Hot Rocks From Humes Jewelers
January 20th, 2021
With the fate of the rescheduled Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in serious jeopardy due to a surge of coronavirus cases in Japan, there's a very real possibility that all the work that went into designing the medals and procuring the recycled precious metal to create them may have been in vain.

The 2020 Summer Olympics were originally slated to begin on July 24, 2020, but those plans were scrapped due to the worldwide pandemic. The organizers reset the opening ceremonies for July 23, 2021, anticipating that COVID-19 infection rates would be low enough a year later to allow for large gatherings. It was the first time in history that the Games had been postponed.

But the risks have only gotten worse. Earlier this month, a new state of emergency was declared in several areas in Japan, including the Olympic and Paralympic host city of Tokyo. A recent survey of Japanese citizens showed that 77% believe the Games should be cancelled or postponed.

The Games came with a price tag of $12.35 billion, but beyond the possible loss in revenue are the squandered efforts related to the precious medals that would have been awarded to the 5,000 Olympic competitors.

In 2017, the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project was established to encourage Japanese citizens to donate their used mobile phones, digital cameras, laptops and games units so they could be harvested for the small amounts of precious metals they contained. The goals was to produce the first Olympic medals fabricated 100% from recycled material.

By the end of March 2019, the collection goal had been achieved. Nearly 80,000 tons of devices were collected, yielding 32kg of gold, 3,500kg of silver and 2,200kg of bronze. The donations included 6.21 million devices.

Despite being a country with virtually no precious metal mining, Japan’s discarded small consumer electronics is believed to contain the equivalent of 16% of the world’s gold reserves and 22% of the world’s silver reserves.

If the Games are cancelled, the beautifully designed medals by Junichi Kawanishi may not see the light of day.

The front of the 2020 medal depicts Nike, the mythical Greek goddess of victory, standing in front of the Panathinaikos Stadium. The back features a raised, pebble-like center, reflective Olympic rings, and a checkered Tokyo 2020 “ichimatsu moyo” emblem inside a swirl design. Kawanishi designed the medals to resemble rough stones that have been newly polished, and now “shine with light and brilliance.”

Olympic gold medals, in general, are made mostly of silver, containing just six grams of pure gold. The silver medals are pure silver. The bronze medals are made from gunmetal, a corrosion-resistant form of bronze that contains zinc. Olympic gold medals were once made of solid gold, with the last ones awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, back in 1912.

Credits: Images courtesy of Tokyo 2020.  
January 19th, 2021
Some time long ago, your elementary school teacher introduced you to "homophones," those fun words — such as so, sew and sow — that sound alike, but have very different meanings.

Which brings us to today's quiz: Can you identify all four words in the English language that are pronounced "keh·ruht"?

Here's a hint: Each has a unique spelling and two are distinctively jewelry related.

If you're having trouble naming all four, or would like to know more about all things "keh·ruht," please check out the explanation below…

• car·rot. A favorite of Bugs Bunny and any chef worth his salt and pepper, a carrot is a long, tapered orange-colored root eaten as a vegetable. Carrots are know to be a good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium and antioxidants. The delicious, diet-friendly vegetable is also associated with good eye health and low cholesterol levels. Carrots cook up well in soups and can be eaten raw in salads or as a snack.

• car·et. Many people don't know that the inverted V-shaped symbol sitting above the "6" on most keyboards is called a "caret." The symbol is used in proofreading and typography to indicate that a punctuation mark, word or phrase needs to be inserted at a specific point in the text.

• car·at. A tiny unit of weight designed to measure gemstones or pearls, a "carat" is equivalent to 200 mg (or 0.2 grams). Each carat may be divided into 100 points. A one-quarter carat diamond could be referred to as a 25 pointer and gems larger than 1 carat will be described as a whole number and decimal. For example, "the ring featured a 1.25-carat center stone." The Lucara-sourced rough diamond shown here weighs 341 carats, or 2.40 ounces.

The word "carat" stems from the Italian word, "carato," which was borrowed from the Greek word for "carob seed" — an Ancient standard for measuring small quantities. The current standard for what a "carat" represents was adopted in 1907 at the Fourth General Conference on Weights and Measures. Before 1907, the value of a carat ranged widely, from 187 mg in Cyprus to 215 mg in Bucharest.

