Flawless pink diamond up for auction in Geneva
SHOTLIST: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, 12 NOVEMBER 2013, SOURCE: AFPTV - Swiss flag, with Geneva old city in the background - Poster of “The Pink Star” - VAR of the Pink Star diamond - VAR of inside Sotheby’s show room SOUNDBITE 1David Bennett (man), chairman of Sotheby’s jewellery division in Europe (English, 7 seconds): “This is The Pink Star. What’s extraordinary about this stone is that it is the largest known vivid pink diamond in the world.” SOUNDBITE 2 David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s jewellery division in Europe (English, 9 seconds): “In my experience, pink diamonds are the most sought after of all the colours of diamonds, purely because of the beauty. I mean, I’ve never shown a pink diamond to somebody who hasn’t loved it.” SOUNDBITE 3 David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s jewellery division in Europe (English, 27 seconds): “Diamonds come in all sorts of colours. One of the most popular is blue, for example. Now the colouration of blue is due to an impurity when the stone was formed of boron. Pink diamonds however are not due to an impurity, it’s due to a distortion in the crystal lattice when the stone is being formed. So these are extraordinarily rare stones. Pink diamonds can be found in all locations of mining, but they are amongst the rarest of all the colours.” /// -------------------------------------------------- AFP TEXT STORY Switzerland-auction-diamond,3rdlead Flawless $60-mn pink diamond up for auction in Geneva by Marie-Noëlle BLESSIG =(PICTURE+VIDEO)= ATTENTION - ADDS quotes on potential buyer /// GENEVA, Switzerland, Sept 25, 2013 (AFP) - A flawless 59.60-carat pink diamond known as the "Pink Star" is up for grabs at a Sotheby's auction in November with an asking price of $60 million (49 million euros), the highest ever sought at auction for a gemstone. David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's jewellery division in Europe and the Middle East, said the diamond belonged in "the ranks of the Earth's greatest natural treasures". "It is difficult to exaggerate the rarity of vivid pink diamonds weighing only five carats, so this 59.60 carat stone is simply off any scale," he said in a statement. The sparkling oval-cut rock, which has received the highest possible colour and clarity rating from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), was presented to reporters Wednesday and will be part of the auction house's Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva on November 13. Set on a ring, the gem measures 2.69 by 2.06 centimetres (1.06 by 0.81 inches), and weighs 11.92 grammes (0.026 pounds). It would earn Sotheby's around $5.0 million per gramme or $1.0 million per carat if the auction house fetches its asking price. At a luxury Geneva hotel, amid tight security, a model gracefully turned her hand to allow the glimmering stone to catch the light. "It's very flattering, it's very feminine. It's the colour of rose champagne," Bennett told AFP. So who might the buyer be? "Only a handful of people in the world could consider buying this rock," a precious gem expert told AFP on condition of anonymity. "Sixty million dollars, that is really a lot of money, and the expenses come on top of that," he said, noting that "to buy this stone, you really have to fall in love, and also think about a possible sale in a couple of years, preferably at a profit." The now plum-sized shimmering gem was 132.5 carats in the rough when it was mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999, Sotheby's said, not specifying which African country it came from. It was then cut and polished over a period of two years by Steinmetz Diamonds, and was called the "Steinmetz Pink" when it was first unveiled to the public in 2003. The near-translucent rock was renamed after it was first sold four years later for an undisclosed sum to an unidentified buyer. 'Extremely rare' ---------------- In addition to notching up the highest colour and clarity ratings possible for pink diamonds, the rock falls into a rare subgroup of stones with the chemically purest diamond crystals and often extraordinary optical transparency, comprising less than two percent of all gem diamonds, according to the GIA. "The occurrence of pink diamonds in nature is extremely rare in any size," GIA senior vice president Tom Moses said in the statement, noting that "polished pink diamonds over 10 carats very rarely occur with an intense colour." The "Pink Star" is the largest in its category to ever be graded by the institute and is more than twice the size of the 24.78-carat "Graff Pink" diamond that set the world auction record for any jewel when it was sold at Sotheby's in Geneva in 2010 for $46.2 million. The diamond was among the world's rarest shown in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC in 2003, which also included the De Beers Millennium Star, the Allnatt diamond and the Moussaieff Red. It was also the star attraction at a London Natural History Museum exhibit of diamonds in 2005 and 2006. Before going under the hammer in November, the "Pink Star" will go on a worldwide tour of cities including Hong Kong, New York, London, Zurich and Geneva, Sotheby's said. mnb-bur/nl/jom/gd
