Friday, March 29, 2013

'The Power of Love' Is 'Tougher Than Diamonds' in the Smash Hit by Huey Lewis and the News

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today we have Huey Lewis and the News singing their chart-topping hit from 1985, "The Power of Love." In the song, Lewis says the power of love is a curious thing. It's "tougher than diamonds, rich like cream."


Fans of actor Michael J. Fox may remember that "The Power of Love" was featured at the beginning of the 1985 blockbuster film Back to the Future, as Fox's Marty McFly character is skateboarding to school. Later in the film, the song surfaces again when McFly and his group are auditioning for the Battle of the Bands. Lewis makes a cameo appearance in the film as a faculty member who rejects the band. Says Lewis, "Sorry, fellas... I'm afraid you're just too darn loud."

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Lewis and two collaborators wrote the song especially for Back to the Future, which grossed $383 million at the box office. Driven by the film's universal appeal, "The Power of Love" blasted to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and was nominated for an Academy Award. It was also the band's first #1 hit. 

Enjoy the throwback video at the end of this post (It's a slightly abbreviated version of the song). The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"The Power of Love"

Written by Johnny Colla, Chris Hayes and Huey Lewis. Performed by Huey Lewis and the News.

The power of love is a curious thing
Make a one man weep, make another man sing
Change a hawk to a little white dove
More than a feeling that's the power of love

Tougher than diamonds, rich like cream
Stronger and harder than a bad girl's dream
Make a bad one good make a wrong one right
Power of love that keeps you home at night

You don't need money, don't take fame
Don't need no credit card to ride this train
It's strong and it's sudden and it's cruel sometimes
But it might just save your life
That's the power of love
That's the power of love

First time you feel it, it might make you sad
Next time you feel it, it might make you mad
But you'll be glad baby when you've found
That's the power makes the world go'round

And it don't take money, don't take fame
Don't need no credit card to ride this train
It's strong and it's sudden it can be cruel sometimes
But it might just save your life

They say that all in love is fair
Yeah, but you don't care
But you know what to do
When it gets hold of you
And with a little help from above
You feel the power of love
You feel the power of love
Can you feel it?

It don't take money and it don't take fame
Don't need no credit card to ride this train
Tougher than diamonds and stronger than steel
You won't feel nothin' till you feel
You feel the power, just the power of love
That's the power, that's the power of love
You feel the power of love
You feel the power of love
Feel the power of love

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Homeless Man Who Returned Diamond Ring Reunites With Family on National TV, Set to Collect $189,000

Billy Ray Harris, the homeless man from Kansas City, Mo., who showed tremendous integrity by returning a diamond-and-platinum engagement ring that was accidentally dropped into his change cup back in February, is now an international celebrity.

On Sunday, Harris was reunited with his family on NBC's Today show and a fundraiser established in his honor has received 8,280 donations for a total of $189,000... and counting.


His quintessential rags-to-riches story is not only heartwarming, but attests to the amazing powers of the Internet and social media.

To recount his story, Harris discovered an engagement ring after a woman dumped spare change from her purse into his cup. Sarah Darling had taken off her ring earlier that day and put it with the coins because the ring was bothering her finger.

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"The ring was so big that I knew if it was real, it was expensive," the 55-year-old Harris told KCTV in February. He took it to a local jeweler, who offered him $4,000 on the spot. Instead of taking the money, Harris decided to hold onto the ring, sensing the donation was a mistake and that the woman would come back to claim it.

In explaining why he didn't try to sell the ring, Harris told KCTV, “My grandfather was a reverend. He raised me from the time I was six months old and thank the good Lord, it’s a blessing, but I do still have some character.”


When Darling realized her error, she returned to Harris' regular spot on Kansas City's Country Club Plaza. She told him that she might have given him something valuable. When she confirmed it was a ring, he said, "Well, I have it."

"It seemed like a miracle," Darling said. "I thought for sure there was no way I would get it back."

Darling and her husband, Bill Krejci, were so moved by Harris' selflessness that they started an online fund for him on the GiveForward web site. As of last night, it had surpassed $189,000. The fundraiser will continue until May 15.

Harris' act of selflessness drew international attention as his story went viral on both the Internet and TV news shows, including a segment on Sunday's Today show, where producers assembled a surprise family reunion.

"This is a really big surprise," Harris said during a joyous reunion with his four siblings. "I'm in shock." Harris hadn't seen or spoken with his siblings in more than a decade.

The world is much brighter for Harris since the diamond ring landed in his cup. "This is a big payoff," said a visibly emotional Harris. "Got it all right here now."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

At the Center of This $100M Peacock Brooch Is a Rare 20-Carat Deep Blue Diamond

At barely four inches tall, this impressive pink peacock proudly parades the priciest plumage you may ever see.

