Friday, January 04, 2013

Music Friday: Grammy Nominee Britt Nicole Sings Her New Crossover Release, 'Gold'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you sensational songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we present Grammy nominee Britt Nicole and her latest release, "Gold," from the 2012 album of the same name.


The 27-year-old from North Carolina emerged on the music scene in 2007 as a Christian pop sensation. But after her third album, Gold, made its debut at No. 1 on the Hot Christian albums chart – while simultaneously gaining a foothold at No. 41 on the broad-based Billboard 200  it was apparent that Nicole was poised for crossover success.

She recently signed a deal with Capitol Records, which plans to re-release her 2012 Gold album in February of this year. The single, "Gold," was released at the beginning of December and is finding airtime on both Christian and mainstream radio stations.

Describing the inspiration behind the song "Gold," Nicole said, “I’d gotten lots of letters telling me, ‘I’m struggling, I’m being bullied, I don’t feel like I fit in.’” To send a potent, yet joyful, message of self-worth to her fans, she penned the song “Gold,” a shimmering anthem of self-empowerment that pairs emotional lyrics with a memorable, sing-along refrain: "You're worth more than gold."

We hope the song inspires you. The lyrics are captioned on the video, below.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Newly Engaged Kat Von D Is Thrilled With Her Black Diamond Ring

Kat Von D, the tattoo artist who literally made her mark for four seasons on the TLC reality show LA Ink, is sporting a new custom-made engagement ring featuring black diamonds in a skull motif. The unusual design is the brainchild of her new beau, Canadian DJ and music producer Deadmau5.


The DJ, who also goes by the name of Joel Zimmerman, proposed to his bride-to-be — sometimes known as Katherine Von Drachenberg — via Twitter on December 15. Zimmerman had planned to pop the question on Christmas Day, but was too excited to wait. He jumped the gun with a proposal delivered via Twitter that included a photo of a prototype ring, not the final design. The prototype had a white diamond center stone flanked by a single skull on each side.


The photo of the prototype ring included a captioned disclaimer about the white stone: "Changing the diamond to a black diamond. FYI. Sorry for the jpg... they'll finish the actual ring soon I hope. I love you :D"

The actual engagement ring was ready eight days later on December 23 and looked substantially different with a double-band design. Two skulls on each side flanked the black center diamond, and smaller black diamonds accented the band.


Kat Von D let the world know that she had accepted Deadmau5's proposal via Twitter: "Tonight, Joel put a ring on my finger — too taken aback by its beauty and its meaning to post a pic right now," she tweeted.

Later she wrote, "Doesn't get any more official," and included a photo of her new ring with a shout-out to the designer. "The biggest thank you to The Great Frog London for handcrafting the most important ring I will ever wear."

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

History of Tsavorite Garnet Reads Like an International Murder Mystery

The brilliant and versatile garnet offers a wide range of possibilities as the official birthstone for the month of January. If you don't favor the traditional red color, you can select from a rainbow of alternatives, including yellow, blue, purple, black, pink, orange and green.

The garnet with the longest history is the deep Bohemian red variety, which was coveted by the ancient Greeks and Romans thousands of years ago. The newest variety, green tsavorite, has a storyline that could rival the latest murder mystery.


Tsavorite's history dates back to 1967 when geologist Dr. Campbell R. Bridges encountered some strange, potato-like nodules of rock in the northeast region of Tanzania, according to an account published by the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA).

The material was deemed to be a green grossularite, a mineral belonging to the garnet family. It exhibited an extraordinarily intense color and had a good transparency. Bridges wanted to bring the gems to market, but the Tanzanian government was going through political upheavals and would not provide the mining permits. Bridges was forced to take a different tack.


The doctor assumed that the Tanzanian deposit was part of a larger geological formation that probably extended across the Tanzanian border — and he was right. In 1971, Bridges rediscovered the brilliant green garnet in neighboring Kenya. That country's government officially sanctioned the mining and exportation of the gems, and Bridges was in business.


In 1974, Tiffany and Co. took notice of the new stone and launched a huge advertising campaign to promote it. Tiffany president Sir Henry Platt is credited with naming the grossularite mineral "tsavorite" in honor of Tsavo National Park in Kenya. Apart from the Tanzanian source, tsavorite has been found in only one other place on earth — Toliara Province, Madagascar.

Bridges' mining operations were consistently threatened by wild animals and thieves. Bridges lived in a tree house to protect himself from jungle predators, and employed a python to watch over the valuable gemstones (the natives apparently loathed pythons).

Despite his precautions, Dr. Bridges met his demise in 2009 when a mob of 20 attacked him and his son on their property in Tsavo National Park. It is believed that the attack was connected to a three-year dispute over access and control of Bridges' gemstone mines. Bridges was 71.