Friday, August 14, 2020

Music Friday: Tomorrow Brings a Diamond Ring in Traveling Wilburys' 'End of the Line'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you classic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today we feature 1989’s “End of the Line” by the Traveling Wilburys, a supergroup composed of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty.

The hopeful, upbeat song about how everything will be all right in the end includes a key jewelry reference in the verse sung by Petty: "You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring / Waiting for someone to tell you everything / Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring / Maybe a diamond ring."

Characterized by its driving, riding-on-the-rails rhythm, “End of the Line” features all of the Wilburys (except for Dylan) on lead vocals. Harrison, Lynne and Orbison take turns singing the chorus, while Petty sings the verses.

Each legendary artist delivers a tidbit of sagely advice — from doing the best you can and always lending a hand, to remembering to live and let live and doing your best to forgive.

The official music video for “End of the Line” was shot in December 1988, just weeks after the death of Orbison. The Wilburys are having a jam session in what seems to be a vintage rail car, with Orbison represented by a guitar sitting in a rocking chair.

The song appeared as the final track on the group's debut album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, which sold more than 4 million copies and charted in 12 countries, including a #3 position on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and the #1 spot on the Canadian RPM 100 Albums chart. The album also earned a 1990 Grammy award for "Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal."

Of the original Wilburys, only the 72-year old Lynne and the 79-year-old Dylan are still alive. Orbison passed away in 1988 at the age of 52, Harrison died in 2001 at the age of 58 and Petty passed in 2017 at the age of 66.

The supergroup’s unusual name is credited to Harrison, who used “wilbury” as a slang term to describe recording errors caused by faulty equipment. Harrison had recommended “The Trembling Wilburys” as the group’s name, but Lynne came up with “Traveling Wilburys,” and the rest is history.

We hope you enjoy the official video for “End of the Line.” It has been viewed on YouTube more than 54 million times and the lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along...

“End of the Line”
Written by Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty. Performed by the Traveling Wilburys.

Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please
Well it’s all right, doing the best you can
Well it’s all right, as long as you lend a hand

You can sit around and wait for the phone to ring
Waiting for someone to tell you everything
Sit around and wonder what tomorrow will bring
Maybe a diamond ring

Well it’s all right, even if they say you’re wrong
Well it’s all right, sometimes you gotta be strong
Well it’s all right, As long as you got somewhere to lay
Well it’s all right, everyday is Judgement Day

Maybe somewhere down the road aways
You’ll think of me, and wonder where I am these days
Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays
Purple haze

Well it’s all right, even when push comes to shove
Well it’s all right, if you got someone to love
Well it’s all right, everything’ll work out fine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line

Don’t have to be ashamed of the car I drive
I’m just glad to be here, happy to be alive
It don’t matter if you’re by my side
I’m satisfied

Well it’s all right, even if you’re old and grey
Well it’s all right, you still got something to say
Well it’s all right, remember to live and let live
Well it’s all right, the best you can do is forgive

Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please
Well it’s all right, even if the sun don’t shine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line

Credits: Screen capture via YouTube.com. Fender Stratocaster photo by Andrew King / CC BY-SA.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Alrosa Unveils Massive 236-Carat Fancy Intense Yellow-Brown Diamond

Russian mining giant Alrosa recently unearthed a massive 236-carat fancy intense yellow-brown diamond at its Ebelyakh mine in Yakutia. It's the largest natural color rough diamond ever found in Russia.

The beautiful specimen, which seems to display a surreal inner glow, measures 47mm x 24mm x 22mm (slightly wider than a golf ball). Its "fancy intense" color is one grade below the highest classification of "fancy vivid."

The stone is currently being evaluated by specialists at Alrosa’s United Selling Organization.

"After that, we will decide whether to give it to our manufacturers for cutting or sell it as a rough," said Pavel Vinikhin, the head of diamonds for Alrosa's cutting and polishing division. "Of course, cutters in any country will be interested in such a [specimen], as it has the potential to [yield] several high-quality polished diamonds.”

The Ebelyakh alluvial diamond deposit is located on the Anabar River, which runs through the Central Siberian Plateau. The remote area is 3,800 km northeast of Moscow, near the Arctic Ocean.

The mine was previously in the news for yielding a number of high-profile fancy color diamonds. In the summer of 2017, Alrosa mined three unique fancy color diamonds within a single month: a yellow, pink and purple-pink. All three stones were cut by the Diamonds of Alrosa division and presented as polished diamonds to the public.

At the end of 2019, a polished 20.69-carat fancy vivid yellow diamond called Firebird was sold by Alrosa to luxury jeweler Graff Diamonds.

Already the world’s leading diamond producer in terms of sheer output, Alrosa is looking to become a bigger player in a segment of the industry that had been dominated by Rio Tinto and Anglo American’s De Beers — gem-quality colored diamonds.

Alrosa’s push is coming at a time when Rio Tinto’s Argyle Mine in Western Australia — the world’s primary source for pink, red and blue diamonds — is just about tapped out. The mine is scheduled to close at the end of 2020.

Credits: Images courtesy of Alrosa.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Metal Detectorist Reunites LI Man With Locket Containing His Brother's Ashes

A young Long Island man got the best birthday gift he could have ever asked for when a thumbprint locket containing his brother's ashes was returned to him by a Good Samaritan with a metal detector. 

Fiction writer and avid metal detectorist Danny McAleese discovered the precious keepsake at Smith Point County Park beach in New York's Suffolk County this past Wednesday.

The father of four said he's had a metal detector for a long time. He's found gold items and silver items, but this recent discovery was the most unusual.

"I was sweeping the beach for about two hours and I was just about to quit and I got a really nice hit," he said. "It was 8 or 10 inches down. Right where the water meets the sand. It popped out, this thumbprint. It looked really strange to me."

The oval locket measured 1 1/2 inches tall and was inscribed with this message: "Joseph I will carry you with me until I see you again."

McAleese thought the inscription might be a prayer, but his wife, Aurelia, correctly identified it as a deeply personal sentiment. The locket was a cremation pendant.

Aurelia told her husband, "We have to find who owns this."

McAleese and his wife posted pics of the thumbprint pendant to Facebook, where is was quickly shared by more than 1,000 users.

Within a few hours, the message had made its was to Hershey Park, Pa., where Dylan Miller was celebrating his birthday with his family.

Miller posted his response: "Wow today's my birthday and that's my necklace with my brother's ashes that I lost last week -- thank you so much I didn't think anyone would ever find that."

Dylan's old brother and role model, Joseph, had passed away two years ago. The younger Miller lost the pendant while tossing a football around at the beach.

"For three hours I was basically crawling on the sand, moving my hands around trying to find it," Miller told News12.

With Miller still in Hershey, Pa., a News12 reporter was able set up a video conference to connect the young man with the husband-and-wife team responsible for finding the cherished pendant and locating him on social media.

"Thank you so much. I can't put into words how grateful I am that you found it," Miller said.

"I can't put into words how happy I am that you're going to get your brother back. That's awesome," Danny McAleese responded.

"Thanks. I couldn't have asked for a better birthday gift," the young man said.

Credits: Screen captures via longisland.new12.com

Friday, August 07, 2020

Music Friday: Jake Owen's ‘Days of Gold’ Celebrates a Sensational Southern Summer

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, country star Jake Owen celebrates a sensational Southern summer in his 2013 release, "Days of Gold."

Owen reminisces about the days of yesteryear when he could hang out with good friends, drive his long-bed truck, sip ice-cold beer and feel the sun beating down on his skin.

