Romance University

Articles in November 2018

November 1st, 2018
Three tiny moon rocks brought to the Earth by Soviet cosmonauts in 1970 are expected to fetch upwards of $1 million when they hit the auction block at Sotheby's New York on November 29. The specimens weigh approximately .07 carats combined, so their per-carat tally could reach a staggering $14.3 million.



By comparison, the highest price ever paid per-carat for a gemstone is $4.03 million. That record is held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine, a diamond that sold for $48.5 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November of 2015.

So, why are these minuscule moon rocks pegged to sell for seven figures? Because moon specimens available for private ownership are virtually nonexistent.

While NASA reportedly owns 842 pounds of lunar material retrieved from six Apollo missions dating between 1969 and 1972, the three moon rocks offered by Sotheby's — two measuring 2 mm, and the third just 1 mm — are the only samples on the planet currently possessed by a private individual.

The moon rocks were retrieved during the Soviet Luna-16 mission and subsequently gifted to the widow of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, the former “chief designer” and director of the Soviet space program. He is credited with heading up two monumental achievements — the launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, and the flight of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.

Nina Ivanovna Korolev first offered the moon rocks for sale at a Sotheby's auction in 1993. The pre-sale estimate was $30,000 to $50,000, but aggressive bidding pushed the final price to $442,500. Now, 25 years later, the samples are owned by an anonymous U.S. collector and Sotheby's has reset the pre-sale estimate to $700,000 to $1 million.



The lunar rocks are encased under glass below an adjustable viewing lens. The plaque is labeled in Russian and translates to "Soil Particles from Luna-16."

CNN reported that space objects have been a hot ticket at Sotheby's recently. A bag used by astronaut Neil Armstrong to collect lunar samples during the Apollo 11 mission fetched $1.8 million in 2017.

The moon rocks are part of a larger "Space Exploration" auction, which will include a NASA Gemini spacesuit and a Soviet LK-3 lunar lander model. Sotheby's New York will offer a public exhibition of the items, starting November 25.

Credit: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.
November 2nd, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you throwback tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In 1977, Don Williams topped the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs chart with "I'm Just a Country Boy," a sweet ballad about a young man who is in love with the prettiest girl in town.



She wears a bit of bling and he fears that she'll turn down his marriage proposal because he can't afford a "store-bought ring with a sparkling diamond stone." What he can give her is a loving heart and a country boy's deep appreciation of nature's treasures.

He sings, "I ain't gonna marry in the fall / I ain't gonna marry in the spring / 'Cause I'm in love with a pretty little girl / Who wears a diamond ring. / And I'm just a country boy / Money have I none / But I've got silver in the stars / Gold in the mornin' sun / Gold in the mornin' sun."

"I'm Just a Country Boy," which appeared as the first track on Williams' album, Country Boy, was originally recorded by Harry Belafonte in 1954. It was also covered by George McCurn, Ronnie Laine, Jimmie Rodgers, Jim Croce, Jimmy Witherspoon, Roger Whittaker, David Ball, John Holt, The Brothers Four and Bobby Vinton.

The song was written by Fred Hellerman and Marshall Barer. Hellerman, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 89, was best known as an original member of the American folk group The Weavers. He also produced Alice's Restaurant (1967) for Arlo Guthrie. Barer was a lyricist, librettist, singer, songwriter and director, but was most famous for composing the "Mighty Mouse" theme song. He died in 1998 at the age of 75.

Williams amassed 17 #1 country hits during his illustrious career. The singer's imposing stature, paired with a soft, smooth bass-baritone voice earned him the nickname the "Gentle Giant" of country music. In 2010, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Trivia: Williams appeared as himself and played a number of songs in Smokey and the Bandit II (1980).

The popular country star from Floydada, Texas, stopped touring in 2016 and passed away a year later at the age of 78.

Please check out the video of Williams performing "I'm Just A Country Boy." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"I'm Just A Country Boy"
Written by Marshall Barer and Fred Kellerman. Performed by Don Williams.

I ain't gonna marry in the fall
I ain't gonna marry in the spring
'Cause I'm in love with a pretty little girl
Who wears a diamond ring.

And I'm just a country boy
Money have I none
But I've got silver in the stars
Gold in the mornin' sun
Gold in the mornin' sun.

Never gonna kiss
The ruby red lips
Of the prettiest girl in town
Never gonna ask her if she'd
Marry me
I know she'd turn me down.

'Cause I'm just a country boy
Money have I none
But I've got silver in the stars
And gold in the mornin' sun
Gold in the mornin' sun.

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

'Cause I'm just a country boy
Money have I none
But I've got silver in the stars
And gold in the mornin' sun
Gold in the mornin' sun...


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
November 5th, 2018
A young couple visiting Prince Edward Island for the Labour Day weekend thought they struck it rich when a $2 board game purchased at a second-hand store yielded $18,000 worth of diamond jewelry. Chris Lightfoot and Mandy Flack could hardly believe their eyes when they discovered a trove of diamond rings hidden under the box's false bottom.



After the story went viral, a forgetful widow came forward as the rightful owner. Orlanda Drebit had recently donated the MindTrap game to a Charlottetown thrift store, just before she moved out of her home in Bonshaw, P.E.I.

She hadn't seen her diamond rings since the summer of 2015 and was not sure where she lost them. She had rushed out of town to attend the Cavendish Beach Festival and didn't have time to get to them into a safety deposit box.

The next best plan of attack was to hide her precious rings — all gifts from her late husband — where a burglar wouldn't find them. In a housecoat pocket? In a mitten shoved in a tote bag in a closet? Under cardboard in the false bottom of a 1990s board game?

