Friday, September 22, 2017

Music Friday: Coldplay's Chris Martin Learns He Doesn't Have to Possess Achilles' Gold to Get a Shot at True Love

Hey, it's Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. When "Something Just Like This" was released earlier this year, the lyric video set a YouTube record with more than 9 million views in 24 hours. To date, that video has been seen an astonishing 686 million times.

A collaboration of The Chainsmokers and Coldplay, "Something Just Like This" uses a precious metal reference to tell the story of a young man who discovers that he doesn't have to possess superhuman qualities to get a shot at true love.

In the first verse, Coldplay's frontman Chris Martin compares himself to legendary heroes and faces the harsh reality that he doesn't stack up.

He sings, "I've been reading books of old / The legends and the myths / Achilles and his gold / Hercules and his gifts / Spiderman's control / And Batman with his fists / And clearly I don't see myself upon that list."

Fortunately for him, his girlfriend is logical, level-headed and more realistic about what is really important in a relationship.

Martin sings her response, "I'm not looking for somebody / With some superhuman gifts / Some superhero / Some fairytale bliss / Just something I can turn to / Somebody I can kiss / I want something just like this."

Written by members of both The Chainsmokers and Coldplay, "Something Just Like This" became an international sensation when it was released in February of 2017. The song charted in 38 countries, and topped out in #3 spots on both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and the Canadian Hot 100 lists.

Andrew Taggart of The Chainsmokers told New Musical Express (NME) how the song magically came together during a studio session.

"We found some chords that everyone loved and then Chris plugged a mic into the PA in the studio and freestyled for an hour. This song was the result," Taggart said. "We've never seen a song written in such a stream of conscious. It's hard to maintain your identity when working with such an established artist, but we feel this song is a great balance between both us and Coldplay."

The song was released by both bands. It was the second single from The Chainsmokers' debut album Memories... Do Not Open. A live version, recorded in Tokyo, appeared as the first single from Coldplay's Kaleidoscope EP.

"Something Just Like This" was premiered with a remarkable live performance at the 2017 BRIT Awards. The video of that performance has earned more than 27 million views on YouTube and can be seen below. Here are the lyrics if you'd like to sing along...

"Something Just Like This"
Written by Andrew Taggart, Guy Berryman, Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland and Will Champion. Performed by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay.

I've been reading books of old
The legends and the myths
Achilles and his gold
Hercules and his gifts
Spiderman's control
And Batman with his fists
And clearly I don't see myself upon that list

But she said, where'd you wanna go?
How much you wanna risk?
I'm not looking for somebody
With some superhuman gifts
Some superhero
Some fairytale bliss
Just something I can turn to
Somebody I can kiss

I want something just like this
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
Doo-doo-doo
Oh, I want something just like this
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo
Doo-doo-doo
Oh, I want something just like this
I want something just like this

I've been reading books of old
The legends and the myths
The testaments they told
The moon and its eclipse
And Superman unrolls
A suit before he lifts
But I'm not the kind of person that it fits

She said, where'd you wanna go?
How much you wanna risk?
I'm not looking for somebody
With some superhuman gifts
Some superhero
Some fairytale bliss
Just something I can turn to
Somebody I can miss

I want something just like this
I want something just like this

Oh, I want something just like this
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo
Doo-doo-doo,
Oh, I want something just like this
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo
Doo-doo-doo

Where'd you wanna go?
How much you wanna risk?
I'm not looking for somebody
With some superhuman gifts
Some superhero
Some fairytale bliss
Just something I can turn to
Somebody I can kiss
I want something just like this

Oh, I want something just like this
Oh, I want something just like this
Oh, I want something just like this

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Government of Botswana Calls 'First Dibs' on Exceptional Diamond Discoveries

In mid-November 2015 — during a span of just 72 hours — Lucara's Karowe Mine in Botswana yielded three exceptional rough diamonds that tipped the scales at a combined 2,296 carats. Now, the government of Botswana wants first dibs on future historic finds.

A new clause in Botswana's Precious and Semi-Precious Stones Act compels mining companies to notify the minister within 30 days of coming into possession of an "unusual" rough or uncut diamond. The country's chief mineral officer said that a diamond "outlier" may be considered "unusual" if it demonstrates extraordinary size, quality or color.

The chief mineral officer told BusinessWeek that the government wanted an opportunity to celebrate as national treasures the museum-quality diamonds sourced at Botswana's mines.

Even though the Karowe Mine is 100% owned by Vancouver-based Lucara Diamond Corp. through its Boteti Mining subsidiary, the government of Botswana will have the right of first refusal on "unusual" diamonds. Purchases of rough diamonds would be made in accordance with the current market price.

Interpreting the market price of enormous gem-quality rough diamonds is not an easy task.

For instance, the largest of the three diamonds discovered in November 2015 still doesn't have a clear value. Named Lesedi la Rona, the Type IIa diamond weighed a spectacular 1,109 carats, making it the second-largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered. Lucara decided to circumvent normal diamond-trading channels and put the gem up for bid at Sotheby's in 2016. After the diamond failed to meet the $70 million reserve price (bidding stalled at $61 million), Lucara wondered out loud if the stone was just too big to sell.

Today, it remains unsold, and Lucara has seriously considered slicing the mammoth stone into smaller segments. Buyers have been apprehensive to make a play for Lesedi la Rona because of the enormous investment and lack of guarantees. Cutting a 1,109-carat diamond is uncharted territory, fraught with risks.

Lesedi la Rona's stablemates — the 813-carat “Constellation” and the 374-carat shard that broke off from Lesedi la Rona — were sold for $63 million and $17.5 million, respectively.

With Lucara employing new large diamond recovery (LDR) equipment and X-ray transmissive technology (XRT), the unveiling of the next massive rough diamond could be right around the corner. Under the new rules, Botswana will get first dibs.

Credits: Images courtesy of Lucara Diamond.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Argyle Mine — World's Primary Source of Pink, Red and Blue Diamonds — Is Nearly Tapped Out

Rio Tinto's Argyle Mine in Western Australia — the world's most prolific diamond mine and primary source for pink, red and blue diamonds — is nearly tapped out. The mine is expected to cease operations in 2021 after a 38-year run that has produced more than 800 million carats of rough diamonds.

While the bulk of Argyle's yearly output is brown in color, a minute segment of the production represents fancy-color diamonds so rare and so valuable that only 16 people in the world are permitted to touch them.

According to a recent article in The Western Australian, Rio Tinto has 50,000 employees worldwide and not even its London-based CEO, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, is allowed handle the 58 diamonds that make up the 2017 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender.

The 2017 Tender is currently on a multi-city tour that started in Perth, traveled to Hong Kong and will end in New York. At each stop, top buyers are being invited to view the collection and put their secret bids into sealed envelopes. Bidding ends on October 11 and winners will be announced shortly thereafter.

The headliner of the 2017 Tender is a fancy red diamond called the Argyle Everglow. The 2.11-carat, VS2-clarity, radiant-cut diamond was given this name because it seemed to possess an inner glow. The magnificent diamond, which could sell for upwards of $10 million, was cut from a 4.38-carat rough diamond discovered in the fall of 2016. It is the first 2-carat-plus fancy red diamond ever offered by Rio Tinto.

Red diamonds are so rare that in the 33-year history of the Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender there have been fewer than 20 carats of fancy red certified diamonds sold.

