Friday, April 10, 2015

Music Friday: Ellie Goulding Sings About ‘A Sky of Diamonds Just for Us’ in 2010’s ‘I’ll Hold My Breath’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today’s featured artist is the chart-topping British indie-pop star Ellie Goulding singing “I’ll Hold My Breath.”


In the song she co-wrote with producer Starsmith, she encourages her boyfriend to take chances, be independent-minded and try new things. When he’s ready to settle down, she’ll be waiting for him because he’s a risk she’ll always take.

She sings, “We'll watch the buildings turn to dust / A sky of diamonds just for us.” The diamonds symbolized their idyllic life together.

Originally titled “Swimming Pool,” today’s featured song was somewhat unintended. According to, Goulding told the now-defunct streaming music service Sky Songs that the song was “written when Fin (Starsmith) and I were messing around, but we liked it so much, we developed it and it made the album.”

“I’ll Hold My Breath” became the ninth track on Goulding’s wildly successful debut album called Lights. Released in February of 2010, Lights entered the UK Albums Chart at #1 and climbed to a respectable #21 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. Her current hit "Love Me Like You Do [From Fifty Shades of Grey]" is #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 list.

Born in Herefordshire, England, the musically gifted Goulding played the clarinet at the age of nine and the guitar at 14. She began writing songs at the age of 15.

Goulding, who boasts a vocal range of three octaves, got her big break when she met producer Fin Dow-Smith through Myspace while she was studying drama at the University of Kent.

By the fall of 2009, she had released her first single, and a year later she was picked as “the artist to watch” when she emerged at the top of the BBC Sound of 2010 poll. In 2011, Goulding made headlines when she was selected to perform at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Noted Billboard magazine, “With her unique soprano warble and knack for writing catchy yet emotionally earnest songs, Goulding… stands at the forefront of contemporary mainstream music and arty, independent-minded pop.”

We hope you enjoy the audio track of “I’ll Hold My Breath.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

"I'll Hold My Breath"
Written by Ellie Goulding and Fin Dow-Smith. Performed by Ellie Goulding.

Breathe air you're not used to, tread floors you don't fall through
Make waves
You crash a symbol hard
Follow no one, always play the wrong card
Waste days, in foreign places
Shed lights, on your better side
Reassure me that you'll wait for me, wait for me as long as it takes

And I'll hold my breath, I'll hold my breath

Until you see me in your dreams
We'll stay awake beneath the trees
We'll watch the buildings turn to dust
A sky of diamonds just for us
You are the risk I'll always take
The only branch I'll never break
Those fears we'll blow them all way

Fight fires in your best clothes, touch skin with your eyes closed
Chase thunder
With the volume down
Pack a suitcase, wonder to the next town
Force quit, on your losing streak
Solve a riddle in a magazine, be tongue in cheek
Tell me that we're still too young, that we're still too young and I'll hold my tongue

Until you see me in your dreams
We'll stay awake beneath the trees
We'll watch the buildings turn to dust
A sky of diamonds just for us
You are the risk I'll always take
The only branch I'll never break
Those fears we'll blow them all way

I'm here, I'm here to save you
No fall, I will swim to save you

Until you see me in your dreams
We'll stay awake beneath the trees
We'll watch the buildings turn to dust
A sky of diamonds just for us
You are the risk I'll always take
The only branch I'll never break
Those fears we'll blow them all way

Image: YouTube screen capture.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

April Birthstone Feature: ‘Splendor of Diamonds’ Exhibit Assembles the Magnificent Seven

Back in the summer of 2003, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., assembled an extraordinary collection of rare and valuable diamonds — one colorless and six colored — and called the exhibit “The Splendor of Diamonds.”


To celebrate April’s official birthstone, let's revisit what was billed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Magnificent Seven side by side.

The star-studded lineup included the 203.04-carat De Beers Millennium Star (colorless), 101.29-carat Allnatt (yellow), 59.60-carat Pink Star (formerly the Steinmetz Pink), 27.64-carat Heart of Eternity (blue), 5.54-carat Pumpkin Diamond (orange), 5.51-carat Ocean Dream (blue-green) and the 5.11-carat Moussaieff Red.


Millennium Star. Insured for $148 million, this D-color marvel is the world’s second-largest internally flawless pear-shaped diamond. Uncut, it was 777 carats. Using lasers, the Steinmetz Diamond Group took three years to perfect its final form. The diamond was introduced to the world in October 1999 as the centerpiece of the De Beers Millennium collection.


Allnatt. Rated fancy vivid yellow, the diamond’s brilliant color is the result of a chemical impurity, where trace nitrogen atoms replaced some of the crystal’s carbon atoms. The gem is named after its former British owner, Major Alfred Ernest Allnatt. The estimated value of the stone is at least $3 million.