When she returned from the festival, Drebit had no recollection of where she hid her rings. For months, she looked in every possible hiding place. She even checked with the hotel in Cavendish. No luck.

By December 2015, she had given up hope. She made an insurance claim and accepted the fact that she'd never see her beloved rings again.

In additional to their intrinsic value, each of the rings held a special connection to her late husband, Donald, who passed away in a car accident nine years ago. Donald appreciated Orlanda's love for fine jewelry and often lavished her with beautiful gifts — earrings, necklaces and rings.

“I have a big personality. And the jewelry matches that,” the widow told the National Post. “He took a lot of care to choose things that were different. He was a wonderful, wonderful man. He was just the other half of me.”



Lightfoot and Flack, who are originally from Sydney, Australia, traveled halfway around the world to establish new roots in Toronto. When Lightfoot's parents came to visit for the Labour Day holiday, the young couple chose a picturesque fishing village on Prince Edward Island as the perfect destination. In preparation for the visit, the young couple stopped in at a thrift store to pick up a board game. They ended up settling on the 1990s lateral-thinking puzzle game, MindTrap.



“We bring it back and start playing, and mum starts asking the questions. She goes to put the cards back in [the box] and she’s like, ‘What’s going on? They don’t fit,’” Lightfoot told Yahoo7 News. “She puts her hand in and finds a false bottom. She reaches in and pulls out a diamond ring and then another, and another and another. We are just standing there looking at each other. Is this for real?”

Lightfoot and Flack recently connected with the widow and are working out a plan to safely return the jewelry to her.

“I’ll never get him back,” Drebit said of her husband. “But getting back my engagement ring would mean a lot.”

Credits: Images via Facebook/mandy.flack1; Facebook.com/chris.lightfoot.148.
November 6th, 2018
Rami Malek, who portrays Freddie Mercury in the newly released Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, pulled off the uncanny resemblance by wearing a mouth apparatus that mimicked the music legend's buck teeth.



“It was hard to sing in them, hard to talk in them, hard to kiss in them,” the 37-year-old actor revealed on the Ellen show Thursday. "But I appreciated them so much by the end [of filming], I just felt naked without them. They were so Freddie."

Malek recounted how he decided to keep the teeth as a memento and honor Mercury in doing so...

"I said, 'What would Freddie do to keep something?' He'd go full Freddie with it and do the most ostentatious thing he could, so I had them cast in gold."



At that point, Malek reached into his pocket and pulled out the gilded buck teeth uppers. They appeared to be cast in white gold.

"That's fantastic," commented host Ellen DeGeneres. "You have a grill now."



"I have a Freddie grill," added Malek. "I think he'd be tickled by these bad boys."

Bohemian Rhapsody outpaced all other releases by generating $50 million at the box office in its opening weekend in North America. The film details the life of the Queen frontman who topped the charts and dazzled audiences with his four-octave vocal range and flamboyant stage persona. Mercury passed away in 1991 at the age of 45.

Malek told DeGeneres how he immersed himself in the role of the iconic rocker — even before the project was greenlit by the studio. He took singing lessons, learned choreography and worked with a movement coach.

To imitate Mercury's signature onstage move, the coach encouraged Malek to imagine himself standing in a bath with bubbles streaming down his back, and then serving spaghetti. Malek demonstrated the move for DeGeneres's delighted audience.

Check out the full segment below...


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/TheEllenShow.
November 7th, 2018
When British archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter entered the intact tomb of King Tutankhamun in 1922, he encountered thousands of luxury objects intended to accompany the boy king into the afterworld.



Among the items decorated with gold, silver and precious gemstones was a breastplate depicting the god Ra as a winged scarab carrying the sun and moon into the sky. The scarab was carved from a pale greenish-yellow stone that Carter originally identified as chalcedony, a translucent variety of quartz.

A decade later, British geographer Patrick Clayton found samples of a similar glass-like material while exploring the Libyan Desert along the border of modern Egypt and Libya and classified it as Libyan Desert Glass (LDG).

In a recent article published at Forbes.com, geologist David Bressan explains that LDG forms when quartz-rich desert sand is exposed to a heat burst of 3,600°F and then rapidly cools. Modern researchers noted that LDG has a different crystal structure than common quartz and contains traces of rare minerals and unusual elements, suggesting they could have been part of a vaporized meteorite.



The LDG sample shown here weighs 22 grams (0.78 ounces) and measures 55 mm (2.17 inches) wide.

The lack of an impact crater near the areas where LDG has been found lends credence to the theory that a comet may have exploded before touching down in the desert — generating enough heat to melt the sands. Scientists have compared LDG to trinitite, which is created when sand is exposed to the thermal radiation of a nuclear explosion.

Because of the unusual factors needed to create Libyan Desert Glass, it is truly among the rarest minerals on Earth. LDG is found only in Libya's desolate Great Sand Sea north of the Gilf Kebir Plateau. Whether King Tut's handlers in 1323 BCE were aware of this rarity remains a mystery.

Credit: Tutankhamun breastplate by Jon Bodsworth [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons. LDG image by H. Raab (User:Vesta) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.0 at], from Wikimedia Commons.
November 8th, 2018
It took the designers and artisans at Atelier Swarovski a total of 930 hours to complete the bejeweled 2018 Dream Angels Fantasy Bra, an impressive work that will be worn by supermodel Elsa Hosk at this year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. The $1 million bra and body chain are adorned with 2,100 diamonds weighing a total of 71 carats. The gems are set in sterling silver.



"The Fantasy Bra is blinding," the Swedish model told Elle.com. "It's like, 'Whoa.' [There are] 2,000 diamonds on it. That's a little crazy."

