Friday, June 23, 2017

Music Friday: Love-Struck Brad Paisley Forgets the Engagement Ring in 'You Have That Effect On Me'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, a love-struck Brad Paisley is about to propose to his girlfriend, but accidentally leaves the engagement ring at home in 2001's "You Have That Effect On Me."

In the song, Paisley assumes the role of a young man who is so head-over-heels in love that he can hardly think straight. He tells his girlfriend how anxious he's been during the past few weeks — that he's been haunted by the vision of getting down on one knee and forgetting what to say. Each morning, while brushing his teeth, he's rehearsed the lines, but still can't get them memorized.

He purchased the ring of her dreams, but when it was finally time to pop the question, something was still not right...

Paisley sings, "You've had your eyes on a 2-carat ring / I finally went out and I bought it / Right now it's at home sittin' on my TV / Would you believe I forgot it."

Our hero tells us why he deserves a free pass for his absentmindedness: "You can't blame me 'cause it's plain to see that you have that effect on me."

The role of an awkward suitor comes naturally to Paisley, who famously fell in love with actress Kimberly Williams in 1991, but didn't get the courage to call her until 10 years later. Williams starred in 1991's Father of the Bride, and Paisley developed an instant crush when he saw her on the big screen. His feelings only grew stronger when he saw her in Father of the Bride II in 1995. It took another six years before he would finally contact the actress and convince her to go out on a date.

Williams told QPolitical.com that they "fell for each other fast." They met in 2001, were engaged in August of 2002 and tied the knot in March of 2003.

"You Have That Effect On Me" was the 11th track of Part II, his second studio album — a release that rose to #3 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart and #31 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.

Born in West Virginia, Bradley Douglas “Brad” Paisley was introduced to country music by his grandfather, Warren Jarvis, who gave the eight-year-old his first guitar, a Sears Danelectro Silvertone. Jarvis taught his grandson to play, and by the age of 10 Paisley was already performing at his church.

While in junior high, Paisley was doing a show at a local Rotary Club, when he was discovered by a program director for a Wheeling, W.V., radio station. He was invited to be a guest on the popular radio show “Wheeling Jamboree” and the rest is history.

Paisley has sold more than 12 million albums, won three Grammy Awards, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, 14 Country Music Association Awards and two American Music Awards. In 2001, at the age of 28, he became the youngest artist ever to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

In 2010, Paisley performed at the National Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (see photo, above).

Please check out the audio track of Paisley performing "You Have That Effect on Me." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"You Have That Effect On Me"
Written by Brad Paisley and Frank Rogers. Performed by Brad Paisley.

Every morning the last couple of weeks
In between shaving and brushing my teeth
I'd lean on the sink and practice my lines
By now you would think they'd be memorized

But leave it to me to come all this way
Get down on one knee and forget what to say
I'm at a loss, should have known this is how it would be
'Cause you have that effect on me

I must admit I still don't understand
Why I lose my head holding your hand
There's no explanation, no simple excuse
For this intoxication I feel around you

And now truth be known since I've met you girl
I've been walkin' around in my own little world
One look in my eyes and darlin' any fool could see
That you have that effect on me

You've had your eyes on a 2-carat ring
I finally went out and I bought it
Right now it's at home sittin' on my TV
Would you believe I forgot it

But you can't blame me 'cause it's plain to see
That you have that effect on me
Yeah, you have that effect on me
Girl, you have that effect on me

Credits: Image by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

18.4-Carat 'Rockefeller Emerald' Sets World Auction Record at Christie's in Rockefeller Center

The 18.4-carat “Rockefeller Emerald” set a new world auction record for the highest per-carat price ever achieved for an emerald when it fetched $5.5 million yesterday at Christie's New York, which is headquartered, quite fittingly, in Rockefeller Center.

Described by Christie's as possessing mesmerizing color and impeccable clarity, the Colombian emerald was originally purchased in 1930 as part of a pendant brooch by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., for his wife, Abby. After Abby passed away in 1948, Rockefeller asked New York jeweler Raymond C. Yard to disassemble the Van Cleef & Arpels brooch so the individual emeralds from the setting could be distributed among the Rockefeller children. Yard set the center emerald in a platinum ring and Rockefeller gifted it to his son, David.

"This is supremely natural beauty," Rahul Kadakia, Christie's International Head of Jewelry, told CNBC. "This truly is the finest emerald that's ever come up for sale at auction, or anywhere else in the world."

The ring features the octagonal step-cut emerald flanked on either side by trapezoid and circular-cut diamonds.

Christie's noted that the intense color and distinct saturation that typifies a Colombian emerald is illustrated perfectly in this remarkable stone. American Gemological Laboratories described the stone as "exceptional," possessing what AGL calls an "unusual combination of size, provenance, absence of treatment and quality factors [that contribute] favorably to its rarity and desirability."

