Friday, July 19, 2019

Music Friday: Dwight Yoakam Uses Gems to Illustrate the Magnitude of His Heartache

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you terrific tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country star Dwight Yoakam performs "If Teardrops Were Diamonds," a song that uses precious gemstones to illustrate the magnitude of his heartache.

Written by Yoakam and sung as a duet with music-industry legend Willie Nelson, the song paints a vivid picture of highways paved with diamonds, mountains formed by rubies and the whole world colored by emeralds.

Yoakam's diamond verse goes like this: "If teardrops were diamonds / And only mine were used / They could pave every highway / Coast to coast / And not be close to through / If teardrops were diamonds / Cold blue."

In the second verse, Nelson sings about rubies: "If heartaches were rubies / Stacked up just like stones / There would be a mountain / Ten miles high / Built by mine alone/ If heartaches were rubies / Mine alone."

Yoakam and Nelson share the third verse about emeralds: "If sad thoughts were emeralds / And with not counting / In between / Just half the ones / I've had today / Could turn / The whole world green."

"If Teardrops Were Diamonds" appeared as the eighth track on Yoakam's 13th studio album, Population Me. Although the song was never released as a single, the album did well, reaching #8 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

Born in Pikesville, Ky., in 1956, to a key-punch operator mom and a gas station owner dad, Dwight David Yoakam was raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he sang and played guitar with local garage bands. He attended Ohio State University, but dropped out to pursue a music career in Los Angeles.

Today, Yoakam can claim 16-time Grammy nominations, 12 gold albums, nine platinum albums and more than 25 million records sold. He also has the distinction of being the most frequent musical guest in the history of The Tonight Show.

Yoakam is touring this summer, with stops in California, Nevada, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

Please check out the audio clip of Yoakam and Nelson performing "If Teardrops Were Diamonds." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"If Teardrops Were Diamonds"
Written by Dwight Yoakam. Performed by Dwight Yoakam, featuring Willie Nelson.

If teardrops were diamonds
And only mine were used
They could pave every highway
Coast to coast

And not be close to through
If teardrops were diamonds
Cold blue
If heartaches were rubies
Stacked up just like stones
There would be a mountain
Ten miles high
Built by mine alone
If heartaches were rubies
Mine alone
You might begin to understand
The price that love has to pay
For being wrong

If sad thoughts were emeralds
And with not counting
In between
Just half the ones
I've had today
Could turn
The whole world green
If sad thoughts were emeralds
And the world turned green

You might just
Get the message that
There's more to loneliness
Than can be seen
If teardrops were diamonds
And only mine were used...

Credit: Image by dirkhansen [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Retiree Is Reunited With Class Ring Lost in a Pond Nearly 60 Years Ago

Bill Wadel, now retired and living in Spotsylvania County, Va., was spectacularly reunited with his high school class ring — a ring that had been lost at the bottom of a pond for nearly 60 years. "What are the odds?" he said.

When Wadel was a student at Gate of Heaven High School in South Boston, he had purchased a Class of 1960 class ring adorned with a blue stone and a gold crest. Instead of wearing it himself, he chose to give it to his high school sweetheart. Within a short time, the ring had vanished.

“She somehow lost it, but wasn’t sure where,” Wadel told washingtonpost.com. “After that happened, I figured it was gone forever.”

Fast-forward to June 2019 and treasure hunter Luke Berube is trolling a shallow pond about an hour from his home near Cape Cod, Mass. He gets a strong signal on his metal detector and descends 10 feet to the bottom to take a closer look. With the location pinpointed, he pushes his hand about five inches into the muck and pulls out a Gate of Heaven class ring etched with the initials WJW.

During his 13 years of scuba diving, the 29-year-old metal detector enthusiast has located more than 400 items. He's found rare coins, precious jewelry and historical artifacts. He also unearths a lot of junky items, such as old beer cans, pop tops and chunks of metal.

Often, Berube is not able to identify the owner of an item because the jewelry does not provide enough clues. But, in the case of the Gate of Heaven class ring, he had sufficient info to do some sleuthing. Berube soon learned that the Gate of Heaven school in South Boston had closed in 2009, but there was still an active alumni page on Facebook.

On the Gate of Heaven Facebook page, Berube posted three photos of the ring and wrote, "Hello everyone. I'm curious to know if there is anyone on here from the class of 1960 or at least 59-61 who may know of someone from the class with the initials WJW. Saturday morning I was scuba diving with my metal detector and I just happened to come across a class ring with Gate of Heaven on the crest with WJW as the inscription. If you happen to know who this may be, please reach out to me through FB or by phone."

According to washingtonpost.com, the Facebook strategy worked exactly as planned. Within hours, Berube received a text message from Christine Wadel of North Attleboro, Mass. The daughter of Bill confirmed that her dad was, indeed, a 1960 Gate of Heaven graduate. The WJW initials were his: William Joseph Wadel.

“It’s unbelievable to think that my old ring was sitting in a pond for six decades and Luke found it,” Wadel told washingtonpost.com. “What are the odds?”

Christine placed the class ring in a decorative box and presented it to her dad. He sported an ear-to-ear grin as he tried it on for the first time in 60 years. It barely fit on his pinky.

Then Bill brought the story full circle by giving the ring to his current sweetheart, Pam, his wife of nearly 50 years.

“I looked at my wife and said, ‘You want it?’ and she put it on her pinkie finger,” he said.

"Every ring has a story attached to it,” Berube said. “The truth is, I just enjoy looking for them."

Berube is a member of The Ring Finders, a group of metal-detector enthusiasts located throughout the U.S. and Canada. To date, the group that prides itself on reuniting precious keepsakes with their rightful owners has claimed 5,543 recoveries valued at $7.5 million.

Credit: Image by Luke Berube.

Rio Tinto Unveils Six 'Hero' Diamonds From Its 2019 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender

Rio Tinto just unveiled six super-rare "hero" diamonds from its 2019 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, an annual presentation of the finest production from the famous Australian mine. The 2019 tender could be the last for Rio Tinto, as the mining company will shutter its flagship Argyle mine in 2020 after 37 years of operation.

The Argyle Enigma™, a 1.75-carat modified radiant-cut Fancy Red diamond, is the most noteworthy of the hero stones because it has the distinction of being one of only three fancy reds weighing more than 1.5 carats to be produced by the Argyle mine.

“Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine is the first and only ongoing source of rare pink diamonds in history," said Rio Tinto Copper & Diamonds chief executive Arnaud Soirat. "With the lifecycle of this extraordinary mine approaching its end, we have seen, and continue to see, unstoppable demand for these truly limited-edition diamonds and strong value appreciation.”

In addition to pink diamonds, the Argyle mine, in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia, is also known for producing red, purple and blue specimens.

The six hero diamonds are part of a larger tender collection titled “The Quest for the Absolute.” It includes 64 diamonds weighing a total of 56.28 carats.

Here's a closeup look at the six hero diamonds...