Hosk was working at a photo shoot recently when a special package from Victoria's Secret arrived on the set. Hosk guessed it was a birthday cake because her birthday was coming up. When she pulled off the ribbon and popped open the box, she was surprised to see the 2018 Fantasy Bra inside.



"I was just shaking, and I didn't believe they were serious," Hosk continued. "It was so beautiful. The whole day I was just in a constant smile because I was just so happy."

The fashion show is set to take place today in New York City and will air on ABC December 2. Joining Hosk on the runway will be Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Winnie Harlow and many other top-name models.

Hosk is following in the footsteps of 2017's Dream Angel Lais Ribeiro, who modeled a $2 million “Champagne Nights” Fantasy Bra glittering with 600 carats of white diamonds, yellow sapphires and blue topaz.

The 2018 Fantasy Bra is dialed down by comparison. Swarovksi's designers used lab-created diamonds for the bra and responsibly sourced topaz for the sterling silver body chain. The chain is highlighted by a pear-shaped 2.03-carat Atelier Swarovski Created Diamond, which has the same chemical composition, hardness, brilliance and fire of a traditionally mined diamond, according to the company.

For the first time, Victoria's Secret customers will be able to purchase a version of the Fantasy Bra made with Swarovski crystals instead of diamonds. The $250 replica will be available on November 29 at select Victoria’s Secret stores and online at victoriassecret.com.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/ExtraTV.
November 9th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country music artist Tracy Byrd tells the story of Tommy and Janey's life-changing trip to a jewelry store in 1997's "Don't Love Make a Diamond Shine."



In the very first verse, we are introduced to a young couple looking for the perfect engagement ring. They're holding hands and staring into the bridal case when a particular ring catches Tommy's eye.

Byrd sings, "Mister bring it closer, mister can we hold it / I think it's gonna fit just fine / As he slipped it on her hand, Janey kissed her man / Don't love make a diamond shine."

Byrd goes on to explain that any diamond — no matter what size — looks like a million bucks "sittin' on the hand of a girl in love." He also takes a shot at a rich couple whose perfect 15-carat diamond is "duller than dirt" because their relationship is on the rocks.

Written by Mike Dekle and Craig Wiseman, "Don't Love Make a Diamond Shine" was released as the third single from Byrd's fourth album, Big Love. The song reached #17 on the U.S. Billboard Country Songs chart and #13 on the Canada Country Tracks chart. Big Love became Byrd's third gold-selling album.

Born in Vidor, Texas, Byrd explored his musical talents with a local band called Rimfire while attending Southwest Texas State. A friend encouraged Byrd to sing a cover of Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart" at a mall recording studio and the result was so impressive that the studio's owner entered Byrd into a local talent contest. The artist caught the attention of MCA Records, which offered him a recording contract in 1992.

The 51-year-old has charted more than 30 singles, including 11 Top Ten hits. He's produced 10 studio albums and two greatest-hits albums.

Please check out the audio clip of Byrd performing "Don't Love Make A Diamond Shine." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Don't Love Make A Diamond Shine"
Written by Craig Wiseman and Mike Dekle. Performed by Tracy Byrd.

Tommy and Janey barely eighteen
Holding hands at the jewelry store
Eyes open wide staring inside
At the ring that they wanted for her

Mister bring it closer, mister can we hold it
I think it's gonna fit just fine
As he slipped it on her hand, Janey kissed her man
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine
It don't matter if it costs a dime
Dang thing looks like a million bucks
Sittin' on the hand of a girl in love.

A perfect fifteen carat is duller than dirt
If the heart don't wear it
With three little words it'll knock you blind
Don't love make a diamond shine.

There's a rich lady with a new Mercedes
Livin' up in a high rise
She's got a big ol' rock on her left hand
That looks cheaper than a Cracker Jack prize.

'Cause her man don't know that it ain't the dough
No all he needs to spend is time
And that big marquis'd be a laser beam
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine
It don't matter if it costs a dime
Dang thing looks like a million bucks
Sittin' on the hand of a girl in love.

A perfect fifteen carat is duller than dirt
If the heart don't wear it
With three little words it'll knock you blind
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine
It don't matter if it costs a dime
Dang thing looks like a million bucks
Sittin' on the hand of a girl in love.

A perfect fifteen carat is duller than dirt
If the heart don't wear it
With three little words it'll knock you blind
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine...


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
November 12th, 2018
An all-diamond ring custom crafted from a single rough gem is expected to fetch up to $250,000 when Sotheby's offers it for sale December 5 at the third (RED) Auction in Miami. Proceeds from the sale will support HIV/AIDS programs in Africa.



Conceived by Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, and renowned industrial designer Marc Newson, The (Red) Diamond Ring will contain no metal elements. The lab-grown rough diamond will be carved into a ring shape by master cutters in Antwerp using laser beam and water jet technology. It will come to life by removing material rather than adding it.

“It is not a precious stone in a metal setting mounted on a metal band,” Ive told robbreport.com. “It is truly a diamond ring.”

In the end, the ring will feature between 2,000 and 3,000 individual facets, some as small as several hundred micrometers (1,000 micrometers equals 1 millimeter). According to Sotheby's, the ring's interior will be cylindrically cut for the desired smoothness using a micrometer-thick water jet.

The ring in the photo, above, is conceptual. The actual piece will be custom-made for the winning bidder in any ring size up to 5. Sotheby's set the pre-sale estimate at $150,000 to $250,000.

Shawish Geneva was the first company to form a ring from a single diamond. Shawish unveiled the innovative ring to the public during the 2012 Baseworld Watch and Jewelry Show. That ring was laser-cut from a 150-carat rough diamond. While the Shawish ring was certainly groundbreaking, the Ive-Newson design is said to be more wearable.

