Clodius and Co. Blog
November 13th, 2018
Sixty-seven diamonds ranging from just under 1 carat to more than 100 carats will be known forever as the legacy of Lesedi La Rona, the 1,109-carat gem-quality rough diamond that was discovered at the Lucara Karowe mine in Botswana in 2015.



When billionaire diamantaire Laurence Graff purchased the rough stone for $53 million in 2017, he was reverential in his statements about the second-largest rough diamond ever discovered. He said at the time, "The stone will tell us its story, it will dictate how it wants to be cut, and we will take the utmost care to respect its exceptional properties.”



Graff Diamonds noted Monday that after more than a year of detailed analysis, cutting and polishing by its elite team of gemologists and master craftsmen, the first 67 stones were ready to be revealed. The company also dropped a teaser that "a principal diamond of unprecedented size" was still in the works.



All of the Lesedi La Rona diamonds boast a D-color and "exceptional clarity," according to the company. In addition, each stone will be laser inscribed with the words “Lesedi La Rona” and "GRAFF" alongside a Gemological Institute of America identification number.



On its website, Graff Diamonds demonstrated the intricate three-dimensional mapping used to maximize the yield from the massive rough diamond.

Once cut and polished, the first 67 Lesedi La Rona finished diamonds were incorporated into beautiful jewelry, including solitaire rings, earrings and pendants. Graff said the jewelry represented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of diamond history.

"Destined to be passed down through generations, the legacy of this historic stone will live on in this truly remarkable collection of jewels," noted the website.

Despite its original size of 1,109 carats, Lesedi La Rona was nearly 2,000 carats smaller than the Cullinan diamond, which was discovered in 1905 and tipped the scales at 3,106 carats.

Graff also owns the 373.72-carat chunk that broke off the Lesedi La Rona during the mining process. That piece, which was purchased for $17.5 million, has yet to be processed.

Credits: Images courtesy of Graff Diamonds. Screen captures via graffdiamonds.com.
November 12th, 2018
An all-diamond ring custom crafted from a single rough gem is expected to fetch up to $250,000 when Sotheby's offers it for sale December 5 at the third (RED) Auction in Miami. Proceeds from the sale will support HIV/AIDS programs in Africa.



Conceived by Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, and renowned industrial designer Marc Newson, The (Red) Diamond Ring will contain no metal elements. The lab-grown rough diamond will be carved into a ring shape by master cutters in Antwerp using laser beam and water jet technology. It will come to life by removing material rather than adding it.

“It is not a precious stone in a metal setting mounted on a metal band,” Ive told robbreport.com. “It is truly a diamond ring.”

In the end, the ring will feature between 2,000 and 3,000 individual facets, some as small as several hundred micrometers (1,000 micrometers equals 1 millimeter). According to Sotheby's, the ring's interior will be cylindrically cut for the desired smoothness using a micrometer-thick water jet.

The ring in the photo, above, is conceptual. The actual piece will be custom-made for the winning bidder in any ring size up to 5. Sotheby's set the pre-sale estimate at $150,000 to $250,000.

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 certainly groundbreaking, the Ive-Newson design is said to be more wearable.

The company responsible for creating the lab-grown rough diamond for this project is San Francisco-based Diamond Foundry. The rough is expected to be larger than 45 carats.

The (Red) Diamond Ring will be auctioned by Sotheby’s during Art Basel Miami. Previous (RED) Auctions have generated $68 million for AIDS research.

Credit: Image courtesy of Sotheby's.
November 9th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country music artist Tracy Byrd tells the story of Tommy and Janey's life-changing trip to a jewelry store in 1997's "Don't Love Make a Diamond Shine."



In the very first verse, we are introduced to a young couple looking for the perfect engagement ring. They're holding hands and staring into the bridal case when a particular ring catches Tommy's eye.

Byrd sings, "Mister bring it closer, mister can we hold it / I think it's gonna fit just fine / As he slipped it on her hand, Janey kissed her man / Don't love make a diamond shine."

Byrd goes on to explain that any diamond — no matter what size — looks like a million bucks "sittin' on the hand of a girl in love." He also takes a shot at a rich couple whose perfect 15-carat diamond is "duller than dirt" because their relationship is on the rocks.

