One of the Most Valuable Opals in the World About to go on Display for the First Time Since 1946!

For the first since 1946, a rare, rough opal valued at $675,000 will go on display at the South Australian Museum in Adelaide, Australia. Popularly known as the Fire of Australia, this piece of opal weighs 998 grams. It is the largest high-grade opal known in the world. It is roughly the size of a softball and it displays the entire spectrum of colors - this makes it an extremely rare and precious stone. It is also extremely valuable because of the amount of red that it throws off. 

The miner Walter Bartram first discovered the gem in 1946 by at the Eight Mile opal field in Coober Pedy -- a small desert town in South Australia famous for its opals.

The Bartram family, who own an opal mining and distribution business, recognized the uniqueness of the piece and decided to hold on to it. They then polished two sides of the Fire of Australia because they recognized that it was a significant discovery and wanted to show the quality of the opal. In general, large pieces of opal don't get polished, but rather they get cut up for jewelry before being polished. 

Since 1946, the stone remained in the family and spent most of that time in a safety deposit box. After loaning it out to the South Australian Museum for an exhibition, Walter Bartram's son, Alan, said the family decided to place the heirloom "in safe hands." In a statement, Alan said: "We've been long term supporters of the South Australian Museum and it seems fitting that it should be passed onto the people of South Australia to enjoy." 

The South Australian Museum was able to purchased the opal with the help of a grant from the Australian government. The South Australia Museum will display the Fire of Australia in the museum's foyer until February 28, before it is moved to take its place alongside the museum's extensive permanent collection of Australian precious opal.

How Can You Live to 100? These 52 Centenarians Have Some Tips!

Award winning photographer, editor and artist Karsten Thormaehlen based in Frankfurt, Germany has captured gorgeous photos all over the globe of architecture, high-end luxury goods, and fashion models. For his most recent collection of published photos, he's chosen to focus on what he thinks is his most beautiful subject yet: centenarians- or people who have lived at least 100 years of life. 

In his book: "Aging Gracefully: Portraits of People over 100," Thormaehlen traveled from New York, to Japan, to Peru, to the Netherlands, and everywhere in between to take portraits of 52 centenarians. Each photograph in the collection is accompanied by insightful and engaging text about each subject that captures their essence, their insight and their wisdom that only comes from living over 100 years on this Earth.

When asked about this project, Thormaehlen is quoted saying: 

Since I’ve worked for many years in the beauty industry as an art director for luxury goods and cosmetic brands, I know what it takes to achieve ‘perfect beauty.’ It’s almost impossible! Like reaching ‘absolute zero’ or ‘squaring the circle.’ I’m convinced true beauty comes from self-awareness.
Tonaki Tsuru from Japan (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

Tonaki Tsuru from Japan (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

While selfies seem to have taken over the internet in recent years, Thormaehlen says very old people look at photography in a completely different way than most:

Being photographed is and has been something special in the past, only performed on special events, and on certain stages of one’s life: baptism, wedding, first child, all generations together, anniversaries etc. Back then, photographing was a complicated issue, it was expensive — and always very sad if the photo, which you saw days or weeks later for the first time, didn’t come out properly. ... They give me, the photographer, the impression that they enjoy the attention, being photographed. It’s fun for them.
Secundo Timoteo Arboleda Hurtado from Ecuador (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

Secundo Timoteo Arboleda Hurtado from Ecuador (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

In order to find his subjects, Thormaehlen searched via many avenues: some he discovered through people who had seen his work, some through their grandchildren and some through advertisements or by talking to managers of resident homes. Some he found through online searches.

Olivia Hooker from White Plains, New York (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

Olivia Hooker from White Plains, New York (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

Olivia Hooker

Dr. Olivia Hooker of White Plains, New York, (pictured above) was one of the first African American women to join the U.S. Army. As a child, the Ku Klux Klan ransacked her home during the 1921 riots in Tulsa. "I still don't know why they bothered to burn up a little girl's doll clothes, but they did," she told the Wall Street Journal. When Thormaehlen photographed Hooker, he noted that the walls in her home are filled with diplomas and greetings from the Clintons, the Bushes and the Obamas.

