Friday, February 12, 2016

Music Friday: Neil Diamond Sings, 'Gold Don't Rust, Love Don't Lie' in His 1996 Country Classic

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the legendary Neil Diamond sings about how "gold don't rust" and "love don't lie" in a country classic from his 1996 Tennessee Moon album.


Diamond, who was a pre-med student at New York University and can certainly find his way around a periodic table, took an interesting fact about a chemical property of gold and spun it into a love song.

Besides its rarity, value and radiance, gold in its purest form is an element that will never oxidize or rust. That's why it's been used for jewelry and coinage for millennia.

In "Gold Don't Rust," Diamond assures his lover that she doesn't have to worry when he goes away. His feelings will continue to shine.

He offers her a 24-karat commitment, singing, "Gold don't rust / Love don't lie / I'll be true 'til the day that I die. / Trust in me, you will find / Baby, you're the gold in this heart of mine / And that gold will shine / For a long, long time."

"Gold Don't Rust," which Diamond co-wrote with Gary Burr and Bob DiPiero, was the seventh track of Diamond's 23rd studio album, Tennessee Moon. The album, appropriately, was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, which confirmed sales of more than 500,000 copies.

Over the course of his stellar 54-year career as a singer-songwriter-musician, Diamond has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. Billboard magazine ranks him third behind Elton John and Barbra Streisand on the list of the most successful adult contemporary artists of all time.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Diamond was a member of Erasmus Hall High School's Chorus and Choral Club along with close friend Streisand. Diamond got his first inspiration to write his own songs when folk singer Pete Seeger visited a summer camp he was attending as a teenager.

"And the next thing, I got a guitar when we got back to Brooklyn, started to take lessons and almost immediately began to write songs," he told Rolling Stone.

Just 10 credits short of an undergraduate degree from New York University, Diamond dropped out of college to take a 16-week assignment writing songs for Sunbeam Music Publishing. The job paid $50 per week. Later in his career, he would joke, "If this darn songwriting thing hadn't come up, I would have been a doctor now." The 75-year-old Diamond continues to tour regularly and his shows are said to be better than ever.

Scroll down for the audio track of Diamond's "Gold Don't Rust." The lyrics are here if you'd like to sing along...

"Gold Don't Rust"
Written by Gary Burr, Bob DiPiero and Neil Diamond. Performed by Neil Diamond.

I know you worry ev'ry time I go away
You wonder will these
Sweet, sweet feelings shine or fade
Well, that's a question
You don't have to ask
What heaven makes,
It always makes to last

Gold don't rust
Love don't lie
I'll be true 'til the day that I die
Trust in me, you will find
You're the gold in this heart of mine
And that gold will shine
For a long, long time.

I wish that I could give you
What you need from me.
But what good
Is a promise or a guarantee?
Love is still a simple act of faith
And a faithful heart
Is always worth the wait

Gold don't rust
Love don't lie
I'll be true 'til the day that I die
Trust in me, you will find
You're the gold in this heart of mine,
And that gold will shine
For a long, long time

Love is still a simple act of faith
And a faithful heart
Is always worth the wait
Gold don't rust
Love don't lie
I'll be true 'til the day that I die
Trust in me, you will find
You're the gold in this heart of mine
And that gold will shine
For a long, long time
Baby you're the gold
In this heart of mine
And that gold will shine
For a long, long, long time

Credit: By Gresbek (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

World's Second-Biggest Gem-Quality Diamond Has a New Name: 'Lesedi La Rona'

"Lesedi La Rona," which means "Our Light" in Setswana (the national language of Botswana), is the new name of the 1,111-carat gem-quality diamond discovered at Lucara's Karowe Mine in November of 2015. Thembani Moitlhobogi is 25,000 Pula richer after five judges picked "Lesedi La Rona" from more than 11,000 entries. The prize is equivalent to about $2,215.


"'Lesedi La Rona' symbolizes the pride and history of the people of Botswana," Lucara CEO William Lamb said in a statement. "The outpouring of pride and patriotism shown by all the participants in the contest was incredible."

The gem will soon embark on a road show to find a buyer.

"The biggest challenge on the road show is that the weight-to-value ratio of the stone makes it potentially the highest-value item on the planet," Lamb told Reuters.

"So because of the security around the stone, there will be no telling people where we are going to be taking it. We are not going to be putting any of that information out because we want to protect our asset."

Lucara had honored the people of Botswana with the task of officially naming the mammoth diamond, offering a cash prize to the Botswana citizen who could come up with the best moniker for the epic stone. Entrants were invited to submit their suggested name and their rationale for their choice. The 11-day competition ended on January 28.


Five executives from both the Lucara and the Karowe mines made up the judging panel. Entries were submitted on an anonymous basis, and to ensure transparency and independence during the name selection process, the audit firm of Ernst & Young was retained to oversee the competition.

The spectacular, chemically pure Type IIa diamond — the biggest diamond ever recovered in Botswana and the second largest ever found in the world — could be worth more than $66 million. Lucara has yet to set a price for the stone because the conventional scanners used to evaluate a rough diamond's potential worth are not large enough to accommodate its size.

Slightly smaller than a tennis ball and weighing nearly a half-pound, "Lesedi La Rona" has been called the "diamond of the century." Only the 3,106-carat Cullinan, found in South Africa in 1905, was larger.

Images courtesy of Lucara Diamond.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Diamond-Ownership Study Reveals NY Ranks #1 in Quality While Maryland Earns #1 Spot for Size

A fascinating new diamond-ownership study reveals that New York ranks #1 in quality, while nearby Maryland rates #1 in size.


The survey by WP Diamonds, which specializes in the buy-back of diamonds, jewelry and watches, reviewed market data based on 15,000 consumer inquiries covering all 50 states. With this data, WP Diamonds was able to assign rankings to the states based on diamond value, diamond size and diamond shape.

The states that rank highest for the average value per carat are New York, Florida, California, Connecticut and Maryland. Rounding out the top 10 are New Jersey, Massachusetts, Kansas, Tennessee and Colorado.

The states where size really matters are Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, Alaska, New York, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Arkansas and California.

It's interesting to note that four states — including New York, Maryland, Florida and California — made the top 10 on both lists. New York is #1 in quality but also #5 in size. Maryland is #1 in size and #5 in quality.


The report also affirmed that the most popular diamond shape is round (55.38%), followed by princess (22.07%), marquise (4.8%), emerald (4.47%), cushion (4.12%), oval 2.67%, radiant (2.58%), pear (2.54%), heart (0.71%), Asscher (0.19%) and baguette (0.09%). WP Diamonds noted that the oval cut has gained in popularity since the company's first year in business. The oval now ranks sixth, up two places since 2010.

Even though the round and princess shapes account for more than three-quarters of the diamonds monitored in the survey, WP Diamonds was able to determine the states in which consumers are willing to step out of the box. For instance, marquise diamonds are most favored in Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia and Missouri, while emerald-cut diamonds are most popular in Rhode Island, Kansas, Texas, West Virginia and South Dakota. The cushion cut finds a receptive audience in Mississippi, Montana, South Carolina, Texas and Delaware. The up-and-coming oval shape gets a boost from Texas, Connecticut, West Virginia, California and Oregon.

WP Diamonds also reported the states with the most expensive second-hand jewelry. These include California, Florida, North Dakota, North Carolina and New Mexico.

See the full report here...

Images: Courtesy of WP Diamonds.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

NRF: Consumers Will Spend $4.45 Billion on Jewelry This Valentine's Day

Romantic shoppers are set to spend $4.45 billion on necklaces, earrings and other jewelry items this Valentine's Day, according to a new survey published by the National Retail Federation (NRF). The jewelry category was narrowly edged out by "An evening out," which is expected to be the top category and generate $4.49 billion in sales. Flowers will lag well behind at $1.99 billion.

Fingers Holding Blue And Red Jewelry Hearts

This year's Valentine-related jewelry purchases are predicted to be up 50.8% compared to 2010, when they tallied $2.95 billion.

The NRF reports that nearly one in five Valentine celebrants (19.9%) plans to purchase jewelry this year, with the average retail expenditure of about $166. By comparison, an average "evening out" is expected to cost $87, and the average gift of flowers will retail at $41.