• Lot 1: Argyle Enigma™, 1.75-carat modified radiant Fancy Red diamond;

• Lot 2: Argyle Amari™, 1.48-carat heart-shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond;

• Lot 3: Argyle Elysian™, 1.20-carat modified cushion-shaped Fancy Vivid Pink diamond;

• Lot 4: Argyle Verity™, 1.37-carat oval-shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond;

• Lot 5: Argyle Opus™, 2.01-carat round-shaped Fancy Intense Pink diamond;

• Lot 6: Argyle Avenoir™, 1.07-carat oval-shaped Fancy Red diamond.

These diamonds, each a natural treasure, are a testament to the enormous range and depth of offering from the Argyle ore body, nearly four decades from when production commenced, noted Soirat.

Soirat also paid tribute to “the bold and innovative spirit of employees, communities, customers, suppliers and all those who have contributed to one of the great diamond mines of the world.”

The 2019 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is being showcased in Perth, Hong Kong and New York, with bids closing on October 9, 2019. Over the past 20 years, the value of Argyle pink diamonds sold at the tender have appreciated 500%, according to Rio Tinto.

Credits: Images courtesy of Rio Tinto.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Music Friday: Bailey Hefley Regains Her Sparkle in the New Release, ‘Dust on a Diamond’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, rising star Bailey Hefley mends a broken heart and regains her sparkle in the 2019 release, "Dust on a Diamond."

When the song begins, the 27-year-old Little Rock native is looking into a mirror "crying black mascara rain." A failed relationship has her feeling defeated and questioning her self-worth, but then she gathers the strength to fight back and affirm that she was always "good enough." Her former boyfriend's actions can not define her. She's a diamond. He was just the dust that kept her from shining.

She sings, "You’re a diamond / You were trying to shine for a blind man / Wasting all your pretty and your tears on a man who was picking up pennies / With a dime in his hand baby don’t spend any more / Time on tryna figure out whatcha did wrong / I know you thought it was love / But it was lying, that boy was dust / Dust on a diamond."

On her official website, Hefley described the events that led her to co-write "Dust on a Diamond" with Marti Dodson and Linda Greene.

“I went through a really difficult breakup with a guy that I think a lot of girls can relate to,” noted Hefley. “It totally tore me apart. I was in school and I was trying to study and I can remember taking my notebook and just trying to write in the margin little notes to myself. I was so distracted by the fact that I couldn’t move on from this guy. I was so broken and I didn’t believe in myself. I would write little positive notes to myself in the margin and then stand up and go look in the mirror in my bathroom and just cry. As embarrassing as that is, I would just cry and with tears streaming down my face, red eyes, looking in the mirror, saying, ‘You are gonna be okay. You’re good enough. This doesn’t define you.’"

Shortly after going through this emotional trauma, Hefley had a friend who was experiencing a very similar situation. She remembered thinking, "Maybe that’s why God put me through all that pain. I kept wondering why I had to go through it. And then the thought dawned on me that maybe I can help more than just this other girl. Maybe I can write a song about it and help a lot of girls. Maybe I can write the song I wish I had when I was in that place.”

"Dust on a Diamond" is the lead single from Hefley's six-song, soon-to-be-released EP titled Hopeful Romantic.

Her diary-style storytelling was influenced by a childhood marred by debilitating seizures. The powerful medication that kept her alive also left her in a state of perpetual lethargy. As a teenager, she overcame her condition and felt awake for the first time.

"I spent eight years of my life standing back and observing people and watching life from the outside because I was so medicated," Hefley said. "Naturally, I’m a very extroverted person, but during those eight years, I developed a quality of seeing what’s around me. I think it gave me depth and made me a much stronger person."

Hefley's mentor, singer-songwriter Bobby Pinson, helped teach her to channel those experiences into her music.

After studying voice at Nashville’s Belmont University from 2009–2010 and continuing her degree at the University of Arkansas from 2010–2012, Bailey moved to Music City for good in 2012.

Please check out the video of Hefley's acoustic version of "Dust on a Diamond." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

“Dust on a Diamond”
Written by Bailey Hefley, Marti Dodson and Linda Greene. Performed by Bailey Hefley.

All the pretty girls looking in the mirror
Crying black mascara rain
Cause of some pretty boy’s sweet words
That don’t mean anything
Girl you thought you were the only one
Gave your heart up to a hit and run
Now you’re thinking you’re not good enough
But you’re good enough
You were good enough

You’re a diamond
You were trying to shine for a blind man
Wasting all your pretty and your tears on a man who was picking up pennies
With a dime in his hand baby don’t spend any more
Time on tryna figure out whatcha did wrong
I know you thought it was love
But it was lying, that boy was dust
Dust on a diamond

All the broken girls picking up the pieces
From the mess he left you in
Trying to stop your heart from beating so you never fall again
He ain’t gonna be the end of you
He’s just something that you’re going through
One day you’re gonna know that it’s true
That you’re good enough
He wasn’t good enough

You’re a diamond
You were trying to shine for a blind man
Wasting all your pretty and your tears on a man who was picking up pennies
With a dime in his hand baby don’t spend any more
Time on tryna figure out whatcha did wrong
I know you thought it was love
But it was lying, that boy was dust
Dust on a diamond

Get up stand up shake the dust right off your shoulders
Hold head your head up girl you’re better off it’s over (woah)

You’re a diamond
You were trying to shine for a blind man
Wasting all your pretty and your tears on a man who was picking up pennies
With a dime in his hand baby don’t spend any more
Time on tryna figure out whatcha did wrong
I know you thought it was love
But it was lying, that boy was dust
Dust on a diamond

Oh you were dust
Yeah you were
You were

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

NASA to Explore 'Psyche 16,' a Precious-Metal Asteroid Worth $10,000 Quadrillion

NASA is gearing up for a 2022 mission to "Psyche 16," an asteroid containing enough precious metal to make everyone on Earth a billionaire. Located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, Psyche 16's natural resources, which include gold, platinum, iron and nickel, are estimated to be worth $10,000 quadrillion. Written out, that number is $10,000 followed by 15 zeros.

Before you start wondering what you might do with your billion-dollar bounty, consider the fact that NASA's mission to Psyche 16 is strictly scientific. The space agency has no immediate plans to do any mining and the asteroid is way too large to tow back to Earth.

The traditional earth-bound mining community is wondering out loud what would happen to commodity prices if a huge influx of space gold and platinum suddenly hit the market?

It's also hard to imagine how $10,000 quadrillion in new wealth would merge into a world economy that's estimated to be worth a mere $75.5 trillion.

The space agency and its university partners are excited to explore Psyche 16 because it appears to be stripped to its core — a core made of solid metal. Scientists wonder whether Psyche could be the exposed core of an early planet, perhaps the size of Mars, that lost its rocky outer layers due to violent collisions that occurred while the solar system was forming.

Measuring about 140 miles (226 km) in diameter, Psyche 16 is named after the nymph Psyche, who, according to Roman mythology, married Cupid but was put to death by Venus. At Cupid's request, Jupiter — the king of the Gods — made Psyche immortal. The unique metal asteroid was discovered in 1852 by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis.

