Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Taylor Goldsmith of the folk-rock supergroup The New Basement Tapes channels Bob Dylan in “Diamond Ring,” a nearly forgotten song about second chances.
In the tune, the song’s protagonist is heading back to St. Louis, where he’s hoping to reconnect with his old flame, Alice. And this time he’s willing to make a life-long commitment.
He sings, “That old organ grinder’s gonna wind his box / And the knife sharpener’s gonna sing / When I get back to St. Louis again / I’m gonna buy that diamond ring / Diamond ring / Diamond ring / Shine like gold / Behold that diamond ring.”
“Diamond Ring” is one of more than 100 songs Dylan wrote in 1967 while recovering from a near-fatal motorcycle accident in his Big Pink home near Woodstock, N.Y. While 16 of those works went on to be included in Dylan’s highly regarded 1975 album, The Basement Tapes, many of the other songs, including “Diamond Ring,” remained forgotten — until recently.
With a nod from Dylan himself, producer T Bone Burnett assembled a supergroup of “musical archaeologists” — including Goldsmith, Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Jim James and Rhiannon Giddens — to re-imagine many of Dylan’s “lost” works.
The all-stars recorded more than 40 Dylan songs during a two-week session, according to music.avclub.com. The creative process saw members of the group swapping instrumental and vocal roles on the different album tracks.
The group eventually released two versions of Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes in November of 2014. “Diamond Ring” appears as a bonus track in the deluxe 20-song version.
Goldsmith, who is best-known as a member of the Los Angeles-based folk rock band Dawes, has collaborated with Dylan before. His band toured with the legendary singer-songwriter in 2013.
Please check out the audio track of Goldsmith and The New Basement Tapes all-stars performing “Diamond Ring.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…
Written by Bob Dylan and Taylor Goldsmith. Performed by The New Basement Tapes.
If I ever get back to St. Louis again
There’s gonna be some changes made
I’m gonna find old Alice and right away where I left off
It’s gonna be just as if I’d stayed
That old organ grinder’s gonna wind his box
And the knife sharpener’s gonna sing
When I get back to St. Louis again
I’m gonna buy that diamond ring
Shine like gold
Behold that diamond ring
If I ever get back to St. Louis again
Everybody’s gonna smile
One of the Mack girls dragged me up to Washington
I got stuck there for a while
She gave me more misery than a man can hold
And I took her bad advice
Now I don’t aim to bother anyone
I have paid that awful price
Shine like gold
Behold that diamond ring
If ever I get back to St. Louis again
That diamond ring is gonna shine
That old burlesque dancer is gonna bum around
And everything’s gonna be fine
I’m gonna settle up my accounts with lead
And leave the rest up to the law
Then I’m gonna marry the one I love
And head out for Wichita
Shine like gold
Behold that diamond ring
Credit: Screen capture via universal-music.de.
When Ben Adams and his girlfriend Elizabeth Kahle landed at DFW International Airport three weeks ago after a romantic European vacation, Adams was all set to surprise the love of his life with an engagement ring and marriage proposal.
That plan got short-circuited when the airline misplaced their luggage and Adams had made the critical mistake of packing the engagement ring in his checked baggage instead of placing it in his carry-on.
Earlier in the journey, the couple had been waiting for their connection in Iceland when they learned that their flight to DFW Airport in Dallas had been canceled. They were re-routed to JFK Airport in New York and then finally got a Delta flight to Texas that connected through Atlanta.
With all the changes and crazy connections, the couple made it to Texas but the luggage did not. For more than two weeks WOW Airlines couldn't tell the them where their luggage had ended up.
Both Adams and Kahle work for Norwegian Cruise Lines and don't really have a permanent residence. Kahle has family in Frisco, Texas, and that's why Adams wanted to propose when they landed, so they could all celebrate together.
Instead, Adams reached out to local ABC affiliate WFAA to reveal his proposal secret and plead his case.
“The stakes just went from here to here!” Kahle said in the interview.
With the helpful prodding of the TV station, WOW was able to find the luggage, which had somehow ended up in Boston.
“We didn’t even go through Boston,” Adams said.
The luggage was forwarded to Texas, where Adams was finally able to pop the question. WFAA was on hand to document the moment and deliver a happy-ending story to its viewers.
“The only reason we got our bags back immediately is because you guys reached out to WOW Airlines,” Adams said. “I get to go back to the ship with my future wife and I’m so ecstatic.”
