Anschar Diamonds Blog

Anschar Diamonds Blog

Articles in December 2017

December 1st, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country star Aaron Watson pens a love letter to his little girl in "Diamonds and Daughters."



Released in February of 2017 as the 16th track from his Vaquero album, "Diamonds and Daughters" is a sentimental, "makes-you-wanna-cry" tune that's already breaking into wedding day playlists across the country. Using precious symbols, Watson pledges his life-long devotion to the daughter who had him crying like a baby the moment he first saw her face. He knows he'll cry again when he walks her down the aisle.

He sings, "I found fortune like diamonds / In the love of a daughter / Worth more than all the gold in the world / And they say that a son / Is the pride of a father / But my heart belongs to my little girl."

Watson revealed that he wrote "Diamonds and Daughters" after scoring an earlier hit with "The Underdog" — a song inspired by his sons.

"When [my daughter] found out that her brothers got a song and she didn't, she was not happy with me," Watson told The Boot. "Even though I wrote that for Jolee Kate, I wanted all daughters... to hear that song and just know that they're special."

Vaquero, which is Watson's 13th album, was a commercial success, topping out at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Country chart.

When his album The Underdog reached #1 on the Billboard Country chart in 2015, Watson became the first solo male artist to accomplish that feat with a self-released, independently distributed and promoted studio project.

Born in Amarillo, Texas, the 40-year-old Watson is proud of his slow and steady climb to national success.

"I'm independent not because I'm not good enough," he said. "I'm independent because I'm unwilling to sell out on my music or my fans... I'm independent by choice."

Please check out the audio track of Watson singing "Diamonds and Daughters," and be sure to have a few tissues on hand — just in case you start to tear up...

"Diamonds and Daughters"
Written and performed by Aaron Watson.

First moment I saw your face
I was moved by amazing grace
And I cried like a baby
Just like I'll do walking you down the aisle
I found fortune like diamonds
In the love of a daughter
Worth more than all the gold in the world
And they say that a son
Is the pride of a father
But my heart belongs to my little girl

Diamonds and daughters
Precious and few
Diamonds and daughters
Timeless and true
Don't you ever forget that your heart is divine
You belong to the one who made you sparkle and shine
Diamonds and daughters

And I'll be there for you
Every step of the way
From your very first breath
Until my dying day
And the women I see
In that white wedding gown
Is just my little girl
Saying daddy won't you spin me around

Diamonds and daughters
Precious and few
Diamonds and daughters
Timeless and true
Don't you ever forget that your heart is divine
You belong to the one who made you sparkle and shine
Diamonds and daughters

Diamonds and daughters
Precious and few
Diamonds and daughters
Timeless and true
Don't you ever forget that your heart is divine
You belong to the one who made you sparkle and shine
Diamonds and daughters

First moment I saw your face
I was moved by amazing grace


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com
December 4th, 2017
A juicy hamburger served at the Gnarly Gar floating restaurant on Lake Travis in Texas nearly cost Hannah Austin her engagement ring last Sunday. The Colorado Springs native was enjoying a casual lunch with her family at the open-air eatery near Austin when she took off her "priceless" family heirloom and rested it on the table so it wouldn't get messy.



A moment later the unthinkable happened. Her husband, Chris, accidentally knocked the ring off the table and it disappeared through a gap in the decking.

When staffers of the Gnarly Gar removed a few planks to get a better view of where the ring may have landed, they realized that it narrowly missed the dock below and, instead, plopped directly into the lake.

“I was terrified and felt stupid for taking my ring off over a lake,” Hannah Austin told the Austin American-Statesman.

She added that the ring was "priceless" and "irreplaceable" because it was custom made with diamonds from her mother’s wedding ring and her great-grandmother’s engagement ring.

Restaurant staffers recommended that the Austins enlist the help of Robert Weiss, owner of Lake Travis Scuba. Just this year, Weiss and his team have recovered more than $100,000 worth of lost items, including pricey cell phones, sunglasses and jewelry.

When Weiss arrived on the scene, his first task was to drop a weighted line through the decking and into the lake. Because the ring is a solid, relatively heavy object, it should have descended straight to the bottom. Weiss dove into the lake and followed the line about 60 feet before it got so dark that he needed to use his search light. At this point, his visibility was only about five feet.

Weiss touched bottom at exactly 74 feet and started a search in ever-widening circles around the downline marker.



“On my third pass I saw something sitting in the mud and I reached in, and there it was,” he told the Austin American-Statesman.

It took him only 10 minutes to find the ring.



The astounding video, below, shows underwater footage of Weiss' impressive discovery, as well as his slow ascent to the surface, where he reunites the ring with an overwhelmed Hannah Austin.



"Hannah was overjoyed to be reunited with her wedding ring," Weiss said. "She fell to her knees crying."

“I thought there was a 90 percent chance it had got eaten by a fish or just drifted away,” said Hannah Austin.

“It was kind of like this miracle moment,” added Chris Austin.



The Austins of Colorado now have a wild story to tell about their trip to Lake Travis, which happens to be 22 miles from the capital city of Austin.

Hannah Austin also told local NBC-affiliate KXAN that she will never remove her engagement ring again, no matter how messy her meal gets.


Credits: Images courtesy of Robert Weiss, Lake Travis Scuba.
December 5th, 2017
Who knew gold was a flavor? On Friday, Hershey's Gold — a candy bar crafted from caramelized creme and packed with peanuts and pretzels — started hitting shelves at supermarkets and sweet shops from coast to coast.



