Royal Fine Jewelers Blog

Royal Fine Jewelers Blog
December 11th, 2017
"Ultra Violet" is Pantone's 2018 Color of the Year and we're excited by the possibilities. While Pantone says the vibrant color communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking, we see the Color Institute's pick as a great reason to shine the spotlight on some of our favorite gemstones, including amethyst, tanzanite, iolite, spinel and violet sapphire.



We're expecting jewelry designers to pepper their 2018 lines with ultraviolet accessories to complement the arrival of ultraviolet fashions.



A fabulous representation of "Ultra Violet" is seen in the "Tiffany Amethyst Necklace," a piece that June Rosner and Russell Bilgore donated to the Smithsonian in 2007. The 56-carat square cushion-cut amethyst is set in an 18-karat yellow gold necklace designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, circa 1915.

Each year since 2000, the color experts at Pantone have picked a color that reflects the current cultural climate. Typically, Pantone’s selection influences the worlds of high fashion, beauty, housewares, home and industrial design and consumer packaging.

Pantone calls Ultra Violet a dramatically provocative and thoughtful shade of purple, suggesting the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead and the discoveries beyond where we are now. Pantone says Ultra Violet is nuanced and full of emotion. It's a color that symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world and push boundaries through creative outlets.

Among the musical icons who used shades of ultraviolet to express their individuality were Prince, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix, noted Pantone.

Ultra Violet also has a calmer, spiritual side. For example, purple-tone lighting has been used in meditation spaces because the color is said to have the ability to inspire connections. Ultraviolet is also said to offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today's overstimulated world.

“The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design," said Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute. "It’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today.”

The process of choosing the annual color takes about nine months, with Pantone’s trend watchers scanning the globe’s fashion runways and high-profile events for “proof points” until one color emerges as the clear winner.

A year ago, Pantone's Color of the Year was "Greenery," a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring.

In 2016, Pantone blended two shades — Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue — to create its 2016 Color of the Year. Together, the mineral pink and tranquil blue combined to communicate a sense of wellness and peacefulness, with a dash of gender equality.



Here are the most recent Pantone Colors of the Year…

PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery (2017)
PANTONE 13-1520 Rose Quartz (2016)
PANTONE 15-3919 Serenity (2016)
PANTONE 18-1438 Marsala (2015)
PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid (2014)
PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald (2013)
PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango (2012)
PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle (2011)
PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise (2010)

Credits: Color of the Year images courtesy of Pantone. Tiffany Amethyst Necklace image by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.
December 8th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you festive songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Ashanti tells jolly old St. Nick what she wants for Christmas in her 2003 holiday tune, "Hey Santa."



In the first verse, she asks for "something sweet," such as chocolate Kisses or candy canes. Then, Ashanti steps up her game in the second verse, as her request for "something new" includes a diamond bracelet or diamond ring.

(In a nod to the 1953 classic, "Santa Baby," Ashanti echos Eartha Kitt's call for a baby blue convertible.)

She sings, "Hey Santa, can you bring me something new / (Something new, something, something new)? / Like a diamond bracelet or a diamond ring / How about a shiny new, baby blue, convertible? / Hey Santa, can you bring me everything?"

Written by Ashanti and Irving Lorenzo, "Hey Santa" was released as the third track from Ashanti's Christmas. The album, which included an equal mix of original songs and covers of holiday classics, peaked at #43 on the Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop chart. Ashanti performed "Hey Santa" during the tree-lighting festivities at New York City's Rockefeller Center.

Born Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas in 1980, the singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer and actress is named after the 17th century Ashanti Empire, in what is now modern-day Ghana. In that kingdom, women held positions of power and influence, and Ashanti's mother believed the name might help inspire her daughter to achieve greatness.

That strategy seems to have worked to perfection, as Ashanti joined a gospel choir at the age of six and scored her first recording contract at the age of 14. The Glen Cove, N.Y., native won a Grammy Award in 2003 and went on to become the first female artist to occupy the top two positions on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart simultaneously with "Always on Time" and "What's Luv?" She has also nabbed eight Billboard Music Awards and two American Music Awards.

Please check out the audio track of Ashanti singing "Hey Santa." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Hey Santa"
Written by Ashanti Douglas and Irving Lorenzo. Performed by Ashanti.

