Friday, December 05, 2014

Music Friday: Cancer Survivor Olivia Newton-John Reminds Us That We’re All ‘Pearls on a Chain’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you wonderful songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, Olivia Newton-John reminds us that we’re all “Pearls on a Chain” in her inspirational 2006 song.


She sings, “Every little thing that I am, so you are / And if you look in my eyes / You will see we are souls alike / We are pearls / We are pearls / We are pearls on a chain.”

Since surviving breast cancer in 1992, Newton-John has been a staunch advocate for cancer patients and their families. In fact, in 2008, she raised funds to help build the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

In describing her motivation for writing “Pearls on a Chain,” Newton-John told an Aussie audience that all of us have been touched in some way by cancer.

“Perhaps it’s someone in our family or someone that we know,” she said. “Twice a week, I’ll get a call from someone who has a friend that’s going through it, and in that way we’re all connected — like pearls on a chain.”

“Pearls on a Chain” is the second track on Newton-John’s Grace and Gratitude album, which she released in 2006 and distributed exclusively through Walgreens pharmacies to benefit various cancer charities. It was re-released with normal distribution in 2010 as Grace and Gratitude Renewed. That version charted in Australia and the U.S., with the album earning the #2 spot on the U.S. Billboard New Age Albums chart and #36 on the U.S. Billboard Christian Albums chart.


The Australian-born Newton-John was a 1970s singing sensation with a flood of #1 hits that included “I Honestly Love You” and “Have You Never Been Mellow.” In 1978, she played Sandy Olsson opposite John Travolta’s Danny Zuko in the wildly popular musical, Grease. She was 29 at the time and her character was a high school senior. The four-time Grammy Award winner continues to tour at age 66.

We invite you to check out the video of Newton-John’s live performance of “Pearls on a Chain.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

"Pearls on a Chain"
Written and performed by Olivia Newton-John

Every living thing on this earth has a heart
Every little thing that I am, so you are
And if you look in my eyes
You will see we are souls alike
We are pearls
We are pearls
We are pearls on a chain

Every day my sunrise will dawn where you are
Every night we sleep underneath the same stars
And if we stand face to face
We will see love's amazing grace
We are pearls
We are pearls
We are pearls on a chain

And if you look in my eyes
You will see we are souls alike
We are pearls
We are pearls
We are pearls on a chain
We are pearls
We are pearls
We are pearls on a chain
... on a chain ... on a chain

Images: Facebook/Olivia Newton-John; Grease publicity photo

Thursday, December 04, 2014

14 Lucky Customers Will Win Real Gold Card and 'Starbucks for Life' in Coffee Giant's 'Ultimate Giveaway'

In a promotion reminiscent of the five golden tickets in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, coffee giant Starbucks will be giving away $5,000 hammered gold commemorative cards along with beverages for life to 14 lucky winners in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.


In the 1971 Willy Wonka movie starring Gene Wilder (and the 2005 remake starring Johnny Depp), Golden Tickets hidden in Wonka Bars offered the winners a glorious tour of the candy factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.


In Starbucks’ “It’s a Wonderful Card Ultimate Giveaway,” each grand-prize winner will get a personalized 10-karat hammered gold card and “Starbucks for Life.” The company values the engraved, individually numbered cards at $5,000 apiece and the lifetime supply of beverages at $54,000, according to


Starbucks’ definition of a “lifetime” is actually 30 years, so younger winners may end up receiving a mere half-life of cappuccino, iced coffee and other tasty treats.

(Despite its impressive appearance, the hammered golden card is not functional. Instead, the company will regularly load the value of a drink or food item to the winners’ My Starbucks Rewards Gold Card).

Participating in the contest is easy. Customers using their Starbucks card or the Starbucks mobile app will receive a unique sweepstakes code on their receipt. That code can be entered online at for a chance to win.

Starbucks announced there will be 10 winners in the U.S., three in Canada and one in the U.K. The contest runs from now through January 5, 2015.

Although the odds of winning the grand prize will be slim, Starbucks’ customers have a great chance of winning one of the 482,000 instant prizes, which include holiday beverages and other goodies.

Images: Starbucks, Golden Ticket (uncredited)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

50,000 Facebookers Join Retiree’s Quest to Find Rightful Owner of Engagement Ring Found Half-Buried at Long Island Beach

More than 50,000 Facebookers are pitching in to help Long Island retiree John Farrelly find the rightful owner of the beautiful diamond engagement ring he found half-buried at a local beach.


After learning from a local jeweler that the ring was, indeed, real, the North Babylon resident has been committed to doing the right thing.


Within one week of posting a photo of the ring and explanation of where he found it, Farrelly’s story sparked the action of more than 50,000 Facebook users, who were happy to share the post with their own Facebook friends. New York’s CBS affiliate then jumped on the viral story and ran a two-minute news feature during Monday evening’s television broadcast.


Despite the ring's value, Farrelly never considered keeping it or trying to sell it. “I couldn’t see anything different than trying to return it to the rightful owner,” he told CBS News.

When Facebook user Karen Mulcahy told Farrelly that he is “an outstanding man” in one of the many comments about his post, the modest Good Samaritan responded, “Thanks Karen, but I am only doing the right thing.”


Farrelly seems to have a special appreciation for diamonds, especially the one he rescued. “The stone is gorgeous,” he told a CBS News reporter. “The sparkle that comes off of it in the sunshine is spectacular.”

