Friday, October 02, 2015

Music Friday: Bob Seger's Girl Is 'Looking So Right in Her Diamonds and Frills' in 1978's 'Hollywood Nights'

Welcome once again to Music Friday when we bring you fabulous songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today we dig through our album vault and dust off a 1978 rock and roll classic, "Hollywood Nights" by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.


This hard-driving anthem is about a Midwestern boy who moves to the West Coast and falls head over heels for a gorgeous big city girl. Seger sings, "And those Hollywood nights / In those Hollywood Hills / She was looking so right / In her diamonds and frills."

In the end, the girl who had "been born with a face that would let her get her way" abandons our hero, leaving him brokenhearted and unsure whether to return to his simpler country lifestyle.

The Detroit native told the Detroit Free Press in 1994 that he was inspired to write the song while living 2 1/2 months in a rented house in the Hollywood Hills.

"I was driving around in the Hollywood Hills, and I started singing 'Hollywood nights/Hollywood Hills/Above all the lights/Hollywood nights.' I went back to my rented house, and there was a Time magazine with [model] Cheryl Tiegs on the cover. I said, 'Let's write a song about a guy from the Midwest who runs into someone like this and gets caught up in the whole bizarro thing.'"

Seger noted that the power behind "Hollywood Nights" comes from the use of two distinctively different drum sets playing different patterns and then dubbed over one another. Drummer David Teegarden played one pattern for the initial session, and then recorded a second pattern using different a different snare, kick-drum, hit-hat, etc.

"Hollywood Nights" became the second single from Seger's album, Stranger in Town. It reached #12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and became an instant favorite of concert-goers.


The multi-talented Robert Clark "Bob" Seger is a singer-songwriter, guitarist and pianist. Among his many hits are "Night Moves," "Turn the Page," "Still the Same," "We've Got Tonight" and "Against the Wind." He's also credited with co-writing the Eagles' #1 hit "Heartache Tonight." In all, Seger has sold more than 50 million albums and, at 70 years old, he continues to bring his youthful energy to sold-out venues across the country.

Please check out this vintage video of Seger's live performance of "Hollywood Nights." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Hollywood Nights"
Written by Bob Seger. Performed by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.

She stood there bright as the sun
On that California coast
He was a Midwestern boy on his own
She looked at him with those soft eyes
So innocent and blue
He knew right then he was too far from home
He was too far from home
She took his hand and she led him along that golden beach
They watched the waves tumble over the sand
They drove for miles and miles
Up those twisting turning roads
Higher and higher and higher they climbed

And those Hollywood nights
In those Hollywood hills
She was looking so right
In her diamonds and frills
Oh those big city nights
In those high rolling hills
Above all the lights
She had all of her skills

He'd headed west cause he felt that a change would do him good
See some old friends, good for the soul
She had been born with a face
That would let her get her way
He saw that face and he lost all control
He had lost all control
Night after night
Day after day
It went on and on
Then came that morning he woke up alone
He spent all night staring down at the lights on LA
Wondering if he could ever go home

And those Hollywood nights
In those Hollywood hills
She was looking so right
It was giving him chills
In those big city nights
In those high rolling hills
Above all the lights
With a passion that kills

In those Hollywood nights
In those Hollywood hills
She was looking so right
In her diamonds and frills
Oh those big city nights
In those high rolling hills
Above all the lights
She had all of her skills

Credits: Facebook/Bob Seger; Instagram/Bob Seger.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Tulsan Delivers Surprise Marriage Proposal to Singing Partner on Monday's Edition of 'The Voice'

Jubal Lee Young wrote a new chapter in the annals of NBC's hit show The Voice when he popped the question to his singing partner Amanda Preslar just after their blind audition on Monday night's episode.


The Tulsa couple, who have been performing together for 18 months, is the first ever to get engaged on the show, which is now in its ninth season.

Young and Preslar had just completed an original rendition of "Seven Bridges Road" by The Eagles when judge Gwen Stefani noted that their seductive harmonies conveyed an unusual chemistry.


"There was some king of special energy in it, as well," she said, "You can tell that you guys have something special."

Then, judge Blake Shelton asked asked a more pointed question about their relationship: "Are you guys a couple?" he inquired.

"Yes," responded Preslar.

"Are you married?" Shelton probed a bit further.

"Not yet," said Preslar. "One day."


At that point, to the surprise of the judges, studio audience, 12 million viewers at home, and family supporters who were waiting backstage, Young looked at his girlfriend and said, "Alright."

