Diamonds Direct Blog

Diamonds Direct Blog
April 28th, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we often bring you great throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Gladys Knight & the Pips tell a story of unrequited love in their 1970 hit single, "If I Were Your Woman."



In the song, the protagonist is a young woman whose love interest won't give her the time of day. His attention is focused on a rival, despite the fact that she treats him so poorly. Songwriters Gloria Jones, Pamela Joan Sawyer and Clay McMurray use a diamond vs. glass comparison to describe how the two women feel toward the same man.

Knight sings, "She tears you down darlin', says you're nothing at all / But, I'll pick you up darling, when she lets you fall / You're like a diamond but she treats you like glass / Yet you beg her to love you, but, me you don't ask."

According to music trivia websites Songfacts.com and Allmusic.com, the song came together while Jones and Sawyer were having a lunchtime discussion about women's issues, including the Women's Liberation Movement, which was still in its infancy. They were looking to compose a piece about how women could be committed in their relationships while remaining strong and independent.

"If I Were Your Woman" appears as the first track from Gladys Knight & the Pips' album of the same name. The single zoomed all the way to #1 on the Billboard Best Selling Soul Singles chart and peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

The song has been covered by a number of top artists, including Stephanie Mills (1988) and Alicia Keys (2006). The Keys version received a nomination for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance at the 2006 Grammy Awards.

Established in Atlanta as The Pips in 1952, the group led by founding member Gladys Knight topped the music charts for more than three decades. Gladys Knight & the Pips are multiple Grammy and American Music Award winners and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. The group disbanded in 1989, but Knight went on to a successful solo career. Also known as The Empress of Soul, Knight continues to tour at the age of 72.

Please check out the audio track of Gladys Knight & the Pips' original version of "If I Were Your Woman." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"If I Were Your Woman"
Written by Gloria Jones, Pamela Joan Sawyer and Clay McMurray. Performed by Gladys Knight & the Pips.

If I were your woman and you were my man,
you'd have no other woman, you'd be weak as a lamb.
If you had the strength to walk out that door,
My love would over rule my sense, and I'd call you back for more,
If I were your woman.
If I were your woman, and you were my man. Um baby.

She tears you down darlin', says you're nothing at all.
But, I'll pick you up darling, when she lets you fall.
You're like a diamond but she treats you like glass.
Yet you beg her to love you, but, me you don't ask.
If I were your woman, If I were your woman.
If I were your woman, here's what I'd do,
I'd never, no, no, stop loving you.
Yeah, yeah, um

Life is so crazy, a love is unkind.
Because she came first, darling, will she hang on your mind?
You're a part of me, and you don't even know it.
I'm what you need, but I'm too afraid to show it.
If I were your woman, If I were your woman,
If I were your woman, here's what I'd do.
Never, no, no, no, stop loving you, ah, yeah.
If I were your woman, here's what I'd do.
Never, never stop loving you if


Credit: Photo by Rob Mieremet (ANEFO) (GaHetNa (Nationaal Archief NL)) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
April 27th, 2017
A super-creative and very romantic graphic animator thrilled his girlfriend recently with a sweet marriage proposal cleverly masked as a Hollywood movie trailer.



Vancouver, Wash., resident Adrianna Neil was so excited to attend an early screening of the blockbuster, live-action Beauty and the Beast as a 26th birthday present from her boyfriend, Ryan Langston. What she didn't realize was that a two-minute movie trailer would change her life forever.

A YouTube video documenting the event shows a split screen, with the trailer on the right and Neil's reaction shots on the left.



At first, we hear an announcer speaking about how sometimes people who started as strangers become good friends over time, and how, sometimes, a good friend becomes much more.

"You feel butterflies when you see them," says the announcer. "You feel at a loss when they are not around."

The images on the screen at this point are blurry silhouettes of nondescript couples.



But, then the announcer gets much more specific, noting the specific trips they've shared and the places they've dreamed of visiting together. The images transition into sweeping views of Italy, Scotland and their hometown, along with romantic shots of the couple, their friends and family.



The left side of the split screen captures the very moment Neil realizes that she's the star of the trailer and that her boyfriend is about to propose. The trailer concludes with a title screen reading, "Adrianna, Will You Marry Me?"



Langston then gets down on one knee and pops the question. Neil says, "Yes," and her boyfriend slides a diamond ring on her finger. The couple embraces and the movie-goers in attendance cheer their approval.



