Romance University

Articles in March 2018

March 1st, 2018
The bejeweled snake ring that outlaw Clyde Barrow crafted in prison for the love of his life and partner in crime, Bonnie Parker, is the subject of Monday's episode of Strange Inheritance, a primetime reality series on the FOX Business Network (FBN).



Monday's episode titled "Crime Ring" recounts the story of legendary Texas sheriff Smoot Schmid and a ring that was recovered from a bullet-riddled ’33 Ford Model B after his shootout with the Bonnie & Clyde gang.



The legendary couple fled on foot, escaping the police ambush despite wounds to their legs from the bullets that passed through the car. The failed ambush would be known as the "Sowers Raid."



Left behind in the vehicle were a number of personal items, including a silver-tone promise ring in the shape of a three-headed snake. The heads of the snakes were punctuated with green and red jewels. Schmid and his associates kept the items for themselves and hid them away.



Jewelry expert David Bellman speculated that the snake ring may have been crafted in 1930 while Barrow was incarcerated at Eastham Prison Farm near Huntsville, Texas. The ring bears his personal trademark, an arrow passing through the musical note “B.”

According to FBN, many years later, the sheriff's heirs, Debbie Daily and Diana Knowlton, stumbled across their grandfather’s scrapbook of crime scene photos, mug shots of Bonnie and Clyde, news clippings about the failed Sowers Raid, as well as original arrest warrants and a letter written by Bonnie and signed by Clyde. They also found an inventory list with one item in particular that caught their attention: a ring with three silver snakes. They searched for the ring for days and finally found it in the back of their grandfather's closet.

When they were ready to sell their grandfather's Bonnie and Clyde loot, Daily and Knowlton contacted RR Auction executive Bobby Livingston in New Hampshire. The auction took place in June of 2017, and the Bonnie Parker ring, Lot 2039, netted $25,000.

Although Bonnie and Clyde were never formally engaged, the three-headed snake promise ring remains a powerful symbol of two of America’s highest-profile antiheroes.

Hosted by FBN's Jamie Colby, the Strange Inheritance series chronicles the stories of inheritances from people and places from coast to coast. The show airs Monday, March 5, at 9PM/ET. In the photo, top, host Jamie Colby holds the "Crime Ring" as she interviews RR Auction executive Bobby Livingston.

Credits: Top image courtesy of FOX Business Network. Jewelry images courtesy of RR Auction; Bonnie and Clyde photo by one of the Barrow gang [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
March 2nd, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you new tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country singer Sam Outlaw takes on the persona of a heartless lover in the 2017 song, "Diamond Ring."



Featured a few weeks ago on Amazon's anti-Valentine's Day playlist, "Love Me Not," Outlaw's "slow, sad waltz" tells the story of a couple with conflicting opinions about the status of their relationship. She wants his "heart to surrender," but a long-term commitment is the furthest thing from his mind.

He sings, "You want my heart to surrender / I see no courage ending life here / I see no reason at all / I see no diamond ring on your finger / I see no diamond ring on you at all."

"'Diamond Ring' is about being a self-centered twenty-something," Outlaw told Rolling Stone magazine. "I'm no longer in my twenties, but the rest of that still applies to me pretty accurately."

The 35-year-old has been performing "Diamond Ring" on tour since 2012, but the song made its "official" debut last year as the eighth track of Outlaw's second album, Tenderheart. "Diamond Ring" got another boost when a live version of the song recorded at the 2017 Americana Music Festival in Nashville was cherry-picked in February 2018 for Amazon's "Love Me Not" playlist.

Born in Aberdeen, S.D., in 1982, Sam Morgan moved with his family to Southern California when he was 10 and borrowed his mom's maiden name, Outlaw, when he abruptly gave up a career in advertising to pursue his dreams of being a singer-songwriter. At the age of 30, he hit the road as a touring musician.

Outlaw describes his music as "SoCal country." He told Rolling Stone that he's noticed that L.A.'s appetite for Southern culture has only been growing.

"It's nice that now I can wear my Stetson to a restaurant," he told the magazine, "and not have people think I'm insane."

Please check out the video of Sam Outlaw's live performance of "Diamond Ring." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Diamond Ring"
Written and performed by Sam Outlaw.

You took me dancing, you got me drunk
You kissed me, oh I remember
I was a man needing a woman's touch
And that's all that I claim to be
And now you got questions, now come the tears
You want my heart to surrender
I see no courage ending life here
I see no reason at all

I see no diamond ring on your finger
I see no diamond ring on you at all

You look so pretty, you look like hell
You kissed me, oh I remember
Couple with whiskey, from a bottomless well
I must have been quite a show
Now you want answers, now comes the fear
You want me only forever
I see no wisdom in drawing death near
I see no reason at all

I see no diamond ring on your finger
I see no diamond ring on you at all
I see no diamond ring on your finger
I see no diamond ring on you at all

So can you forgive me for not putting trust
On someone who thinks I'm so special
I'm just a man needing a woman's touch
Someday you'll see me again


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
March 6th, 2018
Hollywood’s most talented and glamorous stars celebrated their achievements wearing platinum jewelry at the 90th Academy Awards in the City of Angels on Sunday night. According to insiders, jewelry houses called in designs from around the globe and arranged high-security hand-offs to the stylists who dressed the red carpet-ready A-listers.



Platinum chic is often the choice for celebrities, and this year’s Oscars did not disappoint. Cluster chandelier earrings and magnificent statement rings set in cool platinum were among the dramatic, spotlight-grabbing baubles. Nominees, performers and presenters alike accentuated their designer gowns with bold, platinum-set looks that were nothing short of Hollywood glam.

Here are some highlights from the event:

Allison Janney, who took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in I, Tonya, wore a Forevermark by Rahaminov Diamond Riviera Necklace set in platinum, 55.26 ctw; Forevermark Exceptional Diamond Asscher Ring with side baguettes set in platinum, 18.10 ctw; Forevermark by Rahaminov diamond line bracelet set in platinum, 27.02 ctw; and Forevermark by Premier Gem round brilliant diamond studs set in platinum, 11.13 ctw.