Pink Star. This internally flawless gem is the largest known diamond to have been rated fancy vivid pink. Its value is $83.2 million. The Steinmetz Group took more than 20 months to cut the stone that is considered a mixed oval brilliant because it has a step-cut crown and brilliant-cut pavilion.


Heart of Eternity. Rated fancy vivid blue and valued at $16 million, this heart-shaped diamond gets its unique color from the presence of boron atoms trapped in the crystal structure. Blue diamonds account for less than 0.1% of the output of the Premier Diamond Mine in South Africa, the only place in the world with an appreciable production of blue diamonds.


The Pumpkin Diamond. This fancy vivid orange diamond was called the 5.54 Vivid Orange, but was renamed the Pumpkin Diamond by Harry Winston Inc.’s Ronald Winston, who purchased it on the day before Halloween in 1998. Valued at $3 million, the orange diamond was worn in a ring by film actress Halle Berry in 2002 when she received an Oscar for her role in Monster’s Ball.

The Ocean Dream. Known for its unusual fancy deep blue-green hue, this trillion-cut gem is one of the rarest diamonds in the world. The Gemological Institute of America concluded that the natural hue is the result of millions of years of exposure to the Earth’s natural radiation.

The Moussaieff Red. Rated fancy red by the GIA, this trillion-cut stone is the world’s largest red diamond. Cut and polished from a 13.9-carat crystal discovered in the 1990s by a Brazilian farmer, the diamond was originally called The Red Shield Diamond. It was renamed when Moussaieff Jewellers purchased the stone in 2002. It has an estimated value of $20 million.

Credit: Smithsonian Institution

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

KC Royals Earn American League Championship Rings Shimmering With 146 Diamonds

Shimmering with 146 pavé diamonds set in white gold, the 2014 American League championship rings commemorate the Kansas City Royals’ flawless 8-0 postseason run to the World Series.


Team members accepted their rings during Monday’s home opener at Kaufman Stadium, also known as “The K.” Perhaps energized by its impressive new bling, the team went on to crush the Chicago White Sox by a score of 10-1.

Although the Royals were picked as slight favorites going into 2014's Fall Classic, the San Francisco Giants prevailed in seven games.


Designed by Jostens, the rings feature the distinctive “KC” logo formed from 34 pavé diamonds outlined by a custom — but unidentified — stone especially color matched to the iconic Kansas City Royals’ official blue.

The “KC” logo sits above a stylized baseball diamond that is literally made of diamonds. Each “base” is a princess-cut diamond. The diamond total weight of the ring is 1.9 carats. The metal is 10-karat gold.

The perimeter of the front of the ring says “American League Champions” in raised white gold lettering on a back enamel background. The shoulder of the ring is completely encircled with round pavé diamonds.


The left side of the ring features the player’s name in raised white gold lettering on a black enamel background, the team’s 8-0 American League playoff record and the Royals’ crown logo, the top of which is accented in yellow gold. A brilliant custom blue stone, similar to the one on the front of the ring, peaks through a cutout in the shape of the stylized letters “KC.”

Three larger bezel-set round diamonds — representing the team’s three American League pennants — embellish the right side of the ring. Also featured are the American League eagle logo in yellow gold, the name “Royals” in script and the year 2014.


The rings were delivered to the stadium by armored car and presented to players, coaches and staff during the pre-game ceremonies. The team also raised an American League 2014 Championship flag in centerfield.

“Every team’s goal is to celebrate its on-field accomplishments,” said Royals president Dan Glass, “and it is with tremendous pride that we present this custom ring symbolic of the effort that went into winning the 2014 American League pennant.

The team’s eight-win playoff streak included a Wild Card victory over the Oakland Atletics, a Division Series sweep of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the AL Championship Series romp over the Baltimore Orioles. The Royals beat the Giants in Games 2, 3 and 6 of the World Series, but lost a 3-2 heartbreaker in Game 7. The Giants will collect their World Series rings on April 18.

Credits: Screen captures via; Rings by Jostens, Inc.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Revisiting the Day a Pair of Diamond Stud Earrings Nearly Ignited a Major League Baseball Brawl

To honor the opening of the Major League Baseball season, we present you with one of the most infamous “jewelry” stories in MLB’s history. It’s the now-legendary tale of how a pair of diamond stud earrings nearly ignited a bench-clearing brawl between the Seattle Mariners and the Cleveland Indians.


The date was August 25, 2001, and the sun was low in the sky at a sold-out Safeco Field in Seattle. The score was tied at 2-2 in the top of the ninth, and the Mariners’ fire-balling relief pitcher Arthur Rhodes was summoned from the bullpen to face the Indians’ shortstop Omar Vizquel.

As the burly relief pitcher warmed up his 96 mph heater, the diminutive batter complained to plate umpire Ed Rapuano that he was being distracted by the sun reflecting off the pitcher's diamond stud earrings.