At the center of the brooch is a 20.02-carat fancy deep blue pear-shape diamond, one of the rarest blue diamonds in the world. And adorning the tail feathers is a vivid array of white, pink, yellow, orange, green and blue diamonds in various sizes and shapes. The tip of each feather is set with a cluster of white diamonds that look like a flowery bloom.


In total, the Peacock Brooch by London-based Graff boasts 1,305 diamonds weighing a total of 120.81 carats. The price: $100 million.

Beyond the beauty of the piece, it was also cleverly designed for wearability. The rose gold brooch features a special clasp on the back that allows the blue diamond centerpiece to be removed and worn two ways.

The Peacock Brooch made its first public appearance at the TEFAF art and antiques fair in Maastricht, Netherlands, last week.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

'Simple' Engagement Ring Given by a Young Napoleon to Josephine Shatters Pre-Auction Estimate, Sells for $949,000

In a spectacular 15-minute bidding session, a simple 18th century "toi et moi" (you and me) engagement ring that a 26-year-old Napoleon bought for his fianceĆ© Josephine in 1796 shattered auction estimates and was sold to an anonymous bidder for $949,000, according to ABC News. The presale estimate was a paltry $20,000.


The Osenat at Fontainebleau auction house in France did not have great expectations for the "unimpressive" piece, even though it had belonged to a future emperor and empress. The ring features two tear-shaped gemstones – one diamond and one sapphire — set in opposite directions. The carat weight of the two gems is little less than a carat each.

"In my wildest dreams, I did not think we would outsell the estimate by more than 47 times," said Osenat's Emily Villane. The auction house clearly miscalculated the premium bidders would pay for the Napoleon and Josephine provenance.


There was intense interest in the ring, Osenat said. In addition to the 300 bidders in the Fontainebleau auction house, about 50 more international buyers were connected by phone, and dozens more by email. Bidding started at 10,000 euros, but was quickly raised to 50,000 euros. From then on, the bidding accelerated by increments of 10,000 during the 15-minute bidding war. "When the hammer went down at 730,000 euros there was a huge applause," Villane said.

The size of the gems and style of the ring reflected Napoleon's status in 1796 — eight years before he would become emperor. Although he was a young and promising officer, he was not very wealthy when he proposed to Josephine de Beauharnais, who was six years his senior and a widow with two children.

They wed shortly after the engagement, but the honeymoon lasted less than two days. Napoleon was called on to lead the French army on its successful invasion of Italy. Still smitten, Napoleon would often write to Josephine twice a day. Josephine, on the other hand, remained in Paris, where she tended her children and had an affair with Lt. Hippolyte Charles.

The marriage would end in a divorce, but Josephine kept the beloved engagement ring and passed it down to her daughter, who would later become the Queen of Holland.

More recently, the ring was part of a collection that was owned by Victor Napoleon and his wife, the Princess Clementine of Belgium, who later passed the items down in the family, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Monday, March 25, 2013

83-Year-Old Is on a Mission to Replicate 29 of the World's Most Famous Diamonds

Since the age of 69, Chuck Wilson has been on a mission to replicate 29 of the world's most famous diamonds, including the Hope Diamond and the Star of the South. Now, 14 years later, the 83-year-old gem aficionado from Loveland, Colo., has logged countless hours at his grinding wheel and counts 22 cubic zirconia replicas in his collection.
With only seven replicas to go, Wilson told he's confident that he can complete his labor of love. "Hopefully, I'll live a few more years to do this," he said.
When a reporter asked him why faceting diamonds is "his thing," Wilson answered, "I'm proud of what I do. People look at my work and say, "How did you do this?"
"Everybody can't do it," he added. "It's something that takes a little skill and patience –mostly patience. And, it takes a long time."
How long, exactly? Well, Wilson's replica of the 245-carat Jubilee Diamond took two years to complete.
The task of imitating a famous diamond starts with a schematic rendering of the original. This includes all the facets, angles and measurements. Then, he uses a chunk of cubic zirconia. Cutting the CZ material on a band saw attains the basic shape. Then, the faceting begins with a series of ever-finer grits of industrial-grade diamonds bonded to a grinding wheel. The process slowly hones away the excess material.
"It's all about angles and indices," said the octogenarian as he demonstrated his skill on a Facetron machine, a device his uses for cutting facets – or flat planes – on a gemstone. "It takes a lot of looking; each facet you have to grind a little bit and look. Grind a little bit and look. It takes a lot of time, patience and expertise."
Each finished replica is a mini masterpiece. Although Wilson is proud to exhibit his growing collection at gem and mineral shows, his work is not for sale and he couldn't guess what the collection is worth.