Friday, February 13, 2015

Music Friday: ‘Youth’s Like Diamonds in the Sun,’ Sings Alphaville in the Timeless Anthem, ‘Forever Young’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. A little over 30 years ago, the German group Alphaville released “Forever Young,” a timeless anthem from its debut album that compares the virtues of youth to “diamonds in the sun.”

The song also gives a nod to De Beers' iconic advertising line "A diamond is forever," which Advertising Age named the slogan of the century in 1999.


“Forever Young” was a big hit in Europe in 1984, as it charted in nine countries. In the U.S., however, the song stalled at #65 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Despite the song’s lukewarm reception, the song hasn’t faded. In fact, it’s gotten better with age.


The life of the song seems to mirror the lyrics sung by frontman Marian Gold, who is now 60 and continues to tour with the band: “It's so hard to get old without a cause / I don't want to perish like a fading horse / Youth's like diamonds in the sun / And diamonds are forever.”

Extending the longevity of “Forever Young” is the fact that numerous artists, from Tiffany and One Direction to Youth Group and Jay Z, have covered it. It’s also earned pop-culture status, as it continues to turn up in television shows, commercials and major motion pictures, including 2004’s Napoleon Dynamite.

Please check out Alphaville’s recent live performance of “Forever Young.” Gold’s powerful lead vocals and the song itself hardly show their age. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

"Forever Young"
Written by Bernhard Lloyd, Marian Gold and Frank Mertens. Performed by Alphaville.

Let's dance in style, let's dance for a while
Heaven can wait, we're only watching the skies
Hoping for the best but expecting the worst
Are you gonna drop the bomb or not?

Let us die young or let us live forever
We don't have the power but we never say never
Sitting in a sandpit, life is a short trip
The music's for the sad men

Can you imagine when this race is won
Turn our golden faces into the sun
Praising our leaders, we're getting in tune
The music's played by the, the mad men

Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever and ever?
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever? Forever young

Some are like water, some are like the heat
Some are a melody and some are the beat
Sooner or later, they all will be gone
Why don't they stay young?

It's so hard to get old without a cause
I don't want to perish like a fading horse
Youth's like diamonds in the sun
And diamonds are forever

So many adventures couldn't happen today
So many songs we forgot to play
So many dreams swinging out of the blue
We let them come true

Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever and ever?
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever and ever?

Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever and ever?
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever young?

Screen captures via

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Single Mom Dumpster Diver Forgoes $8,000 Diamond Bonanza to Do the Right Thing

Last week, a young woman dumpster diving for recyclables behind a car wash near Salt Lake City, Utah, found parcels containing two loose diamonds worth $8,000. But, instead of pawning the gems and netting the biggest payday of her life, she decided to do the right thing by tracking down the rightful owner.


Brooke Stewart, a single mother of one and a self-proclaimed garbage lover, told a reporter from KUTV that she regularly digs through dumpsters late at night in an effort to collect plastics and metals that she can turn into cash.


“It may sound weird, but I love trash,” Stewart told KUTV. “Mostly I look for recyclable metals like copper and stuff.”


Last week, she hit the mother lode behind a Millcreek car wash when two trashed envelopes yielded appraisal certificates and parcels containing two round white diamonds, each weighing approximately 1 carat.

Stewart could have pawned the diamonds, netting a bounty estimated to be $4,000 to $8,000. “I really am broke and would have enjoyed that much money,” Stewart told KUTV.

Instead, the young woman contacted the firm noted on the appraisal certificates.


Lynn Van Wagenen, who wrote the original appraisals seven years ago, was impressed by Stewart’s character. “I just kept looking at her, thinking, ‘What kind of a person does this,’” said Van Wagenen. "She could have thrown away the appraisals, gone to a pawn shop and gotten anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000 for these diamonds, but she chose not to.”

Van Wagenen contacted the original owner and arranged for him to meet his Good Samaritan near the dumpster where she found the diamonds. Last Friday, the owner thanked Stewart for her honesty, shook her hand and gave her a cash reward.

Apparently, the diamonds had been stolen — along with other items — from the man’s home seven years ago. How they ended up in a dumpster may remain a mystery forever.

"I hope this brings me some karma," Stewart said of her experience.

Stewart is not the first dumpster diver to be featured in our blog. In November 2014, we told you the story of a California woman who was miraculously reunited with the custom-made diamond ring she accidentally threw away when cleaning out her car at a gas station.

The hero of that story was another extraordinarily honest dumpster diver who sought the assistance of the Porterville Police Department to identify the rightful owner.

Photos: KUTV screen captures

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Green With Envy: Beyonce Rocks the Grammys in 230 Carats of Emeralds and Diamonds

It’s been three days since Beyonce’s bedazzling appearance at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards and the world is still green with envy over the diva’s breathtaking emerald-and-diamond baubles totaling 230 carats and valued at $10 million.


Beyonce, who captured a “Best R&B Performance” Grammy for her song “Drunk in Love,” sported six fashion rings on five fingers for a total of 150 carats of gleaming diamonds and Colombian emeralds, reported PEOPLE Magazine.


The ring tally did not include her own 18-carat (with a “c”) engagement ring that she wore on a sixth finger, nor did it include the dangling pair of diamond-accented Colombian emerald earrings that weighed an impressive 80 carats. Designer Lorraine Schwartz provided Beyonce with her treasure trove of baubles.