Nicole Kidman, a presenter, wore 84 carats of Harry Winston diamonds, all set in platinum – including Winston cluster diamond chandelier earrings (23.52 carats), Secret Cluster diamond bracelet (37.62 carats), Tulip Diamond Bracelet (12.86 carats), round brilliant diamond cluster ring (4.73 carats), and an oval-shaped diamond Rock Band (5.5 carats).



Salma Hayek, a presenter, wore Harry Winston earrings with diamonds, and a ring with an oval-shaped diamond, both set in platinum.



Gal Gadot, in platinum by Tiffany & Co., wore diamond earrings, a Tiffany Blue Book Collection necklace with aquamarines and diamonds, and a Tiffany Blue Book Collection ring with a aquamarine and diamonds, all set in platinum.

Greta Gerwig, double nominee for Lady Bird (Director and Original Screenplay), wore platinum by Tiffany & Co. – a necklace with diamonds, sapphires and moonstones circa 1910-1920, set in platinum; earrings with diamonds, set in platinum (priced at $29,600); 2018 Extraordinary Colors of Tiffany Collection ring with an esteemed sapphire (approximately 5 carats) and diamonds.

Saoirse Ronan, nominee for Best Actress for Lady Bird turned heads in Cartier High Jewelry sapphire and diamond drop earrings set in platinum.

Mary J. Blige, nominee for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song, “Mudbound,” wore a Forevermark Exceptional Diamond cushion halo ring with split shank band set in platinum, 6.93 ctw.

Laurie Metcalf, nominee for Best Supporting Actress for Lady Bird, wore pendant earrings with old mine diamonds (11.0 carats), an Asscher-cut diamond ring (6.0 carats), and an Art Deco ring with a pink sapphire and diamond, all set in platinum.

Ashley Judd, a presenter, wore a Bvlgari necklace with diamonds circa 1930, set in platinum, and a diamond bracelet with diamonds circa 1939, set in platinum.

Helen Mirren, a presenter, wore $3.8 million worth of platinum jewelry by Harry Winston, including a necklace with a cushion-cut sapphire and diamonds (115.27 carats), and earrings with a cushion-cut sapphire and diamonds (25.22 carats), all set in platinum.

Kelly Ripa, a red-carpet regular who congratulated award winners with candy after their acceptance speeches, wore platinum by Fred Leighton, including a 19th Century old mine diamond Rivière necklace, and Art Deco old European-cut diamond earrings, both set in platinum.



Allison Williams, wore platinum by Harry Winston earrings with diamonds and a bracelet with sparkling cluster diamonds, all set in platinum.

Credits: All photos courtesy of Platinum Guild International.
March 7th, 2018
In 1954, Maria Martha Hacker Rocha, a statuesque beauty from Brazil, was the odds-on favorite to win the Miss Universe pageant. Admirers from all over the world were captivated by her beauty, class and amazing blue eyes.



Although she eventually earned runner-up status to American Miriam Stevenson, the 18-year-old from the Brazilian state of Bahia would be forever linked to the world of fine jewelry and March's brilliant blue birthstone — the aquamarine.

About the same time as Rocha was competing on the world stage, an incredible aquamarine crystal was found on a farm near Teofilo Otoni, Brazil. It weighed approximately 74.5 pounds and the color was so rich, so intense that the Brazilian gem dealers needed to distinguish it from the rest.

Gemstone merchants already had names for other varieties of aquamarine, the blue member of the beryl family. The rare, intense blue aquamarines from the Santa Maria de Itabira mine in Brazil were called “Santa Maria.” Similar-color aquamarines from Mozambique and other countries in Africa were named “Santa Maria Africana.” Lighter hues were named after the Brazilian state where they were mined, specifically “Espirito Santo.”

But the 74.5 pound specimen was in a class by itself. They decided to name it “Martha Rocha” as a tribute to the Brazilian beauty queen with the captivating clear blue eyes. Even today, gem experts use “Martha Rocha” as a classification of tone and intensity when rating the finest-color aquamarines.

At 81 years old, Rocha is still a symbol of beauty in Brazil, and she has streets named after her in Bahia, Santa Catarina and São Paulo.

Aquamarines are mined in many countries, including Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, Mozambique and the U.S., but many of the finest-quality gemstones still come from Brazil.

Credits: Martha Rocha on the cover of Brazilian illustrated weekly magazine O Cruzeiro (August 1954); Gem photos courtesy of Smithsonian/Chip Clark.
March 8th, 2018
British superstar Ed Sheeran is proudly wearing an engagement ring and doesn't understand why the concept is considered so avant-garde.



"I never saw why men didn't wear engagement rings," he told a reporter for Lorraine, a British lifestyle and entertainment TV show. "It's the same commitment either way. Cherry [Seaborn] made it for me herself out of silver clay. I really like it."

Sheeran proposed to Seaborn over the New Year's holiday and announced the exciting news to his 20.6 million Instagram followers on January 20.



He posted a candid photo and wrote, "Got myself a fiancée just before new year. We are very happy and in love, and our cats are chuffed as well xx." ("Chuffed" is British slang for "very pleased.")

Not only were their cats pleased, but so were Sheeran's fans. More than 5.2 million of them "Liked" the 27-year-old singer's post.

But, in the days following the announcement, reports started surfacing that the star was wearing a ring on "that" finger. Did they secretly tie the knot?

Sheeran put that rumor to bed during a radio interview with Australian hosts Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O Henderson.

"We didn't get secretly married," he stated. "No, she made me this ring out of silver clay, so we were both kind of wearing rings."

His ring also serves another purpose: "It also means that nobody will know when we have gotten married," he said.

The "silver clay" that Seaborn used in the fabrication of Sheeran's ring is a crafting material made of very small particles of precious metal mixed with a binder and water. It can be easily molded by hand into jewelry and then fired in a kiln. The binder burns away and only the precious metal remains. Unclear photos snapped by the paparazzi seem to show him sporting a very simple silver band made of this material.

