Romance University

Articles in December 2013

December 2nd, 2013
Stuart Weitzman is world famous for his outrageous, blinged out, over-the-top, seven-figure designer shoes. So, to tie-in with December’s birthstone of the month, we present Weitzman’s “Tanzanite Heels,” a pair of evening sandals featuring 185 carats of luxurious blue-purple tanzanites and 28 carats of diamonds.

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Designed in 2006 in collaboration with jewelry designer Eddie LeVian, the bejeweled silver-leather shoes with platinum heels are valued at $2 million, landing them on the Top 5 list of the "World's Most Expensive Shoes."

At first glance, the shoes look more like a royal necklace than foot apparel. A 16-carat pear-shaped tanzanite dangles from the diamond-encrusted ankle strap, which boasts alternating pear- and oval-shape tanzanites. Each was meticulously matched for color and size.

The general public got to see the “Tanzanite Heels” for the first time in January 2007 at the New York Public Library. A year before, the shoes had taken first place in the “Fashion Accessories” category of the Tanzanite Foundation’s “Celebration of Life Jewelry Design Awards.”

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Tanzanite is one of the newest official birthstones. In 2002, tanzanite was added to the jewelry industry’s official birthstone list, joining turquoise and zircon for December. This was the first time the list had been amended since 1912.

Tanzanite, which was discovered by Maasai tribesmen in 1967, is mined deep in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. The entire mining area is only four square kilometers wide, and it is believed that the lifespan of the mine is just 30 years. Due to its single source and limited supply, promoters of tanzanite say that the gemstone is one thousand times rarer than a diamond.

Tanzanite’s exquisite color is an intoxicating mix of blue and purple, unlike any other gemstone. The stones come in a wide range of hues, from light blues or lilacs, to deep indigos and violets.
December 3rd, 2013
A world-record display of 502,165 colorful twinkling Christmas lights provided the magical backdrop for an awesome marriage proposal this past weekend in the Australian town of Forrest, a suburb of the capital city of Canberra.

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On the opening night of the incredible display — which is assembled at the residence of barrister David Richards — Peter Qin went down on one knee and asked for the hand of Evelin Xu in front of a group of friends, family and wide-eyed members of the public. The delighted Xu said, “Yes,” and the newly engaged couple posed for pictures in the glow of the holiday light show.

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In 2011, the Richards earned a Guinness World Record for decorating their home with 331,038 lights. But the record was short-lived. A family in upstate New York broke the record last year when they flipped the switch for 346,283 lights in the small town of Lagrangeville.

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Not to be outdone, the Richards family was back in the game this year with another record-setting effort, out-decorating the New York family by more than 150,000 lights.  According to NPR, the Richards’ yard features a canopy of lights fanning out beneath a large tree whose trunk is wrapped in glowing colors.

The extraordinary project is a fantastical labor of love for the Richards family, which includes wife Janean, and children Aidan, 13, Caitlin, 10, and Madelyn, 6.

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The family accepts donations from holiday visitors to support SIDS and Kids ACT, two foundations that work to reduce sudden and unexpected death in children. In 2011, the family was able to raise $70,000. This time, they hope to break $100,000.

"The charity is very close to our heart," David Richards told The Canberra Times. "We lost a child, and SIDS looked after us many years ago."

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Amazingly, if laid end to end, the Richards' display of a half-million LED lights would stretch more than 31 miles. The fee to keep the bulbs lit for the month-long public display is nearly $2,500, a bill paid by a local renewable energy company. What the family's attic looks like in the off-season can only be imagined.

“I have always loved Christmas,” he told The Canberra Times. "[By sharing] the Christmas lights with the community... you get to know people you probably should know better, I guess. It's like a party in your driveway every night."

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The display runs from November 30 until December 26. If you’re traveling near the Australian capital city you may consider stopping by 3 Tennyson Crescent in Forrest to view the record-breaking spectacle.
December 4th, 2013
Representing a huge leap forward in the study of diamonds, the University of Alberta unveiled a world-class lab that has the capability of dating individual precious stones and identifying high-grade deposits far below the earth’s surface.

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The 3,500-square-foot Arctic Resources Geochemistry Laboratory is one of the largest and best-equipped diamond labs in the world. Among its $6 million worth of instruments are six mass spectrometers and laser systems that analyze a diamond’s grade and potential richness of a deposit.
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During last week’s lab unveiling, professor Graham Pearson demonstrated to the press how he could split a diamond with a laser and then analyze its age by sampling its core and outer edges. According to Pearson, there is some evidence that the age difference between the center and edge of a diamond could be a billion years.

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"Diamonds are very scarce even when you're sitting on top of a diamond pipe,” Pearson told the Edmonton Sun. “So we look at and date-indicator minerals, which are far more abundant than the diamonds themselves. We can analyze the minerals and figure out how old the [diamonds] are.”

“It is one thing to find diamonds and another to find diamonds viable to mine,” Pearson continued. “It is like gold: one fleck does not equal a mine.”

