said to be among the rarest gems in the world.

The ruby is secured with yellow-gold prongs and surrounded by D-color pear-shaped diamonds (internally flawless to VVS1). The shank is set with pavé-set brilliant-cut diamonds. The pre-auction estimate for the piece is $10.4 million to $11.7 million.

Co-starring in Hall 5 of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on April 3 will be a superb jadeite bracelet known as "The Circle of Heaven." Displaying a brilliant emerald green color, fine texture and high translucency, the bracelet boasts a pre-sale estimate of $10.2 million to $12.8 million.

Fine-quality jadeite is highly cherished, especially in Chinese culture. Jadeite symbolizes benevolence, righteousness, wisdom, bravery and honesty. The ancient Chinese revered jadeite as the "stone of heaven."

Other notable items to be presented in Hong Kong include a beautiful array of colored diamond, sapphire and emerald rings...

A Rare Fancy Blue Diamond Ring. This step-cut fancy blue diamond weighs 14.18 carats and is surrounded by a halo of round pink diamonds. The pre-sale estimate is $5.9 million to $7.7 million.

A Sapphire and Diamond Ring. An impressive 10.18-carat Kashmir sapphire is the centerpiece of this ring by Cartier. Displaying a velvety blue color, the sapphire is accented by a pair of triangular diamonds. Sotheby's set the pre-auction estimate at $1.2 million to $1.7 million.

An Important Emerald and Diamond Ring. Sporting a rich, natural saturation, this step-cut 14.72-carat Colombian emerald is set in a ring by Cartier. The ring's pre-sale estimate is $1.1 million to $1.4 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.

Gold, Platinum and Diamonds Pelt Siberia's Coldest City After Plane Spills Its Cargo

Gold, platinum and diamonds literally rained from the sky over the frigid city of Yakutsk in eastern Siberia last Thursday.

The wild display of flying treasure — worth 21 billion rubles or $368 million — was attributed to the failed cargo hatch of a Cold War-era transport plane called the Antonov An-12. The aircraft was carrying gold bars, platinum bars and loose diamonds on behalf of Chukota Mining and Geological Company. About 99% of all Russian diamonds are mined in Yakutia, where winter temperatures routinely hit -35C (-31F).

According to The Siberian Times, the plane had been loaded with 10 tons of precious metals and gemstones when it lifted from Yakutsk airport.

Shortly after takeoff, the heavy cargo shifted, ripping through the cargo door and damaging a portion of the fuselage. Nearly 200 gold bars fell from the plane, littering the runway with gold and platinum bars. The damaged plane continued to fly for 16 kilometers (10 miles) — dropping more treasure along with way — before landing at the nearby Magan airport.

Russia's state-run TASS news agency reported that technicians who had prepared the plane for takeoff may have failed to properly secure the cargo.

Police immediately sealed off the runway and began the task of retrieving about 3.4 tons of precious metal ingots. A typical gold bar weighs 12.4 kilograms or 27.3 pounds, so it is fortunate that nobody was hurt by the plummeting precious metal.

Yakutsk, which is the capital of Yakutia or the Sasha Republic, is frequently cited as the coldest major city in the world.

The Siberian Times had a little fun with that fact, tweeting, "It's -21C in Yakutia, sunny, we expect showers of diamond, platinum and gold... Plane loses its $368 million cargo; gems and precious metals rain over Russia’s coldest region as police and secret services stage emergency search."

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/The Siberian Times. Map by Google Maps.

Music Friday: Scotty McCreery's 'This Is It' Gives First-Hand Account of His Marriage Proposal

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, former American Idol Scotty McCreery delivers a first-hand account of his mountaintop marriage proposal to future bride Gabi Dugal in his brand new single, "This Is It."

In the song, the 24-year-old McCreery tells the story of a young couple's unforgettable moment "at the top of the world."

He sings, "Girl I know that you've been waiting and talking to your friends / Wondering if and wondering where and wondering when / Well I've been waiting too, holding on to this ring / For the right words to say, for the right time and place, for me to get on one knee."

McCreery revealed in an AXS Patio Sessions interview that he and his co-writers collaborated on the song the past September, only two weeks before he had planned to pop the question on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.

"I told my co-writers the story and we just kinda wrote the song around that," he said. "It's very visual and paints the picture of how the engagement went down."