Hey Santa, can you bring me something good
(Something good, something good)?
Hey Santa, can you bring me something sweet
(Something sweet, something, something sweet)?
Like chocolate kisses or candy canes.
Gumdrops or butterscotch, fruity flavor, chewy rings.

Hey Santa, can you bring me something nice
(Something nice, something nice)?
Hey Santa, can you bring me something new
(Something new, something, something new)?
Like a diamond bracelet or a diamond ring.
How about a shiny new, baby blue, convertible?
Hey Santa, can you bring me everything?

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh?

Hey Santa, can I sing this song to you
(Sing to you, sing to you)?
Hey Santa, can you make my wish come true
(Make it true, make it, make it true)?
Can you fill my stocking with lots of treats?
Boxes with red and green, underneath the Christmas tree?
Hey Santa, can you bring me everything?


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.
December 7th, 2017
Beatles superfan Saya and boyfriend Martin saw their dreams come true Saturday night when music legend Paul McCartney invited them onstage in the Land Down Under for a very special marriage proposal.



More than 24,000 fans at the sold-out "nib Stadium" in Perth, Australia, shared the love as McCartney interrupted his encore to focus on the young couple and the romantic task at hand.

McCartney had spotted the lovebirds in the crowd earlier in his performance. Martin had been holding up a large placard that read, "Can I Propose To My Love On Stage?" and Saya held a brightly colored sign that read, "I'll Give Him the Answer to Love Eternally If I Can Meet You, Paul."

McCartney was happy to oblige and invited the couple onstage. With all the action captured in realtime on the stadium's giant video screens, McCartney chatted briefly with Saya, learning that she was originally from Japan, but now living in Perth. She told McCartney that she liked the city because of the friendly people and the nice weather.

Then McCartney brought Martin into the spotlight, joking, "Are you going to do this thing? You got a ring?"

Once McCartney had confirmed that Martin had the ring box in hand, he instructed the young suitor to "tell her on your knee."



"I know now that I have the world's biggest Beatles fan and it would do me an honor, Saya, if you would take my hand in marriage. Will you marry me?" he said.

"Yes," Saya answered, and the crowd screamed their approval.



McCartney called the couple over for a three-way hug and then signed Saya's jacket.

At 75 years old and still going strong, McCartney proved once again that "all you need is love."

The complete scene was captured by a concertgoer and posted to YouTube. The proposal takes place during the first three minutes of the video.


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.
December 6th, 2017
A 5.69-carat fancy vivid blue diamond fetched $15.1 million at Sotheby's New York yesterday, making it the top lot of the day and advancing the narrative that aficionados are eager to pay top dollar for blue diamonds that carry the ultra-rare "fancy vivid" classification.



The hammer price, which is equivalent to $2.66 million per carat, came in slightly above the pre-sale high estimate of $15 million.

The emerald-cut gem, which is set in a platinum ring and flanked by two baguette-shaped diamonds, has a VVS1 clarity grade. The auction house pointed out that the stone — if recut — has the potential to be internally flawless.

"Fancy Vivid" is the ultimate color classification for blue diamonds. Those that display lower levels of color saturation may be rated "Fancy Intense," "Fancy," "Fancy Light" or "Light," according to the Gemological Institute of America. Blue diamonds owe their color to the presence of boron in the chemical makeup of the gem.

Back in May of this year, the “Oppenheimer Blue” — a 14.62-carat fancy vivid blue diamond — fetched an astounding $57.5 million at Christie’s Geneva. The Oppenheimer Blue’s per-carat price of $3.93 million came up just shy of the record of $4.03 million held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine, another magnificent blue diamond that sold for $48.5 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November of 2015.



A second highlight of yesterday's Sotheby's auction was a sapphire-and-diamond bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels. The piece carried a pre-sale estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million, but eventually yielded $3.16 million — more than double the high estimate. Designed circa 1935, the bracelet has five sugarloaf Ceylon cabochon sapphires weighing approximately 193.73 carats.

Among the disappointing lots were two that failed to meet Sotheby's reserve price and remained unsold. One was a 110.92-carat round diamond, which had been touted as the largest round diamond to be offered at auction. The diamond boasted a VS1 clarity, but an L color (faint brown). Another high-profile, unsold lot was a 5.24-carat, fancy intense orangy-pink diamond that was expected to sell in the range of $1.8 million to $2.2 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby’s.
December 5th, 2017
Who knew gold was a flavor? On Friday, Hershey's Gold — a candy bar crafted from caramelized creme and packed with peanuts and pretzels — started hitting shelves at supermarkets and sweet shops from coast to coast.