Written by Mike Dekle and Craig Wiseman, "Don't Love Make a Diamond Shine" was released as the third single from Byrd's fourth album, Big Love. The song reached #17 on the U.S. Billboard Country Songs chart and #13 on the Canada Country Tracks chart. Big Love became Byrd's third gold-selling album.

Born in Vidor, Texas, Byrd explored his musical talents with a local band called Rimfire while attending Southwest Texas State. A friend encouraged Byrd to sing a cover of Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart" at a mall recording studio and the result was so impressive that the studio's owner entered Byrd into a local talent contest. The artist caught the attention of MCA Records, which offered him a recording contract in 1992.

The 51-year-old has charted more than 30 singles, including 11 Top Ten hits. He's produced 10 studio albums and two greatest-hits albums.

Please check out the audio clip of Byrd performing "Don't Love Make A Diamond Shine." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Don't Love Make A Diamond Shine"
Written by Craig Wiseman and Mike Dekle. Performed by Tracy Byrd.

Tommy and Janey barely eighteen
Holding hands at the jewelry store
Eyes open wide staring inside
At the ring that they wanted for her

Mister bring it closer, mister can we hold it
I think it's gonna fit just fine
As he slipped it on her hand, Janey kissed her man
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine
It don't matter if it costs a dime
Dang thing looks like a million bucks
Sittin' on the hand of a girl in love.

A perfect fifteen carat is duller than dirt
If the heart don't wear it
With three little words it'll knock you blind
Don't love make a diamond shine.

There's a rich lady with a new Mercedes
Livin' up in a high rise
She's got a big ol' rock on her left hand
That looks cheaper than a Cracker Jack prize.

'Cause her man don't know that it ain't the dough
No all he needs to spend is time
And that big marquis'd be a laser beam
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine
It don't matter if it costs a dime
Dang thing looks like a million bucks
Sittin' on the hand of a girl in love.

A perfect fifteen carat is duller than dirt
If the heart don't wear it
With three little words it'll knock you blind
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine
It don't matter if it costs a dime
Dang thing looks like a million bucks
Sittin' on the hand of a girl in love.

A perfect fifteen carat is duller than dirt
If the heart don't wear it
With three little words it'll knock you blind
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine...


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
November 8th, 2018
It took the designers and artisans at Atelier Swarovski a total of 930 hours to complete the bejeweled 2018 Dream Angels Fantasy Bra, an impressive work that will be worn by supermodel Elsa Hosk at this year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. The $1 million bra and body chain are adorned with 2,100 diamonds weighing a total of 71 carats. The gems are set in sterling silver.



"The Fantasy Bra is blinding," the Swedish model told Elle.com. "It's like, 'Whoa.' [There are] 2,000 diamonds on it. That's a little crazy."

Hosk was working at a photo shoot recently when a special package from Victoria's Secret arrived on the set. Hosk guessed it was a birthday cake because her birthday was coming up. When she pulled off the ribbon and popped open the box, she was surprised to see the 2018 Fantasy Bra inside.



"I was just shaking, and I didn't believe they were serious," Hosk continued. "It was so beautiful. The whole day I was just in a constant smile because I was just so happy."

The fashion show is set to take place today in New York City and will air on ABC December 2. Joining Hosk on the runway will be Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Winnie Harlow and many other top-name models.

Hosk is following in the footsteps of 2017's Dream Angel Lais Ribeiro, who modeled a $2 million “Champagne Nights” Fantasy Bra glittering with 600 carats of white diamonds, yellow sapphires and blue topaz.

The 2018 Fantasy Bra is dialed down by comparison. Swarovksi's designers used lab-created diamonds for the bra and responsibly sourced topaz for the sterling silver body chain. The chain is highlighted by a pear-shaped 2.03-carat Atelier Swarovski Created Diamond, which has the same chemical composition, hardness, brilliance and fire of a traditionally mined diamond, according to the company.

For the first time, Victoria's Secret customers will be able to purchase a version of the Fantasy Bra made with Swarovski crystals instead of diamonds. The $250 replica will be available on November 29 at select Victoria’s Secret stores and online at victoriassecret.com.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/ExtraTV.
November 7th, 2018
When British archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter entered the intact tomb of King Tutankhamun in 1922, he encountered thousands of luxury objects intended to accompany the boy king into the afterworld.