"Gold" is only the fourth flavor profile in the 123-year history of the iconic brand, which first delighted consumers with its milk chocolate confection in 1900. Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate was introduced in 1939 and Cookies ‘n Creme came along in 1995.

What's particularly interesting about Hershey's first new flavor in 22 years is that it contains no chocolate at all.

“The buttery, sweet taste of Hershey’s Gold bars provides an entirely new way for consumers to enjoy our brand,” said Melinda Lewis, senior director and general manager at The Hershey Company. “We use a proprietary cooking process to transform the white creme into a golden bar by caramelizing the creme, which helps maintain a sweet, creamy taste. The launch of Hershey’s Gold will introduce Americans to a new flavor and a new experience unlike any others before.”



The introduction of Hershey's gold-themed bar is perfectly timed to align with the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Hershey's is an official sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee and has lined up high-profile brand ambassadors, including speedskater Apolo Ohno, gymnast Simone Biles and Paralympian Rico Roman.

Describing the bar's taste on NBC's Today show, Ohno stated, "It's perfect. We all we want to be able to get a bite of gold."



Whenever Team USA wins a gold medal, the brand will be posting a coupon on social media that could result in a free Hershey's Gold bar.

The Hershey Company noted that the development of the new bar was driven by the changing tastes of a demanding consumer base. Trends show the rising popularity of crunchy multi-textured candy. With Hershey’s Gold bars, the company recognized that consumers favor a complex combination of ingredients, which led to the unique variation of sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy.

The new flavor is available in both standard and king-sized bars.

Credits: Images courtesy of Hershey's.
December 6th, 2017
A 5.69-carat fancy vivid blue diamond fetched $15.1 million at Sotheby's New York yesterday, making it the top lot of the day and advancing the narrative that aficionados are eager to pay top dollar for blue diamonds that carry the ultra-rare "fancy vivid" classification.



The hammer price, which is equivalent to $2.66 million per carat, came in slightly above the pre-sale high estimate of $15 million.

The emerald-cut gem, which is set in a platinum ring and flanked by two baguette-shaped diamonds, has a VVS1 clarity grade. The auction house pointed out that the stone — if recut — has the potential to be internally flawless.

"Fancy Vivid" is the ultimate color classification for blue diamonds. Those that display lower levels of color saturation may be rated "Fancy Intense," "Fancy," "Fancy Light" or "Light," according to the Gemological Institute of America. Blue diamonds owe their color to the presence of boron in the chemical makeup of the gem.

Back in May of this year, the “Oppenheimer Blue” — a 14.62-carat fancy vivid blue diamond — fetched an astounding $57.5 million at Christie’s Geneva. The Oppenheimer Blue’s per-carat price of $3.93 million came up just shy of the record of $4.03 million held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine, another magnificent blue diamond that sold for $48.5 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November of 2015.



A second highlight of yesterday's Sotheby's auction was a sapphire-and-diamond bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels. The piece carried a pre-sale estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million, but eventually yielded $3.16 million — more than double the high estimate. Designed circa 1935, the bracelet has five sugarloaf Ceylon cabochon sapphires weighing approximately 193.73 carats.

Among the disappointing lots were two that failed to meet Sotheby's reserve price and remained unsold. One was a 110.92-carat round diamond, which had been touted as the largest round diamond to be offered at auction. The diamond boasted a VS1 clarity, but an L color (faint brown). Another high-profile, unsold lot was a 5.24-carat, fancy intense orangy-pink diamond that was expected to sell in the range of $1.8 million to $2.2 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby’s.
December 7th, 2017
Beatles superfan Saya and boyfriend Martin saw their dreams come true Saturday night when music legend Paul McCartney invited them onstage in the Land Down Under for a very special marriage proposal.



More than 24,000 fans at the sold-out "nib Stadium" in Perth, Australia, shared the love as McCartney interrupted his encore to focus on the young couple and the romantic task at hand.

McCartney had spotted the lovebirds in the crowd earlier in his performance. Martin had been holding up a large placard that read, "Can I Propose To My Love On Stage?" and Saya held a brightly colored sign that read, "I'll Give Him the Answer to Love Eternally If I Can Meet You, Paul."

McCartney was happy to oblige and invited the couple onstage. With all the action captured in realtime on the stadium's giant video screens, McCartney chatted briefly with Saya, learning that she was originally from Japan, but now living in Perth. She told McCartney that she liked the city because of the friendly people and the nice weather.

Then McCartney brought Martin into the spotlight, joking, "Are you going to do this thing? You got a ring?"

Once McCartney had confirmed that Martin had the ring box in hand, he instructed the young suitor to "tell her on your knee."



"I know now that I have the world's biggest Beatles fan and it would do me an honor, Saya, if you would take my hand in marriage. Will you marry me?" he said.

"Yes," Saya answered, and the crowd screamed their approval.



McCartney called the couple over for a three-way hug and then signed Saya's jacket.

At 75 years old and still going strong, McCartney proved once again that "all you need is love."

The complete scene was captured by a concertgoer and posted to YouTube. The proposal takes place during the first three minutes of the video.


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.
December 8th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you festive songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Ashanti tells jolly old St. Nick what she wants for Christmas in her 2003 holiday tune, "Hey Santa."



In the first verse, she asks for "something sweet," such as chocolate Kisses or candy canes. Then, Ashanti steps up her game in the second verse, as her request for "something new" includes a diamond bracelet or diamond ring.

(In a nod to the 1953 classic, "Santa Baby," Ashanti echos Eartha Kitt's call for a baby blue convertible.)

She sings, "Hey Santa, can you bring me something new / (Something new, something, something new)? / Like a diamond bracelet or a diamond ring / How about a shiny new, baby blue, convertible? / Hey Santa, can you bring me everything?"