Pearson, who came to Edmonton from the U.K. three years ago to oversee the design and construction of the lab, emphasized how important it is for Canada, a resource-based economy, to be able to push forward and develop new frontiers of finding new resources.

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“Canada is the third-largest producer of diamonds in the world,” Pearson said. “We’d like to think we can help sustain that.”

Credited with pioneering the first technique for dating individual diamonds, Pearson is also intrigued with the purely scientific aspect of studying diamonds. “They are unique capsules of the deep earth,” he said. “They provide you with unique snapshots of parts of the earth you could never get at.”
December 5th, 2013
For more than a decade, the staff of a California jewelry store has kept a secret about an actor with a heart of gold, who anonymously purchased a $10,000 engagement ring for an Iraq War combat veteran and his bride-to-be.

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In the aftermath of the tragic death of “Fast & Furious” star Paul Walker on Saturday, former sales associate Irene King has come forward to share the details of his selfless act of kindness and quiet generosity.

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King told CBS Los Angeles that Walker was doing some holiday shopping in her Santa Barbara jewelry store at the same time a soldier and his girlfriend were looking at engagement rings. The soldier, who had just completed his first tour of duty in Iraq, was hoping to purchase the ring before heading out for a second tour.

King said the girlfriend finally spotted a bridal set that she really, really liked, but the $10,000 price tag was way over their budget.

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“Honey, I can’t afford that,” the soldier told his girlfriend. Without hesitation, the blue-eyed action star, who was within earshot of the couple, found the manager and asked that the bridal set be put on his tab. According to King, he insisted that the purchase remain anonymous, and then he left the store quietly.

Respecting the actor’s wishes, the staff kept mum when the young couple asked who had purchased the jewelry for them. The story had been kept under wraps for more than 10 years.

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"To do something like that for a perfect stranger is just unbelievable," King told CBS Los Angeles.

King’s story drew media attention after she posted the anecdote on the 40-year-old actor’s Facebook page.

During his life, Walker was active in many charitable organizations, including Reach Out Worldwide, which he founded in 2010 to assist Haiti’s earthquake victims, and to send first responders to the front lines of other natural disasters.
December 6th, 2013
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fabulous songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today’s treat is a rare video of stage-shy Carly Simon and then-husband James Taylor performing their hit, “Mockingbird,” during a 1979 No Nukes concert in New York City.

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In the catchy song that is actually based on the lullaby “Hush Little Baby,” the duo sings, “And if that mockingbird won't sing / He's gonna buy me a diamond ring.”

“Mockingbird” reached #5 on the Billboard Top 40 chart in 1974 and was released as the lead single from Simon’s Hotcakes album.

Five years later, "Mockingbird" would be back in the spotlight as Simon (who suffered from stage fright) and Taylor kicked off the high profile MUSE No Nuke concert at NYC’s Madison Square Garden with a rousing rendition of the song.

MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) staged a series of concerts in September of 1979 to bring national attention to the dangers of nuclear power. Among the artists participating in the all-star shows were Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Brown, Bonnie Raitt, John Hall, The Doobie Brothers and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Even though “Mockingbird” is widely associated with Simon and Taylor, who were married from 1972 to 1983, Inez and Charlie Foxx first released the song in 1963. That version was also a Top 10 hit.

Please enjoy the video at the end of this post. It’s a classic clip from Simon and Taylor’s awesome performance of “Mockingbird” during the No Nukes concert. The lyrics are below because we know you'll be singing along…

"Mockingbird"
Written by Inez and Charlie Foxx. Performed by Carly Simon and James Taylor.

Everybody have you heard?
He's gonna buy me a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird won't sing
He's gonna buy me a diamond ring
And if that diamond ring won't shine
He's gonna surely break this heart of mine
And that's why I keep on tellin' ev'rybody, sayin'
Wo, wo, wo, wo, wo

Hear me now and understand
He's gonna find me some peace of mind
And if that peace of mind won't stay
I'm gonna find myself a better way
And if that better way ain't so
I, I, I'll ride with the tide and go with the flow
And that's why I keep on shoutin' in your ear sayin'
Wo, wo, wo, wo, wo

Everybody have you heard?
She's gonna buy me a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird won't sing
She's gonna buy me a diamond ring
And if that diamond ring won't shine
She's gonna surely break this heart of mine
And that's why I keep on tellin' ev'rybody, sayin' no, no, no, no,no

Listen now and understand
She's gonna find me some peace of mind
And if that peace of mind won't stay
I'm gonna find myself a better way
I might rise above , I might go below
I, I, I'll ride with the tide and go with the flow
And that's why I keep on shoutin' in your ears y'all
No, no, no, no, no, no, now, now, baby

December 9th, 2013
One of the newest members of the Chicago Bulls’ Luvabulls dance team got the surprise of her life on Thursday night when, during a third-quarter timeout, her squad changed the choreography in mid-routine and set her up for a marriage proposal she will never forget.