The company responsible for creating the lab-grown rough diamond for this project is San Francisco-based Diamond Foundry. The rough is expected to be larger than 45 carats.

The (Red) Diamond Ring will be auctioned by Sotheby’s during Art Basel Miami. Previous (RED) Auctions have generated $68 million for AIDS research.

Credit: Image courtesy of Sotheby's.
November 13th, 2018
Sixty-seven diamonds ranging from just under 1 carat to more than 100 carats will be known forever as the legacy of Lesedi La Rona, the 1,109-carat gem-quality rough diamond that was discovered at the Lucara Karowe mine in Botswana in 2015.



When billionaire diamantaire Laurence Graff purchased the rough stone for $53 million in 2017, he was reverential in his statements about the second-largest rough diamond ever discovered. He said at the time, "The stone will tell us its story, it will dictate how it wants to be cut, and we will take the utmost care to respect its exceptional properties.”



Graff Diamonds noted Monday that after more than a year of detailed analysis, cutting and polishing by its elite team of gemologists and master craftsmen, the first 67 stones were ready to be revealed. The company also dropped a teaser that "a principal diamond of unprecedented size" was still in the works.



All of the Lesedi La Rona diamonds boast a D-color and "exceptional clarity," according to the company. In addition, each stone will be laser inscribed with the words “Lesedi La Rona” and "GRAFF" alongside a Gemological Institute of America identification number.



On its website, Graff Diamonds demonstrated the intricate three-dimensional mapping used to maximize the yield from the massive rough diamond.

Once cut and polished, the first 67 Lesedi La Rona finished diamonds were incorporated into beautiful jewelry, including solitaire rings, earrings and pendants. Graff said the jewelry represented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of diamond history.

"Destined to be passed down through generations, the legacy of this historic stone will live on in this truly remarkable collection of jewels," noted the website.

Despite its original size of 1,109 carats, Lesedi La Rona was nearly 2,000 carats smaller than the Cullinan diamond, which was discovered in 1905 and tipped the scales at 3,106 carats.

Graff also owns the 373.72-carat chunk that broke off the Lesedi La Rona during the mining process. That piece, which was purchased for $17.5 million, has yet to be processed.

Credits: Images courtesy of Graff Diamonds. Screen captures via graffdiamonds.com.
November 14th, 2018
Colombian miners are seeking to gain coveted "AO" status for their emeralds, widely considered to be the finest in the world. "AO" is shorthand for "appellation of origin," which is a designation given to products that possess unique characteristics associated with their geographic location.



One of the most notable products with "AO" status is Parma ham from Italy. For ham to be marked with the Parma name, it must be produced in the Italian province of Parma using pigs exclusively from that area. Other famous "AO" products include Tequila from Mexico, Bordeaux wine from France and Gruyere cheese from Switzerland.

Colombia's national emerald producers’ association, Aprecol, is planning to submit its "AO" application to Colombia’s patent and registration office by the end of this year, according to the Financial Times. Once approved by that office, the application will be forwarded to the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, for further consideration. A final decision could come as early as March 2019.

The association will argue that Colombia's emeralds are distinctively different than emeralds mined in other parts of the world. Not only do they possess a rare combination of intense color and crystalline transparency, but they also have a unique chemical fingerprint, according to gemologists. With the use of X-ray spectroscopy, they can pinpoint whether a stone was sourced at Colombia's Muzo, Coscuez or Chivor mine.

“We want customers to know that when they buy a Colombian emerald, they are getting the genuine thing, that it was exported from Colombia legally and that it was mined ethically and responsibly,” Aprecol president Edwin Molina told the Financial Times.

The Colombian-sourced Gachala Emerald, above, weighs 858 carats and was gifted to the Smithsonian by Harry Winston in 1969. The extraordinary gem was mined in Gachala in 1967.

Credit: Image by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.
November 15th, 2018
In the lead-up to yesterday's highly anticipated auction of the "Pink Legacy," Christie's Rahul Kadakia had gone out on a limb and said the 18.96-carat fancy vivid pink diamond was "as good as it gets."



“To find a diamond of this size with this color is pretty much unreal,” said the International Head of Jewellery at Christie’s. “You may see this color in a pink diamond of less than one carat. But this is almost 19 carats and it’s as pink as can be. It’s unbelievable.”

Kadakia's evaluation was right on the mark as the vibrant, VS1-clarity, rectangular-cut gem was purchased by Harry Winston for $50.3 million, establishing a record price-per-carat for a diamond of that hue.



The hammer price at Christie's Geneva was at the top end of the $30 million to $50 million pre-sale estimate, and set a new high-water mark for fancy vivid pink diamonds at $2.7 million per carat. The previous record holder was the 14.93-carat Pink Promise, which sold at auction for $2.2 million per carat a year ago in Hong Kong.

“We are proud to continue in the Winston tradition of acquiring the finest gems in the world,” Harry Winston Chief Executive Officer Nayla Hayek said in a statement. The winning bidder also appended the diamond's name. It will now be known as the "Winston Pink Legacy."

Once owned by the Oppenheimer family — famous for its connections to the De Beers mining company — the Winston Pink Legacy was discovered in a South African mine about 100 years ago and hasn't been altered since it was first cut in 1920.

The Winston Pink Legacy is the largest fancy vivid pink diamond ever offered at auction by Christie’s. In fact, over the course of its 252-year history, only four fancy vivid pink diamonds larger than 10 carats have ever appeared for sale.

Kadakia said in September that “its exceptional provenance will no doubt propel it into a class of its own as one of the world’s greatest diamonds.”