Written by Ashanti and Irving Lorenzo, "Hey Santa" was released as the third track from Ashanti's Christmas. The album, which included an equal mix of original songs and covers of holiday classics, peaked at #43 on the Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop chart. Ashanti performed "Hey Santa" during the tree-lighting festivities at New York City's Rockefeller Center.

Born Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas in 1980, the singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer and actress is named after the 17th century Ashanti Empire, in what is now modern-day Ghana. In that kingdom, women held positions of power and influence, and Ashanti's mother believed the name might help inspire her daughter to achieve greatness.

That strategy seems to have worked to perfection, as Ashanti joined a gospel choir at the age of six and scored her first recording contract at the age of 14. The Glen Cove, N.Y., native won a Grammy Award in 2003 and went on to become the first female artist to occupy the top two positions on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart simultaneously with "Always on Time" and "What's Luv?" She has also nabbed eight Billboard Music Awards and two American Music Awards.

Please check out the audio track of Ashanti singing "Hey Santa." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Hey Santa"
Written by Ashanti Douglas and Irving Lorenzo. Performed by Ashanti.

Hey Santa, can you bring me something good
(Something good, something good)?
Hey Santa, can you bring me something sweet
(Something sweet, something, something sweet)?
Like chocolate kisses or candy canes.
Gumdrops or butterscotch, fruity flavor, chewy rings.

Hey Santa, can you bring me something nice
(Something nice, something nice)?
Hey Santa, can you bring me something new
(Something new, something, something new)?
Like a diamond bracelet or a diamond ring.
How about a shiny new, baby blue, convertible?
Hey Santa, can you bring me everything?

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh?

Hey Santa, can I sing this song to you
(Sing to you, sing to you)?
Hey Santa, can you make my wish come true
(Make it true, make it, make it true)?
Can you fill my stocking with lots of treats?
Boxes with red and green, underneath the Christmas tree?
Hey Santa, can you bring me everything?


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.
December 11th, 2017
"Ultra Violet" is Pantone's 2018 Color of the Year and we're excited by the possibilities. While Pantone says the vibrant color communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking, we see the Color Institute's pick as a great reason to shine the spotlight on some of our favorite gemstones, including amethyst, tanzanite, iolite, spinel and violet sapphire.



We're expecting jewelry designers to pepper their 2018 lines with ultraviolet accessories to complement the arrival of ultraviolet fashions.



A fabulous representation of "Ultra Violet" is seen in the "Tiffany Amethyst Necklace," a piece that June Rosner and Russell Bilgore donated to the Smithsonian in 2007. The 56-carat square cushion-cut amethyst is set in an 18-karat yellow gold necklace designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, circa 1915.

Each year since 2000, the color experts at Pantone have picked a color that reflects the current cultural climate. Typically, Pantone’s selection influences the worlds of high fashion, beauty, housewares, home and industrial design and consumer packaging.

Pantone calls Ultra Violet a dramatically provocative and thoughtful shade of purple, suggesting the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead and the discoveries beyond where we are now. Pantone says Ultra Violet is nuanced and full of emotion. It's a color that symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world and push boundaries through creative outlets.

Among the musical icons who used shades of ultraviolet to express their individuality were Prince, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix, noted Pantone.

Ultra Violet also has a calmer, spiritual side. For example, purple-tone lighting has been used in meditation spaces because the color is said to have the ability to inspire connections. Ultraviolet is also said to offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today's overstimulated world.

“The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design," said Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute. "It’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today.”

The process of choosing the annual color takes about nine months, with Pantone’s trend watchers scanning the globe’s fashion runways and high-profile events for “proof points” until one color emerges as the clear winner.

A year ago, Pantone's Color of the Year was "Greenery," a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring.

In 2016, Pantone blended two shades — Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue — to create its 2016 Color of the Year. Together, the mineral pink and tranquil blue combined to communicate a sense of wellness and peacefulness, with a dash of gender equality.



Here are the most recent Pantone Colors of the Year…

PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery (2017)
PANTONE 13-1520 Rose Quartz (2016)
PANTONE 15-3919 Serenity (2016)
PANTONE 18-1438 Marsala (2015)
PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid (2014)
PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald (2013)
PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango (2012)
PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle (2011)
PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise (2010)

Credits: Color of the Year images courtesy of Pantone. Tiffany Amethyst Necklace image by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.
December 12th, 2017
On Saturday, visitors to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles were the first to view an elite collection of ultra-rare green diamonds. Called "Green Diamonds: Natural Radiance," the exhibit includes 60 gems on loan from New York-based Optimum Diamonds, a company that has amassed the largest collection of natural green diamonds in the world.



The gems displayed among eight cases in the museum's Gem and Mineral Hall cover a wide range of green varieties, from yellow-greens on one end of the green spectrum to blue-greens on the other. Highlighting the exhibition is “The Mantis,” the largest vivid yellowish-green diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America at 4.17 carats. A second headliner is “The Shangri-La,” a vivid green diamond weighing 3.88 carats.



“Like the works of the great masters, the supply of these diamonds is finite, and the investors, collectors and jewelers that pursue them do so with incredible intensity,” said David Shara, owner of Optimum Diamonds. “I’m very pleased to be able to share my passion for these rare gems and the result of nearly 15 years of chasing these stones. They are something that most people rarely have the opportunity to see.”

When it comes to fancy-colored diamonds, the two rarest colors are red and green. Green diamonds are so rare that only a handful are introduced to the market each year, with the very finest ones fetching upwards of $3 million per carat.