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In front of a sellout crowd that was at Chicago’s United Center to see the Bulls take on the defending champion Miami Heat, Luvabull Ariana Rosado was caught off guard when the music suddenly transitioned to Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” and she was placed in a rolling chair at center court by team mascot Benny the Bull (see the 0:57 mark of the video below).

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The other Luvabulls danced in a circle around Rosado, and then two Benny the Bull look-a-likes in inflatable costumes joined the dancers at center court. The taller of the two mascots was actually Rosado’s college sweetheart Shane Zackery.

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Rosado was shocked when Zackery emerged from his costume, approached his girlfriend, got down on one knee and proposed with a diamond ring. There’s a good chance that Zachery was a tad nervous in front of the capacity crowd of 22,125 because he placed the ring on Rosado’s right hand (oops!).

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Despite the goof, Rosado said “Yes,” the arena announcer confirmed that she accepted Zackery’s proposal, and the excited dance team joined the couple for a giant group hug at center court.

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All the festivities were broadcast on the giant four-sided video board that hangs above the center of the arena. The icing on the cake was that the Bulls crushed the formidable Heat 107-87.

Rosado later posted to her Facebook page: “Thanks everyone. Believe me, this has now become the best moment of my life!!!”

Rosado and Zackery met at Chicago’s St. Xavier University and they both graduated in 2013. Rosado, who received summa cum laude honors, joined the Luvabulls this season and performs with the dance team at all the Bulls’ home games, charity fundraisers and special events. She was selected from more than 200 dancers who tried out for the Chicago Luvabulls team of 20.

See the video of the Luvabull marriage proposal below…

December 10th, 2013
Radiant Orchid, an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink, has been crowned 2014’s Color of the Year by Pantone, the world’s global color authority. Jewelry lovers will have an easy time accessorizing their pinkish-purple fashions in the coming year. Among the gemstones available in the hues of Radiant Orchid are sapphire, amethyst, rhodolite garnet, spinel and tourmaline.

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According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. “It is a captivating purple — one that draws you in with its beguiling charm,” she said.

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Eiseman told the Associated Press that she expects people will take to it quickly because it’s a flattering color for many skin tones, and because it's something people haven’t seen in a while. Radiant Orchid (officially Pantone 18-3224) looks nice paired against olive and deeper hunter greens, as well as turquoise, teal and light yellows.

While 2013’s top color — Emerald — served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination, according to Eiseman. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society,” she said.

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Pantone’s 2014 selection has already found its way onto fashion runways and into the hearts of fashion-conscious celebrities. For instance, Radiant Orchid hues are a favorite of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Pantone’s annual color choice is the result of a year-long distillation of data culled from cultural and fashion trendsetters. The Pantone color experts survey movies in production, fashion runways, traveling exhibitions, new artists, travel hotspots and socio-economic conditions. The result is a color that’s expected to heavily infiltrate the worlds of fashion, beauty, cosmetics, home decor and consumer products in the coming year.

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Past Colors of the Year have included the following:
  • Pantone 17-5641 Emerald (2013)
  • Pantone 17-1463 Tangerine Tango (2012)
  • Pantone 18-2120 Honeysuckle (2011)
  • Pantone 15-5519 Turquoise (2010)
  • Pantone 14-0848 Mimosa (2009)
  • Pantone 18-3943 Blue Iris (2008)
  • Pantone 19-1557 Chili Pepper (2007)
December 11th, 2013
Here’s a chance to be the first on your block to own the world’s most blinged-out Christmas wreath — a $4.6 million marvel featuring Finnish flora and fine gemstones totaling 138.83 carats. The flowers may last up to 12 days, but the gems will last forever.

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Set amidst the Helleborus flowerheads, deep blue Hedera berries, hand-curled eucalyptus leaves, laurus, lingonberry and blueberry stems are 32 diamonds and 16 rubies.

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One of the Helleborus flower heads cradles 22 loose diamonds and another flower cushions a 3.03-carat fancy yellow diamond. The largest gem in the arrangement is a 17.49-carat ruby, according to luxurytrump.com.

Offered by VeryFirstTo.com, a website dedicated to newly launched luxury products, the Christmas wreath by Finnish floral designer Pasi Jokinen-Carter is being billed as the priciest ever designed.

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“I am passionate about my craft and this recent invitation to create an exclusive wreath, using natural materials and diamonds, has been an exciting and exceptional project,” Jokinen-Carter told luxurytrump.com. In fact, most of the flowers and greenery is sourced from the florist’s home in Finland.

The wreath takes about a week to create at Jokinen-Carter’s shop, Flor Unikon Flowers, in the U.K. After the holidays, the gemstones may be easily extracted from the arrangement so they can find their way into a more permanent fine jewelry design or perhaps they'll adorn next year’s wreath.
December 12th, 2013
Less than a week after popping the question to the love of his life, Shana Warner, Michigan native Jeff Andres was back on bended knee proposing for a second time — to Shana’s six-year-old daughter, Ally.

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“Will you be my stepdaughter,” Andres asked, as Ally sat on Santa’s knee at the famous Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Mich.

