Friday, February 01, 2013

Music Friday: Grammy-Winner Shawn Colvin Sings 'Diamond in the Rough'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you terrific tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today we feature "Diamond in the Rough" from Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin. The song is the story of a woman yearning to recapture the magic of her youth.

In the catchy reprise, she sings, "You're shining. I can see you. You're smiling. That's enough. I'm holding on to you like a diamond in the rough."


One reviewer described Colvin's lyrics as "rhythmic words that invite the listener to share in a diary of private thoughts and personal visions. Colorful descriptions and metaphors of joy, despair, dreams and the past let the listener become part of the experience."

The song is the second track from Steady On, the artist's 1989 debut album — a highly acclaimed work that not only launched Colvin's career, but also won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1991. Colvin is best known for 1997's "Sunny Came Home," which earned Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

In June 2012, the artist released a tell-all memoir, also called “Diamond in the Rough,” that she characterized as “a stick-with-it, keep-pushing-through survival story.” The book coincided with her first new studio album in six years.

See Colvin's live performance of "Diamond in the Rough" (video at the end of this post). The lyrics are here if you'd like to sing along.

"Diamond in the Rough"

Written by Shawn Colvin and John Leventhal. Performed by Shawn Colvin

As a little girl I came down to the water
With a little stone in my hand
It would shimmer and sing
And we knew everything
As a little girl I came down

But in a little while I got steeped in authority
Heaven only knows what went wrong
There is nothing so cruel than
to bury that jewel
When it was mine all along
I'm gonna find it

You're shining I can see you
You're smiling that's enough
I'm holding on to you
Like a diamond in the rough

Every now and then
I can see that I'm getting somewhere
Where I have to go is so deep
I was angry back then and you
know I still am
I have lost too much sleep
But I'm gonna find it

You're shining I can see you
You're smiling that's enough
I'm holding on to you
Like a diamond in the rough
Like a diamond in the rough

Snake's in the grass
Better step on the gas
Snake's in the grass
Better step on the gas
Snake's in the grass
Better step on the gas

In my dreams I go down by the water
With a little girl in my arms
And we shimmer and sing
And we know everything
In my dreams I go down
I go down, I go down, I go down

You're shining I can see you
You're smiling that's enough
I'm holding on to you
Like a diamond in the rough
Like a diamond in the rough 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Colored Diamonds Headline Romantic 'Lady Heart Collection' at LA's Natural History Museum

Just in time for Valentine's Day, an exceedingly rare collection of heart-shaped colored diamonds makes its debut tomorrow at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles (NHM). Each of the five diamonds featured in The Lady Heart Diamond Collection is a different breathtaking color: red, pink, orange, yellow and blue.

What makes these diamonds so very special — and romantic — is that they're all heart-shaped, they all boast a color rating of "Fancy Vivid" and each weighs more than 1.7 carats. Each diamond stars in its own piece of custom jewelry that's been designed by Bernard Bachoura especially for this temporary exhibition. Diamond lovers can see this colorful presentation at NHM's Gem and Mineral Hall "Gem Vault" through June 30, 2013.

These are the pieces comprising The Lady Heart Diamond Collection:

Lady Zahira


The Lady Zahira is a 2.26-carat Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond heart uniquely imbedded in a rose gold encasing. Originating from the Zimi mines of South Africa, the color of this diamond is more intense than most vivid yellow diamonds. This perfectly cut heart shape captures the most vivid yellow found in nature.

Lady Orquidea


The Lady Orquidea is a 2-carat Fancy Vivid Orange diamond heart mounted in a heart shaped bezel accented with pavé white diamonds. Pure orange natural diamonds are extremely scarce and can only be classified as such if there is no trace of brown in the stone.

Lady Leilani


The Lady Leilani is a 1.73-carat Fancy Vivid Pink heart-shape diamond set in a modern rhythmic white gold teardrop pendant with pavé white diamond accents. 

Lady Diantha


The Lady Diantha is an internally flawless 2.28-carat Fancy Vivid Blue heart-shape diamond. It is mounted in a heart-shaped bezel accented with pavé white and yellow diamonds. Blue diamonds are given their color by extremely low concentrations of boron within the stone. 

Lady Mandara


Anchoring The Lady Heart Collection is The Lady Mandara, a 1.71-carat Fancy Vivid Red heart-shaped diamond mounted with 5.90 carats of white pavé diamonds. Pure red diamonds are the rarest in the pink diamond family. The Gemological Institute of America asserts that this stone is one of the largest vivid red diamonds in existence. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1794 Silver Dollar Sells for $10 Million; Earns Top Spot as World's Most Valuable Coin

A 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, which was possibly the first of its kind to be struck by the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, sold at auction Thursday for a record-breaking $10 million, according to Reuters. This is the first single coin to break the eight-figure threshold and now stands as the world's most valuable coin.