Among the items decorated with gold, silver and precious gemstones was a breastplate depicting the god Ra as a winged scarab carrying the sun and moon into the sky. The scarab was carved from a pale greenish-yellow stone that Carter originally identified as chalcedony, a translucent variety of quartz.

A decade later, British geographer Patrick Clayton found samples of a similar glass-like material while exploring the Libyan Desert along the border of modern Egypt and Libya and classified it as Libyan Desert Glass (LDG).

In a recent article published at Forbes.com, geologist David Bressan explains that LDG forms when quartz-rich desert sand is exposed to a heat burst of 3,600°F and then rapidly cools. Modern researchers noted that LDG has a different crystal structure than common quartz and contains traces of rare minerals and unusual elements, suggesting they could have been part of a vaporized meteorite.



The LDG sample shown here weighs 22 grams (0.78 ounces) and measures 55 mm (2.17 inches) wide.

The lack of an impact crater near the areas where LDG has been found lends credence to the theory that a comet may have exploded before touching down in the desert — generating enough heat to melt the sands. Scientists have compared LDG to trinitite, which is created when sand is exposed to the thermal radiation of a nuclear explosion.

Because of the unusual factors needed to create Libyan Desert Glass, it is truly among the rarest minerals on Earth. LDG is found only in Libya's desolate Great Sand Sea north of the Gilf Kebir Plateau. Whether King Tut's handlers in 1323 BCE were aware of this rarity remains a mystery.

Credit: Tutankhamun breastplate by Jon Bodsworth [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons. LDG image by H. Raab (User:Vesta) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.0 at], from Wikimedia Commons.
November 6th, 2018
Rami Malek, who portrays Freddie Mercury in the newly released Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, pulled off the uncanny resemblance by wearing a mouth apparatus that mimicked the music legend's buck teeth.



“It was hard to sing in them, hard to talk in them, hard to kiss in them,” the 37-year-old actor revealed on the Ellen show Thursday. "But I appreciated them so much by the end [of filming], I just felt naked without them. They were so Freddie."

Malek recounted how he decided to keep the teeth as a memento and honor Mercury in doing so...

"I said, 'What would Freddie do to keep something?' He'd go full Freddie with it and do the most ostentatious thing he could, so I had them cast in gold."



At that point, Malek reached into his pocket and pulled out the gilded buck teeth uppers. They appeared to be cast in white gold.

"That's fantastic," commented host Ellen DeGeneres. "You have a grill now."



"I have a Freddie grill," added Malek. "I think he'd be tickled by these bad boys."

Bohemian Rhapsody outpaced all other releases by generating $50 million at the box office in its opening weekend in North America. The film details the life of the Queen frontman who topped the charts and dazzled audiences with his four-octave vocal range and flamboyant stage persona. Mercury passed away in 1991 at the age of 45.

Malek told DeGeneres how he immersed himself in the role of the iconic rocker — even before the project was greenlit by the studio. He took singing lessons, learned choreography and worked with a movement coach.

To imitate Mercury's signature onstage move, the coach encouraged Malek to imagine himself standing in a bath with bubbles streaming down his back, and then serving spaghetti. Malek demonstrated the move for DeGeneres's delighted audience.

Check out the full segment below...


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/TheEllenShow.
November 5th, 2018
A young couple visiting Prince Edward Island for the Labour Day weekend thought they struck it rich when a $2 board game purchased at a second-hand store yielded $18,000 worth of diamond jewelry. Chris Lightfoot and Mandy Flack could hardly believe their eyes when they discovered a trove of diamond rings hidden under the box's false bottom.



After the story went viral, a forgetful widow came forward as the rightful owner. Orlanda Drebit had recently donated the MindTrap game to a Charlottetown thrift store, just before she moved out of her home in Bonshaw, P.E.I.

She hadn't seen her diamond rings since the summer of 2015 and was not sure where she lost them. She had rushed out of town to attend the Cavendish Beach Festival and didn't have time to get to them into a safety deposit box.

The next best plan of attack was to hide her precious rings — all gifts from her late husband — where a burglar wouldn't find them. In a housecoat pocket? In a mitten shoved in a tote bag in a closet? Under cardboard in the false bottom of a 1990s board game?