The space agency is set to launch the Psyche spacecraft in 2022 from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. It will arrive at the asteroid in 2026.

While NASA is not looking to capitalize on the precious metal bounty that Psyche 16 could yield, two space mining companies — Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources — are both looking at smaller, nearby asteroids that could be rich in precious metals.

Credits: Renderings courtesy of SSL/ASU/P. Rubin/NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Julian Edelman and His Three Super Bowl Rings Appear on 'The Late Show'

Super Bowl LIII MVP Julian Edelman gave the four million viewers of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert a close-up look at his three championship rings in a light-hearted segment that nearly resulted in the host keeping the one that got hung up on the knuckle of his left middle finger.

The New England Patriots' wide receiver — looking relaxed minus his signature caveman beard — was all set to talk about a brand new Showtime documentary about his life called 100%: Julian Edelman, but of primary interest to Colbert was the bounty of Super Bowl jewelry Edelman had brought along.

"We have a heavy satchel," said Colbert as he revealed a leather bag that had been hidden behind his desk. He gingerly opened the bag, extracted three ginormous diamond-embellished rings and then stood them up vertically so the TV cameras could focus on them.

The largest of the three rings features 422 diamonds weighing 8.25 carats and 20 blue sapphires totaling 1.60 carats. Edelman and the rest of the New England Patriots were awarded their Super Bowl LIII rings last month during a private ceremony at the home of Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The newest rings have the distinction of being the biggest and blingiest ever created for any team of any sport.

Colbert couldn't resist trying on the rings that represent Patriots' victories in Super Bowls XLIX, LI and LIII.

"I could wear these around my neck," the host joked, implying that they were the size of necklaces, not rings.

Running with the same theme, Colbert asked Edelman, "Do you need to go to the gym? Or do you just curl with these on?"

Then Colbert asked the fearless clutch receiver if he had a favorite of the three.

"Yeah, the next one," Edelman said half-jokingly. The Patriots have earned six Super Bowl titles, a record the team shares with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Colbert easily slipped the oversize rings off his right hand, but the one on the middle finger of his left hand wouldn't budge. Colbert pulled it and twisted it, but it wouldn't come off.

"Sorry, it's mine now," the host joked. Eventually, he managed to get it loose.

Colbert's final question about the rings was a simple one.

"Where do you keep them?" asked the host.

"I have a couple of secret stashes. Pretty much like Fort Knox," said Edelman, comparing the amount of security needed to keep his Super Bowl bounty safe to the depository in Kentucky where the bulk of the nation's gold bullion is kept.

The Showtime documentary 100%: Julian Edelman explores how the undersized, underdog receiver overcame a major injury and other setbacks to become a Super Bowl MVP.

Check out the full segment by clicking the video below...

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Music Friday: Enormous Wedding Band Floats Above a Beach in Nelly's 'Just a Dream'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Nelly wears his heartbreak on his sleeve in the 2010 blockbuster hit, "Just a Dream." Nelly's true love is gone and he knows he's only got himself to blame. He didn't give her all his love and he failed to offer the ultimate symbol of his devotion.

He sings, "Now you ain't around, baby I can't think / I should have put it down, should have got that ring."

In the song's official video, Nelly is standing on the beach at Playa del Rey, Calif. Floating high above his head — symbolically out of reach — are his dream home, his custom-made Ford Mustang GT and an enormous — yes, we mean enormous — gold wedding band. Later in the dream sequence, all three symbols of his perfect life burst into flames and fall in fragments to the beach below.

Many Nelly fans speculated that the song was actually a commentary on Nelly's breakup with recording artist Ashanti.

In an interview with That Grape Juice, Nelly attempted to set the record straight: "No it's not about Ashanti. It's just a song that I and my man [Rico] came up with. It's a song that's just relatable on all levels – rich, poor, black, white, child, adult – whatever level it is. If [thinking it’s about Ashanti] is what helps people to go out and support it then so be it (giggles)."

"Just a Dream" was released as the lead single from Nelly's 2010 album 5.0. The song zoomed all the way to #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the Canadian Hot 100. It charted in 21 countries and was named the "Top Streaming Song" at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards.

Cornell Iral Haynes Jr., known professionally as Nelly, was born in Austin, Texas, in 1974, and grew up in St. Louis. While in high school, he formed a band called the St. Lunatics. As an independent artist, Nelly blossomed into a world-class rapper, earning Grammy Awards in 2003 and 2004. With 21 million albums sold, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) ranks Nelly #4 on the list of the best-selling rap artists in American music history.

Please check out the official video of Nelly performing "Just a Dream." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Just a Dream"
Written by Mitch J, Nelly, Rico Love, Jim Jonsin and Frank Romano. Performed by Nelly.

I was thinking bout
her, thinkin' bout me
Thinkin' bout us, what we gonna be
Open my eyes yeah,
it was only just a dream
So I traveled back, down that road
Will she'd come back, no one knows
I realize yeah,
it was only just a dream

I was at the top and now it's
like I'm in the basement
Number one spot and now
she's findin a replacement
I swear now I can't take it,
knowing somebody's got my baby
And now you ain't around
baby I can't think
I should've put it down,
should've got the ring
Cause I can still feel it in the air
See her pretty face run my
fingers through her hair
My lover, my life, my sharty, my wife
She left me, I'm tied
Cause I knew that it just ain't right

I was thinking bout
her, thinkin' bout me
Thinkin' bout us, what we gonna be
Open my eyes yeah, it
was only just a dream
So I traveled back, down that road
Will she come back, no one knows
I realize yeah, it was only just a dream

When I be ridin' I swear
I see your face at every turn
Tryna get my Usher on
but I can't let it burn
And I just hopes he knows that
she the only one I yearn for
More and more I miss
her, when will I learn
Didn't give all my love,
I guess now I got my payback
Now I'm in the club
thinking all about my baby
Hey, it's was so easy to love
But wait, I guess that
love wasn't enough
I'm going through it
every time that I'm alone
And now I'm missing, wishing
he'll pick up the phone
But she made the decision
that she wanted to move on
Cause I was wrong

I was thinking bout
her, thinkin' bout me
Thinkin' bout us, what we gonnna be
Open my eyes yeah, it
was only just a dream
So I traveled back, down that road
Will come back, no one knows
I realize yeah, it was only just a dream

If you ever loved somebody
put your hands up
If you ever loved somebody
put your hands up
And now they're gone and you're
wishing you could give them everything
Said if you ever loved
somebody put your hands up
If you ever loved somebody
put your hands up
Now they're gone and you're wishing
you could give them
everything

I was thinking bout
her, thinkin' bout me
Thinkin' bout us, what we gonna be
Open my eyes yeah, it
was only just a dream
So I traveled back, down that road
Will she come back, no one knows
I realize yeah, it was only just a dream

I was thinking bout
her, thinkin' bout me
Thinkin' bout us, what we gonna be
Open my eyes yeah, it
was only just a dream
So I traveled back, down that road
Will she come back, no one knows
I realize yeah, it was only just a dream

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/NellyVEVO.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

$5,000 Halo-Style Grand Prize Looks a Lot Like a White Castle Chicken Ring

White Castle, America's first fast-food hamburger chain, is ringing in the summer with a sweepstakes highlighting new value deals on its distinctively shaped Chicken Rings. The Grand Prize is a $5,000 halo-style diamond ring whose key design element — a hollow center — is reminiscent of White Castle's bite-sized crispy chicken treat.