• kar·at. Used to describe the fineness of gold, a "karat" measures the parts per 24. For instance, 24-karat gold is absolutely pure — 100% gold with no alloy metals included. Pure gold, however, is not used for making jewelry because of its softness.

Instead, most gold jewelry seen in fine jewelry stores is represented as 14-karat or 18-karat. Fourteen-karat gold is the equivalent to 14/24ths, or 58.33%, pure gold. Eighteen-karat gold is 18/24ths, or 75%, pure gold. Jewelry manufacturers will commonly add metals, such as zinc, nickel, silver and copper, to make the alloy more durable. The other metals also can be used to change the metal's color. A greater portion of copper, for instance, would produce rose gold.

Credits: 341-carat diamond courtesy of Lucara. Gold nugget from Kalgoorlie-Boulder in Australia by Marie-Lan Taÿ Pamart, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Carrots by Kander, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. Caret symbol, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
January 18th, 2021
With the help of 320-pound offensive guard Elgton Jenkins, Green Bay Packers star running back Aaron Jones showed the world a very special piece of jewelry he was wearing under his #33 jersey during his team's 32-18 thumping of the Los Angeles Rams in Saturday's divisional-round playoff game.

On the very first play of the third quarter, Aaron Rodgers handed off to Jones, who busted through the middle of the line and scampered 60 yards to the Rams' 15 yard line. Two plays later, the man they call "Showtyme" plunged one yard into the end zone, giving the Packers a 25-10 lead.

As he celebrated the touchdown, the elated four-year veteran attempted to dig into the neckline of his jersey, but was having trouble getting a grip on the jewelry underneath because his gloves were too bulky. Fortunately, Jenkins — the 6' 5" lineman — knew exactly what to do.

In a quick seven-second sequence, Fox TV cameras caught the moment when Jenkins successfully pulled out a diamond-and-emerald encrusted necklace featuring the Packers' iconic "G" logo.

The spectacle caught the attention of Emmy Award-winning TV and radio personality, Bryant McFadden, who mentioned the celebration and the jewelry while hosting a post-game analysis for CBS Sports HQ, the network's streaming video sports channel.

"He scores a lot of touchdowns, man, and he also has a lot of cool jewelry," said McFadden. "That's awesome…that little Green Bay [logo] in diamonds. I couldn't rock it, but he can."

Jones shared the Fox video clip on his Instagram Story while giving a shoutout to Jenkins and the jewelry firm that designed his necklace. He wrote, "My bro @elgton74 had to pull it out for me! @shopgld"

@shopgld is the Instagram handle for GLD, a Miami-based jewelry firm that specializes in over-the-top, diamond designs for celebrities and sports stars. A sample of the Packers' logo design is shown on the company's website.

GLD shared the Fox celebration clip on its Instagram page along with this caption, "Shout out to the legend @showtyme_33.. Yea you see that packers chain baby. Every TD it’s coming out."

Aaron Rodgers and the top-seeded Green Bay Packers will take on Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in pursuit of a Super Bowl title.

We're guessing that Jones's Green Bay bling will be making a few more cameos along the way.

See Jones's touchdown run and end zone celebration, below. The sequence starts at the 18:30 mark.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube / CBS Sports HQ; Pendant photo via Instagram / Shopgld.
January 15th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great, new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, Taylor Swift compares an elusive lover to a championship ring in "Willow," the chart-topping lead single from her 2020 album, Evermore.

Written by Swift and Aaron Dessner, "Willow" follows the magical and mysterious journey of a young woman who does everything in her power to win over the man of her dreams.

She sings, "Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind / Head on the pillow, I could feel you sneaking in / As if you were a mythical thing / Like you were a trophy or a champion ring / There was one prize I'd cheat to win."

In the song's official video, Swift's character follows a glowing, golden string that lures her into the back of a magical piano, down a rabbit hole, through time portals and eventually to her lover. The "Willow" video follows the storyline from an earlier video for "Cardigan."

In an interview with Apple Music, Swift explained why she wanted "Willow" to lead off her ninth studio album.

"I loved the feeling I got immediately upon hearing the instrumental that Aaron created for it," she said. "It felt strangely, I say, witchy. And I stand by that. It felt like somebody making a love potion, dreaming up the person they desire and trying to figure out how to get that person in their life."

Many fans and critics believe Swift's fictional narrative in "Willow" parallels her own life experience. They believe the song really tells the story about how she won the heart of British actor Joe Alwyn.

