Friday, July 13, 2012

Music Friday With The Rolling Stones, The 50th Anniversary of Their First Gig, and 'Ruby Tuesday'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fabulous songs with gemstones, precious metals or jewelry in the lyrics or title. Today, we shine our spotlight on what is arguably the most famous rock band of all time – The Rolling Stones. Amazingly, the group is celebrating the golden anniversary of its very first gig, which took place in 1962 at London's Marquee Club. At the time, they were billed as "The Rollin' Stones." They added the "g" later.

The group appeared at London's Somerset House just yesterday to kick off a retrospective photo exhibition commemorating their first half century together.

The longevity and unwavering success of the group is unrivaled in the annals of rock and roll. Even though Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts are in their late 60s and early 70s, they are still going strong and hinting of a new tour.

The Stones have sold more than 200 million records, with hits including "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "You Can't Always Get What You Want," and our featured song, "Ruby Tuesday."

Released in 1967, "Ruby Tuesday" reveals the Rolling Stones' softer, more melodic side. The track hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard charts and was featured on two Rolling Stone albums, "Between the Buttons" and "Flowers." Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song #303 on its list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

The video below includes a photo montage covering the 50 fabulous years of The Rolling Stones. The lyrics are included if you'd like to sing along...

"Ruby Tuesday"

Written by Keith Richards. Performed by The Rolling Stones.

She would never say where she came from
Yesterday don't matter if it's gone
While the sun is bright
Or in the darkest night
No one knows, she comes and goes
Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you
Don't question why she needs to be so free
She'll tell you it's the only way to be
She just can't be chained
To a life where nothing's gained
And nothing's lost, at such a cost
Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say
Catch your dreams before they slip away
Dying all the time
Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind
Ain't life unkind?
Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Surveillance Video Solves Mystery of Missing $4,000 Engagement Ring... Thief Swallowed It

With the help of a surveillance video, police investigators were able to piece together the gastric mystery of a $4,000 engagement ring that vanished at the jewelry counter of a Macy's department store in Sandy, Utah.

Confused staffers couldn't explain how a genuine diamond ring had been switched for a phony. Under police interrogation, the clever con artist admitted that she consumed the real one, let it pass through her system, and pawned it for $600.

Police Sgt. Jon Arnold told ABC 4 that 38-year-old Angela Winters Hardman had been trying on an engagement ring on May 13 with the assistance of a store clerk when the ring seemed to get stuck on her finger. The clerk tried unsuccessfully to loosen the ring by using water and lotion.

Arnold said that Hardman apparently was waiting for a moment of distraction in order to pull the switch. It was not a coincidence that when the clerk looked away briefly, Hardman finally was able to slip the ring from her finger. When she handed it back, the clerk noticed right away that it was a fake.

Hardman was detained at the store, but security officers couldn't find the ring when they searched the suspect. They filled out a report, but lacking any hard evidence, they had to let her go.

When Sandy police investigators were called in to review the store's surveillance video, it was very apparent that Hardman reached into her pocket and put her hand to her mouth before returning the fake ring to the store employee.

During an interview with detectives several days later, Hardman admitted that she had consumed the ring and waited for the "natural digestive process" to occur before pawning the ring for $600.

On Monday, she was charged with felony retail theft. The charge carries up to five years in prison.

Momma always told us to eat our carrots (carats), but this is ridiculous.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gold Coins From America's Infancy Are the Most Valuable in the World

A handful of privately minted gold coins – known as Brasher Doubloons – from the days of George Washington are considered the rarest and most valuable in the world. The most unique version of the 1787 coin, which has the hallmark "EB" stamped on a shield in the middle of the eagle's breast, was sold in December 2011 for $7.395 million.

Considered "the holy grail of collectible gold coins," the Brasher Doubloon netted the single highest price ever paid for a coin in a private transaction. It is believe to be the only one of its kind in the world.

Another Brasher Doubloon, which is believed to be the finest example of one with the "EB" stamped on the right wing, was recently valued at $10 million. There are six of this design still in existence.

The story of Ephraim Brasher's gold coins is shrouded in mystery. Why was this well respected assayer designing gold coins in the likeness of Spanish doubloons? Was he rendering a public service or was he minting and distributing these gold pieces to influence New York State legislators so they would bite on his proposal to provide copper coinage for the fledgling state. At the time, under the Articles of Confederation, it was legal for states to issue their own bills and coinage.

