Friday, October 18, 2013

Music Friday: Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard Knows His Girlfriend Can’t Hold Out Forever Waiting on 'A Diamond and a Tether'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Death Cab for Cutie’s lead vocalist Ben Gibbard offers up a tender confession about his fear of commitment in the group’s 2009 release, “A Diamond and a Tether.”


In the song, Gibbard asks the listener to take pity on him because he’s not half the man he should be. He’s been misleading his girlfriend with empty promises and countless bluffs, but acknowledges, “I know you can't hold out forever waiting on a diamond and a tether.”

Our featured song is the second track from the group’s The Open Door EP, an extraordinary compilation of six songs that was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards in 2010 and peaked at #30 on the Billboard 200.

Death Cab for Cutie, which was formed in Washington State in 1997, has released seven studio albums and five EPs. The group’s unusual name was derived from The Beatles’ 1967 film, Magical Mystery Tour. In the film, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band performs a song called “Death Cab for Cutie.”

See the group’s live performance of “A Diamond and a Tether” at the end of this post. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“A Diamond and a Tether”
Written by Ben Gibbard.  Performed by Death Cab for Cutie

Pity, take pity on me.
'Cause I'm not half the man that I should be.
Always turning to run,
from the people I should not be afraid of.

And darling, you should know
that I have fantasies about being alone.
It's like love is a lesson,
that I can't learn.
I make the same mistakes at each familiar turn.

I know you can't hold out forever
waiting on a diamond and a tether
from a boy who won't swim
but who will dip his toe in
just to keep you here with him.

I've got this habit I abhor.
When we go out I'm always watching the door.
'cause if there's someone I'm gonna see
who could outdo the things you do to me.

And I know you can't hold out forever
waiting on a diamond and a tether
from a boy who won't fly
but who will take to the skies if he thinks you are about to say goodbye.

Pity, take pity on me.
'cause I'm not half the man that I should be.
And I don't blame you,
you've had enough,
of all these empty promises and countless bluffs.

'cause I know you can't hold out forever
waiting on a diamond and a tether
from a boy who won't jump when he falls in love.
He just stands with his toes on the edge
and he waits for it to disappear again.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

200-Carat Diamonds Are Evidence That New Mining Techniques to Protect Exceptional Stones Are Working

Mining company Alrosa just unveiled another mammoth diamond — a 235.16-carat beauty — from its Jubilee Diamond Pipe in Russia’s Siberian republic of Yakutia. Only a month ago, competitor Lucara found a 257-carat rough diamond at its Karowe Mine in Botswana. It was the 14th rough diamond larger than 100 carats unearthed by Lucara this year.


Are the mining companies experiencing a run of good luck, or are other factors contributing to the increasing frequency with which these ultra-rare weighty gems are being plucked from the earth?


Alrosa explained that recent technological advancements made at its production facility have improved recoveries and reduced breakage of exceptionally large stones.

Typically, the ore containing the rough diamonds goes through many stages of crushing and processing before it can be sorted and classified. Although diamond is the world’s hardest material, is can be brittle. In the past, larger diamonds could be inadvertently fractured by the heavy machinery during processing.


Said Alrosa, “The integrity of [the 235-carat] diamond is a testimonial to the well-established workmanship of miners and dressers, and a high level of technological equipment.”

The Alrosa diamond is of gem quality, octahedral in shape, transparent and has a yellow hue. Its dimensions are 42 millimeters by 26 millimeters by 28 millimeters. Experts believe the gem is worth between $1.5 million and $2 million. Lucara simply described its massive find as "beautiful and clear."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Diamond Crystals the Size of Hailstones Rain Down From the Atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn, Says NASA Scientist

Diamond crystals the size of hailstones are raining down on Jupiter and Saturn, according to the findings of a NASA scientist. Based on new atmospheric data for the giant gas planets, it is estimated that Saturn’s diamond precipitation amounts to 2.2 million pounds each year, with Jupiter producing massive quantities, as well.


Lightning storms in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter and Saturn are responsible for initiating the process that eventually yields a diamond. When lightning strikes methane the gas is turned into soot, or carbon.

