Friday, April 26, 2013

Music Friday: Glee Mashup Features 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend' Injected With 'Material Girl'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fantastic tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today’s installment is dedicated to the legions of "Glee" fans who enjoyed the clever mashup of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Material Girl” on the March 7 episode, as well as their parents and grandparents who grew up loving the original versions.


Sung by "Glee" characters Marley and Unique with the New Directions Girls, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” was originally made famous by Marilyn Monroe in 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Cleverly injected into Monroe's song is 1984’s “Material Girl.” Many will remember that Madonna channeled Monroe in a made-for-MTV number that mimicked the set and costumes of the ‘50s starlet and her male dancers.


The "Glee" cast performed the song for the mashup competition in the episode called “Girls (and Boys) on Film.” The top-rated Fox show, which features the New Directions glee club at a fictional high school in Ohio, is in its fourth season.

In the song, the heroine explains that "A kiss on the hand may be quite continental, but diamonds are a girl's best friend."

If you didn’t get a chance to watch the fun mashup last month, we’ve got the video at the end of this post. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend/Material Girl
Written by Jule Styne and Leo Robin/Peter Brown and Robert Rans

A kiss on the hand may be quite continental
But diamonds are a girl's best friend
A kiss may be grand but it won't pay the rental
On your humble flat, or help you feed your owww ... Pussy cat

Men grow cold as girls grow old
And we all lose our charms in the end
But square-cut or pear-shaped
These rocks don't lose their shape
Diamonds are a girl's best friend


Cause we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

Come and get me, boys
Black Star, Roscor
Talk to me, Harry Zilder, tell me all about it!

There may come a time when a lass needs a lawyer
But diamonds are a girl's best friend
There may come a time when a hard-boiled employer
Thinks you're awful nice
But get that ice or else no dice

He's your guy when stocks are high
But beware when they start to descend
Diamonds are a girl's best friend

Let's make love
Everything's going so well!

Cause that's when those louses go back to their spouses!
Diamonds are a girl's best friend

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Jewelry Found in the Drains of Roman-Era Bathhouses Reveals the Lavish Pools Were Far More Than Places to Get Clean

A recent study of objects lost down the drains in the bathhouses of the Roman Empire reveals that the lavish pools were a rollicking center of social interaction and ladies of the era couldn’t resist wearing their finery in the water. Among the items discovered in the drains were decorative hairpins, beads, brooches, pendants and intaglios (engraved gems).


This Roman intaglio dating from A.D. 212 and held in the treasury of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris is similar to the intaglios found in Roman bath drains.

Archaeologist Alissa Whitmore studied objects recovered from 11 public baths in Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany and Britain, all dating from the first to fourth centuries, and concluded that these often-lavish pools were far more than places to get clean.

“It was really a place to see and be seen,” the doctoral candidate in archaeology at the University of Iowa told “It makes sense that even if you had to take off your fancy clothes, you would still show off your status through your fancy jewelry.”


Whitmore surmised that dips into hot or cold bathhouse water could have loosened jewelry adhesives and caused metal settings to expand and contract. As a result, some high-style Romans emerged from their leisurely baths minus their fine jewelry.

There also could have been a more practical reason for the bath bling. “Bathers may have held onto their jewelry in the pools to prevent the valuables from being stolen,” Whitmore said.

Vanity items found in the bathhouse drains included perfume vials, nail cleaners, tweezers and flasks for holding oils. Bathers were clearly allowed to eat snacks in the pool as Whitmore found an abundance of plates, cups, mussel shells and animal bones in the drains. Some less-expected finds included teeth and scalpels, which led Whitmore to wonder if dental work and medical procedures were performed in the bathhouses, as well.

Intaglio credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen. Roman bath credit: Flyin Z

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Alexis Bledel's New Engagement Ring Stirs Debate Over the Shape of the Diamond

Former Gilmore Girls star Alexis Bledel is sporting a brand new engagement ring bestowed upon her by Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser. The vintage-inspired design features an impressive bezel-set diamond set upon a simple platinum band, but is it a conventional round brilliant or a highly unusual modified octagonal brilliant?


