Friday, December 16, 2016

Music Friday: Kelly Clarkson Asks Santa to Make Her Christmas Eve '4 Carats, Please'

Welcome to a special Christmas edition of Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Kelly Clarkson asks Santa for high-end jewels in the 2013 holiday favorite "4 Carats."


In this tune penned by Clarkson and three collaborators, the "Original American Idol" makes a plea to Santa on Christmas Eve. She says she's been good all year and that she deserves a "shiny" gift. But, for Clarkson, no ordinary gift will do.

In the catchy refrain, she sings, "Like diamond ring / Just a little something from Tiffany's / Or a big ruby / You know red has always looked good on me."

Clarkson promises to keep it a secret if Saint Nick agrees to makes her "Christmas Eve 4 carats, please."

Later in the song, as the clock strikes 2 in the morning, Clarkson is concerned that Santa may have forgotten her. Still she coos about fancy yellow diamonds: "Mm, something sparkly / Yellow canaries / Ooh yea yea / Mm, I'm waiting patiently / Santa don't forget me / Ooh don't forget me!"


Clarkson told Billboard magazine that "4 Carats" was inspired by Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby" (1953) and Madonna's "Material Girl" (1984). The end result was a mashup of the two. Music critics generally praised the song for its memorable pop hook and bouncy melody.

"4 Carats" appeared as the 12th track on Clarkson's wildly popular Wrapped in Red Christmas album, which was certified platinum after selling more than one million copies. The album peaked at #3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and the single reached #30 on Billboard's Holiday Digital Songs chart.

In 2013, Clarkson made jewelry-industry news when she was stymied in her bid to claim the 200-year-old turquoise ring once owned by famed British novelist Jane Austen.

Clarkson — an avid Austen fan — had won the ring in 2012 at a Sotheby’s auction in London, having outbid a cadre of competitors, including the Jane Austen’s House Museum. Clarkson’s winning bid was $235,000 — more than five times the auction house’s high estimate. But instead of allowing Clarkson to take the ring back to the U.S., British authorities unexpectedly declared the ring a “national treasure” and temporarily blocked its export. If a British patron could match Clarkson’s winning bid, the singer would have to forfeit the ring so it could stay in the U.K.

Seizing the opportunity to get back into the game, Jane Austen’s House Museum launched an aggressive fundraising appeal through its website and Facebook page. Donations from around the world flooded into the “Bring the Ring Home” campaign, and within a month the museum had an infusion of $253,000 — more than enough to match Clarkson’s bid.

As a consolation, Clarkson's husband (then fiancé Brandon Blackstock) had a replica made for her.

Born in Ft. Worth, Texas, in 1982, Kelly Brianne Clarkson rose to fame in 2002 after winning the inaugural season of American Idol. In a career spanning 14 years, Clarkson has sold 25 million albums and 36 million singles worldwide, making her the best-selling American Idol contestant to date.

We know you will enjoy the audio track of Clarkson's "4 Carats." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"4 Carats"
Written by Kelly Clarkson, Cathy Dennis, Livvi Franc and Gregory Kurstin. Performed by Kelly Clarkson.

The door's unlocked
And you don't even have to knock
Or you can use the fireplace
I'll be waiting either way

You come and go
And no one is supposed to know
But ever since you caught my stare
You know I know that you are real

Well Santa I've been thinking
And I'm just in needin' one thing
You to bring me, something shiny

Like diamond ring
Just a little something from Tiffany's
Or a big ruby
You know red has always looked good on me

I won't tell (I wont't tell) anyone
I've been good all year long
Oh Santa make my Christmas Eve
4 carats please

Oh oh

It's getting late
I know you have your rounds to make
But I've been waiting up for you
And now the clock has just struck 2

I'm looking out my windows
Looking for a red nose
My heart's sinking
Don't forget me

Oh my diamond ring
Just a little something from Tiffany's
Or a big ruby
You know red has always looked good on me

I won't tell (I wont't tell) anyone
I've been good all year long
Oh Santa make my Christmas Eve
4 carats please

Oh oh
Oh oh

Mm, something sparkly
Yellow canaries
Ooh yea yea
Mm, I'm waiting patiently
Santa don't forget me
Ooh don't forget me!

Oh my diamond ring
Just a little something from Tiffany's
Or a big ruby
You know red has always looked good on me

I won't tell (I wont't tell) anyone)
I've been good all year long
Oh Santa make my Christmas Eve
4 carats please

Oh oh
Oh oh
Oh oh
Oh oh

Credit: Wrapped in Red album cover via RCA Records. Kelly Clarkson by Kathy Reesey [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Star Atop the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Weighs 550 Pounds and Sparkles With 25,000 Crystals

Some see it as a giant Christmas ornament. We see it as a remarkable achievement in jewelry craftsmanship. The 2016 Swarovski Star sitting atop the glorious Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City weighs an astonishing 550 pounds and is set with 25,000 crystals, featuring one million reflective facets.


The star, which has six outer rays and six smaller inner rays spanning 9.5 feet in diameter, is perched elegantly at the apex of an 94-foot-high, 56-foot wide, 14-ton Norway spruce. The crystal panels weigh a total of 300 pounds.


According to Swarovski, the main surfaces of the rays are made of point-mounted safety glass, which is the same shatterproof glass that adorns the facades of New York City buildings. The crystals are affixed to the inner sides of the glass in a tight, scale-like pattern to ensure maximum brilliance.

When the star was originally created in 2004, a team of nine artisans spent 1,200 hours building, programming and testing the Star to ensure the effects would withstand the challenging winter weather conditions high above Rockefeller Center.


The star is illuminated by 720 energy-efficient LED bulbs that twinkle festively thanks to a customized light sequence directed by a state-of-the-art computer program.


This is the 13th consecutive year that the Swarovski Star has topped the world famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. The star ascended to the top of the tree with the help of Broadway's own rising star, Denée Benton. The actress plays Natasha in the musical spectacular Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.


Benton got to press a special button that raised the Swarovski Star by crane to the top of the tree in preparation for the 84th Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony. The tree came to life with its 50,000 lights on the evening of November 30. Thousands crowded the sidewalks for the event and millions watched it live across the globe.

A full-scale replica of the star is on display in Rockefeller Center, allowing visitors the opportunity to get a closer view of the intricate detailing and precision craftsmanship.


Rockefeller Center officially began the tree lighting ceremony in 1933, when a Christmas tree was erected in front of the then-RCA Building and covered with 700 lights. Christmas trees in Rockefeller Center have ranged from 50-foot pines to 100-foot Norway spruces and are viewed by millions of spectators during the holiday season.

The last day to view this year's tree will be January 7, 2017, after which it will be milled into lumber for Habitat for Humanity.

Credits: Denée Benton photo by Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images (PRNewsFoto/Swarovski); Screen captures via and

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Clouds Packed With Rubies and Sapphires Circle the Distant Exoplanet HAT-P-7b, Say UK Astronomers

Astronomers at the University of Warwick in the UK have identified a massive exoplanet with cloud formations densely packed with rubies and sapphires.


Located 1,000 lightyears away, the blistering hot Jupiter-like planet — named HAT-P-7b — was studied using NASA's Kepler space telescope. Researchers monitored HAT-P-7b for four years and witnessed unusual shimmering cloud systems being propelled by a powerful jet stream.


“When we say clouds, they’re definitely not like clouds on earth,” noted lead researcher David Armstrong in the science journal Nature.

The clouds were shimmering, the scientists suggested, because they were infused with a crystalline form of aluminium oxide — also known as the mineral corundum. Rubies and sapphires are the gem variety of corundum. HAT-P-7b gets so hot that minerals vaporize in the atmosphere.

The HAT-P-7b exoplanet is 16 times larger than the Earth and much closer to its host star — making temperatures an inhospitable 4532 degrees Fahrenheit.

The exoplanet can achieve a full orbit of its star in a mere 2.2 days, a trip that takes the Earth 365 days to complete.

The Kepler space observatory was launched by NASA in 2009 with the goal of discovering Earth-size planets orbiting other stars. It's currently 100 million miles from Earth.

While UK scientists believe exoplanet HAT-P-7b is teeming with sapphires and rubies, U.S. researchers previously floated the idea that it's raining diamonds on Jupiter.

In 2013, two prominent scientists — Dr. Kevin Baines of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Mona Delitsky from California Specialty Engineering — outlined the circumstances under which Jupiter’s atmosphere would rain down thousands of tons of diamonds every year.

While diamonds on the Earth come from the bottom up, diamonds on Jupiter come from the top down, said the scientists.

Baines and Delitsky believe the tremendous gravitational pull of Jupiter results in a super-dense atmosphere of extreme heat and pressure — the same conditions found deep within the Earth.

Lightning storms in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter are responsible for initiating the process that eventually yields a diamond. When lightning strikes, methane gas is turned into soot, or carbon.

“As the soot falls, the pressure on it increases,” said Baines. “And after about 1,000 miles it turns to graphite — the sheet-like form of carbon you find in pencils.”

As it falls farther — 4,000 miles or so — the pressure is so intense that the graphite toughens into diamond, strong and unreactive, he said.

The biggest diamond crystals falling through the atmosphere of Jupiter would likely be about a centimeter in diameter — “big enough to put on a ring, although, of course, they would be uncut,” said Baines.

Credits: Images via

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Holiday Miracle: Widower Is Reunited With the Wedding Band He Lost at a Christmas Tree Farm 15 Years Ago

A New Jersey widower was reunited last week with the gold wedding band he lost 15 years ago while cutting down a Christmas tree at Wyckoff's Farm in White Township. The holiday miracle was bittersweet for 68-year-old David Penner because Nancy, the love of his life who gave him the ring on their wedding day in the summer of 1974, passed away on September 30.


"Maybe it's her way of saying, 'Everything is OK,'" Penner told

Fifteen years ago, Penner had visited Wyckoff's Farm in rural western New Jersey with his wife and two teenage sons to score the perfect Christmas tree. It was a cold day and Penner wasn't wearing gloves. His hands were numb and during the process of sawing down the tree his wedding ring somehow slipped off his finger. He didn't realize the ring was gone until he got home.

Penner returned to the farm, but his efforts to find the ring were fruitless. He accepted the hard truth that the ring was likely gone forever. He and his wife decided that they wouldn't buy a replacement ring. Nothing could match the original, and the important thing was that they had each other.


This past April, third-generation Christmas tree farmer John Wyckoff was planting saplings off the back of his tractor when a glint on the ground caught his attention. John was used to unusual items turning up on his farm. He's found arrowheads, broken sunglasses, old children's toys and chunks of glass, but this time he had something special.


Caked with black soil was a gold wedding band inscribed on the inside with the phrase, "To David. Love, Nancy" and the wedding date "July 20, 1974."


Wyckoff knew this ring was a cherished keepsake, but he wasn't sure how to find the rightful owner. He kept the wedding band on his kitchen's window sill for the next seven months.


By a stroke of good luck, the popular website was planning to do a feature story on Wyckoff's Christmas tree farm. Wyckoff tipped off the reporter that he had found the ring and the website soon ran a story titled "This tree farmer found a lost wedding ring — help him identify the owner." The story posted on Friday, December 2. Five days later, Wyckoff and the website had found their man.

Penner's sister-in-law had seen the story online and encouraged Penner to head over to the farm to meet with Wyckoff. To prove he was the owner, Penner described the ring's design in great detail and correctly noted the wedding date inscribed on the band. ('s story had reported the "To David. Love, Nancy" inscription, but didn't reveal the date.)


"Now that I've got it back, that's a good thing," he told "It's like the best Christmas present you could have at the present time."


Penner added, "Seems like somebody up above is looking down... There's a reason for a lot of things and maybe it's her way of saying 'Everything is OK.'"

Credits: Screen captures via

Monday, December 12, 2016

And the Envelope, Please... 'Greenery' Is Pantone's 2017 Color of the Year

"Greenery," a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring, has been named 2017's Color of the Year by Pantone, the world’s global color authority. The color immediately evokes Granny Smith apples and Kermit the Frog, but gem and jewelry lovers will recognize Greenery as an exact match for August's official birthstone, peridot.


Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate, according to Pantone. It's a life-affirming shade emblematic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality.


"Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape," noted Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose."

Each year since 2000, the color aficionados at Pantone have picked a color that reflects the current cultural climate. Typically, Pantone’s selection shows up in fashion, beauty, housewares, home and industrial design and consumer packaging.

The process of choosing the annual color takes about nine months, with Pantone's trend watchers scanning the globe's fashion runways and high-profile events for "proof points" until one color emerges as the clear winner.


A year ago, Pantone blended two shades — Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue — to create its 2016 Color of the Year. Together, the mineral pink and tranquil blue combined to communicate a sense of wellness and peacefulness, with a dash of gender equality.

In 2015, Pantone disappointed the masses with its choice of Marsala, a brownish-red hue that was supposed to resemble fine wine, but looked more like high school cafeteria meatloaf. For 2014, the group chose Radiant Orchid, an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink.

Here are most recent Pantone Colors of the Year...

PANTONE 13-1520 Rose Quartz (2016)
PANTONE 15-3919 Serenity (2016)
PANTONE 18-1438 Marsala (2015)
PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid (2014)
PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald (2013)
PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango (2012)
PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle (2011)


If the jewelry industry takes its cue from Pantone, store showcases will be featuring more peridot in 2017. Colors range from pure green to yellowish-green to greenish-yellow, but the finest hue is green without any hint of yellow or brown, according to the Gemological Institute of America. In addition to being the official birthstone of August, peridot is also the 16th anniversary gemstone.

Peridot is credited with being the first gem to be discovered on another planet. The Mars landing of 2003 revealed that green peridot crystals — in the form of the gem’s less-precious cousin, olivine — cover about 19,000 square miles of the Red Planet’s surface.

Credits: Greenery images courtesy of Pantone. Peridot images courtesy of Smithsonian.