Friday, December 12, 2014

Music Friday: ‘Your Eyes Are Shining Like Diamonds Tonight’ in 98 Degrees’ Christmas Hit, ‘This Gift’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we feature “This Gift,” a 1999 Christmas season hit by R&B boy band, 98 Degrees.


In the first verse of the song, lead singer Nick Lachey croons, “The snow is falling / The city is white / Your eyes are shining / like diamonds tonight.”

In the chorus of the song, we learn that "this gift" is actually an engagement ring... "Cause I've been waiting to give this gift tonight / I'm down on my knees / There's no better time / It's something to last for as long as you live / Tonight I'm gonna give you all my heart can give."

“This Gift” was the first single released from the group’s third studio album, This Christmas, which sold more than one million copies in the U.S. alone. “This Gift” also was well received, as it peaked at #40 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and #14 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart.

98 Degrees — comprising band members Lachey, brother Drew Lachey, Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffre — enjoyed a monumental run from 1996 to 2003. The group notched eight Top 40 singles in the U.S. and sold 10 million records worldwide.

The group disbanded in 2003, although Nick Lachey stated on the group’s official web site that there was no breakup, just an extended hiatus. Group members pursued other creative endeavors during the “hiatus” but came back together in 2012 for what was supposed to be a one-time performance at the Mixtape Festival in Hershey, Pa.

After the show, group members agreed to get back into the studio to work on a new album, 2.0, which released in May of 2013. They also thrilled their fans during “The Package” tour of 2013 — a series of nearly 50 concerts featuring three prominent boy bands (Boys II Men, New Kids on the Block and 98 Degrees.)

We know you will enjoy the video of 98 Degrees’ performance of “This Gift.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

"This Gift"
Written by Sean Syed Hosein and Dane Anthony Deviller. Performed by 98 Degrees.

The snow is falling
The city is white
Your eyes are shining
like diamonds tonight
And we're all alone
There's no one home
You're finally in my arms again

The night is silent
And Christmas is here
I couldn't ask for more than having you near
'Cause I love you girl (love you girl)
And I always will (always will)
And now I know the moment is right
The moment is right

Cause I've been waiting to give this gift tonight
I'm down on my knees
There's no better time
It's something to last for as long as you live
Tonight I'm gonna give you all my heart can give

I thought I'd give you something shiny and new
I'd try to find something worthy of you
But I realized when I looked inside
There's some things that money can't buy (oh no)

I feel the magic whenever you're near
I feel it even more this time of the year
Cause I love you girl (love you girl)
I always will (always will)
And now I know the moment is right
The moment is right


You know I'll always be true to you
And you know I'm the one you can turn to
Any time, any place, or anywhere
You know that I'll always be there



Thursday, December 11, 2014

World’s Largest Near-Round Natural Saltwater Pearl Sells for $813,750; 19mm Marvel Has Ties to Russian Revolution

Described as “a pearl the size of a quail egg on a cracker of diamonds,” the “Putilov Pearl Brooch” fetched $813,750 at New Jersey’s Rago Auctions on Sunday.


The brooch is centered by the world’s largest near-round natural saltwater pearl, a mammoth specimen that measures 19.08mm x 18.88mm x 16.50mm.

The brooch is framed by 16 near-colorless, old mine cut diamonds with an approximate total weight of 28 carats.

The “Putilov Pearl Brooch” had been owned by the great grandchild of Alexei Putilov, a wealthy Russian financier and industrialist, who carried the 19mm pearl to Paris in the midst of the Russian Revolution in the spring of 1918.

Sunday’s winning bidder was an unnamed Englishman of Russian descent, who made the trip to the U.S. specifically to see the Putilov pearl and take part in the auction. Also in attendance was the Putilov family, who reportedly put the famous jewelry up for auction to generate funds to pay off mounting eldercare bills.

After the brooch was sold, “they were in tears," Sarah Churgin, the head of Rago’s jewelry and silver department, told "They're just lovely people, just so grateful. It’s going to change their lives."