Sheeran and Seaborn have yet to announce a wedding date, but it was revealed that the British music man has submitted plans to build a Saxon-style chapel on the grounds of his Suffolk estate.

Credits: Couple photo via Instagram.com/Teddysphotos; Ed Sheeran images by Eva Rinaldi from Sydney, Australia [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons and Eva Rinaldi [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
March 9th, 2018
Back in the heyday of drive-ins and sock hops, a 23-year-old Elvis Presley was dominating the music scene with an unprecedented string of 10 consecutive #1 hits. It was exactly 60 years ago when the handsome crooner from Tupelo, Miss., tried for number 11 with his sure winner, "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck."



Welcome to Music Friday when we like to bring you fun, throwback tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In today's song, Presley wants his girlfriend to wear his ring around her neck. Of course, the ring would be on a chain — as was the custom in the 1950s — to signify they are going steady. No doubt, countless teen girls in the spring of 1958 imagined The King was singing to them.

Here's the first verse: "Won't you wear my ring around your neck / To tell the world I'm yours, by heck / Let them see your love for me / And let them see by the ring around your neck."

Written by Bert Carroll and Russell Moody, "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" was a big hit, but stalled at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, narrowly breaking Presley's string of #1s. All 10 of Presley's previous chart-toppers had been released during a two-year period.

Born in 1935, Elvis Aron Presley ascended to stardom in the mid-1950s with his good looks, silky voice and outrageous performance style. Not only did he top the charts during the 1950s and 1960s, but he also starred in more than 30 movies, including Jailhouse Rock (1957) and Viva Las Vegas (1964).

Presley met Priscilla Ann Beaulieu in 1960 and married her after a seven-and-a-half-year courtship. Presley proposed with a 3-carat diamond ring in December 1966 and the wedding ceremony took place one year later at the Aladdin hotel in Las Vegas.

The King, as he was known, would eventually become one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. His first performance on the Ed Sullivan Show in September 1956 was watched by a record 82.6% of the nationwide viewing audience. Presley is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music, with more than 600 million records sold worldwide. His Memphis home, Graceland, is still a major tourist attraction.

Presley died in Memphis on August 16, 1977, at the age of 42.

Please check out the audio track of Presley singing "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Wear My Ring Around Your Neck"
Written by Bert Carroll and Russell Moody. Performed by Elvis Presley.

Won't you wear my ring around your neck
To tell the world I'm yours, by heck
Let them see your love for me
And let them see by the ring around your neck

Won't you wear my ring around your neck
To tell the world I'm yours, by heck
Let them know I love you so
And let them no by the ring around your neck

They say that goin' steady is not the proper thing
They say that we're too young to know the meaning of a ring
I only know that I love you and that you love me too
So, darling, please do what I ask of you

Won't you wear my ring around your neck
To tell the world I'm yours, by heck
Let them see your love for me
And let them see by the ring around your neck

Well they say that goin' steady is not the proper thing
They say that we're too young to know the meaning of a ring
I only know that I love you and that you love me too
So, darling, please do what I ask of you

Won't you wear my ring around your neck
To tell the world I'm yours, by heck
Let them know I love you so
And let them no by the ring around your neck

And let them know by the ring around your neck
And let them know by the ring around your neck


Credit: Image of Elvis Presley in 1957 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ6-2067Location: NYWTS -- BIOG [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
March 12th, 2018
Here's a quiz: What do Vivien Leigh’s necklace from Gone with the Wind, Elizabeth Taylor’s serpent bracelet in Cleopatra and the earrings worn by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes all have in common? They were all created by Eugene Joseff's design studio under the brand name Joseff of Hollywood.



These and other memorable pieces from Joseff's workshop are the subject of tonight's episode of Strange Inheritance, a primetime reality series on the FOX Business Network (FBN).



For many decades, Joseff's firm fabricated — but only rented — costume jewelry to the movie studios, and as each production wrapped up, the jewelry would be returned to the jeweler and secured in a vault. Over many decades, that collection grew to more than 200,000 items.

Joseff died in 1948, and his widow, Joan, passed away in 2010 at the age of 98. All the “screen gems” were inherited by Joan's daughter-in-law, Tina Joseff, and Joan's grandchildren.



Five hundred high-profile items from Joseff's collection were put on the block at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills this past November — netting the heirs just under $2 million. Among the biggest-ticket items were the Monroe earrings ($90,000), Leigh necklace ($45,000) and Clark Gable cigar box from Gone With the Wind ($31,000).



A former ad man from Chicago, Eugene Joseff moved to southern California in 1928. Although he "dabbled in jewelry," according to Tina, Joseff's entry into the jewelry field stemmed from an off-the-cuff remark he made to a friend in the movie business.

“He noted that in a period film the star was wearing a gorgeous gown — period correct – but also a modern necklace. He just thought that was the worst thing ever – and that he could do better,” Tina explains to show host Jamie Colby in Monday's episode.

He soon got a chance to display his talents when a Hollywood studio needed baubles for a bunch of dancers. It was Friday and the order had to be filled by the following Monday. Nobody wanted the job — except for Joseff.

Joseff fulfilled the request with flying colors and eventually became Tinseltown's crown jeweler.

FBN noted that film buffs will likely recognize a number of the Joseff of Hollywood creations, including the Bette Davis tiara from The Virgin Queen, the Shelley Winters teardrop pendant necklace from South Sea Sinner and the Katharine Hepburn necklace of faux diamonds, rubies and pearls from Mary of Scotland. Viewers will also get a peek at the crown Shirley Temple wore in The Little Princess and a necklace that Greta Garbo wore in Camille.

Strange Inheritance chronicles the bizarre artifacts and outrageous stories related to inheritances from people and places from coast to coast. The "Screen Gems" episode airs Monday, March 12, at 9PM/ET. In the photo, top, host Colby interviews Tina Joseff.