He sings, "Beers ice cold and got a pretty little lady to hold / Southern summer and that sun shining down like Daddy’s silver dollar / Gotta hop on the old dirt road to the days of gold."

The 38-year-old Owen explained to songfacts.com that "the days of gold are the good times… the times we remember, the times we reflect on. I'll always look back on my life and remember these days... the days of gold!"

"Days of Gold" was written and released in 2012 by Jaren Johnston and Neil Mason of the music group, The Cadillac Three. Owen liked the song so much, he asked the writers if he could cover it for his next album. Owen's rendition quickly climbed to #19 on Billboard’s U.S. Hot Country Songs chart and #28 on the Canada Country chart. Its instant success was helped along by the singer’s appearance on NBC’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, where he performed the song live.

"Growing up in Florida and being someone who was used to always living in the sunshine… I thought it was really important to have a song that personified that," Owen told radio.com. "[And] just with the melodic structure and the tempo of that song, it seemed very conducive for the kind of atmosphere I want to have at my concerts."

The title track from Owen’s fourth studio album, “Days of Gold” has earned critical acclaim. Taste of Country music reviewer Billy Dukes wrote that “Days of Gold” isn’t a song, it’s a statement. “Words like ‘uptempo’ or ‘rockin’ don’t even begin to describe the pace the singer keeps up for over three spellbinding minutes,” he wrote.

The Vero Beach, Fla., native first captured the national spotlight with his hits “Startin’ With Me,” “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” and “Eight Second Ride.” He earned a Grammy nomination in 2008 and was named the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Vocalist in 2009.

Owen has toured with chart-topping country artists Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Little Big Town, Sugarland, Keith Urban and Jason Aldean.

Trivia: Owen's dream of becoming a professional golfer was sidelined when he was injured in a wakeboarding accident. During his recovery from reconstructive surgery, he borrowed a neighbor's guitar and taught himself how to play. The rest is history.

Please check out the video of Owen's rendition of “Days of Gold.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Days of Gold”
Written by Jaren Johnston and Neil Mason. Performed by Jake Owen.

Long truck bed hop in it, fire engine red like her lipstick
Out here we can let it go
But just me and my good friends
Jug of wine, a little sip
Out here baby you just never know

Yeah, these are the days of gold
Well it’s a Southern summer, whiskey's in the air, dogs on the burner
Beer's ice cold and got a pretty little lady to hold
Southern summer and that sun shining down like Daddy’s silver dollar
Gotta hop on the old dirt road to the days of gold

A little July sky so high, moon shine by the riverside
Stealing hearts and running wild
Yeah our own world, Tennessee boys and girls running free out here it’s good times for miles
Yeah, these are the days of gold

Well it’s a Southern summer, whiskey's in the air, dogs on the burner
Beer's ice cold and got a pretty little lady to hold
Southern summer and that sun shining down like Daddy’s silver dollar
Gotta hop on the old dirt road to the days of gold

A little bit of you, a little bit of me
What you wanna do, what’s it’s gonna be
We can get wild, we can live free
Or you can shake it for me baby like a tambourine
Slice of watermelon and you spit the seeds

Sweat on your back stickin' to the seats
We can take off and beat the heat
I'll be buzzin' on you honey like a bumblebee

Yeah it’s a Southern summer, whiskey's in the air dogs on the burner
Beer's ice cold and got a pretty little lady to hold
Southern summer and that sun shining down like Daddy’s silver dollar
Gotta hop on the old dirt road to the days of gold

Credit: Photo by Lunchbox LP / CC BY.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

HGTV Star Tarek El Moussa Thrills Heather Rae Young With Lucky 8-Carat Diamond

Heather Rae Young told her 932,000 Instagram followers that she is "absolutely obsessed" with her new 8.08-carat emerald-cut diamond and that she can't stop staring at it.

The 32-year-old former model and Selling Sunset reality TV star received the gorgeous ring during a romantic beachfront proposal orchestrated by Tarek El Moussa, who is best known for his hit HGTV show, Flip or Flop. In the lead-up to the proposal, which was filmed by HGTV, Young was led down a sandy pathway lined with candles and flowers.

El Moussa recruited jewelry designer Benny Hayoun of Los Angeles-based Benny and the Gems to help him source the perfect stone. Emerald is her favorite diamond cut and the carat weight of 8.08 is significant because "8" is Young's lucky number. (Eight is also said to be the luckiest number in Chinese culture, as it represents prosperity and happiness.)

"It’s perfect for me in every way!," Young exclaimed on Instagram. "Thank you Mr. El Moussa for making me the happiest!"

Young posted a series of proposal photos and asked her Instagram followers for feedback about the ring.

"Do you guys love it??? Tell me tell me!!" she wrote.

Comments were unanimously positive, with @gemmaleefarrell stating, "Literally insane," @southern.with.sass adding, "Gorgeous! Emerald cut is my absolute FAVE. Classic and timeless," and @brittanymasonofficial exclaiming, "Incredible!!!! GORGEOUS emeralds are the best! Well done."

Within four days, the post had earned more than 111,000 likes.

Young shared the inside story of how she almost got a peek of the diamond prematurely while El Moussa was filming an episode of Flip or Flop. Young was visiting the set, hanging out in a luxury van, when her boyfriend approached her and said that under no circumstances should she come outside the van or open the blinds.

"I asked him for days 'What were you doing? When can you tell me?' He wouldn’t budge. It was a hard no! Well turns out he was meeting with Benny to look at the diamond. They had it shipped in from Europe."

On his Instagram page, the 38-year-old El Moussa proudly posted pics of the emerald-cut diamond ring, adding the caption, "After receiving hundreds of messages, here it is...the RING!! My good buddy and jeweler @bennyandthegems searched all over the world for this stone!. I went with an 8.08 Carat Emerald cut diamond for my love @heatherraeyoung. So...How did I do!? Hope you like it!"

El Moussa hinted that the ring is actually a work in progress.

"Right now, I just got her the main stone, but what I want to do is design the rest of the ring together," he said. "I provide the stone, and now we actually build the ring.”

The couple told a celebrity website that they won't officially tie the knot until things are "back to normal." They're hoping that health risks related to the coronavirus pandemic will subside so they can tie the knot in about 12 months.

Credits: Images via Instagram.com/heatherraeyoung.

Monday, August 03, 2020

World's Largest Faceted Peridot and the Brooklyn Bridge Have This in Common

Here's a birthstone riddle for the month of August: What do the world's largest faceted peridot and the Brooklyn Bridge have in common?

If you're stumped, a little background may help...

About the Peridot
The 311-carat faceted peridot (shown in the grouping, above) is currently part of the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection in Washington, DC, but originated on Egypt's Saint John's Island in the Red Sea.

As early as 1500 B.C., ancient Egyptians mined peridot on that same island (then known as Topazios) and anointed the vibrant green stone as the “gem of the sun.”

Legend has it that miners on the island worked day and night to collect the green gems for the Pharaoh. Nighttime mining was possible because of the way the gems reacted to lamp light in the darkness. It is also believed that many, if not all, of Cleopatra's emeralds were actually deep green peridot stones from the Topazios mines.

While nearly all of the peridot that you see in your jeweler’s showcase was born deep within the Earth’s mantel, it's also first gem to be discovered on another planet. The Mars landing of 2003 revealed that green peridot crystals — in the form of the gem’s less-precious cousin, olivine — cover about 19,000 square miles of the Red Planet’s surface.

About the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge was one of the most impressive engineering feats of the 19th century. Designed by John A. Roebling, the world's largest suspension bride at that time would span 1,595.5 feet, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan. The 14-year project was started in 1869, the same year Roebling would pass away at the age of 63.

Roebling's son, Washington, supervised the construction of his dad's vision, with the assistance of his wife, Emily. On May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was unveiled to the world during a celebration attended by President Chester A. Arthur, Gov. Grover Cleveland of New York and hundreds of thousands of curious onlookers. Circus promoter P.T. Barnum famously displayed the strength of the bridge by leading 21 elephants across it.

What's in Common?
What few people know about Washington Roebling was that the world famous civil engineer was an avid collector of rocks and minerals. Upon his death in 1926, Roebling's collection of 16,000 specimens and an endowment of $150,000 for its maintenance were donated by his son, John A. Roebling II, to the Smithsonian Institution. The collection, which included the world's largest faceted peridot, would became an integral part of the National Gem Collection.

So, what connects the famous peridot with the famous bridge? Washington Roebling.

Credits: Image of peridot grouping by Chip Clark/Smithsonian. Brooklyn Bridge by Suiseiseki / CC BY-SA.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Music Friday: Country Star Cody Johnson's Got a Diamond in His Pocket

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country star Cody Johnson's hands are shaking like a canebrake rattler as he pops the question in his 2011 release, "Diamond In My Pocket."

In the song, Johnson portrays a young man who realizes, despite his anxiety, that there will never be a better time to make the ultimate commitment to the love of his life. He can't afford to take her to a Broadway play, so he opts for a midnight ride to Kickapoo Creek, where the crickets are singing to the radio. With a shooting star flashing across the sky, Johnson lays it all on the line.

He sings, "Cause baby, there's a shooting star, / That was for me and you. / So, hold me tight, and make that wish, and pray that it comes true. / I ain't sure of much, / But this I know... / I got a diamond in my pocket and my baby's got a heart of gold."

Written by Johnson, Trent Wayne Willmon and Thomas Daniel Green, "Diamond In My Pocket" appeared as the third track on Johnson's self-released album, A Different Day.

Johnson is credited with six self-released albums, the last of which made its debut at #2 on the Billboard U.S. Country Albums chart without the benefit of major label support or widespread radio play. His seventh album, Ain't Nothin' to It, was released via Warner Bros. Records Nashville and reached #1 on the Billboard U.S. Country Albums chart.

The 33-year-old country star's road to success was hardly paved with gold. Born in Sebastopol, Texas, Johnson discovered his passion for music as a pre-teen and started writing songs in junior high school. In 2006, at the age of 19, he formed the Cody Johnson Band with his dad, Carl, and drummer Nathan Reedy. The group played the rodeo circuit and sold albums out of the back of Johnson's pickup truck.

The struggling artist worked as a corrections officer in Huntsville, Texas, but his wife, Brandi, encouraged him to pursue his dream and record full time. In 2011, Johnson got a big break when he won the Texas Regional Music Award for New Male Vocalist of the Year. That accomplishment landed him better gigs at larger venues. He became the first unsigned independent artist to play to a sold-out crowd at the 74,177-seat Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Please check out the video of Johnson's live performance of "Diamond In My Pocket" at the Troubadour music room in Dallas. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Diamond In My Pocket"
Written by Trent Wayne Willmon, Thomas Daniel Green and Cody Daniel Johnson. Performed by Cody Johnson.

Saturday night and the moon is out
Just shinin' over top of the pines
I'm headin' on down to my baby's house
Gonna take her on a midnight ride
Down those backroads winding down to Kickapoo Creek
Dancin' and singin' to some good ol' boys like me

Baby, there's a shooting star,
That was for me and you.
So, hold me tight, and make that wish, and pray that it comes true.
I ain't sure of much,
But this I know...
I got a diamond in my pocket and my baby's got a heart of gold.

I brought along a little courage and Coleman cooler just to help me out
My hands are shaking like canebrake rattler,
Nothing's gonna save me now
Might as well jump in head first, lay it all on the line
What am I worrying about never gonna be a more perfect time

Cause baby, there's a shooting star,
That was for me and you.
So, hold me tight, and make that wish, and pray that it comes true.
I ain't sure of much,
But this I know...
I got a diamond in my pocket and my baby's got a heart of gold.

Well I didn't have money for a Broadway show but the crickets are singing to the radio.
And we got tickets, on the very front porch.

Baby, there's a shooting star,
That was for me and you.
So, hold me tight, and make that wish, and pray that it comes true.
I ain't sure of much,
But this I know...
Well, I got a diamond in my pocket and my baby's got a heart of gold.

I got a diamond in my pocket and my baby's got a heart of gold.
Yeah, my baby's got a heart of gold.

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

GIA and IBM Join Forces to Introduce Artificial Intelligence to Diamond Clarity Grading

In a move that promises to fundamentally change the way diamonds are graded for clarity, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) has joined forces with tech giant IBM to add artificial intelligence (AI) to the process.

GIA, the world’s leading independent diamond identification and grading authority, and IBM Research, one of the world’s largest and most influential corporate research labs, are developing an advanced AI system built on the standards of GIA’s universally recognized International Diamond Grading System™. The artificial intelligence is fueled by data from tens of millions of diamonds examined by GIA’s expert diamond graders in the Institute’s state-of-the-art grading laboratories around the world.

The example, above, shows how an image captured using GIA-developed hardware trains IBM Research’s artificial intelligence software to recognize inclusions and reflections. In the computer rendering, the AI system has correctly identified the clarity characteristics, enabling the AI system to assign a clarity grade.

“GIA is uniquely positioned to leverage AI and set a new bar in diamond grading standards,” said Tom Moses, GIA executive vice president and chief laboratory and research officer. “IBM’s AI technology combined with GIA’s expertise, extensive data and gemological research capabilities enables us to deliver advancements in consistency, accuracy and speed unlike any other organization.”

The proprietary system, which is now in limited use in the Institute’s New York and Carlsbad laboratories, will dramatically expand the reach of GIA’s independent diamond grading reports. Initially concentrating on the most popular diamond sizes, GIA will scale the AI system to bring accurate and efficient diamond grading to more diamond sizes, shapes and qualities.

“Adding AI to our grading methodology reflects GIA’s commitment to protecting consumers in new ways,” said Pritesh Patel, GIA’s senior vice president and chief operating officer, who leads the Institute’s digital transformation effort. “We are proud to be the first to collaborate with IBM to bring this innovative approach to the gem and jewelry industry, especially as we prepare to adapt to the accelerated changes we know are coming. This is just the beginning.”

“This newest application of IBM Research’s AI technology for the diamond industry combines GIA’s deep gemological knowledge and data with IBM’s leadership in AI innovation,” said Donna Dillenberger, IBM Fellow, Enterprise Solutions at IBM Research. “This system has the ability to accurately and consistently evaluate the overall effect of diamond clarity features like never before.”

Plans are in development to expand the collaboration between GIA and IBM for future projects combining gemological evaluation and AI.

Credits: Images © GIA.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Demi Lovato Thrills 88.9MM Instagram Fans With Pics of Her New Engagement Ring

This past Thursday, songstress Demi Lovato thrilled her 88.9 million Instagram followers with romantic pics of her Malibu engagement to actor Max Ehrich, who proposed with a massive emerald-cut diamond ring.