A Pearl Identification Report from the Gemological Institute of America described the Putilov pearl as having a white body color, near-round shape and orient overtone. The pearl is full-drilled, which indicates that it was previously worn as a necklace. The drill holes were subsequently filled with nacreous plugs, according to the report.


The Putilov pearl is estimated to be about 8% larger than the second-largest natural saltwater pearl on record. That pearl, which sold for $1.37 million at British auction house Woolley & Wallis on May 1, 2014, measured 17.44 x 16.51mm.

That specimen was discovered largely by chance. An anonymous woman, who was gifted a pair of drop earrings by her husband, didn’t realize that one of the two was worth more than $1 million.

The earrings had fallen out of style, so she had left them in a locker, forgotten for years. One day, while cleaning up the house, she rediscovered them and decided to get an estimate of what they were worth.

She and her husband met with Jonathan Edwards, the head of the Woolley and Wallis jewelry department. After an examination, Edwards suspected that one of the pearls could be natural. Two independent labs confirmed his suspicions.

Natural pearls are organic gems, created by a mollusk totally by chance, without human intervention. To find one 17mm or 19mm in size is virtually impossible.

Cultured pearls, by comparison, are grown under controlled conditions, where a bead is implanted in the body of the mollusk to stimulate the secretion of nacre. Over time, layer upon layer of nacre creates the deep luster of a pearl.

Images: Rago Arts & Auction House; Woolley & Willis.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Woman Honors Late Husband and His Joy of Christmastime Gift Giving by Dropping Her Bridal Jewelry Into Salvation Army Kettle

An anonymous woman honored her late husband’s joy of Christmastime gift giving by dropping her engagement ring and wedding band into a Salvation Army Red Kettle outside of Boston’s North Station.


Accompanying the three-stone engagement ring and plain gold wedding band was a type-written note from the woman and a 2003 appraisal stating that the engagement ring was worth $1,850. The value of the wedding band was not included.


“I’ve dropped my wedding ring in your Red Kettle knowing that the money from its sale will buy toys for needy children,” she wrote. “In all seasons, my husband was a giver. I especially remember his joy in giving at Christmastime, especially to those in need. To honor his memory, I donate this ring."


The widow continued, "I'm hoping there's someone out there who made lots of money this year and will buy the ring for ten times its worth. After all, there's no price on love or the sentimental value of this ring. But money will help the kids." Instead of signing the note, she drew a simple red heart in the bottom-right corner.


Salvation Army officials were delighted — but somewhat stunned — by the woman’s generosity.

Drew Forster, the Greater Boston Director of Communications for The Salvation Army, said that it’s very unusual for someone to intentionally drop jewelry in a Red Kettle.


"Jewelry comes into our kettles from time to time, but it's generally by accident," Forster told New England Cable News. "This is really quite remarkable.”


Bell ringer Robert Barr was manning the North Station Red Kettle when the jewelry donation was made. He said the woman was slight in stature and probably in her 50s. She dropped into the kettle two envelopes, which contained the jewelry in a clear plastic bag, the appraisal and the note.

Donations made to the Salvation Army are typically used to provide funding for food pantries, soup kitchens, social services and educational programs for children, families and seniors.

For now, the woman has remained anonymous. Salvation Army officials said that they would love to thank the woman in person for her generosity, even if it was done privately. They also announced that they have received a $3,000 offer for the bridal jewelry, with the bidder explaining that he hopes his interest in the rings will inspire others to offer even more.

Images: Screen captures via New England Cable News

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

World's Priciest Gingerbread House Boasts 150 South Sea Pearls, 5-Carat Ruby and $77,910 Price Tag

VeryFirstTo, a British luxury products website, is offering the world’s most expensive gingerbread house — a $77,910 confectionery masterpiece bedecked with an inedible cache of 150 South Sea pearls and a 5-carat Mozambique ruby.


What’s more, cake artist Georgia Green of Georgia’s Cakes — who actually studied architecture — promises to design the gingerbread house to mimic the characteristics of the customer’s own abode. Each custom design will measure approximately 26 by 14 by 18 inches.