The Rockefeller Emerald's per-carat price of $304,878 edged out the $281,329 achieved by the previously record holder — a 23.46-carat emerald-and-diamond pendant brooch formerly owned by actress Elizabeth Taylor. That Bulgari brooch was sold by Christie's New York for $6.6 million in 2011 as part of the landmark auctions of “The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor” and still claims the record for the highest price ever paid for an emerald jewel.

Members of the Rockefeller family are often characterized as American royalty. John D. Rockefeller Jr. was the only son among five children of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller, America's first billionaire. During the Great Depression, "Junior" developed Rockefeller Center, an impressive complex of midtown Manhattan office buildings, which he called the "city within a city."

"It's very, very cool that we have this city within a city, selling the stone that belonged to the man who built it," Kadakia told CNBC.

Credits: Rockefeller Emerald images courtesy of Christie's.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Snake Ring Made in Prison by Clyde Barrow for Bonnie Parker Hits the Auction Block

The three-headed snake ring that notorious outlaw Clyde Barrow crafted in prison for the love of his life and partner in crime, Bonnie Parker, will be offered for sale at RR Auction in Boston later this month.

The silver-tone promise ring — featuring green and red jewels — was recovered from their bullet-riddled ’33 Ford Model B by Sheriff Smoot Schmid after the "Sowers Raid" in November 1933. Bonnie and Clyde fled on foot, escaping the police ambush despite wounds to their legs from the bullets that passed through the car. The legendary couple famously robbed banks and evaded the law for two years until they met a tragic demise in 1934. Bonnie was 23 and Clyde was 25.

This promise ring, which is expected to fetch $40,000+ at the auction house's “Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen” sale on June 24, is recorded in Sheriff Schmid’s inventory as “Bonnie Parker Ring (3 Silver Snakes with Tiny Jewels)."

An authentication paper written by New Hampshire-based graduate gemologist David H. Bellman explained that Clyde was a skilled amateur craftsman, dabbling in jewelry-making, leather craft and woodworking. He was also an accomplished musician.

The snake ring he crafted in 1930 while incarcerated at Eastham Prison Farm near Huntsville, Texas, bears his personal trademark, an arrow passing through the musical note "B." The arrow in his maker’s mark may be that of Cupid, symbolizing his love for Bonnie, or it may be a clever, graphical way to spell out his last name, [B]arrow. He likely carved the design from a block of wax and then fabricated the ring from copper using the lost-wax casting process. The final step was plating it in silver.

Among some of the other items known to have been made by Clyde while in jail are a beaded necklace given to his sister, Marie, a hand-tooled leather belt with metal studs and blue and red stones, and his own polished silver belt buckle with a five-pointed Texas Star in the center surrounded by abalone shell. Bellman noted that the leather belt, belt buckle and snake ring all exhibit similar styles of artistic approach and the same level of high-quality, though unrefined, craftsmanship.

The couple's exploits were romanticized in the 1967 blockbuster film, Bonnie and Clyde, with Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty playing the title roles. Bonnie and Clyde captured two Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography.

Interestingly, at the time of her death, Bonnie was wearing the wedding ring that was given to her by Roy Thornton, who she married just before her 16th birthday in 1926. Their marriage crumbled when Thornton was jailed in 1929. Bonnie met Clyde in 1930, and they immediately fell in love. Two months later, Clyde would become an inmate at Eastham Prison Farm, where he would test his jewelry-making skills. Although they were never formally engaged, the three-headed snake promise ring remains a powerful symbol of two of America's highest-profile antiheroes.

On May 23, 1934, Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed by police officers near the town of Sailes, in Bienville Parish, La.

Credits: Jewelry images courtesy of RR Auction; Bonnie and Clyde photo by one of the Barrow gang [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, June 19, 2017

De Beers Launches State-of-the-Art Diamond-Seeking Vessel

Outfitted with state-of-the-art sonar technology and drilling devices, the mv SS Nujoma is ready to start probing the ocean floor for valuable diamond deposits off the coast of Namibia. It's the sixth and most advanced vessel in De Beers's growing fleet.

Mining of Namibia’s diamonds — some of the most valuable in the world — takes place at about 120 to 140 meters below sea level.

The $157 million, 113-meter-long vessel incorporates unique technologies that allow it to sample faster, take larger samples and collect more information per sample than any other diamond sampling vessel. It generates sampling results at more than double the speed of its predecessor.

The new vessel was officially introduced Thursday at an inauguration ceremony, which was attended by De Beers and Namibian officials, including the ship's namesake, Namibia's founding president Sam Nujoma.