Nine round diamonds encircle the top of the ring in a configuration that could be mistaken for a contemporary halo-style engagement ring, except for the void where the center stone would be. In addition, the halo's side profile is dotted with smaller diamond accents, as is the white metal band.

White Castle's symmetrical Chicken Rings stand apart from its many competitors' "unshapely nuggets."

"Although we've been known as America's slider provider for more than 98 years, our Original Chicken Rings have rung up a significant following with their crispy, dippable flavor," said White Castle VP Jamie Richardson. "We recognize it's time to treat these Chicken Ring lovers by offering a chance at more than a thousand prizes..."

The company, in coordination with Dr. Pepper, will be giving away 100 pairs of limited-edition Chicken Ring Earrings. Other prizes include 200 coupons redeemable for a Crave Case filled with 30 Original Sliders, 400 coupons redeemable for a sack of 10 Original Sliders and 400 limited-edition Chicken Ring Pop Socket grips.

White Castle is accepting entries two ways. The first requires the customer to visit the prize website, fill out a short form and upload a picture of a White Castle receipt that includes the purchase of Chicken Rings and at least one small soft drink. Online entrants will receive a coupon redeemable for one small order of french fries.

There is also a mail-in option that requires no purchase. Click this link for more info.

Formally known as the "Dr Pepper Ring Thing Giveaway," the contest launched on June 27 and runs through August 31. The Grand Prize winner will be drawn randomly on September 12, according to the official rules. Each entrant must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years of age.

A regional hamburger chain with 599 locations in 13 states, the 98-year-old brand earned worldwide attention after the release of the 2004 flick Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.

Credit: Images courtesy of White Castle.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Birthstone Feature: In 1961, Smithsonian Got This 60-Carat Ruby Bracelet From a Secret Donor

Back in 1961, the Smithsonian received an extraordinary ruby-and-diamond bracelet from an anonymous donor. Fifty-eight years later, The Burmese Ruby Bracelet continues to be a star at the Gem Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History because it contains 31 highly prized pigeon's blood rubies from the Mogok region of Burma (Myanmar). Ruby is July's official birthstone.

Weighing a total of 60 carats, the rubies display a slightly purplish-red color that is medium-dark in tone and enhanced by a red fluorescence. The rubies were taken from another piece of jewelry and reset by Harry Winston, Inc., in 1950.

According to the Smithsonian, the original cuts were retained and the stones were reset in platinum in a three-row design with 107 pear, marquise and round brilliant cut diamonds totaling 27 carats.

Since the late 15th century, Burma, particularly the region around Mogok, has been a vital source for high-quality rubies. Mogok is a city founded more than 800 years ago in the Pyin Oo Lwin District of the Mandalay Region. Mogok and other villages nearby have been famous for their gemstones, especially rubies and sapphires. The mountainous Mogok area, known as the "Valley of Rubies,” is regarded as the original source of pigeon's blood rubies as well as the world's most beautiful royal blue sapphires.

Ruby is a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide). Gemstone-quality corundum in all shades of red are generally called rubies. Corundum is other colors are called sapphires.

The word "ruby" comes from "ruber," Latin for red. Rubies gets their color from the element chromium and boast a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs scale. Only diamonds are rated higher at 10.0.

Legend tells us that rubies were revered as a mystical gem representing love, health and wisdom. It was a long-held belief that wearing a ruby brought good fortune to its owner. The value of a ruby increases based on its color, cut, clarity and carat weight.

While Burma has earned the reputation of producing the finest rubies, the coveted red gems have also been mined in Thailand, Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, India, Namibia, Japan and Scotland. After World War II, ruby deposits were discovered in Madagascar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Tanzania and Vietnam. In the U.S., rubies have been found in Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wyoming.

Credit: Photo by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Music Friday: 'What About That Brand New Ring?' Asks a Jilted Man in 'Don't Pull Your Love'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In 1971, frontman Dan Hamilton of the soft-rock group Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds threatened to "cry for a hundred years" in the chart-topping hit, "Don't Pull Your Love."

In his plea to keep his girlfriend from taking off on "that big white bird," the jilted Hamilton makes a last-ditch effort to win her back by referencing a very special and sentimental piece of jewelry.

He sings, “Haven't I been good to you? / What about that brand new ring? / Doesn't that mean love to you? / Doesn't that mean anything?"

By the end of the song, Hamilton is a desperate man: "Don't pull your love out on me honey / Take my heart, my soul, my money / But don't leave me drownin' in my tears."

Written by Brian Potter and Dennis Lambert, “Don’t Pull Your Love” was an international hit for the trio and reached #1 on the U.S. Cash Box Top 100.

Recorded nearly five decades ago, this song has stood the test of time. Glen Campbell recorded it as a medley in 1976, and it got new life when Sean MacGuire covered it in 1996. But neither of those outpaced the original, which is still heard regularly on soft rock and easy listening stations. Many critics consider it a rock classic.

Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds was formed in Los Angeles in 1970. The original members were Dan Hamilton (guitar/lead vocal), Joe Frank Carollo (bass/vocal), and Tommy Reynolds (multi-instrumentalist/vocal), all of whom had previously played in The T-Bones, a 1960s band noted for the instrumental hit "No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)." The song was inspired by a then-popular Alka-Seltzer commercial.

Only a year after the group first hit the charts with "Don't Pull Your Love," Reynolds was replaced by keyboardist Alan Dennison. This revised line-up performed the group's biggest hit, 1975's "Fallin' in Love." The group permanently disbanded in 1980.

Please check out the throwback video of Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds performing "Don't Pull Your Love." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Don't Pull Your Love"
Written by Brian Potter and Dennis Lambert. Performed by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds.

Don't pull your love out on me baby
If you do then I think that maybe
I'll just lay me down and cry for a hundred years
Don't pull your love out on me honey
Take my heart, my soul, my money
But don't leave me drownin' in my tears

You say you're gonna leave
Gonna take that big white bird
Gonna fly right out of here
Without a single word
Don't you know you'll break my heart
When I watch you close that door
'Cause I know I won't see you anymore

Don't pull your love out on me baby
If you do then I think that maybe
I'll just lay me down and cry for a hundred years
Don't pull your love out on me honey
Take my heart, my soul, my money
But don't leave me drownin' in my tears

Haven't I been good to you?
What about that brand new ring?
Doesn't that mean love to you?
Doesn't that mean anything?
If I threw away my pride
And I got down on my knees
Would I have to beg you, "Pretty please?"

