Friday, July 20, 2018

Music Friday: Country Legend Alan Jackson Sings, 'True Love Is a Golden Ring'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you uplifting songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country music legend Alan Jackson explores the real meaning of a wedding band in his 2010 release, "True Love Is a Golden Ring."

In the song, a once-tormented Jackson has finally found his soulmate. He admits that his search for true love had taken him "down a winding road with many turns, through fire and smoke and bridges burned." But now, he can look into his lover's eyes and finally see the truth.

He sings, "True love is a golden ring / Like the vows we made it's a precious thing / Sent from above on silver wings / True love is a golden ring."

Later in the song, he also likens love to the "endless turn of a wedding band."

Written by Jackson and Roger Murrah, "True Love Is a Golden Ring" appeared as the 11th track on Freight Train, the singer's 16th studio album.

Freight Train was a major success for Jackson as it ascended all the way to #2 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart, #7 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and #8 on the Canadian Albums Chart.

Born in Newnan, Ga., in 1958, Jackson grew up in a modest home that started out as a one-room toolshed. Jackson's dad, Joseph, expanding the home through the years to accommodate the births of Alan and his four older sisters.

Jackson didn't pursue a music career until he was well into his 20s. He didn't own a guitar as a child and nobody in his family was musically inclined. At the age of 21, he still hadn't traveled north of the Georgia border.

“Nashville,” he said in his official bio, “seemed as far away as Japan to me.”

In 1980, after attending a concert, he started telling his wife, Denise, that he was interested in a music career. Three years later, at the age of 25, he started performing with local country bands and writing songs that drew on his life's experiences.

Jackson got his big break when Denise, while working as a flight attendant, met singer Glen Campbell in an airport and mentioned that her husband was looking to break into the music business. Campbell referred her to his own Nashville music publishing company and told her that the they needed to move to Nashville — which they did.

Even though entered the business a bit late, Jackson has had a stellar music career. He has sold more than 80 million records and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Please check out the audio track of Jackson performing "True Love Is a Golden Ring." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"True Love Is a Golden Ring"
Written by Roger Murrah, Alan Jackson. Performed by Alan Jackson.

True love is a golden ring
Like the vows we made it's a precious thing
Sent from above on silver wings
True love is a golden ring

Down a winding road with many turns
Through fire and smoke and bridges burned
I've held my share of stranger's hands
Now holding yours, I understand

True love is a golden ring
Like the vows we made it's a precious thing
Sent from above on silver wings
True love is a golden ring

Love is so much more than a one-night stand
Like the endless turn of a wedding band
Looking in your eyes I see the truth
After all this time I found you

True love is a golden ring
Like the vows we made it's a precious thing
Sent from above on silver wings
True love is a golden ring
Oh, true love is a golden ring

Credit: Screen capture via

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Quadrillion Tons of Diamonds Lie Unreachable 100 Miles Below the Earth's Surface, Study Suggests

A quadrillion tons of diamonds lie 100 miles below the earth's surface, spread across vast rock formations called "cratons," according to a study published by a team of researchers from MIT, Harvard, the University of California at Berkeley and other top-tier institutions.

The scientists made their discovery while studying the deepest parts of the Earth using sound waves. Apparently these waves move at differing speeds, depending on the temperature, density and composition of the material they travel through.

The researchers found that the sound waves moved much faster than expected when passing through the bottom of cratons, which the scientists described as underground rock formations that resemble inverted mountains.

After conducting a series of experiments to try to simulate the results in a lab, the researchers concluded that rocks containing 1-2% diamond were the only ones that could duplicate the sound wave velocities achieved in the cratons.

“It’s circumstantial evidence, but we’ve pieced it all together,” said study co-author Ulrich Faul, a research scientist in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. “We went through all the different possibilities, from every angle, and this is the only one that’s left as a reasonable explanation.”

In the study, which was published in the June edition of the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, the researchers suggested that cratonic roots are 1-2% diamond. When they did the math, that translated into a quadrillion tons of the precious gems. The number quadrillion looks like this... 1,000,000,000,000,000.

While the researchers now believe that there are 1,000 times more diamonds hidden below the Earth's surface than they previously assumed, they were quick to point out that none of the gem crystals are accessible by conventional mining methods.

Diamonds can blast to the surface during volcanic eruptions. The vertical superhighways that take the diamonds on their 100-plus mile journey are called kimberlite pipes.

Credit: Rough diamond exhibited at the Senckenberg Museum, Frankfurt, Germany. Photo by User:KS_aus_F (User:KS_aus_F) [GFDL 1.2 or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, July 16, 2018

3.14-Carat Vivid Purplish-Pink Diamond to Headline Argyle's Annual Tender

A 3.14-carat purplish pink diamond known as "The Argyle Alpha" headlines the 2018 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender – an annual showcase of the rarest pink, red and violet diamonds produced by Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Western Australia.

The emerald-cut Argyle Alpha has the distinction of being the largest vivid pink diamond ever offered in the Argyle Tender's 34-year history.

The 2018 Tender, which is being billed as “Magnificent Argyle,” comprises 63 diamonds weighing a total of 51.48 carats.

Another notable diamond in this year's collection is "The Argyle Muse," a 2.28-carat oval diamond that displays a vibrant purplish-red hue. Rio Tinto described the diamond as having an "unrivaled potency of color." The Argyle Muse was cut from a 7.39-carat rough diamond that yielded a second, smaller purplish-red diamond, which is also included in this year's Tender.

From 2018's curated collection of 63 diamonds, Rio Tinto selected six “hero” diamonds based on their unique beauty. Each was named and trademarked to ensure there is a permanent record of their contribution to the history of the world’s most important diamonds:

Argyle Alpha™ — 3.14-carat emerald-shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond;
Argyle Muse™ — 2.28-carat oval-shaped Fancy Purplish Red diamond;

Argyle Odyssey™ — 2.08-carat round brilliant-shaped Fancy Intense Pink diamond;

Argyle Alchemy™ — 1.57-carat princess-shaped Fancy Dark Gray-Violet diamond;

Argyle Maestro™ — 1.29-carat square radiant-shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond;

Argyle Mira™ — 1.12-carat radiant-shaped Fancy Red diamond.

"Rio Tinto's Argyle mine is the world's only source of these highly coveted pink, red and violet diamonds, and we expect considerable interest in this year’s collection," noted Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques in a statement. "The combination of strong demand and extremely limited world supply continues to support significant value appreciation for Argyle pink diamonds."

Of all diamonds submitted to the Gemological Institute of America each year, less than 0.02% are predominantly pink.

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

The 2018 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender will be showcased in Sydney, Hong Kong and New York with bids closing on October 10, 2018.

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto.