Friday, December 06, 2013

Carly Simon Gets a Diamond Ring If That 'Mockingbird' Won't Sing; See Her 1979 'No Nukes' Duet With James Taylor

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fabulous songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today’s treat is a rare video of stage-shy Carly Simon and then-husband James Taylor performing their hit, “Mockingbird,” during a 1979 No Nukes concert in New York City.


In the catchy song that is actually based on the lullaby “Hush Little Baby,” the duo sings, “And if that mockingbird won't sing / He's gonna buy me a diamond ring.”

“Mockingbird” reached #5 on the Billboard Top 40 chart in 1974 and was released as the lead single from Simon’s Hotcakes album.

Five years later, "Mockingbird" would be back in the spotlight as Simon (who suffered from stage fright) and Taylor kicked off the high profile MUSE No Nuke concert at NYC’s Madison Square Garden with a rousing rendition of the song.

MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) staged a series of concerts in September of 1979 to bring national attention to the dangers of nuclear power. Among the artists participating in the all-star shows were Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Brown, Bonnie Raitt, John Hall, The Doobie Brothers and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Even though “Mockingbird” is widely associated with Simon and Taylor, who were married from 1972 to 1983, Inez and Charlie Foxx first released the song in 1963. That version was also a Top 10 hit.

Please enjoy the video at the end of this post. It’s a classic clip from Simon and Taylor’s awesome performance of “Mockingbird” during the No Nukes concert. The lyrics are below because we know you'll be singing along…

Written by Inez and Charlie Foxx. Performed by Carly Simon and James Taylor.

Everybody have you heard?
He's gonna buy me a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird won't sing
He's gonna buy me a diamond ring
And if that diamond ring won't shine
He's gonna surely break this heart of mine
And that's why I keep on tellin' ev'rybody, sayin'
Wo, wo, wo, wo, wo

Hear me now and understand
He's gonna find me some peace of mind
And if that peace of mind won't stay
I'm gonna find myself a better way
And if that better way ain't so
I, I, I'll ride with the tide and go with the flow
And that's why I keep on shoutin' in your ear sayin'
Wo, wo, wo, wo, wo

Everybody have you heard?
She's gonna buy me a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird won't sing
She's gonna buy me a diamond ring
And if that diamond ring won't shine
She's gonna surely break this heart of mine
And that's why I keep on tellin' ev'rybody, sayin' no, no, no, no,no

Listen now and understand
She's gonna find me some peace of mind
And if that peace of mind won't stay
I'm gonna find myself a better way
I might rise above , I might go below
I, I, I'll ride with the tide and go with the flow
And that's why I keep on shoutin' in your ears y'all
No, no, no, no, no, no, now, now, baby

Thursday, December 05, 2013

He Had a Heart of Gold: 'Fast & Furious' Actor Paul Walker Anonymously Bought $10K Engagement Ring for a Soldier and His Bride-to-Be

For more than a decade, the staff of a California jewelry store has kept a secret about an actor with a heart of gold, who anonymously purchased a $10,000 engagement ring for an Iraq War combat veteran and his bride-to-be.


In the aftermath of the tragic death of “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker on Saturday, former sales associate Irene King has come forward to share the details of his selfless act of kindness and quiet generosity.


King told CBS Los Angeles that Walker was doing some holiday shopping in her Santa Barbara jewelry store at the same time a soldier and his girlfriend were looking at engagement rings. The soldier, who had just completed his first tour of duty in Iraq, was hoping to purchase the ring before heading out for a second tour.

King said the girlfriend finally spotted a bridal set that she really, really liked, but the $10,000 price tag was way over their budget.


“Honey, I can’t afford that,” the soldier told his girlfriend. Without hesitation, the blue-eyed action star, who was within earshot of the couple, found the manager and asked that the bridal set be put on his tab. According to King, he insisted that the purchase remain anonymous, and then he left the store quietly.

Respecting the actor’s wishes, the staff kept mum when the young couple asked who had purchased the jewelry for them. The story had been kept under wraps for more than 10 years.

paul walker2

"To do something like that for a perfect stranger is just unbelievable," King told CBS Los Angeles.

King’s story drew media attention after she posted the anecdote on the 40-year-old actor’s Facebook page.

During his life, Walker was active in many charitable organizations, including Reach Out Worldwide, which he founded in 2010 to assist Haiti’s earthquake victims, and to send first responders to the front lines of other natural disasters.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

World-Class Canadian Lab Pioneers New Ways of Dating Diamonds and Pinpointing High-Grade Deposits

Representing a huge leap forward in the study of diamonds, the University of Alberta unveiled a world-class lab that has the capability of dating individual precious stones and identifying high-grade deposits far below the earth’s surface.


The 3,500-square-foot Arctic Resources Geochemistry Laboratory is one of the largest and best-equipped diamond labs in the world. Among its $6 million worth of instruments are six mass spectrometers and laser systems that analyze a diamond’s grade and potential richness of a deposit.


During last week’s lab unveiling, professor Graham Pearson demonstrated to the press how he could split a diamond with a laser and then analyze its age by sampling its core and outer edges. According to Pearson, there is some evidence that the age difference between the center and edge of a diamond could be a billion years.