Despite its impressive $50.3 million hammer price, the Winston Pink Legacy fell short of the world record for the highest price ever paid for a pink diamond — or any gemstone. That honor is still held by the fancy vivid Pink Star, a 59.5-carat diamond that sold for $71 million in 2017.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie’s.
November 16th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you romantic songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, 21-time Grammy winner Vince Gill buys a pretty diamond ring and proposes to the girl of his dreams in his 2016 release, "Like My Daddy Did."



He sings, "I found a little girl and I fell in love / She shines brighter than the stars above / I bought her a pretty diamond ring / Asked her, if she would marry me."

His girlfriend, however, is skeptical about making a lifelong commitment. Her hesitance stems from a fear that Gill might "treat her like her daddy did." We learn that her dad left the family when she was just a little kid.

"He took off runnin', I never saw his face again," she says.

Gill consoles her: "There's nothing you could tell me that would change a thing / I still want you to wear my ring."

Ironically, Gill promises, "I'll treat you like my daddy did." Gill's dad was loving and kind. When Gill was a kid, his dad took him fishing and never missed any of his ballgames.

"There ain't no scars on this heart of mine," he sings.

In the end, Gill's girlfriend accepts the diamond ring and they get married.

In a promotional video about the song he penned, Gill said, "I love the yin and yang of the story, how he's undaunted by her past. It's sweet."

"Like My Daddy Did" appeared as the fourth track of Down to My Last Bad Habit, Gill's 14th studio album. Over the course of his 40-year career, the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has sold more than 26 million albums and placed more than 40 singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. He's won 21 Grammy awards from 44 nominations and earned the 2,478th star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2012.

Born in Norman, Okla., in 1957, Gill was inspired to pursue a music career by his dad, who was not only a lawyer and an administrative law judge, but also played part-time in a country music band. At the age of 10, Gill was already an accomplished guitarist. His love for instruments led him to learn how to play the mandolin, banjo and fiddle.

After graduating high school, he moved to Louisville to join the band Bluegrass Alliance. In the 1970s, he earned widespread fame as the frontman for the country rock band Pure Prairie League. Gill became a solo artist in 1983 and married "The Queen of Christian Pop" Amy Grant in 2000. More recently, he joined the Eagles on tour, singing lead vocals.

Please check out the video of Gill performing the acoustic version of "Like My Daddy Did." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Like My Daddy Did"
Written and performed by Vince Gill.

I found a little girl and I fell in love
She shines brighter than the stars above
I bought her a pretty diamond ring
Asked her, if she would marry me

She said, will you treat me like my daddy did
Left me and momma, I was just a kid
He took off runnin', I never saw his face again
So, when it comes to love, I ain't the trustin' kind
There's a whole lotta scars on this heart of mine
I'm crazy about ya, I'm not sure I can

I took that pretty girl by the hand
I looked her in her eyes and said I understand
There's nothing you could tell me that would change a thing
I still want you to wear my ring

I'll treat you just like my daddy did
He took me fishin' when I was a kid
When I played ball, he never missed a game
When it comes to love, I'm the trusting kind
There ain't no scars on this heart of mine
I'm crazy about ya, I'm pretty sure I can

Tomorrow morning is our wedding day
And all your fears are gonna fade away
Together we're gonna build a bridge
No, I won't treat ya like your daddy did
We'll have the kind of love that's the trusting kind
I'll give you ever piece of this heart of mine
We were meant to be, I'm pretty sure we can

I found a little girl and I fell in love
She shines brighter than the stars above


Credits: Screen capture via YouTube.com.
November 19th, 2018
A natural pearl pendant that was once owned by Queen Marie Antoinette and smuggled out of France just before her arrest in 1791 fetched $36.1 million at Sotheby's Geneva last week.



Aggressive bidding elevated the price to more than 18 times the pre-sale high estimate and demolished the previous record for the highest price ever paid for a natural pearl. The former title holder was La Peregrina, a pear-shaped natural pearl that was sold at Christie's in 2011 for $11.8 million as part of Elizabeth Taylor's collection.

"Tonight we saw the Marie Antoinette factor work its magic," said Daniela Mascetti, Sotheby's Jewellery Chairman, Europe. "No other queen is more famous for her love of jewels, and her personal treasures, pearls and diamonds that survived intact the tumults of history."

The ill-fated French queen's natural pearl and diamond pendant is set with an oval diamond in a diamond bow motif. The slightly baroque drop-shaped natural saltwater pearl measures approximately 15.90mm x 18.35mm x 25.85mm and originally hung from Marie Antoinette's three-strand pearl necklace. The pendant entered the auction with a modest pre-sale estimate of $1 million to $2 million.

With a revolution raging in France in March 1791, Marie Antoinette and her husband, King Louis XVI, prepared to flee the country. The queen wrapped her most precious jewels in cotton and packed them neatly into a wooden chest. The diamond, ruby and pearl treasures were secretly shipped to Vienna in the care of Count Mercy Argentau, a loyal retainer to the queen.

“The jewels made it, but unfortunately, she did not,” Mascetti said.

Three months later, the royal family was captured in Varennes as they were trying to leave France. Both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were imprisoned and executed by guillotine in 1793.

Their last surviving child, Marie-Thérèse, was finally allowed to flee to Vienna after serving three years in solitary confinement. There, the teenage princess reclaimed her mother’s jewels that had been kept safe by her cousin, the Austrian Emperor Francis II.

The jewelry remained in the queen’s family for the next 200 years and had never been seen by the public — until they went on a promotional tour in the lead-up to Wednesday's auction in Geneva.

The pendant was among 10 exquisite pieces that once belonged to Marie Antoinette, all of which attracted fierce bidding. Together they realized a total of $42.7 million against a pre-sale estimate of $1.6 million to $2.9 million.