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Ally had just told the jolly Mr. Claus what she wanted for Christmas when her future stepdad swooped in and presented her with a dainty version of her mom’s engagement ring.

"I was crying the whole time," Warner told The Daily News. "[Ally] loves Jeff. She always had."

While mom was teary, young Ally wasn’t quite sure how to react. "She was so overwhelmed with feelings — and that she was given something so precious — she tried giving Jeff a dollar," Warner related. Then, finally, the redheaded cutie said, “Yes.”

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Andres and Warner were officially engaged on December 1 after dating for two years. To establish a strong foundation for their new family it was important that Ally didn’t feel left out. They wanted her to feel extra special and Andres needed to earn her blessing.

“Mommy got a ring and mommy got proposed to so we just wanted her to feel very included in our family,” Warner told MailOnline.

Warner and her daughter have always looked forward to their annual trip to Bronner’s to pick out a new ornament for their Christmas tree and to see Santa. Warner and Andres knew that would be the perfect place for the special proposal.

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When Warner asked her little girl to pose for a picture wearing her new ring, the adorable girl flashed a gap-toothed smile and punched her fist in the air like a Power Ranger.

Ally already has her assignment as a junior bridesmaid when Warner and Andres wed on the slopes of Crystal Mountain in Michigan on March 7, 2015. They plan on skiing down the aisle, reports MailOnline.
December 13th, 2013
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. We’re back in our time machine this week with a rare clip of the The Grass Roots performing “Midnight Confessions.”

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Released in the summer of 1968, “Midnight Confessions” is a song about unrequited love. Our protagonist — in this case Grass Roots frontman Rob Grill — loves a woman who is committed to another man. Grill sings, “But a little gold ring you wear on your hand makes me understand / There's another before me, you'll never be mine / I'm wasting my time.”

Grill’s “midnight confessions” become an outlet to express his true feelings… “When I say all the things that I want to / I love you.”

“Midnight Confessions” reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 list and was The Grass Roots’ biggest hit with more than one million singles sold.

The Grass Roots was established in 1965 when the songwriter and producer duo of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri got some airplay on a demo recording they sent to a bunch of San Francisco radio stations. They credited the song to The Grass Roots, but there was no band.

Quickly, the pair assembled local musicians to become The Grass Roots. The third incarnation of the band, which included Grill on lead vocals and bass guitar, was the most successful. Overall, the band charted 21 times and sold more than 20 million records worldwide.

After leaving the band in 1977 to pursue a solo career, Grill returned in 1980 and performed with The Grass Roots until his death in 2011.

With an ever-evolving lineup, the group continues to tour today, capitalizing on the popularity of 1960s nostalgia.

See Grill and The Grass Roots performing “Midnight Confessions” in the video at the end of this post. Lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Midnight Confessions”
Written by Lou T. Josie. Performed by The Grass Roots.

The sound of your footsteps
Telling me that you're near
Your soft gentle motion, baby
Brings out the need in me that no one can hear, except

In my midnight confessions
When I tell all the world that I love you
In my midnight confessions
When I say all the things that I want to
I love you

But a little gold ring you wear on your hand makes me understand
There's another before me, you'll never be mine
I'm wasting my time

Staggering through the daytime
Your image on my mind
Passing so close beside you baby
Sometimes the feelings are so hard to hide, but

In my midnight confessions
When I tell all the world that I love you
In my midnight confessions
When I say all the things that I want to
I love you

Yes a little gold ring you wear on your hand makes me understand
There's another before me, you'll never be mine
I'm wasting my time

In my midnight confessions
When I tell all the world that I love you
Na na-na na na na na-na
Na na-na na na na na-na

December 16th, 2013
The actual Lady Liberty silver dollar that President John F. Kennedy intended to use for the ceremonial coin toss at the famed Army-Navy football game in 1963 finally hit the turf at Saturday’s Army-Navy contest, 50 years after the beloved president's life was cut short by an assassin's bullet.

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For a half century, the coin had been in the possession of Navy football captain Tom Lynch and was out of public view. Recently, he decided to donate it to the Naval Academy and give it a chance to return to the field. Army Secretary Cyrus R. Vance had sent the coin to Lynch as a memento of the 1963 contest.

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An avid football fan and World War II Navy hero, Kennedy was looking forward to flipping the 1923 Lady Liberty dollar coin prior to the annual Army-Navy game on November 30, 1963, a contest that was being billed as “The Game of the Year.” As he had done in 1961 and 1962, Kennedy planned to watch the game from the Army side of the field in the first half and then switch to the Navy side for the second.

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But, the President never got chance to attend the game because he passed away in Dallas on November 22 — only eight days before the much-anticipated game was set to be played.

The shocked country went into mourning and it was likely that the Army-Navy game would be cancelled, but First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and the Kennedy family insisted that the game be played as a fitting tribute to the President who loved football and, especially, the Army-Navy rivalry.

