Friday, December 28, 2018

Music Friday: Seth Ennis Shares Story Behind His Proposal in the Newly Released 'Xmas'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, country music newcomer Seth Ennis shares the story behind his holiday marriage proposal in the newly released "Xmas."

The Georgia-raised 23-year-old turned to Instagram on December 23 to share a snippet of his new song, along with the caption, "She said yes." Then, three days later, he confirmed his engagement with a photo of him and his now-fiancée Janna Nevil celebrating with glasses of champagne.

In the song, Ennis says he can't wait to see his girlfriend's face when she sees the ring that he picked out. We also learn that Ennis' proposal has been a year in the making. It started last Christmas when he revealed his intentions to Nevil's dad.

Ennis sings, "I bet you didn't know at Christmas / I was talkin' to your daddy / I told him me and you were in love / And I just want to make you happy / For ever and ever keep loving you better / And never give up or leave / And baby next Christmas / I'm gonna ask you to marry me."

In a romantic example of life imitating art, Ennis stood by his lyrics and popped the question during the Christmas holiday. In the catchy chorus, he sings "Say yes, say yes, I hope you say yes / Say yes to me" — and she did.

Born in Dothan, Ala., Ennis began playing the piano at the age of 7. By the time he was in middle school, he was also a talented guitarist and drummer. The son of a military colonel, Ennis honed his talents as he spent his formative years on a military base in Japan.

“Country music is not that big in Japan,” he noted in his official bio. “If I were raised in Georgia my whole life, I’d probably sound a lot different than I do. But because of how much I moved around, and all the cultures I experienced, my sound is especially diverse.”

Ennis got his big break by being in the right place at the right time.

“There was a battle of the bands competition here in Nashville and when one of the bands dropped out, I got the call,” Ennis said. “I called my players together and we killed it.”

The victory earned Ennis a coveted spot at CMA Music Festival. That performance caught the eye of Sony, which signed him to a record deal in 2016.

In early 2019, Ennis will be embarking on a 14-city tour with performances in New York, Boston, Silver Spring, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Detroit, Minneapolis, Louisville, Atlanta, Orlando, North Myrtle Beach, Charlotte and Raleigh.

Please check out the audio track of Ennis performing "Xmas." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

Written and performed by Seth Ennis.

I bet you didn't know at Christmas
I was talkin' to your daddy
I told him me and you were in love
And I just want to make you happy

For ever and ever keep loving you better
And never give up our leave
And baby next Christmas
I'm gonna ask you to marry me

Say yes, say yes, I hope you say yes
Say yes to me
Say yes, say yes, I hope you say yes
Say yes to me

Keeping it a secret
and trying to keep it that way
Until the holiday season
Gets harder every day

But even more than I do
When I just tell you
I want to see your face alright
When you see the ring I picked out
Old friends in your new home town
In December when you say

I can't believe I didn't know at Christmas
When I was talkin' to your daddy
I told him me and you were in love
And I just want to make you happy

For ever and ever keep loving you better
And never give up or leave
And baby next Christmas
I'm gonna ask you to marry me

Say yes, say yes, I hope you say yes
Say yes to me
Say yes, say yes, I hope you say yes
Say yes to me

I remember back in high school
Dreaming of what you'd be like
Hoping that I'd find the kind of girl who
is from a hometown like mine

Before I met you in that church
Took you out to that concert
Told my momma that I found my wife
When you know you know I knew the whole time

But I bet you didn't know at Christmas
That I was talkin' to your daddy
I told him me and you were in love
And all I want to do is make you happy

If you had me for ever and ever keep loving you better
And never give up or leave
And baby next Christmas
I'm gonna ask you to marry me

Say yes, say yes, I hope you say yes
Say yes to me
Say yes, say yes, I hope you say yes
Say yes to me

Say yes, say yes, I hope you say yes
Say yes to me
Say yes, say yes, I hope you say yes
Say yes to me

Credit: Image via

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Oops! Famous 'Diamond Planet' Is Actually a 'Sapphire Planet,' New Research Suggests

Super-Earth 55 Cancri e, which made headlines in 2012 as "the diamond planet," needs to be reclassified as a sapphire planet, according to astronomers at the Universities of Zurich and Cambridge.

"We are turning the supposed diamond planet into a sapphire planet," said astrophysicist Caroline Dorn, the lead author of new research published in the British journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS).

Previously, scientists speculated that one-third of the 55 Cancri e super-Earth, which is 40 light-years away in the constellation of Cancer, might be composed of pure diamond. The presence of carbon, combined with the planet's high density and extreme heat created the perfect conditions for creating diamonds. Taking a stab at the potential value of a diamond planet, a Forbes columnist did the math and came up with a value of $26.9 nonillion. That’s $26.9 followed by 30 zeros.

But, Dorn and her team say that new observations of 55 Cancri e, as well as two other super-Earths, have forced them to discard the theory of a "diamond in the sky." They determined that these new, exotic planets share a number of characteristics. They all formed at high temperatures close to their host star and contain high quantities of aluminum oxide — the compound that makes up sapphire and ruby.