The collection includes five “hero” diamonds selected for their unique beauty and named by Rio Tinto to ensure there is a permanent record of their contribution to the history of the world’s most important diamonds:

• Argyle Everglow™ — 2.11-carat radiant-cut fancy red diamond
• Argyle Isla™ — 1.14 carat radiant-cut fancy red diamond
• Argyle Avaline™ — 2.42-carat cushion-cut fancy purple-pink diamond
• Argyle Kalina™ — 1.50-carat oval-cut fancy deep pink diamond
• Argyle Liberté™ — 0.91-carat radiant-cut fancy deep gray-violet diamond

Rio Tinto's Argyle mine is currently the largest diamond producer in the world by volume and accounts for 90% of the world's pink diamonds. Once shuttered, the world's annual supply of fancy-colored pinks, reds and blues are expected to diminish, forcing prices sky high.

If the Argyle Everglow earns a $10 million bid, it will set a record for the highest price ever paid per carat for a gemstone. The current record is held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine, which sold for $48.4 million, or a bit over $4 million per carat.

It is believed that red diamonds get their rich color from a molecular structure distortion that occurs as the jewel forms in the earth’s crust. By contrast, other colored diamonds get their color from trace elements, such as boron (yielding a blue diamond) or nitrogen (yielding yellow), in their chemical composition.

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Music Friday: Cut Like Precious Diamonds, TobyMac Reflects the Sun in 'Lights Shine Bright'

Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you inspirational songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Christian hip-hop recording artist TobyMac collaborates with American Idol contestant Hollyn on "Lights Shine Bright," an uplifting tune about making the world a better place.

In "Lights Shine Bright," TobyMac wants to "make this third rock glow" by magnifying God's light with the brilliance and intensity that only a perfectly cut diamond could achieve.

He sings, "I wanna magnify Your light / I wanna reflect the sun / Cut like precious diamonds / With the colors by the millions."

Written by David Garcia, Truett McKeehan and Solomon Olds, "Lights Shine Bright" was the fourth track from TobyMac's 2015 release, ***THIS IS NOT A TEST***. The album zoomed to #4 on the Billboard 200 and scored a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album in 2016.

TobyMac's official website explains that the songs on the album provide an essential reminder that "we only have one shot at life."

“What hits me now more than ever is that you really don’t get a practice run at life,” he explained. “This is it. In my friendships, raising my children, loving my wife, loving people, performing with my band and stepping on stage at arenas, I want to make every moment count.”

"Lights Shine Bright" features the vocal stylings of music-industry newcomer Hollyn, who is best known for her successful run on American Idol during Season 12. A native of Waverly, Ohio, the 20-year-old, whose birth name is Holly Marie Miller, released an album this year called One-Way Conversations.

Born Kevin Michael McKeehan in Fairfax, Va., in 1964, TobyMac has sold more than 11 million records and has earned seven Grammy Awards. He first came on the Christian music scene in 1987 as a member of the vocal trio DC Talk. In 2000, the group announced a hiatus and TobyMac embarked on what has been a successful solo career.

Please check out the official video of "Lights Shine Bright." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Lights Shine Bright"
Written by David Garcia, McKeehan, Truett McKeehan and Solomon Olds. Performed by TobyMac, featuring Hollyn.

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people, makin’ music for the people

I wanna magnify Your light
I wanna reflect the sun
Cut like precious diamonds
With the colors by the millions
This is the only world we know
And for now this rental’s our home
If we gonna be a reflection
Gotta make this third rock glow
(Just so you know…)

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people, makin’ music for the people

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people
Jesus music for the people

Everywhere we go
Lights shine bright, lights shine bright
Everywhere we go
Lights shine bright, lights shine bright

Lights in the city might be more than pretty, pretty
That freaky shine might be more than meets the eye
Anytime you see that sparkle in the dark you might look deeper, deeper
It might be more than simply theatre

Yo, that smile might be joy that’s connected to the spirit
The spirit might be contagious if you dare, you dare come near it
I remember, can’t forget, peace that you can’t second guess
Sparkle as the light reflects we writin’ pay it forward checks

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people, makin’ music for the people

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people
Jesus music for the people

Everywhere we go
Lights shine bright, lights shine bright
Everywhere we go
Lights shine bright, lights shine bright

The lights in the city shine bright
The lights in the city shine bright
So let your heart light shine tonight

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people, makin’ music for the people

Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people to illuminate the soul
Lights shine bright everywhere we go
Music for the people
Jesus music for the people

Everywhere we go
Lights shine bright, lights shine bright
Everywhere we go
Lights shine bright, lights shine bright...

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bounce, Bounce, Plop: Anxious Suitor Fumbles Engagement Ring on Picturesque Footbridge in KC

With his hands sweating and his heart thumping, Seth Dixon became an accidental media star early this week when he fumbled a diamond engagement ring through the planks of a wooden footbridge in Kansas City. The 26-second video of a marriage proposal gone horribly wrong has caught the attention of major media outlets from coast to coast and around the globe.

The Kansas City resident had planned to surprise his girlfriend, Ruth Marie Salas, by popping the question on Saturday at picturesque Loose Park.

"I knew I wanted to propose [at Loose Park] just because it's kind of our spot," Dixon told local television station KSHB. "We just kind of fell in love with the park and the beauty of it."

With a friend documenting the momentous event on her cell phone, Dixon went down on one knee at the crest of the bridge. The anxious suitor popped open the black ring box, but couldn't keep a grip on the engagement ring. Dixon and Salas looked on in disbelief as the $4,000 diamond ring bounced twice on the bridge, disappeared through a gap between the boards and splashed into the pond below. Circled in the photo, above, is the ring just before it falls through the bridge.

"It ping-ponged through the crack and I hear it plop in the water," Salas told KSHB. "I didn't know what else to think but, 'Oh my goodness.'"

Dixon, Salas and the friend made an attempt to rescue the ring, but the poor visibility and deep silt made the search very difficult.

They returned Sunday morning with a metal detector enthusiast, who came up empty because the water was too deep.

At 11 a.m. the couple attended a church service and told the congregants from Lifegate Church in Independence about their plight. By 3 p.m., more than 25 friends from the church had donned goggles and swimming gear to join in the search. Fellow parishioner and professional wedding photographer Staci Dabney captured the water-bound excitement on Sunday.

Despite the outpouring of love and support from the community, the ring could not be found.

On Monday, a GoFundMe page was established on behalf of the couple. The funds were earmarked for a replacement ring, but by Tuesday afternoon, the campaign was marked completed after only $261 had been raised. It looks as if the viral video will be generating enough cash for the couple to purchase a new ring. Major media outlets will be paying a fee to use the video. As of today, the video was still available to view on the Facebook page of Staci Dabney's Photography. Click this link.

The internet stars, who had been dating for four years, plan to wed October 21.

Credits: Screen captures via Facebook.com/Staci Dabney's Photography. Photos courtesy of Staci Dabney Photography.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Category 4 Hurricane Irma Fails to Thwart Tulsa Man's Key West Surprise Marriage Proposal

Months ago, Tulsa native Russ Dugger scheduled a romantic vacation to scenic Key West, Fla., where he planned to surprise his girlfriend, Nadia Kyrylova, with a marriage proposal on the world famous beach. Little did he know that they'd be crossing paths with a Category 4 hurricane.