A beautiful three-strand necklace strung with 119 natural pearls also saw intense bidding. The final price of $2.3 million far outperformed the estimated price of $200,000 to $300,000.

The queen's jewelry was part of a larger auction collection comprised of 100 pieces from the Bourbon Parma family — a family linked to the royal dynasties of France, England, Spain, Austria, Holland and Italy. According to Sotheby's, international collectors and history lovers demonstrated the full force of their fascination with the storied treasures. Participants represented 43 countries.

Credit: Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.
November 20th, 2018
For the first time since 2004, the world-famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center has a new crown jewel. Designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the 900-pound tree topper measures 9 foot 4 inches in diameter and features 70 rays covered with three million Swarovski crystals.



On Wednesday, a massive crane raised the Swarovski Star to the top of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in preparation of the official lighting ceremony, which will take place on the evening of November 28.



Each of the 70 rays of the Swarovski Star is designed to glow from within, with the light refracted by the crystal surface, creating a sparkling effect.

While the new star is about the same size as its predecessor, it is nearly twice as heavy and contains far more crystals. The previous star weighed 550 pounds and was studded with 25,000 crystals.



Libeskind, who created the master plan for the reconstruction of New York's World Trade Center site, said that the new Swarovski Star is inspired by the beauty of starlight — something that radiates meaning and mystery into the world.

"The Star is a symbol that represents our greatest ambitions for hope, unity and peace," he said. "I am tremendously honored to collaborate with Swarovski on the Star, and with the entire design team, to bring cutting-edge innovation and design to crystal technology."

Added Swarovski Executive Board Member Nadja Swarovski: "Each holiday season the Star brings joy to New Yorkers and visitors from around the world, and will shine as a beacon of hope for many years to come."



While the star majestically sits atop a 72-foot-tall Norway spruce on the Plaza, an exact replica will be displayed on the ground level so visitors can explore its design close up.

Rockefeller Center officially began the tree-lighting ceremony in 1933, when a Christmas tree was erected in front of the then-RCA Building and covered with 700 lights.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/Swarovski; Nadja Swarovski and Daniel Libeskind image by Bryan Bedder/Getty for Swarovski (PRNewsfoto/Swarovski); Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree by Bryan Bedder/Getty for Swarovski (PRNewsfoto/Swarovski).
November 21st, 2018
The 20.6-carat emerald-cut diamond ring that Frank Sinatra famously presented to fourth wife, Barbara, in a glass of champagne is the top jewelry item in a series of upcoming Sotheby's auctions focusing on the treasures gathered by the couple during their 22-year marriage.



The legendary singer had met Barbara in the early 1960s, but they didn't start dating until 10 years later. When Frank was finally ready to cement the relationship after a turbulent four-year courtship, he reportedly tossed two huge diamonds onto the bed told Barbara to pick one. The emerald-cut diamond was her favorite, so Frank had a jeweler set the stone in a platinum ring accented with triangular-cut side stones.



Ever the romantic, Frank decided to forgo the traditional box and surprised Barbara by submerging the diamond ring in a glass of champagne. According to Sotheby's, Frank hadn't offered a formal proposal, so the engagement was only official after Barbara made him choose which finger to put it on. The couple married in Palm Springs in 1976. Frank was 60 and Barbara was 49.

Barbara's ring will hit the auction block at Sotheby's New York with a pre-sale high estimate of $1.5 million. It's one of 200 lots grouped under the banner of "Lady Blue Eyes: Property of Barbara and Frank Sinatra." Items range from artwork and show memorabilia to jewels and objects from their home. Sotheby's believes the 200 lots should yield at least $3.5 million.

In her memoir, Lady Blue Eyes: My Life with Frank, Barbara described how her husband always went out of his way to make her feel "loved and cherished every day, taking the time to express his feelings."

"He loved buying jewels for her and spontaneously surprising her in interesting ways," Mari-Claudia Jimenez, managing director of Sotheby's Fiduciary Client Group, told CNN. "There was a time when he'd put bracelets and rings in her pockets for her to find. One time, they were watching television, eating popcorn and she found a diamond ring inside the popcorn box."

Frank Sinatra passed away in 1998 at the age of 82. Barbara Sinatra died in July of 2017. She was 90.

Credit: Jewelry image courtesy of Sotheby's. Frank and Barbara Sinatra photo courtesy the Estate of Barbara Sinatra.
November 26th, 2018
Singer Toni Braxton is hoping that one of her 2.8 million Instagram followers knows the whereabouts of "Bonnie," the Grammy-award winner's $5 million, 10-carat canary yellow diamond engagement ring.



Bonnie was lost last week on a cross-country Delta flight from JFK in New York to LAX in Los Angeles. The 51-year-old singer had packed the cushion-cut diamond ring and other valuable jewels in a Louis Vuitton train case and placed it in the overhead bin. Unfortunately, she forgot to remove it when she deplaned.

Delta was able to reunite Braxton with her bag, but most of the jewelry inside was missing.

In an Instagram post, Braxton, who was recovering from a bout with the flu, wrote, “Feeling back to my old self again, yay! But I’m sad today… my engagement ring is missing… but I’m optimistic that someone will find Bonnie and return her home.”

On Twitter, she wrote, "Hey everyone, @delta located my LV Train Case! Yay! Unfortunately most of my jewelry items are missing...including MY ENGAGEMENT RING! Whoever BORROWED it... PLEEEASE return it!!!! I promise, no questions asked!

So far, nobody has come forward with the halo-style ring that she received last January from rapper Birdman, aka Bryan Christopher Williams.