Writing the song before the engagement was a tad risky for the North Carolinian. Although he had all the "wheres and whens and hows" mapped out perfectly, there was still a possibility that something could go awry.

“If things hadn’t gone to plan and we hadn’t gotten to the mountain, I probably would have had to scrap the song," said McCreery. "But luckily it all worked out.”

Friends since kindergarten, McCreery and Dugal, a pediatric nurse, had been dating for six years. They plan to marry this year.

"Engaged life is great," McCreery told theboot.com. "I'm really happy."

"This Is It" is the sixth track from McCreery's third studio album, Seasons Change. The album releases today, March 16.

A native of Garner, N.C., Scott Cooke McCreery has the distinction of being the youngest male ever to win an American Idol competition. He was only 17 when he prevailed during the Season 10 finale in May of 2011.

Please check out the video of McCreery's AXS Patio Sessions performance of "This Is It." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"This Is It"
Written by Scotty McCreery, Frank Rogers and Aaron Eshuis. Performed by McCreery.

Way up in the mountains, four thousand feet high
There's a trail through the trees to a cliff where Carolina meets the sky
Oh, and there's a view I just can't describe
No, I'm not there yet, just a few more steps, baby wait
Okay, you can open your eyes

This is it, this is now, this is what I've been talking about
Looking out, can't you see forever?
Take my hand, just take it in
This is a moment we won't forget
On top of the world, here, together
If there ever was a time for a perfect kiss, this is it

Girl I know that you've been waiting and talking to your friends
Wondering if and wondering where and wondering when
Well I've been waiting too, holding on to this ring
For the right words to say, for the right time and place, for me to get on one knee

This is it, this is now, this is what I've been talking about
Looking out, can't you see forever?
Take my hand, just take it in
This is a moment we won't forget
On top of the world here together
If there ever was a time for a perfect kiss, well this is it
This is it

Now you're walking down the aisle
And I can't help but smile

This is it, this is now, it's what I've been talking about
Looking out, I can see forever
So take my hand, just take it in
This is a moment we won't forget
On top of the world, here, together
Surrounded by our family and our friends
If there ever was a time for a perfect kiss
This is it

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

$100,000 in Diamond Jewelry Narrowly Escapes Ghastly Demise at County Landfill

Quick action and perfect timing are credited with saving $100,000 worth of diamond jewelry from a ghastly demise at the Hall County landfill, about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta.

This past Friday, a Georgia woman (who wishes to remain anonymous) mistakenly threw away two diamond rings and a tennis bracelet. Even though she felt sick to her stomach when she realized what had happened, her timely call for help made all the difference in getting the jewelry back.

Had she alerted authorities just 15 or 20 minutes later, the garbage truck containing her precious keepsakes would have dumped its cargo at the face of the giant landfill and the jewelry would have been compacted into the ground.

Instead, Hall County’s Solid Waste Director Johnnie Vickers was able to divert the truck to a sorting station, where five crew members tore through 10 tons of garbage. Their only clue was that the jewelry was in a black trash bag.

Three hours later, with prospects looking gloomy, the treasure was found.

Sorting through a holding area containing 10 tons of trash from a single truck is much more manageable task than sorting through a landfill area, where convoys of trucks dump their loads for compacting.

Vickers told gainsvilletimes.com that if the truck ended up at the landfill, "1,000 people couldn’t have found [the jewelry]. It would have been gone forever.”

The solid waste director said that he receives one or two calls per week from frantic customers who have accidentally trashed valuable possessions, such as their keys, wallet or purse.

“We try to treat it just like it’s our own," Vickers told gainesvilletimes.com. "People make mistakes and accidents happen. We do our best to try to get them their property back — if there’s a possibility of getting it back.”

Credits: Screen captures via wsbtv.com.

Lesotho Legend — Fifth-Largest Gem-Quality Diamond Ever Mined — Sells for $40 Million

The colossal 910-carat diamond recovered from the Letšeng mine in January was sold on Monday for $40 million. Dubbed the "Lesotho Legend" to honor its country of origin, the Type IIa, D-color rough specimen is the fifth-largest gem-quality diamond ever discovered.

The Lesotho Legend also has the distinction of being the largest gem-quality diamond ever unearthed at Letšeng, a mine that has earned the reputation for being the highest dollar-per-carat kimberlite mine in the world.