On her right hand, she wore emerald rings on her ring and middle fingers, as well as an unusual ring on her index finger featuring opposite-facing pear-shaped diamonds. On her "love" hand, she wore two rings — one emerald, one diamond — on her index finger, a diamond ring on her middle finger and her engagement ring on her ring finger.


Beyonce’s emerald display at the Grammy’s came nearly two years after another high-profile, yet a bit more understated, emerald-bedecked performance of the National Anthem at Barack Obama’s Presidential Inaugural in 2013.


The singer’s fans will certainly remember the 130 carats of emeralds that adorned her ears and right hand as she entered the venue with her husband, Jay Z. The Lorraine Schwartz 80-carat petal-motif emerald earrings and 50-carat emerald ring were valued at $2.5 million.


Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Shreveport Man Finds 2.01-Carat Yellow Diamond at Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park

Dean Filppula is the latest amateur gem hunter to strike it rich at Arkansas’ Crater of Diamonds State Park. A week ago, the vacationing offshore steward from Shreveport, La., picked a glistening 2.01-carat yellow diamond right off the surface of the just-plowed, rain-washed search field.


Filppula honored his mother by naming the stone “Merf.” (The four letters spell out his mother’s initials). The light-yellow diamond, which is the size of an English pea and has a wedge shape, is the 20th diamond to be found at the park the year. It’s also the year’s largest, so far.


Park officials are not diamond appraisers, so they could not estimate Merf’s value. History tells us, however, that diamonds found at the park can yield a pretty penny. For instance, a 3.85-carat diamond found in 2013 was recently sold for $20,000.

The 37½-acre search field in Murfreesboro, Ark., is actually the eroded surface of an ancient diamond-bearing kimberlite pipe. Treasure hunters visit year round to try their luck at bagging a precious gem at the only diamond site in the world open to the general public. The entry fee is a modest $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 6 to 12. Kids under 6 get in for free.


The park maintains a generous finder’s keepers policy and even provides experts to help prospectors identify what they’ve found. Besides diamonds, the search field often yields amethyst, garnet, peridot, jasper, agate, calcite, barite and quartz.


Filppula's exceptional find resulted from a combination of good luck and clever planning. He timed his visit to Crater of Diamonds Park to be just after the maintenance crew plowed the field, loosening the diamond-bearing soil. The park also had just received more than ½-inch of rain, which washed loose soil from the surface and cleaned off the diamond, making it more visible.

According to interpreter Waymon Cox, Shreveport residents have had a long and successful history of finding large diamonds at the park. In June 1981, Carroll Blankenship took home the second-largest diamond ever unearthed at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Cox named the stunning 8.82-carat white diamond the Star of Shreveport.

More than 75,000 diamonds have been pulled from the Murfreesboro site since farmer John Huddleston, who owned the land, found the first precious gems in 1906. The site became an Arkansas state park in 1972. The largest diamond ever discovered in the U.S. was unearthed here in 1924. Named the Uncle Sam, the white diamond with a pink cast weighed an astounding 40.23 carats.

Photos courtesy of the Crater of Diamonds State Park.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Kazak Herdsman Stumbles Upon 17-Pound Gold Nugget in the Shape of China

A Kazak herdsman has become an instant celebrity since discovering a 17-pound, $255,000 gold nugget “practically lying on bare ground” in the far western Xinjiang region of China.


The lucky herdsman, Berek Sawut, from Qinghe County in Altay Prefecture, told a Chinese news agency that he was walking around a local mining site on January 30 when suddenly he saw a brilliant yellow object lying exposed on the ground.


“When I walked closer, I was dumbfounded,” he said. “My god, it was a piece of gold. I was so excited that I was jumping up and down.”


The nugget, which resembles the shape of China and has a precious metal value of approximately $255,000, is nine inches long, seven inches wide and three inches thick. The nugget is said to be composed of 80 percent pure gold, with the rest being quartz, sandstone and other minerals.


The nugget’s quarter-million-dollar valuation is on the conservative side because it doesn’t account for the specimen’s uniqueness and rarity. The nugget is said to be the largest ever found in this region of China and could be worth several times more than its precious metal content.

Whether or not Sawut will be allowed to keep or sell the nugget has yet to be determined. Chinese law states that mineral resources found on the surface or below the surface are property of the state. So far, local authorities have not contacted Sawut about the nugget.

A Chinese lawyer familiar with mineral rights expected that the local government would claim the nugget and offer Sawut a reward for finding it. In this area of China, where the average income is $1,340 per year, the reward could be life changing for Sawut and his family.


Still, Sawut is enjoying his new-found celebrity status. He told a Chinese news agency, “My home is like a marketplace every day, with some people bringing cameras to take photographs, some posting it to their WeChat friends circle, and some taking photos with it.”

The Altay region, which is a mountainous territory lying near the borders of Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, has a long and storied history of gold mining. In fact, the word “altay” means “gold” in Mongolian. The region produced 20 tons of gold in 2014 and is the home to more than 600 gold mines.

China’s Xinhua news agency reported that a four-pound gold nugget was found in Altay in 2010.

Images: Twitter/China Xinhua News; Twitter/Nicholas Bequelin; Map: Wikicommons