Jewelry-industry insiders told various celebrity websites that the center stone appeared to be 8 to 10 carats with a value of $500,000 or more, depending on the color, cut and clarity of the stone.

The center stone is set with double-claw prongs in white metal (likely platinum) and is flanked by two trapezoid-shaped diamonds, adding approximately 2 carats to the total weight of the ring.

Eonline.com reported that the ring was designed by Beverly Hills-based Peter Marco using the center stone from an heirloom necklace.

Lovato and Ehrich shared of series of pics on their respective Instagram pages.

The “Skyscraper” singer wrote, "@maxehrich - I knew I loved you the moment I met you. It was something I can’t describe to anyone who hasn’t experienced it firsthand but luckily you did too. I’ve never felt so unconditionally loved by someone in my life (other than my parents) flaws and all. You never pressure me to be anything other than myself. And you make me want to be the best version of myself. I’m honored to accept your hand in marriage. I love you more than a caption could express but I’m ecstatic to start a family and life with you. I love you forever my baby. My partner. Here’s to our future!!!!

Lovato, 27, also gave a shoutout to photographer Angelo Kritikos, who hid behind boulders to capture the romantic, beachside proposal.

Ehrich's caption read, "Ahhhh. You are every love song, every film, every lyric, every poem, everything I could ever dream of and then some in a partner in life. Words cannot express how infinitely in love with you I am forever and always and then some. I cannot spend another second of my time here on Earth without the miracle of having you as my wife. here’s to forever baby. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh."

The former Young and the Restless actor, 29, punctuated the post with an engagement ring emoji.

The couple's engagement comes less than four months after People magazine revealed they were dating.

Us magazine reported that the surge in popularity of emerald-cut diamonds is attributed to the way the elongated shape flatters the wearer's finger. The shape has been favored by Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Lawrence, Nikki Bella and Alex Guarnashelli, to name a few.

Credits: Images via Instagram/ddlovato; Instagram.com/maxehrich.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Music Friday: Danny Vera Extols the Virtues of Hard Work in 'Pressure Makes Diamonds'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you new tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Netherlands-born Danny Vera extols the virtues of hard work in his 2019 international release, "Pressure Makes Diamonds."

The song's basic theme draws on the fact that pure carbon can become a diamond when the element is subjected to high temperatures and extreme pressure deep within the Earth. In the song, "pressure makes diamonds" becomes a metaphor for how success can only be achieved by learning from our mistakes and powering through obstacles.

He sings, "Pressure makes diamonds, not silver or gold / It breaks to pieces the hardest of stone / And it shines brighter than the stars that you know / Pressure makes diamonds and hard work pays off."

Later in the song, the 43-year-old singer-songwriter-musician gives a nod to the labor-intensive diamond-cutting process when making his case for having a strong work ethic: "You have to sharpen the edges, smoothen the surface / It’ll take you some time ’cause it’s rough and it’s tough."

Written by Vera under his birth name, Danny Polfliet, "Pressure Makes Diamonds" is the ninth track of Vera's 2019 album, Pressure Makes Diamonds 1&2.

Although he was born and raised in the southern Dutch province of Zeeland, Vera's musical style was heavily influenced by Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Chris Isaak and his idol, Elvis Presley. In The Netherlands, Vera's genre is considered "Americana" — a mix of country, rock, folk, bluegrass and blues.

Vera formed his first band in 1999 and earned a record contract with Universal Music in 2002. Vera's career got a big boost in 2009, when he and his band landed a running gig on Holland's popular sports talk show, Voetbal Inside.

Please check out the video of Vera's live performance of "Pressure Makes Diamonds." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Pressure Makes Diamonds"
Written by Danny Polfliet. Performed by Danny Vera.

Pressure makes diamonds, not silver or gold
It breaks to pieces the hardest of stone
And it shines brighter than the stars that you know
Pressure makes diamonds and hard work pays off

Pressure makes diamonds, no giant can hold
He thought he could carry this world on his own
But even the strongest can’t do it alone
Pressure makes diamonds and hard work pays off

You have to sharpen the edges, smoothen the surface
It’ll take you some time ’cause it’s rough and it’s tough

Then you will find what you’re looking for
They’ll appear like a falling star
Shake off the dirt and let it shine

Pressure makes diamonds, a long heavy road
First the weight on your shoulders, it’s crushing your bones
And then it gets darker than the blackest of coal
Then pressure makes diamonds, ’cause hard work pays off

You have to sharpen the edges, smoothen the surface
It’ll take you some time ’cause it’s rough and it’s tough

Then you will find what you’re looking for
They’ll appear like a falling star
Shake off the dirt and let it shine

Pressure makes diamonds, not silver or gold
It breaks to pieces the hardest of stone
And it shines brighter than the stars that you know
Pressure makes diamonds and hard work pays off
Pressure makes diamonds and hard work pays off

Credit: Image by Paul Luberti / CC BY.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

This Modern-Day Cinderella Story Comes With a Surprising Male Twist

When Doug Faucher pulled a men's wedding band from the sand near Cato's Bridge in Jupiter, FL, he was determined to use the power of social media to solve the mystery and right the wrong.

"Marriage is sacred and I’m sure the rightful owner was devastated when [he] lost this wedding ring," the Tequesta, FL, resident wrote on Facebook.

Interestingly, the Good Samaritan didn't hesitate to post photos of the white gold ring even though it wasn't inscribed and had no other unusual markings. The way Faucher was able to verify the owner was the same way Prince Charming was able to match the glass slipper with Cinderella. It was all about the fit.

It was late June when Faucher turned to Facebook to implore his friends from Jupiter and Tequesta to share his post until the owner could be found.

Along with three photos of the rings, Faucher offered details of how he was "chillin in lap deep water" south of Cato's Bridge in a spot the locals call "Sand Mountain."

He also told the Palm Beach CBS affiliate, CBS12, that he had been sitting in the water with his hands in the sand.

"Next thing I knew, I found the ring,” Faucher said. “I free dive a lot in the local area. Sometimes I find a $10 bill or a $20 bill that might have fallen out of a surfer’s pocket, but nothing of this significance.”

About three weeks later, one of the 500-plus shared posts found its way to Jason Baxter, a resident of Palm Beach Gardens, who had accidentally dropped his ring in the water while on a boat outing. That was three years ago.

“I got a post from Jason and Jason said, ‘Hey, I think that’s my ring. Then he also attached two photographs with it. One photograph was when he was signing his marriage certificate,” Faucher said. “You can really see how the ring looked and obviously it was a perfect match.”

More importantly, Faucher needed to confirm Baxter's very unusual ring size.

(A well known online jeweler claims the most commonly purchased men's rings range between size 8 and 10.5, with size 9 being the most popular. Other sources report that their most popular men's ring size is 10.)

Faucher knew he had his man “because it’s a very large ring and Jason has a size 13 finger,” Faucher told CBS12. “He was so excited and I can’t wait to get the ring to him.”

The TV station reported that life has changed dramatically for Baxter since his lost his wedding ring three years ago. He's now a father of three, including newborn twins.

“Never in a million years did I ever think I would see this ring again,” he told CBS12.

“It shows a lot about his character, that he would take the time and the effort to try to find the owner," Baxter continued. "I’m sure he was thinking it’s a one in a million shot that he would find me, and he did. Again, it shows a lot about Doug’s character and the kind of person he is and I’m very thankful.”

Credits: Images via facebook.com/douglas.faucher.77.

