Friday, July 01, 2016

Music Friday: Ruby Pendant 'In the Shape of a Heart' Is the Subject of One of Jackson Browne's Finest Love Songs

Welcome to Music Friday and the first day of July. With a nod to this month's official birthstone, we present Jackson Browne's "In the Shape of a Heart," a 1986 ballad that uses a ruby necklace to convey the pain the artist feels when he learns his lover has gone. Rolling Stone called it "one of Browne's finest love songs."


Browne, who tragically lost his first wife Phyllis Major to a drug overdose in 1976 at the age of 30, confirmed that "In the Shape of a Heart" is, indeed, a story about their relationship.

The song starts off with the ruby reference: "It was a ruby that she wore / On a chain around her neck / In the shape of a heart / In the shape of a heart / It was a time I won't forget / For the sorrow and regret / And the shape of a heart / And the shape of a heart."

Browne writes about missing the warning signs of his wife's distress, while never really understanding "what she was talking about" or "what she was living without."


In the end, when he realizes she's gone forever, he takes the ruby heart necklace from the bed stand, holds it for a moment, and then drops it through a hole in the wall. He sings, "In the hour before dawn / When I knew she was gone / And I held it in my hand / For a little while / And dropped it into the wall / Let it go, heard it fall."

In reviewing the song for Rolling Stone magazine, Jimmy Guterman wrote that Browne "nails heartbreak to the wall and sends his listeners scurrying for the Kleenex."

Released as the second single from his Lives in the Balance album, "In the Shape of a Heart" peaked at #10 on the U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Asylum Records pressed a red vinyl promotional single in, you guessed it, the shape of a heart.

Born in Heidelberg, West Germany, the 67-year-old Browne has sold more than 18 million albums in the U.S. and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Among his most famous songs are "These Days," "Running on Empty," "Doctor My Eyes" and "Take It Easy." As a political activist and humanitarian, Browne has supported the efforts of Amnesty International and Musicians United for Safe Energy.

Please check out the video of Browne performing "In the Shape of a Heart" in front of a live audience at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif., in 1992. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"In the Shape of a Heart"
Written and performed by Jackson Browne.

It was a ruby that she wore
On a chain around her neck
In the shape of a heart
In the shape of a heart
It was a time I won't forget
For the sorrow and regret
And the shape of a heart
And the shape of a heart
I guess I never knew
What she was talking about
I guess I never knew
What she was living without

People speak of love don't know what they're thinking of
Wait around for the one who fits just like a glove
Speak in terms of belief and belonging
Try to fit some name to their longing

There was a hole left in the wall
From some ancient fight
About the size of a fist
Or something thrown that had missed
And there were other holes as well
In the house where our nights fell
Far too many to repair
In the time that we were there

People speak of love don't know what they're thinking of
Reach out to each other though the push and shove
Speak in terms of a life and the learning
Try to think of a word for the burning

You keep it up
You try so hard
To keep a life from coming apart
And never know
What breaches and faults are concealed
In the shape of a heart

It was the ruby that she wore
On a stand beside the bed
In the hour before dawn
When I knew she was gone
And I held it in my hand
For a little while
And dropped it into the wall
Let it go, heard it fall

I... I guess I never knew
What she was talking about
I guess I never knew
What she was living without
People speak of love don't know what they're thinking of
Wait around for the one who fits just like a glove
Speak in terms of a life and the living
Try to find the word for forgiving

You keep it up
You try so hard
To keep a life from coming apart
And never know
The shallows and the unseen reefs
That are there from the start
In the shape of a heart

Credits: Screen captures via

Thursday, June 30, 2016

1,109-Carat Lesedi La Rona Goes Unsold at Sotheby's London; Top Bid of $61M Fails to Meet Reserve Price

The highly touted Lesedi La Rona — the tennis ball-sized rough diamond weighing 1,109 carats — was expected to smash the world record for any gemstone sold at auction. Instead, it went unsold at Sotheby's London yesterday when the bidding stalled at $61 million, short of the undisclosed reserve price.