In fact, it was the radiance of the center diamond that led him to find the ring in the first place. “I just saw that little sparkle, and I brushed around the sand, and there it was,” Farrelly said.


Back in August, Farrelly was packing up his belongings after a leisurely beach day at Robert Moses State Park when a twinkle emanating from the sand caught his attention. On closer inspection, the source of the twinkle was the diamond center stone of a half-buried engagement ring.

He immediately alerted the park police, but was told that nobody had reported a missing engagement ring.

A local jeweler confirmed that the gems and gold were real and that the ring had special markings in the band that only the rightful owner would know.

So far, Farrelly’s publicity strategy has been top rate. Unfortunately, as of last night, the owner had yet to come forward.

Because there’s no way to tell how long the ring had been buried in the sand, the father of five is planning to reconnect with the park police to dig through missing-ring reports that date back several years, according to CBS News.

Images: Screen captures via CBS New York; Facebook/John Farrelly

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

City of Gold Attempts to Make the World’s Longest 22K Chain; Bling Could Stretch 3.1 Miles and Weigh 364 Pounds

As part of the Dubai Shopping Festival's 20th anniversary jubilee, the City of Gold is looking to break its own Guinness World Record by handcrafting the world’s longest 22-karat gold chain. If successful, the "Dubai Celebration Chain" will stretch at least 3.1 miles (5km) and weigh 397 pounds (180kg).

Golden chain over white background. 3D Concept illustration.

The length of the chain is equivalent to more than 11 times the height of the Empire State Building, or 2.5 times the distance of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. The current record holder — a chain that snaked 4.1km — has owned the title since 1999.

Twenty-two-karat gold is 91.7% pure, so the gold value of the chain (364 pounds of pure gold at yesterday’s spot price of $1,215 per ounce) is $7.08 million.

According to Gulf News, the manufacturing process, which is being coordinated by the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group, should take a month to complete and will require the skills of 70 artisans working 10-hour days.

Once created and certified by Guinness authorities, the mammoth chain will go on display at Dubai's Gold Souk (gold market) during the first week of January as part of the month-long festivities that will run through February 1, 2015. The chain display will be 200 meters long and will take six hours to assemble.

Those looking to own a piece of history are encouraged to “book” a portion of the chain, with sizes varying from bracelet lengths to necklace lengths. Every length of chain will include an end link etched with the phrase, “Year 2015.” The chains will be delivered in special packaging with a certificate.

If demand is strong, the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group may extend the length of the chain from 5km to 8km (4.97 miles).


Monday, December 01, 2014

Police Divers Rescue Engagement Ring From the Rapids Near Noccalula Falls in Alabama

When will starry-eyed suitors finally learn that engagement rings and fast-moving bodies of water don’t mix?


In Gadsen, Ala., Corey Winters relied on the kindness of the local police dive team to rescue the engagement ring that he dropped through a footbridge while proposing to girlfriend Stephanie Cole near scenic Noccalula Falls.


Everything about the surprise proposal seemed to be perfect. The setting was romantic, the ring was gorgeous and the ruse that convinced Cole to join Winters on the bridge was believable. He told her that he wanted to share the spectacular view the Christmas lights that had just been installed at Noccalula Falls Park.


But when Winters, an Afghanistan veteran and a member of the 3rd Marine Division, went down on bended knee to offer his proposal, all his best intentions started to turn for the worse. First, he attempted to put the ring — a pretty three-stone motif with a 1-carat diamond center and sapphire accents — on the ring finger of Cole’s right hand.


When his girlfriend corrected him that the ring traditionally goes on the left hand, the nervous and wind-chilled boyfriend fumbled the ring. It bounced once and then disappeared through the planks of the footbridge into the rapids below heading downstream toward the waterfall.


"I saw it bounce about three or four slats over and go between two planks," he told WTSP-TV.


"It was cold and dark and we were both nervous," Cole told the Tuscaloosa News. "I never even saw it. I felt so bad for him."

The brave boyfriend rolled up his pants and got into the fast-moving, frigid water but couldn’t locate the ring. After about 30 minutes of searching, he wasn’t up to his knees in water, he had fallen completely in.

Winters continued his search the next day with a group of friends and a metal detector, but still they had no luck.

Finally, the park staff — noticing the unusual activity in the rapids under the bridge only 30 yards from the falls — called the Etowah County Sheriff's Office, which agreed to search for the ring even though it was unusual for the dive team to look for personal items.


Sheriff Todd Entrekin explained why his dive team took on the challenge: "It was a great training opportunity. There's not many times we get to actually be in rapid water there. And two, it was pretty significant to [Winters] and his family. He kept going out there [into the rapids], so we figured in the long run it was safer if we went out and looked for it."

Within an hour the sheriff’s team of three divers had located the ring. Fortunately, the ring had gotten hung up near a pile under the bridge.

Meanwhile, Winters had purchased replacement ring at a local jewelry store. Once the original was retrieved, the store owner agreed to take back the replacement and offer a full refund.

Winters told ABC 33-40 that it's nice having a memorable story to tell, but he looks forward to a time when he and his future bride are the only ones telling it. He doesn't particularly enjoy the attention.

Screen captures: WTSP-TV; Facebook/The Tuscaloosa News