“We both love movies or anything that brings an emotional experience," the 28-year-old Langston told The Huffington Post. "And I wanted to propose in a way that would be memorable. I knew that I wanted it to be something really special for her.”

As a graphic animator for Cinetopia theaters, Langston was well versed in the ins and outs of producing a professional-grade two-minute trailer. And it wasn't by chance that the fake trailer/proposal took place in a Cinetopia theater. Langston told The Huffington Post that it took a month to get the trailer just right.

“The staff [of Cinetopia] was amazing at helping me pull this off,” he said. “They ran the test of the trailer several times that day during intermissions just to make sure it would run without a hitch.”

Neil and Langston have known each other for 10 years, but started dating a year ago. They're planning a September 2018 wedding and a honeymoon in Scotland or Italy.

In the caption of his YouTube video, Langston wrote, "I proposed to the most amazing woman, Adrianna Neil. I wanted to do something special so I created a short video that appears to be an advertisement at first. I love her reaction."

You can check out the video, below.


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/Ryan Langston. Facebook.com/Ryan Langston.
April 26th, 2017
Shoppers will be showering their moms with $5 billion in jewelry gifts on Sunday, May 14, setting a new Mother's Day record for that category. That tally represents an increase of 19% compared with the $4.2 billion spent in 2016.



Mother's Day gifts across all categories will total a record $23.6 billion, outpacing 2016’s performance by $2.2 billion, or 10.2%, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The NRF noted that the overall increase will be driven largely by the jewelry and personal services categories.



Jewelry is, by far, the strongest of all gift categories, topping the list that includes the $4.2 billion earmarked for special outings, such as a dinner or brunch, $2.6 billion for flowers, $2.5 billion for gift cards, $2.1 billion for clothing, $2.1 billion for consumer electronics and $1.9 billion for personal services, such as a spa day.



The NRF's survey predicts that more than one in three (35.5%) Mother's Day shoppers will be buying a jewelry item this year.

“With spring in full bloom, many Americans are looking forward to splurging on their mothers this Mother’s Day,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers will be ready with a wide range of gift options and a variety of promotions for their customers."



Eighty-five percent of consumers will be giving a Mother's Day gift in 2017, and their average budget will be $186.39, up 8.2% compared to the $172.22 recorded in 2016. Exactly 20.7% reported that they will be spending more this Mother's Day, while 7.9% said they'd be spending less and 56.4% expected to spend the same amount as last year.

The survey, which asked 7,406 consumers about their Mother’s Day plans, was conducted April 4-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

Credit: Image via Bigstockphoto.com. Charts via National Retail Federation.
April 25th, 2017
A British piano tuner is about to share a six-figure reward for discovering a stash of 913 gold coins hidden beneath the keyboard of an upright that had been donated to a community college. The gold sovereigns, which date from 1847 to 1915, have a face value of £773, which is equivalent to £500,000 ($640,000) today.



Martin Backhouse, 61, had been hired by Bishop’s Castle Community College in Shropshire, England, to work on a Broadwood & Sons piano that had been donated to the school by the Hemmings family. The piano was made in 1906 and the Hemmings family had owned the instrument for 33 years.



"I had only taken out the first octave when I realized something was going on," Backhouse told the Daily Mail.

The piano tuner discovered seven cloth-bound packets and a leather drawstring purse under the keyboard. He was shocked to learn that each was filled with gold sovereigns and half sovereigns, the majority dating to the reign of Queen Victoria. Experts at The British Museum believe the coins — now called the Piano Hoard — were tucked away in the late 1920s, perhaps in reaction to the Great Depression or the events leading up to World War II. Cardboard lining from one of the packages suggests the hoard was hidden between 1926 and 1946. The identity of the original owner is still a mystery.



As is required by the British Treasure Act of 1996, Backhouse and college officials reported their find to the local coroner. The sovereigns were declared to be treasure at an inquest at Shrewsbury Coroner's Court, and this meant that Backhouse and the college could be compensated for the value of the coins as determined by the Treasure Valuation Committee. The Treasure Act allows for a reward to be shared among the finder and the owner of the land on which the treasure was found. The Treasure Act is administered by staff at The British Museum.

Normally, treasure is considered to be more than 300 years old and made of gold or silver. Although the Piano Hoard was not nearly that old, the Treasure Act also states that items of any age made substantially of gold or silver, whose original owners or heirs are unknown, and which are deemed to have been deliberately hidden with the intention of recovery, are also "treasure."

