Friday, October 26, 2012

Music Friday: Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson Are 'Riding on the Diamond Waves' in 'Dreamboat Annie'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you wonderful songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we reminisce about a classic hit from Ann and Nancy Wilson – better known as Heart. The song is "Dreamboat Annie" and it's the title track from the Wilson sisters' iconic debut album, which sold more than a million copies and reached #7 on the Billboard Album Chart in 1976.

In the first lines of the song, the Wilsons sing, “Heading out this morning into the sun. Riding on the diamond waves, little darlin’ one.”

Since its formation in the early 1970s, Heart's appeal has spanned more than four decades. The sisters proved that ladies could rock the house as well as any men. Their popular songs showcased Ann's powerful vocals and her younger sister's prodigious guitar skills.

The group boasts the distinction of having placed top-10 albums on the Billboard Album Chart in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2010s – the longest run of top 10 albums by any female-led band. To date, the Wilson sisters have released 13 studio albums and sold more than 30 million records worldwide.

Just last month, the legendary rock band received the 2,481st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In the video below, Heart performs "Dreamboat Annie" for a BBC television audience in 1976. Here are the lyrics if you'd like to sing along...

"Dreamboat Annie"

Written and performed by Ann and Nancy Wilson

Heading out this morning into the sun
Riding on the diamond waves, little darlin' one

Warm wind caress her
Her lover it seems
Oh, Annie
Dreamboat Annie my little ship of dreams

Going down the city sidewalk alone in the crowd
No one knows the lonely one whose head's in the clouds

Sad faces painted over with those magazine smiles
Heading out to somewhere won't be back for a while

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NY Comic Con Attendees Take on the Roles of Archie and Betty During Surprise Proposal

The second day of New York Comic Con, the huge convention that allows comic book enthusiasts to mingle with their favorite creators, will be a day that Archie fan Debra Montgomery will never forget.

Her creative boyfriend, Jim Alessi, had commissioned Archie Comics artist and writer Dan Parent to draw a special piece of artwork depicting Archie on bended knee proposing to Betty with a diamond ring. When Alessi brought his girlfriend (who looks a bit like Betty) to the Archie booth to meet Parent and collect the special drawing, Alessi was right behind her – mimicking the pose – on bended knee.

When she spun around, she was stunned as Alessi proposed to her in front of an enthusiastic group of Comic Con attendees, bloggers and the press. Of course, she said, "Yes," and the couple embraced.

Commenting about the surprise proposal, Parent said, "It was fun. All I had to do was draw, so it was easy."

Interestingly, Archie Comics fans may remember a six-part series that ran in 2009 called "The Archie Story of the Century." In issue #600, Archie asks Veronica to marry him – a choice that made some fans livid. In the next two issues, the story details their marriage and life together.

But, then in issues #603-#605, Archie asks Betty to marry him and the story follows the couple through their engagement, marriage and the birth of twins.

Fans soon learned that the six-part series was simply a fantasy showing how Archie's life would have panned out with each of his two love interests.

Created in 1941, the forever-young Archie Andrews has been in a love triangle with Betty and Veronica for more than 70 years. It seems as if Archie, unlike Jim Alessi, will have to wait just a bit longer to pop the question.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Spectrum Award Winners Dazzle Judges With Colorful Gem Creations

Top picks in the 29th edition of the jewelry industry's prestigious Spectrum Awards were announced Monday by the American Gem Trade Association.

Considered one of the finest jewelry and gemstone design competitions in the world, the annual Spectrum Awards recognize designers who love to work with natural colored gemstones and cultured pearls.

Standouts from this year's group include a magnificent cabochon ruby ring and a dazzling pair of dangle earrings highlighting a blue-green spectrum of opals, apatite and tsavorite garnets. Here are the highlights of the 2013 Spectrum Awards...

Best of Show: Platinum "Lava" ring featuring a 12.99 ct. ruby cabochon accented with marquise-cut diamonds (1.47 ctw.) and diamond melee (7.40 ctw.). Designer: James Currens, J.W. Currens, Inc.

Best Use of Color: 18K yellow gold earrings featuring opals (36.70 ctw.), apatite (5.92 ctw.) and tsavorite garnets (1.76 ctw.). Designer: Erica Courtney, Erica Courtney, Inc.

Best Use of Platinum and Color: Platinum "Shangri-La" earrings featuring opals (15.86 ctw.) and tanzanite cabochon drops (48.54 ctw.) accented with purple and blue sapphires (2.16 ctw.), tourmalines (4.53 ctw.), tsavorite garnets (.29 ctw.), diamonds (.86ctw.) and turquoise briolettes. Designer: Deirdre Featherstone, Featherstone Design.