When she returned from the festival, Drebit had no recollection of where she hid her rings. For months, she looked in every possible hiding place. She even checked with the hotel in Cavendish. No luck.

By December 2015, she had given up hope. She made an insurance claim and accepted the fact that she'd never see her beloved rings again.

In additional to their intrinsic value, each of the rings held a special connection to her late husband, Donald, who passed away in a car accident nine years ago. Donald appreciated Orlanda's love for fine jewelry and often lavished her with beautiful gifts — earrings, necklaces and rings.

“I have a big personality. And the jewelry matches that,” the widow told the National Post. “He took a lot of care to choose things that were different. He was a wonderful, wonderful man. He was just the other half of me.”



Lightfoot and Flack, who are originally from Sydney, Australia, traveled halfway around the world to establish new roots in Toronto. When Lightfoot's parents came to visit for the Labour Day holiday, the young couple chose a picturesque fishing village on Prince Edward Island as the perfect destination. In preparation for the visit, the young couple stopped in at a thrift store to pick up a board game. They ended up settling on the 1990s lateral-thinking puzzle game, MindTrap.



“We bring it back and start playing, and mum starts asking the questions. She goes to put the cards back in [the box] and she’s like, ‘What’s going on? They don’t fit,’” Lightfoot told Yahoo7 News. “She puts her hand in and finds a false bottom. She reaches in and pulls out a diamond ring and then another, and another and another. We are just standing there looking at each other. Is this for real?”

Lightfoot and Flack recently connected with the widow and are working out a plan to safely return the jewelry to her.

“I’ll never get him back,” Drebit said of her husband. “But getting back my engagement ring would mean a lot.”

Credits: Images via Facebook/mandy.flack1; Facebook.com/chris.lightfoot.148.
November 2nd, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you throwback tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In 1977, Don Williams topped the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs chart with "I'm Just a Country Boy," a sweet ballad about a young man who is in love with the prettiest girl in town.



She wears a bit of bling and he fears that she'll turn down his marriage proposal because he can't afford a "store-bought ring with a sparkling diamond stone." What he can give her is a loving heart and a country boy's deep appreciation of nature's treasures.

He sings, "I ain't gonna marry in the fall / I ain't gonna marry in the spring / 'Cause I'm in love with a pretty little girl / Who wears a diamond ring. / And I'm just a country boy / Money have I none / But I've got silver in the stars / Gold in the mornin' sun / Gold in the mornin' sun."

"I'm Just a Country Boy," which appeared as the first track on Williams' album, Country Boy, was originally recorded by Harry Belafonte in 1954. It was also covered by George McCurn, Ronnie Laine, Jimmie Rodgers, Jim Croce, Jimmy Witherspoon, Roger Whittaker, David Ball, John Holt, The Brothers Four and Bobby Vinton.

The song was written by Fred Hellerman and Marshall Barer. Hellerman, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 89, was best known as an original member of the American folk group The Weavers. He also produced Alice's Restaurant (1967) for Arlo Guthrie. Barer was a lyricist, librettist, singer, songwriter and director, but was most famous for composing the "Mighty Mouse" theme song. He died in 1998 at the age of 75.

Williams amassed 17 #1 country hits during his illustrious career. The singer's imposing stature, paired with a soft, smooth bass-baritone voice earned him the nickname the "Gentle Giant" of country music. In 2010, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Trivia: Williams appeared as himself and played a number of songs in Smokey and the Bandit II (1980).

The popular country star from Floydada, Texas, stopped touring in 2016 and passed away a year later at the age of 78.

Please check out the video of Williams performing "I'm Just A Country Boy." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"I'm Just A Country Boy"
Written by Marshall Barer and Fred Kellerman. Performed by Don Williams.

I ain't gonna marry in the fall
I ain't gonna marry in the spring
'Cause I'm in love with a pretty little girl
Who wears a diamond ring.

And I'm just a country boy
Money have I none
But I've got silver in the stars
Gold in the mornin' sun
Gold in the mornin' sun.

Never gonna kiss
The ruby red lips
Of the prettiest girl in town
Never gonna ask her if she'd
Marry me
I know she'd turn me down.