"It was blinding," Vizquel said. “It was like the headlight of a train coming at me.”

When Rapuano approached the pitcher’s mound and ordered Rhodes to remove his earrings, the pitcher became enraged.

"I told the umpire I've been wearing them the whole year," he said. "So why should I take them out?"


Rhodes argued with Rapuano and refused to back down. Rhodes then turned his anger on the batter, pointing at Vizquel and calling him out. Then, predictably, the two teams poured out of their dugouts and onto the field.

The pitcher agreed to remove one earring, but then the drama spun wildly out of control when Rhodes intimated by pointed at Vizquel’s head that the next pitch would have him bailing from the plate.

Third-base umpire Tim McClelland ejected Rhodes from the game before he could throw a single pitch.

"It became a shouting match between Vizquel and Rhodes," said McClelland. "To stop anything further, I asked Arthur to leave."


The banished Rhodes tried to go after Vizquel, but was restrained by manager Lou Piniella. Vizquel had to be held back, as well.

"I'm not going to let a guy who weighs 125 pounds tell me to take my earring out," Rhodes said.

"I don't know why he acted the way he acted," Vizquel said. "I think it's in the rules anyway that you're not supposed to wear any jewelry out there.”

TV commentators covering the game, in which Seattle prevailed 3-2, could hardly believe that earrings could spark a baseball brawl. Said one, “This is supposed to be baseball. It’s more like Ken and Barbie go to the beach.”


Despite the incident, Rhodes never abandoned his ear bling. He continued to wear the earring studs throughout his career, which spanned 20 years and nine major league teams. His diamond earrings are in clear sight in this 2009 shot when he was playing for the Cincinnati Reds.

MLB's Rule 1.11, which deals with uniforms, includes a clarification that states, “a pitcher’s person cannot include any unessential or distracting thing (including jewelry, adhesive tape, or a batting glove), especially on his arm, wrist, hand, or fingers.”

MLB seems to maintain an unwritten policy, however, that jewelry on a pitcher is OK — unless the batter makes a specific complaint.

Credits: Dan DeLong/Seattle Post-Intelligencer; Getty Images; Chris J. Nelson via Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Four-Strand Necklace Boasting 289 Natural Pearls Is the Most Magnificent of Christie’s April 14 Offerings

Last May, the auctioneers at Woolley and Wallis were astonished when a single 17.4mm natural pearl sold for $1.37 million, nearly seven times its pre-sale estimate. On April 14, Christie’s New York will be presenting an exceptionally rare four-strand necklace featuring 289 natural pearls. The auction house estimated the selling price to range from $3.8 million to $4.5 million, a bargain by comparison.


The natural saltwater pearls in the necklace range in size from 4.9mm to 12.65mm and vary in color from natural grey to brown, with attractive rosé, green or purple overtones and very fine iridescence. The four nested strands have 81, 76, 69 and 63 pearls, respectively.

The colorful pearl necklace featured at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale is an extremely unusual offering. The auction house could cite only two similar lots over the past 50 years — The Nina Dyer Black Pearl Necklace, sold at Christie’s Geneva in May 1969, and more recently, The Cowdray Pearls sold at Christie’s London in June 2012.

Natural pearls are some of the most coveted of all gemstones because of their rarity. Natural pearls are organic, created by a mollusk totally by chance and without human intervention. Cultured pearls, on the other hand, are grown under controlled conditions, where a bead is implanted in the body of the mollusk to stimulate the secretion of nacre.

In addition to the natural pearls, Christie’s April 14 auction will offer more than 300 jewels, including these noteworthy lots…


Fancy intense purplish-pink diamond ring. This platinum ring is set with a cut-cornered rectangular-cut fancy intense purplish-pink diamond weighing approximately 5.29 carats and flanked on either side by half moon-cut diamonds. The natural colored diamond has a VS2 clarity.

Diamonds of this color and clarity constitute less than 0.1% of all naturally occurring diamonds. The ring carries an estimated price of $3.5 million to $5 million.


Cushion-cut diamond ring of 80.73 carats. Also expected to yield up to $5 million is this impressive diamond ring, featuring a K-color, VS2 clarity diamond with excellent polish and symmetry. The diamond is set in platinum.


Millicent Rogers ruby heart brooch by Paul Flato. As the original “Jeweler to the Stars” back in the 1930s, Flato designed whimsical pieces that reflected his great sense of humor. The puffy ruby heart brooch, above, was designed for the Standard Oil heiress, a woman of high fashion who was routinely on the International Best Dressed list.

Flato used rubies, sapphires and colored diamonds in a design featuring a heart pierced by an 18-karat gold arrow and draped with a blue ribbon with the words “Verbum Carro” (“A word to my dear one”). The brooch has a pre-sale estimate of $350,000 to $500,000.

Photos via Christie's.