Credits: Jamie Colby/Tina Joseff image courtesy of FOX Business Network. Screen captures via foxbusiness.com.
March 13th, 2018
Hidden Valley is honoring the upcoming nuptials between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — and National Ranch Day — with a bejeweled bottle of salad dressing valued at $35,000.



White diamonds punctuate the crown-shaped cap, while green and blue sapphires adorn the bottle's neck. Thin ribbons of blue sapphires hug the contours of the bottle on four sides, while a thicker ribbon of blue sapphires wraps around the bottom. All of the gems are set in 18-karat white gold.



The blue bottle accents are a nod to the British Royal Family. The late Princess Diana famously wore a blue sapphire engagement ring that was eventually passed down to her eldest son, Prince William.

According to Hidden Valley, two of these blinged-out glass bottles were designed and fabricated by an A-list celebrity jeweler whose name could not be disclosed.

Time.com reported that one of the bottles will be "sent on a journey overseas" but won't be delivered to the royal family. The second bottle will be the grand prize in a contest running now through May 19 (the date of the royal wedding) on Hidden Valley's Twitter page.

"Renowned in these United States as the flavor that goes well with anything, Hidden Valley Ranch is honoring the great pairing of a fellow famous American with British royalty, as well as those who royally love ranch," the company commented in a press release.

The Twitter-based contest was launched on National Ranch Day, which was celebrated on Saturday, March 10.

Twitter users simply need to retweet Hidden Valley's contest announcement. As the company noted on its Twitter page, "FOLLOW & RETWEET FOR A CHANCE TO WIN! Nothing marks #NationalRanchDay like a real jewel-encrusted ranch bottle fit for people who royally love ranch."

The prize will include a $15,000 check to offset taxes. The winner will be announced after May 19.

Credits: Photos courtesy of Hidden Valley.
March 14th, 2018
The colossal 910-carat diamond recovered from the Letšeng mine in January was sold on Monday for $40 million. Dubbed the "Lesotho Legend" to honor its country of origin, the Type IIa, D-color rough specimen is the fifth-largest gem-quality diamond ever discovered.



The Lesotho Legend also has the distinction of being the largest gem-quality diamond ever unearthed at Letšeng, a mine that has earned the reputation for being the highest dollar-per-carat kimberlite mine in the world.

Despite having a land mass slightly smaller than Maryland, Lesotho is an international powerhouse when it comes to turning out huge, top-quality stones. Some of Letšeng's most impressive finds include the Lesotho Promise (603 carats), Letšeng Star (550 carats) and Lesotho Legacy (493 carats).



NationalJeweler.com reported that the Lesotho Legend was purchased at tender by Antwerp-based diamond supplier Samir Gems and other partners. The company will now face the challenge of mapping and cleaving the oddly-shaped rough diamond to yield the optimal number of polished diamonds while losing the least amount of carat weight. A rough diamond of 910-carats could result in 10 to 30 gem-quality polished stones of various shapes and sizes, according to experts.

When Gem Diamonds Ltd. announced its discovery in January, we guessed that the rough diamond would sell for about $50 million. That estimate was based on the recent sales of huge diamonds exhibiting nearly identical characteristics.

The 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona (#2 on the all-time list) had fetched $53 million in September of 2017, while the 812-carat Constellation (#7 on the all-time list) was sold for $63 million in May of 2016. Both were D-color, Type IIa diamonds, which means they were colorless and chemically pure with no traces of nitrogen or boron impurities.

In a statement, Gem Diamonds' CEO Clifford Elphick said, "We are delighted with the outcome of the sale of this iconic diamond, which demonstrates the exceptional quality of the Lesotho Legend itself, as well as reaffirming the unique quality of the Letšeng diamond production."

United Kingdom-based Gem Diamonds Ltd. holds a 70% stake in the Letšeng mine with the government of Lesotho owning the remaining 30%.

Credits: Images courtesy of Gem Diamonds Ltd.
March 15th, 2018
Quick action and perfect timing are credited with saving $100,000 worth of diamond jewelry from a ghastly demise at the Hall County landfill, about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta.



This past Friday, a Georgia woman (who wishes to remain anonymous) mistakenly threw away two diamond rings and a tennis bracelet. Even though she felt sick to her stomach when she realized what had happened, her timely call for help made all the difference in getting the jewelry back.

Had she alerted authorities just 15 or 20 minutes later, the garbage truck containing her precious keepsakes would have dumped its cargo at the face of the giant landfill and the jewelry would have been compacted into the ground.



Instead, Hall County’s Solid Waste Director Johnnie Vickers was able to divert the truck to a sorting station, where five crew members tore through 10 tons of garbage. Their only clue was that the jewelry was in a black trash bag.

Three hours later, with prospects looking gloomy, the treasure was found.



Sorting through a holding area containing 10 tons of trash from a single truck is much more manageable task than sorting through a landfill area, where convoys of trucks dump their loads for compacting.

Vickers told gainsvilletimes.com that if the truck ended up at the landfill, "1,000 people couldn’t have found [the jewelry]. It would have been gone forever.”

The solid waste director said that he receives one or two calls per week from frantic customers who have accidentally trashed valuable possessions, such as their keys, wallet or purse.

“We try to treat it just like it’s our own," Vickers told gainesvilletimes.com. "People make mistakes and accidents happen. We do our best to try to get them their property back — if there’s a possibility of getting it back.”

Credits: Screen captures via wsbtv.com.
March 16th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you new songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, former American Idol Scotty McCreery delivers a first-hand account of his mountaintop marriage proposal to future bride Gabi Dugal in his brand new single, "This Is It."



In the song, the 24-year-old McCreery tells the story of a young couple's unforgettable moment "at the top of the world."

He sings, "Girl I know that you've been waiting and talking to your friends / Wondering if and wondering where and wondering when / Well I've been waiting too, holding on to this ring / For the right words to say, for the right time and place, for me to get on one knee."