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In front of a sell-out crowd of more than 100,000 at Municipal Stadium (later renamed JFK Stadium) in Philadelphia, Kennedy’s favorite Midshipmen prevailed 21-15, as the team held off the Cadets at the Navy 2-yard line while time ran out. The quarterback of the winning team was none other than Heisman Trophy-winner and Dallas Cowboys legend Roger Staubach.

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On Saturday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was back in Philadelphia to participate in the ceremonial coin toss before the 114th annual Army-Navy game. In his palm was President Kennedy’s Lady Liberty 1923 silver dollar.

A week after the 1963 contest, Navy captain and linebacker Lynch received an unexpected package from Army Secretary Vance. It contained a silver dollar and a letter from Vance: “Dear Midshipman Lynch, I am forwarding the coin which the late President Kennedy would have used and would have presented to you had he made the toss of the coin at the Army-Navy football game this year. Please accept this memento of a memorable football game.”

"I had the coin in my possession for 50 years and that was long enough,” Lynch said. “That's a piece of Army-Navy game history and I just felt it would be meaningful to give that coin back to the Naval Academy so it could be seen publicly from now on."

Presidents have been attending Army-Navy games since 1901. Teddy Roosevelt started the custom and it has been going strong ever since.
December 17th, 2013
A young Ohio woman shared her story about a very sentimental piece of jewelry with the three million listeners of NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. In response to the question, “What’s the best holiday gift you have ever received?” Stephanie Soduk of Canton told Sunday host Rachel Martin's radio audience about a special present from her dad that spanned multiple generations.

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In her intro, Martin explained that while most holiday gifts are lovely, they’re usually treasured for a while and then relegated to a shelf in the basement. Martin wanted to know more about those rare gifts that "just knocked it out of the park."

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Soduk, who is a development executive for a healthcare provider, offered up her story of a gift that actually started out as a pair of diamond earrings that her mom got as a gift from her dad. Soduk’s mom, a tasteful, classy lady, who always liked to look her best, loved the earrings and wore them everywhere, according to her daughter.

But, when Stephanie was only 16 years old, her mother died of breast cancer and the beloved earrings were put into storage.

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Five years later, Soduk was celebrating Christmas with her family, and under the tree were two small gift boxes from her dad. One was for her and the other was for her sister, Marianne.

“We opened them [to find] a matching pair of [diamond] necklaces made out of [Mom's] earrings,” she said.

Soduk wears her diamond necklace just about everywhere. She and her sister cherish their necklaces, just like their mom cherished her earrings.

“I'm wearing it right now, actually,” she said. “And it's really neat to me that when somebody compliments it or asks about it, I can tell them a story. And that shares a piece of me. And it's really special.”
December 18th, 2013
Rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z launched his new fragrance, “Gold,” with a revolutionary interactive display that instantly — and amazingly — turns window gazers into undulating humanoid globules of precious metal.
 
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Introduced at Macy’s flagship store in NYC, the same location made famous by the classic Christmas movie “A Miracle on 34th Street,” the “Liquid Gold” installation uses Microsoft Kinect and facial recognition technology to detect a window shopper that has stopped to view the display.

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Once the system locks onto a subject, it renders that person’s silhouette and merges it into the fluid gold simulation. As the shopper moves, so does his rippling, gilded doppelgänger.

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Herald Square shoppers lucky enough to be turned to gold were encouraged by the display’s signage to share “selfies” of the experience using the hashtag #JayZGold at Twitter.

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Progressive ad agency KBS+ and interactive media company Future Colossal conceived “Liquid Gold” to create a buzz for Jay-Z’s new fragrance for men, which was introduced at the end of November. The “liquid gold” theme also pervades the product’s packaging, print advertising, social media and TV commercials.

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Designed by Jay-Z, the fragrance comes in a pure white matte flask branded with the GOLD JAY Z logo in raised gold lettering. Encircling the flask’s gilded cap are the key words describing the essence of the new fragrance: “Power,” “Pride,” “Confidence,” “Strength,” “Success” and “Courage.”
December 19th, 2013
Pop superstar Justin Timberlake took a short break from his concert in Louisville on Sunday to orchestrate an extra special on-stage marriage proposal for a local couple. The 90-second video of Timberlake’s sweet gesture has gone viral with more than 1.2 million views on YouTube.

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Timberlake had just completed his hit song, “That Girl,” when he unexpectedly walked to the edge of the stage to chat with mega fan Josh Clemons and his girlfriend, Kim Martin, who were seated in the first row.

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“Guys, say hello to Josh! Who do you have with you?” Timberlake asked, as the excited crowd started to sense what was about to happen. “This is Josh and Kim. Why don't y'all make your way over here.”

The couple climbed a few steps and Timberlake led them to center stage at the sold-out KFC Yum! Center.

“Josh called me earlier,” Timberlake told a stunned Martin, who was now in the spotlight in front of 22,000 screaming Timberlake fans. “He's got something he wants to tell you."

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Clemons knelt down in front of his girlfriend and proposed with a diamond solitaire ring. Kim said, “Yes," the couple embraced, and the arena erupted. Timberlake applauded, as well.