'Cause I'm just a country boy
Money have I none
But I've got silver in the stars
And gold in the mornin' sun
Gold in the mornin' sun.

I never could afford
A store-bought ring
With a sparkling diamond stone
All I could afford
Is a loving heart
The only one I own.

'Cause I'm just a country boy
Money have I none
But I've got silver in the stars
And gold in the mornin' sun
Gold in the mornin' sun...


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
November 1st, 2018
Three tiny moon rocks brought to the Earth by Soviet cosmonauts in 1970 are expected to fetch upwards of $1 million when they hit the auction block at Sotheby's New York on November 29. The specimens weigh approximately .07 carats combined, so their per-carat tally could reach a staggering $14.3 million.



By comparison, the highest price ever paid per-carat for a gemstone is $4.03 million. That record is held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine, a diamond that sold for $48.5 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November of 2015.

So, why are these minuscule moon rocks pegged to sell for seven figures? Because moon specimens available for private ownership are virtually nonexistent.

While NASA reportedly owns 842 pounds of lunar material retrieved from six Apollo missions dating between 1969 and 1972, the three moon rocks offered by Sotheby's — two measuring 2 mm, and the third just 1 mm — are the only samples on the planet currently possessed by a private individual.

The moon rocks were retrieved during the Soviet Luna-16 mission and subsequently gifted to the widow of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, the former “chief designer” and director of the Soviet space program. He is credited with heading up two monumental achievements — the launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, and the flight of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.

Nina Ivanovna Korolev first offered the moon rocks for sale at a Sotheby's auction in 1993. The pre-sale estimate was $30,000 to $50,000, but aggressive bidding pushed the final price to $442,500. Now, 25 years later, the samples are owned by an anonymous U.S. collector and Sotheby's has reset the pre-sale estimate to $700,000 to $1 million.



The lunar rocks are encased under glass below an adjustable viewing lens. The plaque is labeled in Russian and translates to "Soil Particles from Luna-16."

CNN reported that space objects have been a hot ticket at Sotheby's recently. A bag used by astronaut Neil Armstrong to collect lunar samples during the Apollo 11 mission fetched $1.8 million in 2017.

The moon rocks are part of a larger "Space Exploration" auction, which will include a NASA Gemini spacesuit and a Soviet LK-3 lunar lander model. Sotheby's New York will offer a public exhibition of the items, starting November 25.

Credit: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.
October 31st, 2018
On Monday, Gemfields unveiled "Inkalamu," a 5,655-carat Zambian emerald crystal with remarkable clarity and a perfectly balanced golden green hue. The carat weight is equivalent to 1.1 kg or 2.5 lbs.



Inkalamu, which means the "Lion Emerald" in the regional Bemba language, was discovered at the Kagem mine on October 2 by geologist Debapriya Rakshit and veteran emerald miner Richard Kapeta. It will be offered for sale at Gemfields' next auction, which will take place in Singapore in November. Forty-five approved auction partners will be vying for the extraordinary find.



“We expect a number of large, fine-quality cut emeralds to be borne of the Inkalamu crystal,” said Adrian Banks, Gemfields’ Managing Director for Product and Sales. “There might be hundreds of offcuts that are fashioned into smaller gems, cabochons and beads, but the key lies in recovering the fine-quality pieces. Given this emerald is such a rare find, it is also perfectly conceivable that the buyer will choose to purchase it as an investment.”

Gemfields noted that it is extremely difficult to predict what the selling price might be.

Despite its massive size, Inkalamu is not the largest crystal to be unearthed at the Kagem mine. In 2010, it yielded a 6,225-carat emerald that would take the name "Insofu," which is the Bemba word for "elephant."

Gemfields believes that Inkalamu will take its place among the world's most exceptional gemstones of all time, and if the crystal is divided into smaller stones, the "The Pride of Inkalamu," so to speak, will continue the legacy for generations to come.

The name Inkalamu honors the work carried out by two of Gemfields’ conservation partners, the Zambian Carnivore Programme and the Niassa Carnivore Project in Mozambique. Gemfields will divide 10% of Inkalamu’s auction proceeds equally between the two carnivore initiatives.

Kagem, the world's largest emerald mine, is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% owned by the Government of the Republic of Zambia.

Credits: Images courtesy of Gemfields.