The next-door neighbor of George Washington, Brasher's assaying skills were the gold standard of his day. In fact, he would stamp his own initials "EB" on precious-metal coins to assure the proper weight and fineness. Despite his credentials, New York legislators rebuffed his proposal. With the adoption of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, the U.S. federal government would be issuing a national currency, and Brasher's dreams of providing coinage to New York were dashed.

He did land a federal gig in 1792, when Brasher was called on to assay several varieties of gold coins for the new U.S. government. Thereafter, Brasher assisted assaying gold for the U.S. Mint.

The 225-year-old Brasher Doubloons shown above are in remarkably good shape. The obverse looks very much like the Great Seal of the United States with an eagle holding an olive branch in one claw and arrows in the other. Around the obverse is the oddly worded national motto, "UNUM E PLURIBUS" (one from many).

The reverse side features a sun rising over a mountain in front of a sea. Around the edge is the Latin phrase, "NOVA EBORAC • COLUMBIA • EXCELSIOR." Columbia was a colonial nickname for the United States; Nova Eborac means New York; and Excelsior means "ever higher" and is the New York State motto. Brasher's name is prominently displayed above the word "EXCELSIOR."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rare and Beautiful Tanzanite Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Its Discovery

It was exactly 45 years ago when a tailor and part-time gold prospector named Manuel de Souza found transparent fragments of vivid blue and blue-purple gem crystals on a ridge near Mererani in the East African country of Tanzania.

He thought the stones were probably a variation of the mineral olivine (peridot), but that hunch proved to be wrong. The mystery would be solved in short time once the samples made their way to the gem experts in Midtown Manhattan.

D'Souza showed the stones to John Saul, a Nairobi-based geologist and gemstone wholesaler. Saul sent samples to his father, Hyman Saul, who was vice president of Saks Fifth Avenue at the time. The elder Saul brought the stones across the street to the Gemological Institute of America, whose experts conclusively identified the new gem as a unique variety of the mineral zoisite.

Tiffany & Co. was the first retailer to market the new gemstone, but had some issues with what it should be called. It's official name was "blue zoisite," but Tiffany's marketing experts thought it sounded too much like "blue suicide" so they had to come up with something better. They finally settled on "tanzanite" to honor the gem's country of origin – the only place on the earth where these gems are found.

Tanzanite is mined deep in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. The entire mining area is only four square kilometers wide, and it is believed that the lifespan of the mine is just 30 years. Due to its single source and limited supply, the marketers of tanzanite say that the gemstone is at least one thousand times rarer than a diamond.

Tanzanite’s exquisite color is an intoxicating mix of blue and purple, unlike any other gemstone. The stones come in a wide range of hues, from light blues or lilacs, to deep indigos and violets.

In 2002, tanzanite was added with some fanfare to the jewelry industry’s official birthstone list as it joined turquoise and zircon as accepted birthstones for December. This was the first time the list had been changed since 1912.

Happy 45th, Tanzanite!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Florida Man Watching Fireworks Display Says Silver Medallion Saved Him From Stray Bullet

The old adage "What goes up must come down" almost meant the end for a 74-year-old Floridian on the Fourth of July when a stray 9mm bullet that had been shot in the air by a holiday reveler came screaming back to earth in a one-in-a-million direct hit, clipping the sky gazer's hat and piercing his nose, lip and chin.

The bullet didn't stop there. It exited his chin and was heading for his chest when it finally was deflected by a silver necklace he just started wearing. Richard Smeraldo, who had been sitting on a camp chair with his head tilted skywards as he watched the fireworks display over the ironically named Safety Harbor, says the necklace saved his life.

The silver medallion necklace, which was a gift from his daughter, was recently inscribed with a favorite Bible verse of his mother's: "Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Smeraldo said the impact was like getting hit in the face with a big rock or a baseball bat. "It smacked me in the nose, like, really with a lot of force," he explained. "Hits my nose here, comes off the side, goes through my nostril, comes out here, splits my nose right here, hits this lip, goes through my chin."

The bullet could have done more damage, but was finally deflected by his dog-tag medallion. The bullet split the stainless steel chain in two. The shocked and bleeding Smeraldo wasn't sure what hit him until a friend found the 9mm bullet on the blanket beside them.

His minor injuries required only a few stitches to repair. "If I'd been leaning a little more forward," Smeraldo told ABC News, "I could be gone right now." Smeraldo calls his good fortune a miracle.

"So, thank you mom," he said, looking up at the sky. "I had four people tell me, 'You better go get a lotto ticket, you know.'"