Of course, all the drama could have been avoided had Adams heeded these tips from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company regarding how to handle fine jewelry when traveling…
TSA blogger Bob Burns noted that under no circumstances should travelers pack their fine jewelry in checked luggage.
"It’s perfectly OK to wear your fine jewelry through the checkpoint station," he wrote. "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.
Credits: Screen captures via www.wfaa.com.
British Crown Jewels Were Hidden From Nazis in a Biscuit Tin, BBC Documentary Reveals
Priceless gems from the British Crown Jewels were hidden from the Nazis in a biscuit tin and buried underground at Windsor Castle during World War II, a BBC documentary revealed last night.
Fearing an invasion, King George VI ordered that the most precious jewels — including the Black Prince’s ruby and Saint Edward’s sapphire — be removed from the royal crowns, stashed in a Bath Oliver biscuit tin and buried under a sally port, which is a secret exit from the castle used in times of emergency.
The treasures were placed deep in the ground at the royal family’s country residence in Berkshire and secured with steel doors. The limestone excavation was filled in with soil and covered with turf. Queen Elizabeth II, who was only 14 at the time, first learned of her father’s ploy during her BBC interview with Alastair Bruce.
“What was so lovely was that the Queen had no knowledge of it,” Bruce noted. “Telling her seemed strangely odd.”
Some historians speculated that the royal gems had been whisked away during the war to a vault in Canada or a cave in Wales. But, confidential correspondence from Sir Owen Morshead, the royal librarian, to Queen Mary, the mother of George VI, finally uncovered the secret of the biscuit tin. The British Crown Jewels — 23,578 in all — are currently under armed guard in the Jewel House at the Tower of London.
During the interview, the 91-year-old monarch got to take a close look at the Imperial State Crown, the stone’s from which were remounted for her father’s coronation in 1937. The crown is set with 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, hundreds of pearls and a famous ruby that’s not actually a ruby.
The Queen pointed out that the 2lb 13oz crown has been reduced in height since her father wore it. She also joked that it’s important not to look down when wearing the crown as your “neck would break.”
She told Bruce that her favorite gem in the crown is the Black Prince’s ruby, which is, in fact, an irregular cabochon red spinel weighing 170 carats. The stone is set in the cross above the 317-carat Cullinan II diamond at the front of the Imperial State Crown and its history dates back to the middle of the 14th century.
The Queen seemed to be saddened by the plight of the pearls mounted in the crown. She said they are “not very happy now” and had been “hanging out for years.”
“I mean, the trouble is that pearls are sort of live things and they need… warming,” she said.
Princess Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1952 at the age of 25 after her father died unexpectedly.
The BBC documentary was broadcast by the Smithsonian Channel on Sunday night.
Credits: Queen Elizabeth II screen capture via Smithsonianchannel.com; British Crown Jewels, including Saint Edward’s Crown, by United Kingdom Government [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; Imperial State Crown showing Black Prince’s ruby by Cyril Davenport (1848 – 1941) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
An all-star cast of 10 diamonds weighing a total of 1,453.06 carats yielded $32.5 million at Lucara Diamond Corp.'s "12th Exceptional Stone Tender" last week. The diamonds, which ranged from 40.4 carats to 472.37 carats, were all sourced in 2018 at the famous Karowe Mine in Botswana.
The top performer was a 327.48-carat white diamond, which sold for $10.1 million, or $30,900 per carat.
The largest gem in the group was a 472.37-carat “top light brown” rough diamond that rates as the third-largest ever discovered at the mine.
While Lucara did not reveal the purchase price of the light brown gem, it did note that each stone in the tender was sold for more than $1 million and that four rough diamonds garnered more than $3 million apiece.
Karowe continues to produce the world’s largest fine diamonds. The 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona and the 813-carat Constellation were both mined there in November 2015. Interestingly, Lesedi La Rona was the larger portion of a broken diamond. The other part weighed 373 carats.
Lesedi La Rona was eventually sold for $53 million; Constellation earned $63 million; and the chunk that broke off Lesedi La Rona delivered $17.5 million.
The recent proliferation of massive stones at Karowe can be attributed to Lucara’s investment in X-ray transmission (XRT) imaging technology. The new machines are calibrated to extract 100-carat-plus diamonds by monitoring X-ray luminescence, atomic density and transparency. Previously, large diamonds might have been mistaken as worthless ore and pulverized by a crushing device.
