Friday, November 15, 2019

Music Friday: Eric Clapton Sings of Lessons Learned in 'Diamonds Made From Rain'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, rock legend Eric Clapton sings of lessons learned in his 2010 release, “Diamonds Made From Rain.”

in this bluesy track from his self-titled studio album, Clapton uses both diamond and pearl metaphors to tell the story of an older man who looks back on an imperfect life — humbly acknowledging the mistakes he's made along the way and accepting responsibility.

Clapton has learned from those mistakes and he feels those life experiences have made him a better person.

Clapton sings, “That everything is shown to me / I let it wash over me / Like diamonds made of rain / You can find joy inside the pain.”

Later he adds, “Everything that I've endured / For the wisdom of a pearl / I wouldn't change a thing / You can make diamonds from the rain."

Clapton invited his former love interest, Sheryl Crow, to sing harmonies on “Diamonds Made From Rain.” The pair reportedly had a brief relationship in the late 1990s and it was rumored that her song, “My Favorite Mistake,” is about him. Crow has denied that the song was about Clapton and said the relationship was not a mistake.

Clapton has sold more than 100 million albums and played 3,000-plus concerts during his 57 years as a performing artist. Over that time, more than two billion people in 58 countries across six continents have attended his concerts.

Ranked second on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” the 74-year-old Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream.

Born Eric Patrick Clapton in Surrey, England, in 1945, to a Canadian soldier stationed in England and a teenage mom, the future guitarist was raised by his maternal grandparents, convinced that his mother was his sister. At age nine, he learned that his "sister" was really his mom. Emotionally scarred, he became moody and distant and stopped applying himself at school.

Clapton loved music and got his first guitar on his 13th birthday. In 1961, at age 16, Clapton attended the Kingston College of Art and studied stained-glass design. He was expelled from college after one year because he spent most of his waking hours playing guitar and listening to the blues.

According to Clapton's official bio, he spent his early days in music as a street performer. When he was 17, Clapton joined his first band, The Roosters. To make ends meet, the young Clapton worked as a laborer alongside his grandfather, a master bricklayer. Clapton, who was making a name for himself on the R&B pub circuit, was recruited to become a member of The Yardbirds. The 18-year-old guitarist, who would earn the nickname Slowhand even though his hands were blazing fast, accepted the offer and the rest is history.

We invite you to enjoy the audio track of Clapton performing “Diamonds Made From Rain” at the end of this post. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along...

"Diamonds Made From Rain"
Written by Nikka Costa, Justin Mitchell Stanley and Doyle Bramhall II. Performed by Eric Clapton.

The moment's come and gone
Every memory leaves a trace
All that I've come to know
In the lines upon my face

Every storm that I have turned
Each forgiveness I have earned
Every shame that's taught me grace
From you I have learned

No love is lost
No love is lost

That everything is shown to me
I let it wash over me
Like diamonds made of rain
You can find joy inside the pain

Everything that I've endured
For the wisdom of a pearl
I wouldn't change a thing
You can make diamonds from the rain

Every mile of this road
Every chord that's struck my soul
You are the melody
That will soothe me 'til I'm old

If the promises are kept
I'll waive all of my regrets
I can say I've overcome
With you, my heart is open

No love was lost
No love was lost

That everything is shown to me
I let it wash over me
Like diamonds made of rain
You can find joy inside the pain

Everything that I've endured
For the wisdom of a pearl
I wouldn't change a thing
You can make diamonds from the rain

Credit: Photo by Raph_PH [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

This Gigantic, New Confection Features 3,500 Carats of Faceted Bling

Perfectly timed to coincide with the start of the "engagement season," the Bazooka candy company has introduced a gigantic version of its popular Ring Pop, the colorful confection that looks like a faceted gemstone. While the conventional Ring Pop weighs 40 grams and is equivalent to a 200-carat gemstone, the new Giant Ring Pop weighs 700 grams, or 3,500 carats.

To put this into jewelry-industry perspective, the Giant Ring Pop outweighs the Cullinan Diamond, which is the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found. That stone was unearthed in South Africa in 1905 and tipped the scales at 3,106 carats.

The novelty lollipop, which comes with a bright red "gemstone" mounted on a "gold" plastic ring, sells for $9.98 at Walmart.com and is also available at Party City, Cracker Barrel, IT'SUGAR and Dylan's Candy Bar.

At first glance, the ring's 60 calories per serving seems reasonable. However, a closer look at the nutrition label reveals the sugary fact that the Giant Ring Pop packs 47 servings.

"We are beyond excited to introduce Giant Ring Pop, as this will be a huge surprise for our fans this holiday season," said Allison McCants, Senior Customer Marketing Manager for Bazooka Candy Brands. "Whether you grew up with memories of the iconic brand or looking for the ultimate holiday gift for that special someone, Giant Ring Pop is the perfect way to go BIG!"

Giant Ring Pop is sold in a single 24.7 oz package and is available in Sweet Strawberry flavor. Bazooka believes the enormous lollipop ring is the perfect prop for a fun social media moment.

The foodies at delish.com got up close and personal with the new Giant Ring Pop and reported that "it was just as over-the-top as one would think."

They wrote that the pop "smelled and tasted super nostalgic—the sticky-sweetness of the berry stuck with us for hours after we'd finished tasting it... and we were honestly not mad."

Credit: Image courtesy of Bazooka Candy Brands.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Birthstone Feature: At 19,747 Carats, This Gem Is the Smithsonian's Largest Faceted Citrine

As one of the two official birthstones for the month of November, citrine is the sun-kissed member of the quartz family of gemstones, with colors ranging from the warm hues of golden champagne to the deep orange-browns of Madeira wine. The stone perfectly embodies the color palette of the fall season.

The gem you see below is a smoky citrine from the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection. Sourced in Bahia, Brazil, the modified marquise-shaped gem weighs 19,747 carats, which is equivalent to 139 ounces or 8.69 pounds. It was faceted in 1987 by Michael Gray and acquired for the Collection in 2013.

The enormous gem is the largest faceted citrine displayed in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals at the National Museum of Natural History. Its the most-visited natural history museum in the world and the National Gem Collection consists of approximately 350,000 mineral specimens and 10,000 gems.

Quartz, which is composed of silicon and oxygen, is colorless in its pure state. The Greeks referred to the material as "krystallos," or "ice." But when trace amounts of impurities invade its chemical structure, nature yields a wide range of brilliant hues. Citrine is colored by impurities of iron and is a near-cousin to other popular quartz-family members, including amethyst, rose quartz and tiger's eye.

The name "citrine" is derived from the French word "citron," meaning “lemon.” Most citrine comes from Brazil, but other important sources include Spain, Bolivia, France, Russia, Madagascar and the U.S. (Colorado, North Carolina and California).

As the American Gem Society reports, citrine's durability makes it a lovely option for large, wearable jewelry. With a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, citrine is very resistant to scratches and everyday wear-and-tear.

Citrine wasn’t always an official birthstone for November. The National Association of Jewelers (now Jewelers of America) added it in 1952 as an alternative to topaz.

Credits: Rough citrine crystals from Brazil by PaweĊ‚ Maliszczak [hardleo.com] [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Faceted gem image by Ken Larsen/Smithsonian.