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Pulling off this epic proposal was no easy feat for Clemons, who had purchased tickets for the concert back in June. Despite the thin odds, he pursued an unlikely plan to propose to his girlfriend at the concert — with a big assist from Timberlake.

Originally, he had hoped that Timberlake might dedicate "That Girl" to the couple, and Clemons was prepared to propose to Martin while they were seated in the audience.

Clemons told Fox Louisville affiliate WDRB that it took nearly 100 emails and phone calls to get through to Timberlake’s manager.

Then, only two days before the concert, Clemons recounted the call he’d been hoping for: “The manager said, ‘Justin has a big plan and wants to know if you are ready to do it big,’ and I said, ‘Definitely.’”

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Martin told Fox that the whole experience has been surreal. She admitted that she was in total shock when Timberlake pulled her out of the audience on Sunday. “I was like, there is no way, no way this is happening right now,” she said.

Clemons had a message for other romantic guys trying to pull off extreme marriage proposals: “Anything is possible,” he said. “You never know until you try.”

See the viral video of the Louisville Proposal below…

December 20th, 2013
Welcome to the Christmas Edition of Music Friday when bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we present the original 1951 version of “Silver Bells,” a holiday favorite that was nearly scrapped, according to songwriter Ray Evans.

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A 91-year-old Evans revealed to NPR's radio audience in 2006 the "stupid, stupid" backstory of "Silver Bells" and its first, controversial incarnation — “Tinkle Bell.”

Evans and his writing partner, Jay Livingston, were under contract for Paramount Studios when they were assigned to write a Christmas song for The Lemon Drop Kid, a comedy starring Bob Hope. Evans and Livingston believed the world already had too many Christmas songs and were underwhelmed with the task at hand.

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Sitting at facing desks in a shared office, the pair was inspired by a little bell that sat on one of the desks. “We said, ‘Ahh, there’s our theme for Christmas. The bell makes a tinkly sound when in rings,'” Evans remembered. “We’ll call the song ‘Tinkle Bell.’”

When Livingston told his wife about the new song, she was astonished by her husband and his partner's stupidity.

“Tinkle bell? Are you out of you mind?” Livingston’s wife said. “You can’t write a Christmas song with the word ‘tinkle’ in it. Don’t you know what tinkle means?"

Jay Livingston said, "I never thought of that."

The next day, Livingston and Evans agreed that the song had to be tossed and the writing partners started working on a brand new song. “We were ready to get rid of ‘Tinkle Bell’ completely,” said Evans, “but we liked with music and a lot of the lyrics. We ended up with the same song we started with, except ‘tinkle’ became ‘silver.’”

“It’s a stupid, stupid story,” Evans continued, “but ignorance is bliss. Our royalties are very, very good.”

The Evans and Livingston collaboration produced a string of hits that included the Oscar-winning "Buttons and Bows," "Mona Lisa" and "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera). They wrote 26 songs that were million-sellers and, in total, recordings of their songs have sold nearly 500 million copies.

“Silver Bells” has been covered by dozens of artists spanning more than 60 years. The neatest of them all is the original performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell. At the very beginning of the clip, you will see a street corner Santa played by William Frawley, who was famously Fred Mertz on the classic TV sitcom “I Love Lucy.”

Enjoy, and happy holidays!

December 23rd, 2013
Shaking with excitement and wearing her new sparkling diamond engagement ring, a Utah woman proclaimed this as the “best Christmas ever” after her fiancé — and Santa Claus — surprised her with a marriage proposal at the University Mall in Orem, Utah.

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A new survey confirms that the Christmas season is the #1 time of the year for marriage proposals, and Kody Fitzgerald acted right on cue when he conspired with Santa and his helpers to make girlfriend Didi Nateras’ holiday wish come true. TV station KSL was in on the surprise and captured the moment with its hidden cameras.

After waiting their turn with a lot of excited youngsters, it was finally the couple’s turn to meet Santa. “Hi, Didi. How are you?” said the jolly Mr. Claus, as he invited the young lady to sit on his lap as if she were a little girl.

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He asked Nateras what she wanted Santa to bring her for Christmas. She glanced at her boyfriend before she shyly responded, "A ring.” Santa paused a moment and then told the young lady, “A ring? Well, you know I've got just enough magic left in my sack, I might be able to make that happen.”

Santa pulled out a ring box and handed it to Nateras. Her boyfriend encouraged her to look inside.

She opened it slowly, only to be disappointed that the box was empty. Sadness turned to jubilation when a few seconds later Fitzgerald got down on one knee and proposed with the diamond solitaire ring of her dreams.

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“I want to spend the rest of my life with you," said Fitzgerald. "Will you marry me?”

Nateras said, “Yes,” and Santa chimed in, “You’re going to make me cry.”

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Nateras rose from Santa’s lap to embrace her new fiancé. Then the couple was back on Santa’s oversized chair to get his blessing and to pose for a bunch of photos that will surely bring back priceless memories many years from now.

"I wish you the most happiness and a happy, long life for the both of you," Santa said.