"Perhaps it shimmers red to blue like rubies and sapphires, because these gemstones are aluminium oxides which are common on the exoplanet," said Dorn.

One of the super-Earths studied by Dorn and her colleagues is just 21 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. Super-Earth HD 219134 b orbits its star in just three days and boasts five times the mass of Earth, but has a lower density. Computer models showed that it is likely rich in the chemical building blocks of sapphires and rubies, but — unlike the Earth — contains very little iron.

Credit: Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

1,109-Carat Lesedi La Rona Likely Weighed 2,774 Carats Before Fracturing Into 5 Pieces

A senior research scientist at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) believes the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona — the second largest rough diamond ever found — actually weighed at least 2,774 carats before it fractured into five pieces during the sorting process at Lucara's Karowe mine in Botswana in November 2015.

Lucara had previously reported that the 813-carat "Constellation” and a 374-carat unnamed "shard" had broken off Lesedi La Rona. The total weight of the original rough diamond, had it remained intact, would have been 2,296 carats.

But, after getting a chance to study the trio, plus other large diamonds recovered during the same time period at Karowe, Dr. Ulrika D’Haenens-Johansson and her team from the GIA were able to identify two other rough diamonds that likely broke off the original. Those gems weighed 296 carats and 183 carats, respectively.

"Due to the similarity in their external characteristics — which include cleavage faces — as well as their extraction locations and dates, it was suspected that these stones might have originated from a larger rough that had broken," Dr. D’Haenens-Johansson wrote in the Fall 2018 issue of Gems & Gemology.

The five pieces totaled 2,774 carats, which is equivalent to 1.22 pounds (.55 kilograms). Had the original survived the recovery process, it would have still rated second behind the largest gem-quality rough diamond of all time — the 3,106-carat Cullinan, unearthed in South Africa in 1905.

Lucara CEO Eira Thomas told that evidence indicates the larger stone broke up both because of natural effects and being knocked around during the recovery process. The mining company has reportedly installed additional X-ray transmission (XRT) technology to ensure exceptional stones are identified and pulled from the line before they can be fractured.

The Constellation set a world record for a rough gem when Nemesis International and De Grisogono partnered to purchase it for $63 million in 2016. Graff bought the 374-carat "shard" for $17.5 million in May 2017 and subsequently paid $53 million in September 2017 for Lesedi La Rona.

Credits: Images courtesy of Lucara Diamonds.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Music Friday: 5 Golden Rings Shine in This Famous Mashup of 'The 12 Days of Christmas'

Welcome to a special holiday edition of Music Friday when we bring you fabulous songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today we present one of the most popular Christmas tunes on YouTube — Straight No Chaser’s clever mashup of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” To date, the original version of a cappella group's “12 Days” has been viewed more than 22 million times.

As everyone knows, the jewelry reference in this holiday favorite comes on the fifth day of Christmas when “my true love gave to me, five golden rings.”

Straight No Chaser’s “12 Days” is famous for its comic infusions of other songs, such as “I Have a Little Dreidel” and Toto’s “Africa.” SNC’s version of the popular Christmas song was inspired by a 1968 comic arrangement of the song by Richard C. Gregory, a faculty member of The Williston Northampton School in western Massachusetts.

Originated on the campus of Indiana University in 1996, Straight No Chaser is truly a grassroots, internet-inspired phenomenon. The 10-man group owes its worldwide fame to a video of its 1998 performance that was first posted to YouTube eight years later. That video went viral and caught the attention of Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman, who signed the group to a five-album deal in 2008.

“The 12 Days of Christmas” appeared at the eighth track from the group's debut studio album, Holiday Spirits, which peaked at #46 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart.

The song's origin can be traced to England in 1780, where is was published as a chant or rhyme. The standard tune associated with it is derived from an arrangement credited to English composer Frederic Austin in 1909. Interestingly, he's the one who came up with the idea of prolonging the phrase "five... golden... rings..."

Straight No Chaser is currently on tour with shows set for in Indianapolis, Mesa, Hollywood, Oakland, Portland, Honolulu, Kahului and Waimea.

Check out the video of Straight No Chaser’s live performance of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” We know it will brighten your holidays. Enjoy!

Credit: Promotional photo courtesy of Atlantic Records.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ohio Man Gains a New Appreciation for 'Stupid Little Ring' He Lost 30 Years Ago

When Ohio teenager Jim Biehl misplaced his brand new Parma Senior High School class ring 30 years ago on a church trip that oddly stopped overnight in Parma, Mich., the 17-year-old was hardly emotional about the loss. He called it a "stupid little ring."

"I woke up one morning to move on to the next destination of our trip, the next leg, and couldn't find it," Biehl told News 5 Cleveland. "Hadn't seen hide nor hair of it since then."

That all changed recently when Linda Risner of Parma, Mich. (200 miles northwest of Parma, Ohio) discovered the Facebook page of the Parma Senior High School Alumni Association.

Risner had found Biehl's class ring 30 years ago, but was never able to locate the rightful owner. She searched on and off for decades, but always seemed to run into a road block.