"Gold" is only the fourth flavor profile in the 123-year history of the iconic brand, which first delighted consumers with its milk chocolate confection in 1900. Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate was introduced in 1939 and Cookies ‘n Creme came along in 1995.

What's particularly interesting about Hershey's first new flavor in 22 years is that it contains no chocolate at all.

“The buttery, sweet taste of Hershey’s Gold bars provides an entirely new way for consumers to enjoy our brand,” said Melinda Lewis, senior director and general manager at The Hershey Company. “We use a proprietary cooking process to transform the white creme into a golden bar by caramelizing the creme, which helps maintain a sweet, creamy taste. The launch of Hershey’s Gold will introduce Americans to a new flavor and a new experience unlike any others before.”



The introduction of Hershey's gold-themed bar is perfectly timed to align with the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Hershey's is an official sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee and has lined up high-profile brand ambassadors, including speedskater Apolo Ohno, gymnast Simone Biles and Paralympian Rico Roman.

Describing the bar's taste on NBC's Today show, Ohno stated, "It's perfect. We all we want to be able to get a bite of gold."



Whenever Team USA wins a gold medal, the brand will be posting a coupon on social media that could result in a free Hershey's Gold bar.

The Hershey Company noted that the development of the new bar was driven by the changing tastes of a demanding consumer base. Trends show the rising popularity of crunchy multi-textured candy. With Hershey’s Gold bars, the company recognized that consumers favor a complex combination of ingredients, which led to the unique variation of sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy.

The new flavor is available in both standard and king-sized bars.

Credits: Images courtesy of Hershey's.
December 4th, 2017
A juicy hamburger served at the Gnarly Gar floating restaurant on Lake Travis in Texas nearly cost Hannah Austin her engagement ring last Sunday. The Colorado Springs native was enjoying a casual lunch with her family at the open-air eatery near Austin when she took off her "priceless" family heirloom and rested it on the table so it wouldn't get messy.



A moment later the unthinkable happened. Her husband, Chris, accidentally knocked the ring off the table and it disappeared through a gap in the decking.

When staffers of the Gnarly Gar removed a few planks to get a better view of where the ring may have landed, they realized that it narrowly missed the dock below and, instead, plopped directly into the lake.

“I was terrified and felt stupid for taking my ring off over a lake,” Hannah Austin told the Austin American-Statesman.

She added that the ring was "priceless" and "irreplaceable" because it was custom made with diamonds from her mother’s wedding ring and her great-grandmother’s engagement ring.

Restaurant staffers recommended that the Austins enlist the help of Robert Weiss, owner of Lake Travis Scuba. Just this year, Weiss and his team have recovered more than $100,000 worth of lost items, including pricey cell phones, sunglasses and jewelry.

When Weiss arrived on the scene, his first task was to drop a weighted line through the decking and into the lake. Because the ring is a solid, relatively heavy object, it should have descended straight to the bottom. Weiss dove into the lake and followed the line about 60 feet before it got so dark that he needed to use his search light. At this point, his visibility was only about five feet.

Weiss touched bottom at exactly 74 feet and started a search in ever-widening circles around the downline marker.



“On my third pass I saw something sitting in the mud and I reached in, and there it was,” he told the Austin American-Statesman.

It took him only 10 minutes to find the ring.



The astounding video, below, shows underwater footage of Weiss' impressive discovery, as well as his slow ascent to the surface, where he reunites the ring with an overwhelmed Hannah Austin.



"Hannah was overjoyed to be reunited with her wedding ring," Weiss said. "She fell to her knees crying."

“I thought there was a 90 percent chance it had got eaten by a fish or just drifted away,” said Hannah Austin.

“It was kind of like this miracle moment,” added Chris Austin.



The Austins of Colorado now have a wild story to tell about their trip to Lake Travis, which happens to be 22 miles from the capital city of Austin.

Hannah Austin also told local NBC-affiliate KXAN that she will never remove her engagement ring again, no matter how messy her meal gets.


Credits: Images courtesy of Robert Weiss, Lake Travis Scuba.
December 1st, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country star Aaron Watson pens a love letter to his little girl in "Diamonds and Daughters."