McCreery revealed in an AXS Patio Sessions interview that he and his co-writers collaborated on the song the past September, only two weeks before he had planned to pop the question on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.

"I told my co-writers the story and we just kinda wrote the song around that," he said. "It's very visual and paints the picture of how the engagement went down."

Writing the song before the engagement was a tad risky for the North Carolinian. Although he had all the "wheres and whens and hows" mapped out perfectly, there was still a possibility that something could go awry.

“If things hadn’t gone to plan and we hadn’t gotten to the mountain, I probably would have had to scrap the song," said McCreery. "But luckily it all worked out.”

Friends since kindergarten, McCreery and Dugal, a pediatric nurse, had been dating for six years. They plan to marry this year.

"Engaged life is great," McCreery told theboot.com. "I'm really happy."

"This Is It" is the sixth track from McCreery's third studio album, Seasons Change. The album releases today, March 16.

A native of Garner, N.C., Scott Cooke McCreery has the distinction of being the youngest male ever to win an American Idol competition. He was only 17 when he prevailed during the Season 10 finale in May of 2011.

Please check out the video of McCreery's AXS Patio Sessions performance of "This Is It." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"This Is It"
Written by Scotty McCreery, Frank Rogers and Aaron Eshuis. Performed by McCreery.

Way up in the mountains, four thousand feet high
There's a trail through the trees to a cliff where Carolina meets the sky
Oh, and there's a view I just can't describe
No, I'm not there yet, just a few more steps, baby wait
Okay, you can open your eyes

This is it, this is now, this is what I've been talking about
Looking out, can't you see forever?
Take my hand, just take it in
This is a moment we won't forget
On top of the world, here, together
If there ever was a time for a perfect kiss, this is it

Girl I know that you've been waiting and talking to your friends
Wondering if and wondering where and wondering when
Well I've been waiting too, holding on to this ring
For the right words to say, for the right time and place, for me to get on one knee

This is it, this is now, this is what I've been talking about
Looking out, can't you see forever?
Take my hand, just take it in
This is a moment we won't forget
On top of the world here together
If there ever was a time for a perfect kiss, well this is it
This is it

Now you're walking down the aisle
And I can't help but smile

This is it, this is now, it's what I've been talking about
Looking out, I can see forever
So take my hand, just take it in
This is a moment we won't forget
On top of the world, here, together
Surrounded by our family and our friends
If there ever was a time for a perfect kiss
This is it


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
March 19th, 2018
Gold, platinum and diamonds literally rained from the sky over the frigid city of Yakutsk in eastern Siberia last Thursday.



The wild display of flying treasure — worth 21 billion rubles or $368 million — was attributed to the failed cargo hatch of a Cold War-era transport plane called the Antonov An-12. The aircraft was carrying gold bars, platinum bars and loose diamonds on behalf of Chukota Mining and Geological Company. About 99% of all Russian diamonds are mined in Yakutia, where winter temperatures routinely hit -35C (-31F).

According to The Siberian Times, the plane had been loaded with 10 tons of precious metals and gemstones when it lifted from Yakutsk airport.

Shortly after takeoff, the heavy cargo shifted, ripping through the cargo door and damaging a portion of the fuselage. Nearly 200 gold bars fell from the plane, littering the runway with gold and platinum bars. The damaged plane continued to fly for 16 kilometers (10 miles) — dropping more treasure along with way — before landing at the nearby Magan airport.

Russia's state-run TASS news agency reported that technicians who had prepared the plane for takeoff may have failed to properly secure the cargo.

Police immediately sealed off the runway and began the task of retrieving about 3.4 tons of precious metal ingots. A typical gold bar weighs 12.4 kilograms or 27.3 pounds, so it is fortunate that nobody was hurt by the plummeting precious metal.



Yakutsk, which is the capital of Yakutia or the Sasha Republic, is frequently cited as the coldest major city in the world.

The Siberian Times had a little fun with that fact, tweeting, "It's -21C in Yakutia, sunny, we expect showers of diamond, platinum and gold... Plane loses its $368 million cargo; gems and precious metals rain over Russia’s coldest region as police and secret services stage emergency search."

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/The Siberian Times. Map by Google Maps.
March 20th, 2018
A spectacular 24.70-carat cushion-shaped ruby ring will share top billing with "The Circle of Heaven" jadeite bracelet at Sotheby's Hong Kong on April 3. Both items are expected to fetch more than $10 million when they hit the auction block at the Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Spring Sale.



Rubies found in the Mogok region of Myanmar (formerly Burma) are famed for their top-grade pigeon-blood color. The Burmese ruby coming up for bid at Sotheby's Hong Kong will be of particular interest to buyers because Mogok-sourced specimens in excess of 20 carats are said to be among the rarest gems in the world.

The ruby is secured with yellow-gold prongs and surrounded by D-color pear-shaped diamonds (internally flawless to VVS1). The shank is set with pavé-set brilliant-cut diamonds. The pre-auction estimate for the piece is $10.4 million to $11.7 million.



Co-starring in Hall 5 of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on April 3 will be a superb jadeite bracelet known as "The Circle of Heaven." Displaying a brilliant emerald green color, fine texture and high translucency, the bracelet boasts a pre-sale estimate of $10.2 million to $12.8 million.

Fine-quality jadeite is highly cherished, especially in Chinese culture. Jadeite symbolizes benevolence, righteousness, wisdom, bravery and honesty. The ancient Chinese revered jadeite as the "stone of heaven."

Other notable items to be presented in Hong Kong include a beautiful array of colored diamond, sapphire and emerald rings...



A Rare Fancy Blue Diamond Ring. This step-cut fancy blue diamond weighs 14.18 carats and is surrounded by a halo of round pink diamonds. The pre-sale estimate is $5.9 million to $7.7 million.



A Sapphire and Diamond Ring. An impressive 10.18-carat Kashmir sapphire is the centerpiece of this ring by Cartier. Displaying a velvety blue color, the sapphire is accented by a pair of triangular diamonds. Sotheby's set the pre-auction estimate at $1.2 million to $1.7 million.