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With her hands still shaking with excitement, Nateras told KSL, "I mean, I don't think I will ever forget this. This is probably the best Christmas ever."

It’s a fair guess that the “best Christmas ever” phrase will be repeated by countless new brides-to-be over the next few days. A survey conducted by Chilisauce, a UK-based event planning website, confirmed that the Christmas season is the most romantic time of the year. When 7,000 men and women were asked to name the best day to pop the question, 32% said “Christmas Eve” and 13% said “Christmas Day.” The next most popular time for engagements was “Valentine’s Day,” which was named by 30% of respondents.
December 24th, 2013
Stunning actress Gabrielle Union and NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade took to their respective Twitter pages on Saturday to jointly announce their engagement with a close-up shot of the ring — a fabulous 8.5-carat cushion-cut diamond set on a simple platinum band. Jewelry experts pegged the value of the stylish four-prong sparkler at nearly $1 million.

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Best known for her roles in Bring It On and Think Like a Man, the 41-year-old former model surprised her fans with this tweet on Saturday, “Sooooo this happened…#Yessss.”

She included a link to her Instagram page, where her 1.4 million followers were treated to a detailed view of her mammoth ring. In the photo, Union is wearing the ring as she gently caresses Wade’s hand.

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Also on Saturday, the 31-year-old Miami Heat guard tweeted, “She said YES!!!,” while including a link to the same ring photo on his Instagram page — a page followed by 2.3 million fans.

MailOnline reported that sourcing the 8.5-carat center stone was a challenge for Beverly Hills jewelry designer Jason Arasheben. Apparently, it required three buying trips to Miami to locate the perfect stone.

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The December Essence cover girl and the defending NBA champion have been a high-profile couple since 2009. Despite a brief breakup earlier this year and the challenges of their busy schedules, the couple agreed to try to make the relationship work.

“At the end of the day, we came back together and said we want to continue this and we want to get better each day,” Wade told Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.
December 26th, 2013
Vancouver police are asking for the public’s help in recovering a Canadian national treasure — a huge, helmet-shaped ammolite rarity that was stolen from a storefront window on Friday morning.

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About the size of a man’s shoe and valued at $500,000, the one-of-a-kind ammolite is unique because of its huge size and display of seven distinctive colors.

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Vancouver police spokesman Sergeant Randy Fincham explained that a burglar busted through the front window of a Vancouver jewelry shop before store hours to get access to the ammolite, but took no other items. He asked gem collectors to contact his department if they had any information about the distinctive specimen.

"Obviously it has a limited retail value because it's fairly distinct, so it would be [someone like a] collector possibly that would look at purchasing something like this, as it is such as unique item," he said in a press conference.

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Jewelry and image by Korite International.

Ammolite is formed from the fossilized shell of an ammonite, an extinct giant marine mollusk that flourished 17 million years ago in what is now Alberta, Canada. The mineral composition of ammolite is similar to that of a pearl, and the iridescent, multicolor presentation is reminiscent of a fine opal.

Although ammonite fossils can be found around the world, ammolite has only been found in one place, the Bearpaw geological formation in southern Alberta, making it one of the rarest gemstones, according to the American Gem Trade Association.

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Photograph by Gregory Phillips, February 2005.

Ammolite is one of the few biogenic gemstones, which means it is made by living organisms. Others include amber and pearl. Ammolite was given gemstone status by the World Jewellery Confederation in 1981 and was named the official gemstone of the Province of Alberta in 1984.

It is also ranked as a Canadian national treasure, a status which demands that specimens be registered before they can be removed from the country, according to The Canadian Press.

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The quality of ammolite is determined by three key criteria: the number of primary colors seen in the stone; the way the colors “play,” or shift, when viewed from different angles; and the brightness of the colors. Ammolite dealers use a letter grading system to express a stone’s overall quality, from AA to B.
December 27th, 2013
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you cool throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today’s featured track is “For Your Love” by the British-invasion band The Yardbirds. The 1965 hit, which features key “diamond” references, was the group’s biggest commercial success with top-six chart success in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

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The song is basically a love treatise, with lead singer Keith Relf listing all the things he would give “for your love.” In addition to offering the moon, the sun and the stars, Relf starts off with a more reasonable proposal…

Relf sings, “I'd give you everything and more and that's for sure / I'd bring you diamond rings and things right to your door / To thrill you with delight / I'd give you diamonds bright/ Double takes I will excite / Make you dream of me at night.”

The Yardbirds have been called “the most impressive guitar band in rock music,” because the group launched the careers of guitar legends Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

Interestingly, “For Your Love” was the straw that broke the camel’s back for a 20-year-old Clapton. After playing lead guitar on the song, Clapton left the band because he believed the song signaled that The Yardbirds were becoming too commercial. Music historians claim he was also disgruntled having to duplicate the song’s unusual harpsichord intro on his 12-string electric guitar when playing live.