Despite having a land mass slightly smaller than Maryland, Lesotho is an international powerhouse when it comes to turning out huge, top-quality stones. Some of Letšeng's most impressive finds include the Lesotho Promise (603 carats), Letšeng Star (550 carats) and Lesotho Legacy (493 carats).

NationalJeweler.com reported that the Lesotho Legend was purchased at tender by Antwerp-based diamond supplier Samir Gems and other partners. The company will now face the challenge of mapping and cleaving the oddly-shaped rough diamond to yield the optimal number of polished diamonds while losing the least amount of carat weight. A rough diamond of 910-carats could result in 10 to 30 gem-quality polished stones of various shapes and sizes, according to experts.

When Gem Diamonds Ltd. announced its discovery in January, we guessed that the rough diamond would sell for about $50 million. That estimate was based on the recent sales of huge diamonds exhibiting nearly identical characteristics.

The 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona (#2 on the all-time list) had fetched $53 million in September of 2017, while the 812-carat Constellation (#7 on the all-time list) was sold for $63 million in May of 2016. Both were D-color, Type IIa diamonds, which means they were colorless and chemically pure with no traces of nitrogen or boron impurities.

In a statement, Gem Diamonds' CEO Clifford Elphick said, "We are delighted with the outcome of the sale of this iconic diamond, which demonstrates the exceptional quality of the Lesotho Legend itself, as well as reaffirming the unique quality of the Letšeng diamond production."

United Kingdom-based Gem Diamonds Ltd. holds a 70% stake in the Letšeng mine with the government of Lesotho owning the remaining 30%.

Credits: Images courtesy of Gem Diamonds Ltd.

Hidden Valley Celebrates Upcoming Royal Wedding With $35K Bejeweled Bottle of Ranch

Hidden Valley is honoring the upcoming nuptials between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — and National Ranch Day — with a bejeweled bottle of salad dressing valued at $35,000.

White diamonds punctuate the crown-shaped cap, while green and blue sapphires adorn the bottle's neck. Thin ribbons of blue sapphires hug the contours of the bottle on four sides, while a thicker ribbon of blue sapphires wraps around the bottom. All of the gems are set in 18-karat white gold.

The blue bottle accents are a nod to the British Royal Family. The late Princess Diana famously wore a blue sapphire engagement ring that was eventually passed down to her eldest son, Prince William.

According to Hidden Valley, two of these blinged-out glass bottles were designed and fabricated by an A-list celebrity jeweler whose name could not be disclosed.

Time.com reported that one of the bottles will be "sent on a journey overseas" but won't be delivered to the royal family. The second bottle will be the grand prize in a contest running now through May 19 (the date of the royal wedding) on Hidden Valley's Twitter page.

"Renowned in these United States as the flavor that goes well with anything, Hidden Valley Ranch is honoring the great pairing of a fellow famous American with British royalty, as well as those who royally love ranch," the company commented in a press release.

The Twitter-based contest was launched on National Ranch Day, which was celebrated on Saturday, March 10.

Twitter users simply need to retweet Hidden Valley's contest announcement. As the company noted on its Twitter page, "FOLLOW & RETWEET FOR A CHANCE TO WIN! Nothing marks #NationalRanchDay like a real jewel-encrusted ranch bottle fit for people who royally love ranch."

The prize will include a $15,000 check to offset taxes. The winner will be announced after May 19.

Credits: Photos courtesy of Hidden Valley.

Silver Screen's Most Famous Baubles Share the Spotlight in Tonight's Episode of 'Strange Inheritance'

Here's a quiz: What do Vivien Leigh’s necklace from Gone with the Wind, Elizabeth Taylor’s serpent bracelet in Cleopatra and the earrings worn by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes all have in common? They were all created by Eugene Joseff's design studio under the brand name Joseff of Hollywood.

These and other memorable pieces from Joseff's workshop are the subject of tonight's episode of Strange Inheritance, a primetime reality series on the FOX Business Network (FBN).

For many decades, Joseff's firm fabricated — but only rented — costume jewelry to the movie studios, and as each production wrapped up, the jewelry would be returned to the jeweler and secured in a vault. Over many decades, that collection grew to more than 200,000 items.

Joseff died in 1948, and his widow, Joan, passed away in 2010 at the age of 98. All the “screen gems” were inherited by Joan's daughter-in-law, Tina Joseff, and Joan's grandchildren.