The Good Samaritan posted a message to the alumni page saying that she found a 1989 class ring inscribed with the name Jim Biehl. She also included her phone number and email address. Biehl responded to Risner and his ring was soon in the mail — from Parma to Parma.

Days later, a news crew from Cleveland's ABC affiliate was on hand when Biehl opened the package.

"Holy cow," Biehl said as he viewed the ring for the first time in 30 years.

"I was just flabbergasted that somebody would go through that amount of effort, that amount of work, over a stupid little ring," he said.

But, then he explained why he's since gained a new appreciation for the jewelry.

"In her note to me, she said her husband had given his high school ring to their son and kind of passed it on. It got me thinking, 'It's not a stupid little piece of jewelry. It's something I can pass on to my kids when my time is long and done,'" he said.

He said that he plans to have his "unexpected Christmas gift" resized so he can wear it from time to time as a reminder of his roots and as a symbol of the good people in the world.

"The only thing I can say is, 'Thank you,'" he said. "And it doesn't even seem to scratch the surface of being able to show the proper amount of gratitude."

See the full segment from News 5 Cleveland, below...

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube/News 5 Cleveland.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Diavik Mine Yields 552-Carat Yellow Diamond, the Largest Ever Found in North America

In Canada’s frozen Northwest Territories, just 135 miles south of the Arctic Circle, the Diavik mine unexpectedly yielded a 552-carat fancy yellow diamond, the largest ever discovered in North America. The finding is remarkable because Canadian mines are known to produce high-quality diamonds, but not particularly large ones.

The quarter-pound gem-quality stone, which is the size of a chicken egg, is nearly three times heavier than the previous North American record holder, the 187.7-carat "Diavik Foxfire."

Despite its impressive dimensions, the Canadamark™ diamond rates only 25th on the all-time list of the world's largest rough diamonds, just ahead of the Lesotho's Letseng Star (550 carats) and just behind the Central African Republic's Spirit of de Grisogono (587 carats). The top seven diamonds on the list are all from the continent of Africa, including the granddaddy of them all, the 3,106-carat Cullinan, which was discovered near Pretoria, South Africa, in 1905.

Due to the historic nature of the stone, Dominion Diamond Mines, which owns 40% of Diavik, reported that it will be selecting a partner in the coming weeks to cut and polish it. The task is so risky and complex that only a handful of master cutters are capable of handling the assignment. Dominion expects to achieve a "significant" main stone once the diamond is polished.

Dominion Chief Executive Officer Shane Durgin told that it was miraculous that the diamond survived the mining process, which entails passing diamond-bearing ore through crushing machines. The 552.74-carat stone was uncovered during the initial screening process at Diavik’s recovery plant and abrasion markings on the stone’s surface attest to the difficult journey it underwent during recovery.

Measuring 33.74mm x 54.56mm, a diamond of this size is completely unexpected for this part of the world and marks a true milestone for diamond mining in North America and Canadamark™ diamonds overall, the company said in a statement.

Mining companies across the globe have been able to preserve 100-plus-carat diamonds due to improved screening technology that allows them to identify and extract large stones before being smashed.

Back in 2015, we reported how the 187-carat Diavik Foxfire diamond narrowly escaped being pulverized because of its unusual finger-like shape. The elongated diamond was saved when it slipped sideways through the filtering screen.

Credits: Diamond images courtesy of Dominion Diamond Mines. Map by Google.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Music Friday: Rod Stewart Gets a Diamond Ring in the Holiday Classic, 'Merry Christmas, Baby'

Welcome to a special holiday edition of Music Friday, when we feature awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, rock legend Rod Stewart sings about a new diamond ring in his soulful rendition of the 1947 classic, “Merry Christmas, Baby.”

In the first verse of the song, we learn that Stewart couldn't be more thrilled with his girlfriend's holiday gift selection — a gift that he's clearly wearing on the pinky of his right hand.

He sings, "Merry Christmas baby / Sure did treat me nice / I said Merry Christmas baby / You sure did treat me nice / Bought me a diamond ring for Christmas / And I feel like I'm in paradise, alright."

Originally recorded more than 70 years ago by Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers, this R&B holiday standard has been covered by a Who’s Who of music-industry royalty, including Chuck Berry, Otis Redding, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Etta James, Melissa Etheridge and Christina Aguilera.

“Merry Christmas, Baby” is the title track of Stewart's first Christmas album, which sold more than 2.6 million copies and charted in 21 countries when it was released in 2012. The album rose to #3 on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart and scored a #1 position on the Canadian albums chart.

Stewart, who was knighted in 2016, is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Interestingly, his road to success was hardly paved with gold. Born in London in 1945, Stewart was the youngest of five children and aspired to be a professional soccer player. He was also a big fan of Al Jolson, Little Richard and Bill Haley. Stewart got his first guitar as a 14-year-old and performed with a local jazz group.

He dropped out of school at age 15 and tried out unsuccessfully for a third-division soccer club. With his career options limited, Stewart turned to music.

In his 2012 autobiography he admitted, "They're the only two things I can do actually: play football and sing."

