Friday, September 16, 2016

Music Friday Flashback: Tony Burrows Asks His 'Beach Baby' to Wear His Ring in 1974's Summertime Classic

Welcome to our Music Friday Flashback when we revisit fabulous oldies with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today's featured song is "Beach Baby," a popular 1974 singalong from the British one-hit wonder called The First Class.


Lead singer Tony Burrows — in his best American accent — channels Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys in this song about a summer romance on the beaches of Southern California. He sings, "We couldn't wait for graduation day (oh oh, no) / We took the car and drove to San Jose (oh oh oh) / That's where you told me that you'd wear my ring / I guess you don't remember anything."

What's interesting about "Beach Baby" is that is was written and performed by UK natives. John Carter and his wife, Gillian (Jill) Shakespeare, composed the song in their home in East Sheen, South West London. Despite being 5,400 miles from "old L.A., when everybody drove a Chevrolet," the writing team perfectly captured the vibe of the surf music popularized by The Beach Boys 10 years earlier.

The First Class was the studio creation of Carter and Shakespeare. Once they had their song completed, they hired session singers Burrows and Chas Mills to record the track as The First Class. While the band may suffer from the tag of "one-hit wonder," Burrows has an impressive resume. He was the voice behind a number of other hits, including Edison Lighthouse's "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" and Brotherhood of Man's "United We Stand."

Often mistaken as a Beach Boys standard, "Beach Baby" became a summertime favorite on both sides of the pond. In 1974, it zoomed to #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, settled at #13 on the U.K. charts and ascended all the way to #1 in Canada.

Before we officially say goodbye to summer, let's turn up the volume on "Beach Baby." The video, below, features a live performance by The First Class, with Burrows singing lead vocals. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Beach Baby"
Written by Gillian Shakespeare and John Carter. Performed by The First Class.

You remember back in old L.A. (oh oh oh)
When everybody drove a Chevrolet (oh oh oh)
Whatever happened to the boy next door
The sun-tanned crew-cut all-American male

Remember dancing at the high school hop (oh oh oh)
The dress I ruined with the soda pop (oh oh oh)
I didn't recognize the girl next-door
The beat up sneakers and the pony tail

Beach baby, beach baby, give me your hand
Give me something that I can remember
Just like before, we can walk by the shore in the moonlight
Beach baby, beach baby, there on the sand
From July to the end of September
Surfin' was fun, we'd be out in the sun every day

Mmm, I never thought that it would end (ooh ooh)
Mmm, and I was everybody's friend (ooh ooh)
Long hot days
Blue sea haze
Jukebox plays
But now it's fading away

We couldn't wait for graduation day (oh oh, no)
We took the car and drove to San Jose (oh oh oh)
That's where you told me that you'd wear my ring
I guess you don't remember anything

Beach baby, beach baby, give me your hand (give me your hand)
Give me somethin' that I can remember (give me something to remember)
Just like before we can walk by the shore in the moonlight
Beach baby, beach baby, there on the sand (there on the sand)
From July to the end of September (from July to September)
Surfin' was fun, we'd be out in the sun every day

Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Do do, do do do do
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Do do, do do do do
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Do do, do do do do
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Do do, do do do do
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Beach baby, beach baby
Do do, do do do do

Credit: Image screen capture via

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell Trades Her Bejeweled Crown for a Cushion-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

On the same day Betty Cantrell ended her reign as Miss America 2016 and handed over her bejeweled crown to successor Savvy Shields of Arkansas, the outgoing pageant winner announced her engagement to boyfriend Spencer (Spinny) Maxwell — and revealed her new diamond ring.


Cantrell couldn't have been more excited about the exchange of bling.

The 22-year-old beauty's Instagram page lit up on Sunday with a photo of Cantrell snuggled up to her new beau, with an engagement ring prominently displayed on her left hand, which rested against his chest.

"And now finally I can say my Fiancé!" the Georgia native announced in the caption of her snapshot. "To the man who let me be Miss America for a year, to the man who is moving to Nashville with me to help me achieve my dreams as a country music singer, to the man who so selflessly lets me shine, to the man who never gave up on me... to the love of my life. Forever and always, your dreams are my dreams. I love you Spinny." She closed her announcement with the following hashtags: #tonewdreams #truelove #fiance #engaged #finally.


Cantrell was back on Instagram a few moments later with another photo: the closeup of the ring. Captioned "Because I'm OBSESSED!!!!!" the image shows a detailed view of a sizable cushion-cut diamond in a four-prong setting on a minimalist yellow gold band. Cantrell added that @spinnymoose [Spencer] knows how to pick a ring." She used the hashtags #engaged #fiance #finally #rock #cushioncut.

Cantrell and Maxwell will be moving to Nashville so the former Miss America can pursue a career in country music. She revealed on her Instagram page that she's already completed three tracks for her first album. Cantrell met Maxwell in March of 2015, but kept their romance out of the spotlight while Cantrell served her year-long assignment as Miss America.


Cantrell also used her Instagram page to share a selfie of her and Shields. She congratulated the 21-year-old on her win and wished her the best as Miss America 2017. The 96th Miss America pageant took place at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

Credits: Images via

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Master Sculptor Wallace Chan to Exhibit 'Rise of Heart' and 40 Other Gem Creations in NY Next Month

Visitors to New York City next month will have a rare opportunity to see the amazing gemstone creations of Chinese master sculptor Wallace Chan. The installation at the Park Avenue Armory from October 21-26 will mark the first time Chan has exhibited his work in New York.


Regarded as the world’s leading art fair, TEFAF New York Fall will showcase Chan's 7-foot-tall "Rise of Heart."