"Willow" made its debut at the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, scoring Swift her seventh #1 single, and the third that entered the chart at #1.

Born in Wyomissing, Pa., Swift was not an average schoolgirl. By the time she was 11, Swift was already performing regularly at karaoke contests, festivals and fairs near her home in Berks County. When she was 14, her parents moved the family to Nashville, where Swift would be better positioned to pursue a career in country music. At the age of 17, Swift was topping the country charts.

Now 31, Swift is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 200 million records worldwide. She has won 10 Grammy Awards, one Emmy, 23 Billboard Music Awards and 32 American Music Awards. In December of 2019, Billboard named her Woman of the Decade (2010s).

Please check out the official video of Swift performing "Willow." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

Written by Taylor Swift and Aaron Dessner. Performed by Taylor Swift.

I'm like the water when your ship rolled in that night
Rough on the surface but you cut through like a knife
And if it was an open/shut case
I never would've known from that look on your face
Lost in your current like a priceless wine

The more that you say, the less I know
Wherever you stray, I follow
I'm begging for you to take my hand
Wreck my plans, that's my man

Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind
Head on the pillow, I could feel you sneaking in
As if you were a mythical thing
Like you were a trophy or a champion ring
There was one prize I'd cheat to win

The more that you say, the less I know
Wherever you stray, I follow
I'm begging for you to take my hand
Wreck my plans, that's my man
You know that my train could take you home
Anywhere else is hollow
I'm begging for you to take my hand
Wreck my plans, that's my man

Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind
They count me out time and time again
Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind
But I come back stronger than a 90's trend

Wait for the signal and I'll meet you after dark
Show me the places where the others gave you scars
Now this is an open/shut case
I guess I should've known from the look on your face
Every bait and switch was a work of art

The more that you say, the less I know
Wherever you stray, I follow
I'm begging for you to take my hand
Wreck my plans, that's my man
You know that my train could take you home
Anywhere else is hollow
I'm begging for you to take my hand
Wreck my plans, that's my man

The more that you say, the less I know
Wherever you stray, I follow
I'm begging for you to take my hand
Wreck my plans, that's my man
You know that my train could take you home
Anywhere else is hollow
I'm begging for you to take my hand
Wreck my plans, that's my man

Hey, that's my man
That's my man
Yeah, that's my man
Every bait and switch was a work of art
That's my man
Hey, that's my man
I'm begging for you to take my hand
Wreck my plans, that's my man

Credit: Screen capture via
January 14th, 2021
London-based mining company Gemfields has formed a long-term partnership with Mozambique’s Luwire Wildlife Conservancy to preserve Luwire’s biodiversity and assist its local communities. Gemfields and Luwire share common interests in the pristine — and ruby-rich — wilderness of northern Mozambique, just this side of the border from Tanzania.

The Luwire Wildife Conservancy is headquartered within Mozambique’s Niassa Special Reserve, a huge swath of territory, about the size of Massachusetts. It is one of Africa’s largest private conservation concessions and is considered a globally important carbon sink. The Special Reserve protects the highest concentration of game in Mozambique, including the country's largest and most viable elephant population.

The rich territory is also home to Gemfields' Montepuez mine, one of the most significant ruby deposits in the world. Gemfields acquired 75% of the Montepuez mine in 2011, a move that complemented its purchase of Zambia's Kagem emerald mine in 2008. Kagem is billed as the world’s largest and most productive emerald mine.

The success of both operations has paved the way for Africa to become the world’s largest exporter of emeralds and rubies.

Gemfields is committed to furthering transparency, legitimacy and integrity in the colored gemstone business and believes that colored gemstones should create a positive impact for the countries and communities from which they originate.

"Gemfields has, for more than a decade, walked a trail promoting greater transparency in the mining and selling of Africa’s colored gemstone resources," said Gemfields CEO Sean Gilbertson. "Today, more emerald- and ruby-derived value than ever accrues to our host countries in Mozambique and Zambia. We see an undeniable connection between Africa’s minerals and biodiversity and the interconnecting relationship with local communities. We are delighted to partner with Luwire to really deliver change on the ground in Mozambique."

During its time in Africa, Gemfields has established a track record for improving the healthcare, education, agriculture and standards of living for the communities around its mines, while supporting conservation efforts to protect Africa’s wildlife and biodiversity.