Monday, July 20, 2020

115-Carat Pear-Shaped Diamond Is the Star of Christie's New York Auction

A 115.83-carat pear-shaped diamond is the star of Christie's upcoming Magnificent Jewels auction in New York. The F-color, VVS1 gem dangles from a majestic 19-inch platinum necklace that is completely encircled by 51 pear-shaped diamonds, 31 of which range in size from 0.97 to 5.50 carats.

This headliner — The Property of a Lady — is expected to fetch between $5 million and $7 million when the hammer comes down on July 29. The piece has the highest pre-sale estimate and any item in the sale and is slated to be the last of 264 lots offered.

The Christies sale includes a wide range of head turning gems and jewelry from prominent private collections. Here are some of our favorites...

• The item with the second-highest presale estimate is a platinum ring featuring a fancy intense blue pear-shaped diamond weighing 7.16 carats. The center stone is rated internally flawless and is expected to sell in the range of $3.5 million to $5 million.

• Another impressive pear-shaped diamond in the sale is this 25.22-carat gem, which boasts a D color and VVS2 clarity. The diamond is set on a platinum diamond band accented with circular-cut diamonds. This piece is expected to sell for $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

• Listed as the property of an important private collector, this "Sky Tower" necklace was designed by Anna Hu. The piece, which carries a presale estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million, features a carved jadeite plaque placed over an irregularly-shaped shield inlayed with circular-cut white and yellow diamonds. The central portion of the titanium and 18-karat white gold necklace may be detached and worn as a brooch.

• A superb Art Deco sapphire and diamond sautoir by Bulgari features an oval cabochon star sapphire and 28 oval cabochon sapphires in a piece that can be detached and worn as two bracelets. The platinum and white gold necklace was created circa 1930 and carries an estimated price of $650,000 to $850,000.

• A cushion mixed-cut Ceylon sapphire weighing 53.48 carats is set on a platinum band accented by circular-cut diamonds. Christie's expects the piece to sell in the range of $500,000 to $700,000.

• Weighing 7.65 carats is the fancy light purplish pink pear-shaped diamond at the center of this platinum and 18-karat rose gold ring. The pretty, VS2-clarity center stone is accented with tapered baguette-cut diamonds. The presale estimate for this piece is $400,000 to $600,000.

• Fans of yellow diamonds will be excited to see this internally flawless 11.06-carat cut-cornered, rectangular-cut diamond. The stone is rated fancy vivid yellow and is set on an 18-karat yellow gold band accented with circular-cut diamonds. Presale estimate: $400,000 to $500,000.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie's.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Music Friday: Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton Calls Himself a 'Diamond in the Rough'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Alexander Hamilton sees himself as a "diamond in the rough" in "My Shot," the rousing Act 1 hit from Lin-Manuel Miranda's blockbuster Broadway show. Miranda famously portrays the 19-year-old founding father in a musical about young revolutionaries and their determination to rise up against the British. Hamilton on Broadway has grossed more than a half billion dollars.

In the first verse of the 5:34 rap, Miranda's character knows he's smart and well spoken, but acknowledges that he's also young and a bit rough around the edges.

He sings, "I probably shouldn't brag, but dag, I amaze and astonish / The problem is I got a lot of brains but no polish / I gotta holler just to be heard / With every word, I drop knowledge! / I'm a diamond in the rough, a shiny piece of coal / Tryin' to reach my goal."

The "young, scrappy and hungry" Hamilton vows to lead the charge against oppression, repeating throughout the song that he's not going to throw away his shot at making a difference.

Although Hamilton opened on Broadway more than five years ago, the show recently earned a big boost and broader audience when Disney Plus released the Hamilton movie on its popular streaming service just before U.S. Independence Day. The offering spiked Disney Plus downloads by 752,000 over the holiday weekend.

The Hamilton movie features the original cast and is essentially a "live" recording — using six cameras — of an actual Broadway performance.

In 2016, Hamilton earned a record 16 Tony nominations and won 11 awards, including Best Musical. The play also won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Despite the accolades, Miranda reminded fans that the show was "no overnight success." It took the composer/lyricist/actor/singer seven years to write the play, including a full year of revisions to today's featured song, "My Shot."

Please check out the audio clip of Miranda and the cast of Hamilton performing “My Shot.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

"My Shot"
Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kejuan Waliek and Albert Johnson. Performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and the original cast of Hamilton.

I am not throwing away my shot!
I am not throwing away my shot!
Hey yo, I'm just like my country
I'm young, scrappy and hungry
And I'm not throwing away my shot!
I'm 'a get a scholarship to King's College
I probably shouldn't brag, but dag, I amaze and astonish
The problem is I got a lot of brains but no polish
I gotta holler just to be heard
With every word, I drop knowledge!
I'm a diamond in the rough, a shiny piece of coal
Tryin' to reach my goal. My power of speech: unimpeachable
Only nineteen but my mind is older
These New York City streets get colder, I shoulder
Every burden, every disadvantage
I have learned to manage, I don't have a gun to brandish
I walk these streets famished

Ooh!

The plan is to fan this spark into a flame
But damn, it's getting dark, so let me spell out the name
I am the

A-L-E-X-A-N-D
E-R we are meant to be…

A colony that runs independently
Meanwhile, Britain keeps shittin' on us endlessly
Essentially, they tax us relentlessly
Then King George turns around, runs a spending spree
He ain't ever gonna set his descendants free
So there will be a revolution in this century
Enter me!

(He says in parentheses)

Don't be shocked when your history book mentions me
I will lay down my life if it sets us free
Eventually, you'll see my ascendancy

And I am not throwing away
My shot (My shot)
I am not throwing away
My shot (My shot)
Hey yo, I'm just like my country
I'm young, scrappy and hungry
And I'm not throwing away my shot (And I'm not throwing away my shot)

I am not throwing away my shot
I am not throwing away my shot
Hey yo, I'm just like my country
I'm young, scrappy and hungry
And I'm not throwing away my shot
It's time to take a shot!

I dream of life without a monarchy
The unrest in France will lead to 'onarchy?
'Onarchy? How you say, how you say, oh, 'Anarchy'!
When I fight, I make the other side panicky
With my

Shot!

Yo, I'm a tailor's apprentice
And I got y'all knuckleheads in loco parentis
I'm joining the rebellion 'cause I know it's my chance
To socially advance, instead of sewin' some pants!
I'm gonna take a

Shot!

And but we'll never be truly free
Until those in bondage have the same rights as you and me
(That's right!)
You and I. Do or die. Wait 'til I sally in
On a stallion with the first black battalion
Have another

Shot!

Geniuses, lower your voices
You keep out of trouble and you double your choices
I'm with you, but the situation is fraught
You've got to be carefully taught:
If you talk, you're gonna get shot!

Burr, check what we got
Mister Lafayette, hard rock like Lancelot
I think your pants look hot
Laurens, I like you a lot
Let's hatch a plot blacker than the kettle callin' the pot...
What are the odds the gods would put us all in one spot
Poppin' a squat on conventional wisdom, like it or not
A bunch of revolutionary manumission abolitionists?
Give me a position, show me where the ammunition is!

Oh, am I talkin' too loud?
Sometimes I get over-excited, shoot off at the mouth
I never had a group of friends before
I promise that I'll make y'all proud

Let's get this guy in front of a crowd

I am not throwing away my shot
I am not throwing away my shot
Hey yo, I'm just like my country
I'm young, scrappy and hungry
And I'm not throwing away my shot

I am not throwing away my shot
I am not throwing away my shot
Hey yo, I'm just like my country
I'm young, scrappy and hungry
And I'm not throwing away my shot

Everybody sing:
Whoa, whoa, whoa (Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!)
Hey!
Whoa! (Whoa!)
Wooh!
Whoa! (Whoa!)
Ay, let 'em hear ya!
(Yeah!)
Let's go!

(Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!)
I said shout it to the rooftops! (Whoa!)
Said, to the rooftops! (Whoa!)
Come on!
(Yeah!)
Come on, let's go!

Rise up!
When you're living on your knees, you rise up
Tell your brother that he's gotta rise up
Tell your sister that she's gotta rise up

When are these colonies gonna rise up?
When are these colonies gonna rise up? (Whoa!)
When are these colonies gonna rise up? (Whoa!)
When are these colonies gonna rise up? (Whoa!)
Rise up!

I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
When's it gonna get me?
In my sleep? Seven feet ahead of me?
If I see it comin', do I run or do I let it be?
Is it like a beat without a melody?
See, I never thought I'd live past twenty
Where I come from some get half as many
Ask anybody why we livin' fast and we laugh, reach for a flask
We have to make this moment last, that's plenty

Scratch that
This is not a moment, it's the movement
Where all the hungriest brothers with something to prove went.
Foes oppose us, we take an honest stand
We roll like Moses, claimin' our promised land
And? If we win our independence?
Is that a guarantee of freedom for our descendants?
Or will the blood we shed begin an endless
Cycle of vengeance and death with no defendants?

I know the action in the street is excitin'
But Jesus, between all the bleedin' 'n fightin'
I've been readin' 'n writin'
We need to handle our financial situation
Are we a nation of states? What's the state of our nation?

I'm past patiently waitin'. I'm passionately
Smashin' every expectation
Every action's an act of creation!
I'm laughin' in the face of casualties and sorrow
For the first time, I'm thinkin' past tomorrow.

And I am not throwing away my shot
I am not throwing away my shot
Hey yo, I'm just like my country
I'm young, scrappy and hungry
And I'm not throwing away my shot

We're gonna rise up! (Not throwing away my shot) Time to take a shot!
We're gonna rise up! (Not throwing away my shot) Time to take a shot!
We're gonna (Rise up! Rise up!)
It's time to take a shot! (Rise up! Rise up!)
It's time to take a shot! (Rise up!)
(Rise up!) (Woooah!)
It's time to take a shot! (Rise up!)
Take a shot! Shot! Shot!
A-yo it's time to take a shot!
Time to take a shot!
And I am not throwing away my
Not throwing away my shot!

Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Exciting Run of Good Luck Continues at Arkansas's Crater of Diamonds State Park

Sometimes good fortune comes down to being in the right place at the right time. It's called "serendipity" and that's the name Dr. Mindy Pomtree gave to the 6.39-carat, gem-quality diamond she plucked from the ground at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, AR.

About the size of a pumpkin seed, the Serendipity is, by far, the largest diamond found at the park this year, easily eclipsing the previous 2020 record of 2.23 carats. The doctor's gem is the 12th largest diamond recorded at the park since 1972.

Dr. Pomtree discovered her diamond near Beatty's Hill, a landmark within the park’s 37.5-acre search area.

She saw the glittering pebble on the surface of the ground and put it in a zippered pocket.

“I kept feeling my pocket throughout the day to make sure it was still there," she told park officials. "I didn’t know if it was a diamond but thought it looked cool, and it was definitely shiny!”

A few days after returning home, Dr. Pomtree decided to show the stone to a jeweler friend, who confirmed that it was, indeed, a genuine diamond.

Little Rock-based jeweler Laura Stanley, who is an American Gem Society Certified Gemologist Appraiser, said the stone was very white in color and likely of gem quality. She said that it measures 15.21mm x 8.00mm x 5.86mm.

Dr. Pomtree returned to the park to have her record-setting diamond officially weighed and registered.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Serendipity was taking a bath in the jeweler's ultrasonic cleaner. There was still a stubborn dark area on the surface, but Stanley was confident that it would come off with a "good acid boil."

At Crater of Diamonds State Park, amateur miners get to keep what they find at the only diamond site in the world that’s open to the general public. The park had been closed for two months due to COVID-19 health concerns, but reopened on May 22, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Since then, there has been an exciting run of large diamonds. Just days after Dr. Pomtree discovered "Serendipity," William “David” Dempsey from Athens, Ala., scored what is now the park's second-largest diamond of 2020 — a 2.73-carat bright white gem.

Dempsey first learned about Arkansas’s diamond site from his fourth-grade teacher.

“I've been wanting to visit for more than 30 years,” said Dempsey. “Recent news stories about the park brought it back to my attention, so we planned a trip.”

Dempsey was wet sifting with his youngest daughter when he found the diamond.

“I was running my finger through some gravel I had just sifted, and the diamond popped right out," he said.

Dempsey named his gem the "Dempsey-Ducharme Diamond," as a tribute to his family’s unforgettable experience at the park. He plans to have the diamond examined and appraised before deciding whether to keep or sell it.

“This unique park is one of our state’s most popular destinations,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “It’s always exciting for one of our guests to find a gem, and the staff is really great at working with them to confirm what they have found and hear each particular story of how they found it.”

Credits: Images courtesy of Arkansas State Parks.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Gem Gallery Virtual Tour: This Emerald Was Worn by the Rulers of Baroda

An exquisite 37.8-carat emerald once possessed by the royal rulers of Baroda is the next stop on our virtual tour of the Smithsonian’s National Gem Collection.

The Chalk Emerald is so special, in fact, that it is the singular occupant of a wall case titled "A Royal Legacy" on the second floor of the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals.

Normally, the hall hosts more than six million visitors annually. But with all the Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC, remaining temporarily closed to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, we’ve been offering these virtual tours.

Previous stops on the tour have included “Gifts from Napoleon,“ “Stars and Cat’s Eyes,“ the Logan Sapphire, the Dom Pedro aquamarine, the Steamboat tourmaline and a collection of enormous topaz.

Here’s how to navigate to the exhibit called “A Royal Legacy.”

– First, click on this link… The resulting page will be a gallery called “Geology, Gems & Minerals: Precious Gems 1.”

– Click the double-right arrows once to navigate to the gallery called “Geology, Gems & Minerals: Precious Gems 2.”

– Click and drag the screen 180 degrees so you can see the back wall of cases.

– Touch the Plus Sign to zoom into the exhibit titled “A Royal Legacy.”

(You may touch the “X” to remove the map. This will give you a better view of the jewelry. You may restore the map by clicking the “Second” floor navigation on the top-right of the screen.)

The panel next to the exhibit explains how the royal rulers of Baroda, a state in India, once owned the emerald in the ring: "It was the centerpiece of an emerald and diamond necklace worn the Maharani Saheba, who passed it down to her son, the Maharajah Cooch Behar. In the 20th century, the emerald was recut from its original weight of 38.4 carats and set in a ring designed by Harry Winston, Inc."

The platinum and gold ring features the square emerald-cut stone surrounded by 60 pear-shaped diamonds totaling 15 carats. The emerald displays the most highly prized velvety deep green color.

The extraordinary ring was purchased by O. Roy Chalk, the real estate, transportation and media mogul, for his wife, Claire. The couple generously donated the Chalk Emerald to the Smithsonian in 1972, where it has been on exhibit ever since.

