Friday, February 06, 2015

Music Friday: Stevie Wonder Sings About Preserving the Wonders of Youth in ‘The Outsiders’ Theme Song, ‘Stay Gold’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we have the legendary Stevie Wonder singing “Stay Gold,” a beautiful ballad he co-wrote for the 1983 cult movie classic, The Outsiders.


In the song inspired by Robert Frost's 1923 poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” Wonder sings about striving to hold onto the wondrous, pure, innocent and exciting “goldenness” of youth.

“Stay Gold,” which runs during the opening credits of The Outsiders, starts with these memorable lyrics: “Seize upon that moment long ago / One breath away and there you will be / So young and carefree / Again you will see / That place in time... so gold.”

The Outsiders was adapted from a 1967 novel by teenage author S.E. (Susan Eloise) Hinton who based the story on her own experiences in an Oklahoma high school, which was divided by rival gangs, the hardscrabble Greasers and the wealthier Socs (pronounced "soashes").


The movie has become a cult favorite, partly because Hinton's book has become required reading in many high schools and mostly due to the fact that every teenage actor in the cast went on to become a Hollywood A-list heartthrob. The cast included Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon and Tom Cruise.

The Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” plays a vital role in the film, as Ponyboy (played by Howell) reads it to an injured Johnny (Macchio) while they are in hiding, but says he really doesn’t understand it. “Stay gold” are Johnny’s last words before he dies. Later in the film, Ponyboy finds Johnny’s interpretation of the Frost poem: that beauty and innocence are transient and must be guarded like gold.

While Wonder penned the lyrics to “Stay Gold,” the music was composed by Francis Ford Coppola’s father, Carmine, who contributed original music to a number of his son’s other blockbuster films, including The Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now.

Please check out Stevie Wonder’s live performance of “Stay Gold.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

"Stay Gold"
Lyrics by Stevie Wonder and music by Carmine Coppola. Performed by Stevie Wonder.

Seize upon that moment long ago
One breath away and there you will be
So young and carefree
Again you will see
That place in time... so gold

Steal away into that way back when
You thought that all would last forever
But like the weather
Nothing can ever... and be in time
Stay gold

But can it be
When we can see
So vividly
A memory
And yes you say
So must the day
Too, fade away
And leave a ray of sun
So gold

Life is but a twinkling of an eye
Yet filled with sorrow and compassion
though not imagined
All things that happen
Will age too old
Though gold

Images: Facebook/StevieWonder; Outsiders publicity shot.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Cupids to Spend $4.8 Billion on Jewelry This Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, cupids from coast to coast are planning to spend a record $4.8 billion on jewelry — a category that accounts for the biggest slice of the February 14th retail pie, according to a new survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Woman is overjoyed at her proposal and upcoming wedding

This compares to $2.1 billion they’ll be shelling out for flowers, $1.7 billion for sweets, $3.6 billion for a special meal or movie tickets, $2 billion for clothing and $1.5 billion on gift cards. Total Valentine’s Day purchases are expected to reach $18.9 billion.

More than one in five (21.1%) romantic consumers will delight their significant other by gifting precious jewelry on the most romantic day of the year, although a majority (53.2%) will buy candy, 37.8 percent will opt for flowers and 35.1 percent will plan a special night out. These percentages tally to well over 100 because some Cupids will present multiple gifts.

The average person will spend $142.31 on various gifts this year, up from $133.91 last year.

Men are expected to outspend women by a two-to-one margin, $190.53 compared to $96.58. The highest-spending age group is expected to be 25-to-34 year olds ($213.04), followed by 35-to-44 year olds ($176.21) and 18-to-24 year olds ($168.95).

Nearly every married person in the NRF survey reported that they would be celebrating Valentine’s Day with a gift. Nine out of 10 consumers (91%) expect to spend money on their spouse, with the average individual gift costing $87.94, up from $78.09 in 2014.

Nearly six in 10 said they would purchase Valentine’s Day gifts for other family members, with the average gift costing $26.26.

“It’s encouraging to see consumers showing interest in spending on gifts and Valentine’s Day-related merchandise — a good sign for consumer sentiment as we head into 2015,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

The statistics come from the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey. The poll reflects the expected purchases of 6,375 consumers and was conducted from January 6-13, 2015.


Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Girl Scouts Attend College Workshop Where They Learn to Build Programmable, Light-Up Jewelry… and Get Excited About Engineering

In an effort to narrow the gender gap in the field of engineering, a Massachusetts university recently hosted a workshop for local Girl Scouts where the youngsters were encouraged to design, engineer and build wearable, electronic, programmable light-up jewelry.


“Our main goal was to attract the girls to engineering by making sure they had a lot of fun learning about it,” said Paula Rees, director of the Diversity Programs Office at UMass Amherst’s College of Engineering.

beautiful african construction engineer holding laptop computer

Recent statistics show that only 14% of engineers in the U.S. are woman, an improvement from the early 1980s when the number was a scant 5.8%. Right now, about one in five engineering students is female, but 20% is still abysmally low.