"As the soot falls, the pressure on it increases,” said Kevin Baines of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “And after about 1,000 miles it turns to graphite — the sheet-like form of carbon you find in pencils."

As it falls farther — 4,000 miles or so — the pressure is so intense that the graphite toughens into diamond, strong and unreactive, according to Baines.


The biggest diamond crystals falling through the atmosphere of Jupiter and Saturn would likely be about a centimeter in diameter — "big enough to put on a ring, although, of course, they would be uncut," said Baines.

Because Jupiter and Saturn are made of gas and are hotter than the Sun at their cores, what happens next to the falling diamonds is hard to believe. As they descend another 20,000 miles into the core of the planets, they eventually melt into a sea of liquid carbon.

"Once you get down to those extreme depths, the pressure and temperature is so hellish, there's no way the diamonds could remain solid,” he said.

Baines and Mona Delitsky of California Specialty Engineering presented their findings at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Denver.

"People ask me, ‘How can you really tell? Because there's no way you can go and observe it,’” Baines said.

"It all boils down to the chemistry,” he concluded. “And we think we're pretty certain."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Former Reality Star Lauren Conrad Says Her Classic New Engagement Ring Is the ‘Best Surprise Ever’

Former reality star Lauren Conrad took to Instagram on Sunday morning to post a snapshot of her classic engagement ring from fiancĂ© William Tell. It was captioned, simply, “Best surprise ever.” The ring features a 3-carat round brilliant-cut diamond in a four-prong setting on a timeless, unadorned band.


On her official web site, the 27-year-old star of Laguna Beach and The Hills wrote, "I am very excited to share with you guys that William and I got engaged over the weekend. I am beyond thrilled!"


The Instagram filter makes it difficult to tell whether the band is made of yellow gold, rose gold or platinum. In any case, jewelry expert Shari Fabrikant of Robert Fabrikant Inc. told that she estimates the round center stone weighs about 3 carats. Assuming that the diamond is of VS2 clarity and has a color grade of G, the ring would be worth approximately $50,000, she said.

lauren5 commented that the ring’s design is consistent with Conrad’s classic sense of style — a style that she parlayed into a successful career in fashion design. She is also a best-selling author.


Conrad’s new fiancĂ© is a former band member who is now attending law school at the University of Southern California. The 33-year-old Tell previously played rhythm guitar for piano rock band Something Corporate before leaving the group to pursue a solo career. Conrad and Tell have been dating since Valentine’s Day 2012.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Largest Vivid Orange Diamond Ever to Appear at Auction Could Fetch $20M at Christie’s Sale in Geneva Next Month

The largest vivid orange diamond ever to appear at auction is expected to fetch between $17 million and $20 million at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva on November 12.


Aptly named “The Orange,” the 14.82-carat pear-shape gem boasts a rich, saturated color reminiscent of an orange peel or pumpkin. Its clarity rating is VS1, which means is has only very slight imperfections.


The Orange is more than twice the size of the previous orange diamond record holder, "The Pumpkin Diamond," a 5.54-carat modified cushion-cut gem that sold for $1.3 million (or $234,657 per carat) at Sotheby's in 1997. The Orange has a legitimate shot at achieving $1.35 million per carat.


Pure orange diamonds, also known as “fire diamonds,” are exceptionally rare in nature and hardly ever hit the auction circuit — especially in large sizes. The orange color is the result of the presence of nitrogen during the diamond’s creation.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) confirmed, “In the Laboratory’s experience, strongly colored diamonds in the orange hue range rarely exceed three or four carats in size when polished. [This diamond] is almost four times larger than that size range.”

The GIA also noted that diamonds become progressively more rare as the GIA color scale transitions from yellow-orange to pure orange.

"[The Orange] is great because stones of this nature, of this color, are not just looked at for their size, color, clarity and price per carat; they're looked at as works of art,” said Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewelry, Christie's Switzerland and Americas. “This is, indeed, a great work of art in the world of gems and jewelry."


The Orange will headline the 280+ lots at Christie’s Geneva sale on November 12. Among the other notable items under the auction hammer will be pieces from the collection of style icon Helene Rochas, as well as 130 carats of Colombian emeralds from tin magnate Simon Patino.