Monday, June 24, 2019

Panthers' Greg Olsen Films In-Progress Marriage Proposal: 'Best Thing I've Ever Witnessed'

Carolina Panthers' Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen was in Nashville last week to deliver a keynote speech at a healthcare conference. As the 6' 5", 255 lb. former first round draft pick was walking back to his hotel, he happened upon something that he would call the "best thing I've ever witnessed."

What Olsen was describing was an in-progress marriage proposal. With a ring box in hand, Max Harvat was on bended knee just about to pop the question to his girlfriend Brooke Hartranft.

Olsen pulled out his phone and started filming.

“So I’m thinking, ‘I would imagine that this guy would love to have this on film.’ He was literally five feet from us. It was amazing,” Olsen told panthers.com.

After the proposal, Harvat got back to his feet and joyfully lifted Hartranft into the air.

"What did she say? Did she say, Yes? Olsen asked.

"She said, "Yes," Harvat screamed back, his voice echoing through the hotel complex.

"I've got it on video, dude," Olsen said. "I'm going to send it to you."

"You're my hero," said Harvat, not knowing at the time that he was speaking with the three-time Pro Bowler who happens to play for his favorite team.

"That was the best thing I've ever witnessed," Olsen said.

“When I stood up, I looked over and I started having a mini heart attack," Harvat told panthers.com. "I was like, ‘I’m 90 percent sure that’s Greg Olsen from the Panthers!’”

“Brooke looked at me and didn’t believe me,” Harvat said. “She just thought I was too excited and wasn’t seeing straight. But I’m like, ‘No, that’s him. I’ve seen him on TV and in interviews. That’s him!’”

On his Instagram page, Olsen explained that his instinct was to film the precious moment because he had wished he had a video of his own marriage proposal.

“He was really respectful," Harvat told panthers.com. "He didn’t want to steal any of the moment from us. He sent me the video and said congratulations and wished us the best.”

Check out the video on Olsen's Instagram page. It has been viewed more than 135,000 times and earned more than 36,000 Likes since it was posted three days ago.

Credits: Screen captures via Instagram.com/gregolsen88. Split frame: Greg Olsen (left) by Jeffrey Beall [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Greg Olsen (right) by original: U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Leticia Samuels, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs/Released North Carolina National Guardderivative: Diddykong1130 and XxSuguSxX [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Music Friday: Meghan Trainor Knows She's a Gem in Empowerment Anthem, 'I'm a Lady'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, pop star Meghan Trainor knows she's a gem in the female empowerment anthem, "I'm a Lady."

Co-written by Trainor and Martin René to promote the 2017 film Smurfs: The Lost Village, the song drives home the message that there are no limitations to what a young woman can achieve. Trainer tells her listeners that it's OK to be different, to love themselves, and aspire to be whatever they want to be.

Trainor sings, "And I don’t look like them (But I ain’t worried about it) / I don’t talk like them (But I ain’t worried about it) / I know I’m a gem / I ain’t worried about it, I ain’t worried about it / ‘Cause I’m a lady."

The official video shows scenes of young women engaged in what some may see as non-traditional sporting activities, such as playing football, shooting a compound bow, boxing and lifting weights. There is also a scene of an all-female boardroom.

"I'm a Lady" was released as a single on February 21, 2017, and the official video — which includes cameos by the Smurfs — premiered a week later. The single barely snuck onto the U.S. Billboard Top 40 list, but the video gained a huge audience. To date, the video has been viewed on YouTube more than 53 million times.

Born on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket to retail jewelers Kelli and Gary Trainor, Meghan started singing at age six and wrote her first song at age 11. She attended Berklee College of Music and released two acoustic albums in 2011.

The 25-year-old's big break came in February 2014, when she performed “All About the Bass” on ukulele for L.A. Reid, the chairman and CEO of Epic Records. That resulted in a recording contract and a monumental rise to stardom. “All About the Bass” topped the charts in 58 countries and resulted in a Grammy nomination for “Song of the Year.” She has also earned a Grammy Award, four ASCAP Pop Music Awards and two Billboard Music Awards.

Trivia: Trainor didn't only provided the promotional track for Smurfs: The Lost Village, she also voiced the role of Smurfmelody.

Please check out Trainor’s official video of “I'm a Lady.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

"I'm a Lady"
Written by Meghan Trainor and Martin René. Performed by Meghan Trainor.

