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Celebrating Jewel Day and royal diamonds
An English rose in Georgia
Lesley Francis - 2016
Lesley Francis grew up in London, England, and made Georgia her home in 2009. - photo by File photo

While most people in Coastal Georgia are focused on the famous Irish festival of St. Patrick’s Day now approaching, did you realize that this week marks another much less famous occasion?

Jewel Day takes place on March 13 every year. And while the history of this day is vague, it is a relatively recent innovation.

It was probably invented by a jeweler and is meant to celebrate success and of course the opportunity to give or receive jewelry.

Like many women, I adore jewelry not only for its beauty and ability to transform an outfit or mood, but also for the memories it evokes and of course for a range of sentimental reasons.

I obviously deeply treasure my diamond solitaire engagement ring and the eternity ring my husband gave me for our 10th wedding anniversary.

But there are several other pieces of jewelry I treasure, some valuable and some not.

Whenever I put on a piece of jewelry, I think about when, where and often who it is associated with: the wedding pearls my mother passed onto me; the locally made earrings I bought in Arizona on a great trip with a close friend a few years back; or lovely gifts I have been given over the years – especially for those birthdays ending in a zero.

Diamonds traditionally symbolize everlasting love and are worn to enhance relationships and give inner strength.

They are certainly one of the most treasured and valuable jewels, and most diamonds are over 3 billion years old, two-thirds the age of earth. There are a few younger specimens that are a mere 100 million years old.

Diamonds were created from the condensation of carbon that was subjected to extreme pressures and temperatures.

This carbon crystallized, and as the earth cooled, volcanic activity forced these diamond crystals to the surface.

The diamond is known as the hardest substance found naturally on the earth, and the history of mining diamonds is fascinating, labor intensive and often bloody.

The biggest ever high-quality diamond is the Cullinan diamond – a 3,106-carat stone (remembering that a one carat diamond ring is seen as a significant size), which was found in South Africa in 1905. It was cut into nine major gems and 96 smaller stones.

The two largest are part of the British crown jewels, the most famous of which is known as the Star of Africa. This is a pear-shaped diamond weighing more than 530 carats.

Just a couple of years ago in 2015, the Canadian company Lucara Diamond Corp. found in Botswana a diamond the size of an orange weighing in at 1,111 carats.

The modern technology that made the find is a large diamond recovery XRT machine. "XRT" stands for "X-ray transmission." There is a lot more information at

Diamonds are once again in the spotlight as we approach the wedding of the United Kingdom’s Prince Harry and the American-born actor Meghan Markle on May 19 at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in England.

Princess Kate now wears Princess Diana’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring, but Prince Harry designed his fiancée’s stunning engagement ring using two diamonds that belonged to his beloved late mother.

Set on a yellow gold band, the center stone is from Botswana, where Prince Harry travelled to while growing up and again last summer with Markle to celebrate her 36th birthday.

The ring, created by his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II’s preferred jeweler, Cleave and Company – is estimated to be 6.5 carats in total, with the center diamond at roughly 5 carats.

Prince Harry has been quoted as saying, "The ring is yellow gold because that’s Meghan’s favorite and the main stone itself I sourced from Botswana. The little diamonds either side are from my mother’s jewelry collection to make sure that she’s with us on this crazy journey together."

British newspapers are full of royal wedding news right now. See more at

You have probably heard this quote many, many times, but did you know that it is attributed to Marilyn Monroe? "Diamonds are a girl’s best friend."

God bless America, along with the British royal family!

Francis can be contacted at or at

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