“The early sampling work [at] Karowe was done with equipment that really was not optimal and they ended up breaking a lot of diamonds,” Lucara President and Chief Executive Officer Eira Thomas told Bloomberg.com earlier this year. “When we went into commercial production we expected to do better, but we had no idea that the diamonds that were being broken were so much larger. ”
In all, 29 diamantaires attended the "12th Exceptional Stone Tender," but only eight of them came away with at least one of the highly coveted lots.
Credits: Images via Facebook.com/LucaraDiamond.
An eagle-eyed Long Island police officer with a metal detector and his quick-thinking colleague are being hailed as heroes after reuniting a Pennsylvania woman with the $20,000 engagement ring she lost last weekend on a Fire Island beach.
What started out as a celebratory bachelorette weekend turned into a harrowing episode for a Pennsylvania woman last weekend. According to news sources, the woman and her friends were staying on Fire Island for her bachelorette party. On Saturday, after spending time on Atlantique Beach, she reported her diamond engagement ring missing. With her upcoming nuptials only a week away, the frantic bride-to-be was especially desperate to get the $20,000 ring back.
Atlantique is a boater’s paradise located on the narrowest part of New York's bucolic Fire Island National Seashore. Boasting pristine beaches, quaint villages and an historic lighthouse, Fire Island is a popular tourist destination for families, daytrippers and sun worshippers. Covering 9.6 square miles, it is the large center island of the outer barrier islands parallel to the south shore of Long Island, N.Y., and about two hours east of New York City. The permanent population of just under 300 swells to thousands of residents and tourists during the summer.
Marine Bureau Police Officer Robert Warrington responded to the call and set up a search of the home where the woman was staying. When nothing turned up, he called his colleague, fellow Bureau Officer Edmund McDowell, and suggested he bring his metal detector to Atlantique Beach the next day. Officer McDowell, who was assisted by the woman's friend, set up a grid pattern around where the woman was sitting at the beach. After about 10 minutes of carefully combing the sand, the large, round-cut diamond was found — along with a dime, a quarter and a rusty screw.
When McDowell snapped up the ring and placed it on his own pinkie finger for safekeeping, the beachgoers cheered.
“We called her up and she was crying and crying,” McDowell told Newsday. McDowell gave the ring along with the other items he found on the beach to the bride’s friend, who had stayed behind to lend a hand in the search.
Each year, thousands of pieces of jewelry are lost at beaches from coast to coast.
"If you have people who are swimming, you're going to have gold in the water," explained Dan Berg, an avid metal detectorist and author. Beachgoers cover themselves with suntan lotion and then sit in the sun, so their hands swell. Later, in the cool water, their fingers shrink and rings can slide off.
According to Suffolk County police, this is the second time Warrington and McDowell teamed up to find lost treasure. About eight years ago, McDowell got a similar call from Warrington asking if he could use his personal metal detector to help find a $30,000 platinum and diamond wedding band that was lost in the sand by a man playing volleyball.
“He’s such a nice guy and always goes above and beyond — and I like to help too — so between the two of us, I think we make a pretty good team,” McDowell told Newsday.
Credits: Ring photo courtesy of Suffolk County Police Department. Fire Island Lighthouse by Mark Rosengarten [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons. Fire Island map by U.S. Department of the Interior / National Park Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Workers at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop in Derby, Conn., went above and beyond the call of duty to reunite a woman with the 3.3-carat loose diamond she forgot she had pinned to the inside of a donated sweater.
The store’s Facebook page explained how one of the thrift shop’s trusted sorters was carefully folding the grey sweater when she felt an unusual bump in the fabric. She turned the garment inside out and noticed a little black bag safety-pinned inside. She opened the bag to find another bag, and inside of that, a piece of thick blue parcel paper that is commonly used by diamond traders.
Tucked inside the folded paper was a round 3.3-carat diamond. Hand-written notes on the paper revealed the exact carat weight (3.31), clarity (VS2) and color grade (M-N). Diamonds with these characteristics typically sell for $30,000 or more.
“We were in such disbelief that this could have occurred on our sorting table,” shop director Remy Kocurek told ABC affiliate WTNH.
The next task was to find the woman who had donated the sweater. They knew what she looked like, but they didn’t have her name.