In the example shown on the website, the gingerbread house is outlined in white South Sea pearls that appear to be about 10mm in size. Two pearls sit on each windowsill and a faceted oval ruby punctuates a Christmas wreath at the peak above the third-floor windows.

gingerbread3 claims that the 150 South Sea pearls are of the finest quality and that the ruby is unheated. More pearls can be added at an additional cost.

As one would expect from a luxurious gingerbread house that costs as much as some real homes, the ingredients are all top notch, from the organic ginger and Ceylon cinnamon to the Duchy organic eggs, Suma raw cane sugar and Echire butter from France.

“When it comes to Christmas, a gingerbread house is such an iconic tradition,” VeryFirstTo founder Marcel Knobil told ABC News. “And we felt it would be excellent to deliver a gingerbread house in its absolute most luxurious ultimate form.”

The deadline for U.K.-generated holiday orders is December 10. The published price of $77,910 does not include shipping. The deadline for international orders was not published on the web site.

This is not the first time VeryFirstTo has promoted over-the-top Christmas items. The company previously featured the most expensive Christmas wreath and the most precious Christmas pudding, according to ABC News.

For more info on the pearl-and-ruby gingerbread house, visit


Monday, December 08, 2014

‘Marsala,’ Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year, Is ‘Hardy, Robust and Satisfying’ — But Maybe Not

The Pantone Color Institute named ‘Marsala’ — a muted brownish-red hue — as its 2015 Color of the Year.


While the Institute’s executive director Leatrice Eiseman characterized the earthy color as "hardy, robust, satisfying and fulfilling," some critics have compared it to the faded carpeting of a 1970s rumpus room or the curious hue of cafeteria mystery meat.

Each year, Pantone’s experts pick a color that they believe will be popular for designs and products in the coming year. Typically, Pantone’s annual selection shows up in fashion, beauty, housewares, home and industrial design and consumer packaging. The company says its pick is based on worldwide influences, such as fashion trends, art, travel destinations, entertainment and popular culture.

For 2014, it was Radiant Orchid, a tropical purple that was said to emanate joy, love and health. In 2013, it was Emerald Green, a color of elegance and beauty with obvious fine jewelry applications. In 2012, we saw Tangerine Tango, a brilliant orange hue that reflected the energy boost needed at the time to recharge and move forward.


For 2015, it’s Marsala, a shade Eiseman said "embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness."

Eiseman admitted that Marsala is "not the color that swallows the world," noting that it should be used more as an accent.

The Atlantic panned Pantone’s color selection, stating that Marsala’s food implications skew decidedly un-gourmet.


“For a color that shares associations with wine, chicken and mushrooms, the color also summons pfth-sounding glops of mystery meat in elementary cafeteria lunches,” wrote The Atlantic.

The color, according to the magazine, also evokes images of “1970s carpeting that faded to an awkward shade traversing maroon and gray.”

Jewelry-industry trade magazine JCK pointed out that Marsala translates into garnet, spinel and tourmaline for customers desiring a gemstone color match with Pantone’s Color of the Year. Otherwise, Marsala-inspired fashions can be coordinated with complementary colors, such as pink and pale blue, as well as golden yellows, turquoise, teal and vibrant blues.


Here’s a list of the previous Pantone Colors of the Year…

  • PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid (2014)
  • PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald (2013)
  • PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango (2012)
  • PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle (2011)
  • PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise (2010)
  • PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa (2009)
  • PANTONE 18-3943 Blue Iris (2008)
  • PANTONE 19-1557 Chili Pepper (2007)
  • PANTONE 13-1106 Sand Dollar (2006)
  • PANTONE 15-5217 Blue Turquoise (2005)
  • PANTONE 17-1456 Tigerlily (2004)
  • PANTONE 14-4811 Aqua Sky (2003)
  • PANTONE 19-1664 True Red (2002)
  • PANTONE 17-2031 Fuchsia Rose (2001)
  • PANTONE 15-4020 Cerulean (2000)

Color Images: Pantone; Mystery meat: English 1080 blog (uncredited).