Friday, November 06, 2015

Music Friday Flashback: My Love, You're Like a Precious Stone in Seals & Crofts' Classic Hit, 'Diamond Girl'

Welcome to another Music Friday Flashback, when we bring you classic tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we feature Seals & Crofts performing their Summer of '73 hit, "Diamond Girl."


Using gemstone imagery to describe a girl who is perfect in their eyes, Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts sing, "Diamond Girl - you sure do shine / Glad I found you - glad you're mine / Oh my love, you're like a precious stone / Part of earth where heaven has rained on."

The Texas-born Seals and Crofts are famous for their smooth — almost hypnotic — vocal harmonies, spiritual lyrics and a string of chart-toppers in the 1970s. Their songs are said to be influenced by the teachings of the Bahá'í faith.

Coming off their success with "Summer Breeze" in 1972, the duo was back in the studio one year later with "Diamond Girl."

Released as the title track of Seals & Crofts fifth studio album, Diamond Girl, the single reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album also was a huge success, as it rose to #4 on the Billboard 200 chart. A second charting single from the album was "We May Never Pass This Way Again," which topped out at #21.

The duo had a strong run through the 1970s, but disbanded in 1980. They reunited briefly in 1991 and then again in 2004, when they released their final album, Traces.

Seals & Crofts' fans may not know that Jim Seals is the brother of Dan Seals, who was "England Dan" in the duo England Dan and John Ford Coley ("I'd Really Love to See You Tonight," 1976). Another interesting bit of trivia: Seals and Crofts both belonged to the group The Champs ("Tequila," 1958) in the late 1950s and early 1960s, before going out on their own.

Please check out the video of Seals & Crofts' live performance of "Diamond Girl," a song that still shines like a precious stone. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Diamond Girl"
Written by Jim Seals and Dash Crofts. Performed by Seals & Crofts.

Diamond Girl - you sure do shine
Glad I found you - glad you're mine
Oh my love, you're like a precious stone
Part of earth where heaven has rained on

Makes no difference where you are
Day or nighttime you're like a shinin' star
And how could I shine without you
When it's about you that I am

Diamond Girl - roamin' wild
Such a rare thing - radiant child
I could never find another one like you
Part of me is deep down inside you

Can't you feel the whole world's a-turnin'
We are real and we are a-burnin'
Diamond Girl now that I've found you
It's around you that I am

Diamond Girl - you sure do shine
Diamond Girl - you sure do shine
Diamond Girl - you sure do shine
Diamond Girl - you sure do shine

Credit: By Warner Brothers Records, via Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

15-Carat 'Crimson Flame' Ruby Is the Star of Upcoming Christie's Hong Kong Auction

Billed as the most important pigeon's blood ruby to be offered at auction in Asia, the 15.04-carat "Crimson Flame" is the star of Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Sale, which will take place in Hong Kong on December 1. The auction house expects the gem to fetch between $10.1 million and $15.5 million.


The cushion-shaped ruby is mounted in a white gold ring that features a dramatic surround of smaller cushion-shaped white diamonds. A report by the Swiss Gemmological Institute affirmed that the gem is of Burmese origin and exhibits a vivid, saturated crimson color — also known as pigeon's blood red. The report goes on to state that a natural ruby of this size and quality is very rare and should be considered an "exceptional treasure."


Christie's obvious agreed, as the "Crimson Flame" earned the cover shot of the auction's official catalog.

Other notable lots also shine the spotlight on rubies...

“Mogok’s Fiery Red” suite by Faidee will be split into individual lots and sold separately. The first item is a ruby-and-diamond necklace carrying an estimated selling price of $6.2 million to $8.5 million. The second lot is a pair of ruby-and-diamond ear pendants with an estimate of $2.9 million to $4.1 million. The rubies of both items boast the coveted pigeon's blood color.


The graduated necklace features 32 cushion-shaped rubies — ranging from 1.04 to 5.05 carats — alternating with cushion-shaped diamonds. They're mounted in platinum and gold with the largest gems in the front and smallest in the back.


Each ear pendant is designed as a line of two cushion-shaped rubies, spaced by a cushion-shaped diamond. The larger rubies weigh a bit over 5 carats, while the smaller ruby of each ear pendant weighs about 2.5 carats. The diamonds in the middle weigh about 1.5 carats.