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Jurassic 5 - Jurassic 5
Hip-hop is not dead. Indeed, contrary to the cries of some cynics, the vibrant cultural offering that is hip-hop music is alive and well. And nowhere is that point more apparent than with the heralded Los Angeles crew Jurassic 5 and their debut full-length album Quality Control. Consisting of four MCs and two DJs, Jurassic 5 is a throwback of sorts, referencing a by-gone era in hip-hop when the only thing that mattered was the music and having fun. In sound, the four MCs Chali 2NA, Zaakir, Akil, and Marc 7 conjure up the dynamic flows of old-school groups like the Cold Crush Brothers and Double Trouble: harmonic convergence, dynamic vocal inflections, and fly b-boy bravado. Jurassic 5's beat-providers, Cut Chemist and DJ Nu-Mark, rock the decks with inventive, original beats that hark back to the true DJ innovators. With Jurassic 5, it's a more innocent, irreverent time that comes to mind, from the early days of jams in the parks to the creative insurgence of the Native Tongues era. Jurassic 5 shouldn't be considered old-school revivalists, though. They hail from the eclectic Los Angeles region, children of that city's hip-hop underground, and thus are a merging of both the new and old. Between 1991 and 1994, the LA underground was a burgeoning Mecca of hip-hop innovation, possessing a kinetic musical energy and a flare for progressive beats and styles. The members of Jurassic 5 met through the Good Life Cafï¿½, an open-mic space in the heart of South Central Los Angeles' old jazz district. The spot served as a prolific epicenter for a number of different groups, like the Freestyle Fellowship and the Pharcyde, each wearing originality on their sleeves with emblazoned pride. Undeniably, Jurassic 5 embody that era's constant ideals of progressiveness and unity. Jurassic 5 formed in 1993 as the union between two crews, Rebels of Rhythm and Unity Committee, who came together to record and release the spontaneous, one-off single cleverly titled "Unified Rebelution." It was an infectious record that made an indelible impression with true hip-hop heads, quickly becoming a staple on the college radio and mix-show circuit. The success of "Unified Rebelution" cemented a union that would ultimately be Jurassic 5 and, ever since, the group has become one of the most revered new artists to emerge in years. The burning interest in Jurassic 5 was fueled, in part, by their debut, self-titled EP. Released initially in 1997 on the group's own independent imprint, the EP sold over 200,000 copies in the US and England (where it cracked the UK Top 40 charts in its first week of release), a sign that hip-hop audiences worldwide were hungry for anything that diverted from the standard hip-hop sounds. Most impressively, the EP served as a rallying cry of sorts for a whole new movement in hip-hop, easily akin to what artists like The Roots, Black Star and De La Soul have done and continue to do. Quality Control takes the momentum garnered by the EP and propels it even further. It is an album that is as funky, alive and as true to hip-hop's elemental essence as anything the genre has seen in years. The Jurassic 5 MCs each possess supreme microphone skills, and Quality Control highlights their abilities to flex a variety of styles. One minute, they're locked in unison, perfectly harmonizing whole verses or choruses ("Monkey Bars"), the next they're each energetically spitting spirited rhymes, only to set it off the next minute swapping couplets in dynamic superhero fashion, as on "W.O.E. Is Me." The MCs flourish thanks in part to the colorful craftiness of Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist, the production and DJ tandem who lay down a bedrock of beats carefully culled from dusty crates. Throughout the album, their mastery and understanding of what makes something undeniably funky is evident, whether it's a tapestry of body-rockin' swing beats they weave on "Swing Set," or the mellow head-nod twilight they create for "LAUSD." Indeed, Nu-Mark and Cut Chemist arguably do for the funk what producers like Ali Shaheed Mohammed and Large Professor did for jazz and classic soul. The album, though, is only half of the true Jurassic 5 experience. Like a modern day reflection of the old-school spirit, the group spends as much time on their live shows as they do in the studio and the perfection on stage is quite clear. It's a dynamic event that must be experienced to be fully appreciated. And it's yet another sign that it's with Jurassic 5 where new meets old. They are a group leading the resurgence of next-school optimism that will reconstruct the hip-hop landscape so that people will realize they are lost no longer.
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Whale Lifts Kayakers Onto Its Back
Two kayakers paused to take a closer look at some whales off the coast of Argentina, but got an unexpected surprise when one of the giant creatures lifted their boat onto his back. This footage shows the whale roll over before moving slowly under the kayak and then lifting it clean out of the water close to the coastal city of Puerto Madryn. The two very surprised humans on its back are taken along for the ride, but manage to keep their cool. Credit: YouTube/Gisela Diaz