The couple checked into their Key West hotel last Sunday, and Dugger was all set to pop the question on Wednesday with the assistance of the hotel staff.

But, with Hurricane Irma predicted to make a hard, northward turn from Cuba toward the Florida Keys, hotel officials instructed the couple on Tuesday morning that they had to evacuate before Wednesday at noon.

By Tuesday afternoon, Key West looked like a boarded-up ghost town, but Dugger wasn't going to let a hurricane stand in the way of his proposal. The couple had already survived a tornado together in Tulsa.

Most of the hotel staff had already evacuated, so he would have to go it alone.

In a scene that could only be described as surreal, Dugger proposed to Kyrylova Tuesday afternoon on an impossibly deserted Key West beach.

"Everybody was gone," Dugger told Tulsa's Fox affiliate Fox23.

Kyrylova accepted Dugger's marriage proposal and a diamond engagement ring with a resounding "Yes." But, now the couple had to outrun one of the biggest and most powerful hurricanes to ever make landfall in the U.S.

On Wednesday, they hopped into their rented car and made the four-hour journey to Ft. Lauderdale airport. There, they waited for hours, hoping that their Fort Lauderdale-to-Dallas-to-Tulsa flight would be allowed to take off. By Thursday, they had finally arrived in Dallas, where they spent the night. On early Friday morning, the exhausted, but relieved, couple was greeted by a Fox news crew at the baggage carousel at Tulsa International Airport.

Dugger and Kyrylova will be able to tell future generations that their love was able to overcome two natural disasters — an Oklahoma tornado and a Florida hurricane.

The couple plans to marry in Colorado in 2018.

Credits: Beach photo via Facebook.com/russ.dugger.16; map via NASA/NOAA/UWM-CIMSS, William Straka; Airport screen capture via FOX23.com.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Music Friday: Mark Knopfler Scores a 'Beautiful Find' in His 2006 Release, 'I Dug Up a Diamond'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, Mark Knopfler scores a "beautiful find" in his 2006 release, "I Dug Up a Diamond."

When taken literally, the song written by Knopfler is about a diamond miner who makes an unbelievable discovery. Metaphorically, "I Dug Up a Diamond" is about a man who's been on a seemingly hopeless search for the love of his life — and then finally finds her.

He sings, "I dug up a diamond / Rare and fine / I dug up a diamond / In a deep dark mine / If only I could cling to / My beautiful find / I dug up a diamond / In a deep dark mine / My gem is special / Beyond all worth / As strong as any metal / Or stone in the earth."

Providing the sweet harmonies for "I Dug Up a Diamond" is country legend Emmylou Harris. The pair had been friends since the late 1980s and decided to collaborate on an album, which they titled All the Roadrunning. Their work earned critical acclaim as the album peaked at #17 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.

The 68-year-old Knopfler, who is best known as the frontman for Dire Straits, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and grew up in Northumberland, England. Both are coal mining regions, so it is likely he drew his "I Dug Up a Diamond" lyrical inspiration from first-hand experiences.

A four-time Grammy Award winner, Knopfler is ranked 27th on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Knopfler and Dire Straits have sold more than 120 million records.

Born in Birmingham, Ala., the 70-year-old Harris is a 13-time Grammy winner and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. She's collaborated with some of the music industry's biggest names, including Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson and Neil Young.

Please check out the video of Knopfler and Harris performing "I Dug Up A Diamond." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"I Dug Up A Diamond"
Written by Mark Knopfler. Performed by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris.

I dug up a diamond
Rare and fine
I dug up a diamond
In a deep dark mine
If only I could cling to
My beautiful find
I dug up a diamond
In a deep dark mine

My gem is special
Beyond all worth
As strong as any metal
Or stone in the earth
Sharp as any razor
Or blade you can buy
Bright as any laser
Or any star in the sky

Maybe once in a lifetime
You'll hold one in your hand
Once in a lifetime
In this land
Where the journey ends
In a worthless claim
Time and again
In the mining game

I dug up a diamond
Rare and fine
I dug up a diamond
In a deep dark mine
Down in the darkness
In the dirt and the grime
I dug up a diamond
In a deep dark mine

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Lost for 9 Years, Diamond Engagement Ring Pried From a Gap in an Italian Sidewalk

The picturesque town of San Marco dei Cavoti in southern Italy is now world famous for two things: 1) the delightful honey-and-nut confection known as torrone and 2) a diamond engagement ring that was miraculously liberated from a gap in one of its sidewalks — nine years after it was lost.

In the summer of 2008, New Jersey natives Margaret and Justin Mussel were staying with her parents in what may be the "sweetest" town in Italy when she noticed that her 1.1-carat diamond engagement ring was missing. They had visited Pompeii earlier in the day, so they assumed the ring was lost somewhere along the 80-mile span between the ancient city and her mom's home. They searched the house and its surroundings, but the ring was nowhere to be found.

Margaret remembered that the ring had been loose, but she wore it anyway.

"I felt terrible, and I knew I should have probably taken it off," she told ABC. "I just felt really bad that I could have prevented it from falling off, and I kept it on that day."

Worse yet, since the ring was lost on their trip abroad — and not in the U.S. — their insurance company would not replace it.

The heartbroken couple returned to Brick, N.J., with the understanding that the princess-cut diamond in the white gold four-prong setting was likely gone forever. Justin saved up for a few years and bought a replacement ring for Margaret. The lost ring slowly faded from their memories.

That's until the couple returned to San Marco dei Cavoti a few weeks ago, with their two young boys.

One evening, while lounging with his wife on his in-laws' front porch, Justin saw a brilliant reflection emanating from the sidewalk in front of the house. Each time a car would drive by with its headlights on, he saw a flicker.

"I kept saying to Margaret, 'Do you see that? I see this glimmer coming out of the sidewalk," he told ABC.

He thought the light might have been bouncing off a coin.

Armed with a screwdriver, Justin tracked the reflection to a gap in the stones that bordered the sidewalk. He pried the shiny object that was jammed in the crevice, and what emerged was Margaret's ring. The precious metal was slightly scratched, but the diamond was in perfect condition.

“I was like, ‘There's no way the ring is in there.' I couldn't believe it. I thought he was playing a joke,” she told ABC.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think we would find it again,” she added.

“The odds of it falling into this crack, much less finding it nine years later, are astronomical,” Justin told the Asbury Park Press.

Justin believes the ring must have bounced into the gap with the stone facing down. Over time, it had been covered in dirt, but enough of the diamond was exposed to reflect the beams from the cars' headlights.

Margaret is now wearing her original engagement ring. The replacement ring will be for one of her boys when the time is right.

Photos by Justin Mussel; Screen captures via YouTube.com/CBS New York. San Marco dei Cavoti photo by User: Pcocca Patrizia Cocca (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

98-Carat Bismarck Sapphire Was a Honeymoon Gift From the Wealthiest Man in America

In 1926, at the age of 53, American tycoon Harrison Williams married Mona Bush, a divorcée 24 years his junior. Aboard his 250-foot yacht, the Warrior, the couple departed on a year-long, around-the-world honeymoon, and during a stopover in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon), the wealthiest man in America picked up a beautiful cornflower blue bauble for his new bride.