In 1962, he and folk singer Wizz Jones honed their musical skills as they performed for tips on the street corners at Leicester Square and other London spots. They took their act to Paris and then to Barcelona, where Stewart was famously deported for vagrancy in 1963. Upon returning to London, Stewart joined the Dimensions as a harmonica player and part-time vocalist. His big break would come four years later when he was recruited by Jeff Beck to be a vocalist for the Jeff Beck Group.

Please check out the video of Stewart’s live performance of “Merry Christmas, Baby” at Stirling Castle in Scotland in 2017. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along...

“Merry Christmas, Baby” Written by Johnny Moore and Lou Baxter. Performed by Rob Stewart.

Merry Christmas, Baby
Sure did treat me nice
I said Merry Christmas, Baby
You sure did treat me nice
Bought me a diamond ring for Christmas
And I feel like I'm in paradise, alright

I feel mighty fine, y'all
I've got music on the radio
Said I'm feeling mighty nice y'all
I've got music on the radio
I feel like I' wanna kiss you
Standing beneath that mistletoe

Santa came down the chimney
Half past three, y'all
And he left all them good presents
For my baby

I said Merry Christmas, Baby
Sure did treat me nice
You bought me all them presents
Now I feel like I'm in paradise

Well Santa came down the chimney
About half past four
Left all them presents for me
Dryin' on the floor

I said Merry Christmas, Baby
Sure did treat me nice
Bought me a diamond ring for Christmas
And I feel like I'm in paradise

Merry Christmas
You sure have treated me well
Merry, merry Christmas
You sure have treated me well
You bought me that Cartier watch for Christmas
And I feel I'm in paradise

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
May the good Lord be with ya
May the good Lord be with ya
May the good Lord be with ya

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube/Petridisgeorge.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Europe's Most Expensive Christmas Tree Glistens With 2,018 Solid Gold Coins

Munich-based gold dealer Pro Aurum recently unveiled Europe's most expensive Christmas tree, a pyramid-shaped showstopper decorated with 2,018 solid gold coins and topped by a massive 20-ounce coin set into a golden star. In total, the .9999 fine gold weighs 63 kilograms (about 2,222 ounces), putting the precious metal value at $2.7 million.

The coins pay tribute to the Vienna Philharmonic and were designed by the Austrian Mint. The 10-foot-tall golden tree stands on a base that looks like Vienna's Golden Hall of the Wiener Musikverein, regarded as the crown jewel among the world's concert halls.

The obverse of the coin depicts the pipe organ in the Golden Hall and the reverse shows instruments of the Vienna Philharmonic, including a Vienna horn, bassoon, harp and four violins centered on a cello.

The 20-ounce tree-topping coin, sometimes referred to as "Big Phil," was originally issued in 2009 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Vienna Philharmonic coin.

A video posted on YouTube by Pro Aurum shows staffers prepping the tree by slotting the gold coins by hand into the acrylic pyramid, a tedious process that took more than an hour to complete.

Displayed under heavy security in the lobby of Pro Aurum's Goldhaus, the tree will be on display through Saturday, December 15.

Credits: Images via Facebook/Pro Aurum. Screen capture via YouTube/proaurumtv. Coins by I, NobbiP [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5].

Monday, December 10, 2018

Pinkish-Orange 'Living Coral' Is Named Pantone's Color of the Year for 2019

"Living Coral," a pinkish-orange hue that embraces us with warmth and embodies our desire for playful expression, has been named Pantone's 2019 Color of the Year. Among the gemstones exhibiting Pantone's vibrant, yet mellow, seaborne color are spinel, morganite, padparadscha sapphire and precious coral.

Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone's executive director, said the Color Institute selected Living Coral to counter the effects of digital technology and social media that are "increasingly embedding into daily life."

"We are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy," she noted. "Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity." called the Pantone pick a cool-girl lipstick color that jives well with gold jewelry and a big straw bag.

Each year since 2000, the color experts at Pantone have picked a color that reflects the current cultural climate. Typically, Pantone’s selection influences the worlds of high fashion, beauty, housewares, home and industrial design and consumer packaging.

This is the fourth time in the past 10 years that the Color Institute has picked a Pantone color named after a precious gemstone. Previous picks have included Turquoise (2010), Emerald (2013) and Rose Quartz (2016).

2019's Living Coral emits the desired, familiar and energizing aspects of color found in nature, according to Pantone. In its glorious display beneath the sea, this vivifying and effervescent color mesmerizes the eye and mind. Lying at the center of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, Living Coral is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of color.

Coral is one of just a handful of organic materials that are classified as gemstones. Corals are produced by tiny living creatures called polyps. They excrete a carbonic substance from which the corals grow like trees and branches. Interestingly, pearl and coral are chemically very similar as both consist of more than 90% calcium carbonate.

According to the American Gem Society, there are hundreds of species of coral throughout the world, but only two pinkish-orange types are used for fine jewelry — Corallium japonicum and Corallium rubrum.

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

A year ago, Pantone’s Color of the Year was “Ultra Violet,” a dramatically provocative and thoughtful shade of purple that communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking.

