Friday, July 05, 2013

Music Friday: Sade Sings About a Jewel Box Life, Diamond Nights and Ruby Lights in Her 1984 Hit, ‘Smooth Operator’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you spectacular songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we feature the sultry, silky, soaring vocals of Grammy-award-winning Helen Folasade Adu, better known as Sade. In the original version of her 1984 hit, “Smooth Operator,” she uses all three Music Friday qualifiers to tell the story of a cold-hearted playboy.


In the long version of the song, Sade begins with a spoken recitation that includes the phrase, “Jewel box life, diamond nights and ruby lights.” Because the song ran about five minutes, many DJs chose to use the abbreviated version (about a minute shorter) that deletes the spoken lead-in and starts, instead, with the familiar instrumental saxophone solo and line, “Diamond life, lover boy.”

Later in the song, Sade uses a precious-metal metaphor: "A license to love, insurance to hold. Melts all your memories, change into gold."

The fourth single off of Sade's debut album, Diamond Life, “Smooth Operator” was the artist’s biggest U.S. hit, topping out at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart.

The 54-year-old Nigerian-born British singer-songwriter is the most successful solo female artist in British history, having sold more than 110 million albums worldwide. In 2012, she took the 30th spot on VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music.

The end of this post includes a rare 1984 video of Sade performing “Smooth Operator” in front of a live audience (Yes, it’s the preferred long version). The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Smooth Operator”
Written by Sade Adu, Ray St. John. Performed by Sade.

He's laughing with another girl
And playing with another heart.
Placing high stakes, making hearts ache.
He's loved in seven languages.
Jewel box life, diamond nights and ruby lights, high in the sky.
Heaven help him, when he falls.

Diamond life, lover boy.
We move in space with minimum waste and maximum joy.
City lights and business nights.
When you require streetcar desire for higher heights.

No place for beginners or sensitive hearts
When sentiment is left to chance.
No place to be ending but somewhere to start.

No need to ask.
He's a smooth operator,
Smooth operator,
Smooth operator,
Smooth operator.

Coast to coast, L.A. to Chicago, western male.
Across the north and south, to Key Largo, love for sale.

Face to face, each classic case.
We shadow box and double cross,
Yet need the chase.

A license to love, insurance to hold.
Melts all your memories, change into gold.
His eyes are like angels, his heart is cold.

No need to ask.
He's a smooth operator,
Smooth operator,
Smooth operator,
Smooth operator.

Coast to coast, L.A. to Chicago, western male.
Across the north and south, to Key Largo, love for sale.

Smooth operator,
Smooth operator,
Smooth operator,
Smooth operator,
Smooth operator

Smooth operator,
Smooth operator,
Smooth operator

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

When Continents Collide: Ruby and Jadeite Reveal Secrets About the History of the Earth

An international team of geoscientists report that the formations of ruby and jadeite are clear indicators of two types of continental collisions that changed the topography of Earth millions of years ago.


Ruby, they say, is formed in the places where two continental plates collided, such as Central Asia. The tallest mountains on Earth, like the Himalayas, resulted from slow-motion continental collisions that created the heat and pressure needed for ruby to form.

Historically, East Africa, southern India and Madagascar were home to mountain ranges that are now sources of rubies, according to a research team lead by Robert J. Stern of the University of Dallas. The research team reported its findings in the journals Geology and Earth and Planetary Science Letters.


Jadeite, (the most precious variety of jade) is formed by subduction – where an oceanic plate slides under a continental plate and sinks into the Earth’s mantle. Jadeite is most commonly found in Myanmar and Guatemala, from subduction before India and Asia collided, and subduction between the North America and Caribbean plates.

In some subduction zones, the interaction between the mantle, fluids and subducted oceanic sediments creates jade, but Stern asserts that “Not all subduction zones get jade, and not all continental collisions get ruby.”

Armed with the ruby and jadeite markers, geologists can better understand how the continents formed and make more accurate assumptions on where new sources of the precious gemstones may be found.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Paul McCartney Blesses Young Brazilian Couple With Memorable On-Stage Marriage Proposal and Group Hug

Performing in a massive soccer venue in Fortaleza, Brazil, former Beatle Paul McCartney rocked the world of a young couple when he paused his show to call them from the audience and emcee their on-stage marriage proposal.


McCartney, who has composed love songs for five decades, was clearly moved by a young fan who held aloft a brightly lettered homemade sign that politely asked the living legend to allow him to propose to his girlfriend onstage.

The sign read, "Paul, I want to propose to my love onstage. Would you bless us?" Breaking from the setlist, McCartney told his fans what they were about to see…


"Listen, we have a special thing tonight. One of the signs in the audience was for a boy and a girl. And the boy said he wants to propose to his girlfriend onstage,” McCartney said. “What do you think? Yeah?" Then McCartney gave the thumbs-up sign and said, "We gotta do it."

The couple came onstage and, clearly nervous, the groom-to-be needed a little prodding from McCartney to get into the proper stance to pop the question. Finally, with one knee on the stage, the young man pulled out a ring box and delivered the proposal in Portuguese. The girlfriend said, “Yes,” accepted the engagement ring and embraced her new fiancĂ©.


Caught up in the moment, McCartney jumped in for a three-way hug. After the hug, the bride-to-be gave an extra little kiss to her favorite Beatle.

The 71-year-old McCartney, whose Brazilian show is part of his three-continent “Out There” tour that continues through the summer, seemed to relish the moment.

After 50 years of touring, one would assume that McCartney has seen it all, but that's apparently not true. As the ecstatic couple exited the stage, McCartney collecting himself, grabbed the microphone, turned to the audience and said, “Oh yeah, that's a first."

Watch the video of this romantic and memorable event, below.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Elizabeth Taylor’s ‘Perfect’ Ruby Is an Auction Record-Breaker; Was a Christmas Gift From Richard Burton in 1968

When Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection hit Christie’s auction block late in 2011, one of the six record-breaking lots was a stunning 8.24-carat ruby-and-diamond ring — a Christmas present given to the actress by then-husband Richard Burton in 1968. In honor of July’s official birthstone, let’s take a closer look at what Burton promised would be the “perfect” ruby.


Ruby symbolizes deep and passionate love, so it was very appropriate that Burton promised Taylor early in their marriage that he would buy her a special ruby, one with perfect red color. “But it has to be perfect,” he warned.


Four years later, in 1968, he delivered on his promise when he tucked a small box from Van Cleef & Arpels into the bottom of her Christmas stocking. The box was so small that she missed it at first and had to be reminded later by her daughter, Liza, that there was something special that she still needed to open.


Commenting on the Burmese ruby and diamond ring, Taylor said, “It was the most perfect colored stone I’d ever seen.”

Bidders at the 2011 Christie’s auction clearly agreed as the same ruby-and-diamond ring sold for $4.2 million and set a per-carat record for a ruby at $512,925. The winning bid crushed the pre-sale estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million.


In total, Taylor’s landmark collection of 80 baubles netted $115.9 million (an auction record), with 24 lots selling for more than $1 million and six lots selling for more than $5 million.

Among the other records set during the sale were the highest price ever paid for a pearl jewel ($11.8 million), highest price paid per carat for a colorless diamond ($8.8 million), highest price ever paid for an Indian jewel ($8.8 million), highest price paid for an emerald jewel ($6.6 million), and the highest price paid for natural pearl earrings ($1.9 million).