Don't pull your love out on me baby
If you do then I think that maybe
I'll just lay me down and cry for a hundred years
Don't pull your love out on me honey
Take my heart, my soul, my money
But don't leave me drownin' in my tears

There's so much I wanna do
I've got love enough for two
But I'll never use it girl if I don't have you

Don't pull your love out on me baby
If you do then I think that maybe
I'll just lay me down and cry for a hundred years
Don't pull your love out on me honey
Take my heart, my soul, my money
But don't leave me drownin' in my tears

Credit: Image by ABC / Dunhill Records [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Los Alamos Particle Accelerator Helps Unravel the Mystery of the Golden 'Ram's Horn'

Harnessing the power of a half-mile-long particle accelerator, scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory were finally able to peer inside the "Ram's Horn," a super-rare and natural formation of wire gold. What they found was truly unexpected.

Unearthed more than 130 years ago at the Ground Hog Mine in Red Cliff, Colo., the Ram's Horn is mysteriously shaped like a curly bunch of tendrils instead of the more recognizable golden nugget.

Mineralogists scratched their heads, wondering about its fundamental structure. The specimen is 12 centimeters (4.72 inches) tall and weighs 263 grams (9.28 ounces), but because of its extreme rarity, researchers didn't want to cut into it or break it open.

Low-energy X-rays and other diagnostics could only evaluate the exterior surfaces due to gold's high density. The internal nature of this specimen remained a mystery, until now.

Surprisingly, the Ram's Horn was found to be composed of only a few single crystals, according to John Rakovan, Professor of Mineralogy at Miami University in Ohio. This differs wildly from the formation of silver wire, which is a mosaic-like polycrystalline aggregate with many hundreds to thousands of crystals in a single wire.

"Furthermore, we discovered that these samples are not pure gold, but rather gold-silver alloys with as much as 30 percent silver substituting for gold in the atomic structure," noted Sven Vogel, a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory's neutron science center (LANSCE).

Using neutron techniques at LANSCE, scientists can “look” inside these large gold specimens, nondestructively, and learn about their texture, atomic structure, and element and isotope chemistry.

The Ram's Horn belongs to the collection of the Mineralogical and Geological Museum at Harvard University. It had been bequeathed to Harvard in 1947 by Harvard alumnus Albert C. Burrage as part of the A. C. Burrage Collection.

The fascinating gold specimen will headline “The Rare and Beautiful" exhibition at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, with the grand opening slated for the spring of 2020.

Credit: Image by Harvard University.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Panthers' Greg Olsen Films In-Progress Marriage Proposal: 'Best Thing I've Ever Witnessed'

Carolina Panthers' Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen was in Nashville last week to deliver a keynote speech at a healthcare conference. As the 6' 5", 255 lb. former first round draft pick was walking back to his hotel, he happened upon something that he would call the "best thing I've ever witnessed."

What Olsen was describing was an in-progress marriage proposal. With a ring box in hand, Max Harvat was on bended knee just about to pop the question to his girlfriend Brooke Hartranft.

Olsen pulled out his phone and started filming.

“So I’m thinking, ‘I would imagine that this guy would love to have this on film.’ He was literally five feet from us. It was amazing,” Olsen told panthers.com.

After the proposal, Harvat got back to his feet and joyfully lifted Hartranft into the air.

"What did she say? Did she say, Yes? Olsen asked.

"She said, "Yes," Harvat screamed back, his voice echoing through the hotel complex.

"I've got it on video, dude," Olsen said. "I'm going to send it to you."

"You're my hero," said Harvat, not knowing at the time that he was speaking with the three-time Pro Bowler who happens to play for his favorite team.

"That was the best thing I've ever witnessed," Olsen said.

“When I stood up, I looked over and I started having a mini heart attack," Harvat told panthers.com. "I was like, ‘I’m 90 percent sure that’s Greg Olsen from the Panthers!’”

“Brooke looked at me and didn’t believe me,” Harvat said. “She just thought I was too excited and wasn’t seeing straight. But I’m like, ‘No, that’s him. I’ve seen him on TV and in interviews. That’s him!’”

On his Instagram page, Olsen explained that his instinct was to film the precious moment because he had wished he had a video of his own marriage proposal.

“He was really respectful," Harvat told panthers.com. "He didn’t want to steal any of the moment from us. He sent me the video and said congratulations and wished us the best.”

Check out the video on Olsen's Instagram page. It has been viewed more than 135,000 times and earned more than 36,000 Likes since it was posted three days ago.

Credits: Screen captures via Instagram.com/gregolsen88. Split frame: Greg Olsen (left) by Jeffrey Beall [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Greg Olsen (right) by original: U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Leticia Samuels, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs/Released North Carolina National Guardderivative: Diddykong1130 and XxSuguSxX [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Music Friday: Meghan Trainor Knows She's a Gem in Empowerment Anthem, 'I'm a Lady'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, pop star Meghan Trainor knows she's a gem in the female empowerment anthem, "I'm a Lady."

Co-written by Trainor and Martin René to promote the 2017 film Smurfs: The Lost Village, the song drives home the message that there are no limitations to what a young woman can achieve. Trainer tells her listeners that it's OK to be different, to love themselves, and aspire to be whatever they want to be.

Trainor sings, "And I don’t look like them (But I ain’t worried about it) / I don’t talk like them (But I ain’t worried about it) / I know I’m a gem / I ain’t worried about it, I ain’t worried about it / ‘Cause I’m a lady."

The official video shows scenes of young women engaged in what some may see as non-traditional sporting activities, such as playing football, shooting a compound bow, boxing and lifting weights. There is also a scene of an all-female boardroom.

"I'm a Lady" was released as a single on February 21, 2017, and the official video — which includes cameos by the Smurfs — premiered a week later. The single barely snuck onto the U.S. Billboard Top 40 list, but the video gained a huge audience. To date, the video has been viewed on YouTube more than 53 million times.

Born on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket to retail jewelers Kelli and Gary Trainor, Meghan started singing at age six and wrote her first song at age 11. She attended Berklee College of Music and released two acoustic albums in 2011.

The 25-year-old's big break came in February 2014, when she performed “All About the Bass” on ukulele for L.A. Reid, the chairman and CEO of Epic Records. That resulted in a recording contract and a monumental rise to stardom. “All About the Bass” topped the charts in 58 countries and resulted in a Grammy nomination for “Song of the Year.” She has also earned a Grammy Award, four ASCAP Pop Music Awards and two Billboard Music Awards.

Trivia: Trainor didn't only provided the promotional track for Smurfs: The Lost Village, she also voiced the role of Smurfmelody.

Please check out Trainor’s official video of “I'm a Lady.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

"I'm a Lady"
Written by Meghan Trainor and Martin René. Performed by Meghan Trainor.