“Ruby appears to be a real star at Christie’s Hong Kong jewelry auctions this year,” said Vickie Sek, deputy chairman and director of Christie’s Asia jewellery department. “Following the record-breaking results achieved last spring by a fabulous Burmese ruby-and-diamond necklace by Etcetera, we will present the sensational Crimson Flame, undoubtedly the most important pigeon’s-blood ruby to come to auction in Asia.”

Back in June, the 120-carat ruby-and-diamond necklace by Etcetera sold for $13 million, setting a world auction record for a ruby necklace.

Credit: Christie's

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

$2M 'Fireworks' Fantasy Bra Features Spiraling Blasts of Diamonds, Sapphires, Topaz and Quartz

Victoria's Secret just unveiled the latest interpretation of its famous jewel-encrusted Fantasy Bra. The 2015 edition is valued at $2 million and features spiraling blasts of gemstones on both the bra and detachable belt.


Among the 6,500 glistening gemstones are diamonds, yellow sapphires, blue topaz and pink quartz — all set in 18-karat gold. The total weight of the gemstones is 1,364 carats (more than a half pound).


Lily Aldridge will be modeling the 2015 Fireworks Fantasy Bra during the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, airing on CBS on December 8. Last year's installment, featuring musical guest Taylor Swift, attracted 9.1 million viewers. Stepping into Swift's shoes this year will be Ellie Goulding.


The 29-year-old Aldridge told PeopleStyle that the blinged-out bra was custom-fitted especially for her. Luxury jeweler Mouawad used a cast of the model's body to design the bra that would match her form exactly. The fabrication of the bejeweled bra, belt and panty ensemble took 685 hours.


A veteran of six Victoria's Secret Fashion Shows, Aldridge seemed to be undaunted by the prospect of modeling a $2 million bra for a huge television audience. “I’m not scared," she told PeopleStyle. "I’m super excited and I’m anxious to just get on the runway and wear it and be in that moment.”

In a behind-the-scenes video shot in a photo studio, the model seems to be both anxious and thrilled to see the Fireworks Fantasy Bra for the first time. "I'm so nervous. It feels like I'm getting proposed to," she says.


A moment later, she gets her first glimpse of the bejeweled bra, which is neatly displayed on a table in the studio. "Oh, my God," she exclaims. "It's so beautiful."

Then Aldridge gets giddy like a kid in a candy store. "Can I touch it? Will I, like, get hit by security?" she joked.

"It's stunning. It's beautiful. I love it," she said of the amazing attire that she will introduce to the world in December. Then she made a light-hearted request to the execs of the largest American retailer of lingerie: "Please, can I keep it, Victoria's Secret?"

Photos: Victoria's Secret.

Monday, November 02, 2015

American Golden Topaz is a Stellar Example of November's Official Birthstone

The colossal cushion-cut specimen you see here is the American Golden Topaz, the third-largest faceted gemstone in the world and a stellar example of November's official birthstone.


Sourced in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and tipping the scales at a whopping 22,892 carats (10.09 lbs), the American Golden Topaz was cut by Leon Agee over a period of two years in the late 1980s from a 26-pound stream-rounded cobble owned by Drs. Marie L. and Edgar F. Borgatta.


The final product has 172 facets, a warm honey-gold color and is the size of a honeydew melon, measuring 6.9 x 5.9 x 3.7 inches. The stone boasts a combination of uniform color and near-flawless clarity.

In 1988, the American Golden Topaz was donated to the Smithsonian Institute, and put on display in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals — one of the most popular galleries in the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.


According to the museum's website, topaz is renowned for its ability to grow huge gem-quality crystals. Shown here are two of the world's finest large topaz crystals, the 70-pound Lindsay Uncut Topaz and the 111-pound Freeman Uncut Topaz. In the foreground is the faceted American Golden Topaz. Each of the uncut specimens was also mined in Minas Gerais.

The American Golden Topaz is one of the world's most impressive examples of the popular family of gemstones that can be seen in a wide array of warm colors, including brownish-yellow, orange-yellow and reddish brown. It's also found in white, pale green, blue, gold and pink.

In addition to Brazil, topaz is mined in Mexico, Sri Lanka, Africa and China. Topaz is a talisman for the sign of Sagittarius and is the suggested gift for the 23rd or 50th wedding anniversary.

Photo (top) by ZakVTA via Flickr; Others © Smithsonian Institution.