Released in February of 2017 as the 16th track from his Vaquero album, "Diamonds and Daughters" is a sentimental, "makes-you-wanna-cry" tune that's already breaking into wedding day playlists across the country. Using precious symbols, Watson pledges his life-long devotion to the daughter who had him crying like a baby the moment he first saw her face. He knows he'll cry again when he walks her down the aisle.

He sings, "I found fortune like diamonds / In the love of a daughter / Worth more than all the gold in the world / And they say that a son / Is the pride of a father / But my heart belongs to my little girl."

Watson revealed that he wrote "Diamonds and Daughters" after scoring an earlier hit with "The Underdog" — a song inspired by his sons.

"When [my daughter] found out that her brothers got a song and she didn't, she was not happy with me," Watson told The Boot. "Even though I wrote that for Jolee Kate, I wanted all daughters... to hear that song and just know that they're special."

Vaquero, which is Watson's 13th album, was a commercial success, topping out at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Country chart.

When his album The Underdog reached #1 on the Billboard Country chart in 2015, Watson became the first solo male artist to accomplish that feat with a self-released, independently distributed and promoted studio project.

Born in Amarillo, Texas, the 40-year-old Watson is proud of his slow and steady climb to national success.

"I'm independent not because I'm not good enough," he said. "I'm independent because I'm unwilling to sell out on my music or my fans... I'm independent by choice."

Please check out the audio track of Watson singing "Diamonds and Daughters," and be sure to have a few tissues on hand — just in case you start to tear up...

"Diamonds and Daughters"
Written and performed by Aaron Watson.

First moment I saw your face
I was moved by amazing grace
And I cried like a baby
Just like I'll do walking you down the aisle
I found fortune like diamonds
In the love of a daughter
Worth more than all the gold in the world
And they say that a son
Is the pride of a father
But my heart belongs to my little girl

Diamonds and daughters
Precious and few
Diamonds and daughters
Timeless and true
Don't you ever forget that your heart is divine
You belong to the one who made you sparkle and shine
Diamonds and daughters

And I'll be there for you
Every step of the way
From your very first breath
Until my dying day
And the women I see
In that white wedding gown
Is just my little girl
Saying daddy won't you spin me around

Diamonds and daughters
Precious and few
Diamonds and daughters
Timeless and true
Don't you ever forget that your heart is divine
You belong to the one who made you sparkle and shine
Diamonds and daughters

Diamonds and daughters
Precious and few
Diamonds and daughters
Timeless and true
Don't you ever forget that your heart is divine
You belong to the one who made you sparkle and shine
Diamonds and daughters

First moment I saw your face
I was moved by amazing grace


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com
November 30th, 2017
Two weeks ago, New York City crane operators carefully maneuvered the iconic 550-pound Swarovski Star onto the top of a 75-foot-tall Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Set with 25,000 crystals and gleaming with one million reflective facets, the 9.5-foot-wide stunner has been the "star" of the tree-lighting celebration since 2004.



Each year, the star is welcomed to the Rockefeller Center site by a celebrity guest. On November 16, British actress Naomie Harris joined NBC host Carson Daly to share impressive facts about the star with viewers of the Today Show before it was lifted skyward against the backdrop of the scaffolded Christmas tree.



Last night, the tree came to life during a gala celebration that officially kicked off the holiday season in The Big Apple. The event, which was headlined by chart-topping "Hollaback Girl" Gwen Stefani, was witnessed live by thousands of chilly tourists and aired on NBC to millions more from coast to coast.



The star, which has six outer rays and six smaller inner rays, glows at night with 720 energy-efficient LED bulbs that are programmed to give the appearance of the star radiating light from its core to its tips.



According to Swarovski, the main surfaces of the rays are made of point-mounted safety glass, which is the same shatterproof glass that adorns the facades of New York City buildings. The crystals are affixed to the inner sides of the glass in a tight, scale-like pattern to ensure maximum brilliance. The crystal panels weigh a total of 300 pounds.

Building, testing and programming the star took a team of nine Swarovski artisans 1,200 hours to complete. Among their challenges was coming up with a design that could withstand the windy, winter weather conditions high above Rockefeller Center.



This year's tree is an 80-year-old Norway spruce from State College, Pa. In addition to the famous treetopper, the tree is decorated with 50,000 LED lights. It will be lit each evening through January 7, after which the tree will be milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity.