I talk with a mouth full (uh-huh)
But I couldn’t be sweeter
Yep, I’m a cutie in my own way
I won’t play follow the leader

And I don’t look like them (But I ain’t worried about it)
I don’t talk like them (But I ain’t worried about it)
I know I’m a gem
I ain’t worried about it, I ain’t worried about it
‘Cause I’m a lady

‘Cause I’m a lady
Come on! I’m a, I’m a lady
All my girls, show them you’re a lady
Tell the world, say that you’re proud to be a lady

I know I laugh too loud
And I might cry too much
To all those judgy eyes
I got a whole lotta love

‘Cause I don’t look like them (But I ain’t worried about it)
I don’t move like them (But I ain’t worried about it)
I know I’m a gem
I ain’t worried about it, I ain’t worried about it
‘Cause I’m a lady

‘Cause I’m a lady
Yeah, I’m a, I’m a lady
All my girls, show them you’re a lady
Tell the world, say that you’re proud to be a lady
All my girls, show them you’re a lady
Tell the world, say that you’re proud to be a lady

And I’m pretty, pretty cute and I’m pretty smart
And when I break it down, it’s a work of art
And if you feel the same, can you participate?
I wanna see you shake, I wanna hear you say
And I’m pretty, pretty cute and I’m pretty smart
And when I break it down, it’s a work of art
And if you feel the same, can you participate?
I wanna see you shake, I wanna hear you say

And I don’t look like them
I don’t talk like them
But I know I’m a gem
I ain’t worried about it, I ain’t worried about it
‘Cause I’m a lady
And I don’t move like them (But I ain’t worried about it)
I don’t move like them (But I ain’t worried about it)
I know I’m a gem
I ain’t worried about it, I ain’t worried about it
‘Cause I’m a lady

(Yeah) ’cause I’m a lady
(Hey yeah, hey yeah)
I’m a, I’m a lady
All my girls, show them you’re a lady
Tell the world, say that you’re proud to be a lady
All my girls, show them you’re a lady
Tell the world, say that you’re proud to be a lady

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com/Meghan Trainor.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

1,700-Year-Old 'Allectus' Gold Coin Crushes Auction Estimates, Sells for $695K

A tiny gold coin depicting the Roman ruler Allectus crushed pre-sale estimates as fierce bidding at the headquarters of London auctioneer Dix Noonan Webb (DNW) catapulted the price to $695,000. DNW had predicted the coin would fetch between $90,000 and $127,000.

The news came as a sweet surprise to the 30-year-old amateur metal detectorist, who discovered the 1,700-year-old coin in a plowed field near Dover, England, back in March. The field is adjacent to the site of an ancient Roman road.

“I cannot believe it, we are ecstatic!" exclaimed the detectorist, who wished to remain anonymous. "We expected it to sell for a little over estimate, but not five times the estimate! We are sharing the money with the farmer, who is also thrilled!”

The solid gold coin, known as an aureus, is just slightly larger than a penny and weighs a mere 4.31 grams (0.15 ounces). The obverse features a portrait of Allectus and the reverse depicts two kneeling captives at the feet of the god Apollo.

Based on today's spot price for gold, the intrinsic value of the coin is about $200, but the hammer price reflects its extreme rarity.

There is only one other coin in existence that was struck with the exact die that produced the Allectus coin sold at auction — and that specimen resides in the British Museum. Allectus ruled Briton and Northern Gaul from 293 AD to 296 AD and it is believed the coinage bearing his image was demonetized and melted down after his untimely death in battle. Today, only 24 aurei of Allectus are known to exist worldwide.

Recognizing the extreme rarity of the Allectus coin, eager bidders at the Dix Noonan Webb venue, on the internet and via telephone challenged each other for the prize. An anonymous private collector bidding by phone was the eventual winner.

“I am delighted with the phenomenal price achieved in today’s sale," said Christopher Webb, Director and Head of DNW’s Coin Department. "This is the most expensive coin that we have ever sold at Dix Noonan Webb. It is the most money ever paid for a coin of Allectus and it is now the most valuable Roman coin minted in Britain to have been sold at auction.”

At first, the detectorist believed he had found a fairly common gold sovereign, but after bringing his discovery to the attention of British authorities, which is demanded by law, he learned that his coin was truly extraordinary. The British Museum compared it to its own specimen, which had been unearthed in the 1800s in Hampshire. The museum's Allectus coin and the newly found treasure matched exactly.

Credits: Images courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Christie's 'Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence' Auction Brings History to Life

Spotlighting more than 500 years of opulence on the Indian subcontinent, Christie's auction in New York this Wednesday is aptly titled "Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence." The sale will celebrate the illustrious culture of Indian jeweled art from the Mughal period and the age of the Maharajas through the present day.

"This is living history in your hand," noted Rahul Kadakia, Christie's International Head of Jewelry.

India’s rich ties to fine jewelry and gemstones, he explained, is partly the result of natural circumstances. The mines of Golconda yielded the highest grade of diamonds. Kashmir produced the rarest and most beautiful sapphires. And the greatest emeralds arrived in India from Colombia through commercial exchange via the Portuguese-controlled ports of Goa.

Jewelry in the Mughal tradition articulated authority, and the empire's rulers valued gems for their rarity, physical properties and provenance.

On the cover of the Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence catalog is a Belle Époque "jigha" (turban ornament) dripping with old-cut, baguette and pear-shaped diamonds. The Indian royal treasure (photo above), which was originally designed in 1907 and remodeled circa 1935, would have been worn on formal occasions by a Maharaja, explained Kadakia. The ornament is estimated to sell in the range of $1.2 million to $2.2 million.

Christie's sale includes two spectacular diamonds sourced at India's Golconda mine.

The first is called the "Mirror of Paradise," a 52.58-carat internally flawless rectangular-cut diamond that's expected to sell in the range of $7 million to $10 million. The D-color gem is set in a platinum ring and accented with tapered baguettes.

The second is called the "Arcot II Diamond." Weighing 17.21 carats, the brilliant-cut, pear-shaped, D-color stone was one of two earring drops sent as a gift to Britain's Queen Charlotte (1744-1818) by the Nawab of Arcot. The diamond drops were later purchased at auction by the Marquess of Westminster and mounted in the "Westminster Tiara," which was worn by the Marquess at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. The historic stone is expected to fetch between $2 million and $4 million.

The lot with the highest pre-sale estimated price is a belle epoque devant-de-corsage brooch highlighted by four impressive diamonds of differing shapes: a pear-shaped brilliant cut (34.08 carats), oval brilliant cut (23.55 carats), marquise brilliant cut (6.51 carats) and heart modified brilliant cut (3.54 carats). The piece was designed by Cartier in 1912 for Solomon Barnato Joel, who made his fortune in the South African diamond mines. Christie's set the pre-sale estimate of this piece at $10 million to $15 million.

One of the most unusual items in the auction is an octagonal-shaped tabular carved emerald of 84.63 carats. The gem's origin can be traced to 17th century Colombia. Christie's experts are expecting it to sell in the range of $3 million and $5 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Music Friday: Lee Ann Womack Needs to Know, 'Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you popular songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country star Lee Ann Womack sings about a marriage gone wrong in her 2001 hit, "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?"