Even though the exhibit has a green theme, Optimum will be presenting two very rare diamonds obtained at the 2017 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender. The Argyle Everglow™ is a 2.11-carat radiant-cut fancy red diamond and the Argyle Liberté™ is a 0.91-carat radiant-cut Fancy Deep Gray-Violet diamond.

Museum visitors will not only get to see some of the rarest diamonds on the planet, they will also learn how the amazing color of green diamonds is attributed to the natural gamma radiation present during their formation deep within the earth. The shade of green varies depending on the amount of radiation exposure, and appears more yellow or blue if the crystal has other impurities, noted the NHMLA.

The exhibition will run through April 1, 2018. For more information about the green diamond exhibition, check out the Natural History Museum's website at this link.

Credits: Green diamonds copyright © Digital Jewelry Photography. Red and violet diamonds copyright © 2017 Argyle Diamonds Limited.
December 13th, 2017
A blackened wedding ring recovered from the ashes of their lost home symbolizes a new beginning for Southern California wildfire survivors Julie and Don Myers.



The Ventura County couple was forced to flee their home when the fast-moving, wind-whipped fires tore through their neighborhood.

When fire officials allowed them to return to their property, Julie and Don found their home and all their possessions reduced to a smoldering heap of ash and rubble.

The couple did maintain one glimmer of hope, however. Somewhere in the rubble was a fire safe that contained a few important possessions, including Julie's original wedding ring. Don had given her a new ring to commemorate their 25th anniversary and the original ring had been put away for safekeeping.



After sifting through the ashes with the assistance of local firefighters, Don was able to find the safe. Everything in the safe was "unrecognizable," according to Julie, except for her slightly charred ring.

"It was truly amazing that he found it, I thought we had lost it forever," Julie told GoodHousekeeping.com.



In a spontaneous expression of his love, Don got down on one knee and used the original ring to propose to Julie all over again.

The ring represents a fresh start for the couple — a symbol of their resilience and a brighter future.

How the ring survived in the fire safe has a lot to do with the temperature of the wildfire blaze and the performance of the safe. Although the blaze was likely as hot as 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, an average fire safe can protect its contents up to a temperature of 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even without the safe, the gold and diamond ring may have survived because the melting point of the precious metal is about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit and the ignition temperature of a diamond is about 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit. (Yes, diamonds can burn.)

The Thomas Fire that destroyed the Myers' home is one of six fires that have consumed 1,000 structures in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The footprint of the fires is larger than the cities of New York and Boston combined, reported CNN.

Credits: Images by Julie Myers.
December 14th, 2017
Tanzanite, one of December's three official birthstones, is celebrating its golden anniversary. Fifty years ago, Maasai tribesmen discovered dazzling bluish-violet gems in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Originally thought to be sapphires, the mesmerizing stones were identified by the Gemological Institute of America as a never-before-seen variation of zoisite.



The unusual mineral caught the attention of Tiffany & Co., which had visions of making it the focus of a major advertising campaign. An initial challenge was that the name “zoisite” sounded very much like “suicide,” so the marketing team at Tiffany came up with “tanzanite,” a name that would honor the gem's country of origin. To this day, a 2km by 4km area in Tanzania is the only place on the earth where this type of zoisite can be found.

Tiffany’s marketing campaign succeeded in making tanzanite a household word and earned it the title of “Gem of the 20th Century.”

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. It was the first time the list had been amended since 1912.

Tanzanite’s exquisite color is an intoxicating mix of blue and purple, unlike any other gemstone. Tanzanite comes in a wide range of hues, from light blues or lilacs, to deep indigos and violets. The most valuable tanzanite gemstones display a deep sapphire blue color with highlights of intense violet. The Smithsonian’s website explains that tanzanite exhibits the optical phenomenon of pleochroism, appearing intense blue, violet or red, depending on the direction through which the crystal is viewed.

Due to its single source and limited supply, promoters of tanzanite say that the gemstone is one thousand times rarer than a diamond.



The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., houses the "Petersen Tanzanite Brooch," a piece that was designed by Harry Winston in 1991 and donated to the museum by Donald E. and Jo A. Petersen in 2002. The triangular-cut matched tanzanites weigh approximately 30 carats and are adorned by 24 carats of marquise, pear and baguette-cut diamonds in a floral motif. The tanzanite "flowers" may be detached and worn as earrings.

Tanzanite rates a 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. By comparison, diamond rates a 10 and sapphire rates a 9.

Credits: Tanzanite crystals by Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Petersen Tanzanite Brooch photo by Penland/Smithsonian.
December 15th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In the 1983 holiday release, "2000 Miles," Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders paints a picture of a diamond-embellished winter scene while lamenting the fact that she's far away from the one she loves at Christmastime.


She sings, "In these frozen and silent nights / Sometimes in a dream... you appear / Outside under the purple sky / Diamonds in the snow... sparkle / Our hearts were singing / It felt like Christmastime.

While many people see "2000 Miles" as a sweet Christmas song about a young woman yearning to be closer to her lover during the holidays, the tune is actually Hynde's tribute to guitarist and founding band member James Honeyman-Scott, who died of a drug overdose in 1982 at the age of 25.

"2000 Miles" was released as a single in December of 1983 and appeared as the 10th track of The Pretenders' Learning to Crawl album. The single was popular in the UK, where it peaked at #15 on the UK Singles Chart. Learning to Crawl earned the #5 spot on the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart.

In 2014, while finishing up her album Stockholm, Hynde collaborated with Swede Bjorn Yttling on an updated version of "2000 Miles. It was released as a Christmas single in the UK that December.

