Friday, March 01, 2013

Music Friday: 'Brandy' Pines for the Return of Her Sailor Beau in the 1972 Chart-Topper by Looking Glass

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we present Looking Glass performing the 1972 chart-topper, "Brandy." The song is about a barmaid in a port town who pines for the return of her sailor beau. Central to the song is the symbol of their love — a locket that bears his name hanging from a braided chain "made of finest silver from the North of Spain."


Some rock historians believe the Brandy character in the song was inspired by the story of Mary Ellis, a spinster from New Brunswick, N.J., who fell in love with a sea captain in the late 1700s. Legend has it that he vowed to marry her but never returned. Every day she would ride to the banks of the Raritan River and wait for his ship. Eventually she purchased a piece of land that overlooked the river where she would continue to wait for the sea captain’s return until her death.


Interestingly, Looking Glass was formed by four Rutger University students — including lead vocalist Elliott Lurie — in 1969 in New Brunswick, N.J., about two miles from Ellis' grave. The site remains a popular historic site and music-lover destination despite its awkward location in the parking lot of a Loew's movie complex. 

Please enjoy the classic video at the end of this post, and the lyrics are here if you'd like to sing along.

"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)"

Written and composed by Elliot Lurie. Performed by Looking Glass.

There's a port... on a western bay 
And it serves.. a hundred ships a day 
Lonely sailors... pass the time away 
And talk about their homes 

And there's a girl... in this harbour town 
And she works... laying whiskey down 
They say, "Brandy, fetch another round" 
She serves them whiskey and wine 

The sailors say, "Brandy, you're a fine girl" 
"What a good wife you would be" 
"Yeah your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea" 

Brandy... wears a braided chain 
Made of finest silver from the North of Spain 
A locket... that bears the name 
Of the man that Brandy loves 

He came... on a summer's day 
Bringing gifts... from far away 
But he made it clear... he couldn't stay 
No harbour was his home 

The sailor said, "Brandy, you're a fine girl" 
"What a good wife you would be" 
"But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea" 

Yeah, Brandy used to watch his eyes 
When he told his sailor stories 
She could feel the ocean fall and rise 
She saw its raging glory 
But he had always told the truth, lord, he was an honest man 
And Brandy does her best to understand 

At night... when the bars close down 
Brandy walks through a silent town 
And loves a man... who's not around 
She still can hear him say 

She hears him say, "Brandy, you're a fine girl" 
"What a good wife you would be" 
"But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea" 

"Brandy, you're a fine girl" 
"What a good wife you would be" 
"But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea"

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Attorney Faces Felony Charge and Disbarment for Failing to Turn in Diamond Ring Found in Parking Lot

Yesterday, we reported the feel-good story of a woman who was reunited with her engagement ring after a kindhearted stranger did the right thing by returning her lost ring to NYC subway authorities. Today, the storyline flips upside-down as an Atlanta attorney is facing a felony charge and disbarment for allegedly failing to turn in a $10,500 diamond ring she found in a restaurant parking lot.


According to the Augusta Chronicle, Alexia Dawn Davis, 31, surrendered Tuesday to Colum­bia Coun­ty authorities after being charged with the theft of lost or mislaid property.

Davis had found a diamond ring in the parking lot of an Augusta, Ga., Cracker Barrel restaurant on Feb. 7. Although a woman who was with Davis entered the restaurant and asked what to do if she found a ring, she chose not hand it to the store's management. Instead, she said that she would report her finding to the local sheriff's office. She didn't and Davis didn't.


When Jane G. Prater, 62, reported her ring missing five days later, deputies learned from restaurant employees that Davis' associate had commented about a ring.

The Columbia County sheriff’s office published surveillance video from the restaurant on Feb. 19 in an effort to identify the woman who found the ring. The same day, Davis turned the ring in, authorities said.

The Atlanta attorney, who works in the public defender's office, is now facing a felony charge because the ring is worth more than $1,500. Local statutes require that when “a person comes into control of property that they know to be lost or mislaid, they must take reasonable measures to restore the property to its owner.”

An attorney for Davis released this statement: “No matter what shadow the Sheriff and the District Attorney’s office tries to cast upon Ms. Davis’ impeccable reputation and her motives, the legal fact is that she did not appropriate the ring for her own use, which is the crime this statute is intending to cover. When she learned who the owner was through the postings online from the Sheriff’s office, she promptly turned it in. She knew it was valuable, but she had neither sold it nor wore the ring as if it was hers.”

According to published reports, most jurisdictions have now enacted laws requiring that the finder of lost property turn it in to the proper authorities; if the true owner does not arrive to claim the property within a certain period of time, the property is returned to the finder as his own, or is disposed of.

If convicted of a felony, the bar association would likely ask for Davis to be disbarred.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Brooklyn Bride-to-Be Reunited With 3-Carat Engagement Ring After Losing It in NYC Subway Station

A Brooklyn bride-to-be is breathing a sigh of relief after being reunited with the 3-carat diamond engagement ring she unknowingly lost in a New York City subway station — two months earlier.


Thanks to the honesty of a kindhearted stranger who found the ring near a ticket machine and turned it in to an equally honest station agent, Hager Elsayed's irreplaceable treasure is back in her possession.