"Gemfields joins an impressive list of global partners that have recognized the value of Luwire as a global natural asset and the critical role that local communities play in preserving that asset," commented Paul Buckley, Chairman of Luwire. "Gemfields’ initial focus shall be on a number of Luwire’s nature-based businesses. These businesses are critical for sustainably empowering local communities."

Credits: Images ©️ Gemfields 2021.
January 13th, 2021
The Chinese Year of the Ox officially begins on February 12th, and The Perth Mint is celebrating with the release of a limited-edition silver coin that incorporates this year's zodiac animal rendered in pure Australian opal.

The coin’s reverse incorporates a round black panel inlaid with a mosaic of bluish-green opal. Irregular slices of the precious stone are meticulously arranged to fill out the shape of the ox. The coin’s outer ring features stylized depictions of tulips, which are considered to be lucky flowers for those born in the Year of the Ox. Designed by Lucas Bowers, the coin measures 36.6mm in diameter, which is slightly smaller than a US silver dollar.

The one-ounce 99.99% pure silver coin is the fifth release in the Australian Opal Lunar Series — a series that launched with an opal rooster design in 2017 and was followed up with opal-enhanced Chinese zodiac offerings in 2018 (dog), 2019 (pig) and 2020 (mouse).

From 2012 through 2014, the mint promoted the Australian Opal Series of five coins depicting native animals, including the koala, wombat, kangaroo, pygmy possum and Tasmanian devil. Each of those animal were also rendered in opal.

The Perth Mint frequently pays tribute to themes that are truly Australian. Opal is the official gemstone of Australia, and the country credited with supplying nearly 95% the world’s fine opal. It's not surprising, then, that the mint figured out a way to utilize the colorful, iridescent gemstone in a coin.

(Australia is also famous for pink diamonds and we've previously written about limited-edition gold coins that The Perth Mint embedded with rare pink diamonds sourced from the now-closed Argyle mine.)

The obverse of the ox coin features the Jody Clark effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the weight and fineness, the “1 DOLLAR” monetary denomination, “AUSTRALIA,” and the Queen’s name.

Offered in a limited mintage of 5,000 units, the Year of the Ox coin is housed in a classic display case and is packed in a decorative box. The Perth Mint expects supplies of this special coin to be available by next week.

Credits: Images courtesy of The Perth Mint.
January 12th, 2021
For thousands of years, wedding rings have been worn on the ring finger of the left hand, but do you know the origin of this worldwide tradition?

Some give credit to the ancient Romans and Greeks, who believed that the vein in the fourth finger of the left hand (the vena amoris or vein of love) ran directly to the heart. Although the “vein of love” story is compelling and widely cited, a contemporary understanding of the human circulatory system has soundly debunked the science behind the legend.

The Chinese have a different take on the tradition. We love their theory because it comes with a sweet explanation and head-scratching, step-by-step demonstration.

The Chinese believe that each finger is a representation of the past, present and future generations of you and your family members. The thumb represents your parents, the index finger represents your siblings, the middle finger represents you, the ring finger represents your partner and the pinky represents your children.

Now give this a try…

• Place your palms together as if you were praying.

• Then, with all the fingertips still touching, bend the middle fingers toward each other until their tips are pointing downward into your palm and the second knuckle of each middle finger is touching the other. Remember, the middle fingers represent you.

• Now, attempt to separate the pinkies. You certainly can, because the pinkies represent your children, who will eventually leave your home and build families of their own.

• The thumbs that represent your parents can separate easily, as well, because your parents are not destined to live with you forever.

• Your index fingers separate with no resistance, as these represent your siblings, who will go on to live life on their own.

• Now, attempt to separate the ring fingers, which represent your partner. They don’t budge. No matter how much you try, they won’t come come apart.

The Chinese reasoning is that the union between you and your partner is unbreakable, and a wedding ring worn on the ring finger represents a marriage that is meant to last forever.

Anatomically, here’s how the phenomenon works… There is a common muscle called Extensor Digitorum that has little connectors between the tendons that go to the backs of each finger that allow them to extend all the way. The thumb is separate, but in addition to this muscle, the pinky has a second muscle called Extensor Digiti Minimi and the pointer has a second muscle called Extensor Indicis. When you bend the middle fingers, you fix the tendons of the Extensor Digitorum and without a second muscle to assist, the ring finger is stuck.