She told Classic Rock Magazine, "I think it captures the mood of the season perfectly as it gets cold in Sweden, reindeer wander the streets freely and the snow was coming down! Happy Christmas!"

Coldplay (2003), The Mighty Mighty Bosstones (2010), Natalie Imbruglia (2010), Mark Kozelek (2014), Kylie Minogue (2015) and Tom Chaplic (2017) have all covered "2000 Miles" for their holiday albums.

Born in Akron, Ohio, in 1951, Hynde formed The Pretenders in Hereford, England, in 1978. The band has performed on and off for the past 39 years, with Hynde embarking on a solo career in 2014. Reunited once again, the band has been touring since 2016. The Pretenders were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

Please check out the video of Hynde and The Pretenders performing "2000 Miles" live in Sydney, Australia, in 2010. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"2000 Miles"
Written by Christine Hynde. Performed by The Pretenders.

He's gone 2000 miles
It's very far
The snow is falling down
Gets colder day by day
I miss you

The children will sing
He'll be back at Christmastime

In these frozen and silent nights
Sometimes in a dream... you appear
Outside under the purple sky
Diamonds in the snow... sparkle

Our hearts were singing
It felt like Christmastime

2000 miles
Is very far through the snow
I'll think of you
Wherever you go

He's gone 2000 miles
It's very far
The snow is falling down
Gets colder day by day
I miss you

Our hearts were singing
It felt like Christmastime
I can hear people singing
It must be Christmastime


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
December 18th, 2017
Swiss luxury jeweler de Grisogono has sent the 813-carat "Constellation" rough diamond to Israel to undergo the first stages of a cutting process that is expected to yield a 350-carat D-flawless polished stone — a gem that would rank as the fourth-largest faceted diamond in the world.



When he first purchased the rights to cut and polish the $63 million rough diamond from Dubai-based Nemesis International in September of 2016, the colorful founder of de Grisogono, Fawaz Gruosi, famously referred to the stone as his “princess.”

“I love her and I hate her,” he said. “Love because something like this is so exceptional — I could never dream to be able to have a stone like this in my own hands — and hate her because I don’t know how I’m going to dress her.”



Now, 15 months later, Gruosi has her attire all worked out. If all goes according to plan, the 813-carat rough — the most expensive of all time — will yield two historically significant D-flawless polished stones weighing 325 carats and 100 carats, as well as eight smaller diamonds, according to experts.

The Constellation was sent to Israel, where Diamond Laser Systems will utilize its state-of-the-art Synova Laser MicroJet to make the initial slices. The MicroJet has a laser beam guided by a hair-thin water jet. The water keeps the diamond cool during the process, minimizing the risk of damage.

Back in November of 2015, Lucara miners discovered two enormous gem-quality rough diamonds at its Karowe Mine in Botswana. The pair tipped the scales at a combined 1,922 carats. The larger of the two was the 1,109-carat “Lesedi la Rona,” which was purchased for $53 million in September by British billionaire and diamantaire Laurence Graff. The smaller of the two was the Constellation.

Both diamonds have been rated Type IIa by the Gemological Institute of America. Diamonds in this rare and coveted subgroup are chemically pure and often show extraordinary optical transparency.

The finished diamond that emerges from the Constellation will take its place among the largest and most famous faceted diamonds of all time. Currently, the top four are The Golden Jubilee (545.67 carats), The Cullinan I (530.20 carats), The Incomparable (407.48 carats) and The Cullinan II (317.4 carats). Both Cullinan diamonds were cut from the mammoth 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond, which was discovered in South Africa in 1905.

Credits: Screen captures via degrisogono.com.
December 19th, 2017
The latest chapter in the Star Wars movie series — The Last Jedi — racked up a whopping $450 million in worldwide ticket sales over the weekend. And while Lucasfilm is successfully introducing a whole new generation to the fantastical 40-year-old franchise, a fan site is reporting that the working title for Star Wars: Episode IX is "Black Diamond."



FanthaTracks.com broke the news that "Black Diamond" will begin shooting in 2018 and hit theaters in December of 2019. Interestingly, the site reported that the film is being produced under the business name of Carbonado Industries (UK) Ltd. The term "carbonado" is often used interchangeably with the term "black diamond."

We believe that the moviemakers at Lucasfilm chose "Black Diamond" as the working title because the unusual gems are truly out of this world. Unlike colorless and fancy-colored diamonds that form deep within the earth, carbonado is likely formed in outer space and brought to earth by meteorites, according to scientists. Earth-formed diamonds often display a crystal structure, while carbonado has an irregular surface that resembles charcoal.



Carbonado is found in only two places on earth — Brazil and the Central African Republic. (During the earth's history, the eastern coast of Brazil and what is now South America may have been connected geographically to the western coast of Africa).

Black diamonds are also different than other colored diamonds because they do not get their color from chemical impurities, such as nitrogen, hydrogen or boron, in the diamond’s makeup. Instead, black diamonds owe their color to numerous dark inclusions (mostly graphite). Their opaqueness is caused by a “polycrystalline” structure that inhibits the reflection of light.

Black diamonds are known to have a strong "luminescence," a term that the all-knowing Yoda used in his exchange with Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

"For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is," Yoda said. "Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere! Yes, even between the land and the ship."

Credits: Black diamond by Trishtha (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Carbonado stones by James St. John [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
December 20th, 2017
Charlyn Willis got engaged last Thursday and now the whole world is in on the big news. You see, the Savannah, Ga., native was so excited after receiving her new cushion-cut diamond engagement ring from beau, Dennis, that she took a selfie while sitting in her car and hastily texted the pic to her sister — or that's what she thought she was doing.



