Friday, March 15, 2019

Music Friday: Lee Greenwood Laments His 24-Karat Mistake in 'Fool's Gold'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Lee Greenwood sings about making a 24-karat mistake in his 1984 tune, "Fool's Gold." His character is agonizing over a broken marriage and losing the love of his life. In hindsight, he admits he was a fool and it was all his fault.

He sings, "I took a perfect love and gave you a perfect heartache / I took a band of gold and made a 24-karat mistake / and turned it into... / Fool's gold, and I was a fool 'cause I let you go."

Written by Timmy Tappan and Don Roth, "Fool's Gold" was released as the second single from Greenwood's third studio album, You've Got a Good Love Comin'. The song shot to #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and #5 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart. The album was certified Gold, which means it sold more than 500,000 units.

Over his 57-year career, Greenwood released more than 20 albums. He's also credited with more than 35 singles on the Billboard country music charts, including seven #1 hits.

Greenwood is best known for his patriotic 1984 song, "God Bless the U.S.A." The song regained its popularity during the Gulf War in 1991, and then again after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Melvin Lee Greenwood was born in South Gate, Calif., in 1942. He grew up on his grandparents' poultry farm and started singing for his church at the age of seven. He started his first band at the age of 20 and performed mostly in Las Vegas casinos. When the band broke up in the 1970s, Greenwood made ends meet by dealing blackjack during the day and singing at night.

In 1979, he was "discovered" in Reno by Larry McFaden, the bassist for Mel Tillis. Two years later, his demo tapes landed at the Nashville division of MCA. Greenwood earned a contract and McFaden was hired on as his manager.

If you were wondering, fool's gold is a shiny yellow mineral called pyrite that bears a great resemblance to gold, but contains little or no precious metal.

Please check out the audio track of Greenwood performing "Fool's Gold." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

Fool's Gold
Written by Timmy Tappan and Don Roth. Performed by Lee Greenwood.

If I only knew then what I know now
You wouldn't be sayin' goodbye
But I let you down, I was never around
When you needed me there by your side
I took a perfect love and gave you a perfect heartache
I took a band of gold and made a 24-karat mistake
and turned it into...

Fool's gold, and I was a fool 'cause I let you go
Fool's gold, yes I was a fool 'cause I didn't know
Too many times I just didn't try
Now all I hear is you sayin' goodbye
Starin' at an empty hand full of fool's gold

If I took the time just holdin' you tight
and sharin' my feelings with you
Then you'd understand what's inside of this man
and you'd know what I'm goin' through
I know that I was wrong now that it's too late
I took a band of gold and made a 24-karat mistake
and turned it into...

Credit: Photo by Yoland Hunter (U.S. Air Force), Public Doman via Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

$24 Million Australian Opal Centre Starts to Take Shape at Lightning Ridge

A world-class facility dedicated to Australia's national gemstone is taking shape at the edge of the outback in New South Wales.

The new Australian Opal Centre in Lightning Ridge — a two-story underground building designed by internationally renowned architects Glenn Murcutt and Wendy Lewin — will be filled with glittering treasures from the earth and the stories of the people who found them.

National, regional and local officials have already raised $14 million to launch the $24 million project. The Australian Opal Centre will be a world-class tourism attraction and an internationally recognized hub for opal-related knowledge, training and certification. In 1994, opal was declared Australia’s National Gemstone.

Opal is often referred to as the Queen of Gems. It boasts every color of the visible spectrum, from deepest and clearest blues and greens to rippling golden orange. Opal's hues also range from delicate pink and violet to rich turquoise, shocking vermilion, carmine and fuchsia.

An opal may contain any or all of these colors, arrayed in wondrous patterns. Opal experts have given these patterns names, such as harlequin, pinfire, Chinese writing, flower garden, mackerel sky, flagstone and rolling flash.

Opals get their color from tiny spheres of silica dioxide. The spheres are so tiny they can only be seen using an electron microscope.

About 90% of the world’s finest opals are mined in the harsh outback of Australia, where a unique combination of geological conditions permitted the formation of opal near the margins of an ancient inland sea.

Interestingly, 95% of the opals found by miners is void of color. These specimens are white, grey or black. The locals call it "potch" and it has very little value. Potch is composed of the exact same mineral as fine opal – spheres of silica dioxide. The only difference is that in potch, the tiny spheres are jumbled, whereas in precious opal they’re all laid out evenly.

The value of a fine opal is based on a number of factors: Brightness, color, pattern, body tone and consistency (how it looks from multiple angles).

Fundraising for the final stage of the Australian Opal Centre will take place while the first stage is constructed and opened to the public. The facility in Lightning Ridge is an eight-hour inland drive from the coastal city of Brisbane.

Credit: Image by Dpulitzer [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, March 11, 2019

A-Rod Proposes to J. Lo With Eye-Popping Emerald-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Back in 2001, Jennifer Lopez famously sang, "My love don't cost a thing," but that didn't stop boyfriend Alex Rodriguez from spending upwards of $5 million for an eye-popping emerald-cut diamond engagement ring. The couple proudly displayed a romantic hand-in-hand photo of the ring on their respective Instagram pages Saturday.

The former New York Yankee and 14-time All Star popped the question to the chart-topping performer and style icon while the two were vacationing at Baker's Bay Golf & Ocean Club in the Northeastern Bahamas.

A-Rod, 43, captioned his post, "She said yes," and punctuated the phrase with a heart emoji. The simple, heartfelt message struck a chord with his followers and received more than one million Likes.

The 49-year-old J. Lo, who claims 88.3 million followers on Instagram, captioned her version of the sweet photo with no words, just eight heart emojis. Her post earned 4.7 million Likes.

The couple hasn't revealed the weight of the diamond or the value of the ring, so jewelry-industry pundits were asked to offer their best guesses when questioned by leading fashion and celebrity websites. Overall, size estimates ranged from 10 to 20 carats, with price tags starting at $1 million and topping out at $5 million. The highest estimate was made with the assumption that the diamond is flawless.

All the experts described the emerald-cut diamond as "classic," a shape that was popular back in the 1920s, and is making a comeback. Included on the growing list of celebrities opting for emerald-cut diamonds are Amal Clooney and Beyoncé.

Because the emerald-cut diamond is so spectacular, Rodriguez chose to go with a very simple setting, one that wouldn't detract from the stone itself. The pundits also said that the elongated shape of the emerald-cut diamond accentuates the length of Lopez's fingers.

When Us Weekly asked Lopez for the secret behind the success of her relationship with Rodriguez, she said, "We just support each other. It’s just how we do it.”

Lopez and Rodriguez have been dating for two years and each has two children from previous marriages. All the kids are between the ages of 10 and 14. This will be the fourth time Lopez has tied the knot. Rodriguez has been married one other time.

Credits: Images via