Friday, February 08, 2019

Music Friday: Swedish Pop Group Ace of Base Will Turn Your Tears Into Pearls

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you popular tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Swedish pop group Ace of Base sings about turning tears into pearls in the 1995 love song, "Experience Pearls."

In this song about mending a broken heart, vocalists Linn and Jenny Berggren tell the story of a woman who is willing to do anything in her power to eliminate her lover's pain.

They sing, "Give me all your tears / Let me turn them into pearls / Let me turn all the tears / That you've cried into pearls / Hand them to me, I'm gonna keep / Keep them for you / I want to hold you / I want to kiss you / I want to mend what is broken."

Later in the song, songwriter Jenny Berggren uses the term "experience pearls" to describe the transference of pain from him to her. She vows to wear his tears — in the form of pearls — close to her skin.

The last verse goes like this... "I'll wear your pearls more precious than silver / I'll wear your pearls so close to my skin / I'd tear myself apart just to get you / And so I've made up my mind / And so I've made up my mind."

"Experience Pearls" appeared as the 16th track of Ace of Base's wildly successful second album, The Bridge, which charted in 19 countries. More than eight million copies of the album were sold worldwide.

According to the band's official site, the Ace of Base story started in the early 1990s when the three Berggren siblings (Jonas, Malin and Jenny) formed the techno band Tech Noir. Next to their rehearsal room, Ulf Ekberg played in another band. Soon, Jonas and Ulf hit it off, started to write and produce together, and Ace of Base was formed.

After recording a demo tape of original songs, including the future blockbuster hit ”All That She Wants,” the band went to Stockholm where the members pitched all the major record companies. None showed any interest. The common critique was that their songs were "too obvious" and "too simple."

Undaunted, the band's next stop was Copenhagen, where executives at Mega Records immediately saw the band’s potential and loved their positive, uncomplicated and slightly reggae-tinged pop music.

Ace of Base’s very first single was ”Wheel Of Fortune,” followed by the major worldwide hits ”All That She Wants,” ”The Sign” and ”Don’t Turn Around.”

Trivia: The group's debut album, Happy Nation (released as The Sign in the U.S.), sold 25 million copies and remains in the Guinness record book as the best-selling debut album ever.

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

"Experience Pearls"
Written by Jenny Berggren. Performed by Ace of Base.

Give me all your tears
Let me turn them into pearls
Let me turn all the tears
That you've cried into pearls
Hand them to me, I'm gonna keep

Keep them for you
I want to hold you,
I want to kiss you
I want to mend what is broken.

Love me the way that you loved her, please
Cause now I'm giving it all,
And so I've made up my mind, I'm gonna be
Yours this time, I'm gonna give what I've got,
And get your love in return.
And so I've made up my mind, I'm gonna be
Yours this time, I'm gonna teach you to trust
And learn how to burn,
Experience pearls
Pearls of experience
When sand strikes up in your eyes
I will cover your face.

I'll plant your desert with roses,
And I'm gonna keep, keep them for you.
And so I've made up my mind

I'll wear your pearls more precious than silver
I'll wear your pearls so close to my skin.
I'd tear myself apart just to get you,
And so I've made up my mind
And so I've made up my mind

Credit: Screen capture via

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Survey: Shoppers to Spend More on Jewelry Than Any Other Valentine's Day Gift Category

For the third consecutive year, U.S. consumers are expected to spend more on jewelry than any other Valentine’s Day gift category, according to an annual report released by the National Retail Federation.

Spending for jewelry-related Valentine's Day gifts is likely to reach $3.9 billion, outpacing "an evening out" ($3.5 billion, given by 34%), clothing ($2.1 billion, 18%), flowers ($1.9 billion, 35%), candy ($1.8 billion, 52%), gift cards ($1.3 billion, 15%) and greeting cards ($933 million, 44%).

Of those surveyed, 26% of men and 9% of women said they would be gifting a special piece of jewelry on February 14.

The NRF reports that overall spending on Valentine’s Day gifts will reach an all-time record of $20.7 billion in 2019, up from $19.6 billion in 2018. Those surveyed said they would spend an average of $161.96. That’s an increase of 13% from last year’s $143.56 and easily tops the previous record of $146.84 set in 2016.