A practical explanation of why the wedding ring is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand focuses on the practicality of keeping the ring out of harm’s way. Since most people are right-handed, wearing the ring on the left hand would make it less susceptible to damage. Also, the ring finger doesn’t get as much work as, say, the thumb and index finger, so the little-used ring finger is a good place to display the bridal jewelry.

Credits: Bridal image by; Hand images by The Jeweler Blog.
January 11th, 2021
Former tennis star Maria Sharapova kicked off the new year by finally revealing her stunning, emerald-cut diamond engagement ring from venture capitalist Alexander Gilkes. The couple had announced their engagement in December, but their choice of engagement ring had remained a mystery.

The sizable, rectangular-shaped gem seems to be cradled in a bezel setting crafted in yellow gold. Unlike prong settings, bezel settings completely frame the circumference of a diamond with a rim of protective precious metal.

Made popular during the 1920's Art Deco movement, the emerald cut continues to convey an understated, regal elegance. The stepped facets allow the admirer to see clearly into the stone, revealing its perfection. Beyoncé, Amal Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey are just a few of the celebrities who favored the emerald cut.

Sharapova's choice of engagement ring is significant because the now-retired athlete remains a high-profile influencer due to her name recognition and endorsement deals with Nike, Porsche, Evian and Head, among others. She has 14 million Likes on Facebook and 4.1 million followers on Instagram.

In a heartfelt post on Instagram, the 33-year-old said goodbye to 2020 and welcomed 2021 with hope and optimism. She will be taking on new challenges outside of tennis with the support of her fiancé, who she calls her "best friend."

She wrote, "2020, I imagined you to be very different. As we all did! Admittedly, you sprinkled some brilliance in [the] midst of harsh and heartbreaking realities. Personally, you gave me the courage to let go of the one life and career I ever knew. I pinch myself daily for the timing of that decision. And you gave me the gift and commitment of a lifetime waking up next to my best friend every morning. Incredibly inspired for what's to come in 2021. Happy New Year!!

Tennis had been the center of Sharapova's world since her dad brought her to the U.S. from Russia in 1994, when the fledgling athlete was just 7 years old. According to published reports, she and her dad had only $700 in savings when they came to the US to develop the youngster's talents.

Today, Sharapova is one of the wealthiest athletes in the world. Her net worth is reportedly $195 million. She became the world's top-rated female tennis player in 2005 at the age of 18 and she has won five Grand Slam titles.

On his own Instagram page, the 41-year-old Gilkes affirmed his love for Sharapova.

He wrote, "Thank you for making me a very very happy boy and saying yes. I look forward to a lifetime of loving you, and learning from you @mariasharapova." He punctuated the post with a blue diamond emoji.

The British-born Gilkes is currently heading up Squared Circles, a venture studio dedicated to building, accelerating and investing in businesses that improve the world. Until 2018, he was the president and co-founder of Paddle8, an online auction house focusing on art and collectibles.

Sharapova and Gilkes have been a couple since 2018. They have yet to announce a wedding date.

Credits: Image and screen capture via Instagram/mariasharapova.
January 8th, 2021
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fabulous songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, pop star Selena Gomez drives home a message of self-empowerment and self-worth in her Latin-infused 2020 release, "Ring."

In the song, the 28-year-old former Disney Channel actress turns up her nose at insincere suitors because she's "one in a billion." Diamond and jewelry references amplify her sentiments, and, at one point, she even compares herself to basketball legend Miichael Jordan — the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time).

She sings, "I'm breakin' hearts like a heart attack / Got him right where the carats at / Wrapped 'round my finger like a ring, ring, ring / They just like puppets on a string, string, string."

Written by Gomez and five collaborators, "Ring" has been compared favorably to Camila Cabello's "Havana," Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" and Santana's "Smooth."

The song appeared as the fifth track on her chart-topping, third solo studio album, Rare. It was the third time in a row that a Gomez album reached #1 on the US Billboard 200 Albums chart.

Born in Grand Prairie, TX, in 1992, Gomez and her teenage mom struggled financially. The singer tells the story of walking with her mom to the local dollar store to buy spaghetti for dinner.

Gomez competed in pageants as a child, but her life would change dramatically when she was cast as a 7-year-old on the children's TV series Barney & Friends. After she aged out of that series, she earned a cameo role in the film Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. That opportunity opened the door to a starring role in 2007 on The Wizards of Waverly Place. At age 16, she signed a recording contract with Hollywood Records, the same label that signed Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato.