Legend Numismatics, a rare-coin firm based in New Jersey, bought the coin during a spirited bidding war at Stack's Bowers Galleries in New York. The 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar crushed the old auction record of $7.59 million (set by a 1933 double eagle in 2002) as well as the private-purchase record of $7.85 million (set by the same 1794 dollar in 2010).

"It's one of the rarest coins in existence," said Laura Sperber, co-partner of Legend Numismatics. "Who knows who could have held this coin? George Washington? Any of the Founding Fathers?"


Experts believe this coin holds special historical value and may have been the first U.S. silver dollar ever struck by the United States Mint. Here's the evidence: 1) The metal was polished before striking. 2) The center plug and scratch marks indicate the coin's weight and composition were being adjusted, a practice typical of a "specimen" coin. 3) The front and back dies align. This is unusual for a 1794 dollar. 4) The coin is extremely well preserved, indicating it was handled with special care. 5) The quality of the "strike" (specifically, the detail in the eagle feathers) is far superior to other 1794 dollars.

The coin shows a profile of Miss Liberty facing right surrounded by stars representing each state in the union. The design was only used in 1794 and briefly the following year.

"We felt in our heart that this would be the very first coin to exceed the $10 million barrier in auction and were, in fact, prepared to bid much high in order to acquire this unique piece of history," Legend Numismatics stated in a press release.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Epic 'Skywalk' Marriage Proposal Includes Fake TV Crew and Cameos by 150 Friends and Relatives

Traversing a labyrinth of skywalks in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., Mark VanDyke delivered an epic marriage proposal to girlfriend Kelly VanSickle — with the help of a fake TV camera crew and cameo appearances by 150 of their closest friends and relatives, reported


In a proposal that rivals some of the most elaborate ones we've ever seen, VanDyke takes VanSickle on a walk through downtown Grand Rapids where they casually "bump into" many of their acquaintances. Following them is a camera crew that is supposedly shooting a spot for a local hockey team. The crew convinced the couple to take part in the "production" for $50.


Their journey takes the couple to the exact spot where VanSickle first agreed to date VanDyke after a four-year friendship. Right there under the glow of a spotlight, VanDyke tells VanSickle that he's known her for 1,804 days and that every one has been better than the last. He gets down on one knee, presents her with an engagement ring and asks for her hand in marriage.

Kelly says, "Yes," the couple embraces... but there's more to come.


The couple continues to a second-floor overlook. At the street level, there are scores of friends cheering with lit sparklers. A few minutes later, they are entertained by a cheerleading squad that VanSickle coaches.

The proud boyfriend then leads his new fiancé to a restaurant, where all the skywalk cameo performers are waiting to greet the couple and start the celebration.

VanSickle told the Huffington Post that she suspected something fishy was going on. "We ran into our first group of people, and then the second, and then I was like, 'Oh, man, here we go.'"

How did VanDyke pull this off? Well, he did have a bit of help from Grand Rapids-based Bradley Productions, the creative team behind the Brad and Emily lip-dub proposal that went viral this past October.

Will the Skywalk Proposal go viral? Only time will tell. Here's your chance to see it below.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Origin of Ancient Sapphire Ring Stumps British Archaeologists

British archaeologists are scratching their heads over the ancient sapphire ring featured in this post. They're having trouble dating this rare find because they've never seen anything like this before, according to the Yorkshire Museum, where this piece is on exhibit.

What the experts do know is that this ring is the work of a highly skilled craftsman and that it comprises gold, glass and a large cabochon sapphire. They're guessing that the ring was designed any time during the seventh to 11th centuries.


Putting a more accurate date on the ring is going to require a team of experts, as well as a jeweler who was asked to remake the ring to determine what skills were needed to create it. The elite group, which will include experts from UK universities and museums, will be meeting soon to discuss their findings and put an end to the mystery.

"This beautiful ring has really got us puzzled," museum curator of archaeology Natalie McCaul told the BBC, adding that the meeting may "shed new light on the ring" and "reveal some of its secrets."

The sapphire ring was unearthed in 2009 just south of York by a treasure hunter using a metal detector. The Yorkshire Museum raised £35,000 (approx. $55,000) to purchase the ring.