Friday, February 19, 2016

Music Friday: Haunting Gypsy Song Claims That If You Wear 'Golden Earrings' Love Will Come to You

Welcome to Music Friday when we frequently feature throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we have music legend Willie Nelson singing his rendition of the haunting love song, "Golden Earrings."


Originally performed by Murvyn Vye in the 1947 romantic spy film of the same name, "Golden Earrings" tells the story of the jewelry's mystical qualities.

The song begins like this: "There's a story the gypsies know is true / That when your love wears golden earrings / He belongs to you."

The next verse states: "An old love story that's known to very few / But if you wear those golden earrings / Love will come to you."


Now, if you're wondering why a guy is wearing golden earrings, the answer lies in the plot of the movie... On the eve of World War II, a British colonel, played by Ray Milland, escapes from the Gestapo to the Black Forest and poses as the mate of a beautiful gypsy (Marlene Dietrich) to elude his captors. In the poster, above, Milland is clearly wearing the golden earrings.

As Les Adams outlined for "She pierces his ears for dazzling golden earrings, stains his skin, dresses him in [gypsy] clothes and teaches him to read palms. His disguise is perfect and he emerges unharmed from several encounters with Nazi patrols."

Over the past 69 years, "Golden Earrings" has been covered by no fewer than 50 artists, including Peggy Lee (who scored a hit in 1947), Bobby Darin (1964) and Nelson (1983).

In Nelson's rendition, the line "He belongs to you" is changed to "She belongs to you."

"Golden Earrings" was the sixth track on Nelson's album Without a Song, a release that ascended to #3 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The album also ranked #54 on the U.S Billboard 200.

Willie Hugh Nelson was born in Abbott, Texas, in 1933, and during his 60-year career has demonstrated a wide range of talents. The American icon is a musician, singer, songwriter, author, poet, actor and activist. He has recorded more than 60 studio albums and appeared in more than 30 films and television shows. At 82 years old, he still has an active touring schedule.

He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993, won the lifetime award of the Library of Congress in 2015 and was honored by Rolling Stone as one of the "100 Greatest Singers" and "100 Greatest Guitarists" of all time.

We're happy to present the audio track of Nelson's version of "Golden Earrings." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along.

"Golden Earrings"
Written by Victor Young, Ray Evans, Jay Livingston. Performed by Willie Nelson.

There's a story the gypsies know is true
That when your love wears golden earrings,
She belongs to you.

An old love story that's known to very few,
But if you wear those golden earrings,
Love will come to you.

By the burning fire, they will glow with ev'ry coal.
You will hear desire whisper low inside your soul.
So be my gypsy;

Make love your guiding light,
And let this pair of golden earrings
Cast their spell tonight.

Willie Nelson image via YouTube screen capture. "Golden Earrings" movie poster via Wikipedia (Fair Use).

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Missing Platinum-and-Diamond Wedding Band Turns Up in Toddler's X-Ray

A Seattle-area mom learned the hard way why it's not a great idea to leave a sparkly platinum-and-diamond wedding band within a toddler's reach.

Toddler ripping up toilet paper in bathroom

The mischievous 14-month-old boy named Brady apparently swiped the ring from the bathroom counter while his mother was washing her hands.

The proud dad — a Reddit user who calls himself “IAMCLARKGRISWOLD” (in homage to Chevy Chase's character in the beloved National Lampoon movies) — posted the news of the missing ring and his next course of action...

“My wife couldn’t find her wedding ring yesterday,” he wrote. “We decided to have our baby X-rayed just in case.”


Mom and dad's hunch was right on the mark, as the X-ray revealed the ring squarely in toddler's gut.

Doctors at the local children's hospital didn't see an immediate danger and, after holding their little patient for observation for eight hours, advised the parents to return home and wait for the jewelry to re-emerge naturally.


They also warned that the natural process could take up to two weeks, which meant the parents and two siblings, ages 5 and 7, had to prepare themselves for a long run of around-the-clock diaper vigils. If the ring did not pass naturally, doctors were prepared to remove the ring surgically.

The dad posted to Reddit, “Now we dissect each diaper like 5th grade science class.”

Fortunately for Brady and his family, the platinum-and-diamond ring emerged nine hours later with no ill effects.

The dad wrote, "We can't believe how quickly it passed, and it didn't seem to cause him any pain on the way out. What a trooper. What a pooper."

Reddit users were quick to chime in.

"Just remember; one day you will be asked to give a speech at your child's wedding," wrote starstarstar42. "I would lead off with this."

RoboKraken69 contributed this comical dialog...

"Hey honey, have you seen the remote?"

"No, just go X-ray the baby."

Another user added, “Isn’t your baby more precious now?”

Pediatrician Jennifer Shu told CNN that babies put things in their mouths to explore objects around them, and they will continue to do so until they are 2 or 3 years old.

That's all the more reason to keep your precious baubles safely out of the reach of the little ones — and your pets. But that's another story...

Photos via; Reddit/iamclarkgriswold.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Silver Miners in Ancient Greece Demonstrated Surprising Technical Skill, Say Archaeologists

Archaeologists have discovered a 5,000-year-old silver mine that radically rewrites the history of how the precious metal was unearthed in ancient Greece. Although they were believed to be slaves who had no option but to toil in stifling and dangerous conditions, ancient miners were far more sophisticated than historians ever imagined.


Archaeologists conducting a subterranean investigation of the Thorikos silver mine found a surprisingly complex system of galleries, shafts and chambers — about 5km of conduits in all.