Back on October 5, the “Un-Break My Heart” singer posted an Instagram selfie, in which Bonnie the engagement ring is clearly visible. In the post, she told her fans that she was heading out of town to celebrate her birthday "all weekend long!"

It's fair to assume that Bonnie made that trip, as well, and she was properly secured on the performer's finger or in her carry-on bag.

With many of our readers traveling for the holidays, we remind you to heed the following tips from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company...

“It’s perfectly OK to wear your fine jewelry through the checkpoint station,” wrote TSA blogger Bob Burns. “As long as the jewelry is not really bulky, travelers should keep their precious possessions on their bodies as they walk through metal detectors or high-tech imaging devices. Fine jewelry items that are not worn should be placed in a carry-on bag that should never be left unattended.”

Burns added that travelers should never place their valuables in the plastic bowls that the TSA provides to hold smaller items. Bowls can tip over on the conveyor belts, seemingly sending small jewelry into another dimension where it is never seen again, according to Burns.

Here are a few more traveling tips from Jewelers Mutual…

• Pack light and take only the jewelry you’ll wear while traveling and at your destination. The 4-carat diamond ring you save for special occasions? Probably not. The pearls that go with everything? Definitely.
• List all the jewelry you’ll take with you. Make two copies. Take one copy with you and store it separately from your jewelry. Leave the other copy at home. Also helpful: take pictures or a video of your jewelry.
• Never put jewelry in checked baggage. Instead, wear it or stow it in your carry-on bag. If you wear it, take extra care by slipping a pendant inside a sweater or turning your ring so only the band shows.
• Put your jewelry in a favorite bag you’ll carry while traveling. Don’t leave your jewelry in an unattended car or suitcase.
• When checking into your hotel or condo, don’t hand your jewelry bag to hotel staff. Carry it personally.
• Always store jewelry in the hotel safe when not wearing it.
• Insure your personal jewelry against loss, damage, theft and mysterious disappearance wherever your travels take you, worldwide. So get the right insurance. Then relax, be yourself and have fun.

Credit: Image via Instagram/tonibraxton.
November 27th, 2018
Lauren Smith, a self-described "picker," was following a hunch when she scooped up an antique ring box for pennies at a Goodwill outlet in Reading, Pa.



At first glance, the box that was stamped with the name of a jeweler/optometrist in nearby Allentown seemed to be empty. But, when she got home, Smith carefully pried up the velvet ring pad, revealing a diamond treasure underneath.



“It came up really easily and there was this engagement ring under there and I was just like, 'Ah,'" Smith told a reporter from Fox29 in Philadelphia.



In the spirit of the holiday season, Smith will forgo a potential big payday and, instead, try to reunite the antique ring with the family of its rightful owner. The yellow gold ring is engraved with a specific date in 1921 and the avid treasure hunter will use that information to help verify any claimants that come forward.

“I just want to give this family back something they thought they may have lost forever," she said. "I think if you have the opportunity to do something like that you should at least give it a shot."

Smith explained that the ring box was priced by weight, so her outlay was just pennies.

Based on her own experience, Smith believes that the ring box — and its hidden treasure — was donated by a family who hastily cleared the home of an elderly relative.

“I helped my parents clean out my grandparent’s house and after a while you just get so overwhelmed," she told Fox29. "You just want to get rid of things and sometimes you don’t look as closely as maybe you would under other circumstances."

Interestingly, a representative from Goodwill told the Fox reporter that the company regularly screens for items that were donated in error. The ring hidden under the ring pad wasn't detected by the Goodwill staff, but spokesperson Cheryl Kulp said she was thrilled that the ring ended up with the kindhearted Smith.

“That’s just the generosity of the community in which we reside," Kulp said.

Credits: Screen captures via fox29.com.
November 28th, 2018
Barely two weeks removed from her high-profile appearance at the Victoria's Secret fashion show in New York, supermodel Josephine Skriver got engaged to her singer-songwriter boyfriend Alexander DeLeon on a frozen lake under the northern lights of Finland. Skriver and her new fiancé, who goes by the stage name Bohnes, turned to Instagram to share stunning pics of the diamond engagement ring and epic proposal.



The ring features a sizable emerald-cut center stone set in a diamond-encrusted split-shank band.

The 25-year-old Danish model revealed in her Instagram feed all the romantic details of DeLeon's surprise proposal and how she was able to check off three items on her bucket list within seven days... Swimming with orcas, seeing the aurora borealis (i.e. the northern lights) and getting engaged to the love of her life.



"It was a cold November night. Alex had us driven all the way to Finland to see the northern lights," wrote Skriver. "It was my second bucket list number I was checking off in the same week after swimming with orcas, my favorite animals, in their natural habitat! He had a bonfire built for me on a frozen lake deep in Scandinavia complete with the full moon shining on our backs and hot cocoa to keep us warm."

Skriver marveled at the coincidences and events that made the day absolutely perfect. It was November 23, the day DeLeon released “Aurora Borealis,” a song inspired by Skriver. And 23 just happens to be the supermodel's lucky number.



"Sometimes the universe just chooses to leave you speechless!!!" she continued. "That was when @bohnes looked over at me. When he got down on one knee and asked me to be his forever... I have never been more sure about anything in my life. You are my biggest adventure. My fairytale come true. My soulmate. My best friend. The love of my life. So, of course, it was 1millionxYES!!!"



In the post that earned 773,000 Likes on Instagram, Skriver went on to describe how they bring out the best in each other...



"Sometimes in life you will meet that one person that makes everything make sense. A person that pushes you to be an even greater version of yourself. A person that makes you not just dream it... but believe it! Believe in your own abilities to make anything happen! @bohnes with you I just knew! You are all that and more. You walked into my life and I have never looked back. I love you. You are MY northern lights and MY aurora borealis. <3 - Your Jo

On his Instagram page, the 29-year-old DeLeon posted a closeup photo of Skriver showing off her new ring. His simple caption: forever. <3

Credits: Images via Instagram.com/bohnes; Instagram.com/josephineskriver.
November 29th, 2018
Welcome to "engagement season," the magical time between Thanksgiving Day and Valentine's Day when nearly 40% of all marriage proposals take place.



According to WeddingWire's 2018 Newlywed Report, Christmas Day is the most popular day of the year to pop the question, followed by Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve, New Year's Day and New Year's Eve.

Interestingly, the WeddingWire survey of 18,000 U.S. newlyweds married in 2017 reveals a dramatic spike in proposals during the month of December. Throughout the rest of the year, the distribution of proposals during each month ranges from 7% to 9%. But, in December, that number rises to 16%.

Experts believe that the winter engagement phenomenon is attributed to two factors: the romantic nature of the season… and convenience. Suitors likely choose December to pop the question because they love the spirit of the holiday season. And, certainly, there’s no better time to propose than when all the family is in town to celebrate with the newly engaged couple.

Here's a review of the Top 10 days of the year to get engaged, according to WeddingWire's 2018 Newlywed Report...

#1. Christmas Day. It’s the biggest day of the year for gift-giving, so it makes perfect sense that this, too, would be the biggest day to give the ultimate gift — a diamond engagement ring.

#2. Valentine’s Day. Cupid's special day is all about love and expressing to that special someone just how much you care. Instead of delivering a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolate, millions of romantic suitors opt for a proposal and a ring.

#3. Christmas Eve. For the families who prefer to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, this is the perfect time to add to the joyful holiday spirit by popping the question.

#4 & #5. New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve. We can't imagine a better way to celebrate the New Year than with a surprise marriage proposal as the clock ticks down and 2018 makes way for 2019. Technically, if she says "Yes" before midnight, the engagement took place on New Year's Eve, but if she says "Yes" after midnight, the engagement is credited to New Year's Day.

#6. December 23rd (Day Before Christmas Eve). In the same survey last year, 12/23 rated #9. We're guessing that the ascent to #6 reflects more newly engaged couples choosing to get a jump on the holiday and avoiding Christmas Eve distractions that might take the focus off the bride and groom-to-be.

#7. Two Saturdays Before Christmas Eve. It's one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Might it be possible that the couples are out together, looking at engagement rings, making a selection and proposing on the spot?

#8. Fourth of July (Independence Day). One of only two dates in the Top 10 that is outside the traditional "engagement season," the Fourth of July — with festive fireworks and some time off from work — makes for a memorable day to pop the question.

#9. Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. This day marks the official start of summer and a perfect day to propose. A Saturday engagement allows the couple to extend the celebration with family and friends over the long weekend.

#10. Saturday Before Valentine’s Day. New to the WeddingWire Top 10, the Saturday before Valentine's Day may reflect the couple's desire to celebrate their engagement over a weekend and not necessarily on Valentine's Day, which often comes up during the week (in 2018, February 14 was on a Wednesday) and is certainly not a day when most people have off. Popping the question on the weekend prior to Valentine's Day also preserves the element of surprise.

Credit: Image by Bigstockphoto.com.
November 30th, 2018
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you festive songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, we celebrate the start of the holiday season with Gwen Stefani's contemporary take on Eartha Kitt's 1953 classic, "Santa Baby."



A song that echoes the sentiments of 1949's “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend," “Santa Baby” features a girl appealing directly to Santa Claus for some of the finer things in life — a sable coat, a blue convertible, a yacht and, finally, “a ring.” She's claims to have been an "angel all year," so she doesn't think she's asking for a lot.

Stefani sings, "Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring / I don't mean on the phone / Santa cutie, hurry down the chimney tonight."

"Santa Baby" was released as the first promotional single from Stefani's 2017 holiday album, You Make It Feel Like Christmas. The album rose to #1 on Billboard's Top Holiday Albums chart and the single peaked at #7 on the Billboard Holiday Digital Songs chart.

A blockbuster hit for Kitt in 1953, "Santa Baby" has been covered by dozens of artists over the past 65 years. They include Madonna, Taylor Swift, Natalie Merchant, Kylie Minogue, The Pussycat Dolls, LeAnn Rimes, Faith Evans, Kellie Pickler, Miss Piggy and even Michael Bublé, who chose to address his benefactor as "Santa Buddy."

Written by Joan Javits and Philip Springer, "Santa Baby" is reportedly one of the few Christmas hits penned by a woman.

Born in Fullerton, Calif., in 1969, Stefani was famously the lead singer of No Doubt, but decided to pursue a solo career in 2004. She has won three Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, a Brit Award, a World Music Award and two Billboard Music Awards. As a member of No Doubt and as a solo artist, she is credited with having sold more than 30 million albums worldwide.

Please check out the audio track of Stefani performing "Santa Baby." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Santa Baby"
Written by Joan Javits and Philip Springer. Performed by Gwen Stefani.

Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree for me
Been an awful good girl
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a 54 convertible too, light blue
I'll wait up for you, dear
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I've missed
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed
Next year I could be as good
If you'll check off my Christmas list

Santa baby, I want a yacht and really that's not a lot
Been an angel all year
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa honey, one little thing I really need, the deed
To a platinum mine
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With some decorations bought at Tiffany
I really do believe in you
Let's see if you believe in me

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring
I don't mean on the phone
Santa cutie, hurry down the chimney tonight

Hurry down the chimney tonight


Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.