The teacher assistant, who got engaged in May of 2012, was riding the subway this past November, when she realized her princess-cut engagement ring was not on her finger. According to ABC News, she initially thought that she had left the ring home, but she came up empty after tearing through her apartment. She concluded that the ring must have slipped off her finger on her way to work and was gone forever.


The bride-to-be was devastated. Her fiancé, Juan Rivera, had worked overtime as a fireproofer to afford the ring, and he had gone to many different jewelry stores before finding just the perfect one. 

Then, one day this past month in a stroke of serendipity, Elsayed was passing through her regular subway station when she noticed the station agent who was on duty the day she lost her ring. 

Elsayed asked the agent, Anthony Tiralosi, if anyone in his station had found an engagement ring.

Tiralosi gave her the good news that an elderly Asian woman, who spoke no English and didn't leave her name, had found the ring and promptly turned it in at his booth. Tiralosi forwarded it to the MTA Lost & Found.

“As soon as I saw it, I knew the ring was worth at least $4,000," Tiralosi told the New York Post. "It was a gorgeous ring. I said, ‘Gee, whoever lost this must feel sick.’”

Tiralosa added that he never considered keeping it. “It was never even a thought,” he said. “I told my kids that night about the ring. I wanted them to know the importance of returning something that didn’t belong to them.”

Elsayed has her ring back and couldn't be happier. She's also expressed gratitude to the super-honest mystery woman who turned it in. “The whole moral of the story is there are still good people out there,” she said.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Oscar Winners Lawrence and Hathaway Stun the Fashion Press by Wearing Back Necklaces

Actresses Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway have a lot more in common than matching Oscars after a big night at the 2013 Academy Awards. Both ladies are young, talented, beautiful... and prefer to wear their jewelry backwards.


Sunday night's Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress threw the fashion press for a loop when they both sauntered down the red carpet with necklaces flowing down the back, instead of the front, of their gowns.

Lawrence, the 22-year-old who captured the Best Actress Oscar for her stellar performance in Silver Linings Playbook, wore a billowing Dior Haute Couture gown adorned with a 74-carat diamond necklace by Chopard. From the front, the necklace looked like a simple choker. From the back, the 150 diamonds cascaded past her waist.


The 30-year-old Hathaway, who was named Best Supporting Actress for her mesmerizing work in Les Misérables, wore a Tiffany & Co. Corsage necklace that graced her shoulders and was centered between her shoulder blades, accentuating the crisscross detail on her light pink Prada gown. The necklace was shorter than Lawrence's, but just as surprising to the fashion press, who generally gave the back necklaces mixed reviews.

Giving a thumbs-up to Lawrence's look, an InStyle columnist wrote, "Leave it to her to put a twist on elegance!" A Glamour headline challenged its readers: Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway wore back necklaces to the Oscars. Is this a trend worth trying?

Also referring to the back necklace trend, a writer asked her readers: "Are you feeling the role reversal of tonight's most gorgeous jewels?" A VH1 columnist was a bit more blunt: "Do you agree with this trend or should it be thrown into the fashion rejects bin?"

Monday, February 25, 2013

World-Class Jewelry Once Owned by Elizabeth Taylor Goes on Display in Beverly Hills

If you're going to be near Beverly Hills over the next few weeks, you'll have a rare opportunity to see a small, but fabulous, exhibition of world-class jewelry once owned by Oscar-winning actress Elizabeth Taylor.


Among the eight signature pieces on display at Bulgari's boutique on Rodeo Drive is the 23.44-carat emerald-and-diamond brooch that actor Richard Burton gave to Taylor as an engagement present. In December of 2011, the breathtaking bauble set an auction record for the highest per-carat price ever paid for an emerald. The final price was $6.57 million, or $280,000 per carat.

Upon their marriage in 1964 (his second, her fifth), Burton followed the brooch purchase with a matching necklace whose 16 Colombian emeralds weighed in at 60.5 carats. It sold at auction for $6.1 million.


In total, Taylor’s jewelry collection – sometimes referred to as the Crown Jewels of Hollywood – fetched $116 million to set a world record for the most valuable private jewelry collection ever sold at auction. Interesting, one of the biggest buyers during that 2011 Christie's auction was Bulgari, as the company reacquired eight of its own designs.


The actress, who died in 2011 at age 79, loved gems and jewelry so much that she wrote a book about the subject in 2002. In her memoir titled “My Love Affair With Jewelry,” Taylor wrote: “I never, never thought of my jewelry as trophies. I’m here to take care of them and to love them. When I die and they go off to auction I hope whoever buys them gives them a really good home.”

Other items on display include the first gift Burton purchased for his bride-to-be in 1962 — the "Taylor Burton fiancée ring." The platinum ring features a 7.4-carat rectangular-cut emerald flanked by 5.3 carats of circular and modified triangular-cut diamonds. The piece sold at auction for $3.33 million.


Jewelry lovers will also get to see Taylor's diamond-and-gold sautoir set with six ancient Roman coins and a Trombino diamond-and-platinum ring complete with a 25-carat sapphire.

The exhibition, which opened on February 20, will run through March 10.