"Diamonds are very scarce even when you're sitting on top of a diamond pipe,” Pearson told the Edmonton Sun. “So we look at and date-indicator minerals, which are far more abundant than the diamonds themselves. We can analyze the minerals and figure out how old the [diamonds] are.”

“It is one thing to find diamonds and another to find diamonds viable to mine,” Pearson continued. “It is like gold: one fleck does not equal a mine.”

Pearson, who came to Edmonton from the U.K. three years ago to oversee the design and construction of the lab, emphasized how important it is for Canada, a resource-based economy, to be able to push forward and develop new frontiers of finding new resources.


“Canada is the third-largest producer of diamonds in the world,” Pearson said. “We’d like to think we can help sustain that.”

Credited with pioneering the first technique for dating individual diamonds, Pearson is also intrigued with the purely scientific aspect of studying diamonds. “They are unique capsules of the deep earth,” he said. “They provide you with unique snapshots of parts of the earth you could never get at.”

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Aussie Couple Kicks Off the Holiday Season With a Marriage Proposal Under Record-Breaking Display of 500,000 Christmas Lights

A world-record display of 502,165 colorful twinkling Christmas lights provided the magical backdrop for an awesome marriage proposal this past weekend in the Australian town of Forrest, a suburb of the capital city of Canberra.


On the opening night of the incredible display — which is assembled at the residence of barrister David Richards — Peter Qin went down on one knee and asked for the hand of Evelin Xu in front of a group of friends, family and wide-eyed members of the public. The delighted Xu said, “Yes,” and the newly engaged couple posed for pictures in the glow of the holiday light show.


In 2011, the Richards earned a Guinness World Record for decorating their home with 331,038 lights. But the record was short-lived. A family in upstate New York broke the record last year when they flipped the switch for 346,283 lights in the small town of Lagrangeville.


Not to be outdone, the Richards family was back in the game this year with another record-setting effort, out-decorating the New York family by more than 150,000 lights.  According to NPR, the Richards’ yard features a canopy of lights fanning out beneath a large tree whose trunk is wrapped in glowing colors.

The extraordinary project is a fantastical labor of love for the Richards family, which includes wife Janean, and children Aidan, 13, Caitlin, 10, and Madelyn, 6.


The family accepts donations from holiday visitors to support SIDS and Kids ACT, two foundations that work to reduce sudden and unexpected death in children. In 2011, the family was able to raise $70,000. This time, they hope to break $100,000.

"The charity is very close to our heart," David Richards told The Canberra Times. "We lost a child, and SIDS looked after us many years ago."


Amazingly, if laid end to end, the Richards' display of a half-million LED lights would stretch more than 31 miles. The fee to keep the bulbs lit for the month-long public display is nearly $2,500, a bill paid by a local renewable energy company. What the family's attic looks like in the off-season can only be imagined.

“I have always loved Christmas,” he told The Canberra Times. "[By sharing] the Christmas lights with the community... you get to know people you probably should know better, I guess. It's like a party in your driveway every night."


The display runs from November 30 until December 26. If you’re traveling near the Australian capital city you may consider stopping by 3 Tennyson Crescent in Forrest to view the record-breaking spectacle.

Monday, December 02, 2013

$2 Million ‘Tanzanite Heels’ Shine the Spotlight on December’s Luxurious Blue-Purple Birthstone

Stuart Weitzman is world famous for his outrageous, blinged out, over-the-top, seven-figure designer shoes. So, to tie-in with December’s birthstone of the month, we present Weitzman’s “Tanzanite Heels,” a pair of evening sandals featuring 185 carats of luxurious blue-purple tanzanites and 28 carats of diamonds.


Designed in 2006 in collaboration with jewelry designer Eddie LeVian, the bejeweled silver-leather shoes with platinum heels are valued at $2 million, landing them on the Top 5 list of the "World's Most Expensive Shoes."

At first glance, the shoes look more like a royal necklace than foot apparel. A 16-carat pear-shaped tanzanite dangles from the diamond-encrusted ankle strap, which boasts alternating pear- and oval-shape tanzanites. Each was meticulously matched for color and size.

The general public got to see the “Tanzanite Heels” for the first time in January 2007 at the New York Public Library. A year before, the shoes had taken first place in the “Fashion Accessories” category of the Tanzanite Foundation’s “Celebration of Life Jewelry Design Awards.”


Tanzanite is one of the newest official birthstones. In 2002, tanzanite was added to the jewelry industry’s official birthstone list, joining turquoise and zircon for December. This was the first time the list had been amended since 1912.

Tanzanite, which was discovered by Maasai tribesmen in 1967, is mined deep in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. The entire mining area is only four square kilometers wide, and it is believed that the lifespan of the mine is just 30 years. Due to its single source and limited supply, promoters of tanzanite say that the gemstone is one thousand times rarer than a diamond.

Tanzanite’s exquisite color is an intoxicating mix of blue and purple, unlike any other gemstone. The stones come in a wide range of hues, from light blues or lilacs, to deep indigos and violets.