Musician Dave Liebman, who was hired to write the introduction to “For Your Love,” revealed years later that the use of the harpsichord was a total accident. Upon arriving at the recording studio, he realized that the organ he intended to use was nowhere in site. He had to settle for a harpsichord and history was made — the first rock song featuring a harpsichord.

The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and are included in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”

Please check out the video at the end of this post. It’s a rare 1965 clip of The Yardbirds performing “For Your Love” on Shindig!, a U.S. musical variety show. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“For Your Love”
Written by Graham Gouldman. Performed by The Yardbirds.

For your love.
For your love.
For your love.
I'd give you everything and more, and that's for sure.
For your love.
I'd bring you diamond rings and things right to your door.
For your love.

To thrill you with delight,
I'll give you diamonds bright.
There'll be things that will excite,
To make you dream of me at night.

For your love.
For your love.
For your love.

For your love, for your love,
I would give the stars above.
For your love, for your love,
I would give you all I could.

For your love.
For your love.
For your love.
I'd give the moon if it were mine to give.
For your love.
I'd give the stars and the sun 'fore I live.
For your love.

To thrill you with delight,
I'll give you diamonds bright.
There'll be things that will excite,
To make you dream of me at night.

For your love.
For your love.
For your love.
For your love.

December 30th, 2013
Two weeks ago, cashier Ethell Perkins misplaced her cherished wedding ring while working the endless holiday lines at Walmart in Omaha, Neb. For more than 20 years, Perkins had worn the diamond ring, which served as a constant and irreplaceable symbol of her marriage to her now-deceased husband. Perkins was so upset by the loss that she asked her supervisor to finish her shift. 

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Walmart managers scanned surveillance video and were able to pinpoint the exact moment Perkins lost the ring while packing out a plastic bag for a family of holiday shoppers. They concluded that the ring was on her finger when her hand went into the bag and was gone when it came out.

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Unfortunately, they were not able to identify the family involved in the transaction. The best they could do was hope that these Walmart customers would spot the ring once they got home and be honest enough to return it to the store.

"In my line of work, I see a lot of bad things,” Walmart asset protection manager Nick Tolen told KMTV, “but I was hoping just this once, there would be a good person who would bring it back."

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On the Monday before Christmas, Omaha police officer Josh Martinec and his wife, Leslie, were finally sorting through holiday presents they bought 10 days earlier when Leslie spotting something unusual in her Walmart bag.

"I pulled it out and said, 'Oh my gosh, Josh,'" Leslie recounted. "He thought it was actually my ring, and that I had lost a diamond or something. I said, 'Uhh, I don't know what to do with this.'"

Josh knew exactly what to do.

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On Christmas Eve, the Martinec family returned to Walmart to deliver a special gift to a very surprised and appreciative cashier.

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"Thank you so much," Perkins said to the Martinecs. "God is good. Thank you, Jesus."

Josh told KMTV that he was glad the wedding ring was dropped into his bag and not the bag of some Scrooge.

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"I'm just glad we could pay it forward for the holidays,” said Leslie, “because that's what it's all about."

Walmart managers could hardly believe Perkins’ good fortune and were impressed by the Martinecs’ honesty. They told KMTV they’ve never seen anything like this. When expensive items go missing, they are generally not returned.

"I'm grateful," said Perkins. "It's been a Merry Christmas for all of us."

December 31st, 2013
A team of scientists has uncovered kimberlites in Antarctica’s Prince Charles Mountains, a sure sign that untapped diamond riches are lying just below the icy surface of the southernmost continent.

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Diamonds are formed under intense heat and pressure about 100 miles below the surface. They can be brought to the surface in powerful eruptions and preserved in the distinctive igneous rock formations called kimberlites. The presence of kimberlite has been a clue to huge deposits of diamonds in several parts of the world, including Africa, Siberia and Australia.

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Findings published in the journal Nature Communications reveal that the particular rocks unearthed in eastern Antarctica are considered “Group One” kimberlites. They are estimated to be 120 million years old and are similar to the ones found in diamond-rich areas on other continents.

“It would be very surprising if there weren't diamonds in these kimberlites," lead researcher Greg Yaxley from Australian National University told Reuters.

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Before you pack your bags and plan a prospecting trip to the Prince Charles Mountains of Antarctica, you should know that in 1991 the international community, led by the U.S. and China, imposed a 50-year mining ban in Antarctica. What will happen after 2041 is anyone’s guess.

Despite his team's discovery, Yaxley is not enthusiastic about the idea of diamond mining in the coldest place on Earth. "I don't think it's terribly practical that anyone could actually explore successfully," Yaxley told Reuters. "Personally, I hope that mining does not take place."

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Interestingly, 200 million years ago, Antarctica was part of the supercontinent of Gondwana, which included the merged land masses of South America, Africa, Australia, the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian Subcontinent.

The age of the Antarctic kimberlites and their chemical, mineral and physical features suggest they are part of a huge Cretaceous kimberlite province, Yaxley suggested. This vast region is responsible for many of the world's diamonds, and is now apparently spread across most of the continents that were once part of Gondwana.