Here are the most recent Pantone Colors of the Year…

PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet (2018)
PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery (2017)
PANTONE 13-1520 Rose Quartz (2016)
PANTONE 15-3919 Serenity (2016)
PANTONE 18-1438 Marsala (2015)
PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid (2014)
PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald (2013)
PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango (2012)
PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle (2011)
PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise (2010)

Credit: Screen capture via Gem photo of 16.79-carat spinel by Chip Clark/Smithsonian. Photo of coral jewelry by Walters Art Museum [Public domain, CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL].

Friday, December 07, 2018

Music Friday: Jason Michael Carroll Pops the Question With a Half-Carat Diamond in 'Numbers'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, country music artist Jason Michael Carroll proposes with a half-carat diamond ring in his 2011 release, "Numbers."

In the song, Carroll takes a comical look at how a dizzying array of numbers seem to dominate the world around him. Most of them are insignificant, he reasons, but a precious few can be life changing.

Carroll sings, "Then three years later 'neath a million stars / In my F-150 on her granddad's farm / I slipped a half-carat diamond on the third finger, of her left hand / And asked to be her one and only man."

The 40-year-old North Carolinian explained how "Numbers" piqued his interest the first time he heard it.

"It was written by Patrick Davis and Rodney Clausen and it's about the way certain numbers, like dates and times, can represent some of life's most significant moments. Moments like your first date, meeting the love of your life and the day your child is born," he said in a statement. "Those dates and times have real meaning in our lives. I think everyone can identify with that concept."

He continued: "Most numbers mean absolutely nothing, but some of them, like the date you meet the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with, mean everything."

"Numbers" was officially released in March 2011 as the title track from his third album. The album, which reached #33 on the U.S. Billboard Country Albums chart, was sold exclusively through Cracker Barrel stores. Interestingly, Carroll got his start singing in public while working as a server at a Cracker Barrel in Henderson, N.C.

Born in Youngsville, N.C., in 1978, Carroll got his first big break as a 26 year old when he won the "Gimme the Mic" singing competition sponsored by local TV station WRAZ FOX 50. Two years later, in 2006, he scored a record deal with Arista Nashville.

Carroll is currently on tour, with stops in North Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia.

Please check out the audio track of Carroll performing "Numbers." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

Written by Rodney Clawson and Patrick Davis. Performed by Jason Michael Carroll.

I'm doin' seventy-two in a sixty-five,
On I-24 in a four-wheel drive
Got a ten o'clock on Eighteenth Avenue

And there's a thirty percent chance of rain all week
And the high today is gonna be eighty-three
They're playing Highway 101 on 102.5
An eighteen wheeler by my side

Numbers all around, flying by, up and down,
Some as slow as Christmas coming,
Some like the speed of sound,
And we all wonder, what they mean,
The highs, the lows, the in betweens,
Most of them mean absolutely nothing
But some of them mean everything

I met her at 9:15 on my buddy's back porch
Shootin' bottle rockets on July fourth
We were both nineteen and she was a perfect 10

Then three years later 'neath a million stars,
In my F-150 on her granddad's farm,
I slipped a half-carat diamond on the third finger, of her left hand
And asked to be her one and only man

Numbers all around, flying by, up and down,
Some as slow as Christmas coming,
Some like the speed of sound,
And we all wonder, what they mean,
The highs, the lows, the in betweens,
Most of them mean absolutely nothing
But some of them mean everything

John 3:16, the Fab four,
The fifty yard line, the thirteenth floor,
9/11, the dirty dozen,
We're all waiting on the Second Coming

Numbers all around, flying by, up and down,
Some as slow as Christmas coming,
Some like the speed of sound,
And we all wonder, what they mean,
The highs, the lows, the in betweens,
Most of them mean absolutely nothing,
Oh most of them mean absolutely nothing,
But some of them mean everything
Oh numbers

I'm doin' seventy-two in a sixty-five,
On I-24 in a four-wheel drive
Got a ten o'clock on Eighteenth Avenue

Credit: Screen capture via

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Birthstone Feature: 540 Carats of Persian Turquoise Shine in the Empress Marie-Louise Diadem

In honor of turquoise — one of the three official birthstones for December — we shine our spotlight on the Empress Marie-Louise Diadem, a gift from French Emperor Napoleon I to his second wife on the occasion of their marriage in 1810.

The spectacular piece, which now resides in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., features 70 cabochons of Persian turquoise weighing a total of 540 carats, as well as 1,006 old mine-cut diamonds boasting a total weight of 700 carats.

The diadem was one piece in a matching set that included a necklace, earrings and a comb. Interestingly, the emperor's wedding gifts were originally set with emeralds.

According to the Smithsonian, Marie-Louise (1791-1847) bequeathed the diadem and accompanying jewelry to her Hapsburg aunt, Archduchess Elise. In 1953, Van Cleef & Arpels acquired the jewelry from one of Elise's descendants, the Archduke Karl Stefan Hapsburg of Sweden.

During the next two years, the jeweler removed the emeralds from the diadem and sold them individually in other pieces of jewelry. Its advertising campaign at the time promised “An emerald for you from the historic Napoleonic Tiara…”

Some time between 1956 and 1962, Van Cleef & Arpels reset the diadem with beautiful sky blue turquoise. The new-look diadem was exhibited at the Louvre Museum in Paris along with the necklace, earrings and comb, as part of a special exhibition in 1962 focusing on the life of Empress Marie-Louise.

American socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973) purchased the diadem and donated it to the Smithsonian in 1971. (The Smithsonian clarified that a diadem is the type of crown that is not a complete circle. It usually goes three-quarters around and is open in the back.)

Turquoise enjoys a storied history that dates back more than 5,000 years. The ancient Egyptians coveted the gem for its beauty and the belief that it protected the wearer from harm. They set turquoise into elaborate jewelry and carved it into decorative amulets. King Tut’s iconic burial mask was inlayed with turquoise. The Egyptian word for turquoise was "mefkat," which meant “joy” and “delight.”

The best-quality turquoise is a pure, radiant sky blue. While the earliest known turquoise mines were in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, today turquoise is found in the USA, Mexico, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan and China.

Turquoise is one of three official birthstones for the month of December. The others are tanzanite and zircon.

Credit: Photo by Chip Clark/Smithsonian, digitally enhanced by SquareMoose.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Rams' Powerhouse Aaron Donald Celebrates Big Contract With 'AD/99' Diamond Pendant

Dominating defensive tackle Aaron Donald of the 11-1 Los Angeles Rams signed a record-breaking $135 million deal in August and rewarded himself with a custom "AD/99" diamond pendant hanging from a 14-karat gold Miami Cuban-link chain — a chain that weighs more than 1.5 pounds.

The 6'1'' 280-pound frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year is hoping his new good luck charm will lead the surging Rams to a Super Bowl appearance. His team clinched the NFC West title yesterday with a 30-16 victory over the Detroit Lions.

The NFL sack leader turned to Instagram to post photos and a video of the new jewelry, which features the stylized initials "AD" encrusted in VS1-clarity colorless diamonds. The "AD" overlays a "99," Donald's jersey number. The diamond total weight of the pendant is 20 carats, according to

That celebrity news website also reported that the chain alone is valued at $250,000 and contains 60 carats of VVS to VS-clarity colorless diamonds. The pendant and chain were designed by Mohsen Syed of Moe Diamonds in Pittsburgh and took two months to complete. What Donald paid for his new bling remains undisclosed.

Since making his debut in the NFL in 2014, Donald has terrified opposing quarterbacks with his speed, strength and relentless pursuit. He was named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 and earned the title of AP's NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2017.

As one of the elite defensive players in the league, the 27-year-old Donald scored a massive $135 million contract that will keep him in a Rams uniform through 2026. At the time, the contract was the richest for a defensive player in NFL history. Interestingly, only one day later, defensive back Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears eclipsed the Donald deal with a $141 million contract of his own.

Images via Instagram/aarondonald99; Screen capture via

Friday, November 30, 2018

Music Friday: Gwen Stefani Forgets to Mention One Little Thing, a Ring, in 'Santa Baby'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you festive songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we celebrate the start of the holiday season with Gwen Stefani's contemporary take on Eartha Kitt's 1953 classic, "Santa Baby."

A song that echoes the sentiments of 1949's “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend," “Santa Baby” features a girl appealing directly to Santa Claus for some of the finer things in life — a sable coat, a blue convertible, a yacht and, finally, “a ring.” She's claims to have been an "angel all year," so she doesn't think she's asking for a lot.

Stefani sings, "Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring / I don't mean on the phone / Santa cutie, hurry down the chimney tonight."

"Santa Baby" was released as the first promotional single from Stefani's 2017 holiday album, You Make It Feel Like Christmas. The album rose to #1 on Billboard's Top Holiday Albums chart and the single peaked at #7 on the Billboard Holiday Digital Songs chart.

A blockbuster hit for Kitt in 1953, "Santa Baby" has been covered by dozens of artists over the past 65 years. They include Madonna, Taylor Swift, Natalie Merchant, Kylie Minogue, The Pussycat Dolls, LeAnn Rimes, Faith Evans, Kellie Pickler, Miss Piggy and even Michael Bublé, who chose to address his benefactor as "Santa Buddy."

Written by Joan Javits and Philip Springer, "Santa Baby" is reportedly one of the few Christmas hits penned by a woman.

Born in Fullerton, Calif., in 1969, Stefani was famously the lead singer of No Doubt, but decided to pursue a solo career in 2004. She has won three Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, a Brit Award, a World Music Award and two Billboard Music Awards. As a member of No Doubt and as a solo artist, she is credited with having sold more than 30 million albums worldwide.

Please check out the audio track of Stefani performing "Santa Baby." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Santa Baby"
Written by Joan Javits and Philip Springer. Performed by Gwen Stefani.

Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree for me
Been an awful good girl
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a 54 convertible too, light blue
I'll wait up for you, dear
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I've missed
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed
Next year I could be as good
If you'll check off my Christmas list

Santa baby, I want a yacht and really that's not a lot
Been an angel all year
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa honey, one little thing I really need, the deed
To a platinum mine
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With some decorations bought at Tiffany
I really do believe in you
Let's see if you believe in me

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring
I don't mean on the phone
Santa cutie, hurry down the chimney tonight

Hurry down the chimney tonight

Credit: Screen capture via

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Supermodel Josephine Skriver Shares Pics of Northern Lights Proposal and Gorgeous Ring

Barely two weeks removed from her high-profile appearance at the Victoria's Secret fashion show in New York, supermodel Josephine Skriver got engaged to her singer-songwriter boyfriend Alexander DeLeon on a frozen lake under the northern lights of Finland. Skriver and her new fiancé, who goes by the stage name Bohnes, turned to Instagram to share stunning pics of the diamond engagement ring and epic proposal.

The ring features a sizable emerald-cut center stone set in a diamond-encrusted split-shank band.

The 25-year-old Danish model revealed in her Instagram feed all the romantic details of DeLeon's surprise proposal and how she was able to check off three items on her bucket list within seven days... Swimming with orcas, seeing the aurora borealis (i.e. the northern lights) and getting engaged to the love of her life.

"It was a cold November night. Alex had us driven all the way to Finland to see the northern lights," wrote Skriver. "It was my second bucket list number I was checking off in the same week after swimming with orcas, my favorite animals, in their natural habitat! He had a bonfire built for me on a frozen lake deep in Scandinavia complete with the full moon shining on our backs and hot cocoa to keep us warm."

Skriver marveled at the coincidences and events that made the day absolutely perfect. It was November 23, the day DeLeon released “Aurora Borealis,” a song inspired by Skriver. And 23 just happens to be the supermodel's lucky number.

"Sometimes the universe just chooses to leave you speechless!!!" she continued. "That was when @bohnes looked over at me. When he got down on one knee and asked me to be his forever... I have never been more sure about anything in my life. You are my biggest adventure. My fairytale come true. My soulmate. My best friend. The love of my life. So, of course, it was 1millionxYES!!!"

In the post that earned 773,000 Likes on Instagram, Skriver went on to describe how they bring out the best in each other...

"Sometimes in life you will meet that one person that makes everything make sense. A person that pushes you to be an even greater version of yourself. A person that makes you not just dream it... but believe it! Believe in your own abilities to make anything happen! @bohnes with you I just knew! You are all that and more. You walked into my life and I have never looked back. I love you. You are MY northern lights and MY aurora borealis. <3 - Your Jo

On his Instagram page, the 29-year-old DeLeon posted a closeup photo of Skriver showing off her new ring. His simple caption: forever. <3

Credits: Images via;

Monday, November 26, 2018

Singer Toni Braxton Pleas for the Return of 'Bonnie,' Her 10-Carat Canary Diamond Ring

Singer Toni Braxton is hoping that one of her 2.8 million Instagram followers knows the whereabouts of "Bonnie," the Grammy-award winner's $5 million, 10-carat canary yellow diamond engagement ring.

Bonnie was lost last week on a cross-country Delta flight from JFK in New York to LAX in Los Angeles. The 51-year-old singer had packed the cushion-cut diamond ring and other valuable jewels in a Louis Vuitton train case and placed it in the overhead bin. Unfortunately, she forgot to remove it when she deplaned.

Delta was able to reunite Braxton with her bag, but most of the jewelry inside was missing.

In an Instagram post, Braxton, who was recovering from a bout with the flu, wrote, “Feeling back to my old self again, yay! But I’m sad today… my engagement ring is missing… but I’m optimistic that someone will find Bonnie and return her home.”

On Twitter, she wrote, "Hey everyone, @delta located my LV Train Case! Yay! Unfortunately most of my jewelry items are missing...including MY ENGAGEMENT RING! Whoever BORROWED it... PLEEEASE return it!!!! I promise, no questions asked!

So far, nobody has come forward with the halo-style ring that she received last January from rapper Birdman, aka Bryan Christopher Williams.

Back on October 5, the “Un-Break My Heart” singer posted an Instagram selfie, in which Bonnie the engagement ring is clearly visible. In the post, she told her fans that she was heading out of town to celebrate her birthday "all weekend long!"

It's fair to assume that Bonnie made that trip, as well, and she was properly secured on the performer's finger or in her carry-on bag.

With many of our readers traveling for the holidays, we remind you to heed the following tips from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company...

“It’s perfectly OK to wear your fine jewelry through the checkpoint station,” wrote TSA blogger Bob Burns. “As long as the jewelry is not really bulky, travelers should keep their precious possessions on their bodies as they walk through metal detectors or high-tech imaging devices. Fine jewelry items that are not worn should be placed in a carry-on bag that should never be left unattended.”

Burns added that travelers should never place their valuables in the plastic bowls that the TSA provides to hold smaller items. Bowls can tip over on the conveyor belts, seemingly sending small jewelry into another dimension where it is never seen again, according to Burns.