A visibly stunned Preslar pulled away, at first, thinking it was possibly a joke. "No way!" she exclaimed. "No. Are you serious?"


Then Young got down on bended knee and pulled a diamond engagement ring from his pocket.

"I'm serious," he nodded.

She quickly realized that this on-stage proposal was for real. "I love you," she said.

"I love you. Will you marry me?" Young whispered in her ear.


"Yes," she whispered back.

A stunned Shelton could hardly believe what was going down. "What just happened?" he asked.

"Are you serious?" Stefani gasped.

Then Young gently placed the ring on his girlfriend's finger.


Triumphantly raising her left hand with the ring clearly in view, Preslar looked at the judges and said, "I've been waiting for this day for a long time."


Almost as much fun as watching the surprise proposal was seeing the spontaneous, delirious outpouring of emotion from the couple's loved one's backstage.

Judge Adam Levine didn't seem to be satisfied with the engagement, as he pushed for a spontaneous on-stage marriage ceremony. "I happen to know that Blake is technically an ordained minister," he said, "so if you want to get it done..."

Young joked, "Let's enjoy this moment for a minute."

The couple's blind audition impressed both Stefani and Pharrell Williams, who turned their chairs, signifying their interest in coaching the singers in the subsequent rounds of the music competition show. The couple chose to go with Williams.

The Team Pharrell coach couldn't have been more pleased, tweeting, "I got my first duo AND they get engaged in front of our eyes. How is this real life?? #VoiceBlinds."

The couple's momentous performance/marriage proposal can be seen in the video below. The song "Seven Bridges Road" is close to Young's heart because it was written in 1980 for The Eagles by his dad, Steve.

Credit: Screen captures via YouTube/The Voice.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Stunning 16.08-Carat Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond Could Bring $28M at Christie's Geneva

A stunning 16.08-carat fancy vivid pink diamond will be touring like a "rock" star before hitting the auction block at Christie's Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva on November 10. If the cushion-shaped diamond lives up to its billing, it could bring as much as $28 million, setting an auction record for the highest price ever paid for a pink diamond of that shape.


If spirited bidding drives the price beyond $34 million, the auction headliner will break the current per-carat auction record for any pink diamond — a record held by The Vivid Pink at $2.1 million.

Christie's emphasized the pure, strong saturation of color present in the pink diamond. While most pink diamonds exhibit a hint of secondary color — such as purple, orange, brown or grey — the stone up for auction shows no trace of another color, making it both attractive and exceptionally rare.

The auction house noted that fewer than 10 percent of pink diamonds weigh more than one-fifth of a carat. In almost 250 years of auction history, only three pure vivid pink diamonds larger than 10 carats have appeared for sale.

"As large and rare colored diamonds of this calibre become increasingly hard to locate, this 16.08 carat fancy vivid pink diamond comes to market at a time when great gems are mirroring prices achieved for masterpieces in the world of fine art," noted Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s International Head of Jewelry. "Collectors are looking to jewels as savvy investments that are both beautiful and can appreciate considerably in value over a relatively short period of time."

The importance of the postage-stamp-size pink diamond is reflected in Christie's efforts to treat this gem like an international rock star. The stone will take off on a multi-city tour starting this weekend. Gem fans in Hong Kong will get a first glimpse of the pink diamond from October 2-4. Then, the tour moves on to New York (Oct. 16-19) and London (Oct. 26-27). The diamond will make its final appearance in Geneva from November 6-10, and it will be sold on the evening of the 10th.

Billed as the largest cushion-shaped fancy pink diamond to ever be offered at auction, the gem is set in a halo-style ring. The pink diamond is surrounded by a double row of pavé white diamonds, highlighting the main stone, with a third row of small pink diamonds underneath. The band is comprised of small white diamonds set in platinum.

The current owner purchased the stone as an investment 10 years ago, according to Christie's. The bidder who walks away with the gem on November 10 will get the naming rights.

Christie's set the pre-sale estimate at $23 million to $28 million. Despite those lofty numbers, the gem is unlikely to threaten The Graff Pink, which currently owns the record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a diamond. Laurence Graff of Graff Diamonds won the 24.78-carat emerald-cut fancy vivid pink gem at Sotheby’s Geneva for $45.6 million in 2010.


Amazingly, only one day after the Christie's auction, rival Sotheby's Geneva will be taking a crack at Graff's record when the Blue Moon hits the auction block. Sotheby's has given the 12.03-carat fancy vivid blue diamond a pre-sale estimate of $35 million to $55 million.