Best Use of Pearls: 14K white gold earrings featuring 8.5mm akoya pearls, 9mm white South Sea pearls, 10-11mm Tahitian pearls and accented with diamonds (2.42 ctw.). Designer: Anil Maloo, Baggins, Inc.

Fashion Forward: 18K yellow gold necklace featuring aquamarines (14.45 ctw.), emeralds (7.45 ctw.) and diamonds (1.00 ctw.). Designer: Jennifer Dawes, Dawes Design.

Menswear: Cufflinks in platinum with baroque pearls and multicolored sapphires. Designer: Naomi Sarna, Naomi Sarna Designs.

The Cutting Edge Awards

A sister competition – the Cutting Edge Awards – highlights innovation in the lapidary arts, including gem faceting and carving. Here are the winners:

Innovative Faceting (left): Pink and gold bicolored West African tourmaline (7.70 ctw.). Artisan: Jean-Noel Soni, Top Notch Faceting.

Classic Gemstones (right): Magenta custom-mixed oval/marquise sapphire (3.46 ctw.). Artisan: Stephen Kotlowski, Uniquely K Custom Gem's.

All Other Faceted Gemstones (left): Fancy trillion rhodochrosite (16.02 ctw.). Artisan: Ben Kho, Kho International Inc.

Phenomenal (right): Fossil clam opal (8.80 ctw.). Designer: Naomi Sarna, Naomi Sarna Designs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

First-Time Treasure Hunter Scores a Cache of Roman-Era Gold Coins Worth $160,000

A novice treasure hunter armed with a beginner's metal detector scored a mother lode of Roman-Era 22-karat gold coins valued at $160,000. ABC News reported that the cache of 159 4th century coins represents one of the largest such finds in England's history.

The lucky man, who has chosen to remain anonymous, reportedly bought his low-powered metal detector at a hobby shop in Berhamsted, England. According to the shopkeepers, the same man returned a few weeks later with 40 ancient gold coins and asked the proprietors, "What do I do with these?"

Shopkeepers David Sewell and Mark Becher told the Daily Mail that they were stunned by what they saw – Roman solidi dating back to the 4th century. “These are 22-karat gold, they haven’t got any damage and they came out of the ground looking like the day they were made,” said Sewell.

The shopkeepers advised the man to report the discovery to the proper authorities, and after he received the required permits, he returned to the same location to find more treasure. This time he had the benefit of Sewell and Becher's experience, as well as a new arsenal of higher-powered metal detectors.

The strategy paid off, as the team discovered an additional cache of 119 Roman gold coins.

David Thorold, a curator at the St. Albans’ Verulamium Museum, told the Associated Press that the solidi coins were typically buried as a sacrifice to the gods when the owner was going on a journey or in times of war.

Although the coins were found on private land, experts at the British Museum will determine their final value and whether the anonymous treasure hunter will be able to share in the proceeds.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Victoria Secret's 'Floral Fantasy' Bra Glistens With 5,200 Gemstones, Valued at $2.5 Mil.

Victoria's Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosio gave the world a sneak peek at this year's jewel-encrusted Fantasy Bra – sparkling with 5,200 gemstones and valued at $2.5 million – at a special event held last Thursday at the company's Herald Square store in New York City.

Fans of Victoria's Secret know that the bejeweled Fantasy Bra has been the highlight of the company's high-powered marketing efforts since 1996 and the culmination of its annual fashion show since 2001. This year, the 31-year-old Ambrosio has earned the honor of modeling the 2012 Fantasy Bra at the fashion show scheduled to air on CBS December 4th.

This year's "Floral Fantasy Bra" glistens with 5,200 precious gems, including amethysts, sapphires, tsavorite and rubies, as well as white, pink and yellow diamonds. The gems are arranged in a floral motif and set in 18-karat rose and yellow gold. The bra has a dangling centerpiece featuring two large diamonds, one weighing 12.5 carats and the other 20 carats. There's also a matching belt that has two removable diamond flower pins.

Although this blingy lingerie carries a hefty $2.5 million price tag, it's far from the most expensive Fantasy Bra ever created for Victoria's Secret. That honor goes to the $15 million bra worn in 2000 by Gisele Bündchen. Guinness World Records certified it as the most expensive lingerie ever created.

Although the Fantasy Bras have been promoted by Victoria's Secret as the "ultimate fantasy gift," none have ever been sold, according to The Wall Street Journal, which clarified that the 42-carat Harry Winston diamond embedded on the 2004 bra found a buyer.

Ambrosio is the latest in an elite sorority of supermodels who have worn the Fantasy Bra for the company. She joins a list that includes Karolina Kurkova, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Adriana Lima and Miranda Kerr.