Crafted in titanium, the gemstone-intensive sculpture depicts what Chan calls the "queen of Chinese gardens" — the peony flower — encircled by graceful butterflies. The breathtaking work is embellished with 925 rubies (357 carats), 470 citrines (3,622 carats), 500 amethysts (1,078 carats) and a vibrant burst of yellow diamonds.


Chan notes on his website that the peony is a sign of spring, as well as a symbol of affection, feminine beauty, riches and honor. The airy butterflies are a symbol of beauty, love and joy.

“Do flowers attract butterflies or is it the other way round? I wonder about that relationship,” Wallace told a writer for the design blog, Lavender's Blue. “I’m always very curious! I like to study the sky and earth, to capture the universe in my works. The universe is my teacher!”


Also on display in New York will be 40 other Chan masterpieces. Some of his work is so vivid and lifelike that it looks like it could crawl away.


The world renowned Hong Kong-based artist is famous for developing "The Wallace Cut," a special technique he uses to carve a three-dimensional portrait into the non-faceted back of a gemstone. Using a dentist’s drill with a specially adapted blade, the sculptor grinds away at the gemstone to render a subject who seems to be looking in several directions at once.

The drill, which spins at 36,000 times per minute, generates so much heat that the process has to take place under cold water or else the stone could be easily damaged.

“It means I can’t see clearly when I’m cutting,” Chan told CNN. “It becomes a very repetitive process. I make one cut, take it out of the water to check it, dry the stone, check it again, and if it’s fine I put it back in the water and make another cut.”

At TEFAF (The European Fine Art Foundation) New York Fall, Chan will exhibit among 93 other experts representing a range of art from antiquity through the early 20th century.

Credits: Images via

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Surprising Season Finale of 'Bachelor in Paradise' Delivers Three Engagements and Three Stunning Rings

More than 5.5 million fans of ABC's top-rated Bachelor in Paradise witnessed three romantic, teary-eyed proposals — and three stunning engagement rings — during last week's season finale.


In a surprising turn of events, not one, but three couples found love during their few short weeks in Mexico. Making the ultimate commitment to tie the knot were Josh Murray and Amanda Stanton, Evan Bass and Carly Waddell, and Grant Kemp and Lace Morris.

Here's a close-up look at their rings, which were designed by Neil Lane...


Murray popped the question to Stanton with a double-halo-style engagement ring that features a square emerald-cut diamond center stone set in platinum with a pavé diamond band. An insider told US Magazine that the 3-carat diamond ring is valued at $85,000.

Murray's emotional proposal had fans swooning and fighting to hold back the tears: "You are the sweetest, kindest, most loving, generous woman that I have ever met," Murray said. "I'm so blessed to spend the rest of my life with you. So, Amanda, my love, will you marry me?"

Not to be outdone, Bass expressed his devotion to Waddell with a silly limerick followed by a emotion-filled declaration of love.

"Carly, our life in Paradise has been nothing short of epic," he said. "My love for you has only gotten stronger. And the love I feel from you is the most amazing, inexplicable, mind-blowing thing that I just never in a million years thought I would get. I feel like my heart beats to your soul... Carly, I wanna chase after the fairy tales, and go on all of the adventures, and find all of the interesting things in this world to explore… I wanna start a life with you. I want you to be my wife."


Bass presented Waddell with a split-shank, halo-style platinum engagement ring centered by a pear-shaped 3.3-carat fancy pink diamond accented with rose-gold prongs and a band of white pavé diamonds. Us Magazine reported the ring's value at approximately $90,000.


Kemp chose for Morris an engagement ring featuring an Art Deco-inspired, square-cut 3.5-carat diamond framed by an octagonal border of 20 smaller round-cut white diamonds. With a value of $98,000, this ring is the priciest of the three.

The handsome suitor got down on one knee and asked Morris for her hand in marriage: "When I look at you, there's no way that I would not want you in my life," he said. "I love you when you're happy. I love you when you're stubborn. I love you when you're sad. I even love you when you're screaming at me. But, mostly, I love you when you're Lace. Lace, will you marry me?"

Credits: Couples via ABC. Rings courtesy of Neil Lane.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Swiss Luxury Jeweler De Grisogono Purchases Rights to Cut the 813-Carat 'Constellation'

Swiss luxury jeweler De Grisogono has purchased the rights to cut and polish the world's most expensive rough diamond, the $63 million, 813-carat "Constellation."


The diamond will be cut in Antwerp and the process will likely yield the world's largest D-flawless diamond, weighing between 300 and 350 carats. The cutting and polishing is expected to be completed by May 2017.

De Grisogono entered a partnership with Dubai-based Nemesis International, which had acquired the rough diamond from Lucara Diamond Corp. for $63 million in May. The value of De Grisogono's deal with Nemesis was not disclosed.


The colorful founder of De Grisogono, Fawaz Gruosi, referred to the stone as his "princess," "his collaborator" and "his woman."

"I love her and I hate her," he said. "Love because something like this is so exceptional — I could never dream to be able to have a stone like this in my own hands — and hate her because I don't know how I'm going to dress her."

"(This is) the first time we've taken such a historic stone and had full creative freedom to do what we want with it," De Grisogono CEO John Leitao told CNN.

Back in November of 2015, Lucara miners discovered two enormous gem-quality rough diamonds at its Karowe Mine in Botswana. The pair tipped the scales at a combined 1,922 carats. The larger of the two was the 1,109-carat "Lesedi la Rona," which failed to meet the reserve price at Sotheby’s London on June 29. The smaller of the two was the Constellation.

Both diamonds have been rated Type IIa by the Gemological Institute of America. Diamonds in this rare and coveted subgroup are chemically pure and often show extraordinary optical transparency.

The Constellation is the sixth-largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found, according to

Credits: Facebook/Lucara Diamond Corporation.