Image credits: Christie's, Sotheby's.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chalice Made From Donated Silver Is an All-American Memento of Pope Francis' Historic U.S. Visit

When Pope Francis visited New York last week, he was presented with a one-foot-tall Gothic chalice made from small silver items donated by 850 ordinary Americans.


Back in March, Argentinian silversmith Adrian Pallarols, a long-time friend of the pope, had made a plea in a Time magazine interview for donations of modest silver items that would be melted down and ultimately transformed into a cherished memento of Pope Francis' historic visit to the U.S.


“Everybody, the whole country, will be in the prayers of Pope Francis here in New York when he lifts the chalice in the consecration,” Pallarols told Time magazine. “Everybody can be in his hands for the prayers.”


Soon after the story was published, silver donations came pouring in. In total, Pallarols received 850 individual donations for a total of 16.1 pounds. The artist's work required about 3.3 pounds of precious metal. The excess was sold, with the proceeds going to the Pope’s efforts to assist the poor in the U.S.

“We received rings, chains, pendants, earrings, bracelets and broken pieces of silver,” Pallarols told "This chalice was made in the name of the humblest people, who probably never will have the chance to meet the Holy Father or touch his hands. All this was made in their name.”


At his workshop in Buenos Aires, Pallarols designed a chalice rich with symbols and elements that made it distinctly American. The chalice features red, white, and blue jewels, a gold-plated map of the United States, and an intricate pillar-motif inspired by the architecture of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Red, white and blue precious stones — rubies, crystals and sapphires — were set into the cup of the chalice, representing the colors of the United States flag.


Pallarols placed a gold-plated map of the United States at the center of the node, so when the pope put his hand around it, he symbolically embraced all the people of the U.S.


The Gothic-style pillars of New York City's St. Patrick's Cathedral provided additional inspiration for the artist. The chalice includes 12 such pillars, which represent the 12 apostles.

On the base of the chalice are the engraved flags of the United States and the Holy See. The flags flying together represent the union between the people of the U.S. and the papacy.


The hand-crafted chalice comprised 85 pieces that were either soldered or screwed together.

The Pallarols family has been designing extraordinary silver items for dignitaries and heads of state since the mid-1700s.


The family also has close ties with Pope Francis. When the Pope was still known as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, he presided over Adrian Pallarols’ wedding. He later baptized Pallarols’ daughter and frequently visited the artisan’s shop to chat about art and music, according to Time magazine.

Images: Screen captures via YouTube/Adrian Pallarols, CBS NewYork; Twitter/Pontifex

Monday, September 28, 2015

Colossal Natural Pearl Poised to Break World Record of $1.37 Million at October Auction

In May 2014, a mammoth 17.4mm natural pearl stunned the auction world when it sold for $1.37 million, a price nearly seven times the pre-sale estimate. On October 29, Woolley & Wallis gets a chance to break its own record when it puts a 18.6mm natural pearl under the hammer at its Salisbury, England, headquarters.


The slightly off-round, button-shaped saltwater pearl — which is currently set in a diamond-encrusted chandelier pendant — is one of the largest ever to come up for auction. Although it's only slightly more than 1mm larger than the current record holder, the contender weighs substantially more — 44.30 carats vs. 33.14 carats.


The Swiss Gemmological Institute described the pearl as having "an attractive slightly cream color with rosé and green overtones." It has a very fine pearl luster and smooth surface. The pearl measures exactly 17.45mm x 18.55mm x 18.65mm.

Due to its enormous size, extreme rarity and the price paid for the current record holder, some may think Woolley & Wallis' pre-sale estimate of £500,000 - £700,000 ($760,000 - $1.06 million) is a bit conservative.


When the 17.4mm natural pearl was offered for sale last year, the auction house badly missed the mark with a pre-sale high estimate of $200,000.

There's a bit of mystery swirling around the upcoming auction headliner. As for its provenance, Woolley & Wallis could only say that the gem was from the early 20th century. No information was released about how long the current owner has possessed the pearl or from whom it was acquired. The current owner was simply identified as a "private international source," according to the Daily Mail.

The reason why a single natural pearl could be worth $1 million or more is because a gem of this type is nearly impossible to find. A natural pearl is created by a mollusk totally by chance, without human intervention.

A natural pearl forms when an irritant, such as a grain of sand, slips in between the mollusk's shell and its mantle tissue. To protect itself from the irritant, the mollusk secretes layer upon layer of nacre, which is the iridescent material that eventually produces a pearl. For a natural pearl to develop to 18mm in size would take 10 years or longer.

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.

Images: Woolley & Wallis