The Chalk Emerald’s superb clarity, color, size and regal lineage contribute to its status as one of the world’s finest emeralds.

The gem was sourced in the famous emerald-mining area near Muzo, Colombia — a destination widely known as the world capital of emeralds. The Smithsonian reported that emeralds were cherished by the indigenous people of Colombia for at least 1,000 years before the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s.

The riches coming from the Colombia mines were of great interest to the Mughal rulers of India, who were captivated by the green gems. This demand sparked a robust gem trade linking the New World to the Middle East and India.

Emerald is the most valuable variety of the beryl family and is known to display a wide variety of visible inclusions, which are referred to as “jardin” (French for “garden”). These imperfections do not detract from the stone’s beauty but, instead, give each stone a unique fingerprint and distinct character.

Credits: Images by Chip Clark / Smithsonian; NMNH Photo Services.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Music Friday: Country Boy Is in Love With a Girl Who Wears a Diamond Ring

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you throwback tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, 27-time Grammy winner Alison Krauss delivers her second-person rendition of "I'm Just a Country Boy," a song originally released by Harry Belafonte in 1954. In Krauss's 2007 version — “You're Just a Country Boy” — she tells the story of a penniless young man who is in love with the prettiest girl in town. The object of his affection wears fine jewelry and he fears that she’ll turn down his marriage proposal because he can’t afford a “store-bought ring.”

In addition to the diamonds and jewelry referenced in the song, precious metals are also used to illustrate the young man's appreciation of nature.

Krauss sings, “Ain’t gonna marry in the fall / Ain’t gonna marry in the spring / For you're in love with a pretty little girl / Who wears a diamond ring. / And you're just a country boy / Money have you none / But you’ve got silver in the stars / And gold in the mornin’ sun / Gold in the mornin’ sun.”

Later in the song, she sings about his financial struggles, "Never could afford / A store-bought ring / With a sparkling diamond stone / All you can afford / Is a loving heart / The only one you own."

Written by Fred Hellerman and Marshall Barer, the original, first-person version of "I'm Just a Country Boy" has been covered by George McCurn, Ronnie Laine, Jimmie Rodgers, Jim Croce, Jimmy Witherspoon, Roger Whittaker, David Ball, John Holt, The Brothers Four, Bobby Vinton and Bobby Vee. The most famous cover was sung by Don Williams, whose 1977 version went all the way to #1 on the Billboard Country chart.

Trivia: Barer was famous for composing the “Mighty Mouse” theme song.

Krauss included “You're Just a Country Boy” as the first track on her compilation album called A Hundred Miles or More: A Collection. That album earned a #3 position on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart and #10 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.

Born in Decatur, IL, in 1971, Alison Maria Krauss studied classical violin at age 5 and was a teenage fiddling phenomenon. She signed with Rounder Records as a 14-year-old and released her first solo album two years later.

During her stellar career, Krauss has released 14 albums while helping to renew the public's interest in bluegrass music. Krauss is the top female Grammy winner of all time with 27 wins. Only Georg Solti (31) and Quincy Jones (28) have more.

Please check out the video of Krauss performing “You're Just a Country Boy.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“You're Just a Country Boy”
Written by Marshall Barer and Fred Kellerman. Performed by Alison Krauss.

Ain’t gonna marry in the fall
Ain’t gonna marry in the spring
For you're in love with a pretty little girl
Who wears a diamond ring.

And you're just a country boy
Money have you none
But you’ve got silver in the stars
And gold in the mornin’ sun
Gold in the mornin’ sun.

Never gonna kiss
The ruby red lips
Of the prettiest girl in town
Never gonna ask her if she’d
Marry you
She'll only turn you down.

You're just a country boy
Money have you none
But you’ve got silver in the stars
And gold in the mornin’ sun
Gold in the mornin’ sun.

Never could afford
A store-bought ring
With a sparkling diamond stone
All you can afford
Is a loving heart
The only one you own.

‘Cause you're just a country boy
Money have you none
But you’ve got silver in the stars
And gold in the mornin’ sun
Gold in the mornin’ sun…

Credit: Photo by Filberthockey at en.wikipedia / Public domain.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

'Scavengers' to the Rescue: Treasure Hunters Recover Engagement Ring at NY Beach

Gina Bopp was so certain that her diamond engagement ring had been swallowed up by the Atlantic Ocean that she immediately bought a faux version on Amazon.

The Queens, NY, woman had been enjoying the surf at Rockaway Beach on Monday, June 29, when the young son of one of her friends got caught by a wave.

"So, I went to go grab him, and I felt my ring sliding off my finger,” she told CBS2.

The heartbroken woman searched the shore for the next eight hours, but came up empty. When she arrived home, she went online and found a cheap replacement.

“I went on Amazon and bought a fake one because I thought there’s no way I’m going to get another one,” Bopp said.

But, then she called Merrill Kazanjian, of Metal Detecting NYC, who agreed to continue the search on Tuesday. He scoured the shoreline for three fruitless hours.

Undaunted, Kazanjian put out a call to the Scavengers, a group of friends who share the thrill of finding precious keepsakes and returning them to their owners.

"There's strength in numbers," Kazanjian told CNN, "especially at the Rockaway Beach. It's a long shot [to find a ring] so you call up the talent that you know."

Kazanjian said that metal detectorists are rare people, good folks who really love to give back.

The first Scavenger on the scene was Tracy Behling, who received her metal detector as a Christmas present.

It took Behling only 40 minutes to find Bopp's treasure. It was buried about a foot and a half deep, right where the surf met the beach.

“Here we are six months later, I found a ring,” Behling said. “That is, by far, the coolest thing I ever found.”

Bopp could hardly believe it when Behling and the Scavengers called with the great news.

"Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?" she exclaimed.

Bopp offered the team a reward for finding her ring, but all that the Scavengers requested was $40 to cover tolls and gas.

"I've seen it again and again," Kazanjian told CNN, "rather than hold on to a ring [we] would rather give it back to a person. It's the joy. It's the positive rush you get from that, to see someone smile. The world needs that in 2020."

Credits: Screen captures via CBS 2 New York.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Arkansas Woman Scores Biggest Diamond of 2020 at Crater of Diamonds State Park

While working the search field at Crater of Diamonds State Park, Beatrice Watkins joked to her two young granddaughters that their future husbands would need to revisit the site to find diamonds for their wedding rings.

What the 56-year-old Mena, Ark., resident didn't realize at the time is that she had already scored the park's biggest diamond of 2020, a 2.23-carat oblong stone, the size of an English pea and color of iced tea.

Watkins had found the unusual stone within 30 minutes of arriving at the park.

“I was searching with my daughter and granddaughters when I picked it up," Watkins said. "I thought it was shiny, but had no idea it was a diamond! My daughter googled similar-looking stones and thought it might have been iron pyrite, so I stuck it in my sack and kept sifting.”

About an hour later, Watkins and her family took a break at the park's Diamond Discovery Center and got the exciting news from a park staffer that her suspected "iron pyrite" was actually a brown diamond.

“I was so excited, I just couldn’t believe it,” Watkins said. “I still can’t believe it!”

As is customary for all of the biggest finds at the park, the amateur prospector was given the opportunity to name her diamond. She called the stone "Lady Beatrice" and said she'd probably keep it as an inheritance for her kids and grandkids.

Watkins said she found the Lady Beatrice while dry sifting soil on the north end of a culvert near the center of the park's 37.5-acre search area. The search area is actually a plowed field atop the eroded surface of an extinct, diamond-bearing volcanic pipe. Visitors have found more than 33,000 diamonds since the Crater of Diamonds opened as an Arkansas State Park in 1972.