The thrift shop workers reviewed their security videos and were able to glean the license plate number of the woman’s car. The workers sought the help of the local police department, which was able to ID the car’s owner and request that she return to the store.
She complied with the police department’s request, but was curious to know why she was summoned.
The rest of the story is recounted on the store’s Facebook page…
“We asked her if she recalled donating the grey sweater and she said that she did. Very quickly, the color drained from her face as she realized what she had done. Collapsing into a chair, she shook her head and almost started crying. She hugged us and expressed her gratitude over and over at the return of a very valuable family heirloom. An exciting day at the best little thrift shop around!”
“It just felt wonderful to do that for her,” Kocurek told WTNH.
It’s still not clear why the woman had pinned an unmounted $30,000 diamond inside an old sweater. A safety deposit box may have been a better bet.
Credits: Screen captures via wtnh.com.
On July 15, after a full month of heart-thumping competition, the members of a single national team will emerge as champions and experience one of the ultimate thrills in professional sports — raising aloft the 18-karat gold FIFA World Cup Trophy. Four years ago in Brazil, that honor went to the soccer team from Germany. This year in Russia, 31 teams will be vying to unseat the defending champs.
The coveted trophy, which is 14.5 inches tall and depicts two human figures holding up the earth, is made of 11 pounds of 18-karat gold and features two rows of green malachite at the base. USA Today reported that the trophy is estimated to be worth $20 million, although the actual precious metal value is closer to $168,000.
For years, FIFA, the governing body of soccer, had said the trophy was made of solid gold, but that claim hasn’t held up to scrutiny and it’s very likely that it has a hollow center.
Martyn Poliakoff of the United Kingdom’s Nottingham University did the math and determined that, based on its dimensions, a FIFA trophy made of solid gold would weigh an unwieldy 154 pounds. Gold is nearly 20 times as dense as water, and to get some perspective on just how heavy that is, consider this… A standard gold bar measures just 7 x 3 5/8 x 1 3/4 inches, but weighs more than 27 pounds.
The winning team will be taking home a gold-plated replica of the actual trophy. The real one will remain in the possession of FIFA. The bottom of the base bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974. The names are not visible when the cup is standing upright.
The tournament takes place every four years, and FIFA announced recently that the North American triumvirate of the U.S., Canada and Mexico will co-host the games in 2026.
For the past 88 years, there have been only two designs for the FIFA trophy. The current one was conceived by Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga and presented for the first time in 1974.
In describing his design, Gazzaniga said, “The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory.”
In 1970, the Brazilians got to keep the previous version of the trophy — the Jules Rimet Cup — when the team captured its third world title.
Rimet, the founding father of the FIFA World Cup, had stipulated 40 years earlier that any team that won three titles could have the cup permanently. FIFA made good on that promise in 1970, but in 1983 the cup was stolen in Rio de Janeiro and never seen again.
The Jules Rimet Cup, which was originally called “Coupe du Monde,” was designed by French sculptor Abel Lafleur and depicted the goddess of victory holding an octagonal vessel above her. It was 13.7 inches tall and weighed 8.4 pounds. It was made of gold-plated sterling silver, with a base of lapis lazuli.
In 1966, an earlier version of the Jules Rimet Cup was stolen from a public display in London just before the Brits were about to host the World Cup. It was discovered seven days later at the bottom of a suburban garden hedge by a clever canine named Pickles.
During World War II, the Jules Rimet Cup spent some time in a shoebox under the bed of FIFA vice president Dr. Ottorino Barassi, who feared it might fall into the hands of the Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
Brazil currently holds the record for the most FIFA World Cup victories (5), followed by Italy and Germany with four wins each. Favored teams in the current tournament include Brazil, Germany, Spain, France, Argentina, Belgium and England.
Credits: German team celebration in 2014. Screen capture via YouTube.com. FIFA World Cup by Biser Todorov [CC BY 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons. La Coupe Jules Rimet by Español: El Grafico del 12 de Julio de 1966. Edicion 2440 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
The Twittersphere was abuzz last week with the bitter-sweet story of how the destructive and horrifying volcanic eruptions of Kilauea were raining tiny green gemstones on the Big Island of Hawaii.
On Monday, June 11, Twitter user @ErinJordan_WX wrote, “Friends of mine live in Hawaii, right next to the area impacted by the most recent lava flows. In the midst of the destruction nearby & stress of the unknown, they woke up to this — tiny pieces of olivine all over the ground. It is literally raining gems. Nature is truly amazing.”
