Friday, April 26, 2019

Music Friday: 'Daddy's Little Girl' Is a Precious Gem, Sings Michael Bolton

There are few things in life more sentimental than the father/daughter dance at a wedding, and one of the top tunes for that time-honored tradition is the subject of today's Music Friday treat. Welcome to our weekly review of songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In Michael Bolton's sweet 2003 rendition of "Daddy's Little Girl," the singer describes his daughter as a precious gem.

In the very first verse he sings, "You're the end of the rainbow, my pot of gold / You're Daddy's little girl to have and hold / A precious gem is what you are / A ray of hope, a shining star."

Bolton, incidentally, is the proud papa to three daughters: Isa, Holly and Taryn.

Originally written by Robert Burke and Horace Gerlach exactly 70 years ago, the sing-along ditty has stood the test of time. Made famous by The Mills Brothers in 1950, "Daddy's Little Girl" was revived by Frank Fontaine in 1963 and Al Martino in 1967. Thirty-five years later, in 2002, Michael Bublé featured the song on his Dream album, and a year later the song became the eighth track on Bolton's Vintage album.

The endearing song is still played by DJs at wedding receptions from coast to coast. In fact, iHeartRadio rated it #8 on its list of the "30 Father/Daughter Wedding Dance Songs Perfect for Your Big Day."

Born Michael Bolotin in New Haven, Conn., in 1953, Bolton earned his reputation as one of the top pop-rock balladeers of his generation with mega-hits, such as "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" (1989) and "When a Man Loves a Woman" (1991).

During his career, he's sold more than 75 million records and charted eight Top-10 albums. He's earned two Grammy Awards and six American Music Awards.

Please check out the audio clip of Bolton singing "Daddy's Little Girl." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Daddy's Little Girl"
Written by Robert Burke and Horace Gerlach. Performed by Michael Bolton.

You're the end of the rainbow, my pot of gold
You're Daddy's little girl to have and hold
A precious gem is what you are
A ray of hope, a shining star.

You're a bright as the sunshine, morning's first light
You warm my day and brighten my night
You're sugar, you're spice, you're everything nice
and you're Daddy's Little Girl.

A precious gem that's what you are
A ray of hope, a shining star.

You're a bright as the sunshine, morning's first light
You warm my day and brighten my night
You're sugar, you're spice, you're everything nice
and you're Daddy's little girl.

Credit: Screen capture via

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

At Topaz Mountain in Utah, Amateur Prospectors Get to Keep What They Find

Gem lovers looking for a rustic adventure a little off the beaten path may consider a trip to Topaz Mountain in Utah, where amateur prospectors get to keep whatever they find.

Located about 120 miles southwest of Provo, the Topaz Dome Quarry in Utah's Thomas Range has long been a popular destination for hardcore rockhounds. But, four years ago, Richard Pyne, David Stemmons and their partners established Topaz Mountain Adventures, which allows novices to join in on the fun.

"Our philosophy was to make the premium stuff available to the public," Stemmons told "So we do blasting tours and take you right up to the rock. We don’t keep any of it. Whatever you find is yours to keep.”

Among the treasures at the blast site are many varieties of Utah Topaz and other collectible minerals, such as Bixbyite, a black crystal made from manganese iron oxide. Topaz colors range from a bright amber to a deep sherry.

Pyne explained that Utah Topaz is sensitive to UV light (the type emitted by the sun). Once exposed, the vibrant color can fade to clear. For that reason, the tour operator sells UV-light reflective bags and warns prospectors to keep their precious finds out of the sunlight.

The property that Topaz Mountain Adventures has leased from the state of Utah is adjacent to free public lands also used for prospecting. The difference is that the public lands are very hard to work.

The $30 tours at Topaz Mountain Adventures run for four hours and prospectors can expect to leave the site with a handful of nice specimens, according to Pyne. Tool rentals are available and the staff is happy to assist visitors in identifying what they've found.

According to Pyne, it's not uncommon for a visitor to return to Topaz Mountain Adventures for more easily accessible treasures after working a full day at a free public site and coming up empty.

Topaz Mountain Adventures also offers a premium package at $649, which allows a group of up to eight prospectors to witness an actual blast (seen above) and get first dibs on the treasure found in the freshly exposed rock.

The blast site is 47 miles from the nearest town, and Pyne advised visitors to bring plenty of water and to dress in layers. Spring and fall are the best seasons for prospecting, although temperatures can range from 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the morning to 80 degrees in the afternoon. High temps in July and August can get to 110 degrees.

You can learn more at

Credits: Images courtesy of Topaz Mountain Adventures.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Botswana's 20.46-Carat 'Okavango Blue' Diamond Is Called a 'Once-in-a-Lifetime Find'

The largest blue diamond ever discovered in Botswana — a brilliant 20.46-carat oval gem with Fancy Deep Blue color and VVS2 clarity — was unveiled last week by the state-run Okavango Diamond Company.

"It is incredibly unusual for a stone of this color and nature to have come from Botswana. [It's] a once-in-a-lifetime find," said Okavango's managing director Marcus ter Haar.

The gem, which was cut from a 41.11-carat rough diamond sourced at the Orapa mine, was named "The Okavango Blue" to honor the world heritage site known as the Okavango Delta. The lush delta is the home to hippos, elephants, crocodiles, lions, leopards, giraffes and rhinos.

Okavango Diamond Company will be promoting The Okavango Blue in the lead-up to its sale at the end of 2019. While the company did not reveal what The Okavango Blue might be worth, a similar diamond sold at a Christie's auction in 2016 may hold the answer.

The Cullinan Dream, a 24.18-carat intense blue diamond with a VS2 clarity rating, sold for $25.4 million at Christie's New York in June of 2016. Based on that performance, one might presume The Okavango Blue has the potential to yield about $1 million per carat.

“From the first moment we saw the diamond, it was clear we had something very special,” said the managing director. “Everyone who has viewed the 20-carat polished diamond has marveled at its unique coloration, which many see as unlike any blue stone they have seen before.”

Blue diamonds are extraordinarily rare, owing their color to trace amounts of boron in the diamond crystal lattice.

Despite its tiny size, Botswana is one of the world's leading producers of top-quality diamonds. Botswana's Karowe mine, for instance, was the source of the 1,109-carat Lesedi la Rona — the second-largest rough diamond ever discovered. Diamonds are Botswana's main source of income and account for about 80% of its exports. Okavango Diamond Company is responsible for marketing 15% of the country's diamond production.

"Consumers can purchase Botswana diamonds with a sense of pride knowing that these diamonds are improving the lives of the people of Botswana,” said Okavango chief financial officer Lipalesa Makepe.

Credits: Images courtesy of Okavango Diamond Company.