I talk with a mouth full (uh-huh)
But I couldn’t be sweeter
Yep, I’m a cutie in my own way
I won’t play follow the leader

And I don’t look like them (But I ain’t worried about it)
I don’t talk like them (But I ain’t worried about it)
I know I’m a gem
I ain’t worried about it, I ain’t worried about it
‘Cause I’m a lady

‘Cause I’m a lady
Come on! I’m a, I’m a lady
All my girls, show them you’re a lady
Tell the world, say that you’re proud to be a lady

I know I laugh too loud
And I might cry too much
To all those judgy eyes
I got a whole lotta love

‘Cause I don’t look like them (But I ain’t worried about it)
I don’t move like them (But I ain’t worried about it)
I know I’m a gem
I ain’t worried about it, I ain’t worried about it
‘Cause I’m a lady

‘Cause I’m a lady
Yeah, I’m a, I’m a lady
All my girls, show them you’re a lady
Tell the world, say that you’re proud to be a lady
All my girls, show them you’re a lady
Tell the world, say that you’re proud to be a lady

And I’m pretty, pretty cute and I’m pretty smart
And when I break it down, it’s a work of art
And if you feel the same, can you participate?
I wanna see you shake, I wanna hear you say
And I’m pretty, pretty cute and I’m pretty smart
And when I break it down, it’s a work of art
And if you feel the same, can you participate?
I wanna see you shake, I wanna hear you say

And I don’t look like them
I don’t talk like them
But I know I’m a gem
I ain’t worried about it, I ain’t worried about it
‘Cause I’m a lady
And I don’t move like them (But I ain’t worried about it)
I don’t move like them (But I ain’t worried about it)
I know I’m a gem
I ain’t worried about it, I ain’t worried about it
‘Cause I’m a lady

(Yeah) ’cause I’m a lady
(Hey yeah, hey yeah)
I’m a, I’m a lady
All my girls, show them you’re a lady
Tell the world, say that you’re proud to be a lady
All my girls, show them you’re a lady
Tell the world, say that you’re proud to be a lady

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com/Meghan Trainor.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

1,700-Year-Old 'Allectus' Gold Coin Crushes Auction Estimates, Sells for $695K

A tiny gold coin depicting the Roman ruler Allectus crushed pre-sale estimates as fierce bidding at the headquarters of London auctioneer Dix Noonan Webb (DNW) catapulted the price to $695,000. DNW had predicted the coin would fetch between $90,000 and $127,000.

The news came as a sweet surprise to the 30-year-old amateur metal detectorist, who discovered the 1,700-year-old coin in a plowed field near Dover, England, back in March. The field is adjacent to the site of an ancient Roman road.

“I cannot believe it, we are ecstatic!" exclaimed the detectorist, who wished to remain anonymous. "We expected it to sell for a little over estimate, but not five times the estimate! We are sharing the money with the farmer, who is also thrilled!”

The solid gold coin, known as an aureus, is just slightly larger than a penny and weighs a mere 4.31 grams (0.15 ounces). The obverse features a portrait of Allectus and the reverse depicts two kneeling captives at the feet of the god Apollo.

Based on today's spot price for gold, the intrinsic value of the coin is about $200, but the hammer price reflects its extreme rarity.

There is only one other coin in existence that was struck with the exact die that produced the Allectus coin sold at auction — and that specimen resides in the British Museum. Allectus ruled Briton and Northern Gaul from 293 AD to 296 AD and it is believed the coinage bearing his image was demonetized and melted down after his untimely death in battle. Today, only 24 aurei of Allectus are known to exist worldwide.

Recognizing the extreme rarity of the Allectus coin, eager bidders at the Dix Noonan Webb venue, on the internet and via telephone challenged each other for the prize. An anonymous private collector bidding by phone was the eventual winner.

“I am delighted with the phenomenal price achieved in today’s sale," said Christopher Webb, Director and Head of DNW’s Coin Department. "This is the most expensive coin that we have ever sold at Dix Noonan Webb. It is the most money ever paid for a coin of Allectus and it is now the most valuable Roman coin minted in Britain to have been sold at auction.”

At first, the detectorist believed he had found a fairly common gold sovereign, but after bringing his discovery to the attention of British authorities, which is demanded by law, he learned that his coin was truly extraordinary. The British Museum compared it to its own specimen, which had been unearthed in the 1800s in Hampshire. The museum's Allectus coin and the newly found treasure matched exactly.

Credits: Images courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Christie's 'Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence' Auction Brings History to Life

Spotlighting more than 500 years of opulence on the Indian subcontinent, Christie's auction in New York this Wednesday is aptly titled "Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence." The sale will celebrate the illustrious culture of Indian jeweled art from the Mughal period and the age of the Maharajas through the present day.

"This is living history in your hand," noted Rahul Kadakia, Christie's International Head of Jewelry.

India’s rich ties to fine jewelry and gemstones, he explained, is partly the result of natural circumstances. The mines of Golconda yielded the highest grade of diamonds. Kashmir produced the rarest and most beautiful sapphires. And the greatest emeralds arrived in India from Colombia through commercial exchange via the Portuguese-controlled ports of Goa.