Within days, major media outlets breathlessly reported that “Hawaii’s volcano is literally erupting gems.” They explained how olivine — the non-gemstone variety of the August birthstone peridot — is a common mineral component of Hawaiian lavas and one of the first crystals to form as magma cools.
These outlets explained the raining-gemstone phenomenon this way: “As the volcano erupts, it blasts apart molten lava, allowing for green olivine minerals to be separated from the rest of the melt and fall as tiny gemstones.”
Later in the week, however, other outlets questioned how large gobs of molten lava would instantaneously release the olivine crystals into the air.
Cheryl Gansecki, a geologist at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, told sputniknews.com that the green gems seen in the photos circulating online do not separate from the lava themselves and had likely come out during past eruptions.
“There is not olivine raining from the sky, except in clumps of lava. If you happen to be where tephra is falling from the sky, there [are] tiny olivines embedded in it, but you probably aren’t going to see them,” she said.
Natives of Hawaii’s Big Island are well aware of the association between olivine and volcanoes.
Mahana Beach on Hawaii’s Papakolea coast, for example, is one of only three green sand beaches in the world. The abundance of olivine crystals filling the beach comes from the eroded cutaway interior of Pu’u Mahana, a volcanic cone produced more than 49,000 years ago by the explosive combination of lava and groundwater.
Locals have an affection for peridot and refer to the gemstone as the “Hawaiian Diamond.” Small peridot stones are sold as “Pele’s tears” in honor of Pele, the goddess of volcanoes. In ancient Hawaiian chants, Pele was described as “She-who-shapes-the-sacred-land,” and her temper was known to be both as abundant and dangerous as the lava.
The latest eruption of Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, began in early May and has since destroyed as many as 600 homes on the island.
Credits: Tiny olivine pebbles by Siim Sepp (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Faceted peridot by DonGuennie (G-Empire The World of Gems – Die Welt der Edelsteine) (Own work http://www.g-empire.de) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Papakolea Beach by Natarajanganesan [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia. Handfuls of olivine-rich sand by Tomintx (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
If Patriots Capture Their Sixth Super Bowl on Sunday, Expect the Championship Rings to Be Huge
If quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots win their sixth Super Bowl this Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., expect their championship rings to be the biggest ever — and we mean BIG.
The National Football League, you see, maintains an unwritten rule that allows teams with multiple Super Bowl victories to design the most extravagant rings. The more Vince Lombardi Trophies, the bigger the ring.
In June 2017, the Patriots commemorated their fifth championship and greatest comeback in Super Bowl history with monumental rings gleaming with 283 diamonds weighing 5.1 carats.
At the time, team owner Robert Kraft said, “It was a historic comeback win and the players deserve to have a ring that represents that accomplishment. So, we created the biggest Super Bowl ring ever made.”
The 283 diamonds were a nod to the score of 28-3, the seemingly unsurmountable deficit the Patriots faced before going on to tally 31 unanswered points in their triumph over the Atlanta Falcons.
Ring manufacturer Jostens didn’t officially announce the gram weight of the 2017 nor the 2015 Super Bowl rings, but they were much larger than the Patriots’ 2004 rings, which reportedly weighed 110 grams (just under one-quarter pound).
Jostens documented the evolution of the Patriots’ championship rings in this amazing photo.
If the Philadelphia Eagles prevail on Sunday, it will be their first Super Bowl victory. We expect their championship rings will be similar in size to the one earned by the first-time Lombardi Trophy winner Seattle Seahawks in 2014. Those rings weighed in at a modest 56 grams, one of the smallest in recent Super Bowl history.
The NFL typically awards 150 rings to the Super Bowl victor and allocates approximately $7,000 per ring — although teams with multiple Super Bowl victories are allotted a higher budget for diamonds. Teams often create “B” and “C” level rings — designs with faux diamonds or fewer diamonds — for distribution to the front office staff. The rings are usually presented to the players some time in June.
The cost of the Patriots’ rings have far exceeded the norm. In 2015, Business Insider reported that the Patriots’ Super Bowl XLIX rings were worth $36,500 apiece.
If the favored Patriots win Super Bowl 52, they will tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl victories at six. The Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers each have won five.
Credits: Images by Jostens via patriots.com.