Willis had typed in the wrong number, but through a fortunate stroke of serendipity, accidentally shared the ring pic with Buffy The Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar.

The '90s icon, who has been married to Freddie Prinze Jr. for 15 years, shared the bride-to-be's selfie on Instagram and Facebook, writing, "This is #CharlynWillis. She got engaged yesterday, and meant to text her sister, but in all the excitement, got me instead. Her sister didn’t respond, but I did. So please help me say congrats, to Charlyn. (And her fiancé whose name I don’t know) #congratulations.”

Well wishes came pouring in and Willis was quick to respond with a heartfelt thank you and a pledge to invite Gellar and her family to the wedding.

"Omg! Thank you Sarah! His name is Dennis! Thank you so much for this," Willis wrote. "You’ve truly made my engagement experience even more of a life changer! Please know when we set a date, I’ll be reaching out to invite you, Freddie, and the kids!"



Later, the 28-year-old Willis wrote, "I guess the best way to announce your engagement is to have a celebrity to do it for you. THANKS Sarah Michelle Gellar… AND YES, I SAID YES to Dee!!!!!”

Willis' story has been picked up by The Knot, Bride's, Glamour and The Daily Mail, among other high-profile outlets. Willis wondered out loud on Facebook whether any of them would cover the wedding.

Gellar's Facebook post — which currently has 12,481 Likes and 143 Shares — generated a wave of congratulatory messages for Willis and sweet compliments for the actress.

"Many blessings for a happy marriage!" wrote Facebook user Laura Engel. "...and Sarah Michelle Gellar, how amazingly sweet are you to not only respond to a wrong number, but to spread the joy!"

"And this is why I have always been a huge fan of yours," added Judy Anne Crosby. "Such a kind, generous, and thoughtful woman you are. Congrats to this beautiful woman and thanks to you for always being genuine."

Credits: Selfie images via Facebook/charlyn.willis, Facebook/sarahmichellegellar; Sarah Michelle Gellar photo by Rach [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
December 21st, 2017
On a chilly evening in Wisconsin, Menomonie firefighter Matt Poliak halted a Christmas parade to deliver a heartwarming marriage proposal and two diamond rings — one for his girlfriend, Grace Johnson, and the other for her two-year-old daughter, Isla.



Grace and Isla were watching the Winter Daze Parade from the curb last Thursday when Poliak hopped off his decked-out fire truck and stopped the procession. Little Isla ran out to meet the firefighter, who she's known since she was an infant. Her mom followed close behind.



In front of the crowd, Poliak, 33, went down on one knee and asked Johnson, 24, for her hand in marriage. The young mom said "Yes," and the couple embraced to the spirited approval of those in attendance.

But, Poliak was not done, yet.



He then turned to Isla, got down on one knee again and proposed to her with a diamond ring that was strung on a necklace. The little girl nodded her approval and then jumped into Poliak's arms for a big hug.



Poliak's extraordinary thoughtfulness has turned him and his new family into international celebrities. Their story was picked up by Inside Edition, the Today show, ABC, Fox News and Yahoo, among others.

"I figured it would be an easy way to get all of our friends and family to be around without raising Grace’s suspicions," Poliak told InsideEdition.com.



He also explained why it was important to include Isla in the parade proposal — a surprise he's been planning since October.

"I always knew I wanted to include Isla because she’s such an amazing little girl and it was important for her to be asked if she wanted to be part of my family," Poliak said.

“He is always thinking of not only me, but also Isla,” Johnson told ABC. “That’s been amazing and so helpful for me for so many reasons.”

The couple has yet to set a wedding date, but we're sure little Isla is looking forward to walking down the aisle.

Credits: Screen captures via Facebook/Liz Rensch; Crowd photo, jewelry photo and mom/daughter photo courtesy of Matt Poliak/Grace Johnson; Family shot via Facebook.com/graciej11.
December 22nd, 2017
Welcome to a special holiday edition of Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, sisters Callie, Colette and Devri of the Crofts Family yearn for an engagement ring and a walk down the aisle in their 2014 release, "Merry Christmas, Marry Me."



In the close-harmony style reminiscent of The Andrews Sisters, the Crofts girls deliver a lyrical marriage proposal to a boyfriend who won't take the plunge. In the official video, the sisters adopt the look and sound of the swing and boogie-woogie eras.

They sing, "I hear those church bells ringing for the season / But they give me starry eyes / And I've got an empty finger right here to put a ring on / Darling, if you ever get wise."

Written by Callie Crofts, "Merry Christmas, Marry Me" appeared as the seventh track on the Crofts Family holiday album titled Sparrow in the Birch.

The Crofts Family, which hails from the tiny town of Firth, Idaho (pop. 466), is led by patriarch Vincent Crofts, who encouraged his daughters to develop their musical talent at a young age. It's been reported that their country home looks like a scene from a vintage Christmas card.

By age 12, Callie Crofts was already an accomplished songwriter and guitar player. As an adult, she persuaded her family to finally produce the Christmas album they had always wanted to record. The 2014 release would include a number of holiday favorites that the girls sang as children, as well as two original tunes written by Callie.

One reviewer wrote that the voices of the Crofts girls are "pure and angelic with harmonies that hold your emotions hostage."

Please check out the official video of the Crofts Family performing "Merry Christmas, Marry Me." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Merry Christmas, Marry Me"
Written by Callie Crofts. Performed by the Crofts Family.