Jewelry in the Mughal tradition articulated authority, and the empire's rulers valued gems for their rarity, physical properties and provenance.

On the cover of the Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence catalog is a Belle Époque "jigha" (turban ornament) dripping with old-cut, baguette and pear-shaped diamonds. The Indian royal treasure (photo above), which was originally designed in 1907 and remodeled circa 1935, would have been worn on formal occasions by a Maharaja, explained Kadakia. The ornament is estimated to sell in the range of $1.2 million to $2.2 million.

Christie's sale includes two spectacular diamonds sourced at India's Golconda mine.

The first is called the "Mirror of Paradise," a 52.58-carat internally flawless rectangular-cut diamond that's expected to sell in the range of $7 million to $10 million. The D-color gem is set in a platinum ring and accented with tapered baguettes.

The second is called the "Arcot II Diamond." Weighing 17.21 carats, the brilliant-cut, pear-shaped, D-color stone was one of two earring drops sent as a gift to Britain's Queen Charlotte (1744-1818) by the Nawab of Arcot. The diamond drops were later purchased at auction by the Marquess of Westminster and mounted in the "Westminster Tiara," which was worn by the Marquess at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. The historic stone is expected to fetch between $2 million and $4 million.

The lot with the highest pre-sale estimated price is a belle epoque devant-de-corsage brooch highlighted by four impressive diamonds of differing shapes: a pear-shaped brilliant cut (34.08 carats), oval brilliant cut (23.55 carats), marquise brilliant cut (6.51 carats) and heart modified brilliant cut (3.54 carats). The piece was designed by Cartier in 1912 for Solomon Barnato Joel, who made his fortune in the South African diamond mines. Christie's set the pre-sale estimate of this piece at $10 million to $15 million.

One of the most unusual items in the auction is an octagonal-shaped tabular carved emerald of 84.63 carats. The gem's origin can be traced to 17th century Colombia. Christie's experts are expecting it to sell in the range of $3 million and $5 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Music Friday: Lee Ann Womack Needs to Know, 'Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you popular songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country star Lee Ann Womack sings about a marriage gone wrong in her 2001 hit, "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?"

Womack plays the part of a loving wife whose husband has betrayed her, leaving his wedding band behind. She's heartbroken and yearns to get him back. She wonders if he has trouble with commitments — or maybe he's rediscovered an old flame.

The title of the song evokes a symbol of their wedding "promise" that's suddenly become too unbearable to wear.

She sings, "Did my ring burn your finger? / Did my love weigh you down? / Was the promise too much to keep around?"

Written by husband-and-wife team Buddy and Julie Miller, "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?" was released as the fourth single from Womack's popular CD I Hope You Dance. The song went to #23 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, while the album zoomed all the way to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

USA Today's Ken Barnes picked "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?" as his #1 song for 2001, describing it as "a searing, chill-conjuring performance of a seething Buddy and Julie Miller tune by country's reigning female vocalist."

In November of 2001, Womack performed the song live during the CMA Awards. The performance was so powerful and so memorable that a Billboard critic couldn't come up with the words to describe it.

In his 2017 review of Womack's 10 Best Songs, Billboard's Chuck Dauphin wrote, "Womack delivered what just might be her most dominant vocal performance – so far. Do us a favor. Check out her performance of this song from the 2001 CMA Awards on YouTube. We get paid to write words describing such moments, but damn. Sometimes, there are none that can aptly describe it."

Born and raised in Jacksonville, Texas, in 1966, Womack developed a love for country music at a young age. Her father was a DJ and often brought her to work to help him pick his playlist.

She emerged as a contemporary country artist in 1997 and was favorably compared to Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. Womack has released nine studio albums and sold more than six million albums worldwide. She has received five Academy of Country Music Awards, six Country Music Association Awards and a single Grammy Award.

Please check out her scorching live performance of "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?" at the 2001 CMA Awards. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?"
Written by Julie Miller and Steven Paul (Buddy) Miller. Performed by Lee Ann Womack.

When I gave you my heart
It was not what you wanted
Now the walls say your name
And the pictures are haunted
Does my ring burn your finger
Did my love weigh you down?
Was the promise too much to keep around?

I remember your words and I can't keep from cryin'
I could never believe that your kisses were lyin'
Was there somethin' from the past
Buried in a shallow grave?
Did you think that it was too far gone to save?

Please tell me baby
Please tell me now
You say that I should just go on
Now please tell me how

Now it's just me and the night and I'm so broken hearted
I just wait in the dark here for my dearly departed
Did my ring burn your finger?
Did my love weigh you down?
Was the promise too much to keep around?

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com/Lee Ann Womack.