Friday, January 10, 2014

Music Friday: Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba Uses Diamond Imagery in 'Spider-Man 2' Theme Song, 'Vindicated'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today we present “Vindicated,” a tune very familiar to the legions of Spider-Man fans from around the world. Heightened by diamond imagery, “Vindicated" is the inspirational theme song of Spider-Man 2, a 2004 international blockbuster that raked in $783 million.


Chris Carrabba, the frontman for Dashboard Confessional, reportedly wrote “Vindicated” in less than an hour after previewing the movie. Inspired by the story of a young man, Peter Parker, struggling to manage his personal life and duties as a superhero, Carrabba penned the powerful lyrics steeped in the universal themes of hope, vindication, accepting one's flaws and celebrating one's strengths.

Carrabba sings, “I am flawed / But I am cleaning up so well / I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself / So clear like the diamond in your ring.”

In an interview with MTV, Carrabba discussed the movie and his song: “There were themes of hope and strife and struggle of a young man trying to become a grown man, and rebelling against what he knows he's supposed to be, and what he thinks he would like to be. And that, if you remove the super powers, is a fairly universal theme."


“Vindicated,” which was played over the film’s end credits, was featured on both the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack in 2004 and on Dashboard Confessional’s 2006 album, Dusk and Summer. The albums were commercial successes, with each breaking into the top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart.

We hope you enjoy the video of Dashboard Confessional’s live performance of “Vindicated.” The memorable lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along. (Yes, Spider-Man fans, we know you won’t need them.)

Written by Chris Carrabba. Performed by Dashboard Confessional.

Hope dangles on a string
Like slow-spinning redemption
Winding in and winding out
The shine of it has caught my eye
And roped me in
So mesmerizing so hypnotizing
I am captivated
I am

I am selfish
I am wrong
I am right, I swear I'm right
Swear I knew it all along and
I am flawed
But I am cleaning up so well
I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself

So clear like the diamond in your ring
Cut to mirror your intention
Oversized and overwhelmed
The shine of which has caught my eye
And rendered me so isolated
So motivated
I am certain now that
I am

I am selfish I am wrong
I am right, I swear I'm right
Swear I knew it all along and
I am flawed
But I am cleaning up so well
I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself

So turn up the corners of your lips
Part them and feel my fingertips
Trace the moment, fall forever
Defense is paper thin
Just one touch and I'd be in too deep now
To ever swim against the current
So let me slip away
So let me slip away
So let me slip away
So let me slip against the current
So let me slip away (4x)

I am selfish I am wrong
I am right, I swear I'm right
Swear I knew it all along
And I am flawed, but I am cleaning up so well
I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself

Slight hope
It dangles on a string
Like slow spinning redemption

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Sports Power Couple McIlroy and Wozniacki Make It Official; Golf Star Proposes to Tennis Star With 5-Carat Cushion-Cut Stunner

Sports power couple Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki made it official on New Year’s Eve in Sydney, Australia, where the sixth-ranked golf star proposed to the 10th-ranked tennis star with an impressive halo-style engagement ring. McIlroy asked for Wozniacki's hand against the romantic backdrop of a magnificent fireworks display over the Sydney Harbor Bridge.


The ring’s cushion-cut center diamond, which is surrounded by a halo of smaller pavé-set round diamonds, is estimated to weigh at least five carats, and experts pegged the value of the ring at $250,000.


On New Year’s Day, Wozniacki (23) and McIlroy (24) reported the news of their engagement with a photo collage of the couple, the ring and fireworks over Sydney Harbor on their respective Twitter pages.

McIlroy went out to his 1.8 million followers with the following tweet: "Happy New Year everyone! I have a feeling it's going to be a great year!! My first victory of 2014 #shesaidyes!!"

“Rory and I started 2014 with a bang! I said YES!,” Wozniacki tweeted to her 580,000 followers.


The couple was in Australia on New Year’s Eve in preparation for Wozniacki’s participation in the Sydney International tennis tournament. The former number-one-ranked player was unexpectedly ousted in the second round, but Wozniacki was still on Cloud 9 as she spoke to the press about her fiancé and their plans for the future.