Womack plays the part of a loving wife whose husband has betrayed her, leaving his wedding band behind. She's heartbroken and yearns to get him back. She wonders if he has trouble with commitments — or maybe he's rediscovered an old flame.

The title of the song evokes a symbol of their wedding "promise" that's suddenly become too unbearable to wear.

She sings, "Did my ring burn your finger? / Did my love weigh you down? / Was the promise too much to keep around?"

Written by husband-and-wife team Buddy and Julie Miller, "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?" was released as the fourth single from Womack's popular CD I Hope You Dance. The song went to #23 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, while the album zoomed all the way to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

USA Today's Ken Barnes picked "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?" as his #1 song for 2001, describing it as "a searing, chill-conjuring performance of a seething Buddy and Julie Miller tune by country's reigning female vocalist."

In November of 2001, Womack performed the song live during the CMA Awards. The performance was so powerful and so memorable that a Billboard critic couldn't come up with the words to describe it.

In his 2017 review of Womack's 10 Best Songs, Billboard's Chuck Dauphin wrote, "Womack delivered what just might be her most dominant vocal performance – so far. Do us a favor. Check out her performance of this song from the 2001 CMA Awards on YouTube. We get paid to write words describing such moments, but damn. Sometimes, there are none that can aptly describe it."

Born and raised in Jacksonville, Texas, in 1966, Womack developed a love for country music at a young age. Her father was a DJ and often brought her to work to help him pick his playlist.

She emerged as a contemporary country artist in 1997 and was favorably compared to Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette. Womack has released nine studio albums and sold more than six million albums worldwide. She has received five Academy of Country Music Awards, six Country Music Association Awards and a single Grammy Award.

Please check out her scorching live performance of "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?" at the 2001 CMA Awards. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Does My Ring Burn Your Finger?"
Written by Julie Miller and Steven Paul (Buddy) Miller. Performed by Lee Ann Womack.

When I gave you my heart
It was not what you wanted
Now the walls say your name
And the pictures are haunted
Does my ring burn your finger
Did my love weigh you down?
Was the promise too much to keep around?

I remember your words and I can't keep from cryin'
I could never believe that your kisses were lyin'
Was there somethin' from the past
Buried in a shallow grave?
Did you think that it was too far gone to save?

Please tell me baby
Please tell me now
You say that I should just go on
Now please tell me how

Now it's just me and the night and I'm so broken hearted
I just wait in the dark here for my dearly departed
Did my ring burn your finger?
Did my love weigh you down?
Was the promise too much to keep around?

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com/Lee Ann Womack.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

'Inkalamu,’ a 5,655-Carat Emerald Crystal, Makes High-Profile Debut in Delhi

Nearly six months after winning the 5,655-carat "Inkalamu" emerald at a Gemfields auction last November, luxury jeweler Diacolor finally revealed the Zambian-sourced crystal to the public last week at the company's flagship store in Delhi, India.

Inkalamu, which means the “Lion Emerald” in Zambia's regional Bemba language, was discovered at the Kagem mine on October 2 and offered for sale in Singapore in mid-November. There, 45 approved auction partners competed for the extraordinary find — an emerald that boasts remarkable clarity and a perfectly balanced golden green hue. The carat weight is equivalent to 1.1 kg or 2.5 lbs.

“The minute I heard about it, I simply had to have it,” Diacolor's founder and chairman Rajkumar Tongya told The Economic Times. “Such a rare find from Mother Nature, I just couldn’t resist the temptation.”

The founder's son, Rishabh, who is Diacolor's creative director, told the India-based publication that he got goosebumps when he first laid eyes on the “kryptonite-type” emerald.

Neither Diacolor nor Gemfields have revealed the amount of the winning bid.

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 named “Insofu,” the Bemba word for “elephant.”

And it's not a coincidence that the father-son team at Diacolor purchased that rough gem, as well.

Rajkumar Tongya hinted to The Economic Times that Inkalamu might yield a "pear-shaped, uniform-looking jewelry set."

A Gemfields representative said in October 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.

Before Diacolor takes on the task of cutting and polishing the mammoth stone, the company will be promoting it during an international tour of retail outlets and museums.

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.

Credits: Images courtesy of Gemfields.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Patriots' Super Bowl LIII Championship Ring Is the Largest Ever Created

Two years ago, we marveled at the size and opulence of the New England Patriots' fifth Super Bowl ring — a ring set with 283 diamonds weighing 5.1 carats. As expected, the team's sixth edition is even more over the top — with 422 diamonds weighing 8.25 carats and 20 blue sapphires totaling 1.60 carats.

Billed as the largest ring ever created in Super Bowl history, the unique football-shaped symbol of the team's winning tradition and championship legacy was presented to Patriots players, coaches, staff and executives by team chairman and CEO Robert Kraft during a private ceremony at his home this past Thursday.

The Patriots Super Bowl LIII championship ring, which was designed by Jostens, is likely the largest and most ornate ring ever created for any team in any sport. The 10-karat gold rings are also teeming with symbolism.

For example, 38 diamonds surround the iconic blue and red Patriots logo with an additional diamond set in the star. Combined, these 39 diamonds represent two NFL records achieved by the Pats with their Super Bowl LIII win. It was the franchise's 37th playoff victory — more than any other NFL team. In addition, they became the second team in NFL history to win six Super Bowls.

Sitting atop the Patriots logo are six Lombardi trophies, represented by marquise-cut diamonds outlined with 123 round diamonds. Providing a glistening background for the trophies are 108 pavé-set diamonds, which represent the number of practices held during the 2018 season. This symbol spotlights the team's focus on preparation — one diamond for every practice.

The words "WORLD" and "CHAMPIONS" flank the top of the ring in raised white gold lettering on a black ground. Exactly 76 diamonds — a patriotic nod to the 1776 birth date of the US — adorn the edges of the ring. Completing the intricate design are 20 round blue sapphires, which are emblematic of the Patriots 20 AFC East division championships.

The right side of the ring features the team's name above the Super Bowl LIII logo and includes the final score of the championship finale against the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3. The Patriots' rally cry of "STILL HERE," which the team embraced throughout the 2018-2019 playoffs, completes the design of the ring's right side.

Appearing on the left side of the ring is the name of each recipient rendered in the official Patriots font. The name sits above a rendering of Gillette Stadium's signature lighthouse and bridge. To the left of the lighthouse is the player's uniform number, encrusted in diamonds. The franchise's sixth Super Bowl title is commemorated with a "6X" and dated 2018.

Robert Kraft's iconic quote and the team's foundational motto, "WE ARE ALL PATRIOTS," is inscribed inside the ring, along with Kraft's signature and the date he spoke those famous words. The palm crest features the years of the team's previous five championship seasons.

Credits: Images courtesy of Jostens.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Music Friday: The Trews Believe There Is No Finer Thing Than 'The Pearl'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, in honor of June's official birthstone, we feature Canadian rock band The Trews singing their 2005 tune, "The Pearl (More Than Everything)."