Today, the singer's net worth is said to be at least $75 million. She was named to the "Forbes 30 Under 30" list at the age of 23.

In 2017, Gomez underwent a kidney transplant due to lupus complications and now she speaks publicly about her treatment and recovery.

"I've gone through a lot of medical issues," Gomez told Interview magazine, "and I know that I can reach people who are going through similarly scary things — an organ transplant, or being on dialysis, or going away for treatment."

Trivia: Gomez loves everything about pickles. She revealed on a UK talk show that she's obsessed with them. "That is my thing and I drink the juice from the jar too," she said. "They sell them at gas stations and movie theaters in Texas. I go to the movies and have popcorn and pickles."

Please check out the audio track of Gomez performing "Ring." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along…

Written by Selena Gomez, Sean Douglas, Julie Frost, Breyan Isaac, David Ciente and Nolan Lambroza. Performed by Selena Gomez.

You all in your feelings, baby, all into me
I'm one in a billion, baby, don't you agree?

Obviously, you know, I'm aware of that
I'm breakin' hearts like a heart attack
Got him right where the carats at

Wrapped 'round my finger like a ring, ring, ring
They just like puppets on a string, string, string
I put it down, they call me up
They doin' way too much
So I'll just let it ring, ring, ring (Oh-oh)

Yeah, I received your message, all twenty-three (Twenty-three)
You know I'm Jordan with it, G-O-A-T (G-O-A-T)

Obviously, you know, I'm aware of that
I'm breakin' hearts like a heart attack
I got him right where the carats at (Yeah)

Wrapped 'round my finger like a ring, ring, ring
They just like puppets on a string, string, string
I put it down, they call me up
They doin' way too much
So I'll just let it ring, ring, ring
Wrapped 'round my finger like a ring, ring, ring
They wanna give me everything, thing, thing
I put it down, they call me up
Oh, no, no, no, no, no
So I'll just let it ring, ring, ring

Circlin' me, they just like satellites (Ooh)
Circlin' me all day and every night (Ooh, yeah)
Circlin' me, I'm sure you sympathize (Ooh)
A-la-la-la-la-la-la-la (Ooh)
Oh, na-na

Wrapped 'round my finger like a ring, ring, ring
They just like puppets on a string, string, string
I put it down, they call me up
They doin' way too much
So I'll just let it ring, ring, ring
Wrapped 'round my finger like a ring, ring, ring
They wanna give me everything, thing, thing
I put it down, they call me up
Oh, no, no, no, no, no
So I'll just let it ring, ring, ring

Credit: Image by Lunchbox LP, Culver City, California, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
January 7th, 2021
Botswana's Karowe mine, the only mine in history to have yielded two 1,000-plus-carat diamonds, will be turning out high-value rough gems until 2046 under a renewed licensing agreement between Lucara Diamond Corp. and the Government of Botswana.

The 25-year deal will pave the way for the underground expansion of the prolific Karowe mine, which has been the world’s foremost source of Type IIa diamonds in excess of 10.8 carats since it began production in 2012.

The mine's largest and highest-profile diamonds are the 1,758-carat Sewelô (2019) and the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona (2015). Other exceptional finds include a yet-to-be-named, 998-carat head turner that was revealed this past November and the 812-carat Constellation (2015). When considering the largest rough diamonds of all time, the Botswana mine accounts for the #2, #3, #4 and #9 positions. The #1 spot is held by the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond, which was discovered in South Africa in 1905.

The concept of moving the mine operations underground is predicted to extend its productive life by 20 years. In 2019, a feasibility study concluded that a capital investment of $514 million would result in the production of 7.8 million carats by 2040. The underground expansion is expected to take five years, with the first ore being extracted in 2016.

The current open pit mine has a depth of 324 meters. The underground operation is expected to extend the depth to 750 meters below the surface.

Type IIa diamonds have exceptional optical transparency and are the most chemically pure variety of diamonds. They contain no measurable trace of other elements, such as nitrogen, which could alter the color.

"Lucara is grateful for the confidence and support demonstrated by the Government of Botswana as we work to expand our operations at Karowe underground, for the benefit of the Government and the people of Botswana together with Lucara's shareholders," noted Eira Thomas, Lucara's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We look forward to continued cooperation and a mutually rewarding partnership with the Government of Botswana."

Credits: Karowe mine, Sewelô and Lesedi La Rona images courtesy of Lucara Diamond.