"He had asked my parents for permission, like traditional, which was great,” she said. “It's a special moment, a special time in our lives. It's amazing to have everything set in the personal life, and we can really focus on our games and the year ahead of us in the sport. I think this was the best possible way to start off the year."

The New Year’s Eve marriage proposal puts to rest recent rumblings in the Irish Press that the couple had broken up. The Danish Wozniacki and Irish McIlroy (also previously ranked number-one in the world) have been dating since the summer of 2011. They have yet to announce their wedding plans.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Taj Mahal Replica Is Clad in Gold and Silver and Sparkles With 50,000 Gemstones

The majestic Taj Mahal — one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and arguably its greatest monument of love — required 20,000 laborers, 1,000 elephants and 20 years to complete. By comparison, it took 45 days for 15 artisans to craft a shimmering silver- and gold-clad replica studded with 50,000 diamonds and cubic zirconia.


Called “Wow! Jewel Taj,” the nine-foot-tall replica was presented by the organizers of the Sparkle International jewelry show in Surat, India, to showcase the brilliance of Indian design and craftsmanship.


Organizers boasted that more than 40 pounds of silver and 3.3 pounds of gold were used to adorn the impressive replica, which mimicked the main mausoleum and four towering minarets of the actual Taj Mahal. A Thailand-based firm donated 35,000 cubic zirconia in 8mm, 9mm and 10mm sizes to support the project.


The “Wow! Jewel Taj” artisans were inspired by their visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra, a 42-acre marble mausoleum complex built in the early 17th century by a grief-stricken Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his beloved wife, Queen Mumtaz Mahal, who died during childbirth.

According to legend, with her dying breath Mumtaz asked her husband to build her a mausoleum more beautiful than any in the world. Six months later, the foundation was laid for the Taj. The tombs of the Emperor and his wife are aligned side-by-side inside this beautiful piece of architecture.


Its original design featured precious gems embedded in its walls. The valuable stones were plundered and looted by the foreign invaders, but the structure remains magnificent. Often called the “Jewel of India,” the Taj Mahal is recognized worldwide as a tribute to unconditional love. More than four million people visit the site every year.

“Wow! Jewel Taj” was intended to be auctioned off to benefit a girl’s education program of the state government, but no bidder was able to meet minimum price of 125 million rupees (about $200,000).

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

‘Big Bang Theory’ Star Kaley Cuoco’s New Year’s Eve Nuptials Were All About The Bling

“Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco’s New Year’s Eve nuptials were all about the bling. From her scintillating halo-style engagement ring and twin wedding bands to her bedazzled finger nail and jeweled upside-down chandelier cake, there were so many facets flashing during the reception that new hubby Ryan Sweeting should have been wearing his shades.


Cuoco flaunted her fashionable wedding bands for the first time while seated next to Sweeting on Celebrity Row during the LA Lakers basketball game on Friday. The paparazzi was able to zoom in on the pretty diamond-studded eternity bands that now complement her halo-style engagement ring. It appears Cuoco chose to separate the normally stacked bands so they could flank each side of the engagement ring.


The engagement ring, which we detailed in a September 2013 post, features a 2.5-carat princess-cut center stone in a halo setting. Round accent diamonds are set half-way around the white-metal band and the ring is valued at $65,000.


Attentive to every detail, the 28-year-old Cuoco accessorized her new bridal bling with a point-tipped manicure and a super-studded accent nail on her ring finger. reported that Cuoco’s nail artist used a slipper-pink hue on the bride’s fingernails and then applied a glittery silver shade on the nail of her ring finger. Over the silver, she applied 35 rhinestones.

And there was more… Cuoco hired The Butter End Cakery in Los Angeles to build a six-tier wedding cake — dripping with purple rhinestones — that would be suspended upside down from a crystal chandelier. No, this was not your typical upside-down cake.


The size, weight and logistics of hanging (and eventually serving) a six-tier wedding cake upside down required six weeks of planning and execution. The cake designer actually used sandbags to simulate the weight of the cake to test whether or not the chandelier could hold the load.


The only things marginally conventional about the cake were the flavors: Almond with toasted almond cream cheese buttercream frosting on one half and chocolate almond cherry with cherry cream cheese buttercream frosting on the other.

On Twitter, Cuoco thanked baker Kimberly Bailey for creating her “magical chandelier cake.” “Literally hanging above us,” she wrote. “EPIC.”

Also on Twitter this week, Cuoco changed her name to Kaley Cuoco Sweeting.

Monday, January 06, 2014

400 Designs by JAR Highlight Colorful, Gem-Intensive Jewelry Exhibition at NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art

Considered a modern-day Peter Carl Fabergé, jewelry designer Joel Arthur Rosenthal is famous for his uncanny ability to “paint” with gemstones. His awe-inspiring sculptural interpretations of flowers, animals, sea life and even a lowly bagel — some 400 works in all — are on display through March 9 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.


Tulip brooch, 2008. Rubies, diamonds, pink sapphires, garnets, silver, gold and enamel. Private collection. (PHOTO BY JOZSEF TARI. COURTESY OF JAR, PARIS.)

The 70-year-old Rosenthal, who was born in the Bronx, but who has worked in Paris under the name JAR since 1978, has gained an international following for his uniquely off-beat colorful creations.

It’s as if Rosenthal is painting with a palette of gemstones. In some pieces, there is a distinctive division between the colors, and in others, the colors blend seamlessly. He creates this effect with his precision pavé work, where he sets small stones so close together that they appear as a continuous surface of jewels.


Geranium brooch, 2007. Diamonds, aluminium, silver and gold. Private collection. (PHOTO BY JOZSEF TARI. COURTESY OF JAR, PARIS.)

He has never been afraid to mix precious and non-precious stones, and is as comfortable working in platinum and gold as he is in titanium or aluminum. JAR produces only 80 to 90 pieces a year, which makes them even more precious.

“He’s discriminating, but indiscriminate in his use of gemstones,” exhibition curator Jane Adlin told Forbes magazine. “So he’ll mix very, very fine perfectly cut, perfectly flawless gemstones with some that are not. He will use lesser-quality stones. He will use lesser-known stones. But the outcome is this extraordinary piece of jewelry, which if you just put it on your dresser or your coffee table it would, in fact, be a piece of sculpture.”


Poppy brooch, 1982. Diamond, tourmalines and gold. Private collection. (PHOTO BY KATHARINA FAERBER. COURTESY OF JAR, PARIS).

In May 2012, philanthropist Lily Safra auctioned 18 of her beloved JAR pieces at Christie’s to benefit her charity. The sale yielded nearly $11.5 million and was one of the highest-profile events of Christie’s season. One particular item featured Safra’s 37.2-carat diamond cleverly camouflaged by JAR in the twisting stems of two poppies interpreted in pink and green tourmaline.


Butterfly brooch, 1994. Sapphires, fire opals, rubies, amethysts, garnets, diamonds, silver and gold. Private collection. (PHOTO BY KATHARINA FAERBER. COURTESY OF JAR, PARIS).

His 1994 butterfly brooch includes an impressive list of materials, including sapphires, fire opals, rubies, amethyst, garnets, diamonds, silver and gold.

This is only the second time Rosenthal’s work has been on public display. The first was in London in 2002. The pieces in the current exhibition were nearly all lent by private collectors.


Zebra brooch, 1987. Agate, diamonds, a sapphire, silver and gold. Private collection. (PHOTO BY KATHARINA FAERBER. COURTESY OF JAR, PARIS).

Critics commented that the show would have benefited from more documentation about the individual items, such as the rarity or source of the gems. But, Rosenthal wanted his visitors to focus on his creations without being distracted by explanatory captions or audio guides, according to The Economist.


Lilac brooches, 2001. Diamonds, lilac sapphires, garnets, aluminium, silver and gold. Private collection. (PHOTO BY JOZSEF TARI. COURTESY OF JAR, PARIS.)

Rosenthal’s partner, Pierre Jeannet, summarizes JAR’s process this way: “At every step of the making of a piece, he checks and corrects. And if at the end his eye is not happy, we destroy the piece. But the piece, finished, is not yet at home; his last look is to see that the jewel has gone to the right lady. Then he sighs, his work is done.”