The skill and physical abilities employed by the ancient miners to dig these channels, access the ore deposits from the bedrock and then to properly process them outside of the mine reflected a triumph of human ingenuity, reported New Historian.

Silver played an important role in the history of the Greek people. In fact, the precious metal contributed to Greece's great wealth and domination over the Aegean world. And one of country's greatest sources of silver was the coastal city of Thorikos, about 35 miles southeast of Athens.

Some parts of the mine included open spaces that hadn't been touched in more than 5,000 years. Based on the pottery and stone hammers found on the site, the archeologists concluded that the mine was likely operational as far back as 3200 BC. Tool marks on the walls, graffiti, oil lamps and crushing areas were evidence of the omnipresent activity of the underground workers.

“Extracting the silver would have required an exceptional amount of resources and an advanced technical system of a scale unique in the ancient world,” noted University of Lorraine professor Dr. Denis Morin, who supervised a team of mining archaeologists. “Mapping these cramped, complex and braided underground networks, the ramifications of which are sometimes located at several levels, represent a real challenge in scientific terms.”

The archaeologists are planning to continue their work at the Thorikos mine, hoping to learn more about ancient extraction techniques and how the precious metal was eventually made into coins for circulation.

The earliest coins from the 6th century BC were made from electrum, an alloy of gold and silver. Later in the same century, technology advanced far enough to allow for the simpler production of pure gold and pure silver coins.

silvermine2 silvermine3

Here are some examples of the earliest silver coins. One is a silver slater of Aegina (404-340 BC) and the other is a silver drachma (404-340 BC).

Mining image courtesy of Ghent University; Silver slater via Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons; Silver drachma via Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Huge Diamonds Just Keep Coming: 404-Carat Gem-Quality Stunner Unearthed in Angola

And the world-class diamonds just keep coming... Hot on the heels of Lucara's discovery of a 1,111-carat gem-quality rough diamond at its Karowe Mine in Botswana, rival Lucapa announced it unearthed a spectacular 404-carat diamond about 2,500 miles north at its Lulo Diamond Project in Angola.


Like the Lucara diamond, the Lucapa stone is of the extremely rare and chemically pure Type IIa gem variety. The newly discovered rough diamond, which weighs 2.8 ounces, measures 2.7 inches across and boasts a D color, is estimated to be worth about $14 million.


"We're not used to valuing 400-carat diamonds, but if we look at other diamonds slightly less weight than this, you're looking in the order of [$14 million]," Lucapa chairman Miles Kennedy told ABC Australia.

Experts have set the value of the Lucara diamond — recently dubbed “Lesedi La Rona (Our Light)" — at $66 million.


The 404-carat diamond set two records. It's the largest diamond ever found in Angola (the previous record holder weighed 217.4 carats), and it's also the largest diamond ever unearthed by an Australian-based mining company. Rival Lucara is based in Canada.

Kennedy told ABC Australia that many skeptics questioned his company's foray into a "very, very remote part of Angola." It was a parcel of 3,000 square kilometers of untouched ground more than 430 miles from the coast. Kennedy called the discovery a "wonderful vindication of eight years of pretty hard work."


Kennedy reported that diamonds weighing more than 10.8 carats are considered "special" by his mining company. Over the past six months, the Lulo diamond fields in Angola have yielded more than 100 of these special diamonds. Four were greater than 100 carats in weight.

He also noted that the cash injection made possible by the sale of the 404-carat diamond would allow the mining company to expand operations in Angola.

Images: Lucapa Diamond Company. Google Maps.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Leap Day Role Reversal: Women Get to Propose to Their Men on February 29

Get ready for some romantic Leap Day role reversals, as single ladies from coast to coast get down on one knee and propose to the men of their dreams. For more than 1,500 years, February 29 has been reserved for women who have waited far too long for their men to pop the question.

The concept of women proposing to men on Leap Day has its roots in 5th century Ireland when St. Brigid of Kildare forged a deal with St. Patrick to permit women to propose to men every four years. In Ireland, Leap Day is also called Bachelor's Day.

Apparently, this Irish traditional was then brought to Scotland by Irish monks. Legend states that in 1288, the Scotts passed a law that allowed women to propose on Leap Day. If the man refused the proposal, he would have to pay a fine, ranging from a kiss, to a silk dress or a pair of gloves. In upper-class circles, the fine for a proposal denial was 12 pairs of gloves. Presumably, the gloves would hide the shame of not wearing an engagement ring.

In English law, the day February 29 had no legal status, so people believed that traditional customs held no status on that day either. Hence, women were free to reverse the unfair custom that permitted only men to propose marriage.

In contemporary times, the idea of a woman proposing to a man at any time during the year is generally acceptable to the masses. Three-quarters of the respondents to a 2014 AP-WE tv poll said it would be fine for the woman to do the proposing, in theory. In the survey, nearly half of single women who hope to get married someday said they would consider proposing.

In practice, however, only about 5% of those currently married say the woman proposed, and the figure is no higher among couples wed within the past 10 years.

A stigma still seems to linger around the idea of a woman doing the proposing. During the 20th century, postcards, ads and articles would mock women for their aggressive behavior, casting them as desperate and unworthy. But, certainly, times have changed.

In 2010's romance/comedy Leap Year, Amy Adams is frustrated when another anniversary passes without a marriage proposal from her boyfriend. Aware of the Irish tradition that allows women to pop the question on Leap Day, she travels to Dublin to track down her fiancé in time to deliver a marriage proposal on February 29.