In the song, lead singer Colin MacDonald refers to his love interest as "the pearl" and likens her beauty to a diamond ring.

He sings, "Though the pearl eludes me while I'm sinkin' still there's no finer thing / Diamonds do you justice only 'cause your beauty shines like a ring / I want you more than everything."

By the end of the song, MacDonald is even more determined to win her heart, singing, "Fighting through the winter tempest I can hear the sea sirens sing / Now I can find the gold and silver that I prayed tomorrow would bring."

Written by band members Colin MacDonald, John-Angus MacDonald and producer Gordie Johnson, "The Pearl" appeared as the eighth track of The Trews' Den of Thieves album. It was their second studio album and peaked at #6 on the Canadian Albums Chart.

The Trews were founded in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, in the late 1990s. They got their big break in the summer of 2002 when they won a contest sponsored by Ontario rock station CHTZ-FM. The victory led to a recording contract with Bumstead Productions.

The band was nominated as New Group of the Year at Canada's 2004 Juno Awards, and their tune "Not Ready to Go" was nominated as the Canadian Single of the Year in 2005. In November 2010, the band performed the Canadian National anthem at the 98th Grey Cup in Edmonton, which is equivalent to the Super Bowl in the US.

The Trews are currently appearing in venues throughout Ontario. Check out the video of their 2009 live performance of "The Pearl" at Glen Gould Studio in Toronto. The lyrics are here if you'd like to sing along...

"The Pearl (More Than Everything)"
Written by Colin MacDonald, John-Angus MacDonald and Gordie Johnson. Performed by The Trews.

The search of one true heart deep within you
The ocean will part the clearness of blue
Though the pearl eludes me while I'm sinkin' still there's no finer thing
Diamonds do you justice only cause your beauty shines like a ring

I want you more than everything
I want you more than everything

The four winds on high of virtue they sing
It sharpens my eye determines these things... determination
Though the pearl eludes me while I'm sinkin' still there's no finer thing
Diamonds do you justice only 'cause your beauty shines like a ring
Fighting through the winter tempest I can hear the sea sirens sing

I want you more than everything
I want you more than everything
I want you more than everything
I want you more than everything

I feel your heart fades into view
The mist pulls apart and reveals the...
Pearl eludes me while I'm sinkin' still there's no finer thing
Diamonds do you justice only 'cause your beauty shines like a ring
Fighting through the winter tempest I can hear the sea sirens sing
Now I can find the gold and silver that I prayed tomorrow would bring

I want you more than everything

More than everything
Ohhhhhhhhhh

More than everything
Ohhhhhhhh

More than everything
Ohhh ohhhhh

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Antwerp Diamond Industry Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Tolkowsky's 'Brilliant Cut'

Exactly 100 years ago, a 19-year-old Antwerp engineer named Marcel Tolkowsky perfected a mathematical formula for the 57-facet "brilliant-cut" diamond. Tolkowsky's accomplishment prevails as the most iconic and successful cut in history due to its ability to maximize a diamond's fire, brilliance and sparkle.

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre recently held a street fair and ceremonial diamond cutting to honor Tolkowsky and the 100th anniversary.

"In 1919, my uncle Marcel unlocked the secret of light within a diamond," said Gabi Tolkowsky, one of the world's most renowned diamond cutters. "He figured out how to get the greatest amount of light to shine out of a diamond, calculating the number and arrangement of facets to maximize the light return. This was Marcel’s gift to the world, perfecting the journey of light, giving all those who came after him the knowledge of how to turn a diamond into a unique beauty."

Marcel Tolkowsky proved that if a diamond was cut too deep or too shallow, the light coming down from the top would escape out the sides or bottom, resulting in a loss of brilliance. His solution: 57 precisely placed facets cut to exacting proportions so the light coming into a diamond is refracted up through the table and crown to the viewer's eye.

During the celebration, the AWDC launched its unique “100 Years Brilliant” project, during which 57 well-know (and lesser known) Antwerp residents were invited to polish a single diamond — one person for each facet of a brilliant.

"In this way, ‘t Steentje – which is how the diamond industry is referred to in the local vernacular – will represent the multicultural character and diversity of the Antwerp diamond industry," explained AWDC CEO Ari Epstein.

Once the stone is finished, it will be exhibited in Antwerp's DIVA diamond museum.

The first facet was polished by guest of honor Gabi Tolkowsky, who famously spent three years cutting the 273.85-carat Centenary Diamond.

The second facet of the stone was polished by Constantinus ‘Stan’ Hunselmans, who shares his birth year with the brilliant.

“I celebrated my 100th birthday on January 14, and it is an honor that I was chosen," Hunselmans said. "It went really well. If I were a little bit younger, I might have considered a career switch.”

Since 1447, Antwerp has laid claim to the title of the "World's Diamond Capital." It should come as no surprise that Tolkowsky's brilliant cut was developed in this city.

Credit: Image courtesy of Petragems [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Diamond proportions graphics by Jasper Paulsen CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Men's Apparel Company Finds Engagement Ring in Pocket of Returned Jeans

An engagement ring that was thought to be lost forever was returned to a Hueytown, Ala., woman by honest employees at a Kentucky distribution center of rugged men's apparel.

Jacky Crick, a receiver for Carhartt's return center in Hopkinsville, Ky., found the black and white diamond engagement ring in the pocket of a pair of jeans that had been sent to the facility by Andrea Speer.

Speer explained that she didn't feel the ring slip off as she prepared the return for her husband.

“The ring was loose," Speer told Birmingham TV station WBRC, "and I guess when I stuck my hand inside the pocket it just came off, and I didn’t notice it 'cause I still had the wedding band on.”

Speer was devastated by the loss.

“I went into panic mode and I cried myself to sleep that night and several nights after that because I was just heartbroken," she told WBRC. "You know it has sentimental value. I mean that’s the ring he put on my finger the day he proposed."

Speer was convinced, at first, that the ring came off during a shopping trip to a local Dollar store.

“Went back to the store three times, three times!" she exclaimed. "Looking in the store, looking in the parking lot, and it was nowhere to be found. And then after a couple of weeks we realized it’s probably just gone. I would never see it again.”

Little did she know, that 275 miles and two states away, an honest receiver was alerting her Carhartt's supervisor that she found the ring. That supervisor promptly shipped the ring back to Speer, along with a handwritten note on Carhartt stationery explaining how it was discovered.

Speer told the WBRC reporter how elated she and her husband were when the ring miraculously turned up in the mail...

“I cried, I was happy," she said. "I was just totally amazed and just totally relieved. [My husband] cried! He actually got back down on one knee and put it back on my finger. It was a very sweet moment, it was!”

Speer's stepdaughter, Brittany Scoggins, summarized the details of the unexpected ring return on her Facebook page.

"People need to know that [Carhartt] is a good, honest company and that real people work there and real people want to do the right thing,” Scoggins told WBRC.

Speer said she'd like nothing more than to get up to Hopkinsville to give Crick a big hug.

Credits: Screen captures via wbrc.com.