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6 posts from September 2017

Graff Pays $53M for 1,109-Carat Rough Diamond

Lesedi-la-Rona-(2)New York--Almost exactly two years after its discovery, Lucara Diamond Corp. has found a buyer for the “Lesedi La Rona,” the 1,109-carat rough diamond unearthed at its mine in Botswana.

The mining company announced late Monday that Graff Diamonds, the London-headquartered company headed by billionaire diamantaire Laurence Graff (no relation to the author), has paid $53 million for the tennis ball-sized stone.

That works out to $47,777 per carat and is $17 million less than what Lucara originally aimed to get for the diamond when it put it up for auction in June 2016, though Lucara President and CEO William Lamb noted that $53 million is more than the highest bid received at the auction.

In the news release issued Monday, Graff called the purchase of Lesedi La Rona a “momentous day” in his career.

“We are thrilled and honored to become the new custodians of this incredible diamond. 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. This is a momentous day in my career, and I am privileged to be given the opportunity to honor the magnificent natural beauty of Lesedi La Rona,” he said.

Graff Diamonds already owns a 373.72-carat chunk that broke off the Lesedi La Rona. The company paid $17.5 million for that rough diamond ($46,827 per carat) at Lucara’s exceptional stone tender held in May.
Lucara recovered the Lesedi La Rona, a Type IIa diamond that actually totaled 1,111 carats before cleaning, at its Karowe mine in Botswana in November 2015.

The citizens of Botswana participated in a naming contest after the diamond was found. Its name means “our light” in Setswana.

Lesedi La Rona is the second largest rough diamond ever found, topped only by the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond unearthed in South Africa in January 1905.

On Monday, Lamb called the discovery of the stone a “company-defining event” for Lucara and said: “We took our time to find a buyer who would take the diamond through its next stage of evolution. Graff Diamonds is now the owner of the Lesedi La Rona as well as the 373-carat diamond … We are excited to follow these diamonds through the next stage of their journey.”


Inspect Your Jewelry | Diamond Source of Virginia

Magnifying glass with lightYour jewelry can get damaged when worn so take a close look at it after you clean it. A magnifying glass or 10x loupe will let you see issues well before they become a serious problem.

Are the earrings, necklaces, and bracelet clasps secure? These are typically the least durable part of those types of jewelry and because they have moving parts are subjected to considerable force with your fingers.

Are the stones tight?  If they wiggle under the prongs, get the prong tightened before the stones come loose.  Often you can hear a loose bigger stone rattle by shaking your hand before you even see it is loose.

Is the ring shank still round or is it bent?

  • If the ring shank has small diamonds on it, a bend can cause them to come loose. Rings are round when new but forces are applied they can get more oval shape, something not easily visible when on the finger.
  • Bent ringIf metal continually gets bent, it can weaken and break. Gold, silver and platinum are the most commonly used jewelry metals. These metals are malleable (ability to bend or be shaped), but repeated or very strong forces can result in bending and ultimately breaking.
  • If a ring has been resized, the bottom of the shank has been soldered making it more likely to break. Once the bottom of the shank breaks, the rest of the shank and any small diamonds on the shank are prone to damage.

Is the metal scratched?

  • Beware of rings worn together that can scratch each other, especially if they have diamonds close to the edges.
  • Polishing-clothMinor scratches on the metal can be polished. At home, you can use a polishing cloth to remove minor scratches and return the shine. For more visible scratches, a jeweler or repair shop can provide professional polishing. The problem with too frequent polishing is that the process removing a tiny layer off the surface of the metal.
  • White metals like 14-karat, 18-karat gold, and even platinum can be rhodium plated for a smoother, whiter, shinier, and harder surface. Rhodium is a precious metal, a member of the platinum family. Rhodium electroplating is used, especially on jewelry, to provide a surface that will resist scratches and tarnish, and give a white, reflective appearance. Rhodium plating is most often found on white gold. The plating can be done with diamonds set, lasts 2-5 years depending on wear, and the price is typically about $60 or more depending on the item and jeweler.


Store Jewelry Safely | Diamond Source of Virginia

Remember that diamonds can scratch other materials, even diamonds.

  • Jewelry storage boxDo not put diamond jewelry items together where they might scratch each other.
  • Soft stones like pearls, opals and emeralds can easily be scratched if mixed with other jewelry.
  • Keep your precious pieces in a fabric-lined jewel case, or a box with compartments or dividers. If you prefer to use ordinary boxes, wrap each piece individually in tissue paper.
  • Do not store pearls in plastic bags since this will dull their surface.

Never trust putting jewelry in your pockets. Even pockets with zippers can be susceptible to opening or have a hole in the bottom.

Don’t leave your ring on the rim of a sink when you remove it to wash your hands. It can easily slip down the drain.

Pottery-Barn-Jewelry-storageWhen not wearing jewelry, put it in a secure place, such as a home safe or safe-deposit box. Jewelry boxes and dresser drawers, as well as almost any other spot in bedrooms, are probably the first places a thief will look for your valuables.

Be careful of your hiding place if others in your house are not aware of it. Hiding jewelry in the refrigerator is not a wise idea if someone mistakenly throws out that container.


Nearly 28-Carat Pink Diamond Found in Russia

Alrosa-27.85 carat pinkMoscow--Alrosa reported this week that subsidiary Almazy Anabara has recovered what is by far the largest pink diamond in company history.

Weighing 27.85 carats, the rough diamond has dimensions of 22.47 x 15.69 x 10.9 mm, and is described by the company as being “of gem-quality and almost free of inclusions.”

Prior to this find, Alrosa said the biggest pink diamond it had ever recovered was 3.86 carats. That too was discovered by Almazy Anabara, which recovers pink and other natural color diamonds at the Severalmaz kimberlite pipes and placer deposits.

Apart from that stone, which was found in 2012, Alrosa has found only three pink diamonds weighing more than 2 carats over the last eight years.

This week’s news of the recovery of a nearly 28-carat high-quality pink follows the company’s August unveiling of the five polished diamonds it cut from a colorless 179-carat piece of rough it found in 2015 and dubbed “The Romanovs” diamond.

The largest of the stones is a 51.38-carat round brilliant, D color, VVS1 clarity diamond with triple excellent cut. Called “The Dynasty,” it is the biggest stone of this quality ever cut by the company.

Commenting on The Dynasty, Alrosa said: “This stone gives a start to a new stage in the development of Alrosa’s cutting division that will actively develop polishing of extra-large and colored diamonds. The Dynasty demonstrated that we can do it at the highest level.”

But whether the company will apply these cutting skills to the newly discovered pink diamond remains to be seen.

In a news release issued Thursday, Evgeny Agureev, the head of USO (United Selling Organization) Alrosa, said the company’s polishing division is examining the diamond in order to decide whether to cut it or sell it rough.

“Large stones, particularly colored, are always in demand at auctions. But if the company decided to cut it, it would become the most expensive diamond in the entire history of Alrosa,” he said.


Clean Your Jewelry | Diamond Source of Virginia

Learn the proper cleaning process for each jewelry item since different gemstones and metals have different characteristics.

  • Metal and stones used in costume jewelry are generally not as durable as most fine jewelry.
  • When in question about a particular type of gemstone or metal type, a quick online search for cleaning that item online will probably provide the specific guidance you need.
  • Ultrasonic cleanerA home ultrasonic cleaner can be used for diamond, ruby, sapphire, citrine, blue topaz, peridot, aquamarine, garnet, and amethyst.
  • A home ultrasonic cleaner or harsh abrasive cleaner should not be used for pearl, opal, emerald, tourmaline, Tanzanite, turquoise, amber coral or onyx.
  • Metal watch bands can be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner but be careful not to put the watch mechanism under water even if says it is water resistant.

Hand creamAvoid touching cleaned diamonds with your fingers as the oil from your skin can cloud the stones. This is especially true if you have hand cream or moisturizer on your hands. Oil and hair products can also coat diamond earrings so they should be cleaned regularly to stay bright and sparkly.

Beware that some do-it-yourself remedies like witch hazel, bleach, vinegar, and baking soda can damage your jewelry

Red, white or blue jewelry (rubies, diamonds, sapphires) with gold or platinum metals are relatively durable for cleaning.

The best homemade jewelry cleaning solution is a mixture of a few drops of Dawn dish detergent in warm water. Soap the jewelry item in the solution for a few minutes and then brush with a soft tooth brush, rinse in clean warm water, then dry with paper towel or lint-free clean cloth.

Jewelry cleaner kitYou can also buy one of the brand-name liquid jewelry cleaners online or in most department stores, which usually include a container of cleaner, a basket to soak the ring in and a small brush to clean hard to get at areas. Read the label and follow its instructions.

Frequent cleaning with a soapy solution and soft brush will ensure oils, creams, food, and other dirt does not build up and harden. Keep the container of cleane


Know When Not to Wear Jewelry | Diamond Source of Virginia

Regardless of the materials used in your jewelry, it is delicate.  Knowing when not to wear jewelry is a key element for taking care of your jewelry.

  • Exercise equipment-smAvoid jewelry when playing sports and gym workouts. We are seeing many bent rings that are the result of being worn while using exercise equipment like weight machines, treadmills, or stationary bikes.
  • Avoid jewelry when working in the garden. Working with bare hands means rings are exposed to dirt and chemicals. Working with gloves can coat the ring with the materials inside the gloves and contact with tools.
  • Avoid jewelry when cleaning home. Cleaning chemicals can have adverse effects on jewelry. Polishing furniture with spray wax means your ring is getting waxed too. Operating vacuum cleaners, carrying buckets, and dusting will have your ring getting dirty and abuse.
  • No-swimmingAvoid jewelry when in water with chlorine (hot tubs, swimming). While some gemstones like diamonds can withstand some chlorine, the metal holding those gemstones can become corroded and too weak to hold the stones.
  • Wait to put on jewelry after make-up, hair spray, hair products, hand cream and perfume which can damage or form a coating on jewelry
  • Dish-washing2Diamonds naturally attract grease. When you put your hand and ring in dishwater, the oils, food, and other materials are going to collect on the ring. Doing dishes also means your hands are encountering hard services like the sink, counter tops and pots & pans.

Think before you wear jewelry and you will avoid many of the problems that can damage or dull your jewelry.