"The individual coins are not particularly rare being the button coinage of the British Empire," noted a spokesperson for The British Museum. "However, it is the largest hoard of its type known and the find is of significant importance from a historical perspective. It is a fascinating story. We are not aware of any other coin hoards being secreted in pianos."

While Backhouse and the college are likely to share hundreds of thousands of dollars, the piano's most recent owners — the Hemmings family — are entitled to nothing under British law.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/The British Museum; Piano Hoard image © Trustees of the British Museum.
April 24th, 2017
The 34.40-carat Stotesbury Emerald, a six-sided gem with a famed history that spans more than 100 years, headlines a cavalcade of magnificent jewels at Sotheby's New York on Tuesday.



The Colombian-mined emerald was previously in the collections of three high-profile American jewelry collectors: Evalyn Walsh McLean (1908), Eva Stotesbury (1926) and May Bonfils Stanton (1947).



The Stotesbury Emerald was last seen in the public in 1971. At the time, it had been set into a platinum ring by Harry Winston and was being offered for sale at auction. Tomorrow, Sotheby's will be showing the ring in that same Harry Winston setting — a unique design that buttresses the emerald with two rows of pear-shaped diamonds. The estimated selling price is $800,000 to $1.2 million.



The lot with the highest estimated selling price is a pair of platinum earrings featuring D-flawless square emerald-cut diamonds, each weighing slightly more than 20 carats. Estimated to sell for $4.5 million to $5.5 million, the earrings are topped by two smaller square emerald-cut diamonds weighing 1.01 carats each.



Another notable piece is a platinum ring set with an extraordinarily rare 1.64-carat fancy vivid green diamond flanked by two cut-cornered triangle-shaped white diamonds. While fancy-color diamonds are seen in a wide range of hues, red and green are the rarest of all. Green diamonds get their color when radiation displaces carbon atoms from their normal positions in the crystal structure. This can happen naturally when diamond deposits lie near radioactive rocks, according to the Gemological Institute of America. Sotheby's expects the ring to sell in the range of $1 million to $1.5 million.



A sapphire-and-diamond brooch dating back to the 1930s is expected to get a lot of attention at Sotheby's sale due to its unique pedigree. The Art Deco piece by Cartier was formerly in the collection of Mrs. John E. Rovensky, who had been previously married to railroad tycoon Morton F. Plant.

Plant famously traded his corner lot on Fifth Avenue for two strands of Cartier natural pearls in 1917. The pearls were said to be valued at $1 million. That location at Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street remains the New York headquarters for the jeweler. The brooch, which is set with two emerald-cut sapphires weighing approximately 10.40 and 7.75 carats, has a floral motif interpreted in round, baguette, old European-cut, pear and marquise-shaped diamonds weighing approximately 13.95 carats. The piece is expected to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000.

Credits: Images courtesy of Sotheby's.
April 21st, 2017
Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In his signature "Stable Song," singer-songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov uses gemstone and precious-metal metaphors to describe an artist who struggles to find his muse and ultimately returns to his roots.



He sings, "Ring like crazy, ring like hell / Turn me back into that wild haired gale / Ring like silver, ring like gold / Turn these diamonds straight back into coal / Turn these diamonds straight back into coal."

In the YouTube clip below, Isakov introduces the song by telling a live audience that "The Stable Song" is a poem "about everything."



In our interpretation, the artist seems to be unable to deal with the stress that comes with success. He's under tremendous pressure to compose something perfect (diamond) and, instead, decides to return home where he can get back to basics (coal) and recapture the energy of his youth.

Written by Isakov, "The Stable Song" was the second track of his 2007 debut album, That Sea, The Gambler. The song also returned as the fourth track of the artist's 2016 collaboration with the Colorado Symphony.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, raised in Philadelphia and now calling Colorado home, the 37-year-old Isakov has been traveling most of his life. His songs tell the story of his time on the road and his constant yearning for a sense of place. Music critics have described him as “strong, subtle, a lyrical genius.”

Isakov is currently on a 16-city tour with stops in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, British Columbia, Alberta, Montana and Wyoming.

Please check out the video of his 2012 live performance at The Bing Lounge in Portland, Ore. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"The Stable Song"
Written and performed by Gregory Alan Isakov.

Remember when our songs were just like prayer
Like gospel hymns that you called in the air
Come down, come down sweet reverence
Unto my simple house and ring... and ring

Ring like silver, ring like gold
Ring out those ghosts on the Ohio
Ring like clear day wedding bells
Were we the belly of the beast, or the sword that fell?
We'll never tell

Come to me, clear and cold
On some sea
Watch the world spinning waves
Like that machine

Now I've been crazy, couldn't you tell?
I threw stones at the stars, but the whole sky fell
Now I'm covered up in straw, belly up on the table
Well I drank and sang, and I passed in the stable

That tall grass grows high and brown
Well I dragged you straight in the muddy ground
And you sent me back to where I roam
Well I cursed and I cried, but now I know
Now I know

And I ran back to that hollow again
The moon was just a sliver back then
And I ached for my heart like some tin man
When it came, oh it beat and it boiled and it rang
Oh, it's ringing

Ring like crazy, ring like hell
Turn me back into that wild haired gale
Ring like silver, ring like gold
Turn these diamonds straight back into coal
Turn these diamonds straight back into coal


Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/KINK Radio.
April 20th, 2017
A 2,000-foot-wide platinum-rich asteroid zipped within 1.09 million miles of the Earth yesterday, prompting renewed speculation about the feasibility of space mining.

asteroid1

Roughly the size of the Rock of Gibraltar, the asteroid, at its nearest point, was only 4.6 times the distance from the Earth to the moon. In celestial terms, this was a very close encounter.

The asteroid flyby took place barely two weeks after the investors at Goldman Sachs wrote a bullish report about the prospects of harnessing them.

asteroid3

Analyst Noah Poponak and his Goldman Sachs team argued in a 98-page report that platinum mining in space is getting cheaper and easier, and the rewards are becoming greater as time goes by. The global investment company talked up the feasibility of an "asteroid-grabbing spacecraft" that could extract upwards of $50 billion in platinum.

asteroid2

"While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower," the Goldman Sachs report stated. "Prospecting probes can likely be built for tens of millions of dollars each and Caltech has suggested an asteroid-grabbing spacecraft could cost $2.6 billion."

By comparison, the start-up cost for a traditional platinum mine can be as much as $1 billion, according to a report by MIT.

"While [they are] relatively small markets today, rapidly falling costs are lowering the barrier to participate in the space economy, making new industries like space tourism, asteroid mining and on-orbit manufacturing viable," Poponak said.

The price of space exploration has plummeted, thanks to breakthroughs in reusable rocket technology pioneered by Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin. Virgin Galactic is looking to promote space tourism for as little as $250,000 per traveler.

Founded in 2013, Deep Space Industries is developing new spacecraft technologies essential for intercepting near-Earth asteroids and harvesting their precious resources. The company believes that asteroid-mined materials could be commercially available by the early 2020s.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com/DeepSpaceIndustries.
April 19th, 2017
Comedian Jon Crist's video spoofing millennials' obsession with social media in an era of engagement ring selfies and viral proposals has earned more than 11 million views on Facebook.



In the 3-minute-long vignette, Crist co-stars as a young suitor who takes his girlfriend (played by Megan Batoon) to a scenic overlook, where he's about to surprise her with a marriage proposal.

Stopping along a dirt path, he gets down on one knee, pulls a ring box from his pocket and asks, "Madison Marie, will you marry me?"

But before she answers, the girlfriend looks around curiously.

“Wait, you hired a photographer, right?” she asks. He points to where the photographer is hiding.

"I'm sorry," she tells the photographer. "Do you mind actually coming a little bit closer?"

Her concern is that the proposal video shot from a distance was not "going to share that well" on social media.



What follows is a series of quick cuts that focus on his girlfriend's desire to control the "production value" of the video with the end goal of earning tons of likes on social media.



Each scene becomes more and more extreme. First, the girlfriend makes sure she's facing the camera and that the lighting is just right. Then, she insists the photographer shoots them so the skyline is in the background. She even obsesses about how she doesn't like her middle name, how much she is sweating and the amount of cloud cover in the sky.



The mild-mannered boyfriend repeats his proposal from every angle, enduring 43 takes. But, in the end, it's all worth it because the girlfriend is delighted.



"Babe, it's so beautiful," she says looking down at what is presumably her new engagement ring. But then the viewer notices that she's actually viewing her phone.

"Look at all these likes!"

Please check out Crist's proposal video, which he captioned this way: “What’s the point of getting engaged if you don’t post it on Instagram?”


Credits: Image captures via YouTube.com.
April 18th, 2017
The organizers of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are imploring environmentally conscious citizens to unload their old cell phones in an effort to amass enough precious metal to create 5,000 gold, silver and bronze medals.



“Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic medals will be made out of people’s thoughts and appreciation for avoiding waste,” Japanese three-time Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Kohei Uchimura told The Japan Times. “I think there is an important message in this for future generations.”

The average cell phone user may not realize it, but the internal components of the device are rich in precious metals. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates one million recycled cell phones can generated 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold.



To reach its goal, the Tokyo organizers are looking to collect 8 tons of metal from outdated mobile phones, digital cameras, laptops and games units, from which gold, silver and bronze will be extracted.

NTT DoCoMo, Japan's leading mobile carrier, will place collection boxes in each of its 2,400 stores. The company is confident it can accumulate millions of cell phones in the years leading up to the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Despite being a country with virtually no precious metal mining, Japan's "urban mine" of discarded small consumer electronics is believed to contain the equivalent of 16% of the world's gold reserves and 22% of the world's silver reserves.

Japan's Olympic organizing committee has set its sights on creating medals from 100% recycled material. At the Rio Games in 2016, by contrast, 30% of the silver and bronze medals were derived from recycled metals.

Interestingly, Olympic gold medals are made mostly of silver. Starting in 1916, the International Olympic Committee mandated that gold medals be made with a 24-karat gilding of exactly 6 grams (.211 ounces). The Rio gold medals, for example, were composed of 494 grams of 96% pure silver and 6 grams of 99.9% pure gold.

Rio’s silver medals were made of 500 grams of 96% pure silver and the bronze medals contained mostly copper with a bit of zinc and tin.

Credits: Recycling image via Bigstockphoto.com; Olympic logos via Tokyo2020.jp.
April 17th, 2017
You can say that the Chicago Cubs' 2016 World Series rings were 108 years in the making. That's because the last time the Cubs won baseball's Fall Classic — in 1908 — the average wage was 22 cents per hour, 8% of homes had a telephone and the White House was occupied by President Theodore Roosevelt. Fittingly, ring manufacturer Jostens loaded the 14-karat white gold bling with a slew of symbolic elements, including 108 diamonds surrounding the bezel on all sides.



Overall, the rings boast 5.5 carats of diamonds, 3 carats of genuine Burmese rubies and 2.5 carats of genuine sapphires in a handsome red, white and blue design.

The face of the ring features the familiar Cubs' bullseye logo masterfully rendered in 33 custom-cut rubies set in a ground of 72 round white diamonds and surrounded by a circular frame made from 46 custom-cut blue sapphires.

The words WORLD and CHAMPIONS in raised white gold letters against a black ground wrap the top and bottom edges of the ring.



The Cubs have a tradition of flying a victory flag at Wrigley Field every time the team wins. That symbol, carved from fire blue corundum and surrounded by 31 white diamonds, sits below the player's name and above the player's number on one side of the ring. The iconic Wrigley Field bricks and ivy complete the background.



On the ring's opposite side is a silhouette of the Wrigley Field façade, the championship year and a marquee displaying the message "CUBS WIN!" Also shown is a silhouette of the World Series trophy with a large round white diamond set in the center signifying the 2016 World Series victory. On each side of the trophy is a princess-cut diamond representing the team's two previous World Series titles — in 1907 and 1908.



In raised white gold letters on the bottom of the outer band is the team's 2016 rallying cry, "WE NEVER QUIT.”



Hidden on the inside of the bottom of the band is the symbol of a goat's head, which is a nod to the "Curse of the Billy Goat." Cubs legend states that the curse was placed on the franchise by William Sianis, the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, in 1945. Sianis had attended a World Series game at Wrigley Field with his pet goat and fans complained of the odor. When Sianis was asked to leave, he allegedly declared, "Them Cubs, the ain't gonna win no more." The "curse" lasted for 71 years.



The inside of the band also displays the date and time of the championship – 11/3/16 • 12:47 AM EST – and the series scores and logos of the three teams the Cubs defeated on their way to the World Series victory. The Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in seven games after coming back from a 3-1 deficit. The final game went into extra innings, but the Cubs prevailed 8-7.

"We felt that we had a responsibility, not only to the Cubs organization, but to Cubs fans around the world, to create a once-in-a-lifetime ring," said Chris Poitras, Jostens Division Vice President, College & Sports. "This iconic piece of jewelry uses intricate craftsmanship to tell the unforgettable story of the Cubs' World Series victory, which now takes its prominent place in the history of all professional sports."

Credits: Images courtesy of Jostens.