“Offshore diamond mining is becoming increasingly important in meeting global demand for diamonds as many of the major onshore deposits have now been discovered," said Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group. "The mv SS Nujoma will allow even more of Namibia’s high-quality offshore diamonds to be discovered and mined, ensuring a strong future for Namibia’s diamond industry, as well as the global diamond market.”

In 2016, Debmarine Namibia, a 50/50 joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Namibia and the De Beers Group, mined more than 1.2 million carats of high-quality diamonds off the shore of the southwestern edge of the African continent. According to The Wall Street Journal, the mining operation yields a handful of diamonds for every 180 tons of material processed.

De Beers predicts that it will take about 50 years to “mine out” the licensed area that covers 2,300 square miles. It starts about three miles offshore and extends into the ocean an additional 10 to 20 miles.

The partnership is the single biggest contributor to Namibia’s economy and delivers more than $781 million in revenue annually. Since 2002, Debmarine Namibia has been the only company in the world to mine diamonds offshore.

While sea-based diamonds account for just 4% of De Beers’s annual production by carat weight, they account for 13% by value. This is because 95% of the diamonds pulled from the ocean floor are of gem-quality. This compares to just 20% of gem-quality diamonds coming from De Beers’s top mine in Botswana. Some experts surmise that the diamonds in the ocean have endured such a pounding for so long that only the gem-quality ones could stay intact.

Geologists believe that many eons ago, the Orange River ferried precious diamonds from the center of South Africa westward all the way to the Atlantic coast — eventually scattering millions of carats across the ocean floor.

Credits: Images courtesy of De Beers; Map via Google Maps.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Newlyweds Reunited With Wedding Rings 8 Days After Tornado Obliterates Their Home

Described as a "miracle that came out of tragedy," Texas newlyweds Ariel and Justin Duke were reunited with Ariel's engagement ring and wedding band eight days after a deadly tornado flattened their home and scattered debris for miles.

Having learned of the couple's plight on Facebook, amateur metal-detector enthusiast and Good Samaritan Nathan Wright meticulously scanned the Dukes' devastated property for five hours before finally scoring both rings.

Ariel told Spectrum News that she removed her rings to do some yard work just before the twister obliterated their small, yellow farmhouse in Canton on April 29.

“Literally our house was just leveled. It wasn’t destroyed, it just wasn’t there,” Justin told ABC News.

In the aftermath of the storm, the couple — who had been married only three months — attempted to recover Ariel's precious keepsakes with the help of some friends, but they came up empty.

Their next strategy was to post photos of the rings to Facebook, hoping that someone would find and return them.

“By the time I had come across [the Facebook post] they had kind of given up,” Wright told ABC News. “It was about eight days since [the tornado] happened and they had a bunch of people out there using rakes and doing everything they could to find [the rings].”

Wright explained that it's very difficult to use a metal detector in an area where debris is strewn everywhere, but the small chance of finding the rings was "worth a shot."

After three hours, Wright's search had yielded just a bunch of bullets and pull tabs.

But then, in a grassy field about 100 yards from where the house used to be, he finally started finding coins and kitchen utensils.

"Then I found an earring!" Wright wrote on Facebook. "I was excited, thinking maybe I was getting in the right area. I was praying this whole time that I'd be to find this ring and give some happiness back to this girl after such a rough week. Finally, I bent down to pick up what I thought would be another pull tab and, BAM, I see the gold ring laying under the grass! I hollered out and thanked the Lord!"

Wright had discovered Ariel's engagement ring. Shortly after, about 30 feet away, he detected Ariel's wedding band, as well.

"I bent down and knew the gold looked exactly like the engagement ring," Wright said. "To be able to find both of those in the debris-strewn field like that was unreal. I’ll remember that forever.”

Wright explained on Facebook how he teased Ariel, by revealing the wedding band, at first, but not the engagement ring.

"I showed her the small wedding band first and said, 'I found your ring!' She was very excited but you could tell she was hoping for the other one," he wrote. "Then I pulled the other one out of my pocket. She screamed and bulldozed me with a big hug! She couldn't believe I found both of them. I'm so happy to be able to get these back to her!

“There is a miracle that can come out of tragedy,” Justin told ABC News. “It seemed like we were on downward spiral, but with him finding the rings, we’re on an upswing and getting on with life. We’re going to see what the good Lord has in store for us.”

On Facebook, Ariel posted photos related to ring recovery, as well as a message directed to Wright: "Thanks again for all of your hard work and determination! It's nice to have some miracles from a tragedy. God sent Nathan out for a reason and we couldn't be more blessed! God is good!"

Credits: Images via Facebook.com/alexis.wright.509.