That 98.57-carat cushion-cut gem, which is now known as the Bismarck Sapphire, is one of the world's finest examples of September's official birthstone. Visitors to the Gem Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., will see the Bismarck Sapphire Necklace prominently displayed between two other famous sapphire pieces, the Hall Sapphire and Diamond Necklace and the Logan Sapphire.

Originally set horizontally in a necklace designed by Cartier in 1927, the Bismarck Sapphire was rotated into a vertical position when Mona had the necklace updated in 1959. The necklace on display in Washington, D.C., is accented with eight square-cut blue sapphires and 312 baguette and round brilliant-cut diamonds.

Gem experts believe that the Bismarck Sapphire was originally much larger than 98.57 carats and that it was likely recut by Cartier to attain optimum clarity and brilliance after returning to the states from Sri Lanka. Traditionally, Sri Lankan cutters favored carat weight over ideal proportions.

With investments in public utilities, Williams had amassed a fortune estimated at $680 million (equivalent to about $9.6 billion today) — making him the richest man in America. But, the stock market crash of 1929 dissolved his fortune to a mere $5 million.

Still, the Williamses maintained their ritzy lifestyle and, by 1933, Mona had earned the distinction of becoming the first American voted the "Best Dressed Woman in the World."

Harrison Williams died in 1953, and two years later Mona would marry the German Count Eduard von Bismarck. At this point, the American socialite became known as Countess Mona von Bismarck. In 1967, at the age of 70, the Countess donated her beloved necklace to the Smithsonian. Mona died in 1983 at the age of 86.

Historically, the finest and most vibrant gem-quality sapphires have come from Sri Lanka, Burma and the Kashmir region of India. According to the Smithsonian, sapphires from Sri Lanka are typically light to medium blue and are commonly referred to as “Ceylon Sapphires.”

All sapphires are made of the mineral corundum (crystalline aluminum oxide). In its pure state, the corundum is colorless, but when trace elements are naturally introduced to the chemical composition, all the magic happens. Blue sapphires occur, for instance, when aluminum atoms are displaced with those of titanium and iron in the gem’s crystal lattice structure. Corundum has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, compared to a diamond, which has a hardness of 10.

Sapphires are seen in many colors, including pink, purple, green, orange and yellow. Ruby is the red variety of corundum.

Credits: Bismarck necklace photos by Chip Clark/Smithsonian. Smithsonian display by IFSconnie (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Music Friday: NSYNC Affirms, You Are 'More Precious Than Any Diamond or Pearl' in 1999's 'A Little More Time on You'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the heartthrob boy band NSYNC compares gemstones to a very special woman in 1999's "(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You."

They croon, "In all of creation, all things great and small / You are the one that surpasses them all / More precious than any diamond or pearl / They broke the mold when you came in this world."

While teen girls worldwide stared at their NSYNC posters and dreamed that Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone and Lance Bass were singing about them, the official video for the song has the boys praising the virtues of a mom. Shot mostly in black and white, the video explores the powerful bond between a mother and son, from birth to old age.

Released as the third single from their self-titled album, "(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You" ascended to #8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and #3 on the Canada Top Singles list. The song, which was written by Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, marked the first time NSYNC broke into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. The album was also a commercial success, topping out at #2 on the U.S. Billboard 200. The album remained in the Top 10 for 30 weeks.

NSYNC was founded in Orlando, Fla., in 1995 as an alternative to the wildly popular Backstreet Boys. The group's all-caps name, sometimes depicted with a star before the first "N," seems to have two origin stories. Some have claimed that it is derived from a comment uttered by Timberlake's mom, who was impressed by how the boys' voices were "in sync." A second theory is that NSYNC represents the last letter in each member's first name. The second "N" apparently stands for the last letter in Lance Bass' nickname, Hansten.

The star preceding the name was recommended by Israeli illusionist Uri Geller, who believed the symbol would bring them good fortune. At a cafe in London, Geller sat with the band members as he drew a star next to the word "NSYNC" on a napkin.

"I told them, if they place that star on their first CD, they're going to shoot up to #1," Geller related to The Huffington Post in 2015.

As noted earlier, Geller's prediction was nearly spot-on. The album peaked at #2.

The group went on to sell 70 million albums and became one of the top-selling boy bands of all time. The group announced a "temporary hiatus" in 2002, and an official breakup was finally confirmed in 2007.

Please check out the official video of NSYNC performing "(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You." It's been viewed on YouTube more than 10.7 million times. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You
Written by Carl Allen Sturken and Evan A. Rogers. Performed by NSYNC.

Can this be true?
Tell me, can this be real?
How can I put into words what I feel?
My life was complete
I thought I was whole
Why do I feel like I'm losing control?

I never thought that love could feel like this
And you've changed my world with just one kiss
How can it be that right here with me
There's an angel?
It's a miracle

Your love is like a river
Peaceful and deep
Your soul is like a secret
That I never could keep
When I look into your eyes
I know that it's true
God must have spent
A little more time
On you
(A little more time, yes he did baby)

In all of creation, all things great and small
You are the one that surpasses them all
More precious than any diamond or pearl
They broke the mold when you came in this world

And I'm trying hard to figure out
Just how I ever did without
The warmth of your smile
The heart of a child
That's deep inside
Leaves me purified

Your love is like a river
Peaceful and deep
Your soul is like a secret
That I never could keep
When I look into your eyes
I know that it's true
God must have spent
A little more time
On you

Never thought that love could feel like this
And you've changed my world with just one kiss
How can it be that right here with me
There's an angel?
It's a miracle

Your love is like a river
Peaceful and deep
Your soul is like a secret
That I never could keep
When I look into your eyes
I know that it's true
God must have spent
A little more time
On you

God must have spent
A little more time, on you
(on you, on you, you, you, oh yeah)
A little more time
On you

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Guggenheim Museum's Fully Functional 18-Karat Toilet, 'America,' Will Have Its Final Flush on Sept. 15

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City is about to close the lid on its fully functional 18-karat gold toilet, with the final flush taking place on September 15.

Called "America," the single work of art by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan has dazzled and delighted museum-goers for the past year. The installation features a solid gold replica of a Kohler toilet tucked into a single-occupancy restroom. Visitors are encouraged to use the dazzling fixture as they would any other public toilet.

The Guggenheim has kept the golden commode immaculate, thanks to a cleaning detail that has been responsible for tidying up every 15 minutes using special wipes.

“More than 100,000 people have waited patiently in line for the opportunity to commune with art and with nature,” noted Nancy Spector, the Guggenheim’s artistic director and chief curator, on the museum’s website.

In describing the irreverent exhibition, the Guggenheim's website noted that Cattelan’s toilet offers a wink to the excesses of the art market, but also evokes the American dream of opportunity for all — its utility ultimately reminding us of the inescapable physical realities of our shared humanity.

“This is 1 percent art for the 99 percent,” Cattelan told the New York Post during the opening of the exhibition in 2016.

Created by a foundry in Florence, Italy, "America" doesn't carry an official value, but the folks at Gothamist.com estimated the gold was worth between $1.4 million and $2.5 million.

Reviewers who have experienced the toilet first-hand have reported that the seat is very heavy to lift and the gold sparkles so much that it’s almost too bright to look at.

Neither the Guggenheim nor Cattelan revealed what the future has in store for “America.” Will it become part of a new exhibition? Or end up in the powder room of a 21st century tycoon? Only time will tell.