“Those who are participating are spending more than ever and that could be the result of the strong economy," commented NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.

Valentine gift givers will spend an average of $93.24 on their significant other/spouse; $29.87 on other family members, such as children or parents, $9.78 on friends, $8.63 on children’s classmates or teachers, $7.78 on co-workers, $6.94 on pets, and $5.72 on others.

On the average, men are budgeting $229.54 for Valentine's Day gifts, an increase of 20% over last year. Women will be spending $97.77, about 1% lower than last year. Among age groups, those 35-44 are the biggest Valentine's Day spenders at $279.14, followed by those 25-34 at $239.07. Both groups typically have more people on their gift lists, including children and children’s classmates or teachers.

Despite the record spending numbers, the portion of Americans celebrating Valentine's Day is expected to decline to 51% in 2019, a drop of 4 percentage points compared to 2018 and more than 12 points down from 2007.

The NRF’s 2019 Valentine’s Day spending survey was designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to Valentine’s Day. The survey was conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The poll of 7,384 consumers took place from January 2-9, 2019, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

Credit: Image by

Monday, February 04, 2019

North America's Largest Rough Diamond Makes Final Public Appearance — And We Were There

The largest rough diamond ever mined in North America — the fancy yellow "552" — made its final public appearance at Phillips auction house in New York City on Sunday. And we were there.

Exhibiting a frosty surface and distinctive bi-color transition from intense yellow to nearly white, the 552-carat diamond seemed surreal in its glass case at the street-level exhibit hall of the famous auction house on Park Avenue and 57th. Giant vertical banners in the Phillips windows delivered a bold and simple message, "Think Big — 552 Carats." It was the public's final opportunity to see one of nature's true wonders — before it gets transformed into faceted stones.

Inside, a solitary glass case illuminated by two spotlights and watched over carefully by two armed guards provided the temporary home to the "552." The spectacular diamond had been found at the Diavik mine in Canada's Northwest Territories back in October, and Phillips' executives pitched Dominion Diamond Mines with the idea of putting the diamond on display in New York City before it went through the cutting process.

Dominion Diamond Mines Director of Marketing Rachel Aaron told us that there are two likely outcomes for the egg-sized "552." In scenario one, the rough diamond would yield a primary faceted stone of 150 to 200 carats, as well as a number of residual faceted diamonds. In scenario two, cutters would opt for a pair of primary diamonds in the 70- to-100-carat range, plus the residual stones. The pair of smaller diamonds, she said, would be considered more wearable.

Aaron said that only four or five cutters in the world are capable of handling a fancy yellow diamond of this magnitude. Dominion has yet to select a cutting partner.

She also noted that once the diamond is cut, all the finished stones will return to Phillips for a special exhibition. She said the mapping and cutting process should take about nine months and the Phillips exhibition will likely be a year from now.

There are a number of characteristics that make the "552" unique. On close inspection, one can see a clear transition in color about two thirds of the way across the diamond. It goes from a clear, vibrant yellow to a cloudy white. Aaron said that gemologist believe that the transition point could reflect an internal fracture.

There are also obvious scars on the surface of the stone. These represent the beating the rough diamond took during the sorting and screening process. The Diavik processing plant is optimized to recover smaller diamonds, but Aaron believes the shape of the stone saved it. The stone turned vertically during the screening process and was just the right size to fit through. Had it stayed horizontal, it would have been crushed.

Aaron said the mine is not planning to change it's recovery methods to secure more super-large diamonds. The mine has been specializing in smaller, fine-quality diamonds since 2003 and there's no indication from their geological surveys that other super-large diamonds are likely to be found.

The gem's yellow color is also an anomaly at the Diavik mine. Diamonds from the mine typically rate in the D, E and F color range (colorless to near colorless) and usually boast a clarity rating of VS or better. Dominion reports, however, that a small portion of Diavik's production exhibits varying shades of brown, orangey-brown, light pink and light purple.

Despite its impressive dimensions, the "552" 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.

Credits: Phillips exhibition images by The Jeweler Blog; Mine image courtesy of Dominion Diamond Mines.