Merry Christmas, Marry me a thousand times
I wanna know you're mine, mine
So baby please don't let no

No-good honey steal a kiss
Under the mistletoe
Merry Christmas, Love me 'til the end of time
I wanna hang your stocking next to mine
When we're ninety-nine

I hear those church bells ringing for the season
But they give me starry eyes
And I've got an empty finger right here to put a ring on
Darling, if you ever get wise

Merry Christmas, marry me a thousand times
I wanna hang your stocking next to mine
When we're ninety-nine

Merry Christmas, I don't need a present
Wrapped up with a shiny bow, no no
You know what I'm wishing for
So don't you make me wait anymore

Merry Christmas, and honey if you cause a scene
When you get down on one knee
It won't bother me

I hear those church bells ringing for the season
But they give me starry eyes
And I've got an empty finger right here to put a ring on
Darling, if you ever get wise

Merry Christmas, Love me 'til the end of time
I wanna hang your stocking next to mine
When we're ninety-nine

I hear those church bells
Ringing for the season
But baby we could ring 'em
For a whole different reason
Merry Christmas, Marry me a thousand times


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
December 26th, 2017
A homeless man on Vancouver Island is being praised as a hero for his selfless efforts to return a valuable diamond ring to a woman who had mistakenly donated it with her loose change to another homeless man.



When Trinda Gajek visited Nanaimo on Vancouver Island recently, she came upon a young man who looked to be down on his luck. She offered to help him out and emptied the contents of her zippered change purse into his hands.



What she didn't realize until much later was that among the coins was a cherished diamond band that her adult children had purchased for her when they were teenagers. They called it a "good mother ring."

Devastated by the loss, the Salt Spring Island resident returned to the location where she had met the young man, but he was nowhere to be found.

Still hopeful that she might be reunited with the white gold band adorned by baguette diamonds across the top, she told her story on Facebook and then turned to the local media for help.

In reporting the story, CHEK News interviewed a number of homeless people in the area, including 52-year-old Raymond Ahlstrom. He seemed to connect with Gajek's plight and promised to do what he could.

"I'll put my energy into that one," he said.

“He totally took on my cause. He did not need to do that,” Gajek told huffingtonpost.ca. “He made it his mission to go out into his community and get my ring back.”

Ahlstrom enlisted the help of a friend, who drove him to a few locations where he believed the young man might be. In short time, Ahlstrom had not only located the young man, but also secured Gajek's ring. The CHEK News reporter noted that the young man gave back the valuable ring without question because it was Ahlstrom who asked for it.

On the day Ahlstrom was set to reunite Gajek with her ring, CHEK News was on hand to document the encounter.

"Do you feel good today?" CHEK News asked him. "Yeah," Ahlstrom said with teary eyes. "Yeah I do."



Gajek greeted Ahlstrom with a warm hug.

"Thank you so much," she said. "That is awesome."



"Here it is," he said.

"That's my ring," she said. "Wow."

Gajek insisted on giving Ahlstrom a cash reward. She also planned to reward the young man for his honesty.



“The ring really could have ended up anywhere,” she told huffingtonpost.ca. “I’m thrilled to have it back.”

She called the unlikely recovery of her ring "a real Christmas story."

Credit: Screen captures via cheknews.ca.
December 27th, 2017
A self-described shy guy who prefers to stay out of the spotlight surprised his science teacher girlfriend with a Santa-themed marriage proposal in front of a gym full of screaming middle schoolers.



Dressed like Saint Nick, Chris Garrett walked onto the court during the Rainbow Lake Middle School's teachers-versus-students volleyball game. He took the microphone from the game's announcer and told the crowd, "I have a pretty busy journey ahead of me."

While the crowd of students and teachers were probably thinking of a journey that included toys for the local kids of Spartanburg, S.C., Garrett had something completely different in mind.

"I have a very special gift I need to give to a very special person," the disguised Garrett said.



At that point, seventh-grade teacher Traci Thompson was ushered onto the court, where the faux Santa removed his beard, got down on one knee, pulled a ring box from his pocket and presented his girlfriend with an oval-shaped diamond ring.



"Will you marry me?" Garrett asked.

Thompson said, "Yes," and the crowd erupted in cheers for the couple.

“It’s a special moment,” Garrett said. “She’s the girl of my dreams.”



During a post-ceremony interview, Thompson admitted that Santa's voice sounded familiar.

“I’m still like, in shock,” Thompson told goupstate.com. “I remember thinking, ‘Who is that Santa?’”



Thomas noted that the proposal caught her off guard because her boyfriend is a mild-mannered, behind-the-scenes type of guy.

"This literally would have been the last way I would have expected [the proposal] to happen," she told NBC affiliate WYFF4.

Garrett admitted he prefers to stay "out of the lights like this," but wanted to do something extra special.

“This way, she can share it with everyone here, her family, the kids,” Garrett told goupstate.com.

Summing up what she saw as a perfect proposal, Thompson told her boyfriend of three years, and now fiancé, "You did so good.”

Credits: Screen captures via wyff4.com.
December 28th, 2017
A diamond-and-gold fish brooch valued at $5,000 tops the list of valuable donations anonymously dropped into Salvation Army kettles during the 2017 holiday season. All across the country, local chapters of the charity reported an outpouring of gifts that included bridal jewelry and solid gold coins.



The fish brooch, which is made of 18-karat gold and features 32 diamonds weighing 1.58 carats, was found in a red kettle by a volunteer bell ringer in the Downtown Crossing area of Boston. It will be auctioned off, with the proceeds used to provide coats and warm meals to individuals in need this winter, the Salvation Army said.

