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 “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, 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 “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.