Five hundred high-profile items from Joseff's collection were put on the block at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills this past November — netting the heirs just under $2 million. Among the biggest-ticket items were the Monroe earrings ($90,000), Leigh necklace ($45,000) and Clark Gable cigar box from Gone With the Wind ($31,000).

A former ad man from Chicago, Eugene Joseff moved to southern California in 1928. Although he "dabbled in jewelry," according to Tina, Joseff's entry into the jewelry field stemmed from an off-the-cuff remark he made to a friend in the movie business.

“He noted that in a period film the star was wearing a gorgeous gown — period correct – but also a modern necklace. He just thought that was the worst thing ever – and that he could do better,” Tina explains to show host Jamie Colby in Monday's episode.

He soon got a chance to display his talents when a Hollywood studio needed baubles for a bunch of dancers. It was Friday and the order had to be filled by the following Monday. Nobody wanted the job — except for Joseff.

Joseff fulfilled the request with flying colors and eventually became Tinseltown's crown jeweler.

FBN noted that film buffs will likely recognize a number of the Joseff of Hollywood creations, including the Bette Davis tiara from The Virgin Queen, the Shelley Winters teardrop pendant necklace from South Sea Sinner and the Katharine Hepburn necklace of faux diamonds, rubies and pearls from Mary of Scotland. Viewers will also get a peek at the crown Shirley Temple wore in The Little Princess and a necklace that Greta Garbo wore in Camille.

Strange Inheritance chronicles the bizarre artifacts and outrageous stories related to inheritances from people and places from coast to coast. The "Screen Gems" episode airs Monday, March 12, at 9PM/ET. In the photo, top, host Colby interviews Tina Joseff.

Credits: Jamie Colby/Tina Joseff image courtesy of FOX Business Network. Screen captures via foxbusiness.com.

Music Friday: A 23-Year-Old Elvis Presley Asks Sweetheart to Wear His Ring Around Her Neck

Back in the heyday of drive-ins and sock hops, a 23-year-old Elvis Presley was dominating the music scene with an unprecedented string of 10 consecutive #1 hits. It was exactly 60 years ago when the handsome crooner from Tupelo, Miss., tried for number 11 with his sure winner, "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck."

Welcome to Music Friday when we like to bring you fun, throwback tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In today's song, Presley wants his girlfriend to wear his ring around her neck. Of course, the ring would be on a chain — as was the custom in the 1950s — to signify they are going steady. No doubt, countless teen girls in the spring of 1958 imagined The King was singing to them.

Here's the first verse: "Won't you wear my ring around your neck / To tell the world I'm yours, by heck / Let them see your love for me / And let them see by the ring around your neck."

Written by Bert Carroll and Russell Moody, "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" was a big hit, but stalled at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, narrowly breaking Presley's string of #1s. All 10 of Presley's previous chart-toppers had been released during a two-year period.

Born in 1935, Elvis Aron Presley ascended to stardom in the mid-1950s with his good looks, silky voice and outrageous performance style. Not only did he top the charts during the 1950s and 1960s, but he also starred in more than 30 movies, including Jailhouse Rock (1957) and Viva Las Vegas (1964).

Presley met Priscilla Ann Beaulieu in 1960 and married her after a seven-and-a-half-year courtship. Presley proposed with a 3-carat diamond ring in December 1966 and the wedding ceremony took place one year later at the Aladdin hotel in Las Vegas.

The King, as he was known, would eventually become one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. His first performance on the Ed Sullivan Show in September 1956 was watched by a record 82.6% of the nationwide viewing audience. Presley is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music, with more than 600 million records sold worldwide. His Memphis home, Graceland, is still a major tourist attraction.

Presley died in Memphis on August 16, 1977, at the age of 42.

Please check out the audio track of Presley singing "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Wear My Ring Around Your Neck"
Written by Bert Carroll and Russell Moody. Performed by Elvis Presley.

Won't you wear my ring around your neck
To tell the world I'm yours, by heck
Let them see your love for me
And let them see by the ring around your neck

Won't you wear my ring around your neck
To tell the world I'm yours, by heck
Let them know I love you so
And let them no by the ring around your neck

They say that goin' steady is not the proper thing
They say that we're too young to know the meaning of a ring
I only know that I love you and that you love me too
So, darling, please do what I ask of you

Won't you wear my ring around your neck
To tell the world I'm yours, by heck
Let them see your love for me
And let them see by the ring around your neck

Well they say that goin' steady is not the proper thing
They say that we're too young to know the meaning of a ring
I only know that I love you and that you love me too
So, darling, please do what I ask of you

Won't you wear my ring around your neck
To tell the world I'm yours, by heck
Let them know I love you so
And let them no by the ring around your neck

And let them know by the ring around your neck
And let them know by the ring around your neck

Credit: Image of Elvis Presley in 1957 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ6-2067Location: NYWTS -- BIOG [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

British Superstar Ed Sheeran Reveals Why He Wears an Engagement Ring

British superstar Ed Sheeran is proudly wearing an engagement ring and doesn't understand why the concept is considered so avant-garde.

"I never saw why men didn't wear engagement rings," he told a reporter for Lorraine, a British lifestyle and entertainment TV show. "It's the same commitment either way. Cherry [Seaborn] made it for me herself out of silver clay. I really like it."

Sheeran proposed to Seaborn over the New Year's holiday and announced the exciting news to his 20.6 million Instagram followers on January 20.

He posted a candid photo and wrote, "Got myself a fiancée just before new year. We are very happy and in love, and our cats are chuffed as well xx." ("Chuffed" is British slang for "very pleased.")

Not only were their cats pleased, but so were Sheeran's fans. More than 5.2 million of them "Liked" the 27-year-old singer's post.

But, in the days following the announcement, reports started surfacing that the star was wearing a ring on "that" finger. Did they secretly tie the knot?

Sheeran put that rumor to bed during a radio interview with Australian hosts Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O Henderson.

"We didn't get secretly married," he stated. "No, she made me this ring out of silver clay, so we were both kind of wearing rings."

His ring also serves another purpose: "It also means that nobody will know when we have gotten married," he said.

The "silver clay" that Seaborn used in the fabrication of Sheeran's ring is a crafting material made of very small particles of precious metal mixed with a binder and water. It can be easily molded by hand into jewelry and then fired in a kiln. The binder burns away and only the precious metal remains. Unclear photos snapped by the paparazzi seem to show him sporting a very simple silver band made of this material.

Sheeran and Seaborn have yet to announce a wedding date, but it was revealed that the British music man has submitted plans to build a Saxon-style chapel on the grounds of his Suffolk estate.

Credits: Couple photo via Instagram.com/Teddysphotos; Ed Sheeran images by Eva Rinaldi from Sydney, Australia [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons and Eva Rinaldi [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Here's How a 1950s Brazilian Beauty Queen Is Forever Linked With March's Birthstone

In 1954, Maria Martha Hacker Rocha, a statuesque beauty from Brazil, was the odds-on favorite to win the Miss Universe pageant. Admirers from all over the world were captivated by her beauty, class and amazing blue eyes.

Although she eventually earned runner-up status to American Miriam Stevenson, the 18-year-old from the Brazilian state of Bahia would be forever linked to the world of fine jewelry and March's brilliant blue birthstone — the aquamarine.

About the same time as Rocha was competing on the world stage, an incredible aquamarine crystal was found on a farm near Teofilo Otoni, Brazil. It weighed approximately 74.5 pounds and the color was so rich, so intense that the Brazilian gem dealers needed to distinguish it from the rest.

Gemstone merchants already had names for other varieties of aquamarine, the blue member of the beryl family. The rare, intense blue aquamarines from the Santa Maria de Itabira mine in Brazil were called “Santa Maria.” Similar-color aquamarines from Mozambique and other countries in Africa were named “Santa Maria Africana.” Lighter hues were named after the Brazilian state where they were mined, specifically “Espirito Santo.”

But the 74.5 pound specimen was in a class by itself. They decided to name it “Martha Rocha” as a tribute to the Brazilian beauty queen with the captivating clear blue eyes. Even today, gem experts use “Martha Rocha” as a classification of tone and intensity when rating the finest-color aquamarines.

At 81 years old, Rocha is still a symbol of beauty in Brazil, and she has streets named after her in Bahia, Santa Catarina and São Paulo.

Aquamarines are mined in many countries, including Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, Mozambique and the U.S., but many of the finest-quality gemstones still come from Brazil.

Credits: Martha Rocha on the cover of Brazilian illustrated weekly magazine O Cruzeiro (August 1954); Gem photos courtesy of Smithsonian/Chip Clark.