Sigurgeir Jonsson from Iceland (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

Sigurgeir Jonsson from Iceland (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

When speaking about the project, Thormaehlen spoke about how the main theme that continued to show up again and again was a shared love of life. Thormaehlen is quoted as saying: "I learned from almost everybody that they love living, 100 percent. They don’t think about dying, but if it happens it won’t be a problem."

Maria Luisa Medina from Ecuador (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

Maria Luisa Medina from Ecuador (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

When visiting one of his subjects at her home in Ecuador, Thormaehlen had to clime a short but steep path to get to her. When Luz met him at the door and saw how hard the photographer was breathing from the climb, she smiled and said, "Hope this answers your question how to become 100!"

Gaspare Mele from Italy (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

Gaspare Mele from Italy (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

One question Thormaehlen asked all of his subjects was: "What's the secret to your longevity?"

In response to his question, Gaspare Mele from Italy shared: "Live and work in peace and harmony with yourself and with others. Always try and distinguish good from evil." 

Most days Gaspare can be found sitting at his kitchen table composing poetry on his timeworn typewriter. 

Zoila Donatila Aliaga Melendez vda de Roman from Peru (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

Zoila Donatila Aliaga Melendez vda de Roman from Peru (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

Zoila Donatila Aliaga Melendez vda de Roman from Peru believes that it's her faith that has allowed her to live so long. She gathers with friends at least twice a day to pray. Zoila has lived a full life - she married at 19 years of age and has 8 children, 21 grand children and 23 great-grandchildren. In addition to praying, she love to spend her time playing cards, knitting and reading. 

Gerardus Jacobus Johannes Keizen from the Netherlands (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

Gerardus Jacobus Johannes Keizen from the Netherlands (Photo: 'Aging Gracefully' by Karsten Thormaehlen/Chronicle Books 2017)

When asked what his secret was, Gerardus Jacobus Johannes Keizen, a centenarian from the Netherlands, said: "A routine life of moderation. Go to bed early, don't smoke, don't drink — although you can always make an exception now and then for a whisky. And for gin, too."

So there you have it - some helpful tools for living a long and vibrant life include: living in harmony with yourself and others, living a life of faith and everything in moderation. 

This book is a beautiful contribution to the world. 

To find it, you can follow this link: http://amzn.to/2kMpC3g

Get Your Telescopes Ready! Full Moon, Comet and Lunar Eclipse All at Once this Weekend!

What are your plans this weekend? For all you space lovers, get ready for an incredibly stellar weekend! From the evening of February 10 through the morning of February 11, there will be a series of 3 events all in one night: a Snow Moon, a New Year comet sighting and a lunar eclipse! Here's what you need to know about this incredible event:

1. Snow Moon

The Snow Moon is a term for February's full moon. It was named this because February is generally the month that has the highest amount of snowfall during the year. This year, the snow moon will rise at 5:33 p.m EST on Friday and set at 7:22 a.m. on Saturday. It shouldn't be too hard to spot it in the sky.

2. New Year's Comet

This comet got its name from the fact that it began moving across the sky at the tail end of 2016.  The New Year comet is set to shoot across the sky on February 11. This comet is only visible every five and a quarter years, so the fact that it just so happens to coincide with the Snow Moon and an eclipse is quite special. 

3. Lunar Eclipse 

Lunar eclipses occur when the sun, Earth, and moon line up. When the Earth aligns in front of the sun, the moon is covered in a shadow, which makes it appear red. Anyone in Europe, Africa, and most of Asia and North America will be able to view this somewhat eerie yet stunning event. The shadow will be mostly visible from 7:43 p.m. EST until 9:53 p.m. on Friday, February 11. 

This Friday night promises to be quite a spectacular event! Make sure you don't miss it!

Ever Dream of Living off the Grid? Check this Cool Video Out. (video)

Have you ever fantasized about living off the grid? This incredible New Zealander, Warrick Mitchell gets to live deep in one of the world's most remote locations: Fiordland, New Zealand. He lives in the New Zealand's oldest national park is nestled in a vast wilderness that is accessible only by boat or airplane, a four day's walk from the nearest road. Life in isolation can be hard, but surrounded by breathtaking, pristine natural beauty, plentiful wildlife and a small but tight-knit community that is always willing to lend a hand, Mitchell would have it no other way. What do you think? Would you be able to live in such a remote location?