Credits: Photos by Kris McKay © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Monday, August 28, 2017

'Fight of the Century' Victor Floyd Mayweather Jr. Earns 'Priceless' Money Belt Encrusted With 4,260 Gems

When professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated UFC star Conor McGregor by TKO Saturday night in what was billed as "the fight of the century," the undefeated Mayweather earned a $100 million-plus payday and a Money Belt glistening with 4,260 gemstones. It is believed to be the most valuable sports trophy ever created.

World Boxing Council (WBC) president Mauricio Sulaiman unveiled the belt on Wednesday during the final press conference leading up to the fight in Las Vegas. The belt, which is made from alligator leather imported from Italy, is studded with 3,360 diamonds, 600 sapphires and 300 emeralds set in 3.3 pounds of solid, 24-karat gold. It also features the names of the two combatants spelled out in gemstones.

Sulaiman refused to reveal how much the belt was worth, opting to describe it as a "priceless piece."

“It cost a fortune,” Sulaiman told MMA Fighting. “It cost many, many, many hours of work of many artisans. It is just a beautiful piece of work. It’s a lot of money. I don’t really have a figure. It’s a priceless piece for an historic event.”

When asked by a reporter where the belt would be housed during the time between the Wednesday press conference and the Saturday night event, Sulaiman said with a laugh, “If I told you, I would have to disappear you. It’s in a safe place. It’s in a secure vault.”

Interestingly, when Mayweather beat Manny Pacquiao two years ago, he also walked away with a blingy WBC belt featuring 3,017 emeralds set in 1.7 pounds of gold. That belt was said to be worth more than $1 million.

The match between Mayweather and McGregor was an unusual spectacle because it brought together the top names from professional boxing and mixed martial arts. McGregor made a strong showing in the opening rounds, but faded as the fight wore on. Mayweather's superior boxing skills prevailed, and the referee called a stop to the fight in the 10th round of the super-welterweight bout.

The victory brought Mayweather's unflawed record to 50-0, surpassing the 49-0 record amassed by Rocky Marciano during the 1940s and 1950s. The 40-year-old Mayweather announced that the McGregor fight would be his last. Mayweather was guaranteed a purse of $100 million for Saturday night's fight, but could end up earning $200 million or more based on international pay-per-view revenues.

Credits: Images via Twitter.com/Mauricio Sulaiman.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Music Friday: Unlucky in Love Maia Sharp Wonders, 'How Much Gold Can You Find If You Never Go Mining?'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, singer-songwriter Maia Sharp ponders the question: "How much gold can you find if you never go mining?" in "Underneath," an intimate, self-effacing song about a woman who's been unlucky in love.

Sharp uses the mining simile to illustrate her passive approach to romance. She admits that she has no one but herself to blame for her loneliness, but she's confident that it will all work out in the end. Perhaps the best things will come to those who wait.

She sings, "How much gold can you find if you never go mining / They say the wine gets better if you let it breathe / Oh, the deeper the digging, the sweeter the finding / I want to know what’s underneath / Oh, I want to know what’s underneath."

"Underneath" appears as the third track on Sharp's sixth studio album The Dash Between The Dates, which was released in 2015. Providing the harmonies on the track is singer-songwriter Gabe Dixon.

In describing the album, Sharp noted, "I was trying to look at things with a wider-angle lens and bring more breadth to the songs without sacrificing the intimacy."

Interestingly, the artist admitted that she worked on the album during a period of extreme writer's block. Critics countered that it was her best work to date.

Born in California's Central Valley in 1971 to a singer-songwriter dad and a college professor mom, Sharp wrote her first song as a five-year-old. By the time she was a teenager, she had already shown proficiency with a number of instruments, including keyboards, guitar, oboe and saxophone. She studied music theory at California State University and honed her songwriting skills. As a 22-year-old, Sharp began performing her own music in Los Angeles clubs.

A few years later, she was discovered by music executive Miles Copeland, who managed The Police. During her 20-plus years in the music business, Sharp has written songs for some of the industry's top acts, including Cher, Kim Richey, Amanda Marshall, Paul Carrack, Edwin McCain, The Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood and Kathy Mattea.

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

"Underneath"
Written by Maia Sharp. Performed by Maia Sharp with Gabe Dixon.

No one but myself to blame
If I ain’t got a love to call my own
Maybe it takes some chippin’ away
Before you get down to the cornerstone

How much gold can you find if you never go mining?
They say the wine gets better if you let it breathe
Oh, the deeper the digging, the sweeter the finding
I want to know what’s underneath
Oh, I want to know what’s underneath

When the new ran out, I ran out
I took off one time, took off the shine
I never could shake my shadow of doubt
And the only heart I ever really broke was mine

How much gold can you find if you never go mining?
They say the wine gets better if you let it breathe
Oh, the deeper the digging, the sweeter the finding
I want to know what’s underneath
Oh, I want to know what’s underneath

Underneath these
Underneath what’s shown
Past the shallow waters
To uncharted undiscovered unknown

How much gold can you find if you never go mining?
The wine gets better if you let it breathe
Oh, the deeper the digging, the sweeter the finding
And I want to know what’s underneath
Oh, I want to know what’s underneath

I want to know what’s underneath

Credits: Screen capture via YouTube.com/Maia Sharp.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Experiment Supports Theory That 'Diamond Showers' Take Place on Uranus and Neptune

At Stanford University, an international team of scientists finally simulated the "shower of diamonds" that they believe is taking place deep within Uranus and Neptune.

Uranus and Neptune are both classified as "ice giants." Unlike the Earth, their solid cores are likely swathed in thick layers of "ice" made from the combination of water and ammonia.

At a depth of 6,200 miles, researchers speculate that the hydrocarbons encounter so much pressure and heat that the bonds between the hydrogen and carbon molecules are broken. Once free from the bonds, the carbon atoms are compressed into microscopic diamonds, resulting in what can be described as "diamond showers."

Previously, no one had been able to directly observe these sparkling showers in an experimental setting, according to Dr. Dominik Kraus, who is the head of a Helmholtz Junior Research Group at the German research laboratory Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf.

But, that was precisely the breakthrough Kraus and his international team have now achieved. In their experiment, polystyrene (a plastic made from carbon and hydrogen) was exposed to a simulation of the immense pressure found deep within Neptune and Uranus. They blasted the plastic with shock waves generated by an optical laser and x-rays.

At a pressure of about 150 gigapascals and temperatures of about 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the shock waves compressed the plastic and successfully broke the carbon-hydrogen bonds. The carbon atoms instantly transformed into microscopic diamonds.

"The first smaller, slower wave is overtaken by another stronger second wave," Kraus explained. "Most diamonds form the moment both waves overlap. Our experiments show that nearly all the carbon atoms compact into nanometer-sized diamonds."

Kraus theorized that the cores of Uranus and Neptune could contain "oceans of liquid carbon" with gigantic "diamond icebergs swimming on top of it."

While it's unlikely man will ever have the ability to mine diamonds on these distant planets, the experiments at Stanford are already yielding innovative and efficient ways of producing nano-diamonds — diamonds that may find their way into electronic instruments, medical equipment and cutting devices.

The results of the research were published in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy.