An Important Emerald and Diamond Ring. Sporting a rich, natural saturation, this step-cut 14.72-carat Colombian emerald is set in a ring by Cartier. The ring's pre-sale estimate is $1.1 million to $1.4 million.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.
March 21st, 2018
A tiny diamond found at South Africa's Cullinan mine is credited with preserving and ferrying an unstable, never-before-seen deep-Earth mineral 400 miles to the surface.



Scientists at the University of Alberta's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences discovered a minuscule sample of the elusive mineral "calcium silicate perovskite" trapped within the rough diamond that measured only .031 millimeters in diameter. It was polished to give researchers a clearer view of the inclusion trapped inside.

Calcium silicate perovskite is believed to be the fourth-most-abundant mineral on Earth and makes up as much as 93% of Earth's lower mantle. Despite being so plentiful, scientists could only hypothesize its existence. Nobody could actually see it because the mineral's crystal lattice deforms as it moves toward the surface.

“Nobody has ever managed to keep this mineral stable at Earth’s surface,” lead researcher Graham Pearson, a geochemist at the University of Alberta, said in a press release. “The only possible way of preserving this mineral at Earth’s surface is when it’s trapped in an unyielding container like a diamond.”

While most diamonds are formed under intense pressure at a depth of 93 to 124 miles, the diamond encasing the calcium silicate perovskite was likely formed 400-plus miles below the surface. The pressure at that depth is equivalent to 240,000 times the pressure at sea level.

Diamonds can be blasted to the surface during volcanic eruptions. The vertical superhighways that take the diamonds on their journey are called kimberlite pipes.

"Diamonds are really unique ways of seeing what's in the Earth," Pearson said.

The mineral's composition was confirmed by X-ray and spectroscopic analysis. Future research will focus on the age and origin of the material.

The scientists also noted that chemical clues found in the diamond reveal that it formed out of the remains of oceanic crust, supporting the theory that the Earth undergoes a recycling process that brings crust material into the deep mantle.

Researchers at the University of Alberta published their findings in the journal Nature.

Credit: Image courtesy of Nester Korolev, University of British Columbia.
March 22nd, 2018
Chinese researchers have successfully restored the vision of blind mice by replacing their deteriorated photoreceptors with artificial ones made from gold and titanium.



Using jewelry-industry metals to reverse blindness could prove to be a game changer in the treatment of debilitating eye diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and macular degeneration.

In the study, scientists from Fudan University and the University of Science and Technology of China swapped out degraded photoreceptors — the sensory structures in eyes that respond to light — with replacements made from titanium nanowires studded with gold flakes.

The researchers reported that the once-blind mice began responding to green, blue and ultraviolet light. Their pupils dilated, confirming that the photoreceptors were, in fact, working. Essentially, the missing links between the eyes and the brain had been reestablished.

Interestingly, the titanium and gold photoreceptor replacements need no outside power source to function. They simply remain in physical contact with retinal cells and pass the animal's natural electrical impulses to the visual cortex. The photoreceptors remained implanted in the mice for eight weeks, during which the animals showed no ill side effects or discomfort.

The team's findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.

The researchers were not able to measure visual acuity or whether the mice regained full color vision, so there is still much work to be done. Nevertheless, the Chinese study paves the way for fascinating future research — and these advancements could mean a very bright future for people suffering from blindness.

Credit: Image by BigStockPhoto.com.
March 23rd, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you the hottest songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Taylor Swift wants to wear her new boyfriend's initial on a chain around her neck in the introspective 2017 hit, "Call It What You Want."



Written by Swift and collaborator Jack Antonoff, this deeply personal tune recounts how falling in love again helped her recover from a very dark time when her "castle crumbled overnight."

She sings, "I want to wear his initial / On a chain round my neck, chain round my neck / Not because he owns me / But 'cause he really knows me."

Her new boyfriend is British actor and model Joe Alwyn, and Swift has been spotted wearing a script initial "J" engraved on silver charm pendant.

Following her split from Tom Hiddleston and an emotionally draining public feud with Kanye West, Swift stepped out of the spotlight to make new music and hit the reset button. What resulted was the 15-track Reputation, an album that topped the charts in 14 countries and sold more than 2 million copies in its first week.

"Call It What You Want" is the penultimate song on an album that takes the listener of an emotional journey from rebellion and anger to true love. The single topped out at #27 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and #24 on the Canadian Hot 100 chart.

Swift fans will notice similarities between the lyrics of "Call It What You Want" and her 2008 hit, "Love Story." In both songs, the heroine wants to run away with her boyfriend...

In "Love Story," she sings, "Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone / I'll be waiting, all that's left to do is run / You'll be the prince and I'll be the princess / It's a love story, baby just say yes."

In "Call It What You Want," she sings, "I recall late November, holdin' my breath / Slowly I said, 'You don't need to save me / But would you run away with me?' / Yes."

Born in Wyomissing, Pa., Swift was not an average schoolgirl. By the time she was 11, Swift was already performing regularly at karaoke contests, festivals and fairs near her home in Berks County. When she was 14, her parents moved the family to Nashville, where Swift would be better positioned to pursue a career in country music. At the age of 17, Swift was topping the country charts. Swift is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 40 million albums and 130 million single downloads. She has won 10 Grammy Awards, one Emmy, 21 Billboard Music Awards and 12 Country Music Association Awards.

Please check out the official lyric video of "Call It What You Want." You can also follow along, below...

"Call It What You Want"
Written by Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff. Performed by Taylor Swift.

