Alex Santoso's Comments

@Oliver: As a former diamond grader, I can say with confidence that no imitation or even lab grown diamonds can fool an expert with equipment. A gem scope, and a tool or two, and I can spot any fake.

That's no longer the case with diamonds "grown" by chemical vapor deposition. It's basically growing diamonds atom by atom.

De Beers spent a lot of money into its Gem Defensive Programme, looking into how to tell synthetic diamonds apart from natural diamonds (you need a Raman photoluminescence spectroscope - but even this was disputed by experts).
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Re: investment grade diamond priced above $100,000 - There's an interesting story about Stanley Rifkin, who embezzled a lot of money from Security Pacific National Bank in Los Angeles back in the late 70s. He wired $10 million to an overseas account, bought diamonds with the money, then smuggled them back to the US. Rifkin then tried to sell his diamonds, and was caught.

The bank got back its $10 million, but in the form of diamonds. No problem, the bank manager thought, he'll just sell them. Turns out, no one would buy the diamond from him - no one. Edward Jay Epstein has the story:

Walter S. Fisher, the vice-president of Security Pacific, was charged with the responsibility of selling the 115000 diamonds. He realized that diamonds were not a standardized, or fungible commodity, as were gold, silver and platinum. Different appraisals of the same diamonds varied widely dependent on what the prospective buyer thought he could sell them for. And, though all the bank's diamonds were commercial stones for the mass market, Fisher found that it was extraordinarily difficult to find a buyer. None of the dealers in the United States were willing to buy such a large consignment of diamonds. Fisher found it necessary to deal through De Beers' main broker in London, I. Hennig. Finally and accept the terms dictated by the buyer, if he wanted to sell the diamonds. He then had to deliver the diamonds to an unknown corporation in Liechtenstein, G. S. G. Investments, without receiving any money for them for eighteen months. These were terms that the bank probably would not have accepted in selling any other commodity. With a flourish of understatement, the banker concluded, "Selling diamonds is far more difficult than I had anticipated." (Source)
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I've read that the proper way to desensitize yourself is to pretend like it's a movie and you're watching it. Then you're watching yourself watching the movie. Something like that.

I still have a fear of heights, but I don't let that stop me from going up ladders (someone has to clean the windows). Turns out clammy hands grip really, really well.
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Thanks, Mr. Baby Man and graffiksguru! How did that saying go again, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"? ;)

Re: Universal. I can't find any story behind the globe logo. Does anyone know? Hollywood Lost and Found has a neat article about it, but there's not a lot of story as to why it's a globe.
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@timothy - the little pig keychain is to make up for the mental_floss book's value. There is a little tab on the belly of the pig that you have to pull out before it'll work. We do try to get items that have retail values of $9.95 or higher.

@groovy: Hm, those have been very reliable (we shipped out hundreds with no problem). I'll email you to find out what's up.

@crankycat: The value of the item is targeted at $9.95 - if you get a $15 tiara, then you're already $5 ahead of the game ;).
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Ah, but you don't always have to kill zombies - sometimes you just have to slow 'em down so you can make a hasty retreat ;)

Stick with me when the undead rise, John, and I'll save your heiny with my trusty (yet to be acquired) shotgun.

PS I got all my shootin' training on Duck Hunt, so I should be ready to go!
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Re: shotgun - ah, but if you were close to zombies, a shotgun is far more useful than a rifle. First of all, you don't have to aim, and second, it can get multiple zombies at one time.
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Can you smash a diamond with a hammer

Yes - think you can. Diamond is hard, but brittle. They can and do chip and crack (so they're not "forever" in a sense)
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Hello! Wow - quite a bit of comments. OK, let me see if I can get through 'em all.

We're going to be sending the last batches in the next few days (including the big winners). I do apologize to everyone for the delay, we've been working overtime trying to get stuff out (we even worked through the Thanskgiving holidays). If you haven't gotten yours, it's on its way.

Frankly, I was caught off-guard. We prepared for this Mystery Sale quite ahead of time, but we didn't expect to get that many orders (with the economy being slow and all). So thank you again to everyone who participated! You've helped the blog tremendously in so many ways.

The belt size is supposed to be XL for XL orders - the buckle does add another couple of inches to the reach of the belt. For those whose belt is too large, it's quite easy to make additional holes ;)

The tiaras we got are very good quality, and actually retail for about $10 to $15 (there are a couple of different kinds). I don't know where Lindsey got her jewelry from, but wherever it is, I'm sure she got a deal if she buys 'em retail. If she buys jewelry wholesale, then of course they're going to cost less than $10.

We did a variety of things this time (about 5 major items at a few hundred each). We've gotten predominantly positive feedback on the mental_floss book/magazine combo, but someone actually cursed us out for sending them "books" (how dare we sent them things to read! That sucks!)

We've also gotten quite a positive feedback on the tiara (a few of them told me that these are a hoot and they wouldn't in a million years expect something like it or treat themselves to one), yet as the comments above, some are vehemently against them.

It's probably the nature of the Mystery Sale that it's difficult to satisfy everyone's idealized image of what constitute a good item. ;)
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I remember the exact moment that I "acquired" the taste for durian. Growing up in Asia, my parents always buy durians when they're ripe (durian season). I tasted (and spat out) the stinky fruit year after year, until one day ... it actually tasted good!
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