From an early age, girls are typically encouraged to go into the humanities, while boys are encouraged to pursue computer science, mathematics and engineering. Young women often lack female role models who can motivate and encourage them to take a closer look at traditionally male-dominated fields.


This is why the UMass Amherst College of Engineering invited the local Girl Scouts to attend a 5.5-hour “Adafruit Workshop,” featuring the super-cool miniaturized electronic components that would allow them to make necklaces or earrings that could be programmed to light up in different colors and patterns. As they created their high-tech jewelry masterpieces, the girls learned about the basics of engineering and got to meet young women working toward their bachelor’s degrees in a variety of engineering disciplines.

“The focus of the day was to learn the basics of soldering and programming while making a really cool project to take home, to keep or to give away as a gift,” said Rees.


The middle school and high school girls used two technologies: Adafruit Gemma, a miniature circuit board; and NeoPixel rings, which consists of 16 LEDs that can be programmed to make any color by mixing red, green and blue light.


“The purpose is to inspire girls about engineering at an early age,” said Rees. “We want to create a pipeline of young women into engineering.”

Images: Jewelry and technical component photos via; Girl Scout photos via Facebook/GirlScoutsUSA; Engineer photo via

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Dutch Architects Design Luxury Hotels to Look Like Amethyst Geode

A Dutch architectural firm draws its inspiration from an amethyst geode in an audacious design that will be rolled out for a chain of new luxury hotels, the first of which is planned for Hainan on the south coast of China.


From the outside, the geode hotel created by NL Architects seems to be split in half. Brilliant purple and magenta “crystals” jut out in jagged angles from the front of the building, while the back has a rounded rock-like shape and muted grey color.


Hotel visitors will feel as if they’ve been miniaturized and placed inside an amethyst geode. Standing in the huge interior void and looking up at the atrium, the traveler will marvel at the immense crystalline clusters that can be seen from the inside.


Rooms are located around the central void and feature large crystal-shaped windows that are tinted purple and have been designed to allow for generous exposure to sunlight.


Unlike most hotels, room access is threaded along the outer perimeter of the structure instead of using inside corridors.

NL Architects believes that luxury travelers will be drawn to the hotel not only by the innovative design, but also by amethyst’s positive properties, healing powers and spiritual significance.


The ancient Greeks believed amethyst could prevent drunkenness. Medieval soldiers wore amethyst to protect themselves in battle. Other cultures believed February’s birthstone would bring good fortune, inspire their intellect, heal their illnesses, or bolster their immune systems.


Amethyst holds an important place in the Chinese art of feng shui. A spokesperson for NL Architects said, “Amethyst has the capacity to purify any space of negative vibrations. It calms and cools excessive emotions and eases the transition to a more meditative state by clearing the unnecessary mind clutter.”

The initial Amethyst Hotel is under development on China’s Ocean Flower, a manmade island that juts into the sea north of Hainan, which itself is an island province in the southernmost part of China.

Images: Courtesy of NL Architects.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Remarkable Amethyst Necklace From Smithsonian’s National Gem Collection Celebrates 100th Birthday

One of the world’s most remarkable examples of February’s birthstone is the 56-carat purple stunner at the center of the Tiffany Amethyst Necklace — an impressive work that celebrates its 100th birthday this year at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.


The square cushion-cut amethyst is delicately framed by 18-karat vines, leaves and grapes in a design conceived by Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1915. The deep purple amethyst, which displays flashes of red, is suspended as a pendant from a flowing double-figure-eight chain. The floral motif is an excellent example of Art Nouveau jewelry, which was popular during the turn of the last century (1890-1919).


While most high-quality amethysts are currently sourced in Brazil and Uruguay, the gem in the Tiffany Amethyst Necklace is believed to be from Siberia, Russia, and is the largest and highest quality example of an amethyst from that region in the National Gem Collection.


George Kunz, chief gemologist at Tiffany’s during the early 1900s, was likely responsible for procuring the huge amethyst, according to the Smithsonian’s Geo Gallery. Philanthropists June Rosner and Russell Bilgore donated this treasure to the Smithsonian in 2007.

Amethyst is the most coveted variety of quartz, which is clear in its pure state. Amethyst gets is purple color from a few atoms of iron displacing some of the silicon in the gem’s molecular structure. These traces of iron can give amethyst a wide range of colors, from almost white to deep purple.

Amethyst is has been coveted for thousands of years and is one of the oldest recorded gemstones. They’ve been recovered from ancient Egyptian tombs and were prized by the Greeks, Romans, Babylonians and Hebrews.

Amethyst gets its name from the Greek word "amethystos," which literally means “not to intoxicate.” Apparently, the Greeks believed amethyst could reverse the effects of drunkenness. Other characteristics attributed to amethyst include peace, balance, courage, stability and inner strength.

The color rating of an amethyst is determined by its hue, tone and saturation. Hue is the color; tone is relative lightness or darkness of the color; and saturation relates to the color’s intensity, from dull to vivid.

Photos by Chip Clark/Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History