Jewelry budgets will vary greatly, depending of the person's gender, income level and age.

For instance, men will outspend women $207 to $127, while those earning more than $50,000 per year will outspend their lower-earning counterparts by a tally of $191 to $126. Survey respondents ages 35 to 44 will be the most generous, spending $205, while the most cost-conscious age group (18- to 24-year-olds) will spend $126.

How much one intends to spend on a Valentine's gift also depends on who will be the recipient. Spouses will spend about $99 on each other, which is about double what they will spend on their children or parents ($50). Survey respondents also plan to buy gifts for co-workers ($54), friends ($36), children's classmates or teachers ($36) and pets ($26).

Overall, there are signs that people, in general, are less enthusiastic about Valentine's Day than they were in the past. Exactly 54.8% of respondents will celebrate on February 14, down from 63.4% in 2007. Despite the fall off in interest, total Valentine's Day retail spending is expected to climb to $19.7 billion, a survey high.

For the first time, the NRF asked consumers if they hoped to receive or plan to give a gift of "experience," such as tickets to a concert, a spa service or an art lesson. According to the survey, 24% said they plan to give a gift of experience, while nearly four in 10 (38.8%) said that they would love to receive a gift of experience.

“As the first major consumer holiday of 2016, Valentine’s Day could provide a positive boost in spending our economy needs,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Low gas prices and guaranteed promotions from retailers large and small should help consumers as they look for the perfect gift for their friends and family. Looking ahead, we’re optimistic consumers are in a good place when it comes to spending on discretionary items like gifts.”

The NRF’s 2016 Valentine’s Day spending survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Valentine’s Day. The survey was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The poll of 7,293 consumers was conducted from January 5-12, 2016, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.


Monday, February 08, 2016

NFL Adds 18K Gold-Plated '50' to Super Bowl Trophy; Gleaming Numerals Weigh 33 Lbs Each

When Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy above his head after last night's defeat of the Carolina Panthers, he was celebrating with the centerpiece of a much larger — and heavier — three-piece set commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl.


The NFL commissioned Tiffany & Co. to design a massive "5" and "0" in a configuration that positions the sterling silver Lombardi Trophy between the gleaming golden numerals. Tiffany cast the 14.5-inch-tall numbers in bronze and then plated each 33-pound stunner in 18-karat yellow gold.


The Vince Lombardi Trophy itself has been manufactured by Tiffany & Co. since 1967 and weighs in at 7 pounds. With a total weight of 73 pounds, the 50th anniversary version of the trophy was a bit unwieldy — even for a man the size of Manning. So, after the win, the quarterback celebrated by holding the sterling silver trophy aloft. The complete set will be presented to the Super Bowl champions at the MVP and head coach press conference this morning.

The Vince Lombardi Trophy stands 22 inches tall and depicts a football in a kicking position on a tapered three-sided stand. The words "Vince Lombardi Trophy" along with the numerals of the year's Super Bowl are engraved on the piece. Before this year, each trophy used Roman numerals. Because the Roman numeral for 50 is "L," the NFL thought it better to use the Arabic numeral "50" instead.


After the trophy is awarded, it is sent back to Tiffany to be engraved with the names of the participating teams, the date, location of the Super Bowl game and the game's final score. The winning team gets to keep the trophy.

“The bronze has a warmer color, but it was important to us to have that very clean, very yellow gold color," Victoria Wirth Reynolds, group director of business sales at Tiffany & Co., told Forbes magazine. "They are viewed more as sculptures than trophies.”

Last night's golden anniversary Super Bowl was the culmination of a special season that featured golden 50-yard markers and gold NFL shields painted on every field, gold-trimmed team logos, gold-edition uniforms and gold-accented sideline gear, such as hats and jackets.

The NFL also will be sending a gold-painted football to every high school that's produced a player or coach who's appeared in a Super Bowl. The NFL reported that more than 3,000 players and 52 coaches have participated in a Super Bowl game.


In the weeks leading up to the big game, 10 Bay Area promotional installations featured giant-sized versions of Tiffany's golden "50," with each number weighing 1,600 pounds.

Images: Facebook/NFL; Screen captures via CBS, YouTube/CBS Sports,