Credit: Illustration by Greg Stewart / SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Monday, August 21, 2017

'Diamond Ring Effect' Will Add Excitement to Today's 'Great American Eclipse'

Today, the Great American Eclipse will be visible to nearly everybody in North America, but those of us lucky enough to be viewing from a narrow path that runs from Salem, Ore., to Charleston, S.C., will experience a total solar eclipse and a bonus phenomenon called the “Diamond Ring Effect.”

During a total solar eclipse, the moon aligns itself precisely between the sun and Earth. Sunlight gets blocked out and a 68-mile-wide shadow of the moon (also called its umbra) gets cast upon the Earth, resulting in total darkness for about 2 1/2 minutes. The Diamond Ring Effect occurs in the instant right before the total solar eclipse and in the moment just after.

Francis Baily in 1836 surmised that the Diamond Ring Effect owed its magic to the rugged surface of the moon. As the moon slowly grazes past the sun, tiny beads of sunlight, now called Baily’s Beads, can shine through in some places and not in others. When only one single point of sunlight remains, the burst bears a remarkable resemblance to a diamond, and the halo of the sun still visible behind the moon looks like a ring.

NASA also noted that more than a century earlier, English astronomer Sir Edmond Halley (who discovered Halley’s Comet) also gave a correct explanation of the Diamond Ring Effect during an eclipse of 1715.

The moon's shadow will race across the continental U.S. at speeds ranging from 2,410 mph in western Oregon to 1,502 mph in Charleston. That means that the Diamond Ring Effect should be visible starting in Oregon at about 10:15 a.m. PST and ending in South Carolina at about 2:48 pm EDT. The duration of the 3,000-mile, coast-to-coast celestial show will be about 90 minutes.

Viewers in the path of the total solar eclipse can expect temperatures to plunge by as much as 20 degrees.

Those not living in the direct path of the total solar eclipse will still see a partial eclipse, which resembles a crescent moon, but in this case it's a crescent sun. New York City dwellers, for instance, will see 70% of the sun covered by the moon.

We can not overemphasize the importance of utilizing proper solar glasses or filters when viewing the Great American Eclipse. Solar eclipse eye safety is reviewed at NASA's website here...

Don't miss the Great American Eclipse of 2017. The next total solar eclipse will take place in North America on April 8, 2024.

Credits: Eclipse viewing image by Arches National Park [CC BY 2.0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Diamond Ring Effect image by Lutfar Rahman Nirjhar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Map by NASA.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Music Friday: Marc Scibilia's 'On the Way' Inspires Us to 'Sparkle Just Like Diamonds'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great, new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, singer-songwriter Marc Scibilia celebrates the season of sun, surf and wanderlust in a catchy tune that inspires us to "sparkle just like diamonds."

TV watchers will recognize "On the Way" from the newest Jeep commercial. The 30-second spot, which is called “Summer of Jeep: On The Way," has accumulated 2,300 national airings and has been viewed on YouTube.com nearly two million times since it was posted about 10 weeks ago. It features great-looking millennial Jeep owners enjoying a perfect day at the beach. Shazam the song and you'll learn that Scibilia also released a full length-version.

Scibilia repeats the hook, "Let your summer guide you, on the way, on the way," while encouraging the listener to be fearless when discovering new roads.

In the first line of the song, he introduces precious stones to help make his point. He sings, "Journey where this path may lead / And live as big as giants / Summer sun and feeling free / Sparkle just like diamonds."

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., to a musical family, Scibilia moved to Nashville to become a songwriter just a month after graduating high school. According to his official bio, the young Scibilia got the idea to head south from a sarcastic guidance counselor who was frustrated with Scibilia's reluctance to pursue a "conventional" career path.

“What are you going to do? Go to Nashville and write songs?” she taunted.

To the young musician, this was a great idea.

Scibilia flourished in Nashville and took in all that it had to offer. He experimented with every genre of music, writing songs for other artists and touring as the opening act for James Bay and the Zac Brown Band, among others. In 2010, Scibilia landed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV.

The artist got a big break when his cover of the Woody Guthrie song “This Land Is Your Land,” appeared in Jeep’s “Beautiful Lands” Super Bowl commercial — the most Shazam-ed commercial of Super Bowl 2015.

Once again, Scibilia's "On the Way" has been catapulted by the popularity of a Jeep commercial.

Check out the two videos below. The first is the Jeep commercial and the second is an audio track of the full song. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"On the Way"
Written and performed by Marc Scibilia.

Journey where this path may lead
And live as big as giants
Summer sun and feeling free
Sparkle just like diamonds

Golden hearts never afraid
Discover roads brightly shining
Wanderlust runs through our veins
Be fearless, tall as lions

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Trust your bones where they take you
Adventure awaits
Here we go it's all brand new
You won't hesitate

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you
On the way, on the way

Let your summer guide you

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Shocking 'Pavlok' Bracelet Is Designed to Break You of Your Bad Habits

Five years ago, chronic procrastinator Maneesh Sethi hired a woman via Craigslist to slap him in the face any time he strayed off task. The $8-per-hour investment in "Kara The Slapper" quickly paid big dividends, as Sethi quadrupled his productivity AND spawned the concept of Pavlok, a bracelet that can deliver a behavior-altering jolt with the tap of a button.

The idea is based on the 80-year practice of aversion therapy. Each time the user exhibits the undesirable behavior, he or she touches the Pavlok button to self-administer a punishing shock. Over time, the user's brain subconsciously associates the bad behavior with the negative result and the bad behavior is eradicated. The Pavlok website says that the device can be used to break a number of bad habits, including smoking, mindless eating, nail biting and watching too much TV.

A New York Times reviewer noted that the zap could be adjusted from 50 volts (a strong vibration) to 450 volts (like getting stung by a bee with a stinger the size of an ice pick). A police Taser, the writer pointed out, typically delivers about 50,000 volts. The selected intensity of the Pavlok shock can be adjusted with a smartphone app.

Another critic wrote that the Pavlok device was simply a high-tech version of the rubber band, which is sometimes used by patients who are trying to combat anxiety and other disorders. Those patients are instructed to simply put the band around their wrists and deliver a stinging snap to break thoughts related to anxiety, panic and fear.

In 2014, Pavlok got off the ground by generating $284,027 via the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Today, Pavlok's website boasts more then 40,000 units sold and a slew of video testimonials, including the one from Heather, who credited Pavlok with helping her break a 25-year nail-biting habit, and Carlos, who quit smoking in just five days.

The Pavlok device pairs a silicone, battery-powered shock-inducing bracelet with a Bluetooth-connected mobile app designed for iOS and Android smartphones.

In addition to the self-induced shocks, the device can be set to deliver a stimulus, for instance, if one has been sleeping or resting too long. The device also employs a hand-detection function that can sense if the user might be biting her nails, pulling her hair, or smoking a cigarette. The battery can deliver 150 tiny jolts on a single charge.

What's more, the app includes a five-day guided audio course on how to reverse bad habits.

Pavlok is available in five colors and sells for $179.

Credit: Image via Buy.Pavlok.com

Monday, August 14, 2017

Injured Officer Recruits University of Kentucky Police to Assist With Traffic-Stop Marriage Proposal

A retired law-enforcement officer who was dragged nearly 20 feet and run over while attempting an arrest 13 months ago is now the happiest guy in Lexington, Ky., after his girlfriend said "Yes" to an unusual traffic-stop marriage proposal.