Rockefeller Center officially began the tree-lighting ceremony in 1933, when a Christmas tree was erected in front of the then-RCA Building and covered with 700 lights.

Last night's tree-lighting celebration featured performances by Stefani, Brett Eldredge, Leslie Odom Jr., Pentatonix, Jennifer Nettles and The Tenors.

Credits: Swarovski Star and Today Show screen captures via YouTube.com. Rockefeller Center image by Gabriel Rodríguez from Sevilla, Spain [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
November 29th, 2017
Described by its auctioneer as the "Picasso of the pink diamond world," the 14.93-carat "Pink Promise" set a record yesterday when it fetched $31.9 million at Christie's Hong Kong. The $2.13 million per-carat selling price was the highest ever paid for a pink diamond larger than 10 carats.



The oval-shaped pink diamond — which had been trimmed down from 16.10 carats to improve its visual intensity and value — boasts the ultra-rare color grade of Fancy Vivid, near-perfect VVS1 clarity and Type IIa purity, the finest of all diamond types.

After an exciting three-minute bidding process, auction watchers learned that The Pink Promise had narrowly missed the world record per-carat price for a pink diamond of any size. In 2009, Christie’s Hong Kong had sold a 5-carat Fancy Vivid pink, cushion-cut diamond for $2.15 million per carat.

The 16.10-carat pink diamond that would become "The Pink Promise" had been graded Fancy Intense pink (a grade lower than Fancy Vivid pink), and was visibly "washed out" in some areas, according to Silicon Valley-based haute jeweler Stephen Silver, who had purchased the stone in 2013.

Working with a master gem cutter for three years, Silver plotted a way to recut the gem to achieve its ultimate color potential. It was a risky move, because millions of dollars in carat weight would be trimmed away and there was no guarantee that the stone would earn a higher color grade.

The gamble paid off as the Gemological Institute of America affirmed that the new, improved Pink Promise would have the highest possible color grade of Fancy Vivid pink — boosting the value of the diamond dramatically.

"The work we did on this particular diamond was the most challenging recut in which I have been involved, due to the technical difficulty and large financial risk," Silver said. "It is a privilege, however, to work with a world-class team and have my name associated with one of the world's great gemstones."

Christie's had estimated that The Pink Promise, which is set in a platinum ring and surrounded by smaller white diamonds, would sell in the range of $28 million to $42 million.

Credit: Image courtesy of Stephen Silver.
November 28th, 2017
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially announced their engagement at Kensington Palace on Monday afternoon. In a subsequent interview with the BBC, the couple explained that the three-stone diamond engagement ring designed by Harry himself has a special connection with his late mother, Princess Diana.



"The main stone is from Botswana," said Prince Harry, "and the little diamonds on either side are from my mother's jewelry collection — to make sure she's with us on this crazy journey together."

Added Markle, "It's beautiful and he designed it. It's incredible."



The 33-year-old prince said that he chose to have the diamonds set in yellow gold, "because that's [Markle's] favorite." The ring was fabricated by Cleave and Company, official jewelers to Queen Elizabeth II.

The two smaller diamonds were once part of a brooch worn by Princess Diana, who tragically died in 1997 at the age of 36.

The larger center stone was sourced from Botswana because the couple enjoyed their time there in August.

“I think everything about Harry’s thoughtfulness and the inclusion of [Princess Diana’s stones] and obviously not being able to meet his mom, it’s so important to me to know that she’s a part of this with us,” Markle told the BBC. “It’s incredibly special to be able to have this [ring] which sort of links where [Harry comes] from and Botswana, which is important to us. It's perfect.”

Prince Harry joked, "Make sure it stays on that finger.”

The couple revealed that Prince Harry's marriage proposal took Markle by surprise a few weeks ago at the prince's family cottage. They were roasting a chicken during a cozy evening together, and then he went down on one knee. Markle said she had barely let him finish his proposal and she was already saying "Yes."

Born in Los Angeles, the 36-year-old Markle is an actress, model and humanitarian. She best known for her portrayal of Rachel Zane on the USA Network legal drama series Suits.

The couple had met through mutual friends in the summer of 2016. The royal wedding is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2018.

Exactly seven years ago, royal sibling Prince William popped the question to Kate Middleton using the 12-carat Ceylon sapphire engagement ring that was originally worn by Princess Diana. Prince William and Middleton tied the knot in 2011.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/CNN.