My castle crumbled overnight
I brought a knife to a gunfight
They took the crown, but it's alright
All the liars are calling me one
Nobody's heard from me for months
I'm doing better than I ever was, 'cause

My baby's fit like a daydream
Walking with his head down
I'm the one he's walking to
So call it what you want, yeah, call it what you want to
My baby's fly like a jet stream
High above the whole scene
Loves me like I'm brand new
So call it what you want, yeah, call it what you want to

All my flowers grew back as thorns
Windows boarded up after the storm
He built a fire just to keep me warm
All the drama queens taking swings
All the jokers dressin' up as kings
They fade to nothing when I look at him
And I know I make the same mistakes every time
Bridges burn, I never learn, at least I did one thing right
I did one thing right
I'm laughing with my lover, making forts under covers
Trust him like a brother, yeah, you know I did one thing right
Starry eyes sparkin' up my darkest night

My baby's fit like a daydream
Walking with his head down
I'm the one he's walking to
So call it what you want, yeah, call it what you want to
My baby's fly like a jet stream
High above the whole scene
Loves me like I'm brand new
(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it)
So call it what you want, yeah, call it what you want to

I want to wear his initial
On a chain round my neck, chain round my neck
Not because he owns me
But 'cause he really knows me
Which is more than they can say, I
I recall late November, holdin' my breath
Slowly I said, "You don't need to save me
But would you run away with me?"
Yes (would you run away?)

My baby's fit like a daydream
Walking with his head down
I'm the one he's walking to
(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it)
So call it what you want, yeah, call it what you want to
My baby's fly like a jet stream
High above the whole scene
Loves me like I'm brand new
(Call it what you want, call it what you want, call it)
So call it what you want, yeah, call it what you want to

Call it what you want, yeah
Call it what you want
To


Credit: Image via YouTube.com.
March 26th, 2018
The 6.16-carat blue diamond originally presented in 1715 as a wedding gift to Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain, has emerged on the market for the first time and will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s Geneva on May 15. It is expected to fetch between $3.7 million and $5.3 million.



Sotheby's noted that the blue diamond was gifted to Farnese by the governor of the Philippine Islands on the occasion of her wedding to King Philip V of Spain, the grandson of Louis XIV, King of France. Blue diamonds were viewed as the ultimate royal gift in the 17th and 18th centuries because the color blue was identified as "the color of the kings."

Even though it had remained in the same family for more than 300 years, "The Farnese Blue" was never seen in public. In fact, except for close relatives and the family jewelers, no one knew of its existence.



Secreted away in a "royal casket," the pear-shaped, fancy dark grey-blue diamond traveled across Europe, as Elisabeth and Philip’s descendants married into Europe’s most important dynasties. The "casket" likely refers to a rectangular jewelry box that is shaped like a casket, not a coffin.

The gift from the governor of the Philippine Islands was given to the Queen at the urging of the Spanish government. Governors of Spain's colonies from Mexico to the East Indies were encouraged to send wedding presents to Madrid.

In August of 1715, a fleet of 12 Spanish ships carrying a fortune in gold bullion and enormous emeralds set sail from Cuba, but were devastated by a hurricane in the gulf of Florida. Only one ship survived the voyage back to Spain, and that was the ship carrying the blue diamond.

"It is difficult to put into words the excitement of holding between thumb and forefinger a gem discovered centuries ago, knowing it originated in the legendary Golconda diamond mines of India," noted David Bennett, Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division and Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Switzerland. "This stone has witnessed 300 years of European history, and in color is reminiscent of historic Golconda blue gems, such as the Hope Diamond.”

"The Farnese Blue" will embark on an international tour before returning to Geneva for the May 15 Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale. The diamond will make appearances in Hong Kong (March 29 - April 2), London (April 7-10), New York (April 13-17), Singapore (April 27-28), Taipei (May 1-2) and Geneva (May 12-14).

Credits: Diamond images courtesy of Sotheby's. Elisabeth Farnese image by Louis-Michel van Loo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
March 27th, 2018
Located just a short skip from The City of Love, Disneyland Paris has been named the world's most popular place to pop the question.



Wedding-planning website Hitched.co.uk reports that one in 500 proposals worldwide takes place at the Paris venue — and we're certain that many suitors staged their bended-knee photo op squarely in front of the picturesque Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Hitched based its findings on the analysis of hashtags used on Instagram. For many couples, the first thing they do after celebrating their engagement is announce the big news on social media. The researchers at the wedding website analyzed the data from hashtags, such as #bridetobe and #engaged. They also used geotagging to define the most popular landmarks associated with engagement messaging.

The results seem to confirm that a Disney Park is not only "the happiest place on Earth," but also the most romantic. Disney dominates the "Most Popular Places to Propose" list, placing three properties in the Top 10.

Ranking #2 on the list is Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida (one in 555 proposals), and placing #8 is Walt Disney’s Epcot, also in Orlando (one in 1,428 proposals).

Disneyland Paris offers a six-page brochure that promotes a "wedding proposal service" that promises to make your special moment "a magical affair" in the most fabulous of settings. The park can provide a dedicated representative to manage all the details of the proposal, including the perfect location, photographer and flowers. The representative also can schedule a romantic dinner with personalized table decorations, and reserve an enchanting room sprinkled with rose petals.

Rounding out the Top 10 list of the Most Popular Places to Propose are #3 Centennial Lakes Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota (one in 625 proposals), #4 Eiffel Tower in Paris, France (one in 679), #5 The Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles, California (one in 1,000), #6 Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge, New York (one in 1,111), #7 Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (one in 1,250), #9 Big Bear Lake, California (one in 1,666) and #10 Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia (one in 2,000).

Credit: Image via Facebook/Disneyland Paris.
March 28th, 2018
Socialite Paris Hilton lost her 20-carat diamond engagement ring while dancing at a trendy Miami club Friday night. Hilton had been seen reveling with her hands in the air when the $2 million ring "flew off" her finger.



A mad scramble ensued, with security guards and patrons crawling under VIP tables in search of the sparkler Hilton had received from fiancé Chris Zylka in early January. At the time, she called it her “dream ring” and the “most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”

Finding Hilton’s one-of-a-kind sparkler — a pear-shaped center stone surrounded by a halo of smaller round diamonds — was particularly challenging because the venue was crowded and dark. The former RC Cola Plant in the Wynwood Arts District has been transformed into a 50,000-square-foot club that can accommodate 7,000 guests.