Amateur miners get to keep what they find at the only diamond site in the world that’s open to the general public. The park had been closed for two months due to COVID-19 health concerns, but reopened on May 22, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

So far in 2020, 139 diamonds weighing a total of 22 carats had been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro. Four of those diamonds weighed at least one carat each.

Credits: Images courtesy of Crater of Diamonds State Park.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Univ. of Hong Kong Scientists Develop 'Hunter Drone' That Can Seek Out Gem Deposits

A pair of scientists from The University of Hong Kong have developed an autonomous "hunter drone" that can survey wide landscapes and identify valuable gemstone targets using a scanning laser. The drone flies at night and emits a powerful beam that causes fluorescent items on the surface of the ground to glow.

The drone was originally intended to look for fossil bones, hence its name "Laser Raptor," but the scientists quickly realized that the drone's capability was far more reaching. Other florescent targets could include rare minerals, such as ruby, kunzite, opal and diamond, to name a few.

Of the diamonds submitted to the Gemological Institute of America for grading over the past decade, approximately 25% to 35% exhibit some degree of fluorescence, a factor that — for the overwhelming majority of diamonds— has no widely noticeable effect on appearance.

In a paper published in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution, HKU Research Assistant Professor Dr. Michael Pittman and his colleague Thomas G. Kaye of the Foundation for Scientific Advancement described a prototype drone that was programmed to look for fossils at night in the badlands of Arizona and Wyoming.

At first, the Laser Raptor flew rapidly to search locations using its on-board navigation, and then descended and maintained an altitude of 4 meters above ground so it could "mow the lawn" in search of glowing targets as small as a thumbnail.

After each “mission” was complete, a video of the laser scan was processed to find hot spots that were investigated in more detail the next day, leading to the recovery of new fossil specimens.

They explained that the application of laser-stimulated fluorescence (LSF) to an aerial system is possible because of the laser's ability to project over great distances with little loss in power.

Pittman and Kaye reported that they are now working to develop LSF applications for the study of geologic landscapes beyond Earth.

Credits: Images by Thomas G. Kaye & Michael Pittman / The University of Hong Kong.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Artisanal Miner Discovers Two Tanzanite Crystals Weighing a Combined 75,000 Carats

An artisanal miner in Tanzania struck it rich last week when he sold two enormous tanzanite crystals for $3.4 million.

Saniniu Laizer had discovered the crystals — one weighing 9.2kg (46,000 carats) and the other 5.8kg (29,000 carats) — in Tanzania's Manyara region, not far from the country's Merelani mining site.

The two rough gems are believed to be the largest tanzanites ever found in Tanzania. The previous record holder weighed 3.3kg.

In a highly promoted ceremony on Wednesday, the 52-year-old Laizer revealed his finds to the international press.

"There will be a big party tomorrow," he told the BBC.

Laizer also promised to invest his windfall in the local community of Simanjiro.

"I want to build a shopping mall and a school," he said. "I want to build this school near my home. There are many poor people around here who can't afford to take their children to school."

Calling into the celebration by phone, Tanzanian President John Magufuli commented, "This is the benefit of small-scale miners and this proves that Tanzania is rich."

When Magufuli came into power five years ago, he promised to safeguard the nation's mining sector and ordered the military to build a wall surrounding a Manyara mining site.

Tanzanite is said to be rarer than diamonds by a factor of 1,000 times due the fact that this unique and beautiful variety of the mineral zoisite is mined in only one location on earth. The area measures 2km wide by 4km long and the remaining lifespan of the mine is less than 30 years. Tanzanite’s color is an intoxicating mix of blue and purple, unlike any other gemstone.

Artisanal miners like Laizer are permitted to work outside the confines of the Manyara mining site as long as they carry a government-issued license. In 2019, Tanzania established trading centers to allow these miners — most of whom work by hand — to sell their gems to the government.

In 2002, the American Gem Trade Association added tanzanite to the jewelry industry’s official birthstone list. Tanzanite joined turquoise and zircon as the official birthstones for December.

Credit: Image © Tanzania Ministry of Minerals.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Music Friday: Swiss Singer Luca Hänni Tries to Win the Heart of a 110-Carat 'Diamant'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, Swiss singer-songwriter Luca Hänni pursues the 110-carat girl of his dreams in his brand new release, "Diamant," which means "diamond" in German.

The official music video, which is performed in German and spotlights the talents of dancer Christina Luft, premiered on YouTube 15 days ago and already has been viewed more than one million times.

With the help of a Google translation, we learn that Hänni is trying desperately to win the heart of a young woman who may be a little out of his league. He likens her to a 110-carat "diamant."

He sings, "Du bist hundertzehn Karat / Deine wunderschöne Art / An dich kommt niemand ran / Du bist ein Diamant / Hundertzehn Karat / Und mein Herz schlägt Alarm / Ich will dich an der Hand / Wie ein Diamant."

The rough translation goes something like this: "You are 110 carats / Your wonderful style / Nobody can match you / You're a diamond / 110 carats / And my heart sounds the alarm / I want you by the hand / Like a diamond."

The multi-talented 25-year-old from Bern, Switzerland, tells his love interest that she is brighter than light. "Du bist ein Juwel für mich (You are a jewel to me)," he sings.

Hänni got his big break in 2012 when he won the ninth season of Deutschland sucht den Superstar (Germany Seeks the Superstar), the German version of the Idol franchise. He was the first non-German and youngest competitor to win the title.

Hänni has since released four studio albums and 13 singles. In February 2020, he was named Best Male Act at the 13th Swiss Music Awards and then finished third in the 13th season of Let's Dance, a German talent series. His dance partner was Luft, who you can see in the official video of "Diamant," below. The lyrics here are translated from German to English.

"Diamant (Diamond)"
Written by Mathias Ramson, Choukri Gustmann, Lukas Loules and Nebil Latifa. Performed by Luca Hänni.

(Translated by Google from the original German.)

Shine in the eyes
You don't see me
How long do I have to dig
Until you speak a word to me?
You are accomplished (accomplished)
Brighter than light (brighter than light)
You are not like the others
You are a jewel to me

I don't need a ring
No luxury, no bling-bling
But I only have you in mind
And I follow my instinct

You are 110 carats
Your wonderful style
Nobody can match you
You're a diamond
110 carats
And my heart sounds the alarm
I want you by the hand
Like a diamond

Like a diamond
Like a diamond
Like a diamond
Beam at me

Are we at home
I unpack you like mon cherie
Love is so heavy in the stomach
And every gangster wants such a bride
I'll make sure no bandit ever steals you

I don't need a ring
No luxury, no bling-bling
But I only have you in mind
And I follow my instinct

You are 110 carats
Your wonderful style
Nobody can match you
You're a diamond
110 carats
And my heart sounds the alarm
I want you by the hand
Like a diamond

Like a diamond
Like a diamond
Like a diamond
Beam at me

Next to you I can get on with my life
Nothing is as it used to be
Next to me is a diamond

You are 110 carats
Your wonderful style
Nobody can match you
You're a diamond
110 carats
And my heart sounds the alarm
I want you by the hand
Like a diamond

Like a diamond
Like a diamond
Like a diamond
Beam at me
Like a diamond
Like a diamond
Like a diamond
Beam at me

Credit: Screen capture via Youtube.com / Luca Hänni.

 

 

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