Friday, November 16, 2018

Music Friday: Vince Gill Proposes With a Pretty Diamond Ring in 'Like My Daddy Did'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you romantic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, 21-time Grammy winner Vince Gill buys a pretty diamond ring and proposes to the girl of his dreams in his 2016 release, "Like My Daddy Did."

He sings, "I found a little girl and I fell in love / She shines brighter than the stars above / I bought her a pretty diamond ring / Asked her, if she would marry me."

His girlfriend, however, is skeptical about making a lifelong commitment. Her hesitance stems from a fear that Gill might "treat her like her daddy did." We learn that her dad left the family when she was just a little kid.

"He took off runnin', I never saw his face again," she says.

Gill consoles her: "There's nothing you could tell me that would change a thing / I still want you to wear my ring."

Ironically, Gill promises, "I'll treat you like my daddy did." Gill's dad was loving and kind. When Gill was a kid, his dad took him fishing and never missed any of his ballgames.

"There ain't no scars on this heart of mine," he sings.

In the end, Gill's girlfriend accepts the diamond ring and they get married.

In a promotional video about the song he penned, Gill said, "I love the yin and yang of the story, how he's undaunted by her past. It's sweet."

"Like My Daddy Did" appeared as the fourth track of Down to My Last Bad Habit, Gill's 14th studio album. Over the course of his 40-year career, the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has sold more than 26 million albums and placed more than 40 singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. He's won 21 Grammy awards from 44 nominations and earned the 2,478th star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012.

Born in Norman, Okla., in 1957, Gill was inspired to pursue a music career by his dad, who was not only a lawyer and an administrative law judge, but also played part-time in a country music band. At the age of 10, Gill was already an accomplished guitarist. His love for instruments led him to learn how to play the mandolin, banjo and fiddle.

After graduating high school, he moved to Louisville to join the band Bluegrass Alliance. In the 1970s, he earned widespread fame as the frontman for the country rock band Pure Prairie League. Gill became a solo artist in 1983 and married "The Queen of Christian Pop" Amy Grant in 2000. More recently, he joined the Eagles on tour, singing lead vocals.

Please check out the video of Gill performing the acoustic version of "Like My Daddy Did." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Like My Daddy Did"
Written and performed by Vince Gill.

I found a little girl and I fell in love
She shines brighter than the stars above
I bought her a pretty diamond ring
Asked her, if she would marry me

She said, will you treat me like my daddy did
Left me and momma, I was just a kid
He took off runnin', I never saw his face again
So, when it comes to love, I ain't the trustin' kind
There's a whole lotta scars on this heart of mine
I'm crazy about ya, I'm not sure I can

I took that pretty girl by the hand
I looked her in her eyes and said I understand
There's nothing you could tell me that would change a thing
I still want you to wear my ring

I'll treat you just like my daddy did
He took me fishin' when I was a kid
When I played ball, he never missed a game
When it comes to love, I'm the trusting kind
There ain't no scars on this heart of mine
I'm crazy about ya, I'm pretty sure I can

Tomorrow morning is our wedding day
And all your fears are gonna fade away
Together we're gonna build a bridge
No, I won't treat ya like your daddy did
We'll have the kind of love that's the trusting kind
I'll give you ever piece of this heart of mine
We were meant to be, I'm pretty sure we can

I found a little girl and I fell in love
She shines brighter than the stars above

Credits: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Miners Seek Coveted 'AO' Status for Colombian Emeralds, Claim They're Geographically Unique

Colombian miners are seeking to gain coveted "AO" status for their emeralds, widely considered to be the finest in the world. "AO" is shorthand for "appellation of origin," which is a designation given to products that possess unique characteristics associated with their geographic location.

One of the most notable products with "AO" status is Parma ham from Italy. For ham to be marked with the Parma name, it must be produced in the Italian province of Parma using pigs exclusively from that area. Other famous "AO" products include Tequila from Mexico, Bordeaux wine from France and Gruyere cheese from Switzerland.

Colombia's national emerald producers’ association, Aprecol, is planning to submit its "AO" application to Colombia’s patent and registration office by the end of this year, according to the Financial Times. Once approved by that office, the application will be forwarded to the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, for further consideration. A final decision could come as early as March 2019.

The association will argue that Colombia's emeralds are distinctively different than emeralds mined in other parts of the world. Not only do they possess a rare combination of intense color and crystalline transparency, but they also have a unique chemical fingerprint, according to gemologists. With the use of X-ray spectroscopy, they can pinpoint whether a stone was sourced at Colombia's Muzo, Coscuez or Chivor mine.

“We want customers to know that when they buy a Colombian emerald, they are getting the genuine thing, that it was exported from Colombia legally and that it was mined ethically and responsibly,” Aprecol president Edwin Molina told the Financial Times.

The Colombian-sourced Gachala Emerald, above, weighs 858 carats and was gifted to the Smithsonian by Harry Winston in 1969. The extraordinary gem was mined in Gachala in 1967.

Credit: Image by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.

Monday, November 12, 2018

All-Diamond Ring Crafted From a Single Rough Gem May Fetch $250,000 at Benefit Auction

An all-diamond ring custom crafted from a single rough gem is expected to fetch up to $250,000 when Sotheby's offers it for sale December 5 at the third (RED) Auction in Miami. Proceeds from the sale will support HIV/AIDS programs in Africa.

Conceived by Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, and renowned industrial designer Marc Newson, The (Red) Diamond Ring will contain no metal elements. The lab-grown rough diamond will be carved into a ring shape by master cutters in Antwerp using laser beam and water jet technology. It will come to life by removing material rather than adding it.

“It is not a precious stone in a metal setting mounted on a metal band,” Ive told robbreport.com. “It is truly a diamond ring.”

In the end, the ring will feature between 2,000 and 3,000 individual facets, some as small as several hundred micrometers (1,000 micrometers equals 1 millimeter). According to Sotheby's, the ring's interior will be cylindrically cut for the desired smoothness using a micrometer-thick water jet.

The ring in the photo, above, is conceptual. The actual piece will be custom-made for the winning bidder in any ring size up to 5. Sotheby's set the pre-sale estimate at $150,000 to $250,000.

Shawish Geneva was the first company to form a ring from a single diamond. Shawish unveiled the innovative ring to the public during the 2012 Baseworld Watch and Jewelry Show. That ring was laser-cut from a 150-carat rough diamond. While the Shawish ring was certainly groundbreaking, the Ive-Newson design is said to be more wearable.

The company responsible for creating the lab-grown rough diamond for this project is San Francisco-based Diamond Foundry. The rough is expected to be larger than 45 carats.

The (Red) Diamond Ring will be auctioned by Sotheby’s during Art Basel Miami. Previous (RED) Auctions have generated $68 million for AIDS research.

Credit: Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Music Friday: Tommy and Janey Visit a Jeweler in 'Don't Love Make a Diamond Shine'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country music artist Tracy Byrd tells the story of Tommy and Janey's life-changing trip to a jewelry store in 1997's "Don't Love Make a Diamond Shine."

In the very first verse, we are introduced to a young couple looking for the perfect engagement ring. They're holding hands and staring into the bridal case when a particular ring catches Tommy's eye.