Zylka miraculously spotted the ring inside an ice bucket two tables away from where Hilton was dancing.

Clubgoers told Page Six that Hilton was completely “panicked” during the search and “cried with relief” when the ring was recovered.

Hilton's 18 million Twitter followers got a first-hand account of the drama in a Monday tweet: "The ring was just so heavy and big that while I was dancing it literally flew off my finger into an ice bucket a couple of tables over. Thank God by some miracle my fiancé found it before someone else did and most likely would not have returned it. I am so lucky!"

Zylka had proposed to Hilton in scenic Aspen, Colo., during the New Year's holiday weekend. Celebrity jeweler Michael Greene told People magazine that the actor had remembered that Hilton mentioned on a number of occasions how much she loved her mother’s pear-shaped diamond.

“And when Chris came to me that was his request,” Greene noted. “The pear shape really jumped out for him and ultimately for her."

Just after the proposal, Hilton posted to Twitter a series of romantic shots, along with this caption: “I said Yas! So happy & excited to be engaged to the love of my life. My best friend & soulmate. Perfect for me in every way. So dedicated, loyal, loving & kindhearted. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world! You are my dream come true! Thank you for showing me that fairytales do exist.”

In addition to possessing all those attributes, Zylka apparently has excellent eyesight and is very talented when it comes to figuring out the trajectory of an airborne diamond engagement ring. How many people would have thought to look in an ice bucket "a couple of tables over" or even be able to discern a diamond-and-platinum ring among the ice cubes in a dark club?

And here's a quick tip for Ms. Hilton: It's time to get your ring resized.

Credit: Image via Instagram/ParisHilton.
March 29th, 2018
A Raleigh, N.C., woman who went to great lengths to find the rightful owner of a lost bridal set was rewarded for her honesty by a local Walmart.



A little over two weeks ago, Esther Daniel found a diamond engagement ring and matching wedding band on the pavement of a Walmart parking lot. She immediately alerted the store's management and posted a lost-and-found notice on the "Raleigh Moms" Facebook group. When nobody came forward to claim the rings, Daniel turned to her local ABC affiliate for help.

ABC11's Eyewitness News ran the story and posted notices on its own Facebook and Twitter pages. That high-profile exposure worked to perfection, as Raleigh elementary school teacher Shnita Horton came forward as the owner.



"When she lost [the rings], it was like her world fell apart," husband Robert Horton told Eyewitness News. "She was missing something, more than the rings. It was like a piece of her was missing."

Daniel explained why she wouldn't rest until the owner was found...

"When I was a little girl my mama taught me [about] honesty and just this week we were talking with my son about integrity," Daniel said. "That integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching."

The Raleigh mom's exceptional efforts were noticed by the management of the local Walmart.

"I was actually emotional, too, when I first heard this story and that she was able to get the ring back to the right person," assistant manager Salif Saidy told Eyewitness News.



Saidy asked the reporter to invite Daniel back to the store for a followup story. When she arrived, Saidy had a surprise waiting for her.

"We just wanted to thank you for your honesty and for the good deed, and on behalf of Walmart I would like to present you with a $500 gift card," Saidy said.

Saidy handed Daniel a big bouquet of flowers and balloons and pulled out his cell phone. On the screen was the photo Daniel had posted to social media two weeks earlier.

Daniel said she was moved by Walmart's gesture.

"It was humbling because I was just doing what needed to be done, and what I would like someone to do for me," she said.

For Daniel, the experience affirmed a maxim that's very close to her heart.

"Never stop fighting for the right thing," Daniel said.

Credits: Screen captures via abc11.com.
March 30th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, ZZ Top ticks off a list of jewelry must-haves in its 1983 classic, "Sharp Dressed Man."



According to the song, well-dressed men are irresistible to women, so original band members Dusty Hill, Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard cover the essential jewelry items in the second verse.

They sing, "Gold watch, diamond ring / I ain't missin' not a single thing / Cufflinks, stick pin / When I step out I'm gonna do you in / They come runnin' just as fast as they can / 'Cause every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man."

Written by Gibbons, Beard and Joe Michael Hill, "Sharp Dressed Man" appeared as the third track on ZZ Top's extraordinarily popular 1983 album Eliminator. The album sold more than 10 million copies, earning it a rare Diamond certification. The single topped out at #56 on the U.S. Billboard 100 and remains one of ZZ Tops' most enduring signature songs. In fact, the group performed it live at the 1997 VH1 Fashion Awards and during the halftime festivities of the 2008 Orange Bowl.

"Sharp dressed depends on who you are," Hill told Spin magazine in 1985. "If you're on a motorcycle, really sharp leather is great. If you're a punk rocker, you can get sharp that way. You can be sharp or not sharp in any mode."

Founded in Houston in 1969 as a blues-inspired rock band, ZZ Top has featured its three core members since 1970.

Gibbons told Q magazine that their first gig at a Knights of Columbus Hall outside of Houston in 1970 was attended by just one person.

"We shrugged and pressed onwards," he said. "We took a break halfway through, went out and bought him a Coke."

Over the course of the following 48 years, the band would go on to sell more than 50 million albums worldwide. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

Trivia: According to songfacts.com, Gibbons and Hill have been growing their beards since 1979.

Please check out ZZ Top's live performance of "Sharp Dressed Man." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Sharp Dressed Man"
Written by Billy Gibbons, Frank Beard and Joe Michael Hill. Performed by ZZ Top.

Clean shirt, new shoes
And I don't know where I am goin' to
Silk suit, black tie,
I don't need a reason why
They come runnin' just as fast as they can
'Cause every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man

Gold watch, diamond ring,
I ain't missin' not a single thing
Cufflinks, stick pin,
When I step out I'm gonna do you in
They come runnin' just as fast as they can
'Cause every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man

Top coat, top hat,
And I don't worry 'cause my wallet's fat
Black shades, white gloves,
Lookin' sharp lookin' for love
They come runnin' just as fast as they can
'Cause every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.