When Bledel hit the red carpet last week for the premiere of her new made-for-TV movie, Remember Sunday, the celebrity press finally got a good look at the engagement ring she accepted from Kartheiser about a month ago. Bledel was quick to offer that her beau was the genius behind the ring. “Vincent picked it out!” she reportedly exclaimed.

Instead of being prong set, Bledel’s diamond stunner has a distinctive octagonal-shaped bezel that frames the diamond in elegant platinum.

Instantly, the Internet started buzzing about the unique design and stunning diamond. described the center stone as a “gigantic round-cut diamond,” and Us Weekly agreed that it was a “massive round-cut diamond on a simple platinum band.”


But we believe got it right when its columnist stated it was “an octagonal diamond” set in a band with pavĂ© stones decorating the sides.

The octagonal shape is formally referred to as a modified octagonal brilliant cut. It has faceting similar to a round brilliant diamond, but has eight equal sides. We believe the shape of the stone likely matches the contour of the bezel.

Bledel and Kartheiser broke the news of their engagement in March after nearly a year of dating. The 31-year-old actress guest-starred as the mentally unstable mistress of Kartheiser’s character, Pete Campbell, during Season 5 of Mad Men.

When asked about his recent engagement, the 33-year-old actor told Us Weekly, “I’m a very lucky man.”

Bledel Ring Close-up Credit: Gregg DeGuire/

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Well-Heeled Redefined: $420,000 Diamond Shoe Sets Record As the World's Priciest

Sparkling with 21.18 carats of hand-applied diamonds and recently auctioned for $420,000, this stunning example of precision craftsmanship is now in the record books as the most expensive shoe ever. New Zealand’s top shoe designer Kathryn Wilson conceived the pretty pump, simply called “The Diamond Shoe,” to benefit Ronald McDonald House children’s charity, for which she is an ambassador.


Fit for a princess, the single classic court-heeled shoe took more than 50 hours to complete. Using tweezers and a special adhesive, Wilson painstakingly placed hundreds of diamonds of various sizes into a predetermined pattern that she hand sketched onto the white shoes with a pencil, according to The Daily Mail.


Wilson explained that the project was very complex because she had to determine how many carats of diamonds were required and how much space she would need for the lace and embellishments.

Collaborating on “The Diamond Shoe” was Sarah Hutchings of Auckland-based luxury retailer Orsini Fine Jewellery. “Like most women, I have a lifelong love of shoes,” Hutchings told “Creating a dream shoe appealed to the princess inside me and, I'm sure, most girls out there."

The high value of the shoe required Wilson to hire a security team. “I had two security guards in cars follow me at all times when I was transporting the diamonds and shoe,” she told The Daily Mail. “It was quite exciting, like being in a James Bond movie.”

Monday, April 22, 2013

Rare 25.5-Carat Blue Diamond Is the Latest Treasure to Be Harvested From the Legendary Cullinan Mine

An extraordinarily rare 25.5-carat blue diamond worth about $10 million is the latest treasure to be harvested from South Africa's legendary Cullinan Diamond Mine, which has been producing world-class gemstones for the past 111 years.


The most famous gem to emerge from the Cullinan mine is the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found — the "Cullinan Diamond" at 3,106.75 carats. Other magnificent Cullinan-sourced gems include the 545-carat "Golden Jubilee" and the 530-carat "Great Star of Africa." Over its history, the Cullinan mine has produced more than 750 diamonds weighing more than 100 carats and is considered to be the most important source of blue diamonds in the world.


According to a spokesman for mine owner Petra Diamonds Ltd., the 25.5-carat blue rough diamond is considered to be a “high-quality gem diamond of top color.” The company believes that once the rough diamond is cut, it could yield close to $10 million.


That estimate is based on the history of a previously discovered fancy vivid blue diamond that weighed 26.6 carats in its rough state and was cut into an internally flawless 7.03 carat polished stone. That diamond, also sourced from the Cullinan mine, fetched $9.5 million at a Sotheby's auction in 2009 and was subsequently named the "Star of Josephine." At the time, it scored an auction record for the highest price paid per carat for any gemstone.

Colored diamonds are extremely rare, and collectors have been paying top dollar at recent auctions. Just last week, we reported on the sale of the "Princie Diamond," a 34.65-carat pink gem that sold for $39.3 million. It was the second-highest price ever paid for a gemstone at auction.