Byrd sings, "Mister bring it closer, mister can we hold it / I think it's gonna fit just fine / As he slipped it on her hand, Janey kissed her man / Don't love make a diamond shine."

Byrd goes on to explain that any diamond — no matter what size — looks like a million bucks "sittin' on the hand of a girl in love." He also takes a shot at a rich couple whose perfect 15-carat diamond is "duller than dirt" because their relationship is on the rocks.

Written by Mike Dekle and Craig Wiseman, "Don't Love Make a Diamond Shine" was released as the third single from Byrd's fourth album, Big Love. The song reached #17 on the U.S. Billboard Country Songs chart and #13 on the Canada Country Tracks chart. Big Love became Byrd's third gold-selling album.

Born in Vidor, Texas, Byrd explored his musical talents with a local band called Rimfire while attending Southwest Texas State. A friend encouraged Byrd to sing a cover of Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart" at a mall recording studio and the result was so impressive that the studio's owner entered Byrd into a local talent contest. The artist caught the attention of MCA Records, which offered him a recording contract in 1992.

The 51-year-old has charted more than 30 singles, including 11 Top Ten hits. He's produced 10 studio albums and two greatest-hits albums.

Please check out the audio clip of Byrd performing "Don't Love Make A Diamond Shine." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Don't Love Make A Diamond Shine"
Written by Craig Wiseman and Mike Dekle. Performed by Tracy Byrd.

Tommy and Janey barely eighteen
Holding hands at the jewelry store
Eyes open wide staring inside
At the ring that they wanted for her

Mister bring it closer, mister can we hold it
I think it's gonna fit just fine
As he slipped it on her hand, Janey kissed her man
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine
It don't matter if it costs a dime
Dang thing looks like a million bucks
Sittin' on the hand of a girl in love.

A perfect fifteen carat is duller than dirt
If the heart don't wear it
With three little words it'll knock you blind
Don't love make a diamond shine.

There's a rich lady with a new Mercedes
Livin' up in a high rise
She's got a big ol' rock on her left hand
That looks cheaper than a Cracker Jack prize.

'Cause her man don't know that it ain't the dough
No all he needs to spend is time
And that big marquis'd be a laser beam
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine
It don't matter if it costs a dime
Dang thing looks like a million bucks
Sittin' on the hand of a girl in love.

A perfect fifteen carat is duller than dirt
If the heart don't wear it
With three little words it'll knock you blind
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine
It don't matter if it costs a dime
Dang thing looks like a million bucks
Sittin' on the hand of a girl in love.

A perfect fifteen carat is duller than dirt
If the heart don't wear it
With three little words it'll knock you blind
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine...

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

King Tut's Breastplate Features a Scarab Carved From Rare Libyan Desert Glass

When British archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter entered the intact tomb of King Tutankhamun in 1922, he encountered thousands of luxury objects intended to accompany the boy king into the afterworld.

Among the items decorated with gold, silver and precious gemstones was a breastplate depicting the god Ra as a winged scarab carrying the sun and moon into the sky. The scarab was carved from a pale greenish-yellow stone that Carter originally identified as chalcedony, a translucent variety of quartz.

A decade later, British geographer Patrick Clayton found samples of a similar glass-like material while exploring the Libyan Desert along the border of modern Egypt and Libya and classified it as Libyan Desert Glass (LDG).

In a recent article published at Forbes.com, geologist David Bressan explains that LDG forms when quartz-rich desert sand is exposed to a heat burst of 3,600°F and then rapidly cools. Modern researchers noted that LDG has a different crystal structure than common quartz and contains traces of rare minerals and unusual elements, suggesting they could have been part of a vaporized meteorite.

The LDG sample shown here weighs 22 grams (0.78 ounces) and measures 55 mm (2.17 inches) wide.

The lack of an impact crater near the areas where LDG has been found lends credence to the theory that a comet may have exploded before touching down in the desert — generating enough heat to melt the sands. Scientists have compared LDG to trinitite, which is created when sand is exposed to the thermal radiation of a nuclear explosion.

Because of the unusual factors needed to create Libyan Desert Glass, it is truly among the rarest minerals on Earth. LDG is found only in Libya's desolate Great Sand Sea north of the Gilf Kebir Plateau. Whether King Tut's handlers in 1323 BCE were aware of this rarity remains a mystery.

Credit: Tutankhamun breastplate by Jon Bodsworth [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons. LDG image by H. Raab (User:Vesta) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.0 at], from Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Young Couple Finds $18K in Diamond Rings Hidden in $2 Thrift Shop Board Game

A young couple visiting Prince Edward Island for the Labour Day weekend thought they struck it rich when a $2 board game purchased at a second-hand store yielded $18,000 worth of diamond jewelry. Chris Lightfoot and Mandy Flack could hardly believe their eyes when they discovered a trove of diamond rings hidden under the box's false bottom.

After the story went viral, a forgetful widow came forward as the rightful owner. Orlanda Drebit had recently donated the MindTrap game to a Charlottetown thrift store, just before she moved out of her home in Bonshaw, P.E.I.

She hadn't seen her diamond rings since the summer of 2015 and was not sure where she lost them. She had rushed out of town to attend the Cavendish Beach Festival and didn't have time to get to them into a safety deposit box.

The next best plan of attack was to hide her precious rings — all gifts from her late husband — where a burglar wouldn't find them. In a housecoat pocket? In a mitten shoved in a tote bag in a closet? Under cardboard in the false bottom of a 1990s board game?

When she returned from the festival, Drebit had no recollection of where she hid her rings. For months, she looked in every possible hiding place. She even checked with the hotel in Cavendish. No luck.

By December 2015, she had given up hope. She made an insurance claim and accepted the fact that she'd never see her beloved rings again.

In additional to their intrinsic value, each of the rings held a special connection to her late husband, Donald, who passed away in a car accident nine years ago. Donald appreciated Orlanda's love for fine jewelry and often lavished her with beautiful gifts — earrings, necklaces and rings.

“I have a big personality. And the jewelry matches that,” the widow told the National Post. “He took a lot of care to choose things that were different. He was a wonderful, wonderful man. He was just the other half of me.”

Lightfoot and Flack, who are originally from Sydney, Australia, traveled halfway around the world to establish new roots in Toronto. When Lightfoot's parents came to visit for the Labour Day holiday, the young couple chose a picturesque fishing village on Prince Edward Island as the perfect destination. In preparation for the visit, the young couple stopped in at a thrift store to pick up a board game. They ended up settling on the 1990s lateral-thinking puzzle game, MindTrap.

“We bring it back and start playing, and mum starts asking the questions. She goes to put the cards back in [the box] and she’s like, ‘What’s going on? They don’t fit,’” Lightfoot told Yahoo7 News. “She puts her hand in and finds a false bottom. She reaches in and pulls out a diamond ring and then another, and another and another. We are just standing there looking at each other. Is this for real?”

Lightfoot and Flack recently connected with the widow and are working out a plan to safely return the jewelry to her.

“I’ll never get him back,” Drebit said of her husband. “But getting back my engagement ring would mean a lot.”

Credits: Images via Facebook/mandy.flack1; Facebook.com/chris.lightfoot.148.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Music Friday: Don Williams Is in Love With the Girl Who Wears a Diamond Ring

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you throwback tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In 1977, Don Williams topped the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs chart with "I'm Just a Country Boy," a sweet ballad about a young man who is in love with the prettiest girl in town.

She wears a bit of bling and he fears that she'll turn down his marriage proposal because he can't afford a "store-bought ring with a sparkling diamond stone." What he can give her is a loving heart and a country boy's deep appreciation of nature's treasures.

He sings, "I ain't gonna marry in the fall / I ain't gonna marry in the spring / 'Cause I'm in love with a pretty little girl / Who wears a diamond ring. / And I'm just a country boy / Money have I none / But I've got silver in the stars / Gold in the mornin' sun / Gold in the mornin' sun."

"I'm Just a Country Boy," which appeared as the first track on Williams' album, Country Boy, was originally recorded by Harry Belafonte in 1954. It was also covered by George McCurn, Ronnie Laine, Jimmie Rodgers, Jim Croce, Jimmy Witherspoon, Roger Whittaker, David Ball, John Holt, The Brothers Four and Bobby Vinton.

The song was written by Fred Hellerman and Marshall Barer. Hellerman, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 89, was best known as an original member of the American folk group The Weavers. He also produced Alice's Restaurant (1967) for Arlo Guthrie. Barer was a lyricist, librettist, singer, songwriter and director, but was most famous for composing the "Mighty Mouse" theme song. He died in 1998 at the age of 75.

Williams amassed 17 #1 country hits during his illustrious career. The singer's imposing stature, paired with a soft, smooth bass-baritone voice earned him the nickname the "Gentle Giant" of country music. In 2010, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Trivia: Williams appeared as himself and played a number of songs in Smokey and the Bandit II (1980).

The popular country star from Floydada, Texas, stopped touring in 2016 and passed away a year later at the age of 78.

Please check out the video of Williams performing "I'm Just A Country Boy." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"I'm Just A Country Boy"
Written by Marshall Barer and Fred Kellerman. Performed by Don Williams.

I ain't gonna marry in the fall
I ain't gonna marry in the spring
'Cause I'm in love with a pretty little girl
Who wears a diamond ring.

And I'm just a country boy
Money have I none
But I've got silver in the stars
Gold in the mornin' sun
Gold in the mornin' sun.

Never gonna kiss
The ruby red lips
Of the prettiest girl in town
Never gonna ask her if she'd
Marry me
I know she'd turn me down.

'Cause I'm just a country boy
Money have I none
But I've got silver in the stars
And gold in the mornin' sun
Gold in the mornin' sun.

I never could afford
A store-bought ring
With a sparkling diamond stone
All I could afford
Is a loving heart
The only one I own.

'Cause I'm just a country boy
Money have I none
But I've got silver in the stars
And gold in the mornin' sun
Gold in the mornin' sun...

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Gemfields Unveils 'Inkalamu,' a 5,655-Carat Zambian Emerald Crystal With Remarkable Color and Clarity

On Monday, Gemfields unveiled "Inkalamu," a 5,655-carat Zambian emerald crystal with remarkable clarity and a perfectly balanced golden green hue. The carat weight is equivalent to 1.1 kg or 2.5 lbs.

Inkalamu, which means the "Lion Emerald" in the regional Bemba language, was discovered at the Kagem mine on October 2 by geologist Debapriya Rakshit and veteran emerald miner Richard Kapeta. It will be offered for sale at Gemfields' next auction, which will take place in Singapore in November. Forty-five approved auction partners will be vying for the extraordinary find.

“We expect a number of large, fine-quality cut emeralds to be borne of the Inkalamu crystal,” said Adrian Banks, Gemfields’ Managing Director for Product and Sales. “There might be hundreds of offcuts that are fashioned into smaller gems, cabochons and beads, but the key lies in recovering the fine-quality pieces. Given this emerald is such a rare find, it is also perfectly conceivable that the buyer will choose to purchase it as an investment.”

Gemfields noted that it is extremely difficult to predict what the selling price might be.

Despite its massive size, Inkalamu is not the largest crystal to be unearthed at the Kagem mine. In 2010, it yielded a 6,225-carat emerald that would take the name "Insofu," which is the Bemba word for "elephant."

Gemfields believes that Inkalamu will take its place among the world's most exceptional gemstones of all time, and if the crystal is divided into smaller stones, the "The Pride of Inkalamu," so to speak, will continue the legacy for generations to come.

The name Inkalamu honors the work carried out by two of Gemfields’ conservation partners, the Zambian Carnivore Programme and the Niassa Carnivore Project in Mozambique. Gemfields will divide 10% of Inkalamu’s auction proceeds equally between the two carnivore initiatives.

Kagem, the world's largest emerald mine, is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% owned by the Government of the Republic of Zambia.

Credits: Images courtesy of Gemfields.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Vancouver Man Spells Out Halloween-Themed Marriage Proposal Using 640 Pumpkins

Justine Aichelberger and Jesse Seads met at a Halloween party seven years ago, so when the young man was plotting a surprise marriage proposal recently, he was determined to include pumpkins — many pumpkins — in his plan.

Seads had arranged for his girlfriend to "win" an aerial tour for two over Vancouver Island. Once airborne, Aichelberger could have hardly predicted that the flight would take her and her boyfriend directly over Gobind Farms, where 640 pumpkins neatly spelled out the question "Justine - Will You Marry Me?"

The romantic groom-to-be pulled out a diamond engagement ring when the pumpkin message came into view. A stunned Aichelberger said, "Yes," and the couple celebrated their engagement with some high-flying selfies and a glass of champagne.

“It kind of read ‘Justine will you marry me’ and it took me a minute for me to take it all in. I was really shocked,” Aichelberger told cheknews.ca. "I’m so happy, he will do anything for me. He would move the world if he could for me. It’s just an amazing feeling.”

Seads had enlisted the help of his parents, Douglas and Julie, friend Andreas Bokelman and 95-year-old neighbor Jim Squire for the tricky task of rolling hundreds of pumpkins precisely into place.

"We got really lucky I think it just turned out really well,” Seads told vancouverislandfreedaily.com.

The flight continued from Saanichton northwest to scenic Courtenay, where the couple gathered with friends and family at a cabin on the beach.

Seads said the pumpkin proposal was well worth the effort.

“Any time she thinks of pumpkins in the future or sees pumpkins, pumpkin pies or whatever, she will think of our engagement day,” Seads told cheknews.ca.

The couple has yet to announce a wedding date.

Credits: Flight images by Justine Aichelberger. Screen captures via cheknews.ca.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Music Friday: Learn From Mistakes and 'Make Them Gold,' Urges Chvrches' Lauren Mayberry

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you new tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Lauren Mayberry of the Scottish synthpop band Chvrches (pronounced churches) implores her young fans to embrace their mistakes and "make them gold."

Written by band members Iain Andrew Cook, Martin Clifford Doherty and Mayberry, "Make Them Gold" is an empowerment anthem that reinforces the notion that nobody is perfect and mistakes are actually a blessing in disguise. They're an essential part of the process of building skills, confidence and attaining one's goals.

She sings, "We are made up of our mistakes / We are falling but not alone / We will take the best parts of ourselves / And make them gold."

Gold, in this case, symbolizes perfection, success and something of great value.

"Make Them Gold" appeared as the fourth track of the group's second studio album, Every Open Eye. Released in 2015, the album went to #1 on both the U.S. Billboard Top Alternative Albums and U.S. Billboard Top Rock Albums charts. It was also an international success, charting in 16 countries, including Scotland, Sweden, Australia and the UK.

Gathering their inspiration from Madonna, Eurythmics, Prince, Depeche Mode, Kate Bush, Death Cab for Cutie and Cyndi Lauper, among others, the band members write, record, mix and master their songs in Glasgow, Scotland.

The odd spelling of Chvrches is attributed to a general concern about how the band may — or may not be — found on the internet. When the band was formed in 2011, the three members had chosen Churches as the name, but changed it to Chvrches with a Roman letter "v" instant of a "u" because they didn't think they'd have a chance to come up at the top of a "churches" search result.

"After we decided on [the name], we realized it was more or less impossible to Google," Doherty told Interview magazine. "There's a girl called Amy who's designed all of our artwork. She'd already stylized the logo with the "V" in it. It kind of felt natural just to go with that. Now, we don't have to compete with anyone, which is cool."

Trivia: Just a few weeks ago, the band appeared in the heart of Texas at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Please check out the video of Chvrches' live performance of "Make Them Gold." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Make Them Gold"
Written by Iain Andrew Cook, Lauren Eve Mayberry and Martin Clifford Doherty. Performed by Chvrches.

Can you tell me what to have
And what to hold
If you never take the way
On your own

No one tells us what is hard
And what is fair
We will deliver once we know
Where to fall

We are made up of our mistakes
We are falling but not alone
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

We are made of the smallest stars
We are breathing and letting go
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

Can you steady all the hands
That you hold
If you never look away
From the drum

If you push yourself then I
Will pull you up
And we will deliver once we know
Where to fall

We are made up of our mistakes
We are falling but not alone
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

We are made of the smallest stars
We are breathing and letting go
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

I will wait to see if you come at all
To stop us falling out of phase
Let's see if we can keep
Track of losing days

You'd smile so wide i can see the stars
To stop us falling out of phase
I will be with you in the fray
With those second thoughts

You asked for all you asked for

We are made up of our mistakes
We are falling but not alone
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

We are made of the smallest stars
We are breathing and letting go
We will take the best parts of ourselves
And make them gold

And make them gold

Credit: Image capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Made Famous by Marilyn Monroe, 'Moon of Baroda' Diamond to Hit the Auction Block in Hong Kong

Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe sang "Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend" and wore the 24-carat Moon of Baroda diamond while promoting the Howard Hawks film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953.

"It’s gorgeous!" Monroe gasped when she first set eyes on the pear-shaped, VS2, canary yellow stone. It was the largest diamond she ever wore in her lifetime.

Despite its historical ties to the Maharajas of India and the legendary Golconda mines near Hyderabad, it was an adoring Monroe who helped catapult the Moon of Baroda to international fame.

On November 27, after 18 years in a private collection, the Moon of Baroda will regain the spotlight at Christie's Magnificent Jewels Sale in Hong Kong. The pre-sale estimate is $510,300 to $765,450. When the same stone hit the auction block at Christie's New York in 1990, it fetched $297,000.

This time around, the winning bidder will get a bonus — an autographed publicity shot of the glamorous Monroe wearing the Moon of Baroda. On the photo she wrote, "Thanks for the chance to wear the Moon of Baroda — Marilyn Monroe."

“It’s really hard to give an estimate to such a legendary and historical stone," Christie’s Connie Luk told The Hollywood Reporter. "We give the estimate based on the market price of a 24-carat yellow diamond. We believe that the historical value will add to the price.”

According to Christie's, the Moon of Baroda was likely discovered between the 15th and 17th centuries and owned by the Gaekwads of Baroda, one of India’s wealthiest and most powerful ruling families.

It was later sent by the Gaekwad family to Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, the only female monarch of the Habsburg dynasty. The diamond was returned to the Gaekwad family and set into a necklace in the mid-1800s. The Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad sold it to an unknown buyer in the early 1920s.

The stone was acquired by Cleveland diamond cutter Samuel H. Deutsch in 1944 and sold to Meyer Rosenbaum, president of Detroit-based Meyer Jewelry Company, in 1953. It was Rosenbaum who loaned the diamond to Monroe for her publicity tour.

Luk told The Hollywood Reporter that the anonymous current buyer had a hard time parting with the famous stone.

“We paid him a visit almost every year to ask him if he’s interested in selling, and we were quite persistent," she said. "And finally, this year he said yes to us.”

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Golden State Warriors Unveil the First-Ever Reversible Championship Rings

The Golden State Warriors kicked off a new season with a ring ceremony last Tuesday to commemorate their 2017-18 championship run, and as expected, they’re opulent.

The rings’ most interesting feature is the reversible top, the first-of-its-kind for a championship ring. The head of the ring, which can be completely detached from its band, has a centerpiece that can be flipped from blue to white, the Warriors' primary colors. Twisting off the top of the ring reveals the slogan ‘Strength in Numbers’ etched in gold.

There are 56 diamonds set on the right side of the ring to commemorate the number of years the team has been in the San Francisco Bay area. The left side features the player’s name and number, Bay Bridge and “Just Us” slogan. There is an interesting bristly texture (as though it were swept with a broom), celebrating the four-game sweep of the Cavaliers in the 2018 final. The top is a perfect circle to match the footprint of Oracle Arena, the Warriors' current home. And that's just for starters.

There are two trophies on top of the ring, signifying the team’s back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018. The 2017 trophy is 17-karat gold and has .17 carats of white diamonds; the 2018 trophy is 18-karat gold and has .18 carats of white diamonds. Each side has 74 sapphires and diamonds to represent the combined number of wins in the regular season and the playoffs.

When you've won three NBA championships in the past four years (only the 13th team ever to complete such a feat), your championship ring needs some extra bling. Designer Jason Arasheben, aka Jason of Beverly Hills, created the technically challenging rings composed of nearly 20 pieces.

“The highlight of the ring is clearly the reversible feature from the top of the ring. Jason of Beverly Hills really brought something new to the ring design game, and executed his vision beautifully,” stated a Warriors’ spokesperson.

On Tuesday night, as the Warriors headed to the floor in white jackets with “The Champions” inscribed in gold, the team’s accomplishments were announced over the public-address system — dominance practically unheard of in NBA history.

Credits: Images via Twitter/Golden State Warriors; Instagram/Jason of Beverly Hills.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Dorothy's Ruby Slippers Return to the Smithsonian After 18-Month Hiatus and Rejuvenating Facelift

They're back! The iconic ruby slippers made famous by actress Judy Garland in the landmark 1939 film The Wizard of Oz return to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., this Friday after an 18-month hiatus and rejuvenating facelift.

Since they were first exhibited in 1979, Dorothy's Ruby Slippers had been a top attraction, but environmental factors, such as light and moisture, had taken their toll. The leather was deteriorating, the ruby-red sequins that once gave the slipper their vibrant color were flaking and the threads holding the sequins in place were frayed. Overall, the slippers appeared dull and washed out. They were crying out for some TLC.

So, exactly two years ago, conservationists at the National Museum of American History launched a Kickstarter campaign to generate the funds to provide Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers with conservation treatment and a new display case. Within 30 days, the campaign exceeded its $300,000 goal with support from more than 6,000 donors.

On Friday, visitors to the museum will see the new-look ruby slippers in their own gallery at the museum's newly renovated third floor West Wing. They are highlighted in an exhibit called the "Ray Dolby Gateway to American Culture," which is dedicated to exploring American history through culture, entertainment and the arts.

The Ruby Slippers will be on view in a state-of-the-art display, along with a prop wand used by Billie Burke, who played Glinda the Good Witch. The wand is on special loan to the museum through November 2019. And the museum’s Scarecrow hat will be shown through February 2019.

Interestingly, Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers are not adorned with rubies. In fact, the bugle beads that prop designers used to simulate rubies proved to be too heavy. The solution was to replace most of the bugle beads with sequins, 2,300 on each slipper. The butterfly-shaped bow on the front of each shoe features red bugle beads outlined in red glass rhinestones in silver settings.

More recently, we learned that the Smithsonian's Ruby Slippers — one of four pairs known to exist — are mismatched. Each shoe has Garland's name hand-written on the inside, along with the "#1" on one shoe and "#6" on the other. Last month, the Ruby Slippers stolen from the Judy Garland museum in 2005 were finally recovered. When Smithsonian conservators inspected the shoes, they realized that the museum's shoes completed two matched pairs.

On Friday and Saturday, museum visitors are encouraged to celebrate the return of the Ruby Slippers by wearing Oz-inspired costumes and red shoes. The museum is located on Constitution Avenue N.W., between 12th and 14th streets, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (except Dec. 25). Admission is free.

Credits: Ruby Slippers photo by Richard Strauss, Smithsonian; The Wizard of Oz publicity shot by MGM (ebay posting) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. "Ray Dolby Gateway to American Culture" photo courtesy of Smithsonian.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Marie Antoinette's Prized Pearls to Be Auctioned at Sotheby's Geneva on Nov. 14

With a revolution raging in France in March 1791, Queen Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI prepared for their escape. The queen spent an evening carefully wrapping her most precious jewels in cotton and then packed them neatly into a wooden chest. The diamond, ruby and pearl treasures were secretly shipped to Vienna in the care of Count Mercy Argentau, a loyal retainer to the queen.

“The jewels made it, but unfortunately, she did not,” Daniela Mascetti, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Jewelry Europe, told The New York Post.

Three months later, the royal family was captured in Varennes as they were trying to leave France. Both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were imprisoned and executed by guillotine in 1793. Their son died in captivity shortly afterwards at the age of 10.

Their last surviving child, Marie-Thérèse, was finally allowed to flee to Vienna after serving three years in solitary confinement. There, the teenage princess reclaimed her mother's jewels that had been kept safe by her cousin, the Austrian Emperor Francis II.

The jewelry remained in the queen's family for the next 200 years and has never been seen by the public — until now.

Earlier this week, Sotheby's New York put on display several jewels from the collection of Marie Antoinette. Visitors to the landmark store were even permitted to try on the regal pieces, which will be offered for sale at Sotheby's Geneva on November 14. The jewels are currently on an international tour, with stops in Dubai, New York, London, Singapore, Taipei and Geneva.

The highest-value item in the group is a natural pearl and diamond pendant set with an oval diamond in a diamond bow motif. The slightly baroque drop-shaped natural saltwater pearl measures approximately 15.90mm x 18.35mm x 25.85mm. The piece carries a pre-sale estimate of $1 million to $2 million.

A second notable lot from the collection is a fabulous necklace featuring 119 natural pearls. It is composed of three rows of slightly graduated pearls measuring from approximately 7.3mm to 9.3mm.  Interestingly, 116 were confirmed by a European gem lab to be natural saltwater pearls, while three were found to be natural freshwater pearls. The necklace is adorned with a star-motif clasp set with cushion-shaped, circular-cut and rose-cut diamonds. Estimated price: $200,000 to $300,000.

Marie Antoinette's jewelry is part of a larger auction collection comprised of pieces from the Bourbon Parma family — a family linked to the royal dynasties of France, England, Spain, Austria, Holland and Italy.

"Every jewel is absolutely imbued with history," said Mascetti. "This extraordinary group of jewels offers a captivating insight into the lives of its owners going back hundreds of years. What is also striking is the inherent beauty of the pieces themselves: the precious gems they are adorned with and the exceptional craftsmanship they display are stunning in their own right."

Credits: Jewelry images courtesy of Sotheby's. Marie Antoinette portrait by Joseph Kreutzinger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Greville Emerald Tiara Takes Center Stage at Princess Eugenie's Royal Wedding

As Princess Eugenie exchanged wedding vows with Jack Brooksbank on Friday at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, England, all eyes were on her magnificent emerald tiara.

Dubbed the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara, the diamond-encrusted platinum headpiece features a 93.7-carat oval-shaped emerald center stone flanked by six additional emeralds on each side. Jewelry experts have pegged the value of the tiara at somewhere between $6.5 million and $13 million.

The Greville Tiara was lent to Princess Eugenie by her 92-year-old grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The emerald tiara was originally designed for Dame Margaret Greville in 1919 by Parisian jewelry house Boucheron. The tiara reflects the "kokoshnik" style popularized by the Russian Imperial Court and introduced into western Europe after the Russian Revolution.

When she died in 1942, the socialite left many of her jewels — including the Greville Tiara — to the Queen Mother. Queen Elizabeth II inherited the piece when her mother passed away in 2002 at the age of 101.

Throughout the pageantry of the royal wedding, the tiara was in constant view because the 28-year-old bride chose to forgo the traditional veil.

Her choice of tiara surprised many royal watchers. They had speculated that Princess Eugenie would wear the York tiara, which her mother, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, donned when she married Prince Andrew in 1986.

Instead, Princess Eugenie decided to "go green." Her emerald tiara was complemented by emerald drop earrings, a gift from the 32-year-old groom.

During the marriage ceremony at St. George's Chapel, Brooksbank placed a simple gold wedding band on his bride's finger. Despite its simplicity, the ring reflects a rich royal family tradition. Since the Queen Mother's wedding in 1923, the royal family's wedding bands have been crafted of pure Welsh gold, sourced at the Clogau mine in Bontddu.

The mine dates back to the Bronze Age, and commercial mining began there in the mid-1880s. The mine was closed in the 1990s, but Queen Elizabeth II had received a kilogram of the rare gold for her 60th birthday in 1986. The Queen’s reserves have been the source of royal wedding bands ever since.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/The Royal Family Channel.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Music Friday: Tom Jones Can't Compete With a Diamond-Gifting Rival in ‘I (Who Have Nothing)’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you romantic throwback tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In Tom Jones's soaring rendition of “I (Who Have Nothing),” the Welch crooner assumes the role of a poor man trying to win the heart of his true love. While his rival has the means to buy her diamonds, all Jones can offer are the words, "I love you."

He sings, "He, he buys you diamonds / Bright, sparkling diamonds / But believe me, dear when I say, / That he can give you the world, / But he’ll never love you the way / I love you."

The passionate young man professes his love, but it's not enough.

The song ends with Jones's character — nose pressed against his window pane — painfully watching his love "go dancing by wrapped in the arms of somebody else."

Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, "I (Who Have Nothing)" has been covered by dozens of artists, both male and female, for the past 55 years, but the version that rises above the rest is performed here by Sir Thomas John Woodward (better known as Tom Jones). His powerful interpretation elevated the song to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970.

The first artists to hit the airwaves with “I (Who Have Nothing)” were Ben E. King and Shirley Bassey, both in 1963. Since then, the song has been covered by singers as diverse as Petula Clark, Luther Vandross, Liza Minnelli and Neil Diamond.

Interestingly, "I (Who Have Nothing)" was derived from an Italian song called "Uno Dei Tanti," which translates to "one of many" in English. Joe Sentieri released the Italian version in 1961.

Jones, whose soulful voice and great looks melted hearts during the 1960s and 1970s, has sold more than 100 million records and charted 36 Top-40 hits, including “It’s Not Unusual,” “What’s New Pussycat” and “Delilah.” He's still touring at the age of 78.

We invite you to enjoy the video of Tom Jones performing “I (Who Have Nothing).” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“I (Who Have Nothing)”
Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Performed by Tom Jones.

I, I who have nothing
I, I who have no one
Adore you, and want you so
I’m just a no one,
With nothing to give you but oh
I love you

He, He buys you diamonds
Bright, sparkling diamonds
But believe me, dear when I say,
That he can give you the world,
But he’ll never love you the way
I love you

He can take you anyplace he wants
To fancy clubs and restaurants
But I can only watch you with
My nose pressed up against the window pane
I, I who have nothing
I, I who have no one
Must watch you, go dancing by
Wrapped in the arms of somebody else
When darling it’s I
Who loves you

I love you
I love you
I love you

Credit: Photo by VMusic2016 [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, October 11, 2018

'Opal Peacock' Brooch Showcases One of the Finest Examples of October's Birthstone

Gifted to the Smithsonian in 1977 by legendary jeweler Harry Winston, the "Opal Peacock" brooch showcases a 32-carat black opal sourced from Lightning Ridge, Australia. The cabochon-cut gem, which displays a vivid blue and green play-of-color reminiscent of a peacock's plumage, is considered one of the world's finest examples of October's birthstone.

For his Opal Peacock brooch, Winston adorned the kaleidoscopic center stone with sapphires, rubies, emeralds and diamonds set in 18-karat yellow gold. The impressive piece is currently on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

The black opal — characterized by a blue, gray or black body color — is regarded as the king of the opal world. Lightning Ridge, a small outback town in New South Wales, is the only place in Australia, and one of the few places in the world, where the highly prized black opal is found. Other varieties include white opals, boulder opals, crystal opals and fire opals.

According to the Smithsonian, opals can form only when an undisturbed space in a rock holds a clean solution of silica from which water is slowly removed over a period of thousands of years.

The opals consist of transparent spheres of silica that are tightly packed. The voids among the spheres contain only air or water. In precious opal, the silica spheres are uniform in size and are stacked into an orderly arrangement, which gives the structure the ability to break visible white light into separate colors.

Interestingly, an opal's silica structure contains 3% to 20% water, according to the American Gem Society.

Since opal was first discovered in Australia circa 1850, the country has produced 95% of the world’s supply. Scientists believe that the abundance of opal can be traced to a vast inland sea that once covered a large portion of Australia.

As the sea regressed, a rare episode of acidic weather was taking place, exposing pyrite minerals and releasing sulphuric acid. As the surface of the basin dried further and cracked, silica-rich gel became trapped in the veins of the rock. Over time, the silica solidified to form opals.

Even though Australia is the world leader in opal production, the October birthstone is also mined in Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Ethiopia, the Czech Republic and parts of the U.S., including Nevada and Idaho.

Credits: Photos by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

'Diavik Stars of the Arctic' to Headline Rio Tinto's 'Specials' Tender on Oct. 25

Inspired by the constellations that light up the night sky of Canada's remote Northwest Territories, "The Diavik Stars of the Arctic" will headline Rio Tinto’s upcoming "Specials" tender — a showcase of rough diamonds greater than 10.8 carats.

Among the diamonds comprising The Diavik Stars is the 177.71-carat "Vega of the Arctic," one of the largest and most valuable gem-quality rough diamonds ever produced at Rio Tinto's Diavik Diamond Mine, which is located just 136 miles (220 km) south of the Arctic Circle.

A second standout is the "Capella of the Arctic," a dazzling yellow diamond that weighs 24.82 carats.

Rio Tinto reports that this yellow diamond is extraordinarily rare because the mine, on average, delivers only five of these diamonds each year. That translates into less than 0.001% of its annual production.

The 59.10-carat "Altair of the Arctic" rounds out the trio of fabulous gems which, as a group, underscore the rare combination of size, quality and color being produced by the Diavik Diamond Mine.

The Diavik Stars of the Arctic will be exhibited in the diamond centers of Antwerp and Israel before bidding closes on October 25.

Astronomy buffs will recognize that the Vega, Capella and Altair diamonds share their names with some of the brightest stars in the night sky.

According to Rio Tinto, the Diavik Diamond Mine produces predominantly gem-quality diamonds destined for high-end jewelry in all major consumer markets around the world.

The mine, which began production in 2003, is jointly owned by Rio Tinto (60%) and Dominion Diamond Mines (40%).

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Music Friday: She's Wearing Michael Jackson's Promise Ring But Still Chasing Other Boys in ‘The Love You Save’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we step into our time machine and dial in May 10, 1970, the day The Jackson 5 performed “The Love You Save” on The Ed Sullivan Show.

In the song, a 12-year-old Michael Jackson is tormented by a girlfriend who can’t seem to shake her cheating ways. When they were little kids, she was always chasing after the boys. Now that she’s older, Michael's promise ring is not enough to keep her faithful.

Jackson sings, “When we grew up you traded / Your promise for my ring / Now just like back in grade school / You’re doin’ the same old thing.”

“The Love You Save” was the third of four rapidly released chart-toppers by The Jackson Five in 1970. The others included “I Want You Back,” “ABC” and “I’ll Be There.” These songs are often mashed and merged in still-popular Jackson Five medleys.

Music historians believe that the emphatic “stop” at the beginning of “The Love You Save” is a nod to The Supremes’ “Stop! In the Name of Love,” which was released on the Motown label in 1965. Diana Ross, the lead singer of The Supremes, is often credited with having discovered The Jackson Five (also on Motown).

According to Songfacts.com, the original lyrics of "The Love You Save" concerned traffic safety. The writing team of Deke Richards, Freddie Perren, Alphonso Mizell and Berry Gordy Jr. (also known as "The Corporation") altered the safety song to fit the style of The Jackson 5. In the end, Songfacts.com reported, the only elements of the original to survive were the title and the line "Darling, look both ways before you cross me."

The founding members of The Jackson Five included brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael. During a successful run from 1964 to 1990, the group (later to be called The Jacksons) amassed international legions of screaming fans and sold more than 100 million records, making them one of the most successful groups of all time.

Fun trivia: About halfway through the song, Michael calls out four rivals by name: "Isaac said he kissed you, beneath the apple tree / When Benjii held your hand he felt electricity / When Alexander called you, he said he rang your chimes / Christopher discovered you’re way ahead of your time."

A closer look at the lyrics reveals that he's actually referencing Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell and Christopher Columbus.

We hope you enjoy the clip of The Jackson 5 performing "The Love You Save" on The Ed Sullivan Show. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along...

“The Love You Save”
Written by Deke Richards, Freddie Perren, Alphonso Mizell and Berry Gordy Jr. Performed by The Jackson Five.

Stop, you better save it
Stop, stop, stop, you better save it, woo
Do do do do do...

When we played tag in grade school
You wanted to be it
But chasin’ boys was just a fad,
You crossed your heart, you’d quit
When we grew up you traded
Your promise for my ring
Now just like back in grade school
You’re doin’ the same old thing

Stop, the love you save may be your own
Darlin’ take it slow
Or some day you’ll be all alone
You better stop
The love you save may be your own
Darlin’ look both ways before you cross me
You’re heading for a danger zone

I’m the one who loves you
I’m the one you need
Those other guys will put you down
as soon as they succeed

They’ll ruin your reputation
They’ll label you a flirt
The way they talk about you
They’ll turn your name to dirt, oh.

Isaac said he kissed you, beneath the apple tree
When Benjii held your hand he felt electricity
When Alexander called you, he said he rang your chimes
Christopher discovered you’re way ahead of your time

Stop, the love you save may be your own
Darlin’ take it slow or some day you’ll be all alone
You better stop
The love you save may be your own
Darlin’ look both ways before you cross me
You’re headed for a danger zone
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on...

“S” is for save it
“T” is for take it slow
“O” is for oh, no
“P” is for please, please don’t go

The love you save may be your own
Some day you may be all alone
Stop it
Save it girl
Baby, ooh
You’d better stop
The love you save may be your own
Please, please or some day, some day baby
You’ll be heading for a danger zone
(All alone)

I’m the one who loves you
I’m the one you need
Those other guys will put you down
As soon as they succeed

Ooh, stop, the love you save may be your own oh baby
You better stop it, stop it, stop it girl or someday you’ll be all alone

The way they talk about you
They’ll turn your name, turn your name
Stop, the love you save may be your own
Don’t you know, don’t you know
Some day baby you’ll be heading for a danger zone
(All alone)

Those other guys will put you down
As soon as they succeed
(Fade Out)

Credit: Image by CBS Television [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

6-Year-Old 'Tiny' Dutton Finds $10,000 Bridal Set, Teaches Big Lesson About Doing the Right Thing

Six-year-old Alyah "Tiny" Dutton was sure the beautiful diamond rings she found in the restroom of Ballantrae Community Park in Dublin, Ohio, belonged to a magic princess and that they needed to be returned to her right away.

Tiny had been enjoying an outing at the "bunny park" sprayground with family friend John Gerlach when she took a break to use the restroom and happened upon the diamond jewelry worth $10,000. She exited the bathroom and immediately revealed the treasures to John.

"I told her we have to do the right thing," said John. "They're not ours and what you do when people aren't watching is the integrity and character your mom talks about."

Tiny and John turned over the lost rings to Dublin Police Department. John, who is recovering from addiction, admitted that five years ago those rings would have ended up in the pawn shop. Today, he's a new man.

Earlier that same day, Caitlin Adkins was also enjoying her day at the park with her husband, Jake, and baby, Ari. Before applying sunscreen to the baby, she slipped off the bridal set and placed the rings into the front pocket of her jeans. Then she went into the ladies' room to change into her bathing suit.

When the family returned back home later that evening, Caitin realized her precious keepsakes were gone.

"I was hysterical," she told a reporter from 10TV. "My daughter said, 'Mommy what's wrong? What's wrong?' And I was just like, 'Mommy can't find her rings.'"

In a panic, Caitlin searched her jeans, the car, the stroller.

"I cried knowing I must’ve lost them at the park when I put my bathing suit on and thought about how special those rings were to me... not monetarily, but what they meant and their significance," she wrote on Facebook.

Jake raced back to the park to see if he could find the rings in the bathroom, but the park had already closed for the night.

He then connected with the Dublin Police.

Caitlin breathed a huge sigh of relief when Jake reported that someone had turned in her rings that day. More surprisingly, that "someone" was a precocious six-year-old who went by the nickname "Tiny."

After being reunited with her rings, Caitlin arranged to meet with Tiny, John and Tiny's mother so she could thank them in person.

"Can I give you a hug?" Caitlin asked, as the youngster ran into her arms. "Thank you for being so awesome."

Caitlin rewarded the young hero with a carload of gifts.

"I went crazy shopping for you if that's OK," said said. "I just kept on picking stuff."

Tiny giggled with excitement.

Caitlin also gave Tiny a card, which her mother read out loud: "Thank you so much for being such a special girl. You are going to do so many great things."

Tiny's proud mom kissed the youngster on the head. "I love you," she said.

On Facebook, Caitlin recounted how she found a wedding ring in the parking lot of a local Gymboree 10 years ago and she made sure it was returned to the rightful owner.

"Someone had a choice to do the same today, or not. They did. Thank you," she wrote.

"Tiny and John deserve to be recognized for doing the right thing," Caitlin concluded. "In a day where we judge people, think humanity is lost, and expect the worst, we are shown there [are] good, honest people who are doing the right thing when nobody is looking. Thank you SO much, Tiny and John."

Credits: Screen captures via 10tv.com.

Monday, October 01, 2018

71-Year-Old Grandma Unearths 2.63-Carat Diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park

A 71-year-old grandma from Aurora, Colo., is being credited with finding the largest diamond so far this year at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park — the only diamond site in the world where amateur prospectors get to keep what they discover. The 2.63-carat diamond is the size of a pinto bean and white in color, with several brownish freckles on the surface.

The retiree, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she found the gem after 10 minutes of searching with her husband, son, grandson and granddaughter. At first, she thought the stone might be glass, but she still asked her son to stash it in his pocket so it could be identified later by park officials.

The woman named her gem "Lichtenfels," a nod to her hometown in Germany. The word means “a rock between two lights,” which is significant because she was standing between her grandchildren when she found the diamond.

“She wouldn’t have come to the park if it weren’t for her grandkids,” said the finder's son. “They’re her two points of light.”

The lucky grandma plucked the diamond from the soil about halfway between the park's East Drain and North Wash Pavilion. Visitors are encouraged to test their luck with basic tools in a 37-acre plowed field, which is actually the eroded surface of a volcanic crater.

Even though she found her diamond early in her search, the family continued to prospect for another hour before returning to the park's Diamond Discovery Center, where experts are on hand to help visitors identify what they've found.

When she learned that she'd made the biggest diamond discovery of 2018, the grandma said, “I didn’t know what to think. I was shocked!”

Park Interpreter Waymon Cox said, “About one out of every five diamonds registered by park visitors is found right on top of the ground, including many of the largest ever found at the Crater of Diamonds.”

So far this year, 256 diamonds weighing a total of 49.64 carats have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park. The three most common diamond colors found at the park are white, brown and yellow, in that order. In total, more than 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since the first diamonds were found there in 1906 by John Huddleston, a farmer who owned the land long before it became an Arkansas State Park in 1972.

The largest diamond ever discovered in the United States was unearthed here in Murfreesboro in 1924 during a mining operation. Named the “Uncle Sam,” the white diamond with a pink cast weighed 40.23 carats. The largest diamond ever discovered at the park by a visitor was the 16.37-carat "Amarillo Starlight" in 1975.

Access to the diamond field is $8 for visitors 13 and older. Tickets for children 6 through 12 cost $5, and kids ages 5 and younger get to prospect for free.

Credit: Image courtesy of Crater of Diamonds State Park.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Music Friday: Duawne Starling Pens and Performs His Own Wedding Song, 'With This Ring'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you inspirational songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, contemporary Christian artist Duawne Starling sings his wedding vows in the 2001 release, "With This Ring."

In the first verse, Starling describes the wedding band as a "circle of trust" and a symbol of his commitment to cherish his bride for a lifetime.

He sings, "With this ring / With this circle of trust / I confess that I must be in love / With this vow / I can promise you now / to be more than you've ever dreamed of / With my heart in your hand / and faith in His plan / and with patience to last a lifetime/ I offer you everything / with this ring."

"With This Ring" appeared as the first track of the wedding-song compilation album of the same name. Billed as a unique, romantic collection of inspirational love songs, the album spawned a second album by various artists called With This Ring... Forever I Do (2002).

Born in Petersburg, Va., in 1970, Starling immersed himself in music after his father died of cancer when the youngster was only seven.

"It was then that music became my sanctum, my escape from that reality,” Starling stated in his official bio. "Now, it's simply my passion."

Starling worked as a background artist for 10 years before stepping forward as a soloist. He developed his talents touring with the likes of Michael Jackson, Patti Austin, Dolly Parton, Michael McDonald, Kelly Price and CeCe Winans, among many others.

Starling’s inspirational music shares the triumphs and trials of his journey through life.

“My gift is God’s tool," he wrote. "I always speak from the place of truth. We are all intrinsically connected so I know that others will relate to what I’ve experienced. My purpose is to enlighten, encourage and empower the listener.”

Please check out the audio track of Starling performing "With This Ring." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"With This Ring"
Written and performed by Duawne Starling.

With this ring,
With this circle of trust,

I confess that I must be in love.
With this vow,
I can promise you now,
to be more than you've ever dreamed of.
With my heart in your hand,
and faith in His plan,
and with patience to last a lifetime,
I offer you everything,
With this ring.

With my mind,
with each thought I'm inclined,
to cherish you more everyday,
With my soul,
I'm completely yours,
You're the answer to all that I've prayed.
With my heart in your hand,
and my faith in His plan,
and with patience to last a lifetime,
I offer you everything,
With this ring.

If perfect is something that people can be,
and heaven is more than just a fantasy,
then I am in heaven and you're perfect to me.

So with my heart in your hand,
and faith in His plan,
and with patience to last a lifetime,
I offer you everything,
With this ring.

With my heart in your hand,
and faith in His plan,
and with patience to last a lifetime,
I offer you everything,
Be mine for eternity, yeah,
please say you'll stay with me,
With this ring.

With my ring, Will you stay.
I'll love you forever,
and ever, and ever and ever.

Credits: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Bravo's 'Summer House' Reality Stars Confirm Engagement With Selfie of 2.5-Carat Diamond Ring

Bravo's Summer House reality stars Kyle Cooke and Amanda Batula confirmed their engagement on Instagram with a selfie of her gorgeous new ring.

Cooke recently popped the question with a 2.5-carat diamond set on a yellow gold, split-shank band. Cooke told Bravotv.com that the diamond is cushion cut. Based on the photo, above, we're pretty certain it's a princess cut. 

Nevertheless, Batula told People magazine that she can't stop staring at it.

When Cooke enlisted the help of New York-based jewelry designer Stephanie Gottlieb, he already had a pretty good idea of the type of ring Batula wanted. Although she didn't expect him to propose for another year or so, she did prepare him with photos of the styles she liked best.

Cooke and Gottlieb worked together to incorporate the design elements into a totally unique keepsake.

“It’s beautiful. He did a good job," said the 27-year old graphic designer. "I look down at it and still can’t believe it’s my ring on my finger. When friends would get engaged in the past, I’d try their rings and you sort of get an idea about what it would be like if it was yours. But it’s so different when it happens."

“I’m just relieved,” the 34-year-old entrepreneur and app designer told People. “I kind of felt like I was living a lie for several months because I knew I was going to propose, but I wanted to keep things secret, catch her off guard, and completely surprise her — all of which I managed to pull off.”

The attractive couple first met in 2015 and have been dating for two years.

Despite all the hoopla surrounding their engagement, Batula and Cooke are not ready to set a wedding date.

“It’s going to be overwhelming and expensive and probably very stressful in our relationship," Batula told People, "so right now, we’re just enjoying the engagement. We haven’t even planned an engagement party, let alone even figured out where we want to get married!”

Summer House fans have been following the couple's relationship throughout Seasons 1 and 2 of the reality show, which takes place in Montauk, N.Y., an affluent beach town on the easternmost tip of Long Island. The Summer House cast includes nine friends who work in New York City and share a beach house on the weekends.

Credits: Images by Amanda Batula and Kyle Cooke via Instagram/ImKyleCooke.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Vibrant Red 'Whitney Flame Topaz' Joins the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection

An extraordinarily rare 48.86-carat vibrant red topaz is the newest member of the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection. The teardrop-shaped gem, which was acquired for the museum by philanthropist Coralyn Wright Whitney, made its debut this past Thursday at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Dubbed the "Whitney Flame Topaz," the gem is described by Smithsonian curators as one of the finest examples of imperial topaz in the world. Imperial, or "precious," topaz is typically golden-orange in color, but the vivid red hue of the Whitney Flame is even more unusual and highly prized.

The red color is the result of trace quantities of chromium that were incorporated into the original topaz crystal as it grew in the earth. The Whitney Flame was sourced more than 50 years ago at the topaz mines of Ouro Preto, Brazil.

“Of all the topaz found in that locality, only about a percent or two is gem quality," Smithsonian minerals curator Jeffrey Post told Smithsonian.com. "And of those one to two percent, maybe one percent of those have a deep enough red color that they could be marketed as red topaz.”

“The color and beauty of this gemstone is astounding," Post continued. "You have to see it to believe it. The Whitney Flame is truly one of Earth’s treasures.”

The unusual red topaz was held privately for many decades, before emerging at Arizona’s annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, a massive showcase that draws buyers and rockhounds from all around the world.

When Post and Whitney viewed the stone for the first time this past winter, the uniform red color captivated them and they instantly knew they had a winner on their hands, according to Smithsonian.com.

“When we saw it,” Post said, “we all collectively started weeping a little bit.”

Whitney purchased the stone and gifted it to the Smithsonian, along with a $5 million endowment. In 2013, Whitney provided the National Museum of Natural History with its largest education donation to date: a $13 million gift in support of Q?rius (pronounced “curious”), which created the Coralyn W. Whitney Science Education Center.

On Thursday, visitors to the National Museum of Natural History were the first to see the "Whitney Flame Topaz." It occupies a display case all its own in the gallery occupied by other famous gems, such as The Hope Diamond. The gem is positioned vertically and backlit to emphasize its fiery color.

The Smithsonian’s gem and mineral collection, with 10,000 gems and 375,000 mineral specimens, is one of the largest of its kind in the world. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free.

Credit: Photo by Donny Bajohr, Smithsonian. Screen captures via NBCWashington.com.