Here are a few more traveling tips from Jewelers Mutual…

• Pack light and take only the jewelry you’ll wear while traveling and at your destination. The 4-carat diamond ring you save for special occasions? Probably not. The pearls that go with everything? Definitely.
• List all the jewelry you’ll take with you. Make two copies. Take one copy with you and store it separately from your jewelry. Leave the other copy at home. Also helpful: take pictures or a video of your jewelry.
• Never put jewelry in checked baggage. Instead, wear it or stow it in your carry-on bag. If you wear it, take extra care by slipping a pendant inside a sweater or turning your ring so only the band shows.
• Put your jewelry in a favorite bag you’ll carry while traveling. Don’t leave your jewelry in an unattended car or suitcase.
• When checking into your hotel or condo, don’t hand your jewelry bag to hotel staff. Carry it personally.
• Always store jewelry in the hotel safe when not wearing it.
• Insure your personal jewelry against loss, damage, theft and mysterious disappearance wherever your travels take you, worldwide. So get the right insurance. Then relax, be yourself and have fun.

Credit: Image via Instagram/tonibraxton.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Barbara Sinatra's 20.6-Carat Engagement Ring Tops 'Lady Blue Eyes' Collection at Sotheby's

The 20.6-carat emerald-cut diamond ring that Frank Sinatra famously presented to fourth wife, Barbara, in a glass of champagne is the top jewelry item in a series of upcoming Sotheby's auctions focusing on the treasures gathered by the couple during their 22-year marriage.

The legendary singer had met Barbara in the early 1960s, but they didn't start dating until 10 years later. When Frank was finally ready to cement the relationship after a turbulent four-year courtship, he reportedly tossed two huge diamonds onto the bed told Barbara to pick one. The emerald-cut diamond was her favorite, so Frank had a jeweler set the stone in a platinum ring accented with triangular-cut side stones.

Ever the romantic, Frank decided to forgo the traditional box and surprised Barbara by submerging the diamond ring in a glass of champagne. According to Sotheby's, Frank hadn't offered a formal proposal, so the engagement was only official after Barbara made him choose which finger to put it on. The couple married in Palm Springs in 1976. Frank was 60 and Barbara was 49.

Barbara's ring will hit the auction block at Sotheby's New York with a pre-sale high estimate of $1.5 million. It's one of 200 lots grouped under the banner of "Lady Blue Eyes: Property of Barbara and Frank Sinatra." Items range from artwork and show memorabilia to jewels and objects from their home. Sotheby's believes the 200 lots should yield at least $3.5 million.

In her memoir, Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank, Barbara described how her husband always went out of his way to make her feel "loved and cherished every day, taking the time to express his feelings."

"He loved buying jewels for her and spontaneously surprising her in interesting ways," Mari-Claudia Jimenez, managing director of Sotheby's Fiduciary Client Group, told CNN. "There was a time when he'd put bracelets and rings in her pockets for her to find. One time, they were watching television, eating popcorn and she found a diamond ring inside the popcorn box."

Frank Sinatra passed away in 1998 at the age of 82. Barbara Sinatra died in July of 2017. She was 90.

Credit: Jewelry image courtesy of Sotheby's. Frank and Barbara Sinatra photo courtesy the Estate of Barbara Sinatra.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Marie Antoinette's Natural Pearl Pendant Crushes Auction Record As It Sells for $36.1 Million

A natural pearl pendant that was once owned by Queen Marie Antoinette and smuggled out of France just before her arrest in 1791 fetched $36.1 million at Sotheby's Geneva last week.

Aggressive bidding elevated the price to more than 18 times the pre-sale high estimate and demolished the previous record for the highest price ever paid for a natural pearl. The former title holder was La Peregrina, a pear-shaped natural pearl that was sold at Christie's in 2011 for $11.8 million as part of Elizabeth Taylor's collection.

"Tonight we saw the Marie Antoinette factor work its magic," said Daniela Mascetti, Sotheby's Jewellery Chairman, Europe. "No other queen is more famous for her love of jewels, and her personal treasures, pearls and diamonds that survived intact the tumults of history."

The ill-fated French queen's natural pearl and diamond pendant is 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 and originally hung from Marie Antoinette's three-strand pearl necklace. The pendant entered the auction with a modest pre-sale estimate of $1 million to $2 million.

With a revolution raging in France in March 1791, Marie Antoinette and her husband, King Louis XVI, prepared to flee the country. The queen wrapped her most precious jewels in cotton and 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,” Mascetti said.

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 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 had never been seen by the public — until they went on a promotional tour in the lead-up to Wednesday's auction in Geneva.

The pendant was among 10 exquisite pieces that once belonged to Marie Antoinette, all of which attracted fierce bidding. Together they realized a total of $42.7 million against a pre-sale estimate of $1.6 million to $2.9 million.

A beautiful three-strand necklace strung with 119 natural pearls also saw intense bidding. The final price of $2.3 million far outperformed the estimated price of $200,000 to $300,000.

The queen's jewelry was part of a larger auction collection comprised of 100 pieces from the Bourbon Parma family — a family linked to the royal dynasties of France, England, Spain, Austria, Holland and Italy. According to Sotheby's, international collectors and history lovers demonstrated the full force of their fascination with the storied treasures. Participants represented 43 countries.

Credit: Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

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

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 “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

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, 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;

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

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.