Shepherdsville Police Officer Rocco Besednjak, who was forced to retired due to the seriousness of his injuries, recruited the University of Kentucky Police to assist with his romantic, but mischievous, scheme to surprise Lauren Vincent, who is a nurse manager for the pediatric forensics unit at UK Children’s Hospital.

Because Vincent, 36, works for the University of Kentucky, Besednjak wanted the proposal to tie into the school.

On Thursday, August 10, Vincent and her supervisor, Dr. Christina Howard, who was in on Besednjak's scheme, took a drive to pick up a donation for the hospital. During the trip, which passed in front of UK's Kroger Field, Vincent was pulled over by a University of Kentucky officer.

The officer told Vincent that she had something dragging from the back of the car and that she needed to get out and take a look.

When she circled to the back of the car, Besednjak, 38, who had been hiding in the passenger seat of the officer's car, was already down on one knee with a ring box in his hand.

Vincent was startled for two reasons. Certainly, the marriage proposal during a traffic stop was surprising enough, but the nurse also couldn't believe her boyfriend was kneeling on his damaged leg only one week removed from spinal decompression surgery.

On July 3, 2016, Besednjak nearly lost his life while attempting to arrest a suspect at a gas station. The woman had an outstanding warrant, but instead of surrendering, she rammed Besednjak with her car and dragged him nearly 20 feet. His leg was run over during the tragic incident. The perpetrator received a 40-year sentence in May.

Now in the shadow of Kroger Field, Besednjak was ready with a diamond ring and a proposal for the love of his life.

"You know you make every day happy. You make my life the happiest it could have ever been," he said. "I hope you're not too embarrassed, but I love you a lot and I want you to marry me."

Before she answered, the healthcare professional had to admonish him.

"I love you," she said, "but why are you on your knees?

"So, are you going to marry me?" he interrupted.

"Yes," she screamed, adding, “Why are you on your knee? You’re not supposed to be on your knee. I love you."

The couple embraced and then Besednjak handed Vincent the halo-style, yellow-gold ring to place on her own finger.

Vincent giggled with excitement, bending backward while viewing her new ring with her arms extended to the front.

Unable to stay in the romantic moment, Vincent returned to the theme of Besednjak needing to take better care of himself.

"I was worried about why you were on your knee when you had surgery last week," she admonished.

"That's what I'm supposed to do," he said.

The proposal was captured from three camera angles — one shot by a videographer, one from the officer's body cam and one from a camera mounted in the ring box. See the video below.

Rocco Besednjak Proposal from Antonio Pantoja on Vimeo.

Credits: Screen captures via Vimeo.com.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Music Friday: LoCash Pops the Question By Putting a 'Ring on Every Finger'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you hot, new tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Chris Lucas and Preston Brust of LoCash have fun with the concept of "a diamond is forever" in their latest hit, "Ring on Every Finger."

In the song, the country pop duo sets the scene for an over-the-top marriage proposal. Instead of going down on one knee, they promise to go down on two. And instead of offering a single engagement ring, they plan to put a ring on every finger.

They sing, "I ain't gettin' down on one knee / Girl, I'm gettin' on two / Might be over the top / But I tell you what I'm gonna do / I'll put on a ring on every finger / Just to show that I'm legit / Gonna try my last name on ya girl / Just to see if it fits."

Josh Kear, who wrote the song with Thomas Rhett and Jesse Frasure, told Billboard magazine that the song is based on the following theme: "If one ring says I'll love you forever, what would a ring on every finger mean?"

Kear and his collaborators also peppered the banjo-backed song with romantic bridal imagery.

Kear commented, "Most guys want to give their dream girl the wedding of their dreams, so I think men care about making women happy on their wedding day. Maybe less about the specifics and more about giving their bride the day they deserve."

"Ring on Every Finger" was released in November of 2016 as the third single from The Fighters. The song has been on an upward trajectory ever since. This week it rose to #26 on the Billboard US Hot Country Songs chart. The Taste of Country website called the song "an infectious, melodic jam."

Vocalists Lucas and Brust released their first LoCash single in the spring of 2010. Even though they've been on the music scene together for seven years and scored a #1 country hit for "I Know Somebody" in February of 2016, they were nominated in the category of best New Duo or Group of 2017 by the Academy of Country Music.

Please check out the video of LoCash's live performance of "Ring on Every Finger." The video was shot in Omaha on March 9, 2017. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Ring on Every Finger"
Written by Jesse Frasure, Josh Kear and Thomas Rhett. Performed by LoCash.

I've got a pounding in my chest baby
Feels like I'm seventeen again
Got something burning a hole in my pocket lately
Done asked your daddy, done told your friends

I ain't gettin' down on one knee
Girl, I'm gettin' on two
Might be over the top
But I tell you what I'm gonna do

I'll put on a ring on every finger
Just to show that I'm legit
Gonna try my last name on ya girl
Just to see if it fits
If I could baby I would marry you a million times,
Put a ring on every finger
Just to show the whole world that you are mine
Show the whole world that you're mine

Well señorita, can't nothing be sweeter
Than you in that white wedding dress,
Even the church and white limousine
Girl, why you cryin', it ain't rocket science
All you gotta do is say yes
Spend the rest of your life with me

Don't you know I ain't gettin' down on one knee
Until I'm gettin' down on two
It might be over the top
But I tell you what I'm gonna do

I'll put on a ring on every finger
Just to show that I'm legit
Gonna try my last name on ya girl
Just to see if it fits
If I could baby I would marry you a million times,
Put a ring on every finger
Just to show the whole world that you are mine
Show the whole world that you're mine

Come on let's spend this life together
Dropping f bombs like forever
With the whole world as a witness
Gonna flip that Miss to a Mrs.
Gonna spend this life together
Dropping f bombs like forever
With the whole world as a witness
Then I flip that Miss to a Mrs.

I'll put on a ring on every finger
Just to show that I'm legit
Go ahead and try my last name on
Just to see if it fits
If I could baby I would marry you a million times,
Put a ring on every finger
Just to show the whole world that you are mine
I'll put a ring on every finger
Just to show that I'm legit
Go ahead and try my last name on girl
Just to see if it fits
If I could baby I would marry you a million times,
Put a ring on every finger
Just to show the whole world that you are mine
Show the whole world that you are mine

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Don't Miss This: The Sun Will Morph Into a Diamond Ring on August 21

On Monday, August 21, skygazers from Salem, Ore., to Charleston, S.C., will see a rare total solar eclipse and — for just a brief moment — a fantastical celestial display that looks remarkably like a diamond ring.

The "Diamond Ring Effect," which was first explained by Francis Baily in 1836, occurs when the moon completely masks out the sun during a total solar eclipse. Due to the rugged lunar landscape, the black outline of the moon is not smooth. Tiny beads of sunlight can still shine through in some places and not in others as the moon slowly grazes past the sun.

These are called Baily’s Beads. When only one dazzling “bead” remains, momentarily, the view of the eclipse resembles a diamond ring. The ring’s glow is produced by the sun’s corona remaining dimly visible around the lunar silhouette.

The Diamond Ring Effect will actually happen twice on August 21. The first time will occur in the moment just before the total eclipse, and the second will occur just after the total eclipse. The so-called Great American Solar Eclipse will last about 2 minutes and 40 seconds, and effectively turn day into night.