Experts had conservatively pegged the value of the gem-quality, Type IIa diamond at $70 million or more. Once cut, the rough was expected to yield a 400-carat flawless diamond.

It was an extraordinarily rare occurrence to see a rough diamond offered at a public auction. Typically, these stones are traded among a handful of sophisticated dealers within the diamond industry.


But, Lesedi La Rona was no ordinary rough diamond. It was the largest gem-quality rough diamond discovered in more than 100 years. Because of its "rock star" status, mining company Lucara decided to break with tradition and roll the dice at Sotheby's with a special auction dedicated to one diamond.

Lucara was betting that wealthy individuals outside the diamond industry would want to get in on the excitement. The New York Times reported that Lucara chief executive William Lamb had been working with Sotheby’s and Julius Baer, a Swiss bank, to attract private clients from around the world.


The Sotheby's gallery was nearly filled to capacity when auctioneer David Bennett asked for the starting bid of $50 million. Viewers around the world watched online in real-time via streaming video.


The offers for Lesedi La Rona notched up slowly in increments of $500,000. But only a few minutes later, the bidding ground to a halt at $61 million. Bennett gave fair warning and then hit the gavel.

Soon the audience learned the gem had not reached the auction house's pre-established minimum price. Bennett announced the gem would not be sold and walked away from the podium.

The last time Sotheby’s put a rough stone up for sale was in 2000. In similar fashion, the purple-pink 12.49-carat diamond failed to sell, the Times reported.

Interestingly, Lesedi La Rona's stablemate at Lucara, the 813-carat diamond called The Constellation, was sold privately to Dubai-based Nemesis International for a record $63.1 million back in May. It was the highest price ever paid for a gemstone, rough or polished.

If Lesedi la Rona had earned the same $77,649 per-carat achieved by The Constellation, it would have fetched upwards of $86 million.

For now, the 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue, which sold for a record $57.5 million at Christie's Geneva in May, will hold onto its record for the highest priced jewel ever sold at auction.

Had the Lesedi La Rona sold at auction, the buyer would have paid a 12% buyer's premium on the amount over $3 million and a 20% fee on the first $3 million. The reserve price was not made public.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's. Screen captures via

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Jennifer Hudson 'Jenniferizes' Gold Heart Necklace by Pairing It With Son's First Baby Tooth

Devoted mom and Dreamgirls Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson turned to Instagram on Friday to show off a one-of-a-kind necklace highlighted by the first baby tooth of her son David. The tiny white tooth dangles from a simple gold heart on a fine chain.


"I like making things my own. I call it jenniferizing! Thank u guys," wrote the 34-year-old singer and actress on Instagram.

The necklace was Hudson's innovative way of transforming one of a parent's fondest memories — the loss of a baby's first tooth — into a cherished keepsake.


Although Hudson's first social media mention of the tooth jewelry was on Friday, a review of her Instagram account confirms that she's been wearing the special necklace for more than two months. In fact, nine weeks ago, Hudson posted a photo of herself and her six-year-old son, whom she calls Munch, in New York's Central Park. Dangling from her neck in clear view is Munch's baby tooth.


Munch's dad is Hudson's fiancé and long-time partner David Otunga. The brawny Otunga, 36, is a Harvard Law graduate, professional wrestler and WWE wrestling commentator.

This was not the first time Hudson, who has been starring on Broadway in The Color Purple, has used the term "Jenniferize." In fact, it's been part of her lexicon for at least 2 1/2 years.

Back in 2014, while promoting her third studio album, Hudson used the term to describe a certain creative energy that makes a project uniquely her own.

“I want it to be more light [and] more loose," she told ABC News. "I call it 'Jenniferizing.' Like I want people to get a sense of who I am as a person through the music more so [than] the public figure. It’s two different people.”

Later that same year, Hudson was on NPR revealing her new approach to music. Instead of just singing the right notes, her music was now a celebration. She called this infusion of energy "Jenniferizing."

In December, Hudson will be playing Motormouth Maybelle opposite Harvey Fierstein's Edna Turnblad in the live NBC telecast of Hairspray.

Credits: Photos via Instagram/Iamjhud.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Three Video Vignettes Explore the Mystical Properties of Rubies — Prosperity, Passion and Protection

Three short films focusing on the mystical properties of rubies were premiered last Wednesday at the Hotel Café Royal in London. 


Called “Ruby Inspired Stories,” the 60-second vignettes feature an international cast that includes actresses Kamay Lau, Sophie Cookson and Aditi Rao Hydari, as well as model Grace Guozhi. The videos were produced by Gemfields, a leading supplier of colored gemstones.


The company maintains a core belief that there is “A Story in Every Gemstone,” so the firm enlisted award-winning filmmaker Leonora Lonsdale to create a series of intimate portraits that explore how rubies play a pivotal role in the lives of three contemporary women. Each vignette weaves a narrative around one of ruby's mystical themes — prosperity, passion or protection.


In the prosperity-themed video, we're invited into the world of a sophisticated and successful artist played by London-based model and actress Lau. The artist is assisted in her studio by a dedicated apprentice played by Chinese model Guozhi.


Lau admires the work ethic of Guozhi, who tirelessly toils day and night preparing her canvasses and serving her tea. The final scene shows the women dressed up for a night on the town. In the back seat of a town car, Lau waits for Guozhi to join her and has a special gift waiting on the seat next to her. Presumably, it's a piece of ruby jewelry that Lau had been admiring in a storefront window earlier in the video.


The other two “Ruby Inspired Stories” star British actress Cookson in a video about "passion," and Indian actress Hydari in a feature about "protection."

The prosperity video is shown below, while the others can be seen on Gemfield's YouTube channel here...


“Rubies have been renowned for their magical properties since the beginning of civilization," Gemfields CEO Ian Harebottle told "As a leading supplier of responsibly sourced colored gemstones, we wanted to explore how these beautiful and mysterious gemstones resonate with women today."

Worked into the storylines of each video are product shots from designers Gyan, Fabergé and Aya, a new brand from Chelsy Davy. Each video ends with the slogan, "A Story in Every Gemstone," and the tagline, "Responsibly Sourced Mozambican Rubies by Gemfields."

“Ultimately, the consumer for our gemstones is the woman who will use a piece of jewelry to commemorate something important in her own life: an accomplishment, a connection with another human being or a statement about her own personality,” Sally Morrison, director of marketing and sales for the Americas at Gemfields, told “We believe that these films, viewed as a group, start a conversation with consumers about how their own stories can be expressed through a ruby.”

Credits: Screen captures via Youtube/Gemfields;

Monday, June 27, 2016

7.45-Carat Diamond Engagement Ring Donald Trump Gave Marla Maples Expected to Fetch $300K at Auction

The 7.45-carat diamond engagement ring that presidential candidate Donald Trump gave to second wife Marla Maples in 1991 is heading to the auction block in New York. After their divorce in 1999, Maples sold the ring at auction for $110,000. On Wednesday, the same ring is expected to fetch $300,000 to $350,000.


The platinum ring by Harry Winston features an F-color, VS1, emerald-cut center stone in a four-prong setting. The sides are channel set with 16 baguette-cut diamonds.

In 1999, Maples entrusted the sale of the ring to auctioneer Joseph DuMouchelle. At the time, the ring was sold to an anonymous American couple, who have watched the ring triple in value. On Wednesday, DuMouchelle will auction the ring for a second time at the Lotte New York Palace hotel.

Contributing to the value of the Harry Winston ring are multiple levels of provenance.

"It’s interesting when you consider the last time we sold it," DuMouchelle told the Detroit Free Press. "It was before Donald had his show The Apprentice and obviously before he was running for president. Now, he’s running for president, while Marla just appeared on Dancing with the Stars. So it’s completely different time frames."

DuMouchelle described the ring as being "very wearable" and having a "pretty design."

Trump and Maples were married in 1993 in a lavish ceremony at the Plaza Hotel, with the guest list topping 1,000 people. They had one child together, daughter Tiffany, before splitting up in 1997. The divorce was finalized two years later.

Credit: Image courtesy of Joseph DuMouchelle.