“The kind soul that donated this brooch is emblematic of the generosity and charity we see in Massachusetts every holiday season,” noted Major David B. Davis, the Salvation Army’s Massachusetts Divisional Commander. “Her gift is a reminder that there are hidden heroes throughout the Commonwealth and we are grateful to them and all donors, large or small, who embody the spirit of the season and help us support individuals and families in need.”



Boston-area residents have a history of generous giving, especially when it comes to jewelry items. In 2014, for instance, a widow made national headlines and inspired other similar donations when she dropped her diamond ring and her late husband’s wedding band into a kettle outside of North Station.

With the jewelry, she added a note that read: “To honor his memory, I donate this ring. I’m hoping there’s someone out there who made lots of money this year and will buy the ring for 10 times its worth. After all, there’s no price on love or the sentimental value of this ring. But money will help the kids. May everyone have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!”

The woman’s wishes were more than fulfilled when another Boston-area widow — and former Salvation Army bell ringer — offered $21,000 for the engagement ring and wedding band. Instead of taking possession of the rings, she requested that they be returned to their original owner.

Other generous gifts were reported from coast to coast. Here are some of the highlights...

• In Helena, Mont., an anonymous donor dropped a diamond ring into a Salvation Army kettle at the North Montana Albertsons. The ring, which is valued at $1,000, was wrapped in a $20 bill.

“It’s kind of amazing," Helena Salvation Army Captain Rob Lawler told CBS affiliate KPAX. "We love when people put in a couple dollar bills, but when someone puts in something like this... it’s like giving a part of them."

• In Roseville, Calif, a one ounce gold South African Krugerrand was placed in the Salvation Army kettle at the local Sam's Club. The coin's gold value is nearly $1,300 at today's spot price.

"It took me a second to recognize it because I've never actually seen one before," Lt. Steve Pavlakis of Salvation Army Roseville Corps told NBC affiliate KCRA. "And then I read that thing saying 'Krugerrand, one ounce fine gold.' It was like how kids probably feel, how I probably felt, on Christmas morning. It's just so exciting to know that someone trusted us to bless us with that donation."

• In Mount Pleasant, Wis., a diamond engagement ring and wedding band tied together with a blue ribbon was deposited into a Salvation Army kettle a the local Piggly Wiggly. The set has an estimated value of $800 to $1,000.

“You never know the reason behind why someone would give a wedding set,” Major Ken Nicolai, corps officer of the Racine Salvation Army, told journaltimes.com. “But we want them to know that it’s going to help a lot of people.”

The Salvation Army red kettle program dates back to 1891, when Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was determined to do something about the hunger problem in San Francisco. During the holiday season, he resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. He only had one major hurdle to overcome — funding the project.

According to The Salvation Army’s official website, McFee’s red kettle idea was inspired by his days as a sailor in Liverpool, England. There, he remembered an iron kettle called “Simpson’s Pot” into which passers-by tossed a coin or two to help the poor.

The next day McFee placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street. Near the pot, he placed a sign that read, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” He soon had the money to provide good meals to the needy on Christmas Day.

Credits: Images courtesy of Salvation Army.
December 29th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you chart-topping songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today we feature Journey’s romantic, Grammy-nominated anthem, “When You Love a Woman.” In the memorable refrain, lead vocalist and songwriter Steve Perry sings, “When you love a woman, you can see your world inside her eyes,” and compares a joy that lasts forever to “a band of gold that shines.”



Originally released in 1996 as the third track and lead single from the group’s Trial by Fire album, “When You Love a Woman” quickly ascended to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary chart and topped out at #12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. In 1997, the song earned a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group.

Former members of Santana and 1960s psychedelic rock band Frumious Bandersnatch formed Journey in San Francisco in 1973. After a long string of hits, the group disbanded in 1987 only to reunite in 1995. When lead singer Steve "The Voice" Perry went down with a hip injury and was unable to tour in 1998, the group made numerous — and mostly unsuccessful — attempts to fill Perry’s very big shoes.

In 2007, original band member Neal Schon was viewing Journey covers on YouTube when a video by Filipino Arnel Pineda caught his attention. Pineda had a golden voice similar to Perry’s and Journey had their man. He has been singing lead vocals for Journey ever since. Former lead singer Perry continues to tour apart from the band at the age of 68.

In April of 2017, Perry rejoined his bandmates for a special celebration that saw the group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Journey is one of the best-selling bands of all time, with worldwide sales of more than 100 million records.

We invite you to enjoy the soaring vocals of Perry in the official video of “When You Love a Woman.” The video has been viewed more than 27 million times. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along...

“When You Love a Woman”
Written by Steve Perry, Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain. Performed by Journey.

In my life I see where I’ve been
I said that I’d never fall again
Within myself I was wrong
My searchin’ ain’t over… over
I know that…

When you love a woman
You see your world inside her eyes
When you love a woman
You know she’s standin’ by your side
A joy that lasts forever
There’s a band of gold that shines waiting somewhere…oh yeah

If I can’t believe that someone is true
To fall in love is so hard to do
I hope and pray tonight
Somewhere you’re thinkin’ of me girl
Yes I know…I know that

When you love a woman
You see your world inside her eyes
When you love a woman
You know she’s standin’ by your side
A joy that lasts forever
There’s a band of gold that shines waiting somewhere…oh

It’s enough to make you cry
When you see her walkin’ by
And you look into her eyes

When you love a woman
You see your world inside her eyes
When you love a woman
Well you know she’s standin’ by your side
A joy that lasts forever
There’s a band of gold that shines
When you love a woman…
When you love, love, love, love
When you love a woman
You see your world inside her eyes


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.