NASA warned that skywatchers should NEVER look at a partial solar eclipse without proper eye protection. Looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage or blindness. Only during totality, when the sun's disk is completely covered by the moon, is it safe to view the eclipse with the naked eye, says NASA. Learn more about solar eclipse eye protection at Space.com.

During the solar eclipse, the moon's shadow will pass over all of North America. The path of the umbra, where the eclipse is total, will stretch on a bent path from Salem on the West Coast to Charleston on the East Coast. This will be the first total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States in 38 years. The next total solar eclipse will take place in North America on April 8, 2024.

Credits: Image by Lutfar Rahman Nirjhar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, August 07, 2017

MIT's 'Living Jewelry' Is the High-Tech Version of Mexico's Maquech Beetle

With a nod to the Maquech Brooch — a live beetle jewelry accessory famous on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula — students at MIT have invented tiny robot crawlers that can move across garments as “shape-changing and pattern-changing jewelry."

Developed by the MIT Media Lab, "Project Kino" employs palm-sized robots that affix to clothing using magnets. The robots ride on wheels and are cloaked with colorful shields that can serve aesthetic and practical functions. The phrase "kino" is shorthand for "kinetic wearables."

In one scenario, bots placed on the front of a dress can alter their positions in an odd bot ballet that give the garment an ever-changing look. In a second scenario, a bot fit with a microphone senses a phone call and quickly migrates to the top of the garment so the user can use it to chat with a caller. In a third scenario, the bots' temperature sensors trigger a response to pull down a hood's drawstrings.

Currently, MIT engineers are working through some technical challenges, such as extending the bots' battery life, which now stands at about 45 minutes, and making them less clunky.

“We’re thinking of wearables as a personal assistant,” team member Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao told TechCrunch. “We think in the future, when they can have a brain of their own, they can learn your habits, learn your professional style, and when they get smaller, they can blend into the things you wear.”

Back in the Yucatan, the wingless Maquech beetle has been a favorite of tourists for decades. The bejeweled bug crawls on the wearer’s shirt within range of its three-inch-long chain “leash” that’s attached with a decorative safety pin.

The bugs don’t seem to mind having baubles glued to their backs, and they generally live for up to three years on a diet of apples and wet, rotted wood.

The Maquech beetles have played a romantic role in Yucatan foklore. According to legend, a Mayan princess fell in love with a prince from a rival clan. This was not permitted, so when they were discovered, the lover was sentenced to death. Recognizing their plight, a shaman changed the man into a shining beetle that could be decorated and worn over the princess’s heart as a reminder of their eternal bond.

Tourist shops in the Yucatan have been selling Maquech jewelry since the 1980s. The glittery crawlers cost about $10, but tourists are prohibited from bringing them into the U.S.

The video below offers a quick overview of "Project Kino."

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Music Friday: Emmylou Harris Would 'Proudly Wear Your Wedding Ring' If She Could Only Win Your Love

Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you throwback tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country legend Emmylou Harris pledges eternal devotion to a noncommittal beau in her 1975 hit, "If I Could Only Win Your Love."

In the song, Harris focuses on a very significant piece of jewelry while making the case for why her love interest should take the plunge.

In the very first verse, she sings, "If I could only win your love / I'd make the most of everything / I'd proudly wear your wedding ring / My heart would never stray one dream away."

Originally written and performed by The Louvin Brothers in 1958, "If I Could Only Win Your Love" became a country hit 17 years later when Harris included it on her highly praised Pieces of the Sky album. The song shot to #4 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and earned the #1 spot on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada.

Throughout a stellar career, which has spanned six decades, Harris has maintained a soft spot in her heart for The Louvin Brothers' tune. While introducing the song in the video, below, Harris calls it her "first single." This is significant because Harris would go on to release 70 singles, 26 studio albums, three live albums and 11 compilation albums. She has won 13 Grammys and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Now 70 years old and still touring internationally, Harris was born in Birmingham, Ala., to a Marine Corps officer dad and wartime military mom. Her dad endured 10 months as a prisoner of war in Korea when Emmylou was just five years old. She spent her childhood in North Carolina and was the class valedictorian of her high school. Later, she dropped out of college to pursue a music career in New York City. She worked as a waitress during the day and performed in Greenwich Village coffeehouses in the evening. She recorded her first album, Gliding Bird, in 1969.

Please check out the video of Harris' performance of "If I Could Only Win Your Love." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"If I Could Only Win Your Love"
Written by Charlie and Ira Louvin. Performed by Emmylou Harris.

If I could only win your love
I'd make the most of everything
I'd proudly wear your wedding ring
My heart would never stray one dream away

If I could only win your love
I'd give my all to make it live
You'll never know how much I give
If I could only win your love

Oh how can I ever say
How I crave your love when your gone away
Oh how can I ever show
How I burn inside when you hold me tight

If I could only win your love
I'd give my all to make it live
You'll never know how much I give
If I could only win your love

Oh how (oh how)
can I ever say (can I ever say)
How I crave your love when your gone away
Oh how
can I ever show
How I burn inside when you hold me tight

If I could only win your love
I'd give my all to make it live
You'll never know how much I give
If I could only win your love

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Ultra-Rare 2.11-Carat Fancy Red Diamond Headlines 2017 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender

An ultra-rare, 2.11-carat, fancy red diamond known as the Argyle Everglow headlines the 2017 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender – an annual showcase of the rarest diamonds from Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Western Australia.

The Argyle Everglow, which earned a grade of fancy red VS2 from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), is the largest fancy red diamond ever to appear at an Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender. One gem expert told CNN that he believes the radiant-cut gem may sell for $10 million or more.

If the Argyle Everglow achieves that price, it will set a record for the highest price ever paid per carat for a gemstone. The current record is held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine, which sold for $48 million, or a bit over $4 million per carat.

“We are delighted to announce this historic diamond at our Tender preview, a testament to the unique Argyle ore-body that continues to produce the world’s rarest gems,” noted Rio Tinto Copper & Diamonds chief executive Arnaud Soirat.

Fancy red diamonds are so rare that the Tender typically releases only four, or so, per year. In fact, in the 33-year history of the Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender there have been fewer than 20 carats of fancy red certified diamonds sold.

"The Argyle Everglow represents rarity within rarity and will drive global demand from collectors and connoisseurs in search of the incomparable,” added Argyle Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson.

The 2017 Tender, known as "Custodians of Rare Beauty," comprises 58 diamonds weighing a total of 49.39 carats.

The collection includes five “hero” diamonds selected for their unique beauty and named to ensure there is a permanent record of their contribution to the history of the world’s most important diamonds:

• Argyle Everglow™ — 2.11-carat radiant-cut fancy red diamond
• Argyle Isla™ — 1.14 carat radiant-cut fancy red diamond
• Argyle Avaline™ — 2.42-carat cushion-cut fancy purple-pink diamond
• Argyle Kalina™ — 1.50-carat oval-cut fancy deep pink diamond
• Argyle Liberté™ — 0.91-carat radiant-cut fancy deep gray-violet diamond

It is believed that red diamonds get their rich color from a molecular structure distortion that occurs as the jewel forms in the earth’s crust. By contrast, other colored diamonds get their color from trace elements, such as boron (yielding a blue diamond) or nitrogen (yielding yellow), in their chemical composition.

The 2017 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender will be showcased in New York, Hong Kong and Perth with bids closing on October 11, 2017.

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto.