Friday, October 04, 2013

Music Friday: Glen Campbell Promises a Wedding Ring in His 1970 Cover of Conway Twitty’s ‘It’s Only Make Believe'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today we put the spotlight on music legend Glen Campbell as he delivers a powerful rendition of Conway Twitty’s hit, “It’s Only Make Believe.”


In this song about unrequited love, Campbell pours out his heart in a soaring vocal performance: “My hopes, my dreams come true / My life, I'd give for you / My heart, a wedding ring / My all, my everything.” Sadly, the object of his affection is not in love with him, so for now, the prospect of them being together “is only make believe.”

Twitty's version of “It’s Only Make Believe” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1958. The song was rumored to have been written in only seven minutes during a concert intermission. Campbell’s arrangement, which featured a rich orchestral accompaniment, hit #10 on the Billboard chart when it was released 12 years later.

One of 12 children and the son of a sharecropper, Campbell was born in Delight, Ark. A gifted guitarist, Campbell earned the reputation of being one of the best session musicians in the business, playing on records by Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, Frank Sinatra and The Monkees.

He got his big break in 1964 when he toured with the Beach Boys, filling in for Brian Wilson after the founding band member became ill. Campbell credited his gig with the Beach Boys (and the high harmonies that were the hallmark of their distinctive sound) with expanding his vocal range by one and a half octaves.

Campbell would go on to become a successful Country and Pop recording star, host his own variety television show and earn a Golden Globe nomination. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. During his 50 years in show business, Campbell has released more than 70 albums and sold 45 million records.

We hope you enjoy the video of Campbell’s inspiring version of “It’s Only Make Believe.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

"It's Only Make Believe"
Written by Conway Twitty and Jack Nance. Performed by Glen Campbell.

People see us everywhere
They think you really care
But myself I can't deceive
I know it's only make believe

My one and only prayer
Is that some day you'll care
My hopes, my dreams come true
My one and only you

No one will ever know
How much I love you so
My only prayer will be
Someday you'll care for me
But it's only make believe

My hopes, my dreams come true
My life, I'd give for you
My heart, a wedding ring
My all, my everything

My heart, I can't control
You rule my very soul
My plans, my hopes, my schemes
Girl, you are my every dream
But it's only make believe

My one and only prayer
Girl, is that some day you'll care
My hopes, my dreams come true
You're my one and only you

And no one will ever know
Just how much I love you so
And my only prayer will be
That someday you'll care for me
But it's only make believe
It's make believe

Thursday, October 03, 2013

French Researchers Discover 7,500-Year-Old Natural Pearl at Ancient Gravesite in Arabian Peninsula

Rewriting conventional wisdom on where and when humans first harvested natural pearls, French researchers have unearthed a remarkably well preserved 7,500-year-old natural pearl at an ancient gravesite in the United Arab Emirates. Until this discovery, the oldest known natural pearl was thought to be 5,000 years old and of Japanese origin.


Measuring about 2mm in diameter, the French discovery has been dubbed the Umm al Quwain pearl in honor of the town in which it was found.

Researchers Vincent Charpentier, Carl S. Phillips and Sophie Méry wrote in the journal Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy that although pearl diving was difficult and dangerous, pearls and mother-of-pearl were highly prized by Neolithic communities in the year 5,500 B.C.


Discovery News noted that natural pearls were often incorporated into the funeral ceremonies of ancient Arabian civilizations. They were either half-drilled for a man, or fully drilled for a woman. In the case of the Umm al Quwain pearl, it was placed on the upper lip of the deceased and appears to have had a ritual role. The pearl remained undisturbed and fully intact for 7,500 years.


The team’s discovery suggests that pearl oyster fishing first started in the Gulf Arabian peninsula and not in Japan.


"Gemologists and jewelers have popularized the idea that the oldest pearl in the world is the 5,000-year-old Jomon pearl from Japan,” the researchers wrote. “Discoveries made on the shores of southeastern Arabia show this to be untrue."


Natural pearls are extremely rare because they result from a set of accidental conditions controlled by nature. When a microscopic intruder or parasite enters a bivalve mollusk, the mollusk protects itself against the irritating invader by secreting layer upon layer of iridescent nacre to envelop it. Over time, this process produces a pearl.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

260 Diamonds, Rubies and Emeralds Bedazzle Chicago Blackhawks’ 2013 Stanley Cup Championship Rings

The Chicago Blackhawks received their 2013 championship rings in a private ceremony Sunday night and, yes, they are impressive. Bedazzled with 260 diamonds, rubies and emeralds weighing a total of 14.68 carats, the 14-karat white gold rings are a fitting testament to the team’s spirit and determination in capturing a fifth Stanley Cup.


Jostens collaborated with the team in designing a ring that brings together the team colors of red, white and black in a beautiful juxtaposition of white gold, diamonds, rubies and antique black enamel. Especially effective was the use of fiery rubies on the face of the ring in order to make the diamond-encrusted Blackhawks logo pop.

The ring, which weighs an impressive 93 grams, is framed by the words "Stanley Cup” and "Champions." Highlighted is the iconic Blackhawks logo fashioned in round brilliant and marquise-cut diamonds set in 14-karat white gold. The marquise diamonds cleverly mimic the look of feathers in a headdress. The Blackhawks logo sits on a ground of 29 custom-cut tapered rubies that radiate from the center in the shape of a circle.


The side design features seven baguette-cut rubies and two pear-shaped emeralds that form the shape of the Blackhawks’ secondary logo — two crisscrossed tomahawks. This emblem sits atop the Blackhawks' stylized "C," which is filled with 25 round yellow diamonds set in yellow gold. Each ring is personalized with the player’s name and number against an antique black enamel background.

The opposite side of the ring shows five diamond-studded Stanley Cup trophies, one for each year Chicago has won the championship — 1934, 1938, 1961, 2010 and 2013.

The engraving on the inside of each player’s ring adds to the distinctive design. Each ring is engraved with the team’s “One Goal” motto, as well as the playoff series results and the opposing teams’ logos.

The Blackhawks’ run to the Stanley Cup ended in a thrilling way. Down 2-1 in Game 6 against the Boston Bruins, the Blackhawks scored twice in the final 76 seconds of the game to win 3-2 and claim the championship.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Newly Discovered Welo Opals From Ethiopia Seem to Display Fantastical Scenes From Under the Sea

Proving once again how creative and artistic Mother Nature can be, we introduce you to the Welo opal from Ethiopia, a newly discovered gem with internal structures so colorful and complex that some seem to display fantastical scenes from under the sea.


Discovered recently in the Welo Amhara Regional State Highland plateau about 10,000 feet above sea level, the unusual opal presents the brilliant iridescent colors of more conventional opal specimens — with a major twist. The Welo opal magically opens up a window to a brilliant underwater world where miniature fronds of seaweed seem to float amid shafts of brilliant sunlight filtering through the water’s surface.


Opal — one of the official gemstones for the month of October — is special because no two specimens are ever alike. An opal's internal structure makes it diffract light, causing the gem to shine and sparkle in an ever-changing kaleidoscope of colors that experts describe as “opalizing." In some of the finest opals, every color of the spectrum is visible.


Almost 95 percent of all fine opals come from the dry and remote outback deserts of Australia, but the discovery of the amazing Welo opal has put the exceptional, but rare, Ethiopian variety on the map.


Interestingly, anthropologists have discovered opal tools in North Africa that date back to 4,000 B.C. This suggests that North Africans — and not Australians — were the first to mine opals.

Monday, September 30, 2013

‘Big Bang Theory’ Star Kaley Cuoco Is Sporting a New 2.5-Carat Princess-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

“Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco is sporting a brand new 2.5-carat princess-cut diamond ring and "flying high" after accepting the marriage proposal of professional tennis player Ryan Sweeting on Wednesday.


The pretty halo-style sparkler features small prong-set round diamonds framing the large center stone. Similar round accent stones are set half-way around the white-metal band. credited Sweeting with picking out the $65,000 ring on his own.


News of Wednesday's marriage proposal surprised celebrity watchers, who had first learned of the couple's whirlwind three-month romance only a few days earlier, when Cuoco and her new beau walked the red carpet at the Emmy Awards in Hollywood.


Cuoco gave her 1,625,276 Twitter followers a hint of the engagement when she posted this tweet right after accepting Sweeting’s proposal on Wednesday: "Flying high, I could literally touch the sky with you..."

Also on Wednesday, paparazzi spotted the actress wearing what appeared to be a beautiful new engagement ring while out on a coffee run in Sherman Oaks, Calif. At that point her publicist confirmed that the couple was, in fact, engaged.

"It's only been three months, but she knows Ryan is the one," a source close to the 27-year-old actress told Us Weekly. "When you know, you just know."

Cuoco, who incidentally played junior tennis before giving that up to pursue acting, has starred as Penny on the "Big Bang Theory” since 2007.

The 26-year-old Sweeting won the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in 2011 and is currently ranked No. 525 in the world.